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Thursday, March 24, 2011
Meanwhile ...
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A March 23 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh uncriticially repeats right-wing attacks on a proposed California bill calling for the history of the gay-rights movement to be taught more extensively in social studies classes is "the worst school sexual indoctrination ever" and "sexual brainwashing." In fact, the bill instructs educators to teach about the "role and contribution of ... lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans."

Media Matters has more.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:34 PM EDT
WND's Farah Speaks At Sparsely Attended Right-Wing Convention
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In February, WorldNetDaily touted how editor Joseph Farah was going to be a featured speaker at the Savef America Convention, put on by a group "ntent on seeing the U.S. Constitution upheld by elected officials." Other scheduled guests included Fox News personality Andrew Napolitano, former congressman Tom Tancredo, and G. Edward Griffin, 9-11 truther and author of the anti-Federal Reserve conspiracy tome "The Creature from Jekyll Island."

Well, the three-day convention was last weekend, and according to Creative Loafing, it was something of a bust: only 300 people showed up.As Think Progress noted, there were 25 scheduled speakers, making for a ratio of one speaker for ever 12 attendees.

Further, Think Progress also pointed out that all the speakers were male, and participants were prohibited from recording what the speakers said. What might Farah say that he would be afraid if it got out to the general public?

Posted by Terry K. at 4:45 PM EDT
CNS Portrays Right-Wing Activists As 'Experts'

The headline of Penny Starr's March 24 article reads, "Breakdown of Black Families in U.S. Linked to Planned Parenthood’s Birth Control Campaign, Experts Say." But Starr quotes no "experts," only right-wing activists -- and only one of them makes the claim in the headline.

Starr is writing about a panel at the Frederick Douglass Foundation’s annual conference, but she doesn't identify the foundation as a right-wing group, which is obvious from its self-description as an organization that "brings the sanctity of free market and limited government ideas to bear on the hardest problems facing our nation." The conference was stocked with right-wing activists such as Michael Steele, Alveda King and Ken Blackwell.

Starr did correctly identify the activist making the headline smear of Planned Parenthood -- Patrick Fagan of the Family Research Council -- as being with "a conservative group." But one would think his other claims would be more headline-worthy, such as that “Since the introduction of contraception, everything else has fallen.” 

But Starr identified Patricia Funderburk Ware only as "president and CEO of PFW Consultants Inc., and the former director of the Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Programs at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the George W. Bush administration." But Ware would not be a speaker at this conference if she was not a conservative -- indeed, this very panel was co-hosted by the "conservative" FRC. Yet Starr chose to hide that affiliation and that sponsorship.

Starr weaseled out of balancing the story by writing, "Planned Parenthood did not respond to a request for comment on Fagan's remarks before this story was posted." Given Starr's and CNS' historical antipathy toward Planned Parenthood, she clearly has no intention of treating the group fairly.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:36 AM EDT
WND's Kupelian Admits Art Robinson's Attacks Can't Be Substantiated
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily managing editor David Kupelian uses a March 23 column to attempt to justify a story that increasingly appears to have no journalistic justification.

Kupelian began by asserting that "Earlier this month, WND broke the sensational story in which Art Robinson – the noted scientist who challenged Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio for Oregon's 4th District congressional seat in November – alleged some extraordinarily nasty post-election political retribution was underway against his children." If by "broke the sensational story" Kupelian actually means "published a column by Robinson filled with unsubstantiated accusations," then sure.

Kupelian proceeds to slobber all over Robinson and his family, even rehashing his previous praise of Robinson's self-created homeschool curriculum  -- which, as we've detailed, is heavily dependent upon public-domain works, in particular the racist, imperialist adventure novels of 19th century author G.A. Henty. Needless to say, Kupelian doesn't touch that issue.

Then, surprisingly, Kupelian concedes there's no real substance to the story:

You may understandably be thinking: I'm sympathetic to the Robinsons – IF all this stuff is true. But how do I know it's true? So far the story is a big "he said-he said" with no definitive proof. Fair enough.

