In a Sept. 15 Newsmax column, Ronald Kessler attacks Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who wants to build "a mosque two blocks from ground zero," as a maker of "nonsensical, contradictory and arrogant statements" and among Muslim leaders who "speak out of both sides of their mouths" and "continue to generate suspicion of Muslims in general."
Kessler also mischaracterizes Rauf's words. Citing an interview Rauf did on CNN, Kessler writes:
Asked if he still believes that the U.S. was an “accessory” to the 9/11 attacks and that Osama bin Laden was “made in the USA,” Rauf waffled. He said that while his comments were not “compassionate,” the U.S. had cooperated with bin Laden in fighting the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.
A widespread Internet rumor, that claim is untrue, not to mention irrelevant. In the end, Rauf never retracted his claim that the U.S. was in part responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
RAUF: I was describing the fact that the United States had actually worked with the Taliban, cooperated with the mujahadeen. The mujahadeen were VIPs in the Reagan White House -- administration, and Osama bin Laden was something the United States cooperated with in fighting the Soviet Union. However, looking back on it now, I realize it was not a very compassionate thing to say, and I regret having used those words.
In fact, it's indisputable that bin Laden fought with the mujahadeen in Afghanistan during the 1980s, and that the CIA covertly supported the mujahadeen. The question is whether bin Laden himself had any dealings with CIA operatives in Afghanistan. Despite Kessler's dismissal of it as "untrue" and a "widespread Internet rumor," it appears to be an open question. Wikipedia cites claims that bin Laden received training from the CIA in Afghanistan, as well as denials that there were any such contacts.
It seems the question is much more open than Kessler would have you believe. But he's too busy attacking Rauf to tell you that.
Farah: 'Creator' Omission 'Was An Attempt at Deicide by Obama' Topic: WorldNetDaily
Hanging out in St. Maarten has not mellowed Joseph Farah out.
Filing his September 22 WorldNetDaily column from the Caribbean island paradise, where he’s leading like-minded folks on a "Tea Party at Sea" following last weekend’s "Taking America Back" convention, Farah goes into freak-out mode about President Obama’s paraphrasing of the Declaration of Independence’s section about “unalienable rights” without mentioning the part about those rights being “endowed by their Creator”:
This was not an accident.
It was not a slip of the tongue.
It was not an oversight.
It was not an innocent mistake.
This was an attempt at deicide by Obama.
This was an effort to strip from America's national heritage a direct connection with God Almighty.
Even worse, this was Obama's way of stripping from America's consciousness the notion that liberty's underpinnings require direct accountability and responsibility to the Creator, not man-made government.
Our rights do not descend from Obama, much as he might like.
Our rights do not descend from government, much as he might like.
Our rights are not endowed by evolution, much as he might like.
They are endowed by our Creator.
That's a key word that the Obama mentality would like us all to forget.
He clearly doesn't want Americans to be thankful and responsible to their Creator. He would like Americans to be indebted as subjects to him and the power structure he represents. In other words, we would like us to forget the sacrifices of our forefathers over the last 234 years, shirk our pledge to independence and freedom and be like the other nations of the world where the ultimate authority about right and wrong, law and lawlessness, liberty and servitude is defined by an elite class of mortal men.
Obama let it all hang out there with that simple act of omission.
But it wasn't merely an omission.
It was omission by commission.
Don't think for one minute that speech wasn't written in advance with an express purpose.
The purpose was to take America one more step away from God the Creator.
Obama reached a new height of subversion with his bastardization of these keywords from the Declaration of Independence. That betrayal of the founding document of our country – America's birth certificate, if you will – shows him not only unworthy of the office of the presidency, but unworthy of U.S. citizenship as well.
Farah thus wins the freak-out competition the right-wing media over Obama’s omission. Such outrage, needless to say, ignores all the times Obama got the quote right and less-than-exact renditions of the phrase by conservatives.
Perhaps the next port of call on his Caribbean cruise will find Farah in a less vicious and hateful mood.
It seems Joseph Farah is not the only WorldNetDaily employee who's overly sensitive to criticism.
A review of Aaron Klein's Obama smear book "The Manchurian President" at the left-wing website In These Times put Klein and WND into such a paroxysm of rage thatWND has devoted not one but two articles to attacking it.
The first article attacks In These Times as a "socialist journal whose editorial board includes Weatherman terrorist group founders William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn" and heavily mines David Horowitz's Discover the Networks database to go after "extremist activist" Marilyn Katz, who is quoted in the review as debunking Klein's portrayal of Obama as "as some kind of robotic guy run by a nest of vipers."
