Newsmax Also Misleads About Loughner's Book List Topic: Newsmax
WorldNetDaily isn't the only ConWeb outlet trying to baselessly portray alleged Arizona shooter Jared Loughner as a liberal based on cherry-picking the books listed on his YouTube profile.
A Jan. 9 Newsmax ariticle complained that "some Democrats and major media have moved to pin the blame for her attack on the tea party movement and conservatives like Sarah Palin, despite the fact that the shooter was both deranged and fascinated by leftwing politics." Newsmax went on to state that "Loughner had identified among his favorite books 'The Communist Manifesto' by Karl Marx, Adolf Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' and the fiction classic 'One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest' -- hardly the reading list of a Palin supporter."
Like WND's Aaron Klein, Newsmax failed to note the books on Loughner's list that contradicted the notion that he is a liberal: anti-totalitarian tomes like "Animal Farm," "Farenheit 451," and Ayn Rand's "We the Living."
Like Klein, hiding the full list from its readers keeps Newsmax from having to make the uncomfortable explanation of why a supposed enthusiast of all things communist and Nazi reads anti-communist books too.
Aaron Klein Hides Facts On AZ Shooter's Book List Topic: WorldNetDaily
Aaron Klein begins a Jan. 9 WorldNetDaily "news analysis" by asking: "Are the news media deliberately disguising the reported liberal politics of Jared Lee Loughner, the suspected gunman in yesterday's fatal shooting that left six dead and gravely injured a U.S. congresswoman?" As evidence, Klein highlighted "the men actually listed by Loughner as among his favorite authors, Karl Marx and Adolf Hitler."
Of course, Klein isn't telling the full truth. That links straight to a WND article he wrote the day before in which he blared that "'The Communist Manifesto' and Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' were among the favorite reading materials of Jared Lee Loughner, the suspected gunman in today's fatal shooting that reportedly left six dead and gravely injured a U.S. congresswoman."
That problem is that Klein is selectively citing Loughner's reading list. Also on the list are books that suggest he's something other than a commie Nazi -- namely, Ayn Rand's anti-communist tome "We the Living." Also on the list were anti-totalitarian classics like "Animal Farm" and "Farenheit 451."
But Klein didn't mention that -- in fact, he offered no link to the full list so his readers could see for themselves. Thus, he avoided having to explain why such books were listed as favorites of a man who supposedly worships comunists and Nazis.
But if Klein were an honest reporter, would WND continue to employ him?
CNS' Jeffrey Baselessly Blames Pelosi for Additions to Debt Topic: CNSNews.com
Terry Jeffrey writes in a Jan. 6 CNSNews.com "news" article:
In the 1,461 days that Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) served as speaker of the House, the national debt increased by a total of $5.343 trillion ($5,343,452,800,321.37) or $3.66 billion per day ($3.657,394,113.84), according to official debt numbers published by the U.S. Treasury.
Pelosi was the 52nd speaker of the House. During her tenure, she amassed more debt than the first 49 speakers combined.
Of course, Pelosi alone didn't "amass" that debt by herself, as Jeffrey wants you to think. Indeed, a significant portion of that debt is due to spending begun under the Bush administration -- tax cuts, wars, financial bailouts -- and much of the rest can be attributed to a reduction in tax receipts due to the recession.
Jeffrey also seems to have forgotten that in two of the four years that Pelosi served as speaker, a Republican was president, who could have vetoed deficit spending but did not.
In all, this is nothing more than a cheap shot by Jeffrey masquerading as "news."
We've been perusing the tweets of ConWeb folks reacting to the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others in Arizona, and we noticed a couple things.
First, the Media Research Center's Kevin Eder tweets of the alleged shooter, Jared Loughner: "Nobody on the right is saying ths guy is a liberal or progressive - if only our leftist friends had the same level of respect, or restraint."
That, of course, is a lie. All he needed to do was check the Twitter feed of his MRC colleague, Noel Sheppard: "Jared Lee Loughner's fav books include Mein Kampf & the Communist Manifesto. Some right-winger, huh?"
Sheppard's not the only one: Pam Geller asserted that Loughner is a "total lefty loon." And Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft is screaming, "AZ SHOOTER: LEFT_WINGER!!"
