Doug Wead, in his Jan. 6 Newsmax column, concedes that it's unfair to claim President Obama is soft on terrorism. Still, Wead does so anyway.
Wead asserts that "Obama was too late to talk to the American people about [the Christmas Day attempted airliner bombing]. He was enjoying Hawaii when he should have been out front, instead of sending in his lame, Janet Napolitano, whose defensive answers were so offensive that she has since been banned to the Cheney bunker in the Grand Tetons." Then he asks:
Is it fair? Is Obama really soft on terrorism? Or is this payback for using an economic crisis and the U.S. Treasury to payoff voting constituencies? Or for being too apologetic to non-American audiences?
The fact is that presidents are always criticized this way and it is usually because of a deeper concern. When George W. Bush was tardy responding to Hurricane Katrina, when people were trapped on rooftops without water or food or toilets, in the heat, while he watched football games at the ranch, he was criticized too. It was emblematic, they said. He obviously didn’t care enough about the poor. There was a disconnect.
In both cases, the tardy response is tied to a partisan stereotype. Is it blown out of proportion? Is it fair to say that Obama doesn’t care about security or Bush about black people? No. If Bush didn’t care about poor blacks he wouldn’t have pushed for the biggest AIDS relief package for Africa in world history. And Obama certainly doesn’t want another 9/11. Only Sarah Palin would benefit from that.
Wead avoids mentioning a much more direct analogy: While it took Obama three days -- "too late," in Wead's view -- to publicly speak about the attempted bombing, Bush waited six days to the December 2001 airliner bombing attempt by Richard Reid.
Having thus discredited his own attack, he concludes that suggesting it's justified anyway: "This is partisan politics. But hey, if it forces agencies to work together, if it helps put some spine in Obama’s back, if it makes the country safer, well, keep it up."
NewsBusters Gives Giuliani's Whopper A Pass Topic: NewsBusters
Two separate Jan. 8 NewsBusters posts -- by Mark Finkelstein and Scott Whitlock -- quote from Rudy Giuliani's appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America." But neither Finkelstein nor Whitlock highlight the false claim Giuliani made during that appearance, that "We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We've had one under Obama" (the statement is included in Whitlock's transcript). Of course, there were, and not just 9/11.
Why the silence? Giuliani is a Republican, and the MRC routinely turns a blind eye to Republican wrongdoing (see Limbaugh, Rush).
WND's Jennings Attack Du Jour: Bashing A Play Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's latest attempt to attack Kevin Jennings is a January 8 article by Bob Unruh -- as per usual, following the lead of anti-gay group MassResistance, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated a hate group -- writing that Jennings "is president of the board of the Tectonic Theater Project, which created 'The Laramie Project,' a play about the 1998 murder of University of Wyoming homosexual Matthew Shepard that condemns traditional biblical views on homosexuality as hateful and bigoted."
Unruh described Shepard as "the 21-year-old man who, according to a 2004 ABC News '20/20' report, actually was killed by drug-using thugs intent on robbery -- a fact ignored by the production." But it's not a fact -- it's right-wing revisionism. As we've detailed, one of Shepard's killers mounted a gay-panic defense at his trial, and the "20/20" report ignored the killer's in-custody interview, during which he offered what the Matthew Shepard Foundation calls "an un-rehearsed and unemotional anti-gay account of the events before, during, and after leaving Matt tied to the fence."
Unruh uncritically repeats whatever MassResistance asserts about "The Laramie Project" as fact without any apparent attempt to verify them or obtain any response to the attacks. Among them:
It's an "insidious GLBT propaganda play ... which exploits the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard as a 'hate crime' and leads kids directly to groups promoting GLBT causes."
The play "ridicules a Baptist minister for preaching the biblical perspective on homosexuality as a sin. The pastor's expression of hope that Shepard repented of his sins before dying is described as hateful."
The play "takes part in fear-mongering" by repeating cast members' trepidation in going to Laramie, Wyoming, to conduct the interviews of residents that form the basis of the production; the two men accused in Shepard's death already were in custody, so, according to MassResistance, the "insinuation is that other Laramie citizens are dangerous."
The community as a whole is responsible for the crime of two men, with one character stating, "We need to own this crime. I feel. Everyone needs to own it. We are like this. ..."
