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Thursday, June 3, 2010
Kinsolving's Stupid Question Leaves Gibbs in Stunned Silence
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily actually tells most of this story straight for once, so we'll let them handle it:

A question about war memorials at Harvard apparently has left White House spokesman Robert Gibbs without a response.

The question was raised at today's White House briefing by Les Kinsolving, the third-ranking beat correspondent at the White House and WND's correspondent there.

"A two-part question relating to yesterday, Memorial Day. As a graduate of Harvard and Harvard Law School, the president has never protested," started Kinsolving.

"He didn't graduate from Harvard, Lester. He graduated from Harvard Law School, but he graduated from Columbia undergrad," Gibbs corrected.

"I'm sorry, I correct that. Thank you very much. The president has never protested the memorials to Harvard's war dead in World War I and II, which include the names of Harvard alumni designated as 'enemy' because they were soldiers of the Kaiser and of the Fuhrer. Has he – he's never protested that, has he?"

"I honestly don't have – I don't have any knowledge," Gibbs said.

In a second question, Kinsolving continued, "Does the president believe it is right for Harvard to have memorials mentioning these three German enemies, but no memorial at all to 71 Harvard alumni who died in the Confederate army?"

But instead of responding, Gibbs left the room.

WND goes on to try and explain that "The issue was raised because of the long-standing controversy over war memorials at Harvard and the fact that Obama is a graduate of its law school," but in fact there is no "issue," only Kinsolving's strange obsession, which Obama has absolutely nothing to do with and, thus, has no place at a White House press briefing.

And Kinsolving wonders why nobody takes him seriously.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:10 AM EDT
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Newsmax Confirms Bid for Newsweek
Topic: Newsmax

We've previously noted Newsmax's interest in buying Newsweek magazine. Now Newsmax has officially put in a bid. From a Newsmax statement:

Newsmax Media, Inc. has made a bid for Newsweek.  Newsmax Media is a multi-platform publishing company that produces a variety of print and electronic products covering news, politics, health, finance and lifestyle, with different editorial voices and perspectives.

The company’s bid for Newsweek’s print and online assets is congruent with its objective to diversify and expand into numerous distinct media brand offerings, like any major multi-title publisher.  

Newsweek’s staff, advertisers and readers can be assured that if Newsmax Media, Inc.’s bid is successful, Newsweek's stellar brand and editorial representation would remain distinct from our other brands. Newsweek would continue in its mission to objectively report the news and provide analysis from a wide spectrum of perspectives.

Would Newsmax really allow Newsweek to remain editorially independent and "objectively report the news" and not, say, stick Dick Morris in there somewhere? We have our doubts.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:03 PM EDT
MRC Blinded By 'Name That Party'
Topic: Media Research Center

We've previously noted the Media Research Center's enthusiasm for playing "Name That Party" with the media even when it violates those same rules. The MRC's Clay Waters reminds us just how anal they are about this.

In a June 1 TimesWatch post, Waters complained a New York Times story on Mark Kirk making a false claim about his military record identified Kirk as a Republican in the first paragraph, while a story on Richard Blumenthal's false claims about his military record didn't identify him as a Democrat until -- horrors! -- the third paragraph.

Those bastards!

Waters is curiously silent, however, about a couple other crucial differences between the two stories. The Kirk story is only 12 paragraphs long and was buried on page A14, while the Blumenthal story is a whopping 50 paragraphs long and appeared at the top of the front page.

But to Waters, size and placement of an article is apparently a less reliable indicator of bias than how far up in the article a person's political party appears.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:40 PM EDT
Meanwhile ...
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Richard Bartholomew does a fine job of once again shooting down WorldNetDaily's promotion of the discredited idea -- promulgated by Joel Richardson -- that the Antichrist will be Muslim.

As Bartholomew succintly puts it, "this is a farrago of nonsense that would be dismissed outright by any serious Biblical scholar – whether atheist, Christian, Jewish, or whatever."

