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Wednesday, June 1, 2011
WND's Massie Revives Bogus “Whitey” Tape Claim
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Much of Mychal Massie’s May 31 WorldNetDaily column is your typical right-wing rant that Michelle Obama is a “bitter harridan” who “has a deep contempt for white people in America.” But Massie also tries to revive one of the more discredited myths about her:

A tape that was reportedly filmed in 2004 during the Rainbow/Push Coalition Conference at Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church has mysteriously disappeared from public view. The tape allegedly showed Michelle Obama hysterically ranting about "Whiteys" and savagely attacking Bill Clinton as responsible for African genocide. The wife of Louis Farrakhan was one of the honored guests.

Massie seems not to have considered the possibility that the purported tape has “mysteriously disappeared” because it never existed in the first place. Obama’s campaign has stated that “No such tape exists. Michelle Obama has not spoken from the pulpit at Trinity and has not used that word.” Even conservative blogger Michelle Malkin noted that the purported tape was being hyped by “buffoons” whose claims about it were constantly shifting.

If Massie is going to embrace the idea of something that has shown no evidence of ever existing, it’s also likely that he’s not going to be too concerned about getting actual, provable facts straight. Indeed, Massie falsely claims that Michelle Obama’s Princeton thesis “was made unavailable until Nov. 5, 2008 (interestingly the day after the election).” In fact, Politico published it in February 2008 after receiving it from the Obama campaign  -- which Massie should know since he cited the Politico article in his column.

Massie, however, appears to be too busy bashing Michelle Obama as a would-be “hybrid Leninist” and President Obama himself as having “genetic predisposition to embrace Leninism” to get his facts straight.

(Cross-posted at Media Matters.)


Posted by Terry K. at 11:30 AM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: The MRC's Anti-Gay Agenda
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center defines any depiction of gays or gay-related issues as "liberal bias" if they aren't denigrated in the process. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 7:31 AM EDT
Ellis Washington Serves Up Another Right-Wing Rant Masquerading As Socratic Dialogue
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Ellis Washington's stacked "dialectics" -- in which he pretends to be Socrates -- typically violates the spirit of a real dialectic by putting words, in the form of Washington's personal views or caricatures, into the mouths of those he purports to be speaking for, thus creating straw men for Washington, as the self-proclaimed Socrates, to knock down.

Washington blows it even more egregiously than usual in his May 28 WorldNetDaily column, which presents itself as a "dialectic" over a Supreme Court decision upholding a California ruling to release thousands of prison inmates to relieve overcrowding. Washington makes it clear he will stack thedeck early on by presenting a gross caricature of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who he claims is saying in an "arrogant tone":

As the moderate, or "swing vote," on this court of last appeal, I am in essence a one-man dictatorship. If I choose to vote with the conservatives, then the Framers' original intent will be the law. If I choose to vote with the socialist wing of the court, then socialism, communism, anarchy and genocide will be the law of the land.

The law, the Constitution, is what I, Justice Anthony Kennedy, say it is!

Not only does Washington baselessly portray Kennedy as a raging egomaniac -- he presents no evidence that this caricature has any basis in reality -- he similarly baselessly frames the argument as "the Framers' original intent" versus "socialism, communism, anarchy and genocide." 

Washington goes on to misinterpret President Obama's 2001 statements about the Warren Court's failure to "break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution" as a "socialist judicial philosophy" rather than what it actually is: an explanation that the Warren Court wasn't as radical as right-wingers like Washington like to believe it is. Washington then throws in Cloward and Piven for no apparent reason other than claim (again, baselessly) that they support the prison release because, somehow, "Total annihilation of all wealth is the final phase of the Cloward Piven strategy."

Washington also largely ignores the root cause of the release -- overcrowding. As the Los Angeles Times article Washington links to points out, California's prison population is 32,000 people over its authorized capacity limit, with prisoners being bunked in gymnasiums. Washington's only reference to it is more non-realistic words he  puts into Kennedy's mouth: "History won't blame me for the mayhem and murder my opinion will surely unleash upon my own country, for I insisted that for the state to make 54 prisoners use one toilet amounts to an Eighth Amendment prohibition against 'cruel and unusual punishment.'"