So much for "media research" at the Media Research Center.
Meanwhile, WorldNetDaily columnist Erik Rush decided to be bizarrely conspiratorial: "As cynical as it sounds, this could have been orchestrated in order to justify crack security for all of Congress for a number of reasons."
Yeah, we wouldn't want to protect elected officials from threats of violence, would we?
UPDATE: Proving Eder even more wrong, WorldNetDaily has an article by Aaron Klein headlined, "Assassin's politics lean 'left wing, quite liberal'."
Joseph Farah's Jan. 7 WorldNetDaily column carries the headline, "Whatever happened to real reporting?" He's asking that as he's nitpicking about coverage of him and his fellow birthers, but he would be better off asking that question of his own employees. WND's reporting is so bad, its own columnists have to try and clean up the mess.
On Jan. 3, WND published a "news" article by Michael Carl touting a Chinese study purporting to claim that city where water is fluoridated "had children with IQ scores 5-10 points lower" than a nearby town where water is not fluoridated. Carl quotes an "environmental activist" endorsing the survey results and insisting that "the Chinese methodology was sound," as well as asserting that ""This is the 24th study which has found a relationship between fluoride exposure and lowered IQ. They come from China, India, Iran and Mexico." At nopoint does Carl attempt to contact anyone for a contrary opinion on the study.
That job fell to WND columnist Phil Elmore, who dedicated his Dec. 6 column to rebutting it:
First, the Chinese study's sample size is remarkably small. Cross-cultural studies already pose a difficulty considering the number of different genetic and environmental factors that may invalidate comparisons to other nations' populations, but even if we ignore this, 512 children from a nation of 1.3 billion people is infinitesimal. So small a sample size may be insufficient even to show true correlation, much less the causation of lower IQ by one specific environmental factor (the fluoride in the water).
We also don't know what other environmental factors may have been present. China is notorious for its casual attitude toward industrial pollution; are we to believe that fluoride in the drinking water is the only possible agent? For that matter, why are 72 to 92 percent of the children in both Chinese locations ranked as below normal intelligence? Does that figure not seem staggeringly high, even in the locality with relatively low fluoride levels in its water? What's the control group here? "In the high-fluoride city," reads a press release, "15 percent had scores indicating mental retardation and only 6 percent in the low-fluoride city." That's a remarkable difference, yes – and even in the low-fluoride city, it's twice the rate of "metal retardation" believed to be the baseline in modern society.
For that matter, when did intelligence quotient – itself a relative assessment – become the issue? Weren't we supposed to be worried about fluoride because it is a toxin that causes cancer and other biological ruination? Does low IQ, a subjective measure if ever there was one, constitute science hard enough to condemn water fluoridation in this matter? Even the nature of IQ tests is in dispute; genetics author David Shenk argues that IQ measures developed skills, not native intelligence. He says that it can change dramatically while in no way defining a person's intellectual limits ... yet we're supposed to draw conclusions about chemical-biological causation on its basis?
Finally, why do the studies "proving" this latest danger of fluoride all come from Third World countries known for anything but their dedication to science and medical advancement? China? Mexico? Iran? Really? I know when I think of product safety and consumer awareness, I think of nations like China – a country that paints our children's cheaply imported toys in lead, laces its milk formula with plastics chemicals, and executed its chief food and drug regulator for allowing exports of toothpaste tainted with diethylene glycol. Forget the fluoride in your toothpaste – I'm more worried about the industrial poison that isn't on the label. Yet according to the conspiracy theorists, all pronouncements of dread are true if they fit the conspirator's templates. Why, even David Icke thinks fluoride is lowering your kids' IQs – and this is a man who believes aliens living at the center of the Earth are secretly controlling our illusory society. Who am I to argue with that – or him?
This study, like those before it, is weak. The correlation found between fluoride and IQ levels is not causation. The study's gross flaws are evident even in the raw data it presents, much less the unwarranted conclusions true believers have made from it. Reporting this study uncritically or, worse, as grounds to sound alarm, is nothing but more fluoride fear-mongering. If water fluoridation truly does have long-term health benefits, no one is served by making the case using "evidence" as poor as this.
