ConWebBlog: The Weblog of ConWebWatch

your New Media watchdog

ConWebWatch: home | archive/search | about | primer | shop

Friday, October 1, 2010
WND Scaremongers About Gardasil
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Sept. 28 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh uncriticially repeats claims by right-wing group Judicial Watch regarding deaths purportedly linked to the vaccine Gardasil, which aims to guard against a form of cervical cancer.

Unruh failed to report that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, no direct link has ever been established between Gardasil and patient deaths:

As of May 31, 2010, there have been 53 U.S. reports of death among females who have received Gardasil. Twenty nine of these reports have been confirmed and 24 remain unconfirmed due to no identifiable patient information in the report such as a name and contact information to confirm the report. Confirmed reports are those that scientists have followed up on and have verified the claim. In the 29 reports confirmed, there was no unusual pattern or clustering to the deaths that would suggest that they were caused by the vaccine.

Since he's slavishly cribbing from a Judicial Watch press release, Unruh also fails to offer any context to the purported death link. One study claims that serious adverse events linked to Gardasil occur at a rate of 3.4 per 100,000 doses; by contrast, gastrointestinal bleeding in children taking ibuprofen occurs at a rate of 17 per 100,000 doses.

Unruh also branches out into WND's usual anti-vaccination scaremongering by citing groups that "have come out publicly against mandatory vaccination."

Posted by Terry K. at 2:29 AM EDT
Thursday, September 30, 2010
CNS' Latest Gotcha Interview of Holdren Fizzles

A couple weeks back,'s Nicholas Ballasy played gotcha with right-wing target John Holdren, plucking a line from a book he wrote 30 years ago and asking him to comment on it. Ballasy apparently thought that went so well he gave it another shot. Unfortunately for Ballasy and his right-wing agenda, Holdren didn't feel like indulging him. From Ballasy's Sept. 30 CNS article:

John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said “have a nice day” and otherwise declined to comment on Tuesday when asked about a statement he made that worldwide redistribution of wealth is “absolutely essential” in order to provide all human beings with a decent life.

“Redistribution of wealth both within and among nations is absolutely essential, if a decent life is to be provided for every human being,” Holdren wrote along with Paul and Anne Ehrlich in the final chapter of Human Ecology, a book the three co-authored in 1973. Paul Ehrlich is also author of the famous 1968 bestseller, The Population Bomb. Holdren, President Obama’s top science adviser, advises the administration on issues that include health care and climate change. approached Holdren to ask him about his statement on redistributing wealth after he gave a speech on “Science, Technology, and Sustainable Economic Growth” at the Woodrow Wilson Center in the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C.

When started asking Holdren about the statement, he said, “I’m not talking to you. Bye bye. Have a nice day.” said: “You said in your book Human Ecology, quote, ‘Redistribution of wealth both within and among nations is absolutely essential, if a decent life is to be provided for every human being.’”

“I hope you have a really nice day,” Holdren said as he boarded an elevator, declining further comment.

Ballasy is clearly so unashamed to be a right-wing activist pretending to be a journalist that he seems to think he's not the one who looks bad when his target won't take his bait -- so much so that he devotes an entire story to his failure.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:26 PM EDT
MRC Pretends It Didn't Support O'Keefe's Previous Stunts
Topic: Media Research Center

When news broke of right-wing activist James O'Keefe's weird, creepy attempted stunt against CNN, the Media Research Center's Brent Bozell was unsually quick to denounce it:

"The MRC unequivocally denounces James O’Keefe for his attempted assault on CNN. It isn't just childish and immature; it's ugly, dishonest and filthy. There is no place in the conservative movement for this type of behavior and that’s exactly what I warned about in a commentary piece I submitted to just two days ago. 'Could the Citizen Journalist abuse the public trust?' I wrote in this piece that should run in the next few days. 'Hypothetically, of course. Conservatives must all guard against this. Let there be scrutiny, by all means.' And I repeat: there must be scrutiny."

"Bottom line: We want nothing to do with O'Keefe or his dirty antics."

What Bozell didn't do is mention the MRC's support of O'Keefe's previous antics.

NewsBusters touted the impact of O'Keefe's undercover ACORN stunt -- Lachlan Markay proudly declared it a "case study in combating media liberalism" -- and even rushed to his defense following his arrest inside Sen. Mary Landrieu's office preparing for another stunt.

As recently as June, MRC news analyst Scott Whitlock was upset that ABC's George Stephanopoulos was confronting O'Keefe with indisputable facts like that he's an activist and not a journalist, and his ACORN undercover stunt uncovered no illegal activity.

Will the MRC and its writers address their previous support of O'Keefe and his stunts? Somehow we suspect not.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:11 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 30, 2010 3:13 PM EDT
CNS' Obama Word Obsession

Not only is obsessed with counting President Obama's words, it obsesses over single words Obama says or doesn't say.

A Sept. 27 CNS article by Terry Jeffrey asserts: "Just seven days after he sparked controversy by omitting the word 'Creator' when he closely paraphrased the passage from the Declaration of Independence that says all men 'are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights,' President Barack Obama again omitted the Creator when speaking about the 'inalienable rights' that 'everybody is endowed with.'" Of course, Obama didn't "spark the controversy"; right-wing websites sparked it. And Jeffrey doesn't note that conservatives have omitted it as well.

