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Wednesday, September 29, 2010
WND Thinks Anonymous Commenters Are Newsworthy
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily is now basing entire stories around clipping anonymous commenters on others' websites.

A Sept. 27 article by Brian Fitzpatrick is about how a comment thread on Beck's new website The Blaze has been overrun by birthers. Of course, that's now how Fitzpatrick puts it, saying instead that "those concerned about Obama's unwillingness to document that he is a 'natural-born' citizen, as the Constitution requires, running 9-to-1 over those who believe it's a non-issue." Fitzpatrick goes on to quote apparently authoritative commenters like "TR68GT" and "Burnthills," presumably for their ability to regurgitate WND's own talking points on the issue.

This was followed by a Sept. 28 WND article by Bob Unruh quoting anonymous commenters at a newspaper website to support his assertion that Obama's claiming to be a Christian "doesn't necessarily make him one." Unruh treats us to comments from folks like "griffin 76" and "ceegee."

This is the epitome of laziness. Anonymous commenters are hardly newsworthy, they're more likely to contain vitriolic opinions since they're hiding behind a cloak of anonymity -- indeed, such angry comments are what WND seems to be looking for -- and all that's required on WND's part is little more than copying and pasting.

The irony is that WND doesn't allow such anonymous comments to appear on its own "news" articles -- they're confined to the daily poll question and to separate forums.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:28 AM EDT
Newsmax Fearmongers About 'Palestinian Activist' At 'Obama's Church'
Topic: Newsmax
A September 26 Newsmax “Insider Report” item, headlined “Palestinian Activist Speaks at Obama’s Church,” makes a big deal out of how, “immediately following Obama and his family’s attendance at St. John’s Episcopal Church, a pro-Palestinian activist delivered an address at the same church.” According to Newsmax, the activist used his speech to deliver “a demand for Israel ‘to surrender its biblical heartland.’” But the church is hardly “Obama’s church,” and the “pro-Palestinian activist” who spoke was repeatedly courted by the Bush administration.

Newsmax’s claim that St. John’s is “Obama’s church” is presumptuous and absurd. First, as Newsmax also noted, it was “only the third time he has worshipped publicly since taking office.” Second, as the church’s website states, “every person who has held the office of President of the United States has attended a regular or occasional service at St. John's” since the church’s founding in 1815. That means it’s just as much George W. Bush’s church or Ronald Reagan’s church (or even Grover Cleveland’s church) as it is “Obama’s church.”

Newsmax then went on to attack the “Palestinian activist,” Ziad Asali, founder and president of the American Task Force on Palestine, citing a post at a website called Israel Today that drew from dubious right-wing sources like Discover the Networks and Gateway Pundit to back up its claims. Newsmax stated that Asali’s “message, according to Israel Today, amounted to a demand for Israel ‘to surrender its biblical heartland for a phony “peace." ' " But Israel Today’s claim appears to be nothing more than a paraphrase of what it thinks Asali’s agenda is; at no point does Israel Today assert it actually listened to Asali’s remarks.

Newsmax uncritically quoted Israel Today’s claim that “Asali and the ATFP pretend to want a lasting two-state solution to the conflict,” even though that “pretend” claim is right there on its website. Newsmax also accepted Israel Today’s assertion that ATFP’s support for a “right to return” for Palestinians means that the group “advocate[s] the demographic destruction of the Jewish state”; in fact, Asali has signed onto a New America Foundation letter supporting Israel’s right to exist.

In fact, Asali is much more mainstream than Newsmax and Israel Today would have you believe.

In 2004, he was a member of the official U.S. delegation to the funeral of Yasser Arafat, and in 2005 he was a member of the official U.S. delegation observing Palestinian elections. Both of those, of course, took place under the Bush administration.

Further, The Forward has noted that Asali attended three Ramadan dinners in 2008, sponsored by the White House, the State Department and the Department of the Treasury respectively, and that the year before he “had to choose between two government Iftar events taking place at the same time.” That was also under the Bush administration.

But conservatives think all Muslims are scary, so Newsmax endorses Israel Today’s conspiracy-mongering over Obama’s church visit -- even though he didn’t even see Asali speak -- by uncritically quoting Israel Today’s claim that “Perhaps unsurprisingly, the U.S. mainstream media ignored the fact that a Muslim with a thinly-veiled anti-Israel message was preaching on the day that the Obama family attended church for only the third time in the past year. ... Presidents and their staffs don’t schedule things on a whim, and they don’t show up at the same place as someone like Asali by mere coincidence.”

