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Tuesday, January 11, 2011
No, Really: WND's Klein Tries to Blame AZ Shooting On Bill Ayers
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It appears that selectively quoting from Jared Loughner's reading list was only the beginning of the misinformation and outright falsehoods WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein intends to peddle about the Arizona shooting. 

Because apparently Bill Ayers must be worked into this story somehow, a Jan. 10 article by Klein begins:

Jared Lee Loughner, the suspected gunman in Saturday's Arizona shooting, attended a high school that is part of a network in which teachers are trained and provided resources by a liberal group founded by Weatherman terrorist Bill Ayers and funded by President Obama, WND has learned.

The group, Small Schools Workshop, has been led by a former top communist activist who is an associate of Ayers.

What is missing from Klein's article is any evidence that the curriculum at the high school Loughner attended is "communist," related to '60s radicalism, or even "liberal."

Without any facts to back up his implication that Ayers taught Loughner how to be a terrorist -- and because Klein and his research assistant Brenda J. Elliott, who also helped Klein with his factually dubious smear book on President Obama, couldn't be bothered to find out what actually is being taught -- this is yet another smearpiece rehasing the same tired claims about how Ayers is a unrepentant terrorist and, of course, a close personal friend of President Obama.

This is just another reminder of just how sleazy a reporter Klein is -- and how sleazy WND and Joseph Farah are for employing someone who engages in such dishonest reporting.

Meanwhile, Klein's original misleading claim has been passed on to others on the staff. A Jan. 10 WND article by Drew Zahn states that "Loughner also listed on his YouTube channel among his favorite books Karl Marx's 'The Communist Manifesto' and Adolf Hitler's 'Mein Kampf,' casting further doubt on the notion that he was an angered tea-party type." Like Klein, Zahn fails to note the existence of other books on Loughner's list, including several anti-totalitarian books such as Ayn Rand's "We the Living."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:55 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, January 13, 2011 11:55 PM EST
MRC's Double Standard on Moral Equivalency
Topic: Media Research Center

In a Jan. 7 TimesWatch item, Clay Waters asserted that a New York Times reporter "betrayed a moral equivalence" in a story on on the bombing of a Christian church in Egypt by poetraying "the majority Muslims and the country’s often persecuted minority of Coptic Christians posed as equally to blame" for sectarian violence.

The MRC's crack bias-hunters, meanwhile, just can't seem to find the rampant bias on their own websites. Moral equivalency is exactly what Ron Futrell engaged in in a Jan. 6 NewsBusters post.

Writing about "joke videos" made by Capt. Owen Honors, commander of the USS Enterprise, that ultimately got him relieved of his command, Futrell complaind that "the media is not just reporting this story, they clearly show their disgust and outrage that anybody would make politically incorrect videos and live to play another day," then attacked "joke videos that people in newsrooms have produced."

Of course, these aren't the same at all, since the "Christmas videos" he cites also include "the outtakes of mistakes during newscasts" -- obviously a whole different animal than the videos Honors made. But Futrell is not going to let facts get in the way of his outrage. He then tries to pre-empt criticism of his view:

Of course, the media would argue that the job of somebody running an aircraft carrier is much more important than theirs (they wouldn’t really believe that, but they would say it,) so the Captain should be held to a higher standard, but there is no indication that security was in jeopardy here, if it were, then deal with that issue. Besides, we’re talking about the issue of what is decent and what is not decent.

I’m not so silly to think that the activist old media will ever hold itself to the same standard that they hold their subjects to. There are two sets of rules here, one for the media, another for the people they wish to destroy, in this case, it’s a member of the US military.

Of course, Futrell offers no evidence that "the media" is trying to "destroy" the entire military, let alone the career of one very irresponsible commander.

Futrell's single piece of evidence to back his claims about media videos is a single video he found on YouTube dating from 1983.

But that's what passes for "research" on "media bias" at the MRC.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:54 AM EST
Corsi Joins WND's Ariz. Shooting Misinfo Parade
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Somebody, it seems, doesn't want Aaron Klein to have all the fun in slinging false and misleading claims at WorldNetDaily about the Arizona shooting. Jerome Corsi wants a piece of that action, too.

Corsi jumped into the fray with a Jan. 9 article featuring the bizarre assertion that "the YouTube website of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords suggests she subscribed to the YouTube channel of her suspected attempted assassin, Jarred Loughner, at some point before the shooting incident." While his article contains a lot of screenshots of web pages, none of them prove that, as Corsi later stated, "Gifford subscribed to Loughner's website since Oct. 25, 2010."

Even later, Corsi contradicts himself: "A cached version of the Giffords website, dated Dec. 26, shows there was no link to the suspect's channel on that date."  But rather than accepting the logical explanation that Giffords did not subscribe to Loughter's page at the time and only did so after the shooting, Corsi speculated that this lack of evidence was "giving rise to speculation that the site was changed after that point, or possibly even hacked."

The only source Corsi cites for any of this is speculation from right-wing Muslim-hater (and former Newsmax columnist) Pam Geller.

