Jerome Corsi's March 26 column carries the headline "Ayers admits (again) he wrote Obama bio." The headline should be "Corsi admits he doesn't understand sarcasm."
While Corsi avers that Bill Ayers' statement in a recent speech that he wrote Barack Obama's book "Dreams From My Father" and that "if you help me prove it, I’ll split the royalties with you" "could be explained away as a mocking irony designed only to goad Ayers's critics by yet another false admission he was the president's ghostwriter" -- indeed, the video clearly shows that Ayers was being sarcastic -- Corsi's overall tone is intent on taking Ayers' words at face value, which shows either that he doesn't get sarcasm or that it's not in his (or WND's) business interest to do so. Remember, Corsi's new WND-published birther book is coming out in May.
Corsi even hauls in Jack Cashill -- whose own attempts to prove Ayers' authorship have been discredited -- to weigh in:
In an email to WND, Cashill said that Ayers's face looked relaxed at first when he answered the question.
"This time, I think Ayers was making a serious admission," Cashill told WND. "I think it took a split second for him to realize where this was going. Then, as he pulls away, his face assumes a smile rictus. It’s not a full-face smile, but a false smile – only the mouth, not the eyes."
"Ayers is a very smart guy and he was careful to couch his comments with irony," Cashill noted. "But Ayers was not aiming his irony at critics like me. He was aiming his irony at the White House, letting Obama know that he could blow Obama out of the water, if he gets serious about it."
So Cashill is suddenly a body language expert all of a sudden?
UPDATE: NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard picks this up, and completely ignores the sarcasm, insisting that it's "newsworthy that the President's first book was written by a domestic terrorist."
MRC Officials Attack Musical They've Never Seen Topic: Media Research Center
Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell devoted his March 25 column to trashing the new musical "The Book of Mormon," asserting that it "belongs in a latrine." He went on to claim that the show's creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone of "South Park" fame, are "perpetually immature" and "growth-stunted boys" who "have spent years delivering product sure to please high school sophomores and L.A. Times film critics."
But Bozell offers no evidence that he has seen the musical he's attacking -- highly unlikely since it officially opened only the night before his column appeared. Indeed, Bozell offers no personal observations of the show, only quoting others talking about it.
MRC director of media analysis Tim Graham joined in the parade of deliberate ignorance in a March 26 NewsBusters post declaring his offense that a Washington Post would say nice things about this "Mormon-trashing musical." Graham offered no evidence that he has seen the show, unlike the Post reviewer he's attacking.
Graham followed up with a post attacking yet another review of the show -- which, again, Graham himself has not seen.
Is it too much to ask Bozell and Graham to actually experience the show they're attacking? Apparently it is.
Kinsolving Asks If Obama Is 'Sorry' That Illegal Immigrants Were Arrested Topic: WorldNetDaily
Yes, Les Kinsolving actually asked this question of White House press secretary Tim Carney:
Both the Washington Post and the Washington Times report the arrest of 130 illegal aliens in Virginia this week. Is the president gratified or sorry?
And Kinsolving wonders why he -- who is so more interested in being a spiteful partisan hack instead of a real reporter -- doesn't get to ask more questions in White House press briefings (something he whines about constantly).
Bozell Pushes Bogus Claim That Bush Didn't Get Free Pass In Iraq War Runup Topic: Media Research Center
A March 25 NewsBusters post highlights Brent Bozell's recent appearance on "Hannity," during which he complained that the media "hammered Bush" about getting congressional approval for the Iraq War while "such scrutiny has been missing in President Obama's actions on Libya." In reality, the media mostly gave President Bush a free pass in the runup to Iraq, which even the New York Times and Washington Post have admitted.
Simply stated, we must drill now. Let's delude ourselves that we are actually healing the planet some other time. For years now, the warnings have gone out that the U.S. needs to free itself from dependence on Islamic oil. President Obama has done just the opposite, choosing instead to petition some worthless puny little gods called Volt and Prius to save us. I would love to believe that Rush Limbaugh is wrong when he says that President Obama is purposefully trying to destroy this nation, but in light of his actions, what other option do I really have?
The world economy in an imminent free fall over rising oil prices; Middle Eastern radical Islamic violence is spreading, threatening Israeli and Western security interests; and now we are hit with huge earthquakes and tsunamis – and our president, Barack Hussein Obama – the supposed leader of the planet – holds a news conference yesterday where he sounded more like someone who had overdosed on anti-depressants and tranquilizers than a leader who is alert, engaged and aggressively on the job. In a rambling, lackluster and defensive display of his now-patented and cocky inflated ego, the "mullah in chief" defended his administration's policy to curtain drilling for oil to create energy independence, gave mild if not unconvincing condolences to the Japanese people and then – in response to questions about the Middle East – attempted to distinguish between real assistance for the freedom fighters there and U.S. policy.
Obama will not likely win the next election; his pro-Muslim, anti-Semitic, if not bribed, state is now even apparent to many of his past supporters on the left – particularly liberal Jews and progressive whites, and other previous constituencies. But, assuming that the nation survives until 2012, what will follow is equally concerning.
When Obama arrived in the Windy City, Farrakhan had already forged deep ties with Gadhafi. It's no secret that Wright, and to a lesser extent Farrakhan, became Obama's mentors, but it can't help but give pause that Gadhafi, in his terse admonitions to the president and elsewhere, habitually refers to him as "my son."
Precisely what, if any, relationship might Obama have had with the Libyan leader?
