March 19 was a busy day for Newsmax managing editor David Patten -- he penned no fewer than four articles promoting opposition to health care reform.
First, he wrote that the outcome over reform "remains very much in doubt," with a focus on who which members of Congress were or were not voting for it. Then, Patten promoted the tea party movement's anti-reform rally, calling it "one last push to stop the Obamacare freight train."
This was followed by an article in which Patten allowed Stupak to uncritically claim that the Senate bill contains "pro-abortion language" and violates "the longstanding agreement that taxpayer dollars should not defray the cost of abortions." While Patten portrayed Stupak as responding the an Associated Press fact-check pointing out that the Senate bill does not fund abortion, Pattenmade no apparent attempt to contact anyone to rebut Stupak's claims (which have been repeatedlydebunked).
Finally, Patten uncritically repeats Dick Morris' attacks on reform, failing to disclose that Morris is among the Newsmax writer triumverate working for the anti-Obama League of American Voters stop the bill.Which means Morris' unsupported claims get uncritically repeated as well.
In complaining about "backroom deals" to get the bill passed -- a procedure that, for better or worse, happens with pretty much every piece of major legislation in which the vote is close -- Morris asserts that "There were two congressmen from California who got a multi-, multi-million dollar water project for their district." What Morris appears to be referring to is a report that California's Central Valley, which happens to be reprsented by two Democratic congressmen who were allegedly wavering on health care reform. In fact, allegations of a quid pro quo are baseless -- the water allocation was increased because more winter precipitation broke a drought and filled area reservoirs.
The only thing Patten seems to be managing here is right-wing spin.
WND Defends Hannity From Schlussel Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily was quick to run to the defense of Sean Hannity, using a march 19 article to feature a rebuttal of charges by right-wing blogger Debbie Schlussel that Freedom Alliance, a group founded by Oliver North for which Hannity has organized "freedom concert" benefits, is spending little of its revenue on the scholarships it is supposed to fund, with much of the money raised going to expenses such as transportation for Hannity.
What WND doesn't want to talk about, however, is its tangled relationship with Schlussel.
As we've detailed, Schlussel used to be a columnist for WND for a year in the early 2000s, during which time she engaged in some bizarreaccusations. This may be the only documented case in which a columnist has proven to be too crazy for WND to publish.
Schlussel has also been critical of WND in general and Aaron Klein in particular, to the point that WND editor Joseph Farah was moved to respond to "an Internet pundit out there in the blogosphere whose name I will not utter" -- Schlussel. Of course, Farah's defense of Klein contained more than a few misleading claims. The ironic thing is, Klein has lifted at least one story idea from Schlussel.
Given WND's long history of non-disclosure of its interests in subjects it writes about, it's not surprising that it wouldn't tell readers about its relationship with Schlussel. And given WND's long reluctance to identify conservatives as conservatives, it's also not surprising that it wouldn't give Schlussel a political label, which is one reason the story has gotten as much traction as it has. Unethical and lazy, perhaps, but not surprising.
Meanwhile ... Topic: The ConWeb
We wrote this week's Media Matters weekly roundup, with a focus on how Fox News have their noise-machine amps cranked to 11 in fighting health care reform. Yes, Spinal Tap references abound.
Newsmax Still Publishing Geller's Pathological Anti-Obama Screeds Topic: Newsmax
Pamela Geller's column may have returned to Newsmax after a brief, unexplainedhiatus, but Newsmax is making no effort to promote it -- they're not getting linked to from the Newsmax front page upon posting, as other columnists do.
Thus, we almost missed Geller's March 17 column, which is yet another anti-Obama screed. This time, it's over the Obama administration's criticism of Israel's announced plan to build more settlements in a disputed area of East Jerusalem. Geller declared that "America is profoundly pro-Israel; yet Barack Obama is taking on our best friend and most strategic ally in the Middle East and creating an environment, a free zone, for rampant anti-Semitism." In case the smear wasn't clear, she added, "Obama has worked hard to make the world a safe place for Jew-haters to run amok."