Unruh stated that, in repeating MassResistance's attack on a high school's production of The Laramie Project, "Mass Resistance also noted the graphic language of the play for high schoolers to recite." Apparently high school students had never used graphic language until The Laramie Project came along.
In contrast to the hyperbolic MassResistance attack that Unruh swallows whole, The New York Timesnoted of "The Laramie Project" upon its New York premiere that "Even the evening's less sympathetic characters, including the Kansas preacher who showed up at Mr. Shepard's funeral as an anti-gay protester, are served up with respectful caution," adding that "There is an overriding sense that the characters -- who range from ranchers to university professors, from a lesbian waitress to a Baptist minister -- are cut from the same cloth of perplexed decency, embellished with the occasional signpost of an eccentricity." The Times also stated that the play has become "a catalyst for communities to discuss something of urgent importance: in this case, hate crimes, homophobia and the treatment of difference in American society," and that "it serves as a model for a way of speaking tough truths and listening respectfully."
Listening respectfully? That's a message WorldNetDaily and MassResistance don't seem interested in hearing.
CMI Lashes Out At 'Pro-Gay' Library Books Topic: Media Research Center
Carolyn Plocher's Jan. 5 MRC Culture and Media Institute article is one long screed against the American Library Association for daring to recommend book to youth that have gay characters.
Plocher takes the Depiction-Equals-Approival Fallacy approach to the issue, essentially claiming that any book that does not denounce homosexuality is "pro-homosexual" and, thus, not "good, wholesome literature." She goes on to specifically attack what she portrays as the ALA's focus on "authentic literature," with special focus on a graphic novel (to which Plocher adds, "aka a comic book") called "Skim," which features "a depressed, gothic, homosexual, Wicca-worshipping high school girl":
The ALA claims that “authentic literature” like “Skim” more accurately portrays the gritty, real American life, and therefore, has more literary merit. It’s a manipulative tactic that has effectively stocked library shelves across the nation with pro-homosexual books that inevitably fall into children’s hands.
Plocher offers no evidence that "Skim" is "pro-homosexual." And despite the fact that the book has received numerous honors, Plocher seems to have decided that "good, wholesome literature" with literary merit punishes gays, something "Skim" apparently does not do.
Plocher's article continues in this vein, quoting fellow right-wingers lamenting that such books are "replacing the traditional literature classics, which, in general, promoted mainstream American values or at least didn’t undermine them ," and that the ALA's goal is to "intimidate parents from ever complaining about books that are given to their own children."
Plocher further complained that "More than a dozen high school libraries rejected over 100 books that featured conservative perspectives on homosexuality, which were offered by the Colorado-based Focus on the Family." Plocher doesn't mention whether any of those books have any basis in reality.
In trying to shoot down Glenn Beck's dismissal of the birther conspiracy -- which has a massive investment in -- WorldNetDaily sent out Jerome Corsi to reiterate the case ... which is just as lame as it always has been.
In a Jan. 7 WND article, Corsi gamely tries to insist that, contrary to the idea that birthers believe "a wild conspiracy in which Obama's parents, knowing he would someday be president, 'preemptively' collaborated with two separate newspapers to publish phony announcements stating he was born in Hawaii," the truth is that "the birth announcements offer no proof of citizenship, because they might reflect nothing more than information a family filed with the Hawaii Department of Health to obtain a state Certification of Live Birth for a baby born outside Hawaii."
Note the word "might" in there. That's a major clue that WND's birther conspiracy hinges on what might be the truth. To do that, WND must discredit what the truth in all likelihood is -- that the birth announcements are credible evidence that Obama was born in Hawaii.
Corsi also rehashes the worn-out case that Obama's Hawaii certification of live birth is "not proof he was born in Hawaii," repeating an old canard:
WND also reported that until recently, even the Hawaii state government refused to accept a short-form COLB as proof of a Hawaiian birth required for eligibility in state programs. The Hawaiian Home Lands program, for example, required a "long-form birth certificate" filled out in the hospital with details such as the name of the hospital and the attending physician.
If a short-form COLB was not good enough for the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, submitting a newspaper-printed birth announcement as proof of a Hawaiian birth would have been rejected immediately.
As we've detailed, the Home Lands program is not for people born in Hawaii but, rather, for those of "native Hawaiian" ancestry. Since Obama is not of native Hawaiian ancestry, he would not be eligible to apply for it in any case, so whether his birth certificate is sufficient to apply is irrelevant.
