ConWebBlog: The Weblog of ConWebWatch

your New Media watchdog

ConWebWatch: home | archive/search | about | primer | shop

Monday, May 23, 2011
WND's Ethically Challenged Pollster Rails Against Bias Of (Other) Pollsters
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Fritz Wenzel penned a May 13 WorldNetDaily column with the headline "Shaping opinion by skewing the polls." Well, he would know.

As we've detailed, Wenzel is a pollster with an ethically challenged past who has  cranked out numerous polls for WND with questions skewed to generate a particular result its client was looking for.

Indeed, in the days before Wenzel wrote his column, he released results of WND polling that is demonstrably skewed. One poll on gay-related issues featured in a May 8 WND article included these questions:

  • Should American soldiers and sailors be required to bunk and shower with open homosexuals?
  • Should taxpayers be required – through Obamacare – to pay for transsexual 'sex-change' operations, that is, to pay for people's surgery to amputate and/or remake organs to resemble those of the opposite sex?
  • Many people complained about the recent male-on-male kiss on the primetime TV show 'Glee.' Do you think this negative reaction was based on an anti-gay prejudice or was it a healthy reaction against something unnatural and perverse?

Another Wenzel poll, featured in an April 26 WND article, included these skewed questions:

  • Do you believe elementary school children should be taught that homosexuality is a normal alternative lifestyle?
  • Is it appropriate to expose elementary school students to 'gay pride' and "Gay History Month' lessons that celebrate the lives of homosexual activists like Harvey Milk?"
  • Should students be taught how to perform gay sex acts as part of 'safe sex' lessons in school?"

Yet Wenzel did not confess to his own sins; rather, he endeavored to cast aspersions on others. He took offense to one Associated Press poll "in which Democratic respondents outnumbered Republican respondents by 17 percentage points!" He didn't note the explanation the AP provided:

The AP-GfK results were striking in that they found Obama with a higher approval rating than other recent polls that generally said he was in the low 50s. Polls often produce varying results because of differences in question wording and polling methodology. Also, during periods when public opinion about an issue is particularly volatile, and at times when the public is being presented with rapidly changing information, it is not uncommon to see wider variations across polls, even those conducted around the same time.
Some conservatives criticized the AP-GfK poll as heavy with responses from Democrats that skewed the results. AP-GfK polls use a consistent methodology that draws a random sample of the population independent of party identification. Such identification is not static and tends to fluctuate over time along with other political opinions. However, the change in party identification in the current AP-GfK current poll is not a statistically significant shift from the previous poll in March and could not by itself explain the poll findings.

Instead, Wenzel insisted that only "a sample of likely voters" offers accurate results on political matters because "barely half of registered voters cast ballots in presidential elections, about half of the sample of any registered voter survey includes the opinions of people who don't participate in elections. Who cares what they think about politics?"

He even complained that "There is noticeable skepticism on the political right that polling data is used by MSM outlets not just to report public opinion, but to shape it," even though that's exactly what he's doing with his WND polls.

Wenzel is not going to be skeptical about right-wing poll bias because creating biased right-wing polls is his job.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:44 AM EDT
Kessler Still Pining Away For Trump Candidacy
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax was the chief cheerleader for a Donald Trump presidency, and the chief cheerleader at Newsmax was Ronald Kessler. Drawing on his decade-long relationship with the mogul, Kessler did what he could to pave the way for a Trump presidency, even helping to facilitate Trump's speaking slot at CPAC.

But with Trump's declaration that he wouldn't seek the presidency -- a week or so ahead of when Kessler said he would announce his decision -- presumably left Kessler as broken-hearted as his Newsmax colleague James Hirsen.

So Kessler tries to pick up the pieces in his May 19 column by still carrying a flame for Trump's presidential ambitions.

Kessler claimed that "The tipping point for Donald Trump came when Steve Burke, CEO of NBCUniversal, visited him in his office in New York and offered him $120 million to continue as the star of 'The Celebrity Apprentice.' The NBC offer was for two seasons at $60 million each. Until then, Trump had been planning to announce his presidential run a few days after this season’s finale, which airs this coming Sunday, May 22."

