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Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Newsmax Ignores Full Story on Day of Prayer Controversy
Topic: Newsmax

An April 26 Newsmax article by David Patten is a retelling of the controversy over Rev. Franklin Graham being removed from the Pentagon's observance of the National Day of Prayer that's heavy on criticism of the decision, nearly bereft of supporters of it, and completely silent on the real issue.

Patten makes a big deal out of the National Day of Prayer Task Force apparently also be excluded from the even (according to a"well-placed source at the National Day of Prayer task force"), but he doesn't explain why that might be.

The National Day of Prayer Task Force is not the ecumenical group Patten suggests is; according to Wikipedia, the task force is based at Focus on the Family headquarters in Colorado Springs, and Focus on the Family founder James Dobson's wife, Shirley Dobson, is its chairwoman. John Bornschein, the group's executive director, is also affiliated with Focus on the Family. A co-chairman is Vonette Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. Franklin Graham is an honorary chairman.

Those groups are all hardline evangelical Christian groups. While the vast majority of Americans call themselves Christian, evangelical Christians make up as little as 7 percent of or as much as one-quarter of total Christians, defending on how you define it. Unsurprisingly, the National Day of Prayer has been criticized for not only excluding non-Christians but also non-evangelical Christians. Indeed, NDP volunteer coordinators are required to indicate whether their lives reflect a belief statement that begins: "I believe that the Holy Bible is the inerrant Word of The Living God. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the only One by which I can obtain salvation and have an ongoing relationship with God."

The task force's list of "Vision and Values" begins with a goal to "Foster unity within the Christian Church." That arguably has no place in government-observed days of prayer.

Mere attacks on Islam by Graham would seem to not be the only issue -- there's also the question of the evangelical litmus test the NDP task force imposes on its supporters, which would seem to run counter to a day of prayer that's supposed to be inclusive of all religions.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:52 AM EDT
CNS Embraces Celebrity Blather (When They're Conservative)
Topic: CNSNews.com

It was a little over a year ago that CNSNews.com published a column by Ben Shapiro trashing the denizens of Hollywood as "empty-headed line-readers" and "simpleminded Hollywoodites indulging their egos."

But those were liberal Hollywoodites Shapiro was trashing. When the celebrities are conservative, however, CNS is all too eager to indulge their egos.

Which is apparently why CNS devoted not one but two articles in the same day to the deep thoughts of actress Janine Turner. In one, CNS asked her the pressing issue of "the environment in Hollywood for conservative actors and actresses such as yourself"; in the other, Turner opines on health care reform. CNS' Edwin Mora, author of both articles, offers no evidence of Turner's qualifications to speak authoritatively on the issue.

These were preceded by an article by Penny Starr quoting screenwriter Andrew Klavan complaining that conservatives in Hollywood "have to meet in secret. They talk in whispers. It’s a very disturbing kind of culture." Two months ago, Starr uncritically quoted Klavan trashing the movie "Avatar" as "anti-American and anti-military." She made no mention of the possibility of professional jealousy on Klavan's part.

CNS, it seems, is willing to put up with "empty-headed line-readers" after all -- but only if they're reading the lines it wants to hear.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:18 AM EDT
Newsmax: Bean Swastika = 'Domestic Terrorism'
Topic: Newsmax

The following teaser headline (at botom) appeared on the Newsmax front page on April 27:

That's strange, because the words "domestic terrorism" appear nowhere in the AP article that Newsmax headline links to noting the "refried beans in the shape of swastikas on the state Capitol's windows" in a protest against a hardline anti-illegal immigration law in Arizona -- heck, even the headline at the top of the article doesn't mention it.

It's also strange because the last time Newsmax referenced swastikas, it was criticizing Nancy Pelosi for mentioning that they were anti-health care reform protesters at congressional town hall meetings.