Further, Washington needlessly inflames the argument by claiming the prisoners to be released are "hardcore" (in the purported words of Justice Antonin Scalia) and "thousands of murderous criminals" (in the purported words of Socrates). But as he himself noted, the Supreme Court granted more time to California officials to implement the release, so since nobody has actually been released yet, Washington has no way of knowing if they are "murderous criminals" or not.

Besides, does Washington really think that the state will release convicted killers over, say, someone in jail on a low-level drug offense? That defies the logic that Washington presents himself as an advocate of. (Of course, Washington's fellow WND columnist Jack Cashill has a convicted killer he'd like to see roaming the streets.)

In between all of this laughably illogical "dialectic," Washington feels the need to attack legendary Supreme Court Justice John Marshall as a "radical judge" who "tried to usurp powers not expressly enumerated to the judicial branch by the Constitution." Washington cited just two cases for this view, decisions in Cherokee Nations v. Georgia (1831) and Worcester v. Georgia (1832) in which "Marshall upheld the Cherokee Indians' rights to lands within Georgia." Washington's two excerpts explaining the rulings, by the way, appear to have been taken from a Yahoo Answers page.

Washington doesn't explain how Marshall's rulings in those cases -- which upheld, respectively, that Indian tribes had the right to the land they occupied until they voluntarily ceded it to the federal government and that Indian tribes are not subject to state governance of the use of their land -- were a usurpation of powers. Nor does he mention why it's a bad thing to let Indian control their own destiny and not be forcibly removed from their lands by the federal government without a treaty. 

This all culminates in a decidedly non-Socratic rant coming from the mouth of Washington -- er, Socrates:

Just as my people, the ancient Greeks allowed systemic moral, religious and political perversions to rot the city-states from the inside out, so likewise has America allowed a small, cloistered, treasonous oligarchy to pass insanely pathological laws like freeing thousands of murderous criminals upon society. To add injury to insult, the justices fear no retribution upon their heads by the people. This criminal judicial decree violates every natural law in that the intended effect is to collapse American society in socialism, anarchy, nihilism and national suicide.

We Greeks called the release of such gargantuan wickedness upon society opening Pandora's box.

During this decadent age of effeminate, cowardly and ignorant men whose principles shift with the winds, what man, what heroic figure will stand tall, strong and true and say without equivocation like Achilles, like Hercules, like Prometheus … like President Andrew Jackson, who said in 1832 what needs to be said this day regarding the naked judicial activism of Chief Justice John Marshall? – "[Justice Anthony Kennedy] has made his decision; now let him enforce it!"

Actually, historians believe Jackson never actually said that about Marshall. Presumably, the real Socrates would be more careful about his facts -- since they form the foundation of logic -- than Washington is.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:29 AM EDT
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Who Is WND's Supposedly 'Reliable' Birther Source?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A May 26 WorldNetDaily article declares:

Nearly two months before Barack Obama released what he claims is his valid Hawaii long-form birth certificate, a document met with accusations of fraud by experts, WND was warned by an intelligence source in contact with Hawaii officials that a forged version would be released.

No story was published in WND, because the unnamed confidential source's story could not be corroborated.

The article then quotes WND editor Joseph Farah as saying that this source "had provided reliable information in the past about the controversy over Obama's eligibility."

if this anonymous "intelligence source" -- the latest in a long parade of anonymous sources WND relies on, despite Farah's own admonition that anonymous sources offer up only "quotes made up out of whole cloth to help make the story read better" -- was so reliable, why couldn't WND corroborate his claim? (WND's suggestion that Obama has released a fraudulent certificate is largely based on really stupid evidence.)

Further, WND should be able to detail the "reliable information in the past about the controversy over Obama's eligibility" this source has provided, so that its readers can judge his or her reliability for themselves.