Indeed. Why bother with facts when you can push baseless speculation instead?

Posted by Terry K. at 10:49 AM EDT
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Sheppard Upset That Truth Undermines His Attack
Topic: NewsBusters

Noel Sheppard went into freak-out mode in a Sept. 26 NewsBusters post, complaining that CNN's Howard Kurtz pointed out that the description of Delaware Senate candidate Chris Coons as a "bearded Marxist" was, in fact, a "clear and obvious joke" and not to be taken seriously. Sheppard's response was to reprint the entire article Coons wrote for his college newspaper in 1985, then huffing:

Reading the entire piece, and not just what Kurtz cherry-picked, does this all seem like a joke?


As such, an autobiographical article by Coons in which he referred to himself as a bearded Marxist is all a joke while comments [Coons opponent Christine] O'Donnell made concerning her religious faith are somehow relevant to this campaign.

It seems Sheppard didn't bother tor read the entire piece, because not only did Coons not refer to himself as a "bearded Marxist," he makes clear the reference is a joke:

My friends now joke that something about Kenya, maybe a strange diet, or the tropical sun, changed my personality; Africa to them seems a catalytic converter that takes in clean-shaven, clear thinking Americans and sends back Bearded Marxists.

It seems Sheppard can't tell the truth even when he's presented all the facts. It's yet another example of the Media Research Center's "Tell the Truth" campaign exempting its own employees.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:27 PM EDT
Farah: Gays Are Worse Than KKK
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah spends his Sept. 28 WorldNetDaily column gloating about how he was right about Ann Coulter's appearance at GOProud's Homocon "inherently offered affirmation of GOProud, which is exactly what it was seeking." But gloating is not enough for Farah, who goes on to portray gays as worse than even the Ku Klux Klan:

If a celebrity chooses to speak to the Ku Klux Klan, there is no question the Klan benefits from such an appearance – no matter how much the speaker might attempt to explain the differences he or she might have with the group's agenda. Justifying such an appearance by suggesting it's just another paid speaking gig would hardly mollify the criticism or negate the benefit the Klan received from the event.

Of course, no one in respectable public life would consider speaking to the Klan for those reasons.

However, I would suggest the ungodly, sin-glorifying homosexual agenda represents a far greater and far more imminent danger to the future of the United States than does the Klan's racist, ungodly and sin-glorifying agenda.

That's not to say we should never speak to or evangelize sinners – be they Klan members or homosexual activists. In fact, that's exactly what we should do. What we should never do is to embrace or celebrate or validate their activism in any way.

Farah then insisted he didn't attack Coulter and dump her from his own conference "because I'm a 'publicity whore' or a 'swine.'": "I say it because someone must say it. Even conservative celebrities need to be accountable to the truth."

If WND wasn't seeking publicity from this, why did it publish an article announcing the decision, which set off a public war of words with Coulter? And Farah's portrayal of himself as the only person with the One True Way of Christianity is the height of arrogance.

Finally, Farah's quest to hold conservatives "accountable to the truth" clearly doesn't apply to his own employees.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 PM EDT
Newsmax Scaremongers About Health Care (And Wants to Sell You Something)
Topic: Newsmax

ewsmax has decided it wants to scare its readers about health care reform, and it has enlisted perhaps the biggest scaremonger on the issue to do it -- all in the service of selling stuff.

In the grand tradition of Newsmax, it’s throwing out a loss leader as bait for something that could bring in some real revenue. This time, it’s the “two-part book” of Newsmax’s fearmongering about health care. As per usual, the book is free (except for a “nominal shipping charge” of $4.95), and includes trial subscriptions to two of Newsmax’s health newsletters, which must be canceled before the trial subscription ends to avoid being automatically charged for a full year’s subscription.

On the a web page (PDF) for this latest promotion, Newsmax health publisher Travis Davis states that among “the Nation's Top Minds in Law and Medicine” he has assembled for this scaremongering mission is “constitutional scholar and former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey,” who is apparently this promotion’s Dick Morris. You may remember McCaughey as the person Media Matters named as its 2009 Health Care Misinformer of the Year, and it appears McCaughey will be repeating some of her misleading attacks for Newsmax:

  • Newsmax’s Davis attacks Donald Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as a “staunch supporter of the National Health System (NHS) in Great Britain” who is “just one of the dangerous ‘fixers’ pulling the strings on the state of American healthcare.” McCaughey issued similar false smears of Berwick in June.
  • Davis criticizes Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel for “championing his ‘Complete Lives System,’ " which “uses an arbitrary measure called ‘social usefulness’ “ to “determine who gets treatments, surgeries, and access to doctors.” This “really means” that ‘At certain ages, one life is more valuable than another,” and that the elderly rank low on Dr. Emanuel's ‘social usefulness’ scale.” McCaughey has misleadingly bashed Emanuel too.