An Aug. 6 article by Dave Eberhart huffed that Pelosi "alleged this week that some of the hecklers at the pro-Obamacare town hall meetings around the country with carrying swastikas." And an Aug. 7 article complained that "The mainstream media were quick to jump all over conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh when he likened President Barack Obama's healthcare logo to a swastika and compared the Democrats to the Nazi" but "were much quieter about Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's reference to a swastika when she claimed that hecklers at a pro-Obamacare town hall meeting were carrying swastikas." Though Newsmax was loath to admit it, Pelosi's allegation was absolutely true.

Newsmax didn't call those protesters "domestic terrorists," however.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:02 AM EDT
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Dick Morris Shills for Newsmax's Financial Schemes
Topic: Newsmax

Over the past year, Dick Morris has repeatedly used anti-Obama rhetoric and stoked fears about the economy on Fox News, in his latest book, and in videos for Newsmax that are used to promote the financial-services products it sells.

The second part of yesterday's article focusing on Newsmax, Media Matters has more.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:52 PM EDT
WND Falsely Portrays Right-Wing Think Tank As 'Independent'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An April 26 WorldNetDaily article by Drew Zahn summarizes a report by Canada's Fraser Institute claiming that the average patient in "Canada's socialized medical system" spends "over 16 weeks ... waiting for health-care treatment." Zahn quotes only from the report and makes no apparent attempt to contact any Canadian health officials for a response -- a violation of journalistic ethics we've sadly come to expect from WND.

Zahn also describes the Fraser Institute as "independent," apparently merely repeating the institute's self-description. In fact, the institute is clearly right-leaning; it has accepted thousands of dollars from right-wing foundations, and it has also accepted funding from tobacco and oil companies (unsurprisingly, it's a provider of research for global warming deniers).

In other words, it's no more "independent" than WND itself claims to be.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:59 PM EDT
All Hail Chairman David!
Topic: Horowitz

NewsReal may appear to be just another forum, but it's really just another tool in the aggrandization of David Horowitz.

First, there's the actual name of the blog in the nameplate: David Horowitz's NewsReal Blog. Since it's run by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, that's perhaps understandable. 

Then there's the Litle Red Book-esque "From the Writings of David Horowitz" category at NewsReal, which hands out daily nuggets of Mao-like wisdom from Horowitz, complete with the ever-more-Lenin-like visage of Fearless Leader. These readings from the master are punctuated with actual blog posts from the man himself.

Things occasionally fall into the surreal. Blog posts like "David Horowitz Reveals What’s on His Kindle" and  "David Horowitz’s Ultra-Popular 'Alinsky, Beck, Satan, and Me' Series" sound like they're from a wonky right-wing version of Tiger Beat instead of a supposedly serious blog about serious issues.

On top of all this, NewsReal's managing editor, David Swindle, says he's writing a book about "the ideas of David Horowitz." Gee, you think that's how he got the job?

It almost seems as if the Horowitz organizaiton is more a cult of personality than a political machine.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:58 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 27, 2010 9:58 AM EDT
WND Columnist Scaremongers on School 'Indoctrination'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Patrice Lewis tosses out various headlines in her April 24 WorldNetDaily column to prove her point that "the liberal education machine is obsessed with sex – and make no mistake, liberals as a whole are obsessed with sex." This kind of thing didn't happen in Laura Ingall Wilder's time, she adds. Unfortunately, Lewis is making the mistake of relying on WND for her news.

For example, Lewis links to a February WND article by Bob Unruh attacking Kevin Jennings for his alleged "homo-genda" for public schools. But Unruh is lying when he claims that a proposed law would grant Jennings "almost unlimited authority to mandate indoctrination in public schools at taxpayer expense." In fact, the bill is intended to reduce discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in public schools, and it does not "mandate indoctrination" or give Jennings -- or anyone else -- "almost unlimited authority."

Another WND article Lewis cites is a one-sided piece by Chelsea Schilling uncritically Mathew Staver of the right-wing Liberty Counsel making unsubstantiated claims that Texas schools plan "to omit references to Daniel Boone, Gen. George Patton, Nathan Hale, Columbus Day and Christmas" in school textbooks. Schilling made no apparent effort to talk to any Texas school official for their response to Staver's unsubstantiated accusations.