Also, at no point does WND explain why this supposedly reliable source -- who, again, made claims WND couldn't independently corroborate -- was granted anonymity. That raises red flags and suggests that, like Farah warned us, this anonymous source is only serving up "quotes made up out of whole cloth to help make the story read better."

WND has given its readers little reason to trust it in the past. Why start now?


Posted by Terry K. at 7:10 PM EDT
ConWeb Editor Smackdown on Medicare
Topic: The ConWeb

CNSNews.com editor Terry Jeffrey mounted a major defense of Rep. Paul Ryan's proposed changes to Medicare in his May 18 column. Insisting that "Ryan's Medicare reform plan is not radical change," Jeffrey wrote:

First, it would not in any way impact Medicare for people 55 or over today. They would keep the current system.

Second, younger Americans would have more than a decade to get ready for the new system.

[...]

This does not get America back to 1965, when seniors were not dependent on the government for health care. They will still be dependent.

But it will introduce a little market discipline into the system, where instead of having the government ration care -- like they do in completely socialistic systems -- people will have some latitude to pick and choose what type of plan they want to purchase.

Not so eager to defend Ryan's Medicare plan, however, is Newsmax editor Christopher Ruddy, who in his May 26 column certainly does not agree with Jeffrey that this is "not radical change":

Unfortunately, not only does the Ryan Medicare reform package fail to provide the safeguards that, to my mind, are essential if we are to fulfill our nation’s commitment to seniors, but also it actually proposes that the current Medicare program be replaced with a new “premium support” voucher system for all those currently under age 55.

Today, Americans in the Medicare program are able to get basic coverage, which they can supplement with Medicare Advantage or private health insurance if they choose. But under the Ryan plan, this system will end in 2021 and all Americans who turn 65 that year and after will be given vouchers to purchase health insurance on their own.

If this plan is enacted into law, Medicare eventually will become fully privatized after the current program, which will remain in place for all those age 55 and over, is phased out.

An obvious question immediately arises when considering Ryan’s plan: Will the dollar amount of the vouchers enable the seniors of tomorrow to buy a level of health care that today’s Medicare beneficiaries enjoy? The answer to that is no.

According to the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the Ryan plan, “Beneficiaries would . . . face higher premiums in the private market for a package of benefits similar to that currently provided by Medicare. Moreover, the value of the voucher would grow significantly more slowly than CBO expects that Medicare spending per enrollee would grow under current law.”

Simply put, the Ryan plan will cut Medicare spending dramatically by reducing the level of care that the program provides to current beneficiaries. It effectively shifts more of the financial burden onto the shoulders of the private sector and forces individual seniors to pay more out of pocket for their healthcare than they do today.

Ruddy goes on to assert that "Congressional Republicans should take a common-sense approach to reform," adding: "In my view, rampant fraud, abuse, and waste have been the hallmarks of the Medicare system. It is poorly administered. If Congress and the states worked diligently in reducing these excesses, the program would work effectively."

Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell, meanwhile, is just making stuff up. In a May 27 appearance on "Fox & Friends," Bozell claimed that Ryan's plan provides "a 70 percent increase in Medicare," while "Obama is taking $500 billion out of Medicare." In fact, Ryan's plan keeps Obama's cuts and increases out-of-pocket costs for seniors.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:45 AM EDT
WND's Vox Day Warns Men Not To Marry 'Career' Women
Topic: WorldNetDaily

He doesn't like that women can vote. He considers women's rights "a disease that should be eradicated." So it's no surprise that Vox Day would turn in yet another misogynistic WorldNetDaily column, this time warning young men not to marry "career" women because they have a bad habit of having their own thoughts:

So, what is a young man who wishes to be a happy and productive member of society but does not wish to find himself locked into a life of post-divorce serfdom to an ill-tempered, overweight woman with a legal obligation to children who may not even belong to him? Fortunately, the answer is both clear and easily applied. To increase your chances of marital and familial success in life, it is vital to stay away from what are known as "career" or "working" women.