Ouch. This strikes us as a situation that can't last. It seems that eventually Farah will make a choice between improving his website's reporting or getting rid of people like Elmore in order to silence internal criticism of the crappy reporting. Problem is, Farah has demonstrated he's not interested in doing the former -- after all, this isn't the only faulty article WND published on health issues this week -- which makes the latter a surprisingly plausible option.
This isn't the first time Elmore has had to do this. We previously noted how, as the purported link between vaccines and autism -- something WND has long promoted -- became increasingly discredited, WND couldn't be bothered to do any original reporting on the withdrawal of a study claiming such a link that had been published by the medical journal Lancet. The first appearance of the withdrawal in a original WND item was in Elmore's column. (Similarly, WND has reported nothing at all about the recent finding that the retracted Lancet study was an "elaborate fraud" because of doctored data.)
Farah's call for "real reporting" might be taken a little more seriously if his own stable of reporters actually capable of it.
MRC Scooped By WND On Its Own Story Topic: Media Research Center
In a story posted at 9:55 p.m. ET on Jan. 6, WorldNetDaily's Brian Fitzpatrick reported that the Media Research Center would not participate in the conservative confab CPAC "because of the continued participation of the homosexual activist organization GOProud."
As of this writing, however, this news has not appeared on any MRC-operated website.
That is curious. Why did the MRC allow WND to scoop it on a story it arguably owns that would be of interest to its right-wing audience, especially when the MRC operates numerous websites -- including its own "news" operation, CNSNews.com -- that could have just as easily gotten the story out?
That seems extrordinary dumb management of the story by the MRC. One must wonder if surpisingly successful anti-gay attack on a Smithsonian art exhibition was just a fluke.
Since WND is involved, it goes without saying that it couldn't get the story completely correct. Fitzpatrick also portrayed the Heritage Foundation as pulling out of CPAC over GOProud; Slate's Dave Weigel reports that Heritage spokesman Mike Gonzalez -- whom Fitzpatrick quotes in his article -- says that GOProud's participation is not why the group is not taking part in CPAC this year.
WND Misleads About FDA Actions on Drugs Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Jan. 5 WorldNetDaily article by Gene Koprowski makes a rather desperate attempt to revive the discredited "death panels" smear on health care reform by claiming that the Food and Drug Administration "appear to have started making life or death choices for Americans in 2010 using the cost of a therapy, apparently, as a primary criterion for acceptance or rejection." Needless to say, Koprowski has to twist facts to do it and doesn't actually prove his allegation.
Koprowski asserted that "new drug approvals declined dramatically last year" at the FDA from 25 in 2009 to 21 in 2010. In fact, as Warren Throckmorton detailed, there's nothing at all dramatic about the decline -- three of the past 10 years saw few new FDA drug approvals than in 2010.
Koprowski also falsely claimed that the FDA revoked use of the drug Avastin for breast cancer because "the product didn't appear to help patients live longer at an affordable price." In fact, affordability had nothing to do with it; FDA advisory panels found that the drug did not extend patients' life spans at all compared to other treatments, and also increased the incidence of side effects and other complications.
Further undermining Koprowski's argument, the FDA doesn't even consider cost-effectiveness when reviewing drugs for approval, and he offers no evidence that it does.
Koprowski went on to falsely suggest that the FDA restricted use of the diabetes drug Avandia and withdrew painkillers Darvon and Darvocet from the market out of an effort to harm the profitability of their manufacturers. In fact, Avandia was restricted in both the U.S. and Europe because it's believed that thousands needlessly suffered a heart attack, stroke or heart failure, or died because of their use of the drug. As for Darvon and Darvocet, it was withdrawn because the drugs can cause potentially fatal heart arrythmia. (Darvon was first developed in the 1950s and has been available in generic form for decades, so development costs have presumably been amortized by now.)
MRC OK With N-Word, Not Gay Art Topic: Media Research Center
In a Jan. 6 MRC TimesWatch post, Clay Waters takes New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof to task for approving of the "bowdlerizing" of Mark Twain's classic "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by removing the N-word with the hope that it would return to school reading lists. Waters added: "If the book is being pulled from reading lists over the historically accurate and textually important use of the N-word, then perhaps the problem isn't with the book but with the hypersensitive sensibilities of modern-day school administrators."