Lewis is particularly outraged by an article with the headline "Bill would require sex education starting in kindergarten," later huffing that "we now have sex education in kindergarten. Can you imagine this happening during Laura's time?" This goes to an non-WND article about a proposal in Iowa to require "age-appropriate" sex education starting in kindergarten, which highlights right-wing opposition to the bill. The article also fails explain what "age-appropriate" sex education for kindergarteners would be, thus allowing people like Lewis to fearmonger. As Rev. Debra Haffner points out:

Sex education in the early primary years sets a foundation for later, more in-depth education. It provides lessons on family roles, taking good care of your body and the correct names of body parts. It helps children feel good about their bodies, their gender and their families. To protect them against sexual abuse, it teaches children "no, go, tell" -- say no, get away, and tell an adult you trust what happened. It promotes parent/child communication around these issues.

A primary school curriculum does not teach five- and six-year-olds about sexual behaviors, contraceptive methods, or indeed anything at all about what most people think of as "sex." To suggest otherwise is a gross political distortion.

That, of course, is precisely what Lewis is suggesting.

Nevertheless, Lewis uses these misleading and even false examples as evidence that public schools indoctrinate their students with "radical left-wing garbage" with the result that "by the age of 15 are slouching around, dressing like sluts, talking like sailors and having sex." She concludes: "Homeschool your kids, folks. It's the only way to save them."

If this is the kind of "education" Lewis is giving to her children, she's even more guilty of indoctrination than the public schools are.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:09 AM EDT
Monday, April 26, 2010
Kincaid: If You Don't Hate Gays, You Aren't Conservative
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Over the past week, Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid has been on another anti-gay tear. Not about the proposed anti-gay law in Uganda -- Kincaid curiously stopped writing about that after we demonstrated his claim that the bill as it currently stands does not allow for the death penalty for mere homosexuality to be utterly false -- but in using hatred for gays as a litmus test for how conservative one's political movement is.

In his April 21 column, Kincaid criticized libertarianism again, this time with a focus on the conservative Hot Air blog, which he says has been "promoting homosexuality and dope smoking."He offers little evidence of this, but was particularly offended that Hot Air blogger Ed Morrissey "was quoted as saying that Republicans should 'get over their issues with homosexuality.'" (Kincaid, of course, is practically defined by his issues with homosexuality.) Kincaid then complains that libertarianism's social polices are "compatible with the 'progressivism' that people like Glenn Beck rightly abhor."

this was followed by an April 23 column in which he whined that the British Conservative Party is not conservative enough for it: "But this party is on the left, in terms of many domestic, social, and foreign policy issues, and is not 'conservative' in any traditional sense. It offers voters very little alternative to the competing leftist parties." But that's not all; he adds, "it has moved far to the left in order to attract votes from the sexually different." He continues:

A story on the British Conservative Party website, "Conservatives Champion Gay Equality," says, "Under the leadership of David Cameron, the British Conservative Party has gone further in supporting gay equality than other centre-right parties in similar countries and the Party is now taking the case for greater equality to America, in particular highlighting the benefits of civil partnerships. [Nick] Herbert discussed the issue on the [British] Today programme, and is due to give a speech at the Cato Institute in Washington D.C. on the theme."

Herbert, who is openly homosexual, is the Conservative Party Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. He "married" his boyfriend last year.

Herbert said in the speech at Cato, a major libertarian think tank in the U.S., that "I'm especially honored to be sharing a platform with one of Britain's most valuable exports, Andrew Sullivan."

Keep in mind that Andrew Sullivan, who is HIV-positive, was caught soliciting so-called "bare-backing sex"-unprotected anal intercourse-with other homosexuals. This revelation, however, hasn't hurt his marketability on the liberal talk show circuit, especially the Chris Matthews show. Sullivan, who sometimes calls himself a "gay conservative," has since "married" another man.

At Cato, Herbert said he looked forward to the day when "the Prime Minister of the UK or the President of the United States could just as easily be gay as black."