While this will not eliminate all the risks of what has become known as Marriage 2.0, it will return a man's probability of successful marriage to that of the earlier, more marriage-friendly era. Marriage to a stay-at-home wife rather than one with a full-time job reduces the risk of divorce by nearly one-third. Just the simple act of avoiding romantic involvement with working women is nearly enough on its own to again make marriage a viable option for young men.

Moreover, stay-at-home mothers make for much better mothers as they spend 91 percent more time with their children than working mothers do. The most remarkable observation is that stay-at-home mothers spend 12 more minutes per day on the physical care of their children than working mothers spend with their children in total; the net result of this insufficient attention is that the children of working mothers are 23 percent less likely to pass college entrance exams, 29 percent more likely to be unemployed and are more likely to be overweight by age 11.

Day laughably adds: "Although it may appear to be disturbingly like one, this column is not intended as an indictment of career women or working mothers. The facts are what they are, and my only objective is to point out to men that it is a mistake to conclude the societal changes of the last 40 years have rendered all American women equally unsuited for marriage." Then he even more laughably likens career women to drug addics:

No one would dispute that the odds of successfully raising a family with a meth head or crack addict tend to be on the low side, and no one should be upset by the statistically observable fact that men who wish to marry and have children will have a significantly greater probability of success if they choose to marry women who are dedicated to making a career of being a wife and mother.

The only suitable woman for Day, apparently, is one who lives only through her children and husband and has no independent thoughts of her own.

We'd ask whether Day's anger toward women who think for themselves has an inverse relationship to his sex life, but that would be a cheap shot.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:48 AM EDT
Meet Michael Maloof, WND's Newest Reporter, And His Sketchy Past
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A May 22 WorldNetDaily article announced that F. Michael Maloof will be "a senior reporter in WND's Washington bureau." WND calls Maloof "a former senior security-policy analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense with almost 30 years of federal service in the U.S. Defense Department and as a specialized trainer for border guards and Special Forces in select countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia," while WND editor Joseph Farah calls him "a veteran journalist and national security expert."

Those "veteran journalist" credentials, however, seem a little sketchy -- as do other things.

WND claims he was "a special correspondent for the Detroit News," but searches of Google and Nexis turn up no Detroit News articles under his name. WND also notes that Maloof was "Washington correspondent for the Union Leader in Manchester, N.H.," but that appears to have been three decades ago; a Decemter 1981 UPI article (found via Nexis) states that at the time he was working as a part-time correspondent for the Union Leader, Maloof was also on the payroll of the Commerce Department writing "issue papers" in the office of assistant commerce secretary Lawrence J. Brady. Maloof ultimately quit the government job to avoid a conflict of interest. An October 1983 UPI article (via Nexis) noted that Maloof "praised Brady in his articles," and at the time of the article had apparently left the newspaper and was working for Richard Perle, then an assistant defense secretary in the Reagan administration.

The Perle connection will come up again. WND vaguely describes Maloof's later work this way:

Following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Maloof was detailed back to the Office of the Secretary of Defense to prepare analysis of worldwide terrorist networks, determine their linkages worldwide and their relationship to state sponsors.

Specifically, Maloof was a member of the "B Team" unit commissioned by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and set up by Douglas Feith and Paul Wolfowitz, to re-examine intelligence on terrorism. According to History Commons, the unit was hostile to the CIA and pushed the discredited idea that Iraq's Saddam Hussein was linked to the 9/11 attacks. Maloof's former boss, Perle, supported the operation.

Maloof was stripped of his security clearance in December 2001 (and upheld on appeal in 2003, despite letters of support from Perle and Feith) after being accused of associating with Imad El Haje, a Lebanese-American businessman who was under federal investigation for possible involvement in a gun-running scheme to Liberia, then involved in a civil war. Maloof's supporters contended his clearances were pulled in retaliation for challenging the official assessment that there were no operational terrorist links between al-Qaida and Iraq. Newsweek reported in 2004 (found via Nexis) that Maloof "was investigated for years for security leaks."