Meanwhile, on her own website, Geller declared that Obama "holds a pen like an illiterate. Have you seen it? Like a little kid who just learned how to write and he signs a scribble. He makes an O instead of an X. Just sayin."
Geller's hatred of Obama appears to be nothing short of pathological. Yet Newsmax continues to provide space for her screeds. Why?
Smithsonian Exhibit Not Right-Wing Enough for CNS' Starr Topic: CNSNews.com
Penny Starr builds an entire March 18 CNSNews.com article around the complaint that a new Smithsonian exhibit called "What Does it Mean to Be Human?" -- which examines human origins -- lacks "references to God, creationism, or pre-natal existence." Even worse, in Starr's eyes, the exhibit "says fossils 'provide evidence that modern humans evolved from earlier humans.'"
Starr went on to question the exhibit curator about "why the exhibit does not include any reference to God or address the debate – even in scientific circles – about Darwinian evolution," and why "why an exhibit on human origins does not include any references to human beings as they develop from conception to birth in the womb."
By contrast, when Starr wrote last October about a new documentary created by the right-wing activist group Citizens United "using in the founders’ own words to describe how God played a role in America becoming a nation of religious liberty and tolerance," she merely noted that the film "is not a commentary on the Founding Fathers’ theology or lack thereof" but did not pepper narrator Newt Gingrich or producer David Bossie on why the film avoided addressing secularism among the Founding Fathers. Instead, she uncritically quoted Bossie as asserting that the film provides "an accurate reflection of history" and Gingrich's claim that "It’s a story, which is in many ways, profoundly different than the secular version that is now authorized in the government schools."
UPDATE: Right Wing Watch adds: "What's next, a CNS article complaining that nowhere does the museum mention the fact that the world is only six thousand years old?"
The good news is that all hell is breaking loose around the media-perpetrated lie known as "Barack Hussein Obama": Appointees who are communists, who look to Mao for inspiration and who want to sterilize people against their will; so-called stimulus bills that succeed only in stimulating unemployment; terrorists being Mirandized and afforded the same rights as U.S. citizens; an in-your-face determination to foist some form of government-controlled health care and cap-and-trade legislation on the American people against their will ... the list is endless.
I'm not a conspiracy type guy, but I do know that far-left radicals have made it clear since at least the days of Vladimir Lenin that anything - including, and especially, lying - is justified in the pursuit of ends they deem to be desirable - which is why I keep warning readers to be on the lookout for an event that would justify a phony state of emergency.
There's no way to predict what that event might be, because the possibilities are endless. Remember, the government used a hurricane -- Katrina -- to justify taking guns away from law-abiding citizens. What in the name of hell does a hurricane have to do with a law-abiding citizen owning a gun, other than the fact that his need to protect himself and his family is greater if thugs are roaming the streets, looting and pillaging?
The Katrina excuse was phony, as will be the excuse for a national state of emergency, should it become a reality. For example, if Iran nukes Israel, and Israel nukes Iran in return, that could easily be used as a justification for declaring a state of emergency in the U.S. and suspending the 2010 elections.
It would, of course, be a totally unjustifiable excuse, but Der Fuhrbama and his fascists cohorts would not hesitate to use it - as always, accompanied by an endless stream of lies - to avoid becoming the minority in the House and Senate.
Numerous e-mails from WorldNetDaily.com readers make it clear that I am not the only one who is concerned about a state of emergency being declared. I am becoming more and more convinced that another civil war is on the horizon for the United States of America. It's time for those who believe in freedom to come to grips with the reality that the divide between liberty and tyranny is irreconcilable.
The good guys have the numbers (around 70-30), but the bad guys have the military - which means that our freedom may boil down to whether or not the military will move against American citizens when ordered to do so or turn on their socialist commander in chief.
