Newsmax's Latest Round of Trump-Fluffing, Birth Certificate Edition Topic: Newsmax
The release of President Obama's long-form birth certificate prompted Newsmax to do what it already seems genetically predisposed to do: give even more fawning coverage to Donald Trump.
Newsmax got the obligatory post-release "exclusive interview" with Trump, in which he called Obama a "very strange president," joined by an article highlighting Rush Limbaugh's praise for Trump.
(Newsmax did manage to come up with the most bizarre take on the birth certificate, an interview with an astrologer who concluded from the information on it that Obama "should have gone into public relations rather than politics.")
Newsmax also engaged in some self-congratulatory Trump-fluffing as well, touting how "Newsmax’s Donald Trump presidential poll has now received more than a phenomenal 1 million responses!" Newsmax didn't say how much it spent to promote the meaningless poll. This was followed by an article stating how Trump is "honored" by the poll results.
As we've noted, Newsmax leaked early poll results to Trump, who then promoted it in interviews as evidence he's a serious presidential candidate.
CNS Puts Anti-Abortion Spin On Obama Birth Certificate Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com (along with its parent, the Media Research Center) largely stayed out of the birther wars -- they didn't embrace it, but they made no real effort to debunk it either. Now that President Obama has released the desired long-form birth certificate, CNS is ready to put its own brand of right-wing spin on things.
An April 27 CNS article by editor Terry Jeffrey carries the headline "Birth Certificate Shows: Obama’s Teenage Mom Was Not ‘Punished With a Baby’" -- an invocation of a previous statement by Obama. Jeffrey took this statement somewhat out of context; Obama was answering a question about sex education and sexually transmitted diseases, and he also said in reference to his daughters, "I don't want them punished with an STD at age 16."
In 1960, when the future President Obama was conceived by a teenager in Hawaii, abortion-on-demand was not legal in that state. A law that had been in place since the 1800s—before Hawaii had become a U.S. territory—was still in force. It was only a decade after Obama’s conception that Hawaii would become the first state in the nation to liberalize its abortion laws.
Jeffrey then cited an anti-abortion TV ad suggesting Obama's mother might have aborted him had abortion been legal because he would have been born into a "broken home" and "abandoned by his father," leaving only a "single mother" who "will struggle to raise him."
Jeffrey concluded: "But now President Obama’s birth certificate is delivering the same message. And it is posted for all of the world to see on Obama's White House website." Well, no -- Jeffrey is simply imposing his far-right anti-abortion agenda.
Will WND Admit Its Birther Obsession Was A Lie? Topic: WorldNetDaily
The actual release of President Obama's long-form birth certificate -- which corroborates everything that appeared in the "certificate of live birth" released by the Obama campaign in 2008 -- demonstrates how much of a fraud WorldNetDaily's birther coverage has been.
WND, of course, has been peddling lies about birther issues for years, embracing some of the more fringe claims, such as the fake "Kenyan birth certificate" and the Ron Polarik conspiracy that the original birth certificate Obama released is "criminally fraudulent."
In the past couple of weeks alone, Farah stood behind unproven claims that Obama spent millions of dollars fighting birther lawsuits and thinks the utterly discredited claim that Obama's grandmother said he was born in Kenya is important. He even blatantly lied that "WND never reported that Obama had spent $2 million hiding his birth certificate" when Farah himself made that exact claim.
All of that has now definitively been proven to be a lie. Will WND editor Joseph Farah apologize for promoting every lunatic theory he could find? Hell, no -- he's too busy taking credit, as well as moving the goalposts:
Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of WND, the only news agency that has waged a relentless investigative campaign on questions swirling around the Obama’s eligibility for nearly three years, was elated at the turn of events.
"We're gratified that our work has begun to pay off," he said. "The certificate of live birth is an absolutely vital foundation for determining constitutional eligibility of any president. We look forward to reviewing it like so many other Americans do at this late date. But it is important to remember there are still dozens of other questions concerning this question of eligibility that need to be resolved to assure what has become a very skeptical public concerning Barack Obama’s parentage, his adoption, his citizenship status throughout his life and why he continues to cultivate a culture of secrecy around his life."
We predicted that Farah would do exactly this, which is why he has been trying to move the argument from birth to "eligibility." And Farah is still insisting that Obama's "parentage" is in question, demonstrating that no amount of evidence will satisfy him.
For Farah, the birther stuff is nothing more than Vince Foster redux, and he's running the same attack plan against Obama as he did against President Clinton in the 1990s -- except this time he can make some serious coin by peddling birther trinkets, something he really couldn't do when he ran the Western Journalism Center (except, of course, for that Richard Mellon Scaife cash he got).
Farah and WND have demonstrated that their journalism is driven much more by irrational hatred of Obama than by actual facts. They simply can't be trusted to tell the truth, and they certainly aren't about to let the facts they in their way now.