Jeffrey followed up with a Sept. 29 article that got even more picky:

President Barack Obama referred to illegal aliens in the United States as “us” on Tuesday while renewing his call for giving them a “pathway to citizenship”—an amnesty--and castigating opponents of such an amnesty as demagogues.

Jeffrey doesn't explain why "illegal aliens" are not "us" -- presumably, he think they are a "them." If he can't explain the difference, there isn't one.

Further, as we've detailed, Obama's proposed "pathway to citizenship" is not "an amnesty," and Jeffrey doesn't explain why Obama's pathway conditions of paying fines and back taxes, learning English and not having a criminal record constitute "amnesty." CNS has previously claimed that "amnesty" is a term used by "critics" and "opponents" of comprehensive immigration reform.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:20 AM EDT
CNS' Jeffrey: Abolish Public Schools

President Barack Obama said on NBC on Monday he would like American children to spend more time in public schools. Here is a better idea: American children should spend no time in public schools.

County by county, state by state, Americans should begin functionally abolishing government-run schools and replacing them with a free market in schools. On the federal level, Congress should kill the Department of Education by choking off its funding. The department was not constitutional in the first place.


Every community in America should give all parents a voucher equal to what it now pays per-pupil for its public schools, allowing those parents to use those vouchers at any school they choose. Let the market decide if government-run schools survive.

-- Terry Jeffrey, Sept. 29 column

Posted by Terry K. at 2:41 AM EDT
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
New Article: A Laughable 'Case For Impeachment'
Topic: Western Journalism Center
WorldNetDaily and the Western Journalism Center team up to publish an error-ridden, lie-filled anti-Obama screed. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 3:06 PM EDT
MRC's Noyes Inadvertently Undermines Anti-CNN Narrative
Topic: Media Research Center

A Sept. 28 Media Research Center item (and NewsBusters item) by Rich Noyes depicts Eliot Spitzer's presence as a co-host of a new CNN show as "CNN’s effort to rehabilitate this scandal-scarred liberal," and he "pulled together quotes from CNN’s coverage of Spitzer’s scandal back in March 2008. MRC video editor Bob Parks turned the clips we found into a polished video presentation documenting how the infamous “Client #9” was mocked and derided by the anchors and correspondents who are now his colleagues."

As Media Matters pointed out when Fox News' Bret Baier repeated the clips pulled by Noyes, this shows that "CNN seems to have an atmosphere where criticisms can be made of politicians from both sides of the aisle." That seems to be the opposite of what Noyes intended, and it runs counter to the MRC's entire narrative that CNN is unrepentantly liberal.

Further, Media Matters goes on to note that one would have a hard time assembling a similar montage of criticism by Fox News personalities of the Republican presidential candidates-in-waiting on the Fox News payroll.

Here's an idea for Noyes: Try running that same clip search on Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and/or Rick Santorum to find Fox News personalities criticizing them in any given one-week period (the same length of time from which the CNN Spitzer-bashing comments were pulled). We'd be shocked if he could find the same number of critical comments. Which is why we don't expect Noyes to do it.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:42 PM EDT
CMI Still Upset That Books Contain Gay Characters
Topic: Media Research Center

Matt Philbin seems to think not enough books are banned.

In a Sept. 27 MRC Culture & Media Institute article, Philbin complains about "Banned Books Week" being championed by Huffington Post, "The house organ for the self-important Hollywood left." Philbin tries to parse banning:

It doesn’t matter that asking that a book be removed from a school library is far different from banning it, or that school boards, local library boards and municipal councils who decide such things are usually reflecting the democratic will of parents and local residents. The right to give children dirty books is absolute!

And that’s what banned books week is about. For every “To Kill a Mockingbird” or “Harry Potter,” there are 10 “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” or “Kissing Kate.” The former was challenged “for its depictions of “homosexuality, sexually explicit, anti-family, offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, drugs, [and] suicide,” the latter “for offensive language and nudity.” The Huffington Post itself has praised teen books that push the gay agenda, and the American Library Association routinely awards gay-themed books.

Whatever the Huffington Post and the ALA say, America doesn’t ban books. Concerned parents worry about certain books being where children can access them. Banned Books Week is about the left knocking down a long-dead straw man.

As we've detailed, CMI has long been offended that books for teen readers include gay characters who aren't punished for being gay. Philbin links to another example, a July 19 CMI column by Melissa Afable expressing anger that books were "offering gay role models to teens" and providing "mainstreaming of homosexuality through teen literature."

It seems Philbin and his CMI cohorts want to ban all homosexual characters in literature if said characters aren't depicted as depraved and evil -- doing otherwise would "push the gay agenda," and Philbin apparently can't handle the idea of gays who function normally in society.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:30 PM EDT
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

Newer | Latest | Older

Bookmark and Share

Get the WorldNetDaily Lies sticker!

Find more neat stuff at the ConWebWatch store!

Buy through this Amazon link and support ConWebWatch!

Support This Site

« October 2010 »
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Bloggers' Rights at EFF
Support Bloggers' Rights!

News Media Blog Network

Add to Google