So it begins. In 2009, for the first time in its history, the people of the United States placed the White House in the hands of a man and a political faction that openly reject the premises of constitutional self-government. Obama made a show of taking the oath of office twice. Had he taken it a thousand times, it would never have been anything but a cynical deception. As thoroughly indoctrinated disciples of Marxist historicism, Obama and his fellow travelers could never see the Constitution as anything but a façade for capitalist domination. Inevitably, it must be swept aside as the lead wave of history's triumphant vanguard dissolves the chains of capitalist imperialism to usher in the historic dictatorship that will make and enforce the only law that matters, the so-called "judgment" of history.
I pity those who now react with shock and dismay to the events unfolding in the U.S. Congress that make clear to all the Obama faction's relentless commitment to overthrowing the U.S. Constitution. To be sure, other elements of the American elite have seen the Constitution as nothing more than a Machiavellian ploy to mollify and delude people so that they can be more peaceably exploited. But even the Machiavellians are taken aback by the brutal and unsophisticated frankness with which the Obama faction has now avowed its intention to eviscerate the scheme of representation that is the conceptual heart of the constitutional republic. The ruling families of the ancient Roman Senate thought to use the first Caesars the way they were accustomed to use ambitious men before them – as the serviceable hounds of their class ambition. Like them, the Machiavellian princelings of our day begin to feel the bite of truth: Their "hounds" are wolves and they themselves the prey.
Obama, Pelosi, and Reid can see opportunity in chaos, just like Hitler, Napoleon and Lenin did. Yet our chaos has not become chaotic enough for the people to bend their wills to this leader. So chaos must be produced by their overspending. This administration will spend until the financial status becomes so chaotic that the people raise their hands and cry, "Do what you will! Save us, Messiah!"
Sun-Tzu's tactic of chaos still speaks from his grave. If you can put a people into enough panic and enough frenzy, they will give you the reins. This is what our leadership is bankning on right now. Yet, we must remember that they are counting on us to cave, to retreat, and not to call upon Congress to oppose this bill.
The New World Order includes the Obama Census Bureau with its many community organizers who twist arms and violate constitutional rights in a desire to acquire information – for our benefit, of course.
While the president and his minions think they can trample the U.S. Constitution and assume powers given to Congress, we need to use the constitutional law as our shield from a growing abusive power known as the Obamanation. If I'm going to be counted, I want to be known as one of the defenders of freedom, not a pawn of oppression. Power is derived from the people unless we submit to tyranny. Like my ancestors, I say, "Don't tread on me."
Shocker: WND Identifies Conservatives As Conservatives Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily hasalonghistory of refusing to identify conservatives as conservatives (even though liberals are almost always labeled as such).
So it's surprising to see a March 17 WND article by Joe Kovacs, which specifically identifies those who claim that "America's system of government based on the U.S. Constitution is being overthrown through illegal legislative 'trickery' Congress is using to pass controversial health-care reform" identified as "on the political right."
Bravo, Joe! Keep up the good work. Too bad it seems to be an aberration.
Unfortunately, Kovacs' co-workers don't understand this simple concept of proper identification. A March 19 WND article by Chelsea Schilling states that "several high-profile groups are calling on millions of Americans to slam Congress with phone calls, e-mails and faxes demanding that lawmakers vote "no" on the health-care bill" without ever identifying those groups -- Liberty Counsel and the American Family Association among them -- as conservative.
MRC Mum on Death of 'Filegate' Topic: Media Research Center
Last week, a U.S. district judge dismissed what had become known as "Filegate" -- allegations that the Clinton administration deliberately used the FBI to gather information for political reasons, illegally obtaining hundreds of files on people. The Washington Post reported:
But Tuesday, U.S. District Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth tossed the case. "After years of litigation, endless depositions, the fictionalized portrayal of this lawsuit and its litigants on television," Lamberth concluded in a 28-page opinion, "this court is left to conclude that with the lawsuit, to quote Gertrude Stein, 'there's no there there.' "
The plaintiffs, he wrote, "after ample opportunity . . . have not produced any evidence of the far-reaching conspiracy that sought to use intimate details from FBI files for political assassinations that they alleged.
