It's been a tidal wave of emotions at Newsmax over Eric Massa over the past few days.
On March 5 Newsmax happily touted the Democratic congressman's resignation over allegations of harassment from male staffers under the headline "Rep. Massa: 'I Am Guilty' and Will Resign." But when Massa alleged that he was forced out by Democratic leadership over his opposition to health care reform and would go on Glenn Beck's Fox News show to dish the details, Newsmax went all giddy:
Just a day after triggering a political firestorm with accusations he was forced out of office because he rebelled against his fellow House Democrats’ healthcare plan, former New York Rep. Eric J.J. Massa will take his story to "The Glenn Beck Program" on Fox News tonight.
Beck said Monday he will devote a full-hour to an interview with Massa. The show airs at 5 p.m. EST and 2 a.m. on the Fox News Channel.
"I'm not saying he's, you know, pure as a driven snow. I don't know. I don't know the guy," Beck said of Massa in a video clip from Fox News. "But this is a moment that will decide the course of this nation, possibly."
Massa was the talk of Washington Monday after he made allegations Sunday on a Hornell, New York radio station that he was "set up" to fall so that House Democrats would have an easier path to passing healthcare reform.
Any denials of that, of course, were buried at the end of the article, all the better to push Massa's newfound embrace by conservatives.
After Massa's appearance on Beck, however, the bloom came off the rose. The headline of Newsmax's post-interview article carried the sympathetic headline "Massa Fumbles in Glenn Beck Interview," but the story itself was much less so:
Fox News host Glenn Beck apologized to his viewers for “wasting your time” Tuesday after an interview in which former New York Rep. Eric Massa seemingly backtracked on his allegations that he was forced to resign over his opposition to Obamacare.
“We learned a lot I think, but what we learned I don’t think affects you at all,” Beck said, shaking his head and laughing at the conclusion of his hour-long interview with Massa, who resigned his office Monday after it became public that he was the subject of a House ethics committee investigation for possible harassment.
Staring into the camera after Massa seemingly contradicted himself on many points and refused to disclose any alleged corruption Beck suggested he had promised to disclose in a private pre-interview phone call, the conservative host apologized.
"I have to shoot straight with you. I think I’ve wasted your time," Beck said. "I think this is the first time I’ve wasted an hour of your time. I apologize for that. Because I think we could have spent a lot less time backtracking a lot....”
“I’m not backtracking,” Massa responded. “I wasn’t forced out. I forced myself out. I failed. I didn’t live up to my own codes... I own up to my misbehavior.”
Newsmax still clung to hope, though, that Massa could still be portrayed as a victim of those mean Democrats. A separate article noted that "new, leaked details of his ethics probe were hitting the Washingtonpost.com website," and that "Drudge was quick to point fingers at the culprit for the leaks, featuring a picture of Rahm Emanuel with the headline “Slime” – which linked to the Post story." Never mind that Newsmax cites no evidence directly implicating Emanuel or anyone else.
Aaron Klein Obama Nominee Smear Fail Topic: WorldNetDaily
A March 8 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein bizarrely portrays as "controversial" Transportation Security Administration nominee Robert Harding's views on expanding ethnic diversity in intelligence agencies.
but as Media Matters points out, numerous officials have stressed the importance of cultural diversity in the intelligence community as vital to national security.
This is just one in the long line of dubious attacks on Obama nominees by Klein and WND.
Of NewsBusters and Naked Shower Fights Topic: NewsBusters
To hear NewsBusters tell it, there's not enough discussion of naked shower fights in the media.
A March 9 post by Tim Graham expressed disappointment that a Washington Post article on the controversies surrounding outgoing Rep. Eric Massa "downplayed the vivid claim that a naked [Rahm] Emanuel approached a naked Massa in the showers of the congressional gym and screamed at him for disloyalty."
Another post by Scott Whitlock expressed even more disappointment:
ABC's George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday showed little interest in grilling Robert Gibbs over serious allegations made by a Democratic Congressman. Talking to the White House press secretary, the Good Morning America host could only manage a single question: "[Representative Massa has] made very specific and pointed charges against Rahm Emanuel, Democratic leaders in the House. What's the White House response?"
And that was it. Stephanopoulos simply moved on to health care. He didn't ask about allegations that a naked Emanuel once approached Massa in the shower of the House gym and screamed at him.
On the Bottom Line blog on ABCNews.com, Stephanopoulos managed to completely skip any mention of Emanuel. If a chief of staff in a Republican White House was accused of having a naked shower confrontation, it seems safe to say that the GMA host would have more interest.