UPDATE: Farah's not the only one doing some goalpost-moving:
Salon gets reaction from Jack Cashill, who insists that "The story of his first two years remains false."
TPM talks to Orly Taitz, who complains taht the certificate should read "Negro" and not "African" for the race of Obama's father.
Mother Jones gets a hold of Andy Martin, who says "The pressure for his college records is going to become relentless."
Newsmax (of course) touted Donald Trump's victory lap, adding that "Trump called on the president to release his college records and other documents he has so far declined to release."
UPDATE 2: Jerome Corsi has a WND-published book coming out next month called "Where's the Birth Certificate?" Are Corsi and WND scrambling to come up with a new title since the current one is no longer operative?
WND Columnist Attacks Obama For Getting Him Stuck In Traffic Topic: WorldNetDaily
In an especially petty fit of Obama Derangement Syndrome, Eric Golub dedicates his April 27 WorldNetDaily column to denigrating President Obama for committing the offense of inconveniencing Golub.
No, really. Here's how Golub kicks things off:
Obama says he is a Christian. I believe him.
Yet when he says he cares about the concerns of ordinary people, I do not believe him for one moment.
He is the same snob who gives people glimpses of his true character when his guard is down.
This is the man who asked an Iowa corn farmer if he grew arugula.
This is the man who disdainfully turned to his primary opponent and coldly said, "You're likable enough Hillary."
This is a man who would come to Los Angeles on one of the holiest days of the religious Christian calendar and shut down the entire city during rush-hour traffic.
As it turns out, Golub had no grand philosophical statement in which to base his ranting:
My anger was admittedly selfish. Only two miles from my home, an innocent trip to get some lunch turned into a fiasco lasting over an hour. All of the streets were blocked off. Getting home was virtually impossible. Then leaving the house for an appointment that could not be missed proved painful, as a two hour trip took four hours. The first two hours was just leaving Los Angeles.
Golub went on to claim:
Yet others had frustration that was far more important. Christians trying to attend Holy Thursday services at their churches could not get there. People trying to pay homage to God had to take a back seat because one man needed to pay homage to himself.
In fact, Holy Thursday is not a day of required attendance in most Christian churches, so it's unlikely many people were inconvenienced.
Further, traffic was not that big of an issue overall; the Los Angleles Times reported that traffic jams due to Obama's visit was limited to "some parts of the Westside," which the vast majority of metropolitan Los Angeles was unaffected.
Still, Golub is on a rant, and he won't be persuaded otherwise:
As Holy Thursday turned to Good Friday, well wishes are again sent to the Jews and Christians celebrating their beautiful traditions. In the aftermath of Easter weekend, Mr. Obama may wish to consider lowering himself in his own mind to the level of mere mortal.
Obama needs to learn humility. He needs to be more sensitive to those around him, even if they do not earn seven figures and trade carbon offsets. He needs to understand that for the great unwashed masses, the right to liberty and pursuit of happiness come in the form of a religious service.
His actions were selfish, classless and, even more sadly, typical.
I still hope the man had a peaceful Easter, but his attitude toward his fellow men led to a most Unholy Thursday.
Remember, this is all about traffic. That's what WND is left to resort to in order to bash Obama.
Billionaire developer Donald Trump is not only among the frontrunners for the GOP presidential nomination – his NBC show “The Celebrity Apprentice” is now blowing away the competition in the ratings.
“Celebrity Apprentice” is now tied as the Number 1 primetime show in the coveted 18-49 demographic, beating ABC and CBS combined, according to ratings released this week.
It ranked first for the week among all 10-11 p.m. programs in the same category and increased its number of viewers by 12 percent.
Notice how Newsmax carefully focuses on a single demographic. Meanwhile, if you consider total ratings, Trump is not doing so well. From TPM:
Trump's April 17 episode drew 7.6 million viewers, down from 8.2 million the previous week and 9.7 million viewers on April 3, right as his birther junket was getting into full swing. But the show's ratings have always been inconsistent -- its first season drew around 20 million viewers a night on average but by 2010, the 10th season of The Apprentice suffered dismal ratings, bringing in about 4 million viewers on average and prompting murmurs it might be canceled. Producers reportedly even filmed multiple endings with different winners for their last episode because their shrinking viewership wasn't enough to merit a live finale.
The numbers have since picked up, but its volatile following makes it difficult to assess the impact of Trump's presidential ambitions on the show's success.
Needless to say, Newsmax doesn't mention the overall trend of declining ratings.
WND "Reporting": Still Unfair And Unbalanced Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's idea of "news" typically involves telling only one side of the story, especially if the other side of the story is something it opposes.