"The only thing that they have demonstrated is that this unfortunate episode -- about which they do have cause to complain -- was exactly what the defendants claimed: nothing more than a bureaucratic snafu."
Curiously, the Media Research Center has been completely silent about this development -- it hasn't even been mentioned at NewsBusters. Why is it so curious? Because the MRC was a dutiful Clinton-hater and pushed Filegate for years. As Joe Conason points out, MRC chief Brent Bozell was ranting as late as 2007 that Hillary Clinton was "behind" the supposed obtaining of confidential FBI files, which flies in the face of reality, as defined by independent counsel Robert Ray, who determined "there was no substantial and credible evidence that any senior White House official, or First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, was involved in seeking confidential Federal Bureau of Investigation background reports of former White House staff from the administrations of President Bush and President Reagan."
You'd think that Bozell would either be apologizing for his baseless Clinton-hate or ranting that Hillary Clinton was still the villain and 14 years wasn't enough time to examine all the evidence.
Instead, crickets. Perhaps we can interpret that as the closest he'll get to an actual apology.
Newsmax Pushes Obama Smear, Ignores Rest of Story Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax touted a March 17 Jerusalem Post article quoting Hagi Ben-Artzi, the brother-in-law of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu smearing Barack Obama as an "anti-Semitic president." But Newsmax couldn't be bothered to tell readers the rest of the story.
As the Politico reported, Ben-Artzi later appeared on an Israeli TV show, where he was greeted with archival footage bashing Netanyahu himself as a small-time, weak and petty politician.
Seems like Ben-Artzi is the Billy Carter of Israel. But Newsmax doesn't think you need to know that.
Erik Rush Derangement Syndrome Topic: WorldNetDaily
The desperation and mistrust currently observable amongst congressional Democrats would be pathetic if they did not actually wield substantial power. Like mindless creatures in a cult film featuring flesh-eating zombies, they are devouring their own, ritually sacrificing, extorting, bribing and bullying one another to pass the Senate health-care reform proposal, affectionately known as Obamacare.
Few Americans really understand that a bloodless coup is essentially taking place in Washington via these actions, nor how important this is to such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Obama. Socialized medicine, this Foundation Stone of collectivism, is one they perceive will cement their power for all time.
While this is not entirely off the mark, its actualization is also far from guaranteed. The turmoil within their party - as opposed to the Republican opposition of which they have complained - still threatens to torpedo the legislation. Having passed, it is also eminently questionable as to whether it could survive the multitude of legal challenges that would be sure to arise.
The obsessive mania they are exhibiting is something I have seen before in drug addicts, every fiber of their being focused on obtaining the next fix.
Kessler Renews His Man-Crush on Romney Topic: Newsmax
We've previously detailed Ronald Kessler's man-crush on Mitt Romney (and a really creepy crush on Romney's wife), and how Kessler had to make the painful transition from McCain-basher to McCain fluffer after Romney lost the Republican presidential nomination.
Well, Romney has a new book out, and Kessler's man-crush is flaring anew.
In his March 17 Newsmax column, Kessler gives themost positive review possible of Romneys book, claiming that it's "hardly surprising" that it's debuting at the top of the New York Times best-seller list because "Polls consistently rate Romney the No. 1 choice among Republicans as a presidential candidate," adding that "the book’s popularity also comes from its quality and depth."
Kessler's slobbering continues:
Romney spares us the expected how-I-grew-up chapters. Instead, he weaves in anecdotes from his youth when they are relevant to a point he is making. In contrast to his restrained remarks during his presidential campaign, he takes on President Obama, launching stinging criticism of his domestic and foreign policies.
Two qualities make the book stand out: First, because of Romney’s background as one of the country’s most successful businessmen, the former Massachusetts governor injects real-life examples from his own experience of how free-market principles work and can be applied to bolster the U.S. economy and improve the way government works.
Second, Romney brings a candid, thoughtful approach to many of the most sensitive issues.