But that's not quite what Kessler originally claimed; he wrote (after two previous tries went away) that on the "Celebrity Apprentice" season finale, "Trump plans to say that he will be holding a press conference in the next few days at Trump Towers in New York," at which "sources close to the real estate titan tell me that at that press conference Trump will be announcing his candidacy for the presidency." But even that claim was shot down when an NBC executive reported that the finale was filmed months ago, before Trump began his presidential flirtation.

Kessler, though, is still keeping hope alive. Claiming that "Trump’s office has received thousands of letters and emails urging him to reconsider," and that he "is said to have had many high-profile business leaders and others encouraging him to reconsider, drop his NBC plans and make the bid." Kessler continues:

Despite his decision not to run, Trump is still in high demand to speak at Republican events. He has struck a chord with Republicans and independents who relish his straight-talking approach to the economy and foreign affairs. He is said to be personally satisfied that he has made his points and has moved the conversation when it comes to Obama and his policies.

Candidate or not, Trump is likely to remain a force in Republican politics.

Kessler, it seems, is going to remain an public relations agent for Trump.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:53 AM EDT
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Farah's Daughter Bashes Filibustered Judicial Nominee
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Alyssa Farah, daughter of WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah, has a notable history of bias and misleading claims, and she keeps up the family tradition in a May 19 article on the filibuster of judicial nominee Goodwin Liu.

Farah kicks things off by calling Liu "far left-leaning" while offering no evidence that this is the case. She also offers a highly unbalanced picture of Liu -- 12 paragraphs of attacks on him, compared with just two paragraph defending him.

The kind of factually deficient right-wing media bias WND peddles is genetic, it seems.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:02 PM EDT
Corsi Thinks OCR Gobbledygook Is Secret 'Hidden Text'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

First there was the layers in the PDF of Barack Obama's birth certificate (created in a conspiracy to make the document more readable). Then there was the U.S. government's questioning Obama's citizenship (Aaron Klein didn't reveal until the second-to-last paragraph that the feds concluded he was one). Now, WorldNetDaily may have hatched its most desperate -- and utterly ridiculous -- attempt yet to discredit the certificate.

Jerome Corsi actually wrote this in a May 21 WND article:

Recalling Dan Brown's bestselling novel "The Da Vinci Code," computer experts have discovered strange anomalies in the Obama birth record released by the White House.

They include a different birth registration number that shows up in "hidden text," remnants of the short-form certificate apparently bleeding through the long-form and a "smiley face" in the registrar's stamp that does not show up on other recently issued Hawaii birth records.

Curiously, in a simple process run by Optical Character Recognition software that reveals hidden text, the registration number 10611 turns up, instead of 10641, the number displayed on the two birth records authorized for publication by the White House.


Is 10611 Obama's true birth registration number, the number on a document used by a forger or just a meaningless symbol beneath the text?

Corsi seems to be counting on the possibility that his audience of WND readers don't actually know how OCR software works. It's a way to convert scanned text on a printed page into a computer; while robust and well-trained OCR software will generally do a good job of doing such a conversion, it will fall short when the text isn't clear, and it will also attempt to convert non-text elements linke lines or dust spots into text as well, resulting in meaningless gobbledygook.

The number on Obama's birth certificate is clear to the naked eye as 10641, but because the copy Obama made public is itself a copy, enough of the "4" did not transfer over, causing the OCR software to read it as a "1."

For Corsi to treat this and other OCR gobbledygook -- generated when the software tried to interpolate non-text markings as text -- as secret "hidden text" is the height of absurdity.

Why should anyone who does such a thing -- and the "news" organization that publishes it -- deserve to be taken seriously?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:16 AM EDT
Saturday, May 21, 2011
NewsBusters Complains That Media Ignored Discredited Study
Topic: NewsBusters

Must the media promote a discredited study? NewsBusters thinks so.

A May 20 post by Tim Graham touts a study by economists Timothy Conley of the University of Western Ontario and Bill Dupor of Ohio State University showed the stimulus bill saved 443,000 government jobs, but caused a net loss of more than a million jobs, complaining that "This is one of those studies only Fox News noticed." 

