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Tuesday, December 7, 2010
New Article: A Manufactured Controversy Masterpiece
Topic: Media Research Center
It took three tries for the Media Research Center to parlay its hatred of liberal content in museums into a major issue, but it finally succeeded with an attack on a gay-related exhibit. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 12:52 AM EST
Monday, December 6, 2010
Is Newsmax Giving Mark Foley the Rehab Treatment?
Topic: Newsmax

A Dec. 6 Newsmax "Insider Report" item details how disgraced Rep. Mark Foley is "reportedly is considering a run for local office in Florida -- and he won’t rule out seeking a return to Congress." Only Newsmax doesn't describe Foley as anything close to "disgraced."

Newsmax states that Foley "resigned from the U.S. House in a brouhaha in 2006," continuing:

Foley, first elected to the House in Florida in 1994, resigned in September 2006 following disclosures that he had sent inappropriate and sometimes explicit messages to former congressional pages.

Multiple investigations concluded Foley had never engaged in improper acts with the pages.

Newsmax doesn't explain how something can be "inappropriate" yet not "improper." That also depends on one's definition of improper.

While it appears there's no evidence Foley engaged in sexual behavior with minors -- Florida eventually dropped a criminal investigation into the case -- he clearly engaged in sexually explicit email conversations with current and former pages and at least one former page claimed to have a sexual encounter with Foley, all of which is arguably both inappropriate and improper.

Newsmax's whitewash of Foley's past can only mean one thing: it's another rehab campaign.

As we've detailed, Newsmax has given the likes of Bernarrd Kerik and Ralph Reed a forum to promote their political agendas without having to be confronted with their unsavory pasts. Foley would certainly be a likely rehab candidate -- after all, in 2005 Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy donated to Foley's abortive Senate campaign two days before Newsmax published a flattering article about Foley.

Newsmax is clearly not above giving Foley the full rehab treatment. But it is really worth the time and effort to rehab someone best known for getting way too close to teenage pages?

Posted by Terry K. at 3:19 PM EST
MRC's Gainor Targets Scarborough for Not Fawning Over Palin
Topic: Media Research Center

It seems to be official now: The Media Research Center will not tolerate any criticism whatsoever of Sarah Palin, especially by conservatives.

On the heels of Mark Finkelstein's Heathering of conservatives Joe Scarborough and Nicolle Wallace for committing the sin of failing to flatter Palin, MRC vice president Dan Gainor has penned a column focusing solely on bashing Scarborough for daring to criticize Palin:

Each day Scarborough tries to skewer as much as he can of the right and still pretend to be conservative. Scarborough, a former Florida Republican congressman, has become a vocal voice for what he calls 'Switzerland' in the cable world - somehow a neutral outlet to both sides. He's delusional. Scarborough has more RINO (Republican In Name Only) in him than the National Zoo. (Conservatives should also recall during the Cold War that the real Switzerland was no more friendly to the U.S. than Scarborough is to the right.)

Nonting that Sbarborough has expressed a desire to help a "cenrist civility group," Gainor rants:

Civility? Scarborough doesn't even know how to spell it. He goes hunting for Palin and other conservatives the way Palin hunts moose, stalking the right each day ready to open fire. Back in August, he bashed the GOP for wanting to rein in illegal immigration. His response was to moan: 'My party. What happened to my party?' He concluded his view by claiming: 'We are going to ban Santa Claus next.' This after previously calling Arizona's new anti-illegal immigration law 'unacceptable and un-American.'

His July attack on Republican Senate candidate Sharon Angle called her 'a jackass,' which must mean he's using a standard MSNBC definition of 'civility' in this new group.

But he has particular venom reserved for the former governor of Alaska. He recently told his audience that Palin's 'not going to run. It's The Art of War. The reason she's saying this is cause she knows she can't win.' Then why is she making noises about 2012? 'I hate to say it - it's about money,' he claimed. 'Hate to say it?' No he doesn't. He despises her and loves to say it.

Gainor, it seems, has decided that any criticism of Palin is uncivil and, therefore, forbidden. And it's clear Gainor has no interest in civility himself.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:47 PM EST
WND Pushes Scary Anti-DADT Claim
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Dec. 3 WorldNetDaily article by Brian Fitzpatrick highlighted a claim by Sen. John McCain that repealing the military's don't ask, don't tell policy "could drive massive numbers of troops out of the service," focusing on his assertion that a Pentagon survey finding that 12.6 percent of those polled would think about leaving the military earlier than planned translated to 264,000 troops leaving the military.

Fitzpatrick then piled on by citing Bob Maginnis, "military analyst" for the anti-gay hate group Family Research Council, who said, "If you add in the number who said they 'might' leave, you get 23.7 percent. That would be 528,000, when you count both active duty and reserves."