And so it is with an April 25 WND article by Bob Unruh on the Independent Payment Advisory Board that's in the health care reform plan. Unruh writes that "critics have described" the board "as the ultimate 'death panel,'" then quotes no less than five of those critics, and even embedded "a video commentary on Obama administration actions." At no point, however, does Unruh make any apparent attempt to permit a representative from the Obama administration -- or anyone, really -- to respond to the criticism.
That may be because much the criticism Unruh uncritically reported is false or misleading. In contrast to claims regurgitated by Unruh that IPAB is "death panels" or "rationing," the truth is that IPAB is specifically prohibited from making "any recommendations to ration health care ... or otherwise restrict benefits."
A responsible reporter who cares about telling the truth would have reported that. Unruh didn't. But you knew that about Unruh already.
CNS Joins Bogus Right-Wing Freak-Out Over Lack of Easter Proclamation Topic: CNSNews.com
An April 26 CNSNews.com article by Fred Lucas pushes the right-wing meme that President Obama "did not put out a formal proclamation for Easter--after putting out proclamations for Muslim holidays." But Lucas apparently doesn't know the difference between a presidential statement and a presidential proclamation.
Lucas writes that "the White House released proclamations on Muslim holidays Ramadan, Eid-al-Fitr, Hajj, and Eid-al-Adha." That's false: the White House issued informal statements or messages -- not proclamations -- on those holidays.
Lucas does not report that, as Little Green Footballs' Charles Johnson documented, no president since at least 1980 issued an Easter proclamation -- something you'd think would be germane to the discussion.
A formal presidential proclamation is something quite different from an informal statement or message. Lucas' false conflation of the two demonstrates that either he doesn't understand the difference or is deliberately obscuring the difference to further his right-wing hackery. Either way, he's not practicing what most would recognize as journalism.
Farah Can't Get His Trump Story Straight Topic: WorldNetDaily
As we noted, WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah appeared on the April 22 edition of Fox Business' "America's Nightly Scoreboard." He seems to have bound himself in another lie.
When host David Asman asked Farah if he has talked with Donald Trump and advising him on birther issues, Farah responded, "No, I have never talked to Donald Trump in my life, though I'd be happy to anytime he would like."
That seems to contradict what Politco reported on April 14, that Farah told the publication taht he "has been on the phone with Donald Trump every day this week."
So who got it wrong? Did Politico misinterpret what Farah said, or is Farah telling two different stories depending on who his audience is? The latter is not out of the question, especially given Farah's blatant lie about WND never reporting that Obama has spent $2 million on birther lawsuits (when Farah himself made that exact claim).
That's the kind of shadiness Farah and WND have employed throughout its birther coverage. That makes it difficult for anyone to treat WND as a serious news organization, especially on birther stuff.
Busted! The Truth About MRC's Distortions Topic: Media Research Center
Media Matters has done some heavy lifting to get the facts about some recent Media Research Center-related distortions.
The April 22 edition of Fox News' "Hannity" was dedicated to telling "the history of liberal media," with a big assist from the MRC, which stated that it "made available to Fox News Channel producers video clips from our archive going back more than 20 years and they are scattered throughout the hour – as are soundbites from MRC President Brent Bozell." As Media Matters details, the Hannity special was littered with distorted, out-of-context quotes that purportedly prove "liberal bias," including Katie Couric's "The Gipper was an airhead" quote we have previously called the MRC out on.
The MRC's Business & Media Institute produced an April 19 report by Julia Seymour complaining that news reports aren't blaming President Obama for higher gas prices. As Media Matters documents, those news reports are telling the truth -- no legitimate energy expert links the moritorium on deep-water oil drilling to higher oil prices.
Undaunted by the facts, Seymour churned out another article saying basically the same thing.
Newsmax's favorite bitter ex-CIA agent is back again, this time given a video platform for his bitterness.
An April 22 Newsmax article by Dan Weil and Kathleen Walter features a video interview of Kent Clizbe, in which he not only denounces President Obama's actions in Libya, he goes birther:
On a separate issue, Clizbe says Americans have a right to be concerned about whether Obama was born in the United States.
“There’s a constitutional mandate that lays out exactly the qualifications for any president,” he says. “In the past, the press has served as vetters for these issues.” But this time around, the press hasn’t come through, Clizbe says.
“President Obama needs to be vetted. What exactly is in his background, who knows? But he hasn’t been vetted. The birth certificate is just one tiny issue in a much larger vetting question.”
The apparent purpose of this interview of Clizbe is to promote his upcoming book, "Willing Accomplices: How KGB Covert Influence Agents Created Political Correctness and Destroyed America." The website for the book -- which appears to be self-published; the listed publisher, Andemca Publishing, lists only his book and Clizbe as the only named contact -- rants about "Progressives' and Obama's Hate-America-First politics" and "Obama's America-Sucks Political Platform."