He declared that homosexuality "isn't a condition to be cured and it can't be willed away through prayer." In fact, however, homosexuality can be cured or changed through secular therapy, ministries, and other methods. That is why the group, Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, exists. 

Kincaid goes on to drop a reference to "Obama's 'safe schools' czar Kevin Jennings, who promoted homosexuality in schools before getting his administration job" and complain that "Cameron is so desperate for gay votes that he gave an interview to a British publication known as Gay Times, which advertises 'gay escorts' and 'the hottest hardest online gay movies.'"

Given that merely not wanting gays to be executed is a "pro-gay" position to Kincaid,  using him as a gauge of conservatism is probably not the best idea.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:51 PM EDT
At Newsmax, Hyperinflation for Sale
Topic: Newsmax

Since President Obama's inauguration, Newsmax has repeatedly used inflammatory anti-Obama rhetoric and stoked  readers' fears of hyperinflation and economic collapse to drive sales of the financial-services products it offers, including newsletters and investment programs.

We have more at Media Matters.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:41 PM EDT
Blumer Blames Obama for Job Losses Before He Was Elected
Topic: NewsBusters

After spending an April 25 NewsBusters post quibbling over an Associated Press article that portrayed 400,000 job losses in 2008 as coming from U.S. automakers -- turns out they came from the entire automotive industry, not just manufacturing, as he concedes President Obama correctly noted -- Tom Blumer then writes:

What the president didn't tell his audience is that well over 75% of those job losses occurred during the final six months of 2008, after the prospect of his election, full Democratic control of the legislative and executive branches of the federal government, and promised tax hikes, energy starvation, and statist heath care became all too real.

Huh? The auto industry spontaneously shed jobs because they thought Obama was going to be elected? This is like pre-emptive correlation-equals-causation logic, which has to be even more fallacious than regular correlation-equals-causation.

This is just another reason why Blumer is one of the more clueless bloggers NewsBusters has.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:46 AM EDT
Joseph Farah's Sin Footprint
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah's April 24 WorldNetDaily column is all about how we shouldn't worry about our carbon footprints -- global warming is "one of the biggest hoaxes in the history of the world," after all. Instead, he writes:

Your "carbon footprint" means nothing to God.

It's your sin footprint that counts.

Are you leaving behind a sin footprint? That's what I would concern myself with.

The Bible tells us that sin is the problem in the world. It's going to get worse before it gets better. You can see it already throughout the world. Don't concern yourself with the superstitions of men – things like "carbon footprints." Concern yourself with the priorities of your Creator – things like your sin footprint.

Farah doesn't mention what his own "sin footprint" is. But given that he uses his website for spreading falsehoods and unbridled hate about Barack Obama, it's clearly a very large one.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:41 AM EDT
Sunday, April 25, 2010
FDR Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933-45) masterly exploited the national angst when the stock market collapsed in October 1929, which precipitated the Great Depression. FDR easily defeated then-President Herbert Hoover, a progressive Republican, and used existential tragedies as a pretext to make himself into a transformative president like Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln and his cousin, Theodore Roosevelt. FDR's New Deal sought to deconstruct America from a moral-based republic grounded on biblical precepts of Natural Law into a European-style socialist welfare state based on envy, corruption, crony capitalism, racialism and what Leon Trotsky called "perpetual revolution."

Before FDR, the church and moral-based charitable organizations had helped the poor through voluntary Christian charity without state initiation or state control. FDR lusted after power above all else and took his cue from Chief Justice John Marshall's aphorism: "The power to tax is the power to destroy." Sensing a national mandate, FDR created a veritable alphabet soup of unprecedented entitlement programs and new bureaucracies designed to annihilate American exceptionalism and keep the Democrats in power into perpetuity.

[...]

