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Friday, November 19, 2010
Bozell Ignores Right-Wing Softballs for Bush Book
Topic: Media Research Center

In his Nov. 16 column, Brent Bozell writes about news coverage of former President Bush's new book, complaining that NBC's Matt Lauer, in a one-hour interview, "toed the liberal line" and dared to be somewhat confrontational and seemed proud that "Lauer never laid a glove" on the former president.

It seems that Bozell would have preferred the approach of Fox News and right-wing radio hosts, which used their interviews with Bush as an opportunity to rewrite his presidency by promoting false claims and misinformation about Bush's tenure.

Bozell went on to complain that news outlets "created these myths about the stupidity of Reagan and Bush," but doesn't hold his fellow right-wingers responsible for creating and maintaining myths about Bush's brilliance in office.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:15 AM EST
WND Columnist Rants About TSA, Liberals
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Craige McMillan writes in his Nov. 18 WorldNetDaily column:

TSA is very much like the income-tax-administered health-care law passed by the Democrats. Health "reform" was an end run around the Constitution, using the IRS to give the government permission for something it doesn't have. So too the TSA is an end run around the Constitution. TSA is designed to give the federal government something denied it by the Constitution: A federal police force.

Now you have an inkling of how it works, America.

It wouldn't be McMillan if he didn't engage in some good old-fashioned derangement, and he delivers:

Here's a summary of today's elitist thinking on security: Islam trying to kill us; Islam good. Christianity trying to save us; Christianity bad.

The more prestigious the university attended, the more likely it has indoctrinated its wards with communist propaganda and historical revisionist fantasies, devised by a faculty intentionally removed from daily reality. These permanently defiled grads have gone on to their rightful (in their minds) places of influence, educated to the ethical and historical level of third-graders at the time of the American Revolution.

Thanks, Mr. McMillan, for reminding us yet again why nobody should take anything you say seriously.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:31 AM EST
Updated: Friday, November 19, 2010 9:15 AM EST
Jeffrey Breaks CNS Style to Bash Gays

Standard style is to use the word "homosexual" instead of "gay." Terry Jeffrey largely breaks with that style in his Nov. 17 column.

Why? Perhaps because Jeffrey's column is syndicated, and he knows that no self-respecting newspaper editor would put up with a right-wing construct designed to be insulting to gays.

Jeffrey's column, by the way, is intended to demonstrate that "there can be no such thing as a pro-gay-agenda conservative":

By definition, conservatives are against the gay agenda because the gay agenda ultimately seeks to overturn the moral order that makes freedom possible. Fidelity to the natural law—including in the laws of our land—is at the very core of what conservatives seek to conserve.

Jeffrey never explains what the "gay agenda" is.

Jeffrey specifically targets the gay-conservative group GOProud, claiming that "most of the new Republicans elected to Congress on Nov. 2 told voters they were pro-life and pro-marriage. What GOProud and its allies are saying to these new congressmen is that when they get to Washington, D.C., they should not act on the principles they told voters they stood for when they ran for office. That can hardly be a tenet of the tea party."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:53 AM EST
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Teen Thinks Molotov Mitchell Is A Good Role Model
Topic: WorldNetDaily

David Thompson is a youth whose father, as a present for his 13th birthday, gave him the opportunity to meet with "52 godly men, men of character and integrity who would not only be able to share from their wealth of experience in business and professions but also in the greater arena of how to approach life from the perspective of someone who is committed to the lordship of Jesus Christ." David's experiences are detailed on his blog.

Nothing wrong with that -- in fact, it's an interesting and creative idea. Unfortunately, one of these "godly men" chosen to spend time with David is Molotov Mitchell.

David writes that he got to hang with Molotov at his video operation and attend a Krav Maga martial-arts class with him. Molotov even made him the subject of his latest WorldNetDaily video, in which he "joked" that Molotov "took me hunting liberals," complete with playing with a huge assault rifle:

Now, is someone who who allow a 13-year-old to "joke" about "hunting liberals" really a "godly man"?  Is someone who despises gays so much that he seems to be encouraging violence against them and has no objection to a law that would execute them merely for being gay a "godly man"? Is someone who would repeatedly lie and misinform about those he despises a "godly man"?