Graham didn't mention that the study has been discredited. Nobel laureate and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote that the study "makes no effort to control for the differential effects of bubble and bust" and "uses odd variables on both the left and the right side of its equations," adding that it appears "the authors tried something that happened to give the results they wanted, then stopped looking."

Economist Dean Baker wrote of the study: "Their results depend on pulling out four private sector industry groups (lumped together) and measuring the stimulus against trend job growth in these industries. Even for these four industry groups , most of the results are only marginally significant. It is clear from their tables that if they took all private sector jobs, their results would be insignificant." Baker concluded, "In short, there are many unusual aspects to this analysis and very little effort to determine whether these quirks are driving the results."

Further, the study's results run counter to findings by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and the White House Council of Economic Advisors, which found that the stimulus bill created as many as 3.6 million jobs.

Graham also claimed that "Our media only cites studies which estimate the number of jobs Team Obama 'saved or created,'" but it's clear that "his media" -- Fox News -- apparently only cites studies that claim the stimulus was a failure, regardless of the veracity of that claim.

Nevertheless, Tom Blumer piled on in another May 20 post, echoing Graham's complaint that "the establishment press has given the silent treatment" to the study. He also bizarrely claimed that a search of the New York Times website for the study turned up "Nothing relevant," completely ignoring Krugman's analysis. (Blumer did a search for the study authors' names, which Krugman didn't use in his analysis.) Like Graham, he avoided mentioning any criticism of the study.

Blumer adds, "Ignorance of published results can have consequences." So does ignorance of how published results have been discredited.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:59 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, May 21, 2011 11:00 AM EDT
Maker of WND's 'Smoking Gun' Birther Video Also Thinks Obama Is the Antichrist (And Is On The WND Payroll?)
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily put up a video-only post on May 16, with the headline "Video 'proves' Obama birth certificate is fake; Simple examination of lettering leaves little doubt Barack's long-form fraudulent."

It turns out the video was created by "ppsimmons," supposedly the nom de YouTube of "a highly successful and respected businessman in Birmingham, Alabama -- and also another man who is a youth minister in the gulf coast area" that features the narration of a pastor named Carl Gallups, who insists that he isn't "ppsimmons."

This is not the first time WND has promoted a "ppsimmons" video. Back in July 2009, Joe Kovacs devoted an entire article to a "ppsimmons" video strongly suggesting that President Obama is the Antichrist. But as blogger Richard Bartholomew documented (and as we noted as part of WND's obsession with portraying Obama as the Antichrist), the video's proof is based on a fallacious reinterpretation of Scripture.

If "ppsimmons" is changing Scripture to push a political agenda, it's more than likely that the "SMOKING GUN!" its video claims to provide isn't one.

Interestingly, the YouTube channel of "ppsimmons" includes a playlist of 10 videos it claims to have "produced for WND." Funny, we don't recall WND explaining that "ppsimmons" is on the WND payroll. In fact, in that 2009 article, Kovacs went to great pains not to reveal the videomaker's real identity, claiming that he "spoke to WND under condition of anonymity out of concern for members of his local church."

An April 29 WND article by Bob Unruh also embeds a "ppsimmons" video, who is described only as someone "PPSimmons, who previously has analyzed and provided commentary on the issues of eligibility to the presidency," not as an apparently paid WND contractor.

Not only is WND pushing silly falsehoods anbout Obama, it's hiding its relationship with, and the identity of, what appears to be its second-favorite videomaker behind gay-basher Molotov Mitchell. That's yet another reason never to take WND seriously as a "news" organization.

(P.S. Is "ppsimmons" the same cowardly filmmakers who wouldn't allow themselves to be credited for WND's error-laden video "A Question of Eligibility"? Then again, if we had made such an amateurish, factually challenged production, we'd be ashamed to put our names on it too.)

Posted by Terry K. at 2:09 AM EDT
Friday, May 20, 2011
Liberal (And Gay) Derangement Syndrome Watch

Still, liberals - or “progressives,” as they prefer to be called - persist in laboring under an embarrassing misconception: They honestly believe they remain the nonconformists. It’s precious.