Corsi and WND are merely engaging in recycled bamboozlement in a fit of pique at Beck. WND didn't take it well when Beck slammed its pet conspiracy and, if the related opt-in poll is any indication, neither did its readers.
Moreover, I am less interested in passing out blame than I am in learning from and correcting these mistakes to make us safer, for ultimately the buck stops with me. As president, I have a solemn responsibility to protect our nation and our people, and when the system fails, it is my responsibility.
Mason also attempts to draw an analogy: "Could you imagine this, if I go on the stage and I'm telling jokes and the jokes stink, and I'm blaming everyone else but me. I'm the one who's in charge of the job. How come I'm the only guy who's not to blame?" Perhaps Mason can provide a specific example of when he tooksuch responsibility. He certainly has taken no responsibility for his humor-free smears and lies.
Farah Hitches a Ride on Palin's Coattails Topic: WorldNetDaily
In an apparent grasp for credibility among right-wingers, Joseph Farah is now promoting himself as an ideological kin to Sarah Palin through their (separate) speaking appearances at an upcoming tea party convention.
A Jan. 5 WND article even shamelessly calls this the "Palin-Farah ticket," even though the two are speaking on separate nights.
As is the WND way, article author Chelsea Schilling ignores or glosses over certain inconvenient facts in promoting this faux alliance. Unmentioned is the cost of the convention -- $349 for either Palin's speech alone or the entirety of the convention minus Palin's speech, or $549 all-inclusive. Also unmentioned is what Palin is getting paid to speak -- reports say it could be as much as $100,000.
Schilling quotes convention organizer Judson Phillips as saying he wants to see "folks getting to know one another and working together, as opposed to some of the regrettable splits we've seen over the last few months."Schilling is silent on what those "regrettable splits" are.
That appears to be a reference to the intramural squabbling between the various tea party groups, which we don't recall WND ever reporting on. Indeed, WND has been utterly silent about the biggest tea party-related story in recent weeks -- the revelation that one group, Tea Party Express (which WND has previously promoted), had directed almost two-thirds of its spending back to the Republican consulting firm that created it.
Perhaps WND is only following orders from above -- as it has from shoddy birther lawyer Orly Taitz -- that it is to report only good news about the tea party movement and not facts, lest the movement (and its own partisan agenda) be harmed by its readers learning the truth.
Mitchell's stance might be taken a bit more seriously if he wasn't denigrating said friends in the process.
Mitchell begins by insisting that he knows "the data" and "some of the scientists," as well as because "I have personally worked with ex-gays for years," he has concluded that "there's absolutely no evidence to support the gay activists' claim that same-sex attraction is genetic, and it's definitely not immutable." He adds: "When I say I'm against homosexuality, I mean I'm against a self-destructive lifestyle that is both unnecessary and dangerous."
The problem is that Mitchell isn't just "against homosexuality"; as we detailed, he favors the "abolition of homosexuality." He has not directly explained how he favors such abolition, but his enthusiastic support for the Uganda law is one possible clue.
But Mitchell then declares he has "gay friends." This leads to a story from his days of working in "actor circles," when he was confronted at a party by a "flaming homosexual" who asked him -- as Mitchell lapses into stereotypically fey, limp-wristed mannerisms and lisping voice -- if he's going to hell for being gay. "I smiled, looked him in the eye, and I said, 'Yeah, it looks like you are headed for hell.'"
He claimed this confrontational behavior went on for several weeks until a going-away party for the "flaming homosexual," during which, according to Mitchell, he was told by the "flaming homosexual" that "you're my only friend because you told me what I always knew." He added: "And then he started sobbing, and I grabbed him and I hugged him, and he just cried into my shoulder." Mitchell's lesson: "Faithful are the wounds of friends."
Mitchell concluded: "Over the years, I've had lots of homosexual friends, and I've been straight with all of them about my aversion to their sexual lifestyle. A few have walked away, sure, but for the most part, they all stayed close, because they knew I really loved them."
But will they love him when they find out he wouldn't object to seeing them punished or even killed by the government for their "lifestyle"?
NewsBusters Complains Maddow Put Napolitano Statement In Its Proper Context Topic: NewsBusters
NewsBusters' Jack Coleman is upset with Rachel Maddow. Why? Because she had the audacity to put a statement by Janet Napolitano in its proper context.