We would argue that he is not. It's sad that David Thompson and his father apparently think he is.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:28 PM EST
Kessler Serves Up Another Bush Fluffing
Topic: Newsmax

The release of former President Bush's new book has given Newsmax's Ronald Kessler a new reason to fluff his favorite president, a opportunity he has already taken advantage of. Apparently trying to prove that too much fluffing is not enough, Kessler does it again in a Nov. 17 column by taking the bizarre approach of chiding Bush for not taking enough credit for his administration's successes:

In his book “Decision Points,” former President Bush failed to mention that Saddam Hussein admitted to FBI agent George Piro that he was planning on resuming his WMD program, including development of a nuclear weapon.

Why would Bush omit such an important point when addressing the pros and cons of taking down Saddam? As noted in the Newsmax piece "'Decision Points' Brings Out the Real George W. Bush," while Bush made the right decisions to prevent another terrorist attack, he often neglected to communicate well to the American people, undercutting his agenda. The failure to mention such an important point in his book spotlights that tendency.

Kessler's goal is still making his hero look as good as possible, asserting, "Now that Bush is going on the book circuit, people are getting a glimpse of what a decent, humorous, and articulate man he is." He even quotes an anonymous "close friend of Bush" to give a positive spin on one supposed failure of the presidency:

I asked a close friend of Bush why he so neglected the communication side of his presidency.

“I believe President Bush is very focused on results,” he said.

As for not mentioning that we practice waterboarding on our own troops, he said, “I imagine it was enough for the president that his lawyers said waterboarding is legal, and I imagine it would have angered more people than it softened to point out that we subject our own troops to it.”


Ironically, we now have in the White House a president who is a master at communicating, but so many of his policies are weakening the country. In contrast, Bush’s policies kept us safe after the 9/11 attack, but he didn’t explain them well.

Ideally, we would have a president who is a good communicator and a good president, as was Ronald Reagan. But given a choice between the two qualities, I’ll take the latter any day.

A good fluffer, right to the end.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:16 PM EST
WND Still Won't Admit Obama Trip Figure Is False
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily just can't let go of the lie about the cost of President Obama's trip to Asia.

A Nov. 18 WND article details yet another attempt by Les Kinsolving to get the cost of thetrip out of White House press secretary Robert Gibbs. The article falsely suggests that the $200 million cost has some validity, stating only that the White House was "denying a report that the daily cost of President Obama's trip to India would be $200 million – but refusing to reveal the actual cost."

At no point does WND acknowledge that numerous news organizations and fact-checking groups that have looked into the number have repeatedly discredited the figure.

What a dishonest "news" organization.

On a side note, Kinsolving's second question to Gibbs was this:

Robert, presuming the president supports the Transportation Safety Administration's pat-down searches of airline passengers and that he believes they will never have male security personnel patting down female passengers, what if any of these male security personnel are not heterosexual?

WND justifies this bizarre line of questioning by highlighting how rabidly anti-gay group American for Truth About Homosexuality had previously raised the issue of "the sexual nature of the invasive pat-downs."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:18 PM EST
Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has apparently decided that any news report on gay culture that doesn't harshly condemn it is a "promotion" of the gay lifestyle.

That depiction-equals-approval fallacy is exactly the approach MRC news analyst Matthew Balan takes in a Nov. 17 NewsBusters post, in which he declares a CNN report on the idea of "e-marriages" as a way to get around state laws that ban gay marriage to be a "promotion" of it. Balan huffed of CNN's Ali Velshi, who reported the segment: "This isn't the first time Velshi has helped promote the homosexual agenda."