What Fitzpatrick doesn't bother to report is that the speculation of McCain and Maginnis runs counter to the actual experiences of other countries that have implemented a similar policy. As Media Matters detailed, a 2003 article in Parameters, the U.S. Army War College Quarterly found that "[n]ot a single one of the 104 experts interviewed believed that the Australian, Canadian, Israeli, or British decisions to lift their gay bans ... led to increased difficulties in recruiting or retention."

You'd think that would be relevant to include in such an article. Fitzpatrick didn't. In fact, he quotes no DADT critics in his article.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:39 AM EST
NewsBusters Bashes Thomas, Ignores Catholic League's Donohue Saying Same Thing
Topic: Media Research Center

NewsBusters has been quick to pounce on Helen Thomas' recent remark that "Congress, the White House, and Hollywood, Wall Street, are owned by the Zionists." Noel Sheppard called it "anti-Semitic," "disgusting," and "pathetic," adding, "Makes you sick, doesn't it?"

We are by no means defending Thomas, but we couldn't help but notice that NewsBusters and its parent, the Media Research Center, has been a tad inconsistent about denouncing such remarks. You might even call it a double standard.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue made a remark similar to Thomas' in 2004, when he said on MSNBC, "Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It's not a secret, okay? And I'm not afraid to say it." He even defended the remark in 2006.

Yet we could find no mention whatsoever of Donohue's remark in either the MRC or NewsBusters archives. Why? Perhaps Donohue is a friend of MRC chief Brent Bozell -- after all, Bozell is on the board of advisors for the Catholic League, and he dedicated a column to slobbering all over Donohue and a book he had written:

There are an awful lot of people I know in the world of public policy, many of whom I respect and admire. But beyond respecting his wisdom and admiring his courage, I just plain like Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League. I like his Irish feistiness. I like his sense of loyalty. I like his sense of humor. Most of all, I like how he drives his opponents mad. And with his new book, "Secular Sabotage: How Liberals are Destroying Religion and Culture in America." he could be expected to be stricken from all manner of Christmas card lists -- except the people he skewers don’t believe in Christmas.

Disclaimer: I’m on the Board of Advisors of the Catholic League. I’ve been involved with this terrific organization for many years because Bill Donohue invited me, and I’ve never been able to refuse Bill Donohue anything.

Don't expect anything critical of Donohue to come out of the MRC.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:51 AM EST
Updated: Monday, December 6, 2010 12:27 PM EST
Sunday, December 5, 2010
WND's Welch: Repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell Unleashes 'Demonic Aggression''
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Dave Welch still hates gay people, and he displays it again in his Dec. 4 WorldNetDaily column ranting about the possible repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell:

As the battle over "don't ask, don't tell" continues to rage inside and outside the D.C. Beltway – or as a good friend of mine who works there calls it, "the work-free drug place" – some larger questions must be asked. The underlying premise behind the GLBTQIA juggernaut that brought us to this point is that there are no moral boundaries governing sexual behavior.


The wildly successful campaign to secularize our culture, our government (including schools), the arts and now our churches has brought us to the point where in much of the country we are arguing about what defines male and female. The old demand for boys to "Be a man!" is not only passé but offensive, because being a man means you can now dress and live like a woman if it is what you feel like – and vice versa for women.

DADT is not really about military effectiveness as much as about unleashing the demonic aggression that is now teaching kindergartners about condoms and gender identity full force into the last "masculine" institution that represents the essence of right and wrong. If homosexuals, lesbians, bisexuals and the gender confused are allowed to "serve openly," then they are given carte blanche to demand equality and acceptance at every level of military policy.

And he doesn't stop there,  branding anyone who doesn't hate gays as much as he does as insufficiently masculine:


Passive Christians and, most egregiously, passive pastors are the greatest problem, and the only remaining question is whether we will find enough males who are men in pulpits who are willing to take the risk of being branded and ridiculed by our opponents for daring to speak truth.

We have no problem daring to speak truth: Dave Welch is a hater.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:43 PM EST
Bozell: Gay Art Isn't Art
Topic: Media Research Center

Brent Bozell outlines his definition of art in his Dec. 3 column -- if he doesn't like it, or if it involves gays, it isn't art.

Bozell repeatedly puts "art" in scare quotes when discussing the works targeted by his organization's manufactured outrage over an exhibition at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery:

But apparently this gay and lesbian “art” needs to push more, more, evermore. So we have depictions of homoeroticism, including images of male genitalia on display; pinups of naked men, and paintings of two brothers, buck naked, making out. Still there must be more, so we have sadomasochistic themes, like imagery of mummified human remains and a portrait of a man devouring himself. Each has a “deep” meaning, see. Each is “art.”

