Journalism Fail: WND Has To Convince Readers It's Telling the Truth Topic: WorldNetDaily
Here are a couple of promos WorldNetDaily has been running on its site in recent weeks:
If the key point of your self-promotion is having to convince readers you're telling the truth -- admittedly a hard sell given WND's trackrecord of spreadinglies -- haven't you pretty much lost the battle to be taken seriously as a "news" organization?
ConWeb Hypocrisy: Bashing Helen Thomas, Silence on Buchanan Topic: Media Research Center
When Helen Thomas made a very stupid statement regarding Jews and Israel, the ConWeb was quick to pounce. The Media Research Center slapped together a compilation of "liberal eruptions" from Thomas, as if being liberal was the same as criticizing Israel. When Thomas announced her immediate retirement in the wake of the controversy, NewsBusters was all but dancing on her grave, portraying any nicething said about Thomas' career as tacit endorsement of her remarks.
At WorldNetDaily, Joseph Farah declared without any hint of irony that Thomas is an "embarrassment ... to the entire White House press corps" -- remember, WND employs the highly embarrassing Les Kinsolving. Farah added, "This is a first-rate, raw-boned, dyed-in-the-wool Jew-hater."
Can you smell the stench of hypocrisy? Because as vociferous Farah and the MRC have been about Thomas, they completely ignored similar comments by Pat Buchanan.
As we detailed, both WND and the MRC's CNSNews.com published a May 14 column by Buchanan in which he complained that with the appointment of Elena Kagan, there were too many Jews on the Supreme Court. The column remains live at bothoutlets, and both have continued to publish Buchanan's column. Similarly there was complete silence about Buchanan's remark at NewsBusters, as its archive on Buchanan demonstrates.
Further, the MRC seems more than willing to gloss over Buchanan's Israel-bashing. Mark Finkelstein all but gave Buchanan a pass in a January 2009 NewsBusters post after Buchanan accused Israel of carrying out a "blitzkrieg" against Gaza and turning it into a "concentration camp":
I like Pat Buchanan. I do. He's wise, funny and charming. But every so often . . .
Like tonight. If Buchanan wants to criticize Israel's conduct of the current war, and its treatment of the Palestinians, so be it. But in doing so, is it really necessary to employ terms associated with the Nazis?
Can you imagine Finkelstein or his NewsBusters fellow travelers so blithely dismissing similar remarks by Thomas? Of course not -- Thomas would never get the "wise, funny and charming" defense. And she didn't in this case.
It seems WND and the MRC complain about alleged anti-Semitism only when it suits their political agenda -- which makes you wonder just how genuine the depth of their support for Jews and Israel really is.
UPDATE: You also won't find a disparaging word at either operation -- or any word -- about Glenn Beck promoting the amti-Semitic Nazi sympathizer Elizabeth Dilling.
UPDATE 2: NewsBusters' Tom Blumer laughably complains that "the establishment press is for the most part attempting to give Helen Thomas's hateful remarks and her dubious apology a very light once-over." Which would be more than Blumer and NewsBusters gave to Buchanan's hateful remarks.
E. Ralph Hostetter wrote in his June 3 Newsmax column:
The president of the United States wields enormous power. The Constitution provides a method whereby the president can share this power by appointment of others in a structure known as the president's Cabinet. All appointments of cabinet members must be approved by the U.S. Senate.
President Obama apparently has found a way around these constitutional restrictions by appointing dozens of so-called "czars" who avoid the constitutional approval by the U.S. Senate and further have no published guidelines or restrictions on their conduct or activities.
Each of these czars apparently is operating at what could be called a sub-Cabinet level, but not being responsible for any accountability to a recognized constitutional authority.
The singular act of appointing these czars needs congressional oversight, inasmuch as their activities may constitute the creation of a shadow government mentioned by individuals such as George Soros who speaks openly about a "regime change" in the United States.
In fact, several of Obama's czars were confirmed by the Senate, and we don't recall Hostetter complaining about the large number of czars President Bush had working for him. (Oh, and at least 13 of Obama's czars had counterparts in the Bush administration.)
CNS Forgets It Reported on Right-Wing Attacks Against McDonald's Topic: CNSNews.com
A June 4 CNSNews.com article by Adam Cassandra on a McDonald's commercial in France that "shows a teenage boy talking, apparently, to his homosexual boyfriend on a cell phone, followed by an awkward conversation with his father who does not know his son is gay" included comments from the Family Research Council's Peter Sprigg:
“My first reaction is why did they feel it was necessary … to make an ad like this?” said Sprigg. “It struck me as strange. Did homosexuals not feel welcomed at McDonald’s in France already?”