This is the same MRC, mind you, that exhibited its own hypersensitive sensibilities by manufacturing a controversy over gay-themed art in a Smithsonian gallery, which resulted in the removal of an 11-second video clip that it could be argued was historically accurate and textually important.
Interesting that the MRC thinks offensive racial slurs shouldn't be removed from public view, but that art it doesn't like should.
Newsmax Snarks About Criticism of Committee Name Change Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax was full of snark in a Jan. 6 article on reaction to a House committee name change:
Looking for proof that labor leaders have a little too much time on their hands? House Republicans’ decision to drop “labor” from the name of a committee in that chamber has led some of those leaders to rant that Republicans have it in for them, The Hill reports.
What they’re worried about is the change from the “House Education and Labor Committee” to the “House Education and the Workforce Committee.” Heady stuff, no?
“It really does mean something,” Bill Samuel, the AFL-CIO’s director of government affairs, tells The Hill, referring to the name change. “More than the rhetoric, they have a different agenda.”
He’s not alone. “We basically think this name change is symbolic of the new majority’s hostility toward the rights of everyday working Americans,” says Chuck Loveless, director of legislation at the American Federation of County, State and Municipal Employees.
More than anything else, this attitude may reveal why workers have deserted unions in droves during recent years.
Newsmax doesn't comment on whether House Republicans have a little too much time on their hands by insisting on changing the committee's name, nor did they mention the presumed additional costs to change signage and stationery to the new name.
Cashill Defends His Favorite Murderer Again Topic: WorldNetDaily
Jack Cashill devotes his Jan. 6 WorldNetDaily column to once again defending his favorite convicted killer, Steven Nary, this time comparing him to Esteban Núñez, the son of former California Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez whose sentence for manslaugher outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger controversially shortened.
Unsurprisingly, Cashill skips over the major significant difference: Núñez has never been definitively identified as the person who killed the person he and others got into a fight with -- Schwarzenegger asserted that Núñez was "not the actual killer" -- while there's no question Nary killed his victim, Juan Pifarre.
Cashill continued to play his little deceptions and denigrations regarding the Nary case -- asserted Nary "unintentionally kill[ed] his would-be rapist," smeared his victim as a "cokehead from Argentina" with a "reputation as a mean drunk," claimed Nary "eventually told the ship's chaplain what had happened," and insisted that Nary got a "kangaroo" trial in San Francisco because Pifarre was gay.
As we've detailed, Cashill's revisionist version of history ignores a few inconvenient facts -- Nary allowed Pifarre to perform oral sex on him, for which Pifarre offered to pay Nary $40; Nary told police he choked Pifarre for five minute; Nary originally denied any sexual contact with Pifarre and told the Navy medic who treated the broken hand Nary suffered in killing Pifarre that he had hurt it playing basketball.
But it wouldn't be Jack Cashill if he was telling the full truth about his favorite convicted killer, would it?
AIM's Lame Attack on Wash. Post Topic: Accuracy in Media
In a Jan. 5 Accuracy in Media blog post, Don Irvine attempts to shoot down former Washington Post editor Leonard Downie's claim that the paper "is not coming from a point of view" with this response:
For Downie to say that there is no partisanship at the paper is truly devoid of reality. The Post has a long history of going after conservatives and Republicans while largely giving liberals a pass. AIM pointed out once such incident in 1998.
If there is such a "long history" this, why did AIM have to go all the way back to 1998 to come up with an example? And that example is not a particularly good one: Irvine links to a 1998 AIM item by Cliff Kincaid repeating a right-wing claim that then-United Nations ambassador Bill Richardson "apparently lied when he said at his recent confirmation hearings that a UN job he offered to Monica Lewinsky last year was to fill an existing opening." The only reference to the Post in the item is its presence among the media outlets listed by Kincaid that failed to report the right-wing claim. Even then, the question at hand -- whether the position Lewinsky interviewed for was existing or was created for her -- is minor at best and, given that Lewinsky declined the job, something of a moot point.
This is really the best example AIM could come up with?