The second article, published a day later, targets the review's author, Chip Berlet, as "an extremist who has long been associated with socialism, Marxism and the founders of the Weather Underground domestic terrorist organization" who also has "a long history of equating conservatives with fascists." It goes on to insist that the book "is the result of years of investigative reporting by Klein and Elliott" and "contains dozens of meticulously documented but previously unreported scandals about Obama and other White House officials, including top czars and senior advisers Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod."
Curiously, neither of these articles offers a link to Berlet's review so WND readers can see it for themselves. That's a behavior we're all too familiar with; when we were permitted to respond to Joseph Farah's attack on us, WND stripped all links to ConWebWatch from the response it posted.
Meanwhile, WND, Klein, and co-author Brenda J. Elliott have studiously ignored the detailedanalyses we wrote of the book -- presumably because we're right, and we can't be easily demonized (though Farah has tried).
New Article: CNS' Anti-Immigration Bias Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com repeatedly describes comprehensive immigration reform as "amnesty" -- even as it concedes it's a term used only by critics of reform. Read more >>
Obama-Hate, Birtherism Rampant At WND's Convention Topic: WorldNetDaily
Media Matters' Zachary Pleat attended last weekend's WorldNetDaily-sponsored Taking America Back conference, and he lived to tell the tale of the rampant birtherism and bigotry exhibited therein. He also brought back audio of the conference speakers. Since WND has not seen fit to post any footage of its convention speakers, here are some choice cuts:
NewsReal Upset It Can't Tell Lies With Impunity Topic: Horowitz
In a Sept. 22 NewsReal post, unapologetic gay-basher Kathy Shaidle purports to detail "George Soros’ 8 Most Despicable Acts." Her rant, however, has been interrupted by the facts, and NewsReal isn't happy about it.
As part of the first "despicable act" Soros purportedly did, Shaidle quoted from a column by Ezra Levant claiming that Soros "collaborated with the Nazis." That is a libelous distortion of what Soros actually did as a 14-year-old during World War II, which was pose as the godson of a Hungarian official who oversaw the confiscation of property from Hungarian Jews. The Canadian newspaper that first published Levant's column has retracted it because it "contained false statements about George Soros and his conduct as a young teenager in Nazi-occupied Hungary."
Shaidle claimed that Levant relied in part "upon research conducted by David Horowitz," but doesn't mentiont that Horowitz got it wrong too.
Soros, understandably, wanted to correct the record, which resulted in a fit of all-caps typing by NewsReal. The headline of Shaidle's post now parenthetically adds that it was "UPDATED AFTER THREAT BY SOROS’ LAWYERS", and the space where the Levant excerpt was located now states:
EDITOR'S NOTE: THIS EXCERPT FROM LEVANT'S COLUMN HAS BEEN REMOVED AFTER KATHY SHAIDLE RECEIVED CORRESPONDENCE FROM SOROS' LAWYERS. NO WORD YET ON IF SOROS' LAWYERS HAVE CONTACTED MEDIA MATTERS FOR REPRINTING THE EXCERPT TOO AT THEIR WEBSITE HERE.
The unnamed editor appears not to understand the difference between uncritically repeating a lie, which Shaidle did, and repeating a lie as part of correcting it, which is what Media Matters did.
Shaidle's post now begins with another editor's note:
Editor’s Note: This post has been revised since it was first published. Because its author, Kathy Shaidle, is Canadian she is not protected by the same first amendment and libel laws that Americans are. Thus despite the fact that the information she presented has floated around the American blogosphere for years and was published in David Horowitz and Richard Poe’s The Shadow Party, because of where she lives Soros’ goons were able to target her with legal threats. That is the nature of the totalitarian personality we’re dealing with here.
Really? It's "totalitarian" for someone to respond to lies being told about them and to try and correct the record?
It seems Shaidle and NewsReal are upset that they aren't allowed to tell lies with impunity about people they don't like. The right to be above the law that they seem to be asserting is much more "totalitarian" than Soros' actions.
The latest to push this bogus claim is Andrew Longman, who began his September 21 WorldNetDaily column by referencing his own previous (false) “death panels” claim – which he insisted was true –asserting that “we are sick of listening to smug leftists dismiss [Sarah] Palin as ‘wrong’ or ‘falsely’ asserting that there are death panels in Obamacare.” Longman then moved on to his new false claim, which involves cherry-picking a section of the bill regarding counseling services available to those under the “CLASS Independence Benefit Plan."
First, Longman demonstrates a lack of reading comprehension by declaring a provision that says eligible beneficiaries under the CLASS program “shall receive ... benefits” including “advocacy” and “assistance” counseling means those beneficiaries are “required under Obamacare” to receive that counseling. In fact, it’s clear that this section of the bill mandates that this counseling be made available, not that the counseling itself is mandatory. Nevertheless, Longman continues:
So if Sebulius [sic] wanted you to be counseled about Dr. Kevorkian services, or counseled on Smurfs in Ancient Russia, she just tells your counselor to make you sit through that. But while giving arbitrary and mandatory "counseling" powers to the secretary of HHS is weird and sinister, it's a minor item compared to Page 723.