Newsmax has already added the discredited McCaughey as a columnist.

Among those joining McCaughey in the fearmongering, according to Davis, are Dr. Russell Blaylock, author of a Newsmax-distributed “wellness report” who in a 2009 Newsmax email advised people to not get swine flu vaccinations because they “contain a full dose of mercury, the most toxic substance known to man,” not to mention that the vaccination will “Damage Your Brain!” In fact, as Newsweek detailed, some versions of swine flu vaccine didn’t contain thimerosal, a preservative that contains mercury, and the Centers for Disease Control states that even vaccines with thimerosal pose no danger to children.

Another “top mind” recruited by Newsmax is C.L. (Clare) Gray, an anti-reform physician published by right-wing outlets who gave a speech at a anti-health care reform rally in which he attacked Ezekiel Emanuel. The rally was co-sponsored by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a conservative-leaning group that holds numerous controversial and conspiratorial views. (Blaylock is also associated with AAPS.)

Newsmax claims the book will expose “the half truths, lies, and coverups buried in Obamacare,” but the people with a record of telling half-truths and lies are the ones writing the book.

Davis used the web page to show off the scaremongering that McCaughey and crew will likely be bring us. It’s presented as “An Urgent Newsmax Health Warning” with a headline that screams, “Are You Prepared to Survive the Obama Pandemic?”



Later on, another headline announces the purported existence of “Obama's Iron Curtain . . . The Creation of Two Americas -- Which Side Are You On?”



Davis also laughably insists that his band of serial misleaders are “unbiased experts,” concluding, “It's never been more important to get the real story on Obamacare.” That may be true, but it’s not what anyone will be getting from Newsmax.

(Cross-posted at Media Matters.)

Posted by Terry K. at 11:30 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 28, 2010 11:31 AM EDT
Tell the Truth? NewsBusters Gives Krauthammer's Falsehood A Pass
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Sept. 25 NewsBusters post, Noel Sheppard touted the "weekly smackdown" issued by Charles Krauthammer over the effectiveness of President Obama's stimulus plan. But Sheppard is curiously silent about Krauthammer's false claim that there has been "a half a million increase" in government jobs under Obama.

In fact, only 46,000 federal workers appear to have been added on Obama's watch. The remainder were temporary census jobs that no longer exist.

Ironically, the video clip accompanying Sheppard's post begins with the logo from the MRC's dubious "Tell the Truth" campaign. Apparently, Sheppard and the MRC won't be holding the likes of Krauthammer to such standards -- if they're smacking down people, the truth doesn't matter.

Then again, bullying its political enemies is what the MRC's campaign is all about.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:07 AM EDT
Monday, September 27, 2010
CNS Starts 'Golden Hookah' Award

Near as we can tell, the Media Research Center does not receive funding from tobacco interests. So why has the MRC's established a "Golden Hookah" award?

We'll let CNS explain:

Today, Communications Director Craig Bannister presents the first-ever ‘Golden Hookah,' a symbolic token that will be conferred on the government spending program that wins's weekly "What Were THEY Smoking" award for outrageous government spending.


Inspired by stories that exposed federal grants that were used to subsidize research on hookah smoking in Syria and Jordan, the "Golden Hookah" symbolizes how government squanders the taxpayers' hard-earned money on outrageous, unconstitutional and even unconscionable programs. 

Funny, we don't recall CNS being interested in this sort of thing when a Republican was president. And we suspect it will disappear if Republicans return to power.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:33 PM EDT
Newsmax Adds Discredited Activist As Columnist
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax's newest columnist is a right-wing activist with a long trail of false and misleading claims.

Betsy McCaughey made her Newsmax debut with a Sept. 24 column bashing "Obamacare," her specialty. McCaughey's other specialty, however, is misleading about health care reform.

McCaughey's record is so bad on the issue -- from lying about proposed end-of-life provisions to failing to disclose conflicts of interest -- that Media Matters named her Health Care Misinformer of the Year in 2009. Her record of misinformation has continued this year, most recently falsely smearing Donald Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Adding such a discredited activist doesn't exactly help boost Newsmax's reputation.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:40 AM EDT
Obama (And Clinton) Derangement Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

With all the Obama derangement to be found on WorldNetDaily, it was inevitable that one of its writers would have a flare-up of Clinton derangement as well. Which brings us to Craig R. Smith's Sept. 27 WND column:

The single most effective recruiting tool al-Qaida possesses springs eternal from Democrats. It is the misguided appeasers who subscribe to the foolish notion that if we are nice to the enemy they will love us. It started under Bill Clinton.