Bozell also falsely portrays the exhibition as being funded by taxpayers:

And you, American taxpayer, you are making it possible. Your $761 million annually to the Smithsonian, and $5.8 million annually to the National Portrait Gallery makes it possible for these gay activists to pitch their tents inside, put up their displays, call it “art,” invite the world – even children on “Family and Friends Day” on November 21 – and then scream bloody murder when someone complains.

In fact, the exhibition was created by private funds. And he didn't mention that the person who first complained about the exhibit -- CNS' Penny Starr -- is on his payroll.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:06 PM EST
Saturday, December 4, 2010
WND Adds Birther Columnist
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Dec. 3 WorldNetDaily article touts its newest columnist, Diana West, for "her boldness and penchant for eliciting dropped jaws from opposing pundits." It also helps that she's a birther.

WND notes that West has discussed "the constitutional eligibility of Barack Obama to serve as president of the United States." Indeed, West wrote a Nov. 22 op-ed promoting the case of WND birther poster child Terrence Lakin, whom she sympathetically portrayed as "a senior military officer with an unblemished career" who is committing "what amounts to a historic act of civil disobedience for which he may well serve time in prison."

The reality she failed to meniton is that a military judge has already ruled that, according to military law, the personal beliefs or convictions of a soldier are not enough for the soldier to deem an order illegal, that Lakin cannot introduce any evidence related to Obama’s citizenship at his court-martial, and that the military court was not the proper venue for determining the eligibility of a president.

Farah again repeats his disingenous claim that WND has "the broadest spectrum of political opinion found anywhere." But West does not widen that supposed "spectrum" -- she's another right-wing columnist at a website already lousy with them. Indeed, WND highlights her advice to Republcans "not to compromise with Democrats."

West is not bold. She's a standard-issue right-wing columnist, and a birther to boot. That latter is what likely sealed the deal for WND, given the speed at which she was added following her birther column.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:52 PM EST
Ben Shapiro's Budget-Cutting Fail

Ben Shapiro uses his Dec. 2 column, pulished by, to invoke the manufactured outrage du jour as a way to cut the federal budget:

This week alone, for example, the federally-funded Smithsonian Institution spent cash stocking its National Portrait Gallery with pictures of Ellen DeGeneres clutching her naked bosom, penises, and nude brothers making out—all of this in order to show America how gays and lesbians “struggle for justice ... [attempting to] claim their full inheritance in America’s promise of equality, inclusion and social dignity.”

But the federal government paid nothing to obtain the exhibit -- that cost was borne by private sponsors. The Smithsonian would still spend the same amount of money maintaining an exhibition space no matter what was exhibited there, so banning this particular exhibit saves no money.

Shapiro also suggests that "$1.25 billion in funding for black farmers who were supposedly discriminated against by the Department of Agriculture" could be cut. As Media Matters points out, that money is not an earmark but part of a lawsuit settlement, so paying it isn't optional.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:22 PM EST
Friday, December 3, 2010
The Miseducation of Victoria Jackson
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In her latest WorldNetDaily column, Victoria Jackson writes, "Liberals teach, but it's mostly lies. ... Why would I want to be a liberal? I love truth not deception." Well, not so much.

Jackson lists in her column what she has learned "this week in my self-education." Among those items: "There is a two-page section in the 2,700-page Obamacare law that no one read that gives Obama a private army of 6,000 or more that answer only to him."

As Media Matters documented when Fox News' Andrew Napolitano tried to peddle this same claim, the idea that the bill creates a "private army" for Obama is an utter fabrication. What the health care reform bill does is establish a "ready reserve corps" of medical personnel inside the Public Health Service to respond to medical emergencies. The corps would be an adjunct of the Commissioned Corps, which has been around for more than 200 years. also shot down this conspiracy theory.

If Jackson really cared about "truth not deception," she could have easily found this information by Googling "Obama private army." The debunking is the first result. Jackson is apparently a very lazy self-educator.

(Cross-posted at Media Matters.)

Posted by Terry K. at 5:09 PM EST
NewsBusters Baselessly Defends Reporter's Attack on Obama
Topic: NewsBusters

In writing about how "Fox News has given a reporting gig to Doug McKelway, a former ABC anchor for the network's D.C. affiliate," Lachlan Markay asserts in a Dec. 1 NewsBusters post that McKelway "took heat from higher-ups after accurately reporting on President Obama's ties to oil giant BP," insisting that McKelway was "reporting the truth" when he stated that "the one man who has more campaign contributions from BP than anybody else in history is now sitting in the Oval Office, President Barack Obama."

In fact, McKelway got it wrong. As Media Matters details, Obama received only $1,000 from BP's PAC in 2004, less than what 21 other Senate candidates received from the BP PAC that year. The figure McKelway used in his report was the amount of money Obama received from employees of the company, which is not the same thing as receiving it from the company, unless McKelway was claiming that BP was directing its employees to make political contributions, which we think is illegal.

