MRC's Poor Excuses Offensive Remarks By Conservatives Topic: Media Research Center
Are conservatives really so blindered that they are unable to detect offensive comments by their fellow conservatives that, if said by liberals, would have them bringing out the heavy artillery? Or are they merely so craven and hypocritical that they must constantly devise ways to dance around it?
A June 8 MRC Culture & Media Institute post by Jeff Poor seems to be the latter. When a Salon.com writer cited Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity as examples of peopl, like Helen Thomas, who have "uttered controversial, even despicable comments," Poor tried to change the subject, making the irrelevant point that "neither Limbaugh, Beck, Stern nor Hannity have been designated the 'dean' of the White House press corps, or even have access to the White House briefing room."
Poor, it appears, is not going to concede that Limbaugh or Beck have ever made "controversial, even despicable comments" -- even as Beck has gotten in trouble this week for promoting the writings of an anti-Semitic Nazi sympathizer, Elizabeth Dilling.
That's offensive whether or not Beck has ever set foot in the White House briefing room -- but don't expect Poor to admit that, let alone condemn it.
Aaron Klein Proves Cowardly As Book Dishonesty Continues Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's practice of dishonestly promoting Aaron Klein's anti-Obama screed "The Manchurian President" by cherry-picking criticism of the book and falsely presenting it as the only substantive criticism of it continues a June 5 article taking offense at a single paragraph of a Los Angeles Times article on "Pumped-up polemics."
The paragraph reads:
Not even out yet — but already topping Amazon.com's list of political bestsellers — is "The Manchurian President: Barack Obama's Ties to Communists, Socialists and Other Anti-American Extremists" by Aaron Klein and Brenda J. Elliott, which echoes the 1962 classic film in which Chinese communists try to hypnotize their way into the White House.
WND declared this to be an "attack" and a "smear." How so? Because Klein and co-author Brenda J. Elliott really weren't trying to evoke "The Manchurian Candidate," really:
While the title is taken from "The Manchurian Candidate" movie, Klein writes in the book's introduction the work specifically does not echo the film's plot of a hypnotized president.
Writes Klein, "The authors are by no means arguing herein that President Obama has been brainwashed by anyone or is a sleeper agent for any international party."
"However, the main theme of The Manchurian Candidate's various incarnations – that of a powerful politician whose true past has been intentionally obscured, and who has become the vehicle for implementing a hidden radical agenda – absolutely fits with the theme of this work and with the facts that are carefully documented in these pages," Klein writes in the intro.
A suggestion to Klein: If you don't want people to think you're trying to paint Obama as a "Manchurian candidate" -- a perfectly reasonable and essentially accurate assumption, WND's protestations aside -- perhaps you shouldn't have named your book something very similar.
(And you should also explain why your WND boss, David Kupelian, wrote an article headlined "Yes, Barack Obama really is a Manchurian candidate.")
Meanwhile, Klein has yet to offer any substantive response to our detailed, substantive documentation (published at Media Matters) of false and misleading claims in his book.
If you want the ultimate example of how petty and cowardly Klein is, consider this: He has blocked me from following his Twitter account.
Klein will confront terrorists -- as he frequently promotes himself -- but he's afraid to confront me. Sad, isn't it?
P.S. Elliott is just as cowardly, refusing to post comments I've made on her blog, The Real Barack Obama. These two really are afraid of the truth.
WND Touts Bogus Crowd Numbers on Protest Topic: WorldNetDaily
The headline of a June 7 WorldNetDaily article by Chelsea Schilling blares, "10,000 throng to stop Ground Zero mosque." But Schilling offers no evidence that this is a fact.
Schilling begins her article by claiming that "As many as 10,000 protesters from across the country" protested a mosquet to be built near the site of the World Trade Center in New York. She later repeated claims by anti-Muslim activist Robert Spencer that "Police estimated that 5,000 people were there, and other estimates ranged as high as 10,000." But as an anti-Muslim activist, Spencer has motivation to inflate numbers, and Schilling offers no evidence his numbers have any basis in fact, let alone from which bodily orifice Spencer is pulling his "other estimates" from.
Indeed, the truth appears to be much less grandiose. As Media Matters notes, New York newspapers placed crowd estimates as somewhere between 350 and 1,000.
This sort of bamboozlement is just one of many reasons that WND has to spend precious time and money trying to convince people it's telling the truth -- something considered axiomatic with real news outlets.
UPDATE: WND has changed the headline to put "10,000" in quote marks, as if that hides the fact that the number is completely unsubstantiated.
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.