In 1993, six people died in the World Trade Center bombing. Then president Bill Clinton's response? Nothing.

In 1996, 168 were killed (19 of whom were children) in the Khobar Towers U.S. military complex in Saudi Arabia. The response? Nothing.

In 1998, 244 were murdered in Nairobi, Kenya, and Tanzania at two U.S. embassies. Mr. Clinton responds once again with nothing.

In 2000, 17 U.S. sailors were executed on the USS Cole in Yemen. The leader of the free world responds with? Nothing.

That was the record under the watchful eye of William Jefferson Clinton. Short of a few words of condemnation toward al-Qaida, nothing else was done. Approximately 415 innocent men, women and children died at the hands of Islamic terrorists, with countless thousands injured. Four ruthless, Islam-inspired terrorist attacks targeted at Americans are met only with words.

Smith doesn't forget to throw in a healthy dose of Obama derangement as well:

Today, Barack Hussein Obama has picked up Clinton's torch of appeasement. While sitting in the Oval Office, he recently told Bob Woodward, "We can absorb a terrorist attack. We'll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever … we absorbed it, and we are stronger."

Is he crazy? Did he think about what he said? Apparently the teleprompter was broken.

Why would anyone taunt the enemy? Unless that person also plans to state that another attack on America will provoke an immediate and devastating response.

But there's no way this president would even think in such a fashion, no less act. And therein lies the problem in securing our freedom from terrorism. Just such an attitude from the Oval Office is the greatest recruitment tool Osama bin Laden could hope for. Under Mr. Obama, al-Qaeda will get Barack-style "diplomacy," but no actions of any consequence.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:40 AM EDT
NewsBusters Upset That Truth Is Told About Fox News
Topic: NewsBusters

It seems the Media Research Center and NewsBusters are still exempting themselves from their "Tell the Truth" campaign -- and getting upset when others do. This time the subject is Fox News.

A Sept. 21 post by Matthew Balan complains that CNN's Rick Sanchez called Fox News "essentially the voice of the Republican Party, whose job it is to make this man [Obama] look bad no matter what he does." Which, of course, is clear to any casual viewer of the channel even without knowledge of News Corp.'s $1 million donation to a Republican activist group (which the MRC has been desperately trying to spin away).

Then, in a Sept. 23 post, Noel Sheppard took offense to Jon Stewart telling Bill O'Reilly  that "on this network you are left-wing." Sheppard insisted that MSNBC is "much further to the left than FNC is to the right." How does he know? No actual evidence, of course, just assertions that in comparison to MSNBC's prime-time lineup, which is all "far to the left," O'Reilly, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity are merely "right of center," while Shepard Smith is "liberal" and Greta van Susteren "appears straight down the middle in her reporting," which is not exactly true. Sheppard then whines:

As such, for six straight hours MSNBC extended prime time programming is nothing but far-left content designed for - and often by! - the most left-leaning elements on the Internet including Think Progress, Media Matters for America, and the Netroots.

By contrast, Fox offers viewers three mostly conservative programs, two neutral, and one liberal.

Yet FNC is considered extreme and a threat to our very civilization.

Of course, it's not surprising that folks on the left and their media minions don't see things this way, for simple arithmetic is not and has never been a strong suit for liberals.

Meanwhile, actual media research is not and has never been a strong suit for conservative media researchers.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:39 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, September 27, 2010 11:04 AM EDT
Sunday, September 26, 2010
MRC Defends Beck, Goldline
Topic: Media Research Center

Jeff Poor uses a Sept. 24 MRC Business & Media Institute article to run to the defense of Glenn Beck and Goldline from criticism by Rep. Anthony Weiner, but he leaves out a few inconvenient details in the process.

Poor only mentions in passing Goldline's "unfair business practices" as "deemed" by Weiner, but he carefully avoids going into detail about them. Poor then touts how "even media financial experts advise people to have [gold] in their portfolio," which misses the point of Weiner's criticism, which is focused on the "unfair business practices" Poor doesn't want to talk about.

Poor goes on to quote "a spokesman from Goldline" claiming something so important that Poor put it in boldface: that "out of the 30 to 40 television advertisements the company runs on a daily basis, only one runs during Glenn Beck’s Fox News Channel programming." Actually, on the Sept. 24 edition of Beck's Fox News show, Goldline ran two ads.