Coleman goes on at great length in a Jan. 2 NewsBusters post to express his unhappiness at Maddow for pointing out that Napolitano's statement that "the system worked," placed in its proper context, applies to events after the Christmas Day attempted airliner bombing incident, and not to the failure to detect the bomber, and that by suggesting that the phrase applied to pre-bombing events, Republicans were "attacking her for saying something she never actually said." We'll let Coleman take it from here:
Nice try, Ms. Maddow. The problem for Napolitano isn't that Republicans are putting words in her mouth -- it's that they are quoting her accurately (as shown by Maddow's footage of Congressman King). And what Napolitano said, starting with a simple declarative sentence that stands or falls on its own, was ludicrous.
In fairness to Maddow, she gets it half right, which is certainly encouraging. Napolitano did gloss over the lunacy of her "system worked" assertion by whittling "the system" to only those components functional on the day in question.
What makes Maddow's defense of Napolitano's inanity all the more bizarre is that it came after Napolitano backpedaled on it herself, appearing on the "Today" show Dec. 28 and agreeing with Matt Lauer when he asked if "the system" had "failed miserably" to prevent a terrorist with explosives from boarding an airliner.
Maddow condemns Republicans for "selective editing" and taking Napolitano's remarks "out of context." Having set the bar high for others, Maddow then shows her unwillingness to abide by the same standards.
Note that at no point does Coleman contradict the fact that Republicans were taking the line out of context or even express shame for having done so -- indeed, he praises the statement as "a simple declarative sentence that stands or falls on its own" and, presumably, a perfect target for taking out of context.
Mr. Farber, Meet Mr. Godwin (And the American Common Man) Topic: WorldNetDaily
It's axiomatic that when someone insists he's not comparing someone to Nazis, it's exactly what he's doing.
Behold Barry Farber's Jan. 6 WorldNetDaily column, the second paragraph of which begins with the statement, "OK. I'm not calling those who run our government Nazis." Of course, Farber goes on to do exactly that, in the most bizarre, elitist way possible.
Farber's argument is that because New York's Tavern on the Green -- with its "Overpriced, mediocre cuisine" and "long waits" -- is closing, and because there are "shuttered businesses" on the mean streets of Manhattan's Upper West Side, the government, the media, and everyone else is lying to us about the economy starting to recover, likening them to, yes, Nazis: "I propose the minting of a new award, like the Oscars, Emmys, Tonys and Golden Globes, for today's cheerleading, sycophantic media. We'll call it the 'Ludwig,' named after Hitler's favorite broadcaster during the war, Ludwig Sertorius."
This is not the first time Farber has done this; in September, back when he was still with Newsmax, Farber similarly claimed, "I think it's time we awarded the president's spokespeople, spin-meisters, and agenda-crats the 'Ludwig' prize."
So, yes, Farber is very much likening people to Nazis, no matter what he says.
Even more laughable than Farber's invocation of Godwin's Law is the snootiness of his attack -- the idea that unless Upper West Side elitists like Farber are able to go to overpriced, mediocre restaurants like Tavern on the Green with impunity, the economy can't possibly be recovering.
Especially since Farber has pretended he's no elite. In another 2007 Newsmax column, Farber attacked Nancy Pelosi for, near as we can tell, supporting the idea of diplomatic overtures to Syria: "That makes you an elitist. And elitists lose. Elitists may command the respect of the European peasantry but not of the American Common Man."
Farber seems not to be aware that, unlike him, the American Common Man is not terribly fond of overpriced, mediocre restaurants either.
Klein Embraces Discredited Obama Attacker Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Jan. 4 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein features the comments of Larry Johnson, "former CIA analyst and former deputy director at the State Department's Office of Counter Terrorism," attacking President Obama for setting a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan. The article even includes a picture of Johnson.
Klein is silent about the fact that Johnson helped spread a vicious lie about Obama.
As David Weigel details, Johnson -- a supporter of Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Demcoratic primaries and a rabid Obama-hater -- was instrumental in spreading the never-proven rumor that Republican operatives possessed a tape of Michelle Obama railing against "whitey."
Needless to say, WND promoted the rumor at the time, peppering reports of denials with skepticism and anonymous comments asserting it as fact. Klein himself granted the rumor a passing mention back then as well.
Those are the only two mentions of it, however, indicating that even WND -- which is an even more rabid Obama-hater than Johnson -- didn't consider the rumor credible.
So why is Klein and WND treating the promoter of the lie as credible now?