McDonald’s ads usually promote new items, highlight special deals, or remind customers of the quality of the food.
Sprigg said, “It’s sort of a gratuitous effort to ingratiate themselves with homosexual activists and, in that sense, it’s saddening and disheartening for those of us who hold to traditional values.”
“I think what is happening in a lot of these major corporations is there is constant pressure upon them from pro-homosexual activists, both within and outside of the company,” Sprigg said. “They are under constant pressure to demonstrate that they are gay-friendly, tolerant, etcetera -- and unfortunately, to be honest, they’re not under as continual pressure from pro-family people to demonstrate that they’re pro-family, that they support traditional values and so forth.”
According to Sprigg, “Sometimes it’s just that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and the pro-homosexual activists are very good at being a squeaky wheel.”
When asked about the possibility of McDonald’s running a similar ad in the United States, Peter Sprigg said, “I certainly think it would be appropriate to warn McDonald’s that anything like this in the American market would not be well-received and would trigger a backlash.”
CNS fails to mention that right-wingers have, in fact, been a "squeaky wheel" in attacking McDonald's, and that Sprigg's organization would likely be at the forefront of any "backlash" should McDonald's run a smiliar ad in the U.S.
Indeed, CNS was among the cheerleaders when the American Family Association led a boycott against McDonald's for the offense of contributing $20,000 to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. CNS uncritically reported AFA president Tim Wildmon's claim that the NGLCC "even push legislation, so obviously they’re for same-sex marriage" -- even though, as we detailed at the time, there was no evidence the NGLCC had ever lobbied for same-sex marriage. CNS also repeated numerous other attacks on McDonald's over the issue.
Further, this was a boycott Sprigg's organization supported. When McDonald's relented and decided not to renew its NGLCC membership, it drew this reaction from Sprigg's boss:
"The Big Mac attack on family values is finally over," exclaimed Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, to supporters Friday. "After a five-month boycott, Americans finally got what they ordered - McDonald's agreement to stop financing the homosexual agenda."
It's lazy reporting for Cassandra to allow portray right-wing groups as meek in the face of the so-called homosexual agenda and unable to pressure a big company like McDonald's when the exact opposite is the case -- and it's in the CNS archives.
Joseph Farah has taught his daughter well -- she's spewing the same right-wing hatred her father does.
A June 5 WorldNetDaily article by Alyssa Farah is an incredibly lazy affair, uncritically regurgitating by the Young America's Foundation on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan and serving as YAF's public relations agent for its upcoming "Keep Out Kagan Day."
After attacking Kagan as "anti-military" -- which is demonstrably false -- Farah regurgitates a YAF claim that Kagan has "disregard for students' rights" and "has come out as a proponent of censorship of student publications." How so? Farah can't be bothered to tell us. Needless to say, the opposite appears to be true: the Student Press Law Center states that Kagan's academic writings "suggest that she appreciates the need for robust constitutional protection of speech on campus, even when the words may be hurtful or offensive."
Farah also offers up a lazy, less-than-factual version of Kagan and military recruitment:
Additionally, Kagan was "deeply distressed" over the fact that military recruiters are able to be present on college campuses.
During her time as the dean of Harvard Law School, Kagan implemented a system barring students from having access to military recruiters at the Harvard Office of Career Services.
Kagan also authored an amicus brief pushing for the Supreme Court to overturn the Solomon Amendment, which was designed to protect military recruitment on college campuses.
In fact, Kagan did not "implement" a ban on military recruiters -- the non-discrimination policy by which Harvard Law School actually barred military recruiters from the career (for only a single semester, which Farah conveniently fails to mention) was first implemented in 1979. Also, claiming the Solomon Amendment was "designed to protect military recruitment on college campuses" is overly generous (which is to say, biased); the amendment specifically cut off federal money to schools who barred military recruiters.
Such lazy reporting wouldn't cut it for a day in the real world of journalism, but it's good enough for WND. Especially when your dad's the boss.
Farah Pretends His Poll Isn't Biased Topic: WorldNetDaily
We demonstrated how WorldNetDaily's latest Wenzel poll repeatedly loaded its questions to sow doubts about Barack Obama's eligibility to be president, thus skewing the answers. Needless to say,WND chief Joseph Farah thought those loaded questions were perfectly accurate.