WND Pretends Gay-Nazi Book Isn't Discredited Topic: WorldNetDaily
The Scott Lively-Kevin Abrams screed "The Pink Swastika" -- which claims that the Nazi Party was dominated by homosexuals -- has gotten perhaps the best endorsement it could hope for: a place in WorldNetDaily's online store and gushing praise from editor Joseph Farah.
A Jan. 4 WND article baselessly asserts that the book is "disturbing, compelling and persuasive on its major point," adding that it is "a highly footnoted, meticulously documented book" that "makes the case that the Nazi Party is best understood as a neo-pagan, homosexual cult." Then the gushing from Farah kicks in:
"This is a deeply disturbing book," said Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of WND, who recently added a new 4th edition of the book to the WND Superstore. "Perhaps not until very recently, with the mandating of open homosexuality in the military and the widespread promotion of same-sex marriage, could Americans have been expected to see the relevance of this remarkable work to their own society. We say, 'never again.' But do we mean it? Do we even understand what actually happened? I didn't – until I read this book."
"You will never look at Nazism or homosexuality the same way again after reading 'The Pink Swastika,'" concludes Farah.
Already, only a few days after introducing this new edition of the book into the WND Superstore, Farah says homosexual bloggers and commentators have taken notice and "are pulling out the long knives of invective and abuse."
"They say this book has been discredited," Farah says. "But I've read the book and I've read all the criticism. The book more than stands up to all the attacks I've seen, most of which are completely baseless."
Farah, of course, doesn't explain what the criticism or why he has declared it to be "baseless." In fact, "The Pink Swastika" has been quite soundly discredited.
Warren Throckmorton -- a psycohology professor at the conservative-leaning Grove City College whom WND has previouslyapprovinglycited -- has been hammering away at the book, pointing out its attempt to link fascism and homosexuality by attacking German writer Thomas Mann as "an apologist for Nietzsche and thus an unwitting contributor to Nazism" when Mann was, in fact, an active opponent of the Third Reich.Throckmorton also noted how Lively and Abrams selectively quote from the work of Gunter Grau to prove "homofascism," ignoring examples that contradicted their thesis.
Throckmorton also highlighted the ciritcism of Grove City College history professor Jon David Wynekin, who has extensively studied Nazi history, who called the book "simply not good history and is, in fact, not really history at all. Instead, in my view, it is a book that uses history as a weapon in a contemporary political battle, completely outside the historical context of Nazi Germany." Wynekin added that Lively "does no original research in primary archival documents; meaning, he has not examined the thousands of documents available on these subjects for himself."
(Throckmorton has responded to Farah: "I am not a homosexual blogger; Grove City colleague and historian Jon David Wynekin is not a homosexual blogger and we spent lots of time and detail demonstrating the flaws in the book. Campus Crusade for Christ is not a homosexual blogger organization and it removed an exerpt of The Pink Swastika from one of their websites. Exodus International is not a homosexuality affirming organization but they removed the link to The Pink Swastika. NARTH is hardly a gay affirming bunch but they removed all references to Scott Lively and The Pink Swastika.")
Lively, meanwhile, runs the group Abiding Truth Ministries, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified as a hate group. Lively is also reportedly one of the inspirations behind the proposed Draconian law in Uganda that would permit the death penalty for mere homosexuality -- a law endorsed by WND's own Molotov Mitchell.
In the face of detailed criticism of Lively's book from professional scholars, Farah might want to explain to his readers why they're wrong. Maybe Farah doesn't have the guts; after all, Throckmorton has deconstructed WND's shoddy reporting before.
Is Judith Miller Another Newsmax Rehab Project? Topic: Newsmax
Last October, a surprising name popped up on Newsmax's "blog" list: Judith Miller, the former New York Times reporter whose work prior to the Iraq war promoting the idea that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction -- driven by her main source, Ahmed Chalabi -- has been largely discredited.
How did Miller end up there? She discussed it with Yahoo News' Michael Calderone:
In recent months, Miller has written several online posts for Newsmax but will now also contribute to the print magazine. Her first piece — on drugs, terror financing, and a little-known program for U.S. law-enforcement officials to embed in Iraq — appears in the January 2011 issue.