In fact, today’s liberals are nothing of the sort. They compliantly conform - like little windup, patchouli-daubed lemmings - to a carnival-prize caricature of what they imagine nonconformity to look like. You know, the usual stuff: neo-Marxism, environmentalist activism, sexual relativism, big-government nanny statism, an actions-without-consequences rendering of reproductive rights, and other such populist nonsense. Simply put, today’s progressive nonconformist conforms.

Indeed, the “Stepford Wives” have become the “Stepford Lesbians.” The prudish, judgmental church lady has swapped spots with the easy - yet somehow self-righteous - birth-bashing feminist.

-- Matt Barber, May 20 column

Posted by Terry K. at 11:36 AM EDT
WND's Klein Attacks Father of Dead Israeli Soldier
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In a May 19 WorldNetDaily article, Aaron Klein expresses his offense at the two examples President Obama cited in his Middle East speech, complaining hat Obama "compared an Israeli who died in a Hamas terrorist attack that targeted civilians to three Palestinian girls killed in an Israeli anti-terror operation in which Hamas had reportedly shot at Israeli forces from near the girls' home, drawing return fire."

But complaining about purported false equivalence wasn't enough for Klein. He also attacked the father of the dead Israeli as "far-left":

The Israeli father whose son was killed by Hamas, as referenced by Obama, was Yitzhak Frankenthal, the founder of a far-left Israeli group that blames Israeli "occupation" for Palestinian terrorism.

Frankenthal's son, Arik, was 19 years old when he was shot in a drive-by Hamas terror attack in July 1994.

The "far-left Israeli group" Klein is apparently referring to is the Arik Foundation. Contrary to Klein's claim, though, blaming Palestinian terrorism on Israeli occupation is a cherry-picked oversimplification of the foundation's views. From its website:

The Arik Institute was established to resolve the reactions of repression and denial among both the Israeli and Palestinian populations.

Among the Israeli public, these reactions are most apparent regarding the meanings of occupation. The occupation is perceived by Israel (and the world) as an unavoidable counter-measure. The perception of occupation as the worst form of terror is fundamental, yet nearly inexistent. An absurd situation has arisen as a result, whereby Israel is being perceived as the victim of the current conflict, while those that oppose Israel 's policies are labeled terrorists.

Among the Palestinian public, repression and denial is apparent in regards to empathizing Israel 's need to be assured, beyond doubt, that Palestinians are willing to live harmoniously side-by-side with Israel and that they would in fact do so - if given an independent Palestinian state.

The Arik Institute has defined three main goals that guide its activities:

  1. To bring Palestinians - advocates of peace and reconciliation - into the limelight of Israeli society (and possibly the global society) in an effort to promote reconciliation and peace. This is the purpose of the Joint Palestinian-Israeli Peace-Force, or J.P.I, for short.
  2. To arouse Israeli and global awareness regarding the tragic consequences of the occupation and the effects it has on Israeli, Palestinian and global societies. The Institute acts to achieve this goal via P.R. campaigns, educational activities and the Internet.
  3. To act within the Palestinian public, and promote an awareness among Palestinians regarding the psychological, security and political assurances that are necessities to the Israeli public.

The Institute does not, under any circumstances, meddle with political questions such as what the layout of the future borders should be, what is to be done with Palestinian refugees and other central issues currently highlighted by the Middle East conflict and its political discourse.
We do not deal with these issues because we are not interested in affiliating political connotations to universal values such as Peace, Tolerance or Reconciliation. We do, however, both applaud and support whichever political entity that promotes reconciliation, and that strives to achieve peace.

Klein curiously fails to mention that Arik Frankenthal was a soldier in the Israeli military at the time he was killed. Klein also describes Arik as the victim of "a drive-by Hamas terror attack"; but according to his bio on the Arik Foundation website, Arik hitched a ride in a vehicle whose occupants were "wearing Yarmulkes and speaking a fluent Hebrew" but who turned out to be members of Hamas, and "during the ensuing struggle Arik was killed by the terrorists' fire."