Posted by Terry K. at 8:45 AM EDT
WND Brings The Old-School Birtherism
Topic: WorldNetDaily

For all of WorldNetDaily's recent revisionism attempting to shift the birther debate from "citizenship" to "eligibility," it hasn't lost its taste for the old-school, Obama-hating birther rant. Which brings us to a June 1 WND column by David Solway:

For it is not merely Obama's putative illegitimacy but the fact of Obama himself with all the harm he is doing both domestically and internationally that may conceivably lead to major dislocations, far worse than the disasters of Jimmy Carter's administration or the blowback naiveté of Woodrow Wilson's. Indeed, what we see developing is a cataclysm from which America may not be able to recover. That is why the legitimacy question needs to be pursued until it is settled one way or another. The stirring finale of Ezra Pound's celebrated Pisan Canto LXXXI serves as a cautionary tale: "Here error is all in the not done,/all in the diffidence that faltered." What is not helpful to the nation as a whole is precisely Obama's continued occupancy of the White House. This is the reason so burning an issue should not be suffered to just gutter out. For in the electoral framework, it seems the only way to dismiss Obama from office before his destructive term is up is via impeachment, and the only way this can conceivably happen is for the courts to accede to disclosure requests, assuming that Obama does indeed have something to hide.

And it sure looks like he does. Obama is the only president who has suppressed vital personal information; every other has made full disclosure. When the press raised a fuss about John McCain's birth particulars – since he was born in the Panama Canal Zone – he immediately released all his actual documents, thousands of pages worth, including those showing that he was a natural-born American citizen, as per the United States Code [8 U.S.C. 1403 (a)]. Obama did not follow suit, and the media let him off the hook. The document released online is not an authentic birth certificate. It is the "short form" affidavit, a Certification of Live Birth (COLB) with standard information left out, such as the actual name of the birth hospital and the name of the attending physician. In "Dreams from My Father," Obama mentions having found his birth certificate, which, as it turns out, was then conveniently lost in a small house fire. Nor would the two announcements in Honolulu newspapers confirming his birth constitute proof of American citizenship or be accepted as such in a court of law, for obvious reasons.

Nothing like citing an anti-Semitic fascist sympathizer like Ezra Pound to make your point.

Let's look at that second paragraph a little closer. Solway offers no evidence that McCain released "thousands of pages worth" of documents; he did release his birth certificate but never publicly released all of the related documents. WND reported in August 2009: "During his first presidential campaign in 1999, Sen. John McCain released 1,500 pages of medical and psychiatric records collected by the Navy. In 2008, McCain allowed reporters to spend three hours sifting through 1,200 pages of health records." Allowing reporters to view documents for a limited time is not the same thing as a public release. And WND does not indicate how many of the latter documents were duplicates of those released earlier.

Solway's supporting link for his claim that the certificate released by obama "is not an authentic birth certificate" goes to an analysis by an anonymous "expert analyst" boing by the name "Techdude." As we've detailed, "Techdude" has been discredited, and his credentials have been questioned as well.

solway's claim that Obama's original birth certificate was "conveniently lost in a small house fire" goes to a story that identifies itself as "satire." The Obama-haters at the Western Journalism Center seem to have fallen for this as well.

WND's embrace of such a factually deficient screed undermines whatever credibility it was trying to establish with its "eligibility" revisionism. But don't expect Joseph Farah and Co. to recognize that -- they're too far down the Obama-hate rabbit hole to notice.

(h/t to reader L.C. for research assistance.)

Posted by Terry K. at 12:22 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 2, 2010 12:23 AM EDT
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
WND's Pollster Skews Questions
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A May 31 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh promotes the latest results from WND's ethically challenged pollster, Fritz Wenzel:

At a time when Barack Obama is getting heat for stonewalling information about an alleged administration bribery scandal, a new poll shows more Americans than ever suspect the president is hiding information about his own background and want him to come clean.

Questions about Obama's eligibility to be president, exacerbated by his refusal to answer questions, release ordinary background documentation and his extraordinary legal maneuvers to keep his background hidden, have been on the radar of a number of top-level investigative reporters and news organizations since before his election.