Unsurprisingly, Maloof was, and remains, a neocon darling. Washington Times reporter Rowan Scarborough's book "Sabotage" painted Maloof as a victim of political revenge, although he notes that Maloof was involved in a romantic relationship with a woman from the Republic of Georgia whom intelligence agencies were trying to recruit as a asset.

Those neocon credentials, it seems, are more important to WND than Maloof's dubious, long-ago journalism experience. Maloof is described as "a frequent ... contributor" to Farah's subscription-only G2 Bulletin "intelligence news" website. 

Could it be that Maloof was leaking things to Farah while he was working in the government? Those two might want to explain that.

Maloof appears to have the same Obama-hating credentials Farah wants in his so-called reporters. A June 2010 WND article by Maloof touts the then-upcoming Rolling Stone article featuring candid comments by then-Afghanistan commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal. And in June 2009, Maloof made a big deal out of the Obama administration's filing to "protect Saudi Arabia and four of its princes from being held accountable for their alleged role in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the United States" from a lawsuit seeking damages from Saudi Arabia over the 9/11 attacks, failing to explain that the stance was a continuation of Bush administration policy on the issue and that no judge had ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.

So, to sum up: WND has hired as a reporter someone who lost their federal security clearance, who has been accused of leaking information and working outside official channels to peddle dubious intelligence, and whose only relevant recent "journalism" experience is working for another WND division.

And Farah wonders why WND isn't taken seriously.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:18 AM EDT
Monday, May 30, 2011
Farah: Global Warming's A 'Phantom,' But Obama Speech On Israel Caused Joplin Tornado
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In his May 18 WorldNetDaily column, Joseph Farah declared global warming to be a "phantom crisis," and that Newt Gingrich's endorsement of it "demonstrated that he had gone over to the politically correct dark side. That was a disqualifier for me."

No, it seems Farah doesn't believe that global warming affects weather, but he thinks that the level of perceived U.S. support for Israel does. From Farah's May 28 column:

Just days after Obama insisted Israel must give up lands it won through military victory with its enemies, some 200 people were killed by a tornado in Joplin, Mo.

There's a pattern here.

We saw it in Katrina, when George Bush forced Israel's withdrawal from Gaza. In fact, as everyone from Israeli rabbis to U.S. senators have noted, it seems to happen every single time the U.S. pressures Israel to divide the land.

In short: Farah puts alleged Bible prophecy over science.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:52 PM EDT
NewsBusters Invents A Nazi Smear
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters' Alex Fitzsimmons devises a new way to invoke Godwin's law: declare there's a Nazi link to a common phrase.

In a May 26 post, Fitzsimmons declares that an NBC correspondent's description of the disputed Arizona immigration law, SB 1070, as the "show us your papers law" is "Nazi terminology." He doesn't explain why this is so.

Fitzsimmons didn't mention that since the law does, in one provision that has since been suspended, require that legal immigrants carry their citizenship papers at all times, calling it the "show us your papers law" is an entirely accurate description.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:54 AM EDT
Sunday, May 29, 2011
CNS Adds Bias to AP Headline
Topic: CNSNews.com

The original headline the Associated Press supplied for a May 29 article reads "Obama travels to Missouri to view tornado damage." But when CNSNews.com put the article on its website, it made that headline a subhead and gave it a new, more subjective headline: "Obama Will Visit Joplin, Missouri Today to Belatedly View Tornado Damage."


The AP article mentions nothing about Obama visiting "belatedly," only that it comes "comes a day after he returned to Washington from a four-country tour of Europe." CNS is simply adding anti-Obama bias where none existed -- and, presumably, where AP would not approve.

CNS has done this before: It changed another AP headline to denigrate students at a colleges who had available therapy dogs to alleviate stress during final exams as "coddled."


Posted by Terry K. at 10:44 AM EDT
WND's Misinformation Machine Rolls On
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Remember when WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah admitted his opinion columnists put misinformation in their columns? Well, here's a prime example. From a May 25 WND column by Michael Master:

Last week, USA Today stated that 485,000 workers had been terminated from the auto industry while only 67,000 had been rehired with the $85 billion bailout from the government.