After several long excerpts from the book, Kessler concludes: "In contrast to Obama, who constantly knocks America, Romney sees only greatness in this country. That refreshing outlook alone is worth the price of the book."
Kessler found a way to throw some of his trademark Obama-bashing into his Romney-fluffing. He must be in nirvana.
CNS Misrepresents Survey of Doctors Topic: CNSNews.com
A March 16 CNSNews.com article by Christopher Neefus reported: "Nearly one-third of all practicing physicians may leave the medical profession if President Obama signs current versions of health-care reform legislation into law, according to a survey published in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine."
Except it wasn't. The survey actually appeared in "Recruiting Physicians Today," an employment newsletter produced by Massachusetts Medical Society, "the publishers of the New England Journal of Medicine," as well as on the NEJM's "CareerCenter" website. The NEJM has since told Media Matters that the survey had "nothing to do with the New England Journal of Medicine's original research."
Neefus also failed to disclose the method the survey was conducted -- an opt-in email survey. That makes the survey is far less than scientifically valid, something Neefus gives no indication of in his article.
Not Again! Another False Smear of Wallis by WND's Klein Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've already noted how WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein made false and misleading claims in order to smear Jim Wallis. Well, it turns out Klein also falsely claimed that Wallis "labeled the U.S. 'the great captor and destroyer of human life.' " Media Matters has more.
The ConWeb Runs to Fox News' Defense Topic: Media Research Center
The ConWeb has long defended the existence of Fox News, despite its clear bias. When former New York Times editor Howell Raines penned an op-ed for the Washington Post criticizing his fellow journalists for allowing Fox News to "legitimize a style of journalism that is dishonest in its intellectual process, untrustworthy in its conclusions and biased in its gestalt," it was time for another rush to the ramparts.
Newsmax's Ronald Kessler responded not only by noting that "Raines is the same editor who presided over the Jayson Blair scandal," he resorted to his usualdefense of the network:
In contrast, Fox News practices journalism the way The New York Times practiced it decades ago, when it was the pinnacle of the profession. Aside from opinion shows, Fox News has a rule that, on any controversial issue, guests from opposing sides must appear.
Ailes keeps track of the statistics religiously to make sure the rule is enforced. What could be more fair and balanced than that?
Kessler has never provided an example of how this purported policy works in practice -- perhaps because it doesn't.
Kessler was followed by Brent Bozell, who devoted his March 17 column to bashing Raines, headlined "A Fraud Fights Fox News." Unmentioned by Bozell: His Media Research Center perpetrated a fraud against Raines, spending nine years insisting that a statement that Raines wrote in his memoir that Ronald Reagan "Reagan couldn't tie his shoelaces if his life depended on it" was an insult of Reagan's intelligence. In fact, Raines was writing about fly-fishing. Even after being called out on its lie, the MRC couldn't do a simple retraction; instead, it added a "clarification" to previous articles containing the quote with the note that "we regret the confusion."
Lying about Jim Wallis is not the only bit of misleading reporting WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein has served up this week. A March 14 article hides behind anonymous sources to claim that "a member of the U.S. government" met with activists who are trying to establish a Jewish Temple on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, where an Islamic mosque currently is. "The organizer talked on condition of anonymity and also on condition that WND kept confidential the name of the U.S. official who met with the Temple event planners," Klein writes.
As Richard Bartholomew points out, Klein provides a selective history of the Temple Mount "picked and chosen for the benefit of his American Christian Zionist target readership" and designed to prove that Muslims don't consider the site holy. Klein not only ignores "long-standing Muslim practice" toward the site, Bartholomew writes, he ignores "he full range of Jewish views on the Temple," which includes the fact that the Chief Rabbinate has posted a sign close to the site, in Hebrew and English, warning that "According to the Torah it is forbidden for any person to enter the area of the Temple Mount due to its sacredness." That conflicts with intentions of the far-right activists Klein so fawningly portrays to stage an ascent to the Temple Mount.