Anyway, McKelway seems to have found the right place to be -- his former colleagues say it's a "perfect fit" due to his penchant for co-minging news and opinion.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:56 PM EST
Farah Almost Admits WND Got Birther Claim Wrong
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah's Dec. 2 WorldNetDaily column was dedicated to ranting about the "hostile interrogation" CNN's Anderson Cooper did of a birther, Texas state Rep. Leo Berman, much of it focused on the difference between a birth certificate and a certification of live birth. Farah did concede one little point, though: "Berman did get off track on Obama's travels to Pakistan."

The problem here is that Berman's "off track" point on that issue -- that Obama visited Pakistan "when no U.S. citizen could get to Pakistan at all" -- is the exact same track WND has repeatedly traveled, including in WND's birther video. As Cooper points out, that's "factually incorrect" because "Americans could travel to Pakistan" in 1981, when Obama visited.

Farah, of course, is much less interested in admitting a falsehood on his website and work product than he is in keeping the birther myth alive. Indeed, he declares that "I, for one, have grave doubts that Obama's biological father was a Kenyan." 

If Berman is an "off track" birther, so is Farah. Not that he'll admit it.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:25 AM EST
Erik Rush Wants to See Some People Die
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily columnist Erik Rush has been wishing death on some people on his Twitter account.

In a Nov. 30 tweet, the targets are George Soros and Julian Assange: "If we had the right people in government, garbage like Assange and Soros would keep their ideas to themselves - or they'd be DEAD."

In a Dec. 2 tweet, the target is Rep. Bobby Scott, who he says is "is among those vermin the Founders (and I) would hang." Note the weird stylized middle finger/phallic symbol at the end:

Rush doesn't clarify why he wants Scott dead; it might be because he supports expanding the Pigford settlement. It's bad timing for a death threat, though: Scott's mother died last week.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:39 AM EST
MRC Manufactured Outrage Update
Topic: Media Research Center

TPM serves up its anatomy of the Media Research Center's manufactured outrage over the Smithsonian art exhibition, complete with a copy of the email's Penny Starr sent to congressional leaders trolling for a response to the ants-on-Jesus stuff.

Media Matters' Todd Gregory points out how Brent Bozell's appearance on CNN to discuss the controversy he created exposed what he's all about. Hint: it doesn't involve "media research." Here too.

As we note at Media Matters, the Catholic League's Bill Donohue has emerged as a go-to person for comment on the controversy, even though he's a rabid homophobe. Guess who's on the Catholic League's board of advisers? Brent Bozell.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:16 AM EST
Thursday, December 2, 2010
WND's False Headline, Crocodile Tears
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The headline of a Dec. 2 WorldNetDaily article by Brian Fitzpatrick declares: "WND accused of 'violent rhetoric'; Southern Poverty Law Center offers no evidence to back the claim."

Just one little problem: the SPLC made no such accusation. In fact, it did the exact opposite.

From the SPLC article to which WND links (emphasis added):

A month after the Valley Forge conclave, a different group of Patriots met in a far different setting. The three-day “Taking America Back” conference at the Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami was organized by the right-wing WorldNetDaily (WND) and its co-founder, Joseph Farah. The numerous speakers and other conference attendees didn’t voice the violent rhetoric of those at the Valley Forge event, but their fury and disgust with the Obama Administration and the general direction of the country were no less fervent.

Fitzpatrick doesn't make that direct claim in his article; instead, he complains that the SPLC "has attempted to discredit WND by associating the organization with a group that indulged in a negligible amount of over-the-top rhetoric." He went on to complain that the SPLC "was able to point at only three speakers who arguably advocated violence" at the event it focused on -- a "Freedom Action National Conference" by the right-wing American Policy Center -- "and none of these issued any specific calls to arms."

Fitzpatrick then huffed that "SPLC proceeded to associate WND with APC, which it had just accused of using violent rhetoric."  But WND has demonstrated a sympathy toward the APC's agenda -- the name of APC director Tom DeWeese comes up 37 times in WND's archive, most recently in September when DeWeese declared that focusing the federal government on "livable communities" is a "socialist trap."

Meanwhile, the outrage by WND's Joseph Farah and the Western Journalism Center's Floyd Brown at being linked to violence is disingenuous at best. Just a few weeks ago, we detailed how WND's Molotov Mitchell appeared to be advocating violence against gays. And in May, WND columnist Robert Ringer certainly seemed to be advocating "insurrection" against the "criminal government in Washington," and insurrections are not known for being peaceful.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:13 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, December 2, 2010 11:10 PM EST

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