Klein, it seems, can't be bothered with accuracy when it comes to writing about those who conflict with his right-wing agenda.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:45 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, May 20, 2011 12:07 PM EDT
WND's Bogus Freak-Out Over Alert Plan
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Andrea Shea King does her best to make it sound scary in a May 16 WorldNetDaily article:

Your attention please. This IS an alert …

… about a federal PLAN that has stirred up considerable controversy in a climate of deep distrust of Washington, D.C.

Some are comparing "The PLAN" to the ubiquitous "Big Brother telescreen" that ruled the lives of those who lived in the nightmarish world of George Orwell's "1984."

Fast forward to 2011 technology that gives our so-called texter-in-chief the ability to bring Big Brother to your cell phone. When President Obama wants your attention, he will have it. Presented innocuously to the American public as a personal alert on your cell phone to warn of a crisis, the PLAN, or Personal Localized Alerting Network, will sound an alert – or the president will send you a message – whether you want it or not.

Just one little thing that King doesn't mention: The PLAN was implemented as a result of legislation introduced by GOP Sen. Jim DeMint that was overwhelmingly passed by a Republican-controlled Congress in 2006 and accompanied by an executive order signed by President Bush.

Funny, we don't remember King complaining about it then.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:33 AM EDT
Gainor's Attacks On Soros Fall Flat
Topic: Media Research Center

As an apparent part of the Media Research Center's anti-George Soros fundraising campaign (which takes Soros out of context), MRC official Dan Gainor is penning a multi-part series on Soros' alleged links to various media figures and organizations. But Gainor's attacks miss the mark due to his selective reading of the facts.

In his first installment, Gainor bashed ProPublica for taking money from Soros' Open Society Foundations, but he undermines his own attack by conceding that "ProPublica stories are thoroughly researched by top-notch staffers who used to work at some of the biggest news outlets in the nation." If the stories are well-researched (so much so that they win Pulitzers), what's the beef? Complaining that "the topics are almost laughably left-wing" doesn't exactly cut it.

Plus, as Media Matters points out, the same six-degrees-of-separation logic Gainor uses to attack supposedly liberal journalists and organizations can also be used to tie Soros to Fox News. Gainor probably doesn't want to do that.

Gainor gave it another shot in a May 18 column, grumbling that "Since 2003, Soros has spent more than $48 million funding media properties, including the infrastructure of news -- journalism schools, investigative journalism and even industry organizations." Unmentioned by Gainor: That figure is dwarfed by what conservative moneybags spend to prop up their media properties.

For instance, the New York Post is a perennial money-loser, having lost $70 million in 2009 alone. Yet it remains in business because its losses are absorbed by its owner, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. The Washington Times has never made money, and Sun Myung Moon has spent at least $1.7 billion to prop it up over its nearly 30 years of existence. And the Washington Examiner, owned by billionaire Philip Anschutz, is a presumed money pit as well, given the unhealthy market for newspapers, its mostly-free distribution model, and the big bucks it is presumably paying the big-name conservative it lured to write for it.

Soros' $48 million over eight years to multiple organizations is handily beaten by what one right-wing billionaire spends to keep one conservative newspaper in business for one year. That pretty much demolishes Gainor's point.

Still, this is a rant, not real research (just like the rest of the MRC), so Gainor feels compelled to say things like this:

Imagine if conservative media punching bags David and Charles Koch had this many connections to journalists. Even if the Kochs could find journalists willing to support conservative media (doubtful), they would be skewered by the left.

Imagine if Gainor had disclosed that his employer has received funding from Koch-connected foundations.

Gainor also goes on a tear about the Center for Public Integrity, which claims is "possibly even more left-wing" than the Huffington Post. But who has been running CPI the past year and a half? John Solomon, the former editor of, yes, Sun Myung Moon's Washington Times. That's hardly the kind of hire that would be made by an organization that is "possibly even more left-wing" than the Huffington Post.

Gainor clearly wants his Soros-bashing to be taken seriously, but this kind of shoddy reporting pretty much ensures that it won't be outside of the right-wing echo chamber.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 AM EDT
Thursday, May 19, 2011
What Happened The Last Time WND Tried To Sue Someone?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's threat to take legal action against Esquire magazine over its satire of WND and Jerome Corsi's birther book got us to wondering: What happened with WND's last big lawsuit?