But if you look at the questions Wenzel asked -- listed at the end of the article --  it's clear that most of the questions weredesigned to promote a certain response. See if you can detect a certain pattern in the questioning (we'll put it in bold just to be helpful):

  • Recent polls suggest a significant percentage of Americans are concerned about Barack Obama's refusal to release his long-form birth certificate, school records, college records, Harvard Law School papers, medical records, travel records, passport records and other personal documents. What do you think he should do?
  • Recent polls suggest a significant percentage of Americans question Obama's own constitutional eligibility for office as a natural born citizen. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statements on the matter: He is unquestionably a natural born citizen, born in the U.S. of two U.S. citizen parents.
  • Recent polls suggest a significant percentage of Americans question Obama's own constitutional eligibility for office as a natural born citizen. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statements on the matter: He is unquestionably a natural born citizen, born in the U.S. of at least one U.S. citizen parent.
  • Recent polls suggest a significant percentage of Americans question Obama's own constitutional eligibility for office as a natural born citizen. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statements on the matter: He is unquestionably a natural born citizen, but I don't know where he was born or the citizenship status of his parents.
  • Recent polls suggest a significant percentage of Americans question Obama's own constitutional eligibility for office as a natural born citizen. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statements on the matter: I don't know, but he is hiding something by refusing to reveal his long-form birth certificate and other documents.
  • Recent polls suggest a significant percentage of Americans question Obama's own constitutional eligibility for office as a natural born citizen. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statements on the matter: I think he is eligible, but I am confused about the constitutional definition.
  • Recent polls suggest a significant percentage of Americans question Obama's own constitutional eligibility for office as a natural born citizen. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statements on the matter: No one can be sure without public scrutiny of his long-form birth certificate and other documentation.
  • Recent polls suggest a significant percentage of Americans question Obama's own constitutional eligibility for office as a natural born citizen. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statements on the matter: He is not eligible because his father was a Kenyan national and Obama was born a subject of the British Crown.
  • Recent polls suggest a significant percentage of Americans question Obama's own constitutional eligibility for office as a natural born citizen. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statements on the matter: I suspect he was not born in the U.S.
  • Recent polls suggest a significant percentage of Americans question Obama's own constitutional eligibility for office as a natural born citizen. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statements on the matter: We don't know enough about Obama's birthplace, parentage and his residency in Indonesia to say for sure.

That's right -- almost every question was prefaced by the unsupported statement that "Recent polls suggest a significant percentage of Americans question Obama's own constitutional eligibility for office as a natural born citizen."

Most people might call that push-polling. But apparently it's just another day at work for Fritz Wenzel and WND.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:00 PM EDT
Name That Party, NewsBusters Edition
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters has an entire category called "Name That Party," which allows the boys to tsk-tsk every time the media fails to identify a misbehaving Democratic politician as a Democrat (or fails to do so sufficiently prominently). So it's fun to put the shoe on the other foot.

In a May 31 post, Noel Sheppard writes:

A Michigan lawmaker wants journalists to be licensed.

"Senator Bruce Patterson is introducing legislation that will regulate reporters much like the state does with hairdressers, auto mechanics and plumbers," reported Friday.

"Patterson, who also practices constitutional law, says that the general public is being overwhelmed by an increasing number of media outlets--traditional, online and citizen generated--and an even greater amount misinformation."

Sheppard seems to disapprove of this law, as indicated by the "Big Brother" artwork he appended to his post. But what didn't he tell his readers?

Bruce Patterson is a Republican.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:02 AM EDT
Farah Moves the Birther Goalposts
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've previously detailed how WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah has been trying to change the focus of the birther movement from questioning Barack Obama's citizenship to questioning his eligibility to be president by mining the "natural born citizen" argument. Farah moved the birther goalposts even more in his May 26 WND column:

Let's see the birth certificate – as a starting point.

Let's hear from Obama on how, as the son of a foreigner from Kenya, his birth anywhere – in the United States or elsewhere – he could possibly qualify for the presidency as a "natural born citizen," as the term has always been defined.

Not only did Farah fulfill our prediction that he would not be satisfied if Obama released the original birth certificate Farah has been screaming for for months, Farah is also messing with the facts because "natural born citizen" has never had an authoratative legal definition in the U.S. and, thus, cannot be interpreted as a term that has "always been defined."

As Farah's own employee, Drew Zahn, reported in August 2009:

Indeed, a consensus on the correct definition of "natural born citizen" has eluded lawyers and scholars for more than 200 years. The Constitution's failure to offer any definition of the phrase whatsoever, the absence of definitive Supreme Court rulings and a wide array of opinions through the centuries have only further confused the question of what "natural born" actually means.