Of course, Kupelian would never publicly admit such a thing if he didn't have a plan to weasel out of it, and he does try to do exactly that, mostly with more he-said, she-said accusations. He does, however, add this:

Why would a university claim it can't answer questions from the press about a student due to laws protecting that student's privacy, but then when the press obtains the required waiver, continue to stonewall?

That's right. In its March 7 "Statement Regarding Internet Postings By Art Robinson," OSU's public relations department declared: "Federal law prohibits institutions of higher education from discussing matters concerning our students with anyone other than the student himself or herself without the express consent of the student involved."

Fine. The next day WND obtained "express consent of the student involved" in the form of a formal waiver from Joshua Robinson, explicitly permitting the university to talk to us about him and share documents related to his case.

But when presented with Joshua's release permitting OSU to talk to us, university spokesman Todd Simmons replied to WND editor Art Moore saying the release was "ridiculous" and refused to provide any more information than before we obtained and presented the release.

The problem is that Kupelian wants you to think WND is acting as some kind of neutral arbitrator or an actual news operation in this case. It's not -- it's a partisan political operation and, in this particular case, the press agent for Art Robinson who cares only about his story, not what the university has to say.

As we detailed, WND published Robinson's unsubstantiated column, then waited almost an entire day before working up the energy to publish Oregon State's response. Kupelian doesn't care about the truth -- he only cares about helping Art Robinson grind his ax.

A news operation that actually cared about journalism would not be taking sides the way WND has with Art Robinson. Kupelian is lying when he pretends otherwise.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:18 AM EDT
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
WND Thinks Mad Magazine Is An Authoritative Source On Birtherism
Topic: WorldNetDaily

This is how desperate WorldNetDaily is to push its birther agenda: It's promoting Mad magazine as an authoritative source on doubts about "wherever it is [Obama] was born."

No, really.

At no point does WND identify Mad as a humor magazine.

Sad, isn't it?

Posted by Terry K. at 3:01 PM EDT
WND Portrays Clownish Muslim Cleric As a Real Threat
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily wants you to think Anjem Choudary isn't a clown.

A March 22 WND article by Michael Carl breathlessly repeats Choudary's baseless assertion that "al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood have assets on the ground in Libya and are ready to take control if Moammar Gadhafi is removed from power." Carl pumps up Choudary so you will take his ravings seriously, insisting that he's a "top Muslim cleric" -- again, without any substantiation.

In the real world, Choudary is nothing more than a provocateur -- Salon called him "the Muslim analogue of Terry Jones, the obscure Florida preacher who created an international controversy last year with plans for a 'Burn the Quran Day.' He is a radical with minuscule public support, but one who can, given enough free airtime, do real-world damage." Choudary has appeared on Fox News in the same role that WND is putting him in: a crazy radical Muslim who is supposedly representative of all Muslims.

Still, Carl endeavors to construct a credible image for Choudary by invoking someone else endorsing his claims:

Florida Security Council President Tom Trento agrees.

"He is telling the truth, because North Africa from Cairo going West has deep penetration by the Muslim Brotherhood. We also know that Gadhafi is hated by and hates the Brotherhood and al-Qaida," Trento said.

"We also know that al-Qaida has their heart set on controlling petroleum. Libya is the No. 4 producer. There is no bigger prize in northern Africa than Libya right now," Trento said.

He said Choudary is in a position to know if the Brotherhood or al-Qaida is poised to move if Gadhafi is removed.

"Choudary has deep analytical connections to a variety of organizations. He is the sort of philosophical mind for al-Qaida. He is a confidante of Osama bin Laden," Trento said.

Trento is certain that these connections give Choudary inside information on whether al-Qaida is able to make such a power play if Gadhafi is gone from Libya.

At no point does Carl explain who Trento and the Florida Security Council are, let alone why they should be taken seriously. In fact, it's nothing more than a peration parroting the right-wing anti-Muslim line, even trying to fundraise off anti-Muslim fears.