When the New York Times finally conducted its first poll on eligibility questions haunting Barack Obama, it asked them in ways specifically designed to make it appear the general public thought the whole matter was settled – as its own newsroom culture does.
"Do you think President Obama was born in the U.S. or another country?" the CBS/New York Times poll asked sophomorically in April.
Still, even with such a skewed question, the Big Media must have been shocked at the results: Only 58 percent of Americans think he was born in the United States.
It was clear to me then that Barack Obama is losing ground with the American people each and every time he obfuscates on this issue, stonewalls on the releases of personal documentation, ridicules those who question him and counts on the media to ostracize all skeptics, otherwise caricatured as "birthers."
So I set out to do another poll phrasing questions the way adult journalists would – journalists who are not predisposed to believe anything and everything the president says.
The results of that scientific survey were released Tuesday.
Most questions in that "scientific" survey begin with the statement, "Recent polls suggest a significant percentage of Americans question Obama's own constitutional eligibility for office as a natural born citizen." Farah is suggesting that because his poll is "scientific" -- he doesn't explain how -- that it's not biased, which couldn't be farther from the truth.
In short, Farah is proving himself yet again to be a dishonest liar.
This is from a June 5 WorldNetDaily article by Jerome Corsi:
A top adviser to President Obama is the contact person within the White House for communications with the Free Gaza Movement over plans to challenge Israel's blockade of the terrorist Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, according to a reputable source close to the Netanyahu government.
The source, a career official whose reliability was established through his tips for the book, "Why Israel Can't Wait," identified John O. Brennan, deputy national security adviser for homeland security and counterterrorism, as the contact.
The allegation raises the bizarre possibility that the Free Gaza Movement's flotilla action in the Mediterranean was being coordinated with the White House, something that would align with a shift in U.S. policy toward Israel being debated within the Obama administration.
Mike Hammer, a National Security Council spokesman, told WND flatly the report "is not true."
Sorry, Jerry -- anonymous sources don't cut it in real journalism -- remember, Corsi's boss, Joseph Farah, says that anonymous sources are used for "quotes made up out of whole cloth to help make the story read better," so it appears Corsi may have broken WND's own anonymous-sources policy.
At no point does Corsi explain why his source is anonymous or what exactly the source claimed in Corsi's book "Why Israel Can't Wait" that makes him so "reputable." If Corsi can't explain why his source is anonymous, why trust him?
Later in his article, Corsi continued his attacks on Brennan by asserting that "Brennan tilts toward Islam," citing as evidence of this that "Brennan commented that using 'a legitimate term, 'jihad,' meaning to purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral goal' to describe terrorists 'risks reinforcing the idea that the United States is somehow at war with Islam itself.'" Corsi does not explain how that translates into Brennan "tilting toward Islam," especially when President Bush has made similar statements about the nature of jihad.
In all, it's another piece of biased crap from Corsi. Who would expect anything more from him?
The MRC's Double Standard on Adultery Accusations Topic: Media Research Center
It's kinda cute how the boys at the Media Research Center are getting so annoyed by reports that South Carolina Republican gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley had an affair.
Tim Graham whined that the accusation is "unproven" and lacks "details or proof," later insisted that the charge is "unsubstantiated." TimesWatch's Clay Waters lamented that the charges are being reported in the media "without substance like emails or phone messages." Scott Whitlock asserted that MSNBC "didn't let lack of proof stand in the way of interviewing a man claiming he had an affair with a conservative favorite." Mark Finkelstein suggested that the story is not worthy of coverage because "Haley has categorically denied the allegations" and that those making the allegations are "men with possible political axes to grind."
This, as we've noted, not only runs counter to the MRC's previous enthusiastic promotion of adultery allegations against Bill Clinton despite substantiation -- indeed, the MRC was upset that "the national media" wasn't digging deeply enough into "the questions surrounding Clinton's personal life" -- it also runs counter to the MRC's enthusiastic promotion of adultery allegations against John Edwards long before there was any credible substantiation of it.
As we detailed at the time, the MRC was flogging the affair even though the only thing approaching evidence they had at the time was a National Enquirer story. P.J. Gladnick complained that the media was "maintain[ing] their silence on the alleged John Edwards scandal, and was later upset that the supermarket tabloid was not considered a reliable news source. And Brent Bozell later praised the "New Media" -- of which the Enquirer is apparently a part -- for spreading the rumors despite a lack of actual evidence.