Farah cannot demand an interpretation of "natural born citizen" as it "has always been defined" because such a thing does not exist, which he would know if he had read his own website. 

Also, nowhere in his column does he tell us how "natural born citizen" has "always been defined" -- which tells us that Farah is either very stupid or very dishonest. Or perhaps both.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:23 AM EDT
Norquist Misleadingly Frames Tax Change
Topic: Newsmax

Grover Norquist writes in a May 27 Newsmax column:

The House “extenders package” has a pair of tax increases on investment partnerships (Sec. 411 and 412). Investment partnerships consist of a “general partner” who makes investment decisions for the partnership.

It also consists of “limited partners” who contribute money to the partnership. Limited partners are usually large investors like defined-benefit pension plans, university endowments, and charities.

The two tax hikes in question each involve the general partner. A general partner is usually compensated under a system known as “2-and-20,” or a similar arrangement. 

Are you asleep yet? That's what Norquist wants. He drones on about this for pretty much the entire column, never once uttering the common term the "general partner" of such "investment partnerships" are much better known as: hedge fund managers.

Norquist also misleadingly frames the tax change itself, portraying it as a "157 percent tax hike on general partners of investment firms." What it actually does is change the hedge fund manager's portion of income (also known as "carried interest") that had been designated as capital gains -- and taxed at the capital gains rate of 15 percent -- to being taxed as income, at the higher marginal rate of up to 35 percent. Norquist doesn't make clear that the rate is marginal, or that only the highest-income earners would be subject to it.

Needless to say, people who aren't trying to hide the fact that it's hedge fund and private equity managers who will be the ones paying more in taxes have a different take. Derek Thompson of the Atlantic points out that current law "amounts to quite the tax break for private equity managers. Their primary source of income is taxed at half rate as long-term capital gains, even if the managers' own capital contributed little or nothing to the gains."

Chuck Marr of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities adds: "there’s no logical reason why a leveraged buyout (LBO) specialist at a private equity firm should be taxed differently than a mergers and acquisitions expert at an investment bank (who pays as much as 35 percent in taxes), since both people are doing basically the same kind of work."

Even Warren Buffett has said on the issue, "If you believe in taxing people who earn income on their occupation, I think you should tax people on carried interest."

Let's see, Grover Norquist or Warren Buffett? We'll go with the latter.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:04 AM EDT
Monday, May 31, 2010
Report: Newsmax's Ruddy Looks At Buying Newsweek
Topic: Newsmax

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy has shown interest in buying Newsweek magazine.

Ruddy already publishes Newsmax magazine, which somehow manages not to be as doctrinare right-wing as the Newsmax website, and which has steadily grown in circulation, so his interest in Newsweek is not as outlandish as it might seem.

Of course, Ruddy would be only the front man for such a purchase. The money would in all likelihood come from longtime funder Richard Mellon Scaife, who helped fund Newsmax's startup; he and Ruddy are now the sole owners of Newsmax Media.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:30 PM EDT
For WND's Klein, Obama-Hate Doesn't Take A Holiday
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Aaron Klein is so filled with hatred for Barack Obama that he not only penned a book filled with specious guilt-by-association attacks, he took time out of his holiday weekend to spew a even-more-desperate-than-usual Obama smear. A May 31 WND article by Klein begins:

The group behind the Gaza flotilla that engaged in deadly clashes with Israeli commandos today counts among its top supporters the friends and associates of President Barack Obama, namely the founders of the Weather Underground terrorist organization, William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, as well as Jodie Evans, the leader of the radical activist organization Code Pink.


Ayers and Dohrn were close associates for years with President Obama, while Evans was a fundraiser and financial bundler for Obama's presidential campaign.

Klein is simply lying to your face. Ayers and Dohrn are not, and never were, "close associates" of Obama, no matter how many times Klein says it.

Klein's attempt to directly link Obama to Evans is even more specious -- he claims she was"a fundraiser and financial bundler for Obama's presidential campaign," but in fact, as Media Matters details, all Evans apparently did is pay $30,400 for tickets to a VIP dinner where she talked to him for a few minutes.