The Florida Security Council has no demonstrated expertise on Muslim issues, as evidenced by its insistence on taking Choudary seriously; Trento states that he has "degrees in Law Enforcement, Theology and Philosophy." 

Carl waits until the 19th paragraph before getting around to quoting anti-Muslim activist Robert Spencer  calling Coudary's ravings "a bit fanciful." That Carl so buries the lead demonstrates WND's agenda to make Choudary as credibly scary as possible, even though it knows he's not.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:41 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 1:42 PM EDT
NewsBusters' Sheppard Retracts Accusation of Anti-Semitism
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard wrote a March 22 post accusing Mother Jones' David Corn of anti-Semitism for pointing out that "here’s a certain brand of evangelical Christians who believe in Revelations, that Armageddon is coming, and that will happen in Israel basically," and that "That’s why they want Israel to be strong. ... It’s not because they like Jews or Israelis."

As Mediate's Tommy Christopher notes, while what Corn said may be uncharitable to evangelical Christians, it's hardly anti-Semitic, and besides, "those non-believers can be forgiven for not appreciating a love that’s predicated on a belief that they will burn forever in a lake of fire if they don’t repent their non-believing ways. With friends like that, who needs enemies?" 

Christopher also got a reaction from Corn: "I don’t follow the extrapolation. How does questioning the motives of right-wing evangelical fundamentalists regarding their support of Israel translate into bias against Jews? If you get an explanation from Newsbusters, please forward."

Rather than explain, Sheppard has decided to punt, deleting the substance of his original post and replacing it with a retraction:

After discussing with my colleagues the subject of this article, which claimed Mother Jones's David Corn and MSNBC's Chris Matthews engaged in an anti-Semitic conversation on Monday's "Hardball," I have decided that I do not stand by my allegation.

I apologize to Corn and Matthews for my misinterpretation.

As you might expect -- Christopher's claim that NewsBusters "make[s] an effort to be honest and transparent" notwithstanding --  NewsBusters is making no effort to call attention to Sheppard's retraction; no reference to it appears on its front page. Further, Sheppard has not mentioned his retraction on his Twitter feed, even as a tweet claiming that Corn "made an anti-Semitic remark" remains live.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:55 AM EDT
More Anti-Gay (And Anti-Michelle Obama?) Snark From Tim Graham
Topic: NewsBusters

Tim Graham gets in a little gay-bashing in his March 22 NewsBusters post, huffing that "Time magazine followed Newsweek in honoring gay sex columnist Dan Savage and offering him space to trash conservatives. The liberal media sets Savage up as an anti-bullying activist, then lets him push conservative faces in the dirt." Graham went on to complain that Time was honoring Savage's "It Gets Better" videos, which he complained were "affirming homosexual children."

Graham then portrayed Savage as saying that "conservatives don't care if homosexual children (or children who think they might be) commit suicide." That, of course, is a creative interpretation of what Savage actually said, which was that no one "on the right in the U.S. to even say, You're 14 and gay. Don't kill yourself," whereas British Conservative Party leader David Cameron did. Graham groused: "What Savage really wants is what David Cameron of Britain provided: a "Conservative" who's 100 percent in agreement with government celebrating homosexuality."

That kind of anti-gay snark is to be expected from Graham. But he also seemed to take offense at Savage referencing "the glamour supernova that is Michelle Obama. It's staggering how charismatic and beautiful she is. It takes a lot for a woman to ping onto my radar like that." He offered no comment on it, but he put the "glamour supernova" statement in his headline, suggesting that there's an issue.

Does Graham believe, like certain others on the right, that Michelle Obama is a "hot mess" who is ugly and dresses funny? He might want to explain himself.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:34 AM EDT
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
WND's Massie Wants To Lynch Some (All?) Muslims
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Mychal Massie's March 22 WorldNetDaily column is headlined, "Islam slips the noose again," and he begins it by asserting, "Once again, Islam slipped the noose of public exposure for what it truly is."