All of which, of course, ran against the MRC's previous denouncement of salacious allegations against Republican politicians as "rumor and gossip, fit to print only for the likes of the National Enquirer."
It seems that the MRC's ethics on such things are situational, invoked only when they can used to forward its right-wing agenda. That makes the MRC a somewhat effective political organization -- not someplace to turn for serious media analysis.
The Bilderbergers have long been one of WorldNetDaily's favorite conspiracies, and WND took the opportunity to flog the conspiracy yet again in a May 25 article by Bob Unruh:
Once considered a "conspiracy" theory, the secretive story of the Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission and Bilderbergs – tycoons worth more than the combined wealth of all Americans – will be told in public before the European Parliament.
Daniel Estulin, author of the hot-selling book, "The True Story of the Bilderberg Group," has been invited to present an unprecedented speech before the European Parliament in Brussels June 1 on the subject of the secretive cabal.
"This is an opportunity to bring Bilderberg into the mainstream," Estulin said. "A subject that was once considered to be in the domain of conspiracy theories is now being taken very seriously indeed."
He was invited to speak by Mario Borghezio, Italy's most senior member of the parliament, considered one of the most powerful legislative bodies in the world.
He compared his address there to an invitation to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress, a rare honor for anyone outside the ranks of the government.
Well, actually, not so much. Richard Bartholomew points out that Borghezio is less known as "Italy's most senior member of the parliament" and more know for being a right-wing nutjob who associates with fascists and burned down the tents of immigrants. Further, Bartholomew adds, Estulin's little presentation was not made "before the European Parliament," as Unruh claims, but as a press conference in the EU headquarters.
A May 30 WND article by Drew Zahn followed up by tout Estulin's claims that the Bilderbergerers engineered the world financial crisis. (Of course, WND is selling Estulin's book.)
A June 1 WND article by Unruh reported on Estulin's actual presentation -- based on "the text of his remarks," since it appears WND didn't send anyone to cover it -- uncritically repeating Estulin's ranting:
"The idea behind each and every Bilderberg meeting is to create what they themselves call the aristocracy of purpose between European and North American elites on the best way to manage the planet. In other words, the creation of a global network of giant cartels, more powerful than any nation on Earth, destined to control the necessities of life of the rest of humanity, obviously from their vantage point, for our own good and in our benefit – the great unwashed as they call us," he said.
Sometimes, he said, this power comes through the destruction of economies.
"They are destroying the world economy on purpose," he explained. "This isn't the first time either. This was done in the 14th century New Dark Age: 30 percent of the population wiped out."
As Bartholomew points out, Estulin is suggesting here that the Black Death was deliberately spread. Bartholomew also notes an interview Estulin did with state-owned Russia Today (also a favorite of WND), in which he claimed that the Bilderbergers descend from the "Venetian Black Nobility," whatever the heck that means.
Its treatment of such conspiracy-mongering as serious reporting -- not to mention misleading about the nature of Estulin's presenatation -- is yet another reason why WND should never, ever be treated as a legitimate news source.
Your Economic Lesson of the Day Topic: WorldNetDaily
I tend to be a target at limousine-liberal gatherings, and, sure enough, a middle-aged gentleman of means came up to me and, from out of the blue, blurted, "Capitalism is the most evil system ever invented."
Displaying my finest George Will deadpan expression, I asked how an intelligent, successful gentleman like him had managed to arrive at such a fascinating conclusion. To which he groused, "Under capitalism, the poor are exploited by the rich." Yikes – it was the ghost of Vladimir Lenin!
Masochist that I am, I asked him to define the terms "rich" and "poor" for me, but he simply waived aside my question as though it were frivolous. My acquaintance's wife then intervened and admonished us that political discussions were forbidden in her house, thus preventing a Sunday afternoon homicide.
Darn. I didn't even get a chance to see the expression on his face had I been able to lay this one on him: The gap between the rich and the poor is supposed to increase under capitalism! It's built into the system.
But also built into the system is the fact that almost everyone is better off under capitalism. Why? Because trickle-down economics really does work.
Of course WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah would call for the impeachment of President Obama over conversations with Joe Sestak -- that's how he makes his money. (He has bumper stickers to sell, after all.)
The dirty little secret behind Farah's manufactured outrage, though, is that WND has hidden from its readers any evidence that the Sestak conversation is not illegal.