On NBC's "Meet the Press," [White House counterterrorism adviser John] Brennan volunteered that the administration is still bound and determined to close Gitmo – come hell, high water or the risk of increasing the terrorist threat against this country as a result.
"We will decide and determine when we should send additional people back," said Brennan. "But we're going to do it in the right way, because Guantanamo should be closed. It was used as a propaganda tool by al-Qaida, and the president is still committed to it."
I wonder how Obama knows the terrorists use Gitmo as a recruiting tool? Have Gallup's people been matriculating in madrassas taking the jihadists' pulse? If terrorists do think negatively about Gitmo, is it because of the fabled mistreatment they've received there or the fact that we're demonstrating our weakness by administering five-star luxury treatment to homicide bombers?
The answer is Obama is a liberal, and he has deliberately surrounded himself with like-minded, weak-willed leftists who are congenitally incapable of grasping the presence of evil in the world. They are blind to the reality that the terrorists hate us because of their ideology and theology and not because of any alleged misconduct at a detention facility. Do you really think it's plausible that people who engage in the brutal tactics these people engage in would bother recruiting on the absurd bases that Obama claims?
In fact, numerousexperts and military officials have stated that terrorists have successfully used the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay as a major recruiting device.
Limbaugh -- who has been on a roll of right-wing misinformation lately -- might want to try doing something called research before writing his next column.
AIM Smears Kevin Jennings Again Topic: Accuracy in Media
You would think that, just a few weeks removed from getting caught red-handed spreading falsehoods about Kevin Jennings and being forced to issue an embarrassing retraction, Accuracy in Media would want to stay away from the subject of Jennings, lest it stray into further misleading smears. But AIM doesn't, and it does.
In a January 4 AIM column, Cliff Kincaid tries once again to falsely link Jennings to pedophila -- defying AIM's retraction statement that it has "no evidence" to support such a link -- by bringing up Jennings' praise for gay-rights pioneer Harry Hay, stating that Hay was a "supporter of the North American Man-Boy Love Association" and insisting that "The praise of Hay by Jennings has led to questions about Jennings's relationship with NAMBLA itself."
In fact, Jennings' praise of Hay has only "led to questions" among those determined to mischaracterize that praise. Jennings praised Hay's role in helping start "the first ongoing gay rights groups in America" in 1948, which has nothing to do with NAMBLA.
(Just as unacceptable to Kincaid, it appears, is that Hay was also "a prominent member of the Communist Party USA and ‘Radical Faerie' who believed in the power of the occult.")
Kincaid also curiously embarks on a defense of a proposed anti-gay law in Uganda, asserting that any claim that it would result in the death penalty for homosexuality is "flat-out disinformation" and that the death penalty is for "aggravated homosexuality," which is, according to Kincaid, "pederasty, pedophilia, homosexual parent/child incest, homosexual abuse of a disabled ward, and knowingly spreading AIDS."
But CNN reports that the death penalty could also apply to those who "engage in homosexual sex more than once," as well as "people who test positive for HIV." The law would also apply even to Ugandans participating in same-sex acts in countries where such behavior is legal.
Kincaid's source for his claims about the Uganda law is anti-gay pastor Scott Lively of Abiding Truth Ministries -- which is on the Southern Poverty Law Center's list of hate groups. The New York Timesreports that Lively "has acknowledged meeting with Ugandan lawmakers to discuss" the proposed law and was one of three evangelical activists who headlined a recent conference on the "gay agenda" in the country in which, according to the Times, they "discussed how to make gay people straight, how gay men often sodomized teenage boys and how ‘the gay movement is an evil institution' whose goal is ‘to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.' "
Kincaid quotes Lively stating that the bill "does not emphasize rehabilitation over punishment and the punishment that it calls for is unacceptably harsh. However, if the offending sections were sufficiently modified, the proposed law would represent an encouraging step in the right direction." According to Kincaid, Lively defends the law as "a response to the history of the country, where Christians were persecuted and even killed for resisting the homosexuality of King Mwanga, a violent pedophile." Lively also cites "homosexual political activists from Europe and the United States [who] are working aggressively to re-homosexualize their nation" and claims that "Ugandan citizens report a growing number of foreign homosexual men coming to their country to turn desperately poor young men from the slums into their personal houseboys, and that some girls in public schools have been paid to recruit others into lesbianism."