Last year, WND threw a fit because the White House Correspondents Association wouldn't sell it the number of tickets it demanded in order to promote Les Kinsolving's nepotistic bio, at first trying to intimidate the WHCA into giving it the tickets it wanted, and then filing a $10 million lawsuit against the WHCA claiming "arm to its business and other relationships" because of the refusal to accede to WND's demands.

One curious thing about the WND story announcing the lawsuit: It never reported in which court the suit was filed. We've since learned it was the District of Columbia Superior Court. 

Another curious thing: That story was pretty much the last we heard about the lawsuit, aside from attorney and WND columnist Larry Klayman's threat to add the White House to it. That's because the suit was dismissed almost immediately.

According to DC Superior Court records (case No. 2010-CA-002364), Klayman filed the case on April 13, 2010. On May 3, 2010, the WHCA filed a motion for dismissal, which was granted on June 22. The case was slapped down just over two months after its filing.

Adding insult to injury, the copy of the order sent to Klayman's office was returned was returned to the court because it was "Not Deliverable as Addressed, Unable to Forward."

No wonder WND didn't want to talk about it anymore.

WND has had a horrible record in court of late; in addition to the swift dismissal of the WHCA case, it was forced to admit that its series of articles attacking Al Gore and his associates, particularly Clark Jones, prior to the 2000 presidential election contained claims that no witness or documentation could verify, prompting an abrupt out-of-court settlement just before a trial in the case was to begin after seven years of litigation.

With that record -- as well as the history of legal opinion that gives broad protection to satire -- WND might want to think twice before suing Esquire. But given that lawsuit-happy Klayman is apparent WND's attorney of choice, thinking before acting is not necessarily WND's strong suit.

(h/t reader L.C.)

UPDATE: Looks like WND editor Joseph Farah is all in on suing Esquire. From a May 19 article:

"I have concluded with attorneys who say we have an excellent chance of winning a lawsuit or lawsuits for the reckless disregard for the truth demonstrated by Mark Warren, Esquire and the Hearst Corporation in this matter," said Farah. "Personally, I think we should set our sights on taking ownership of Esquire. I think that would be a fair settlement. Obviously the magazine is in dire need of professional management."

So, will WND retain Klayman again, or will he bring in Gary Kreep of the right-wing U.S. Justice Foundation?

Posted by Terry K. at 6:40 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, May 19, 2011 10:54 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: Anonymously Yours, Aaron Klein
Topic: WorldNetDaily
The WorldNetDaily reporter bases a surprising amount of his work on claims from people he won't name and can't be verified -- that is, when he's not busy obsessing over George Soros. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 11:22 AM EDT
WND, Corsi Play The Victim To Promote Birther Book
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily is in full victimization mode over Jerome Corsi's birther book.

A May 18 article sets the stage by portraying itself as a target of the White House over the book: "Why is the White House in full defense mode against a book by a small publisher contending Barack Obama is not legally eligible to be president?"

The White House, of course, is not in defense mode at all; it's merely pointing out Corsi's documented lack of credibility by selling T-shirts with Obama's picture that say "Born in the USA."

WND takes weird offense to the Obama camp pointing out that Corsi claimed that Obama is a "secret Muslim," issuing a very specific denial:

For instance, not only did Corsi not state in "The Obama Nation" that the president is a secret Muslim, he said the opposite. In advice to John McCain's campaign, Corsi offered that it would be unwise to make that claim, because one can't "read another person's soul."

But Corsi's book cited as one of its sources a blog post with the headline "Barack Hussein Obama was Muslim for 31 Years." And just last fall at WND's "Taking America Back" conference, Corsi asserted, "That [Obama's] not a Muslim and that he was born in the United States are both lies." So Corsi clearly believes that Obama is a secret Muslim, no matter what WND says.