Nowhere in Farah's impeachment screed -- or in purported "news" articles on the Sestak non-scandal -- is it mentioned that numerous legal experts have stated that federal statutes were not violated, or that the Bush and Reagan administrations also offered jobs to politicians in exchange for quitting race.
It's yet another case in which WND has demonstrated an inability to tell the truth. (WND's repeatedlies about Obama are but another example.)
In his eagerness to smear Obama at every possible opportunity , Farah has abandoned any pretense of journalism, and he cannot claim to operate a "news" operation. He, and his website, are nothing but a sad, rage-filled joke.
Farah Admits He 'Can't Believe' What He Reads At His Own Website Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah writes in his June 2 WorldNetDaily column:
I have to admit it.
Sometimes I read WND headlines and can't believe what I am reading.
That's no reflection on the competence of my staff.
We know the feeling. But Farah is wrong on that last point -- it is precisely because of the competence of his staff (or, more accurately, the lack thereof) that youcan'tbelieveanything you read at WND.
Sycophantic Kessler Defends Bush's Pronunction of 'Nuclear' Topic: Newsmax
Ronald Kessler wasalways in the tank for President Bush, so it's no surprise to see he still is. But it's still a bit bracing to see Kessler be so sycophantic to Bush that he's defending the former president's mispronuciation of "nuclear."
From the way he walked to the way he talked, Bush was the butt of constant derision by the press. Every action he took to protect America was portrayed as a sinister plot.
Bush’s pronunciation of “nuclear” was cause for constant tittering in the media. In fact, pronouncing the word NOO-kyoo-ler is a Southern rendering similar to Jimmy Carter’s NOOK-ee-yuh. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary lists the way Bush pronounced nuclear as an alternate, even including that version in an audio clip on its website.
Of course, "ain't" is in the dictionary, but that doesn't make it correct or proper English.
Still, in what parallel universe would a guy who boasted that the high point of his career was that he'd been a community organizer be elected the leader of the free world? After stating that the trouble with the U.S. Constitution and the civil-rights movement was that they didn't deal with the redistribution of the nation's wealth, I wonder how it is he got a thousand votes, let alone 62 million. He was also the chowder-head who, after saying that America was the greatest nation on earth, insisted that it was his mission to radically transform it!
Frankly, I think it was a classic case of Pygmalionism. Americans, thanks in great part to the most rancid media this side of China, were mesmerized by the mantra of Hope and Change. Voters were encouraged to think of politics in terms of a fairy tale, as if Obama was Prince Charming and that empty slogan was code for "And they all lived happily ever after."
The more Obama talked, the more, it seemed, poor, ugly men were lulled into thinking they'd become rich and handsome, while homely women came away believing they'd become beautiful and be pursued by rich, handsome men.
Pygmalionism, as you probably guessed, is the state of being in love with an object of one's own making. These days, it's also known as Obamaism.
The confounding aspect of all this is how so many people who regard religion as a sham, and who have nothing but contempt for Christianity and Judaism, continue to believe that Obama is the messiah.
CNS' Biased Approach: An Illustration Topic: CNSNews.com
A June 2 CNSNews.com article by Jane McGrath on President Obama declaration of June as LGBT Pride Month, in which he noted "his commitment to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act," contained reaction from not one but two representatives of right-wing organizations to criticize Obama for, inbthe words of one activist, "pushing ... Gay transgender stuff and gays in the military."
By contrast, a June 2 CNS article by Fred Lucas on House Republicans who "sent a letter to the White House counsel Wednesday saying they believe that a memorandum the counsel released Friday purporting to explain the administration’s actions in offering to appoint Rep. Joe Sestak (D.-Pa.) to a federal position in exchange for Sestak declining to make a Democratic primary run against Sen. Arlen Specter (D.-Pa.) presents a set of facts that appear to violate the law" -- specifically, "18 U.S.C. Sections 211, 595 and 600" -- without noting the numerous legal experts who have said those statues were not violated.
Nor did Lucas endeavor to explain what difference, if any there is between the Obama administration's conversations with Sestak and Karl Rove's reported offer of a Cabinet post to Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, or the Reagan administration's reported job offer to Sen. S.I. Hayakawa in exchange for dropping out of an election.
UPDATE: A June 4 article by Lucas referred to the Obama administration "discuss[ing] alternative jobs with at least two Democratic Senate candidates to 'clear the field' for President Obama's chosen prospects" without mentioning that Rove and the Reagan administration did exactly the same thing.