Balan, it seems, has a serious problem with the very existence of gay-related reporting, particularly on CNN:

Overall, CNN has regularly devoted segments to pushing homosexual activism during 2010. On August 4, the network leaned mostly towards those who opposed Proposition 8 after the voter-approved amendment to the California state constitution was struck down by a federal judge. Later that month, highlighted a new online magazine for same-sex couples planning their same-sex "marriage" ceremonies.

During June, CNN aired several pro-homosexual agenda segments as part of their promotion for their propagandistic "Gary and Tony Have a Baby" documentary. On October 7, anchor Anderson Cooper gave cover to openly-homosexual University of Michigan student body president Chris Armstrong, stating that he "hardly seems...[to have] a radical agenda," despite his support for gender-neutral student housing. The network also heavily promoted GLAAD's "Spirit Day" or "Wear Purple Day"on October 20 by devoting five segments to the cause.

A little obsessed about subject, are we, Mr. Balan?

UPDATE: Media Matters catches Balan in another example of botched media criticism, when he claimed in a Nov. 16 NewsBusters post that CNN hosts Kathleen Parker and Eliot Spitzer "failed to give ideological labels to their liberal guests, while clearly identifying Tim Phillips as being president of 'Americans for Prosperity, a right-wing group' and labeling Bjorn Lomborg a 'controversial author.'" But as Balan himself stated, Rep. Anthony Weiner was identified as a "Democratic representative from New York," and Russell Simmons was described as an "avid Obama supporter." Balan doesn't explain what that's not a sufficient "ideological label."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:06 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, November 18, 2010 12:52 PM EST
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Dan Gainor's Hypocritical Freak-Out
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Dan Gainor freaks out over reports that Sarah Palin's daughter Willow used homophobic slurs on her Facebook account. Not that Willow used the slurs -- that would run counter to the MRC's anti-gay agenda -- but that they were reported in the first place. Gainor writes on his Twitter account: "Sleazy left finds new Palin to attack. This one's only 16. Scumbags. HuffPo's disgusting."

Gainor links to a Huffington Post account of the incident, which was first reported by TMZ. But HuffPo doesn't "attack" Palin; it merely reports what had surfaced about her Facebook posts. It seems that telling the truth about conservatives (or their children) equals "attacking" them, as far as Palin is concerned.

Needless to say, Gainor is being hypocritical on the subject of the foibles of politicians' children. Back in 2001, the MRC was offended that the media didn't give blanket coverage to a speeding ticket received by Al Gores then-17-year-old son:

The network fascination with the initial investigation of Jenna Bush for using another person’s ID to buy an alcoholic drink at an Austin restaurant Tuesday night contrasts with how the networks last summer ignored the speeding and reckless driving citations issued to Albert Gore III for going 97 mph in a 55 mph zone. While Gore was 17 at the time of his offense on an August weekend before the Democratic convention, and so still a minor, and Bush’s daughters are now 19, the media-applied standard has been that offspring are only off-limits until they make "the police blotter."

As we noted at the time, the difference between Jenna Bush and Al Gore III was that Bush was over 18, got popped for the same offense twice within a month, and faced the threat of possible jail time because of a get-tough law her father signed into law as Texas governor, due to an alleged third alcohol-related offense.

The MRC expressed no concern over attacking a minor in the Gore case as Gainor does regarding Willow Palin.

Gainor also ignores the fact that Facebook is at least a quasi-public forum, and it's not that much of a violation of privacy to reprint her words, which no one has denied are hers.

While one should always tread carefully when dragging the children of politicians into the spotlight, it's hypocritical for Gainor to complain about the treatment of Willow Palin when his employer sought to do the exact same thing to Al Gore III.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:29 AM EST
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: Newsmax

As a transnational, Obama is as much a citizen of the world (an oxymoron to be sure) as an American national. It may even explain why there are many Americans who believe he is a Muslim, despite his denials. There is little doubt that he is the first transnational president, even though some historians pin that tag on Woodrow Wilson.