The government mandates an "advice and assistance counselor," who shall provide to CLASS recipients, among other things:
(5) available assistance with decision making concerning medical care, including the right to accept or refuse medical or surgical treatment and the right to formulate advance directives or other written instructions recognized under state law, such as a living will or durable power of attorney for health care, in the case that an injury or illness causes the individual to be unable to make health care decisions; and
(6) such other services as the Secretary, by regulation, may require.
So, for the weakest in society, Obamacare pressurizes them to jump off a cliff.
But Longman overlooks an important part of this section. Here’s how the section outlining these benefits begins (emphasis added):
(e) ADVICE AND ASSISTANCE COUNSELING.--An agreement entered into under subsection (a)(2)(A)(iii) shall require the entity to assign, as requested by an eligible beneficiary that is covered by such agreement, an advice and assistance counselor who shall provide an eligible beneficiary with information regarding--
In other words, the section clearly states that such counseling is made available at the request of the beneficiary -- not mandatory.
After getting repeatedly shot down, you’d think right-wingers would give up on pushing this bogus claim. But given the zombie lie that “death panels” has become, that, sadly, appears unlikely.
WND Spins Tea Party Convention's Demise Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Sept. 20 WorldNetDaily article by Brian Fitzpatrick on the demise of the Judson Phillips-organized National Tea Party Convention planned for Las Vegas in October gives free rein to spin the heck out of the demise while omitting crucial information and disclosures.
Fitzpatrick notes that "there were insufficient ticket sales to continue plans for the event" but allows Phillips -- the only person Fitzpatrick apparently talked to and the only person quoted -- to blame it on the "Obama economy."
One must go elsewhere for information on the full story behind the demise. Fitzpatrick doesn't see fit to report, as Talking Points Memo did in beating WND to the story by several hours, that there was opposition to the convention among tea party groups in Nevada, and one even planned to boycott and publicly protest the convention over concerns with the legitimacy of Phillps' organziation, Tea Party Nation.
Fitzpatrick also failed to report that the convention had originally been scheduled for July, and then postponed until October, even though WND reported the schedule change at the time.
Fitzpatrick even omits mention of a couple corportate conflicts of interest: WND editor Joseph Farah was scheduled to speak at the original convention and his bio appeared on the convention's website before it was scrubbed (here it is in Google cache). Also, Phillips has become something of a WND columnist (albeit a factuallychallenged one) -- he even has a column on today's WND commentary page.
You may recall that WND provided wall-to-wall fawning coverage of Phillips' first Tea Party Nation convention in February, which Farah just happened to speak at.
President Obama removed the reference to the "Creator" from the Declaration of Independence when he quoted a portion at a meeting of the Congressional Hispanic Congress.
Obama said, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, endowed with certain inalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
But the the actual quotation is:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
WND even goes on to cite "outrage" over the omission at some obscure right-wing blog.
This was an attack too stupid not to spread, and spread it did. The MRC Culture & Media Institute's Alana Goodman was suitably indignant, touting how "Conservative bloggers wondered whether the misstatement by President Obama was a mere slip of the tongue or evidence of his true feelings about the origin of unalienable rights."Goodman went onto decry the "silence from the mainstream media, which had so quickly jumped on any verbal errors that President Bush made during his terms in office."
Needless to say, this line of attack is bogus, which Goodman and WND would have known if they had bothered to do even a minimal amount of research. Media Matters points out that Obama has used the entire phrase numerous times, and that inaccurately quoting the Declaration of Independence is common, even among conservatives.
NewsBusters Offended by Moderation Topic: NewsBusters
The Heatherization of Joe Scarborough at NewsBusters continues with Sept. 20 post by Matt Hadro, in which he expresses a bit of horror that Scarborough is embracing -- gasp! -- moderation:
MSNBC's "Morning Joe" has recently delivered some strange messages of bipartisanship and moderation to its viewers. These included lecturing would-be Koran-burner Florida pastor Terry Jones on loving one's neighbor before cutting him off without opportunity to answer, and showcasing a "Bipartisan Health Challenge" – a group of politicians and journalists walking three kilometers around the National Mall to promote fitness and bipartisanship.
Later, Scarborough continued to make an active push for a certain type of candidate. "Now we're going to continue like we've done for three years – to encourage viewers and guests to resist the pull of those people on the far Right and the "Professional Left" who seek division."
To be fair, Scarborough has expressed his approval in the past for conservative stars Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, and he is a self-described old-style conservative. He may not have been advocating centrist candidates as much as conservatives and liberals who promise to reach across the aisle.