As if that weren't enough, Corsi throws in a completely false claim, that "is now known that Loughner worked for Gifford's election campaign in 2007." In fact, all that is known -- as Corsi acknowledges at the end of his article -- is that "in Loughner's home was found a form letter from Giffords' office, thanking him for attending a 2007 event." That is not the same thing as having "worked for Gifford's election campaign."

But then, this is the same guy whose vaunted documents he obtained during a trip to Kenya to find something to smear President Obama with were clearly fakes (not that Corsi has ever acknowledged that fact, mind you).

If that bit of incompetence wasn't enough, Corsi then tries to present himself as an expert on punk rock, asserting in a Jan. 10 article that Loughner "may have been inspired by the radical leftist punk-rock band Anti-Flag, one of his favorite bands."

Essentially, all Corsi has done here is read a tweet by someone who claimed Anti-Flag was one of Loughner's favorite bands, found a music lyrics website (he even links to it) and copied-and-pasted from selected songs. That, apparently, is Corsi's idea of journalism.

for good measure, Corsi also throws is a gratuitous, unsupported slam on an unrelated figure he apparently despises. Noting that Reuters Media's Anthony DeRosa was corresponding via Twitter with the Loughner friend who made the claim about Anti-Flag, Corsi added that DeRosa "has had a history of tweeting continuing attacks on Fox News and Fox News talk show hosts Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly, as well as a wide range of conservative media and political figures." He offers no evidence to back up this claim, and it's immaterial to his attack on music he undoubtedly doesn't like.

DeRosa, by the way, is not even a journalist, as Corsi suggests; he describes himself as "a Proposition Leader at Reuters Media working on strategic partnerships in print, online and broadcast media."

But then, Corsi's own journalistic standards are pretty abysmal, so it's unlikely he knows the difference.

UPDATE: For a much more responsible and less deliberately inflammatory take on the same subject, the Washington Post examines another song linked to Loughner and, unlike Corsi, talks to actual experts on the issue.

UPDATE 2: A reader points out that Corsi probably did not intend to write that Gifford subscribed to Loughner's YouTube channel "since Oct. 25, 2010," since he states in the preceding paragraph that that was the day the account was created, and he is instead guilty of misusing the word "since." Point taken, but it's telling of WND's editorial standards and Corsi's writing skills that this poorly written statement remains in the article a day after we pointed it out (and we're pretty sure they read us).

Posted by Terry K. at 12:16 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, January 12, 2011 12:29 AM EST
Monday, January 10, 2011
Farah Lies About Lakin's Crime, Orly Taitz's Fine
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In yet another birther rant in the form of his Jan. 8 WorldNetDaily column, Joseph Farah gooses the martyrdom of Terrence Lakin, misleadingly claiming that he "is serving a prison sentence for simply asking for proof of Obama's eligibility before being deployed to a foreign war." Wrong: As we've pointed out, Lakin is serving a prison sentence for disobeying orders, and if every soldier who received orders challenged the legitimacy of them, as Farah seems to want, the entire system of military discipline would break down.

Then Farah claims: "Attorneys who have brought lawsuits demanding proof Obama is a 'natural born citizen' as the Constitution requires have been fined for following the legal remedies." That's not true at all. Only one birther attorney has been fined -- Orly Taitz -- and it was not for "following the legal remedies" but, rather, for willfully violating the rules of the court system and for filing frivolous claims -- the facts of which, to our knowledge, WND has never accrately reported.

Farah can't even relay the simplest of facts without trying to twist them to fit his Obama-hating agenda. Is it any wonder his website cannot be trusted to tell the truth?

Posted by Terry K. at 8:52 PM EST
AIM’s Kincaid Insists American Renaissance Isn’t Racist
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid devoted his January 9 column to defending the publication American Renaissance from accusations made about it in a law enforcement memo cited by Fox News regarding Arizona shooting suspect Jared Loughner. According to Kincaid, American Renaissance is merely a "conservative" group that is "politically incorrect because of its criticism of racial preference and ‘diversity' programs and immigration policies that weaken the strength of a country." Kincaid added that "there is no evidence that American Renaissance by any objective standard is a racist organization. It does deal with racial issues. But so does the Congressional Black Caucus."

The Anti-Defamation League calls American Renaissance a "white supremacist journal" that "promotes pseudoscientific studies that attempt to demonstrate the intellectual and cultural superiority of whites and publishes articles on the supposed decline of American society because of integrationist social policies." As Media Matters has documented (and we previously noted when AIM republished an article from it), American Renaissance and its editor, Jared Taylor, are very much obsessed with race. Taylor has declared that we don't "need more Hispanics" and attacked Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor for not "pronouncing her name the way an American would."