What WND has not seen fit to address yet, however, are the dubious sources Corsi cites in his book. One source is self-proclaimed "pro-white" radio host James Edwards, who claims that he "was happy to oblige and work behind-the-scenes with both Dr. Corsi and World Net Daily on this matter."

Edwards' show, if you'll recall, was the launching pad for Tim Adams' unsubstantiated claims about Obama's birth certificate; Edwards was broadcasting at the time from from the national conference of the Council of Conservative Citizens, described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a "white supremacist" "hate group," and by the Anti-Defamation League as having a "white supremacy, white separatism" ideology. Corsi has previously appeared on Edwards' show.

Media Matters details many more problems with Corsi's book, including an appearance by anti-Semitic nutjob Andy Martin.

Will Corsi address those questions and deficiencies, or will he and WND continue to tilt at the White House for the sake of selling more books?

Posted by Terry K. at 2:47 AM EDT
Flashback: MRC Minimized Groping Allegations Against Schwarzenegger
Topic: Media Research Center

This week's revelation that Arnold Schwarzenegger has a secret love child caused us to wonder (h/t Romenesko): What did the Media Research Center do in 2003 when the Los Angeles Times reported on Schwarzenegger's boorish behavior with women prior to the special election in which he was elected California governor?

Exactly what you'd imagine the MRC would do: minimization and misdirection.

An Oct. 3, 2003, MRC CyberAlert item complained that no network news stories about the incidents "made any suggestion about anything being wrong with the timing of the story, dealing with claims going back 28 years, coming less than a week before the California gubernatorial recall vote." Responding to one report's statement that "Schwarzenegger may be battling yet another opponent: his past," Brent Baker huffed: "More like the media are his most dangerous opponent."

Another CyberAlert item the same day went for full minimization and misdirection, attacking NBC's Tom Brokaw for not reporting on the questionable rape allegations by Juanita Broaddrick against Bill Clinton but he "jumped right on the Los Angeles Times story about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s inappropriate sexual advances, going back to 1975, three years before the Broaddrick claim, and which fell far short of rape." Baker went on to be annoyed that an NBC reporter gave "credibility to another allegation she had no ability to verify" -- as if Baker wasn't doing the very same thing with Broaddrick.

Yet another CyberAlert item howled about "double standards and some hypocrisy in jumping on the allegations about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s inappropriate sexual advances when those same journalists and outlets delayed or downplayed the more serious Juanita Broaddrick charge that Bill Clinton raped her and, in late 1993, the Arkansas troopers’ claims about procuring women for Bill Clinton -- stories which both broke no where near election time and, therefore, the media should have been less reticent to report than a charge raised days before balloting."

Of course, as we've detailed, the claims the troopers made fell apart under sworn testimony -- something Baker didn't tell his readers. By contrast the groping claims against Schwarzenegger have not been discredited, and even the MRC never attacked the particulars of the allegations.

That item went on to quote MRC's Tim Graham:

 While the Los Angeles Times laid out its investigation of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s alleged sexual harassment, the Times isn’t always interested in running last-minute exposes that have the potential to derail a political campaign. In 1999, the New York Times recalled allegations that Gov. Bill Clinton may have raped Juanita Broaddrick: “The allegation was passed on to reporters for the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times in the waning days of the 1992 presidential campaign. Regarding it as the kind of toxic waste traditionally dumped just before Election Day, both newspapers passed on the story.”

Actually, according to "The Hunting of the President" by Gene Lyons and Joe Conason, Broaddrick refused to talk to a Los Angeles Times reporter in 1992, and she has a documented history of telling many contradictory claims over the years regarding the alleged incident. That's why the media stayed away from it. Graham, however, has no apparent problem with Broaddrick's inconsistencies.

This was all summed up in an Oct. 6, 2003, "Media Reality Check" by Rich Noyes, who asserted that "The same broadcast networks that flinched when faced with credible charges that Democratic darling Bill Clinton actually raped a woman during his 1978 Arkansas gubernatorial campaign are scrambling to give free airtime to women who charge Schwarzenegger with unwanted groping." Like Baker, Noyes doesn't challenge the credibility of Schwarzenegger's accusers and, in calling Broaddrick's accusation "credible," ignores her history of contradictory statements. 