The headline of Whitlock's post: "George Stephanopoulos Goes Easy on Gibbs, Shows No Interest in Naked Shower Fight Between Emanuel and Massa."
We know there's something of a right-wing issue with closeted gays, but sheesh, guys, you're gonna have to hide it better than that.
WND Creates A Cover Controversy Topic: WorldNetDaily
A few weeks back, WorldNetDaily created something called WorldNetWeekly -- WND's usual content repackaged in magazine form. Not a real one, though; it's all on computer, delivered electronically. For this repurposing of free content, WND charges $6.99 an issue or $49.95 for an annual subscription.
When you need to sell subscriptions, what better way to drive sales than generate a controversy. That's exactly what WND has done.
The cover of the current issue of WorldNetWeekly is of a black-and-white portrait of President Obama that has been hit by a bright red tomato. Or, if you're not looking too closely, a bullet hole.
Lest you miss the intentionally provocative -- and sales-generating -- intent of the cover, one need go no further than WND's story on the controversy it created. It leads by gushing over how "provocative" and "eye-catching" WorldNetWeekly is and "just what a reading revolution it really is." It goes on to insist that the cover is merely "symbiotic satire" that "was lost on those who projected criminal intents onto the tomato," adding:
Featuring President Obama with a tomato splattered squarely on his nose, the image signifies not just a thorough booing of him and his policies but is positioned to liken him to common clown costuming. That latter point is reflected in the issue's headline, "Enough clowning: Americans rejecting 'greatest snow-job on Earth.'"
WND Financial Columnist Faces $1.5 Million SEC Sanction Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've already noted how WorldNetDaily financial columnist Porter Stansberry is prepared to flee the country. Now it appears that Stansberry is facing a $1.5 million sanction from the Securities & Exchange Commission.
Reefer Madness, The Column Topic: Accuracy in Media
Cliff Kincaid's March 7 Accuracy in Media column carries the headline, "Was the Pentagon Shooter an Obama-approved Pothead?" In it, Kincaid declares that Pentagon shooter John Patrick Bedell "was a psychotic pothead," and asserted that the answer to "the question of how he became criminally psychotic and a patsy for conspiracy theories" is "marijuana, which alters the ability of the mind to comprehend reality but which is depicted by most of the media as safe and harmless":
This connection--between pot and mental illness--is a matter of the medical record but is conveniently being ignored in the many stories about this young man's strange journey and tragic end.
The book, "Marijuana and Madness," cites studies and evidence from around the world, some of it going back 40 years, linking the use of marijuana--supposedly a "soft" drug--to mental illnesses, including schizophrenia and psychosis. One of the latest studies finds that "Marijuana use at a young age significantly increased the risk of psychosis in young adulthood..."
Has Kincaid been watching "Reefer Madness" on a constant loop? It seems so:
The public laughs at the old propaganda films such as "Reefer Madness," which depict marijuana smokers as crazed zombies. However, the Pentagon rampage was likely triggered by marijuana-induced psychosis. Bedell was not only a heavy marijuana user and had been busted for possession and growing the drug, but dedicated much of his life to glorifying the substance.
So, you may wonder, how exactly Kincaid has shoehorned President Obama into this little conspiracy. He clears that up:
The rampage at the Pentagon has also raised disturbing questions about the Obama Administration's policy of allowing "medical marijuana" dispensaries in such places as California, where Bedell was living, to operate free from fear of federal prosecution. President Obama and his Attorney General Eric Holder have been accused of encouraging marijuana use by refusing to use federal resources to prosecute "medical marijuana" users and the "dispensaries" which supply them with the illegal dope.
Actually, no, it doesn't raise "disturbing questions" about medical marijuana, since Bedell was not using medical marijuana. He also doesn't say who outside the Kincaid household is accusing Holder of "encouraging marijuana use" by not prosecuting medical marijuana dispensaries. As the Justice Department said last October, when the federal guidelines were issued, the feds have decided it's not a good use of their time to arrest people who use or provide medical marijuana in strict compliance with state laws.
Still, DOJ officials said, the government will still prosecute those who use medical marijuana as a cover for other illegal activity. The memo particularly warns that some suspects may hide old-fashioned drug dealing or other crimes behind a medical marijuana business. Kincaid doesn't mention that.
Kincaid also throws George Soros (of course) into the conspiracy, since "drug legalization has been mostly a left-wing cause."