While calling itself an advocate for "race realism," American Renaissance has made clear that it claims to speak for whites, writing in its original 1991 issue introducing the publication that "Fifty years ago, the United States had an unmistakable national and cultural core. In another half century, if whites continue to cooperate in their own dispossession, this nation will have no core and no identity." The publication added, "We cannot expect Mexican immigrants, Vietnamese refugees, or militant blacks to care if Shakespeare disappears from our schools or if the Jefferson Memorial falls into decay." It also stated that "blacks and Hispanics are, compared to whites, far more likely to be poor, illiterate, on welfare, or in jail; they are far more likely to have illegitimate children, be addicted to drugs, or have AIDS. By no definition of international competitiveness can the presence of these populations be anything but a disadvantage."

Further, Taylor is on the editorial advisory board of the Citizens Informer, published by the Council of Conservative Citizens, the successor to the racist White Citizens Councils of the segregationist South. The Council states on its website that they "oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called 'affirmative action' and similar measures, to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races."

In his defense of American Renaissance, Kincaid also noted its upcoming conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. Here are some of the scheduled conference speakers:

  • Sam G. Dickson is, like Taylor, on the editorial board of the Citizens Informer. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that Dickson is "tied to numerous extremist groups and movements in the U.S. and around the world, from major Holocaust denial organizations to the Ku Klux Klan he frequently represented in court."
  • David Yeagley presents himself as "the great-great-grandson of Comanche leader Bad Eagle" (in fact, the connection is through a stepmother, not a direct relation). In a recent blog post, Yeagley ranted about "oedipal white liberals and hysterical blacks" complaining about the three-fifths clause in the original Constitution and called President Obama "Barry Soetoro" (he has previously called Obama "the lying black African Communist/Muslim traitor"). He went on to write, "Emotionalism, which is a kind of Freudian sexual displacement, continues to rule the Negro race, and it is continually taken advantage of by oedipal white liberals intent on destorying [sic] the country."
  • Dan Roodt is a pro-Afrikaaner South African who decries "the ignominy of being dominated by a rapacious, anti-white, racist clique" and warns that "[o]ur struggle here is of enormous importance for white, Western peoples world-wide." He was featured in a Daily Show segment in which correspondent John Oliver called his soft-spoken "vintage bigotry" - Roodt says that how black men have "20 percent more testosterone" than whites and commit "99.9 percent of all crime, warns of efforts to promote interbreeding "to make us all become colored" and insists that everyone was better off under apartheid -- "a heady bouquet of racial hatred with an aftertaste of lingering bitterness."

Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke has attended previous conferences, as has Don Black, who runs the neo-Nazi forum Stormfront.

Kincaid wants you to think that all of this falls short of an "objective standard" that American Renaissance is racist. One has to wonder what Kincaid's definition of "objective" is. And "racist."

(Cross-posted at Media Matters.)

Posted by Terry K. at 5:11 PM EST
Intolerant Right At MRC Bashes the 'Intolerant Left'
Topic: Media Research Center

In an appearance on Fox News' "Fox & Friends," Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell inveighed against NPR for firing Juan Williams: '"This is the face of the intolerant left today...these people are utterly intolerant of any position other than their radical agenda."

That's a particularly rich complaint, given that Bozell and the MRC has proven themselves to be the vanguard for the intolerant right.

The MRC has ramped up its anti-gay activism over the past several months, from gay-bashing rants at its Culture & Media Institute to manufacturing outrage over an exhibit of gay-themed art at the Smithsonian.

Most recently, as WorldNetDaily reported, the MRC has decided not to partcipate in this year Conservative Political Action Conference because of the presence there of gay conservative group GOProud. WND quoted Bozell as saying, "We've been there 25 years, since our inception. ... To bring in a 'gay' group is a direct attack on social conservatives, and I can't participate in that."

As Slate's Dave Weigel noted, the MRC "was absolutely a CPAC mainstay, with a big presence in the exhibit hall and speeches and breakout session participation from MRC staff."

As we've noted, the MRC has demonstrated a curious lack of enthusiasm about reporting this news on any of its websites, even though it operates a so-called "news' website, It's been more than two days since WND first reported it, and the MRC still hasn't touched it.

One has to wonder: What does "media research" have to do with the presence of homosexuals at a conservative conference? Nothing, of course. This is yet another piece of evidence that the MRC isn't about "media research" at all (as if its shoddy research record wasn't already an indication). It is a political action group, period.

Such an intolerant group has no standing to make credible judgments on media issues -- and even less standing to accuse others of being intolerant.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:58 AM EST
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.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:50 AM EST
Sunday, January 9, 2011
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?

Posted by Terry K. at 10:28 PM EST
CNS' Jeffrey Baselessly Blames Pelosi for Additions to Debt

Terry Jeffrey writes in a Jan. 6 "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."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:01 AM EST
Saturday, January 8, 2011
The ConWeb on Giffords Shooting
Topic: The ConWeb

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'."

Posted by Terry K. at 5:41 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, January 8, 2011 9:04 PM EST
WND Columnist Corrects Faulty WND 'News' Article
Topic: WorldNetDaily

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.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:06 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, January 8, 2011 12:16 AM EST
Friday, January 7, 2011
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, -- 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. 

Posted by Terry K. at 4:15 PM EST
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.)

Posted by Terry K. at 12:26 PM EST
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.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:41 AM EST
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.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:04 AM EST

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