An Oct. 7, 2003, CyberAlert item by Baker complained that "NBC’s morning team kept repeating that '15 women' now accuse Schwarzenegger, as if the number of accusers were more important than the truth of the accusations." Baker added regarding an interview Schwarzenegger did with ABC: "What Arnold didn’t know before answering is that a Nexis search didn’t find the words 'serial groper' or 'serial abuser of women' in the archive of ABC News transcripts at any time during the Clinton years."

In short: the MRC was much more interested in pushing its right-wing "liberal bias" agenda and protecting a Republican candidate's chances of victory than it was about the truth. Things don't change much, do they?

UPDATE: It appears the MRC is sticking to its whitewashing. A May 19 NewsBusters post by Kyle Drennen calls the 2003 stories on Schwarzenegger "smears."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:35 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, May 19, 2011 4:49 PM EDT
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
WND Not Finding Humor in Equire Satire Piece
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily is absolutely livid about a Esquire parody blog post claiming that WND is pulling Jerome Corsi's anti-Obama birther book "Where's the Birth Certificate?" out of stores.

A May 18 WND article assailed the blog post as "a completely fabricated news story" that is prompting editor Joseph Farah to descend even further into conspiracy mode by blaming the Obama White House for it:

WND founder and CEO Joseph Farah confirmed he never spoke to Esquire. "Never uttered these words or anything remotely resembling them to anyone. It is a complete fabrication."

He said, "The book is selling briskly. I am 100 percent behind it. This has all the earmarkings of a White House dirty trick – but, of course, only the Nixon administration was capable of dirty tricks like that, according to our watchdog media."


Farah said the Esquire attack is "a prima facie example of libel and attempt at restraint of trade."

"This is an astonishingly reckless report by a company that has demonstrated its total disregard for the truth," said Farah. "I don't know who Esquire's anonymous sources are, but I can only guess that their address is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue."

Farah surmised Esquire will claim the article is parody, but he points out that news organizations around the world were contacting him within minutes of its posting on the Internet, with some of them in doubt as to the veracity of the report.

The article includes fictional quotes from Farah and Corsi – neither of whom ever spoke to Esquire or were asked for comment.

"We are exploring our legal options right now," said Farah. "There is no question of damages from this irresponsible attack. This book was released yesterday. Our author is in day two of a media tour. This report is playing havoc with a bestselling book – and there is little question that is the intent."

Of course, WND doesn't really have many legal options here. The Esquire post was tagged as "humor," and it clearly went beyond the bounds of absurdity by claiming Corsi also wrote a book on "the Great 'Moon Landing' Cover-Up" and its so-called undercover "source at WND" as a foul-mouthed lout. (We assume that the only WND employee permitted to engaged in foul-mouthed tirades is Farah himself.)

Esquire has since appended an editor's note to the blog post:

We committed satire this morning to point out the problems with selling and marketing a book that has had its core premise and reason to exist gutted by the news cycle, several weeks in advance of publication. Are its author and publisher chastened? Well, no. They double down, and accuse the President of the United States of perpetrating a fraud on the world by having released a forged birth certificate. Not because this claim is in any way based on reality, but to hold their terribly gullible audience captive to their lies, and to sell books. This is despicable, and deserves only ridicule. That's why we committed satire in the matter of the Corsi book. Hell, even the president has a sense of humor about it all.

WND has suffered from a longtime inability to distinguish satire from reality. In 2005, it treated as fact an April Fool's Day post on a Hollywood gossip site that CBS "was rushing into production a TV movie about the Terri Schiavo case," and then-columnist Doug Powers even rushed into print his outrage in a WND column. WND issued a vague mea culpa a few days later, and Powers' column disappeared without a trace.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:38 PM EDT

Newer | Latest | Older

Bookmark and Share

Get the WorldNetDaily Lies sticker!

Find more neat stuff at the ConWebWatch store!

Buy through this Amazon link and support ConWebWatch!

Support This Site

« May 2011 »
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31

Bloggers' Rights at EFF
Support Bloggers' Rights!

News Media Blog Network

Add to Google