Really? Nothing like a little lynching metaphor to illustrage one's point, eh?

But Massie's not done -- he also appears to liken the proposed Islamic center near the Ground Zero site in New York to putting the KKK headquarters in Harlem:

If the Ku Klux Klan, complete in sheets and hoods, wanted to open a national headquarters building in the middle of Harlem, with its Grand Wizard saying it wasn't to antagonize blacks – rather, it was so they and blacks could overcome misunderstanding – who would believe them? Are Nazis and others who praise Hitler invited to the White House and encouraged in their subversion of American tradition? People cannot fly the confederate flag without a person somewhere going apoplectic.

Massie even drags out his thesaurus again to drop a reference to the "Feast of Barmecide."

Posted by Terry K. at 3:13 PM EDT
NewsBusters' Double Standard on Judicial Conflicts of Interest
Topic: NewsBusters

A March 22 NewsBusters post by Tom Blumer joins the right-wing attack on Maryann Sumi, the Wisconsin judge who has blocked implementation of a recently passed state law essentially banning collective bargaining for public employees, repeating complaints that the judge's son is a former union worker as "a pretty clear conflict of interest." Blumer added that if the son lives with his mother, that "would compound the level of conflicted interests."

By contrast, NewsBusters endeavored to excuse similar conflicts of interest regarding another judge -- Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

After it was pointed out that Thomas' wife, Ginni, is a tea party activist whose activism should perhaps cause Thomas to recuse himself from some cases, Noel Sheppard scoffed at the idea in a Feb. 5 post: "So if a judge's wife writes an opinion on a controversial issue coming before his court, he should recuse himself? Doesn't make a lot of sense, does it?"

Referencing Ginni Thomas' previous affiliation with the tea party group Liberty Central in a July 2010 post, Sheppard wrote:

As such, despite Olbermann's blathering, the only potential conflict here would be if the Supreme Court heard a case involving a donor to Liberty Central. At that point, there are procedures in place to deal with it.

After all, in the many centuries we've had a Supreme Court, this isn't the first time a justice's spouse was involved in politics.

But as Sheppard also noted, Liberty Central has refused to make its donor list public, making it impossible to determine if a case Thomas decided involved a Liberty Central donor. Sheppard didn't comment on that contradiction.

In a March 2010 post, Matthew Balan touted legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin's claim that there's nothing illegal about Ginni Thomas' activism, as if that was the central issue.

It appears that the only judicial conflicts of interest that really matter to NewsBusters are those that can be used to attack a supposedly liberal judge.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:11 PM EDT
WND's Schizophrenia on Beck
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A March 21 WorldNetDaily article by Joe Kovacs states how "Media giant Glenn Beck is warning that a "perfect storm" of problems in America and the world has begun, and he's urging people to turn to God to deal with it." Kovacs adds that Beck "often invokes God in his commentary."

Wait -- wasn't WND trashing Beck just last week for being a new age Antichrist? Yes, yes it was.

In a March 9 article, Kovacs highlighted a video by "Christian author and national speaker" Brannon House claiming that Beck is "a pagan, New Age 'anti-Christ' who is deluding many believers away from the Bible's teachings and leading them toward Eastern mysticism" whose latest book "is nothing less than a promotion of universalism, postmodernism and pagan spirituality, also known as the New Age movement." Howse continued:

"I hate to say it, but through testing Glenn's doctrinal fruit, he is not a Christian. In fact indeed, he is a false teacher. He is proclaiming another Jesus and another gospel. ... Nowhere in Beck's new book does he mention the biblical Gospel. In fact, what he mentions is anti-Christ. He's denying the exclusivity of Jesus Christ. What Glenn is promoting is the same lie promoted by Satan in Genesis 3, verses 1–5. And I'm fearful that the spiritual poison Beck is promoting is not seven wonders that will change your life, but in fact lies that will condemn the souls of millions for eternity."