In a separate email, Miller explained why she accepted "an excellent offer" from Newsmax chief Christopher Ruddy to write more for the publication. "Newsmax offered me a lot of space for what we both think is an important story, and support for the reporting that produced it," she said. "Both are rare commodities in American magazine journalism these days."
Miller said she had no reservations about writing for a partisan outlet, pointing out that she's also written op-eds for the Los Angeles Times and New York Daily News, essays and reviews for the Wall Street Journal, opinion pieces for Fox News, and reported articles for City Journal — a publication put out by the Manhattan Institute, of which she's an adjunct fellow.
"I've even written for the Independent, in London," Miller continued. "I value my political independence. So do Fox and Newsmax." (Incidentally, she voted for Barack Obama in 2008).
Or you might call it another Newsmax career rehab project. Like Bernard Kerik and Ralph Reed before her, Miller has a damaged reputation that Newsmax thinks can be repaired by giving her space to pontificate about the subjects of her choice.
This time, Miller is running a two-front rehab; in addition to Newsmax, she is also a Fox News contributor who appears on the channel with some regularity. So it's likely she will fare better than, say, Kerik.
At MRC, Repeating A Fact = 'Liberal Bias' Topic: NewsBusters
As we've previously noted, the Media Research Center is much more interested in scoring political points than doing actual media research. Yet another example surfaces in a Jan. 3 NewsBusters post by Matthew Balan, in which he recounts John Roberts' purported "reputation for liberal bias."
Balan's first example of "liberal bias"? Calling the 2008 Democratic primary "historic." No, really. Apparently Balan doesn't think that a presidential primary between a woman and a black is not "historic."
By the way, Balan could come up with only 13 examples of "liberal bias" from Roberts, even though he has been in network news for 17 years. That's not much of a reputation, is it?
Another Zombie Lie Roams At WND Topic: WorldNetDaily
It seems WorldNetDaily justcan’tstop telling lies about President Obama, no matter how many times they've been debunked.
The latest example is a January 4 article promoting WND editor Joseph Farah’s “premium online newsletter” G2 Bulletin. It states:
It was Obama who barnstormed on behalf of Raila Odinga, the socialist who hails from the same tribal heritage, the Luo, as Obama, when Odinga was seeking the presidency in Kenya.
Appearing with Odinga at campaign stops, Obama gave speeches accusing the sitting Kenyan president of being corrupt and oppressive.
As we’ve previously detailed, PolitiFact.com found "no evidence to indicate that Obama 'openly supported' Odinga" during his 2006 trip to Kenya – in fact, Obama made a point of saying that he tried to “meet with all parties” during his visit, including Odinga’s opponent, Mwai Kibaki. While Odinga clearly wanted to associate himself with Obama by attending some of Obama’s events during the visit, PolitiFact wrote, Obama “remained neutral in Kenyan politics, and did not support Odinga during his trip.”
This latest attack, by the way, comes while noting that Odinga -- whom WND called “Obama’s African buddy” -- was helping to negotiate a conclusion to turmoil in a presidential election in the Ivory Coast. WND portrayed the controversy as a conflict between “opening practicing Christian” Laurent Gbagbo, who is trying to cling to power and resist being unseated by his Muslim opponent, Alassane Quattara, amid allegations of vote fraud and the Gbagbo-controlled constitutional council’s overturning of the country’s electoral commission to declare Gbagbo the winner.
But WND leaves out one pertinent detail: The United Nations and the European Union have certified the vote declaring Quattara the winner as free and fair, despite some isolated incidents of violence. Further, National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer noted that the provisional results were in favor of Quattara, adding, “Credible, accredited electoral observers have characterized the balloting as free and fair, and no party should be allowed to obstruct further the electoral process.”
WND does write that the constitutional council that declared Gbagbo the winner is headed by “a loyal Gbagbo ally,” but focuses instead on claims of “massive vote-rigging” in Quattara strongholds and presents the controversy as a religious one in which “outsiders” are supporting “an attempt by a Muslim to unseat a Christian president.”
So, to sum up: WND is not only pushing zombie lies, it’s siding with an African leader who has demonstrated contempt for the principles of democracy.