FDR beguiled us all and turned legalized thievery into art form under the Marxist guise of "redistribution of wealth," fair-share egalitarianism and social justice. Under the National Socialism of Hitler's Nazis, which existed concurrently with the administration of FDR, people would fondly remember: "At least he [Hitler] made the trains run on time" (a phrase also applied to Italy's Mussolini). Likewise, decades after FDR's New Deal, people would fondly recall, "Every man had a job." True, but America made a Faustian deal with the devil to get jobs, to get cradle-to-grave welfare. FDR's New Deal cost America our collective dignity, our freedom, our inalienable rights … our souls.

[...]

America's solution? Just like God had to purge Baal worship from ancient Israel and Judah by pain, war, societal chaos and ultimately by Assyrian captivity (722 B.C.) and Babylonian captivity (586 B.C.), so must America must purge FDR's diabolical New Deal and welfare-state policies by returning to our founding principles rooted in God, federalism, Natural Law, biblical theism, constitutionalism, liberty and Veritas (truth).

-- Ellis Washington, April 24 WorldNetDaily column


Posted by Terry K. at 10:18 AM EDT
Sheppard Blames Clinton, Ignores Republicans
Topic: NewsBusters

In an April 24 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard touted a Wall Street Journal columnist who blamed Bill Clinton for the financial crisis because he, "as NewsBusters has been reporting almost since the crash began," had "signed into law two key bills -- the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 -- that ushered in the malfeasance that almost toppled the world economy."

The WSJ column is behind a pay wall so we can't look at it, but  Sheppard curiously didn't mention who controlled Congress at the time (you know, the Republicans) or who introduced those bills he cited.

The Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 is better known as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act for the three Republican congressmen who were the primary sponsors --Phil Gramm, Jim Leach, and Thomas Bliley. And Gramm was also behind the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000; specifically, he demanded that it be expanded to include prohibitions on federal regulation of derivatives.

Gee, why wouldn't Sheppard want his readers to know this relevant information?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:51 AM EDT
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Correlation-Equals-Causation Fallacy Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In an April 22 WorldNetDaily article touting poll results from its ethically challenged pollster Fritz Wenzel, Bob Unruh writes that "Democrats over the last month actually began to express growing alarm as details of his health-care plan started to emerge." Unruh goes on to quote Wenzel:

Wenzel noted some of the details of Obama's health-care program have begun to emerge this month, "revealing far more restrictions and taxes than first advertised."

"U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's claim that Congress had to pass a bill to find out what is in it is coming true, and it is coming back to haunt Democrats," he said.

But none of the questions in Wenzel's poll even mention health care reform, let alone explain what the provisions are. Wenzel is not only making conclusions about his poll that he has no evidence to support, his biased attack on health reform -- also without citing any evidence -- raises a red flag about the intent of his polling.

We've previously noted leading language in Wenzel's poll questions that appear designed to get a specific answer from respondents.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:22 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, April 25, 2010 10:39 AM EDT
Reagan Wrong About CRA
Topic: Newsmax

Michael Reagan writes in his April 23 Newsmax column:

It is imperative that we look at our past to understand how we got here. And we need not look further than the Carter administration’s Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 for the answer. That act required banks to lend to un-creditworthy borrowers, mostly in underprivileged and minority communities.

Although the concept of putting more Americans in homes comes across as a “feel-good” policy, the fact of the matter is that these types of policies saddle families who don’t have the income or earning potential to meet their payment obligations, leading to foreclosure and displacement.

This type of enabling legislation, coupled with predatory lenders and institutions, including those under federal government control, who would push potential investors into buying homes and other schemes for which they were not fiscally viable, formed an all-too-powerful formula that led to an almost paralyzing economic bust.

Reagan is misleading about the nature of the CRA. It doesn't "require banks to lend to un-creditworthy borrowers"; it requires banks to invest in the communities in which they operate, and it does not require institutions to make high-risk loans.

further, Reagan is wrong to claim that the CRA was part of the "formula that led to an almost paralyzing economic bust." In fact, experts agree that the CRA played no substantive role in the mortgage crisis; indeed, the vast majority of subprime loans were made by institutions not governed by CRA regulations.

Reagan, if you'll recall, wants to bring back redlining, so it's no surprise he would rail against a law that was designed to end it.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:51 AM EDT

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