In the interview but not noted in the accompanying article, Clizbe asserts that "the whole political philosophy of political correctness was created by the KGB, a covert influence campaign that they began in the 1920s under Lenin, and their goal was to destroy American exceptionalism, and they did that very well." Clizbe does add that "there's no evidence that President Obama is controlled by the KGB."
Of course, in the 1920s America was hardly a world power and "American exceptionalism" had not been much of an issue at that time, so it's highly unlikely that Lenin and the KGB (which was not established until the 1950s) would concern themselves with targeting America so soon after the Russian Revolution.
A free excerpt of Clizbe's book suggests more of the Obama-hate he has previously peddled; he has, after all, perviously smeared the president as a Soviet tool. He writes in the book:
Obama is the first president to apologize repeatedly for America’s sins against foreign countries, and to speak disparagingly against the country that elected him. Obama’s cool, detached Elite attitude, loathing the “bitter clingers” of the heartland, is a living testament to the power and success of Muenzenberg’s covert influence operations.
It's strange that Newsmax would embrace such a rabidly right-wing book given that it has been trying to moderate itself over the past few years. Is Newsmax backsliding to its Clinton-era-style rage and conspiracy-mongering? Its hearty embrace of Donald Trump's birtherism suggests so.
NewsBusters Pretends Birtherism Is Only A 'Fringe-Right' Issue Topic: NewsBusters
An April 21 NewsBusters post by Matt Hadro complains that a CNN contributor didn't state that "the GOP has a problem on its hands with 'birther' rhetoric from the fringe-right." Perhaps that's because birther rhetoric has ceased being a "fringe-right" issue.
Significant numbers of Republicans -- a majority in one recent poll -- hold birther views, and birther obsessive Donald Trump has become a frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination.
Apparently, Hadro thinks half the Republican party is "fringe right." But don't his NewsBusters colleagues love to Heather those who aren't?
Farah Is Still Lying About Legal-Fee Claim Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah, it seems, is not done berating his latest critic.
The war of words between him and Salon over WND's claims about how much money President Obama has purportedly spent fighting birther lawsuits gets another go in Farah's April 23 column, which carries the headline "Last word about Salon."
True to petulant form, Farah wastes no time trying to denigrate Salon's Justin Elliott, the target of his ire, as a "George Soros-linked blogger," a "Soros apparatchik," and "the little Soros crony." This apparently refers to Elliott's stint writing for the Campus Progress blog, published by the Soros-funded Center for American Progress; Farah offers no evidence that Elliott's current employer, Salon (or his previous employer, Talking Points Memo), have any Soros links. Following Farah's logic, we should be calling Farah a Richard Mellon Scaife apparatchik.
As he has before, Farah is spreading more birther falsehoods. He concedes what the facts show, stating that "We don't know exactly how much money Obama has spent hiding public documentation about his nativity story," but he also states, "WND never reported that Obama had spent $2 million hiding his birth certificate."
That is a bald-faced lie. Not only has WND, as the blog Barackryphal detailed, repeatedly claimed or suggested that Obama has spent a large amount of money fighting birther lawsuits, Farah himself said so in his Dec. 9, 2010, column, explicitly stating that "Obama has spent at least $2 million fighting efforts to release his birth certificate."
Even when you limit Farah's statement to the three Chelsea Schilling-penned articles in which the claim was promulgated, it's still a lie. As we documented, two of the articles asserted all of the money was paid to Obama's "top eligibility lawyer" -- something Schilling's evidence does not support.
Don't expect Farah to issue a formal correction on this obviously false claim -- you know how he gets about that.
CNS Misleads On Asthma Risk From Coal Topic: CNSNews.com
An April 19 CNSNews.com article by Matt Cover highlights a claim by President Obama that coal could create "the kinds of air pollution" that is "creating asthma for kids," retorting:
Asthma, however, is not caused by coal, or the emissions from coal-fired power plants, as the president suggested. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) the true cause of asthma is unknown, although scientists believe it is caused by a confluence of genetic and environmental factors or early viral infections.
A 2001 study by the Harvard School of Public Health found that two coal-powered plants in Chicago were responsible for 2,800 asthma attacks per year. Likewise, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America states that "Substantial scientific evidence" has linked air pollutants like sulfur dioxide -- a compound released when coal is burned -- to respiratory problems. Specifically, the AAFA states that "People prone to allergy, especially those with allergic asthma, can be extremely sensitive to inhaled sulfur dioxide."
Coal-burning plants also produce nitrogen oxides. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, "Nitrogen oxides play a major role in the formation of ground-level ozone (or smog) in the summertime. Smog triggers millions of asthma attacks each year in the U.S., and worsens or causes other respiratory ailments."
Cover did concede that "The NIH did say that respiratory irritants, such as air pollution, can trigger an asthma attack," then added, "but not that air pollution causes the disease."