Poor also omits mention of the "live read" Goldline ads Beck does on his radio show, which have turned into shameless defenses of the company, mixed with shameless scaremongering. Nevertheless, Poor insists that "Beck was conveying a perfectly legitimate view and speaking on the behalf of a legitimate sponsor."

Posted by Terry K. at 11:35 PM EDT
WND Columnist Repeats False Job Claim
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In his Sept. 20 WorldNetDaily column, Christopher Grey repeats a claim that "Los Angeles spent $111 million of stimulus money to save only 55 jobs. That is $2 million per job." Grey continued:

Think about how many homeless people you could house for $111 million. You could have given 740 homeless families a free and clear $150,000 home or condo. Or, you could have paid rent for 1,156 families at $800 per month for 10 years. Instead, your government, according to its own audit, created a pathetic 55 jobs.

How many children could you feed for $111 million? You could feed 3,083 children at $3,600 per year for 10 years. How many college scholarships could you give for $111 million? You could give 2,775 full four-year college scholarships of $40,000 to deserving students.

Are you feeling guilty yet? Are you feeling stupid yet for supporting these so-called liberal politicians? Are you really going to vote for the same lying, corrupt, incompetent charlatans who are spending money this way? If you are, do you have any brain activity at all? Or will you just vote for anyone who supports high taxes, high government spending, lots of regulations, and says things that make you feel good about yourself for being so enlightened, smart, and altruistic?

In fact, as Media Matters documented, Los Angeles did not spent "$2 million per job" to create 55 jobs; the city expects to create 264 jobs from the $111 million they have received once all the money has been spent, and neither job estimates for "contracted-out projects" nor indirect effects on the economy are not included in the total.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:23 AM EDT
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Aaron Klein's Lame Attacks on Senate Candidate
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein -- no stranger to desperate smears of his political enemies -- goes the desperate route again in attacking Delaware Democratic Senate candidate Chris Coons as someone with "Marxist ties" in a Sept. 23 WND article.

Klein's big piece of evidence? Coons once took a class taught by Cornel West. No, really. That's it.

But Klein hates West, so this gives him yet another opportunity to pad a WND article with attacks on him.

Needless to say, the quality and veracity of Klein's flailing attacks declines quickly from there. Klein goes on to falsely claim that Coons "describing himself as a 'bearded Marxist'"; in fact, that was a joke by his college friends.

Klein also repeats a claim by The American Spectator's Jeffrey Lord that Coons "may have ties to Black Liberation Theology" because he volunteered to work at the South African Council of Churches during the 1980s. Both Lord and Klein ignore the fact that the SACC helped lead the fight against apartheid at that same time, and that was likely the real reason for Coons' involvement.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:46 AM EDT
The MRC Suddenly Loves Bob Woodward
Topic: Media Research Center

Newsmax's Ronald Kessler isn't the only ConWeb resident to have a change of heart about Bob Woodward now that he's writing about a Democratic president. The Media Research Center regularly lambasted Woodward's claims about President Bush, but now that he's making similar claims about President Obama, they're being touted as "devastating."

Media Matters' Simon Maloy has more.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:06 AM EDT
Friday, September 24, 2010
AIM Brings Back Blogger Whose Post It Had to Retract
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Last December, we detailed how Accuracy in Media intern Allie Duzett wrote a blog post libelously calling "safe schools czar" Kevin Jennings a "pedophile," forcing AIM to delete the post and issue a retraction and quasi-apology, and that's the last we heard from Duzett at AIM.

Until now.

Duzett is back, writing a Sept. 23 AIM blog post (under the expanded name "Allie Winegar Duzett") about media bias. She manages to avoid libeling anyone this time, but the question must be asked: What is AIM thinking by allowing the return of someone who exposed it to legal jeopardy through her lies?

AIM isn't the only one who has suppressed the normal reaction to shun someone who was caught telling lies. Duzett's LinkedIn profile states that she is currently working for the Heritage Foundation; among her listed duties is "Blog on the Foundry about United States domestic policy." (UPDATE: That part seems to be a tad overblown; she has written only four posts.)

Heritage too might want to ask itself why it hired a blogger who got her previous employer in trouble with a blog post.

UPDATE: Duzett has another post up at AIM, this one attacking the New York Times as "highly biased" while ludicrously suggesting that Fox News is not.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:20 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, September 24, 2010 2:56 PM EDT

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