Oops -- it appears to be time for Kincaid's regularly scheduled viewing of "Reefer Madness."
And what are Dr. O’s credentials? Medical experience? Zip. Economic expertise? Nada. Political experience? Precious little. Ever run a business? Nope. Brass and charm? Well, sure, he got elected president of the United States!
He reminds me of that guy Leo DiCaprio played in “Catch Me if You Can,” the great imposter Frank Abagnale, Jr. Tall, good looking, and, with gall of a burglar, he pretended to be an airline captain among a number of other preposterous things — even a surgeon! He faked his way through surgeries, with absolutely no knowledge or training, with a patient’s life literally in his hands.
He simply exuded confidence, and was so persuasive he even persuaded himself he could do things he had no qualifications for at all.
I’m terribly concerned we have that situation here, now, in this country. This Dr. O’s resume shows he has no experience at all that would prepare him for forcing such a drastic, completely unaffordable, unwanted, unreasonable dose down the national throat. We may end up having to gag and throw it up.
Much like the turpentine and castor oil Mama gave to me.
Farah Declares CPAC Dead (And His Own Convention Alive) Topic: WorldNetDaily
CPAC is dead to WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah -- and he spends his entire March 8 column explaining why.
Most of the reason is that CPAC wouldn't let Farah speak about President Obama's birth certificate, which he blames on conservative blogger Jon Henke, who raised the idea last year of getting conservatives to not advertise on WND because of its embrace of conspiracy theories (like birtherism). Farah even gives a shout-out to Media Matters, where we noted Henke's boycott idea:
It began when Republican blogger Jon Henke declared an ill-fated boycott of WND. I say ill-fated because WND had a banner year for revenues and traffic. That should tell you something about his level of influence in the world of politics and news. Henke did his best to get the Republican Party to withhold advertising from WND, never thinking, of course, to suggest the same to the Democrats, who outspent Republicans nationally and in WND in the election year 2008.
Nevertheless, Henke was rewarded with multiple appearances on MSNBC and became a darling of the George Soros-backed slime machine Media Matters as a result of his attack on WND.
His next step was calling CPAC to ensure that I would be banned from speaking there in 2010.
Meanwhile, Henke tells the Washington Independent's Dave Weigel that he appeared on MSNBC only once. Further, regarding Farah's claim about Democrats advertising at WND, it's misleading at best. What Farah has usually offered to back up this claim is contextual advertising through Google AdWords -- in which the ads that appear in the Google ad space are driven by the content of the page they appear on -- which is not the same as directly purchasing ad space from WND. (It's ironic that Farah would defend hosting Google-generated ads on WND, given that he devoted an entire chapter of his 2007 book "Stop the Presses!" to bashing Google as an "immoral" company that "may not be able to discern right from wrong.")
Farah goes on to trash CPAC director Lisa De Pasquale for blocking his birtherism, calling her an "arrogant, know-it-all wannabe" who exhibits "ill manners, unprofessionalism and condescension."
But being denied a forum to spread his birtherism is not the only reason Farah is shunning CPAC. He's also annoyed that CPAC "made the conscious decision to include in its sponsors for 2010 a group promoting same-sex marriage. How stupid is that?"
There's a third reason as well: WND is creating its own activism conference. The first Taking America Back National Convention (named after Farah's 2003 manifesto) gathers in September in Miami. The list of speakers is mostly the usual WND suspects -- Farah, Jerome Corsi, Alan Keyes -- as well as one CPAC holdover, WND columnist Tom Tancredo, whose CPAC appearance was notable for his insulting the intelligence of Obama voters and calling for a "civics literacy test" as a requirement for voting.
Farah makes clear how his shindig will be different from CPAC:
This one is about the ultimate issues of God, the Constitution, the tea-party uprising, freedom and justice.
There will be no two-headed monkeys.
There will be no same-sex marriage sponsors.
But there will be free and open discussion of issues like the constitutional eligibility of the man occupying the White House.
Of course, when you're paying for the venue, you can talk about any goofy thing you want.
CNS doesn't explain why it's focusing so heavily on bisexuality. You'd think it would be more accepting of it since opposite-sex attraction is part of the equation. Or does CNS find the whole idea of being sexually attracted to people of both sexes to cause its collective heads to explode?
WND Ignores Debunking of Purported Terrorist 'Dry Run' Topic: WorldNetDaily
Back in December, WorldNetDaily made a big deal out of a report of a purported hijacking "dry run" by Muslim terrorist on an AirTran plane, a story that spread by a "widely circulated e-mail." WND got a fewmorestories out of the claim, even after it became clear that the person who wrote the email, Tedd Petruna, wasn't even aboard the flight.