Even so, Scarborough and company's message seems fuzzy as to who and what exactly they're endorsing – and why they were taking time to endorse them in the first place.
Only the right-wing ideologues at NewsBusters and the MRC would find bipartisanship and moderation to be a "strange" idea.
Newsmax Claims Credit for Insulting Obama Into Going to Church Topic: Newsmax
In a Sept. 20 article by Jim Meyers, Newsmax takes credit for President Obama's appearance at a church on Sunday. How? Because Mike Huckabee insulted him into doing it.
In a Sept. 17 video posted by Newsmax, Huckabee ranted that "I don’t mind him reaching out to Muslims as long as he’s reaching out to them in the same way that he’s reaching out to Christians or people who are Jewish. But what I’ve seen is that he has chastised the Jewish people for wanting to have neighborhoods for their children to grow up in. He’s certainly not been overwhelmingly kind to Christians who have a real conscience issue with things like abortion."
Embracing the corellation-equals-causation fallacy, Meyers writes:
On Friday, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said in an exclusive Newsmax interview that President Obama could deal with doubts about his faith by “leading the example of attending worship.”
The former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate also slammed President Obama, saying he has been treating Muslims better than Jews and Christians. [See story and video: Huckabee: Obama Treats Muslims Better Than Jew, Christians.]
Huckabee's complaint apparently shook up the White House over the weekend.
On Sunday, Obama attended services at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, just the third time he has worshipped in public since he took office.
Politico.com columnist Ben Smith noted the connection, suggesting that the Newsmax story motivated Obama's sudden interest in church.
Smith quoted from Huckabee’s Newsmax interview and provided a link to a website that excerpted a key portion of the interview.
Newsmax, however, is in competition with others claiming credit for Obama going to church, like Glenn Beck.
MRC Pretends 'Ground Zero Mosque' Debate Isn't About Islamophobia Topic: Media Research Center
A Sept. 15 Media Research Center "Media Reality Check" by Rich Noyes professes outrage that Americans who oppose the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero are being "smear[ed]" as exhibiting Islamophobia. But it offers no evidence that this isn't the case.
Instead, the MRC tallied up the number of "pro-mosque" and anti-mosque comments on network news (making sure to steer clear of Fox News, which has been relentlessly anti-mosque) but grouping them strangely -- a one week period in August in which anti-mosque sentiment, and a two-week period afterwards in which a "shift in coverage occurred," claiming this happened "after mosque proponents began tarring their opponents as bigots."
Noyes claimed this shift meant "the networks permitted a balanced debate about a proposed real estate project, but allowed mosque supporters to attack the majority of Americans as 'haters' and 'bigots' without adequate debate." He then moves to class-war rhetoric: "That’s yet another sign that the liberal, elite media are hopelessly out of touch with the public they ostensibly serve."
Given that Noyes never proved the underlying thesis of his report -- that opposing the Islamic center has nothing whatsoever to do to Islamophobia -- it appears that he and the MRC are hopelessly out of touch with basic research methods.
Speaking of party-line enforcers, NewsBusters seems to be full of them, don't they?
Mark Finkelstein tries his hand in a Sept. 20 post, suggesting that Rahm Emanuel wrote Joe Scarborough's statement on "Morning Joe" condemning "angry voices" and "political extremists" on the far right.Finkelstein asserts that "the manifesto's message suits Dem themes to a 'T', and carries clear echoes of a recent partisan speech by Pres. Obama at a political event" [boldface his]. Finkelstein continues [boldface his]:
But at this juncture in American political history, the anger is understandably more present on the right. The Dems, after all, control both houses of Congress and the White House, and have used their power to promote a big-government agenda on everything from health care to trillion dollar spending schemes to higher taxes. You're darn right we're angry! In instructing us to calm down, Joe and Mika are really seeking to sap the vitality from the political movement that threatens to sweep Dems from office.
Let's recapitulate: Obama says anger bad, not a vision for the future. Scarborough says anger bad, not a way to govern.
I'm sure the folks at the White House and the DNC will be delighted by Morning Joe's manifesto. They couldn't have said it better themselves.
Scarborough, of course, has been a longtimetarget for Heathering by the boys at NewsBusters. And Finkelstein might want to consult a dictionary to figure out why he misused the word "recapitulate."
Newsmax Touts Dems Critical of Obama Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax goes concern-trolling with a Sept. 19 article by serial misinformer David Patten, touting "the top 10 blue dog Democrats who have stood up to oppose the president's proposals" as exhibiting a relative level of "Democratic courage."
The front-page promo for Patten's article went even further, claiming that those Democrats "demonstrate what one Democratic icon, John F. Kennedy, once described as 'profiles in courage.'"