The fact is, when it comes to American interest, Obama couldn't care less. He demonstrated that by seeking and taking America's marching orders solely from the United Nations and the Arab League, without even saying howdy-do to Congress (whose answering chorus of silence is a disgrace), later kicking soccer balls around Rio instead of addressing the American people as to why he was ordering another U.S. military intervention – this one with al-Qaida support.
It's as if Obama considers the interest he serves as being above all that Congress-American-people-stuff. "Humanitarians" are like that, and what we're seeing is so-called humanitarian military intervention, the doctrine is promulgated by Obama's human rights adviser Samantha Power. Known as a genocide expert, Power has gone so far as to argue for the insertion of a "mammoth" American "protection" force into Israeli-Palestinian environs to prevent "human rights abuses" – code for neutralizing Israeli self-defense.
WND Revives Discredited Attacks On Gorelick Topic: WorldNetDaily
As we'vedetailed, WorldNetDaily and the rest of the ConWeb took great joy in falsely accusing former Clinton administration deputy attorney general Jamie Gorelick of creating the "wall" that restricted the ability of law enforcement officals to share information with intelligence officials.
With reports that Gorelick is a candidate to become the next FBI director, WorldNetDaily returns to the scene of the crime by reviving those bogus claims.
A March 24 article by Jerome Corsi asserts that Gorelick "helped to bring us 9/11," adding:
Also, from 1994 to 1997, while serving in the Department of Justice as a deputy attorney general, Gorelick wrote a 1995 memo creating what in time became known as the "Gorelick Wall."
Basically, the Gorelick memo set in stone the Clinton-era doctrine that terrorism was to be regarded as a criminal justice problem. That meant information developed by intelligence agencies was not to be shared with criminal investigative units, including the Department of Justice, largely because the regulations under which intelligence agencies operate did not necessarily protect the civil rights of criminal suspects under U.S. law.
Gorelick's role in writing the memo was not generally known until she was appointed by then-Senate Democratic Party minority leader Tom Daschle to serve as a commissioner on the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, commonly known as the 9/11 Commission.
Her participation as commissioner became controversial when then-Attorney General John Aschroft in his testimony to the 9/11 Commission declassified and brought to light the 1995 Department of Justice memorandum authored by Gorelick.
Appearing before the 9/11 Commission, Ashcroft testified, "Although you understand the debilitating impact of the wall, I cannot imagine that the commission knew about this memorandum, so I have declassified it for you and the public to review. Full disclosure compels me to inform you that its author is a member of this commission."
Since Ashroft's disclosure, controversy has swirled over the possibility that had intelligence and law enforcement agencies fully shared information about prospective terrorists attacks, 9/11 might have been prevented.
In fact, as we earlier detailed and Media Matters also notes, the no-sharing policy began well before Gorelick's tenure; a congressional report stated that the "wall" began more than 60 years ago. Corsi fails to mention that the Justice Department under Ashcroft renewed the "wall" shortly before 9/11 -- one of his deputies wrote in August 2001, "The 1995 procedures remain in effect today." Even former Sen. Slade Gorton, a member of the 9/11 Commission, wrote that Gorelick "had nothing to do with any 'wall' between law enforcement and our intelligence agencies."
Jack Cashill joined the parade in his March 24 WND column, echoing the false claim that "Gorelick penned the infamous 'wall' memo that prevented intelligence agencies from sharing information in the run-up to Sept. 11." But Cashill is actually much more interested in trying to shoehorn Gorelick into his longtime conspiracy theory that TWA Flight 800 was shot down or bombed.
Trump Gives Newsmax License To Go Full Birther Topic: Newsmax
It should come as no surprise that WorldNetDaily is reveling in Donald Trump's outbreak of birtherism, with articles on his appearance on "The View" spewing his birther views and Sean Hannity's subsequent shift to birtherism in defending Trump and Rush Limbaugh's echoing it.
The surprise is that Newsmax is following WND's birther lead.
A March 24 interview by Jim Meyers and Ashley Martella touts how Trump "is not backing down from his demand that President Barack Obama produce his birth certificate and stepped up his criticism by questioning why he has not released other personal records, including college transcripts and legislative papers."
The article even repeats some bogus birther tropes. Meyers and Martella write that "former Pennsylvania Deputy Attorney General Philip Berg has claimed that Obama’s paternal grandmother says she was in the delivery room when he was born in Kenya," but don't mention that Berg's claim has been discredited.
Newsmax followed up with a March 25 article by Dave Eberhart regurgitating Limbaugh's praise of Trump's birtherism.
Newsmax has previously resisted overt birtherism despite some of its columnists (and even CEO Christopher Ruddy) embracing the idea, its coverage has been intermittent at best and certaintly nowhere near the rabidly obsessive levels of WND.
But Newsmax is weirdly in the tank for Trump, beginning with Ronald Kessler's slobberingover his presidential prospects in January and even bragging about how he and his wife "spent the Martin Luther King holiday weekend with [Trump] at Mar-a-Lago, his home and club on Palm Beach." Indeed, Newsmax's Trump interview is accompanied by an article by Chris Gonsalves on how Trump's show "Celebrity Apprentice" is "drawing record viewers and topping the ratings in key demographics" and an S.E. Cupp column claiming other Republican presidential candidates could learn from Trump.
Newsmax's fealty to Trump, it seems, has given it cover to go fully birther.
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."
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?
CNS Portrays Right-Wing Activists As 'Experts' Topic: CNSNews.com
The headline of Penny Starr's March 24 CNSNews.com 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.