A couple weeks ago, Talking Points Memo obtained FAA documents on its investigation of the incident:
In the end there was no amateur porn viewing. There was no shout of "infidel dog!" There were no Muslim hijackers.
FAA documents obtained by TPMmuckraker through the Freedom of Information Act thoroughly debunk NASA diver Tedd Petruna's tale of a thwarted hijacking aboard AirTran Flight 297 in Atlanta last November.
What really happened on AirTran Flight 297 is this, according to the flight attendant reports that are included in the FAA investigation documents:
A man traveling with several others did not comply with flight attendant requests to put away a camera and stop taking pictures before takeoff. Other passengers complained about the "unruly" group of about four -- reportedly Muslim -- passengers. The plane was taxied back to the gate to let the man with the camera off, but the compatriots of the man complained when a flight attendant asked him to leave. Other passengers said they were uncomfortable and did not want to travel with the group.
A replacement crew of flight attendants was put on the plane and it later took off from Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport bound for Houston.
WND has yet to report on this release of documents that debunk its earlier reporting on the incident. Surprised? Don't be -- WND tends to offload or ignore reporting that conflicts with its own, even (or perhaps especially) if it proves WND wrong.
In the days of the old Pravda, one could determine who was winning secret Politburo power struggles by just looking at the official Soviet newspaper. Those winning simply got better press.
Perhaps it may be no different here in the United States.
This week two of the heaviest guns in American media, The Washington Post and The New York Times, unloaded their missiles at Obama adviser David Axelrod while heralding White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel as a centrist and pragmatist.
Newsmax has no evidence of any palace coup, of course -- the article's anonymous writer has merely let his imagination run wild (perhaps that's why he has chosen to remain anonymous). Nevertheless, the article concludes: "Kremlinologists can see the handwriting on the wall. Axelrod will soon be ousted or sidelined. Rahm emerges, and so does a more pragmatic and moderate Obama."
The funny thing is, Newsmax acts in a rather Soviet fashion as well. Misbehaving columnists such as John L. Perry and Bernard Kerik were disappeared from Newsmax without explanation to readers -- one day they were there, the next they were gone. Similarly, columns deemed offensive post-publication quietly vanish into the ether also without explanation.
In a March 4 MRC Culture & Media Institute item on the legalization of gay marriage in the District of Columbia, Knoploh delcares that Washington Post reporters "cheered that the 'fight' for gay marriage had won in the district" and were "giddy" about it."
How does Knoploh know the reporters were "giddy" and "cheer[ing]"? She doesn't, of course -- as before, she's merely imparting motives she cannot possibly know to people she has in all likelihood never met. In her mind, all reporters are biased, and if they don't work for a right-wing outlet like CMI sister organization CNSNews.com, they are hopelessly liberal, and all liberal reporters inject their stories with liberal bias. That's just axiomatic in MRC-land.
Knoploh appears to be so invested in this mindset that she doesn't see her own bias, which causes her to impute motives she cannot possibly know. Such failures of logic may not fly at most places of employment, but they are embraced at the MRC.
No (Whale) Justice, No (Human) Peace Topic: WorldNetDaily
or centuries, Western civilization has prided itself in being founded on the Judeo-Christian traditions of intellectual thought. But then came the advent of a Darwinian worldview in the 1860s, which removed mankind from his lofty perch of special creation by God and placed humanity equal to (or beneath) animals, and the ascendancy of the progressive movement in the 1890s that intellectualized and codified Darwinian thinking into public policy, culture, medicine, education, law, politics and economics.
Humanists and social egalitarians of today contend that people are no higher or better than animals.
Now, because of perverse ideas of egalitarianism, modern society is reluctant to kill Tilikum, the killer whale who willfully killed three people on three different occasions, but instead we rationalize that it wasn't the whale's fault. SeaWorld, therefore, felt emboldened to conduct a big press conference with a back drop of the offending killer whale swimming carefree in his tank, while the body of the murdered Dawn Brancheau lies six feet underground in a cold, dark grave in Chicago, Ill.
America, is this justice? Have we not lost our way, our humanity and our moral virtue when a serial-murderer killer whale acting according to its name and nature can frolic in his holding tank in front of millions of people all over the world and not be killed for his multiple murderous acts? This makes no sense to me on any level.