Klein manages to be even sleazier than his attacks on Elena Kagan. But such sleaze is what WND is paying for.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:31 PM EDT
WND's Washington Rants Against 'Liberal-Fascist Axis'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

EllisWashington has been reading too much Jonah Goldberg and watching too much Glenn Beck.

Washington's May 29 WorldNetDaily column is a screed about "the Liberal-Fascist Axis," echoing Jonah Goldberg's faulty tome "Liberal Fascism." Like Goldberg and Beck, Washington focuses on George Bernard Shaw's apparent embrace of fascism, as if this was relevant to today. Indeed, nothing in Washington's column is terribly relevant, and his final paragraph is merely a tacked-on attempt to make it so:

America, for over 100 years we have been in the midst of a radical progressive revolution. The progressive movement is the apotheosis of the Liberal-Fascist Axis. President Obama and his legions of socialists are openly fascist in their politics, policies and worldview. They will never stop in their efforts to weaken or destroy Christianity and capitalism and to bring America to her knees before the international community – until they either succeed, or until We the People say "enough!" rise up in righteous indignation and vote this Manchurian president out of office in 2012.

Washington offers no evidence that Obama is "openly fascist" or is out to "weaken or destroy Christianity and capitalism."  It's just a lazy attack -- just as lazy as Washington's failure to recognize, much less condemn, the fascist leanings of his idol, Michael Savage.

(Speaking of which: How come Washington is no longer calling himself "authorized biographer for the conservative intellectual Dr. Michael Savage"?)

Posted by Terry K. at 10:01 AM EDT
Sunday, May 30, 2010
WND's Unruh Again Misleads About Pelosi Flights
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A MAy 27 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Urnuh uncritically repeats misleading claims by the right-wing Judicial Watch about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's airplane flights:

For example, a receipt for "in-flight services" for the House speaker included a list that looked like a dream order for a wild frat party: Maker's Mark whiskey, Courvoisier cognac, Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Bailey's Irish Crème, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewars scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey and Corona beer.

It was only part of the more than $101,000 taxpayers paid for "in-flight services" for Pelosi's trips on Air Force jets over a two-year period, the Judicial Watch report said.


Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Judicial Watch, which investigates and prosecutes government corruption, show Pelosi incurred expenses of some $2.1 million for her use of Air Force jets for travel over a recent two-year period.

"Speaker Pelosi has a history of wasting taxpayer funds with her boorish demands for military travel," Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said at the time his organization's report came out. "And these documents suggest the speaker's congressional delegations are more about partying than anything else."

Pelosi recently joined President Obama on a Judicial Watch list of Top 10 corrupt politicians because of her "sense of entitlement," the group said.

In fact, the Judicial Watch report obscures the fact that many of those Pelosi-related flights were not solely for flights involving herself or her family but, in fact, congressional delegations organized by Pelosi's office. Unruh joined in the obscuring; it's not until the end of the article that he makes it clear that these are CODELs and not personal trips by Pelosi.

Unruh similarly obscured the facts when Judicial Watch first released its attack on Pelosi in January.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:47 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, May 30, 2010 11:50 PM EDT
Meanwhile ...
Topic: Newsmax
Have you ever wondered what Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy's daily media diet is?  The Atlantic Wire has the answer. Shocker: He reads a lot of conservative newspapers and websites!

Posted by Terry K. at 10:57 AM EDT
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Noel Sheppard Shocked-By-The-Unshocking Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

In a May 29 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard claimed it was "an absolutely astounding thing" that Chris Matthews would endorse a clip of Rush Limbaugh "lampooning former President Bill Clinton." Sheppard adds: "But what got into the Hardballer not only offering praise to a man that he routinely expresses contempt for, but also doing so when the object of his disaffection is mocking Bill Clinton? Shocking to say the least."

As with many things Sheppard has expressed shock over, this is not shocking at all. As we've detailed, Matthews regularly bashed Clinton when he was president -- and Sheppard's MRC bosses loved every minute of it. But when Matthews applied that same sort of scrutiny to President Bush, the MRC no longer wanted anything to do with him (even though Matthews also favorably likened Bush to Atticus Finch and Winston Churchill and also claimed that he sometimes "glimmers" with a "kind of sunny nobility."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:16 AM EDT

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