This is just another example of WND's growing schizophrenia on Beck. WND editor Joseph Farah has previously lashed out at Beck for rejecting WND's rabid birtherism -- but also invoked Beck's embrace of Joel Richardson's book "The Islamic Antichrist" to promote sales of the WND-published book (as well as another book sold by WND, "The 5000 Year Leap").

If WND really believes Beck is evil, why is it co-opting him as a pitchman? That would seem to be a disincentive to buy the books he endorses.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:49 AM EDT
NewsBusters' Blindered Attack On Biden's New Staffer
Topic: NewsBusters

A March 18 NewsBusters post by Lachlan Markay declared that Washington Post reporter Shailagh Murray -- who just accepted a job as communications director for Vice President Joe Biden -- "penn[ed] a number of stories toeing the Democratic line on a variety of issues." Markay went on to assert, "The bias dossier on Murray is thinner than, say, Katie Couric's, but contains a number of telling items."

Markay lists exactly three "telling items." That doesn't exactly make his case.

As one might expect, Markay's treatment of Murray's "bias dossier" is one-sided and assumes that every reporter who doesn't display an obvious right-wing bias is automatically liberal. Thus, he utterly ignores the idea that Media Matters might have a "bias dossier" of its own on her.

And lo and behold, it does. Here's a few examples:

We'd complain about  Markay's blindness to the existence of media bias that is not what he considers "liberal," but we'd be repeating ourselves.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:17 AM EDT
Monday, March 21, 2011
NEW ARTICLE: Newsmax Helps Another Florida Politician
Topic: Newsmax
Why is Newsmax and its CEO, Christopher Ruddy, giving money and fawning "news" coverage to its third major Florida candidate in the past year? Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 3:21 PM EDT
This Is A 'Scientific Poll'?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Bob Unruh writes in a March 20 WorldNetDaily article:

Not even one person in 10 believes Barack Obama has shown that he is eligible to be president of the United States, according to a stunning new scientific poll that also reveals political Independents have less tolerance than even Republicans for his efforts to obfuscate the issue.

"The shocking result in this survey is that just 9 percent said they believe Obama has met the requirements to prove he was born in the United States and is therefore qualified to be president," said Fritz Wenzel, chief of Wenzel Strategies, which conducted the assessment.

The problem with this "scientific poll"? Wenzel did not ask whether people "believe Obama has met the requirements to prove he was born in the United States and is therefore qualified to be president." Wenzel is extracting his claim from one response to the question, "What is your view of lingering questions about Obama's eligibility to be president?" and he is ignoring the 32 percent who said that the questions are not valid.

Here are the questions Wenzel did ask:

  • Are you aware of questions raised about Barack Obama's constitutional eligibility for the office of president?
  • What is your view of lingering questions about Obama's eligibility to be president?
  • President Obama has refused to release his educational records, which could prove or disprove whether or not he was born in the United States as required by the Constitution. What is your opinion of the fact Obama has not released his educational records?
  • Some states have drafted legislation requiring candidates for president to prove that they were born in the United States and also meet all other constitutional requirements to be qualified to serve as president of the United States. Do you support or oppose such state legislation?

By throwing in the claim that "President Obama has refused to release his educational records, which could prove or disprove whether or not he was born in the United States as required by the Constitution," Wenzel has arguably skewed his poll.

Of course, Wenzel has a history of skewed polling for WND.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:00 AM EDT
Tim Graham Anti-Gay Freakout Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

Tim Graham's eagle eye for people insufficiently hateful of gays finds a new target in Chris Matthews. Graham writes in a March 18 NewsBusters post that Matthews "stepped away from any sense of neutrality by serving as Master of Ceremonies at the 19th Annual Dinner of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which has long agitated for a repeal of any limitations on open homosexuality in the U.S. military."

Because the presence of the right's chief bogeyman can't be ignored, Graham conspiratorially adds: "Naturally, sponsors include the Open Society Institute of George Soros." What does that have to do with anything? Nothing, of course.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:46 AM EDT

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