He is also probably the first president sufficiently arrogant to assume he possesses insight into the American character others do not possess. Perhaps this explains why he has called Republican opponents, “enemies” a characterization unprecedented from a president of the United States.

From my perspective these statements and characterizations are beneath contempt, but obviously not beneath this president.

-- Herbert London, Nov. 17 Newsmax column

Posted by Terry K. at 10:06 AM EST
Aaron Klein Anonymous Source Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Aaron Klein is all about anonymously sourced attacks on President Obama. He's been pretty busy lately on this front.

Klein wrote in an Oct. 31 article that "Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is 'shaking from fear' about the policies that President Obama will enact toward Israel after this week's midterm elections," citing only "a senior Palestinian Authority official" as support.

A Nov. 9 article claims that "The White House is working with the Palestinians to enhance their diplomatic stature in the U.S. and in European countries as a step toward the possible unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state," again citing only "a senior Palestinian Authority official."

That mysterious "senior PA official" surfaces again in a Nov. 12 article, supposedly claiming that "A U.S. proposal for a deal with the Palestinian Authority did not include an Israeli lease for part of the strategic Jordan Valley as widely reported."

Klein cites no on-the-record source to back up any of these main claims.

Given Klein's demonstrated antipathy toward Obama, there's no reason for anyone to trust that these attacks have any factual basis, especially given his repeated propensity for hiding behind anonymity to make them.

Just because WND has abysmally low journalistic standards doesn't mean the rest of us should.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:07 AM EST
Farah's Mysterious Poll Somewhat Resolved
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We have an answer to the question of Joseph Farah's mysterious poll.

Earlier, we wrote about how Farah used his WorldNetDaily column to promote a poll result claiming that "our greatest hope for the future of this nation" is a "Return to traditional moral values,"but Farah curiously failed to explain where the poll came from, though he insisted on calling it "a scientific public opinion survey."

Alert ConWebWatch readers pointed us in the direction of a new book called "Beyond a House Divided: The Moral Consensus Ignored by Washington, Wall Street and the Media" by Carl Anderson. Indeed, Farah touts the book in his column as something that could set straight "the elitists who report the news, make our movies and TV shows, sell us goods, make our laws and teach our children," and WND's store is selling the book.

Anderson is the supreme knight of the Catholic fraternal group Knights of Columbus, and a series of polls paid for by the K of C and conducted by Marist College apparently forms the basis for the book.

The website for Anderson's book lists several of these polls -- but not the one Farah is referring to. Further, the Marist poll blog of items tagged "Knights of Columbus" makes no reference to this particular poll.

Marist generally has a good reputation for accuracy, but the K of C is an organization with an agenda, which raises concerns about the poll's balance. Since we don't have a copy of Anderson's book -- which apparently is the only place to find this particular poll -- we have to reserve judgment on it until we get more information.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:16 AM EST
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
New Article: The ConWeb's Bad Trip
Topic: WorldNetDaily
In defiance of the facts, WorldNetDaily and the Media Research Center cling to the repeatedly discredited claim that President Obama spent $200 million a day on his trip to India. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 2:34 PM EST
WND Again Tries to Cash In on Right-Wing Activism
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has never been shy about trying to fleece its readers for cash in the name of political activism, as exemplified by its numerous campaigns in which readers pay WND for the privilege of sending protest letters to members of Congress.

Well, WND is at it again, launching a similar pay-for-protest campaign against the TSA's new full-body scanners and more invasive security procedures:

The innovative campaign called "STOP AIRPORT HUMILIATION NOW" permits anyone to deliver 537 letters, with delivery guaranteed by Fed Ex, to all those officials – putting them on notice that Americans are angry and will not tolerate these abuses of privacy.

Because of the volume of these messages, WND is able to send them less expensively than American citizens could send them individually. Through this program, you can send the 537 messages for only $29.95. To replicate that feat individually, postage alone would cost more than $236. But the impact of participating in the "STOP AIRPORT HUMILIATION CAMPAIGN" makes your protest much more impressive – being a part of a mass movement, rather than an individual grievance, explained Farah.

WND also touts its previous self-proclaimed successes, such as "the historic 'Send Congress a Pink Slip' campaign that buried Congress in 9 million letters of grievance and another campaign that helped free railroaded Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Campeon."

But if you run the numbers, the factually challenged "pink slip" campaign isn't that impressive. Divide 9 million by the 535 slips sent out as a result of each order, and you get less than 17,000 participants. And if you take that number and multiply it by the $29.95 it charged readers to do this, WND raked in more than $503,000 on that campaign alone -- presumably much more than it cost to print and mail those slips.

Further, Ramos and Compean (WND misspelled his name) were not "railroaded." As we detailed at the time, the two agents, who had fired 15 shots at a fleeing suspect along the border they claimed they believed was armed, covered up their involvement by picking up their shell casings and failed to file an incident report. To our knowledge, WND has never contradicted these facts. Ramos and Compean were ultimately sentenced to prison, and the sentences were commuted by President Bush.

Meanwhile, the ever-shameless Joseph Farah promotes the campaign in his Nov. 16 column, right down to repeating the unsupported claim that a WND campaign helped free the "railroaded" Ramos and Compean.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:50 PM EST
Newsmax's Hirsen Touts Sleazy GOP Consultant's Claim
Topic: Newsmax

A Nov. 15 Newsmax article by James Hirsen touts how a new documentary on the downfall of Eliot Spitzer as New York governor in the wake of a prostitution scandal "causing embarrassment to the brass at CNN," where Spitzer co-hosts a show. But Hirsen gets a key fact wrong and ignores a blatant bit of hypocrisy.

Hirsen writes that "Robert Stone, a GOP consultant, reveals in the film how he, via a letter, informed the FBI of Spitzer’s unusual affinity for the world’s oldest profession." But Hirsen gets the name wrong -- it's Roger Stone. And Hirsen doesn't tell you anything about why Stone might know such a thing about Spitzer.

Well, Stone reportedly calls himself the sleaziest man in American politics. Indeed, as we noted the last time Newsmax referenced him, Stone has a decidedly outside-the-GOP lifestyle, most recently marching in the New York gay pride and exchanging licks with a fellow participant.

It seems Hirsen may be as embarrassed by having to tout Stone as he claims CNN is over Spitzer.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:23 PM EST
Joseph Farah's Mysterious Poll
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah writes in his Nov. 15 WorldNetDaily column:

"What is our greatest hope for the future of this nation?"

That was a question put to Americans in a scientific public opinion survey last July.

What do you suppose was the No. 1 answer?

Was it Barack Obama?

Was it a Republican Congress?

Was it a better business environment?

Was it lower taxes and less regulation?

Was it smaller government?

No, it was not Barack Obama. And it wasn't any of the other answers as well. That might shock those trying to push the tea-party movement to promote an exclusively – and I do mean exclusively – economic or materialistic agenda.

The No. 1 answer was, instead, "Return to traditional moral values."

That answer was chosen by 49 percent of Americans in the poll, over the following:

  • Technological innovation – 16 percent
  • A better business environment – 13 percent
  • The next generation – 12 percent
  • The next election – 10 percent

So, who conducted this "scientific public opinion survey" that Farah is referring to? How was it conducted? Who paid them to conduct it? What was the margin of error?

We don't know the answers to any of these questions. Farah doesn't tell us, and a Google search turned up no details whatsoever about this poll. Besides, "What is our greatest hope for the future of this nation?" is hardly the kind of question that a legitimately objective pollster would ask.

The fact that Farah is being intentionally vague about the poll to which he's referring says a lot about the veracity of the poll. If he can't do something so simple as tell us where to find this poll, perhaps it shouldn't be trusted.

Which, of course, undermines the entire premise of Farah's column, which is yet another attempt to inject a social agenda into the tea party. No wonder he's being so vague about this poll.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:04 AM EST

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