Some pundits and lots of the media are pointing to the fact that manufacturing is hiring again. Those media and pundits are feeding us more junk. They are looking at one little fact and ignoring the elephant in the room. The elephant is that the most successful of the automakers is Ford, which did not terminate many employees and did not take the bailout. Instead, Ford renegotiated union contracts and replaced many union workers with non-union employees. At $85 billion for 67,000 rehires, that is more than $1 million per rehire for the auto bailouts at GM and Chrysler. More than $1 million per rehired worker is a horrible return on investment!

We couldn't find any USA Today article that made the claim Master asserts. The closest we found was a May 20 article stating that the auto industry lost 332,000 jobs in the recession, followed by 42,000 rehires, and it didn't mention the cost of the bailout (which CNN pegs at $80 billion, meaning Master got that number wrong too).

Also, measuring the money spent on the auto industry bailout by the number of people rehired is a meaningless metric given that the point of the bailout was to save hundreds of thousands of other jobs by keeping GM and Chrysler (as well as their suppliers) in business.

Master also ignores that the federal government will recoup much of the money it spent saving GM and Chrysler. Indeed, the same day Master's column appeared, Chrysler repaid $7.6 billion in loans, with interest, to the U.S. and Canadian governments, and Fiat agreed to buy the federal government's ownership stake in Chrysler, giving Fiat a 46 percent stake in the company.

But factual accuracy isn't Master's bag. he just wants to bash Obama:

It is clear that Obama hurt this economy: pandering to unions, printing money, pushing interest rates too low, deficit spending, expanding government and implementing the same socialism that is killing Europe – while granting more than 1,300 exemptions to Obamacare (including an exemption to AARP, the biggest supporter of the law).

If nothing else, Obama exacerbated the problems. He has been horrible for America. His economic plans are disastrous. He polarized the country rather than unite it. And he is leading America in a socialist direction, like Europe, rather than setting the pace for the world with capitalism.

And why? Because Barack Obama lacks any executive experience or respect for capitalism that is required for the president.

Compare Obama to Cain, Pawlenty, Christie, Huntsman, Romney, or Trump who all have educations at least equal to Obama in business and economics and have executive experiences that make Obama look woefully inadequate.

Obama has been a horrible experiment in affirmative action that has cost America a tremendous amount, economically and to her unity.

No wonder Farah doesn't bother to fact-check his columnists. As long as they pump out the Obama-hating screeds, that's good enough for him.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:18 AM EDT
MRC: No One May Praise Obama (Or His Wife)
Topic: Media Research Center

Brent Bozell's May 25 column carries the headline "No One May Lecture Obama." He, like most conservatives, misled by claiming that President Obama claimed that he wants Israel to "retreat behind pre-1967 borders." In response to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's criticism of that misinterpreted stance, Bozell huffed that "Our media feel President Obama's pain so intensely that they can't bear the thought that someone would say an unkind word to him, especially with their cameras rolling."

The official MRC policy, of course, is that no one is allowed to say anything nice about Obama and to attack anyone who does -- and that goes double for his wife.

This was illustrated in a May 25 NewsBusters post by Mike Bates aghast that people would say something nice about Michelle: 

The mainstream media are demonstrating that their fawning coverage isn't limited to President Barack Hussein Obama.  The establishment press loves Michelle LaVaughn every bit as much.

Bates' gratuitous use of middle names is indicative of his hatred for the couple. Another is his nitpicking of one AP article's statement that Michelle Obama "gained more fans during her state visit to the U.K.": "How does the AP know that Mrs. Obama gained fans?  Did they take a survey pre- and post-warm handshake?"

Bates is even shocked that that avatar of journalistic objectivity, Access Hollywood, said nice things about her.

This isn't media criticism; it's just hate.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:07 AM EDT
Saturday, May 28, 2011
WND Labeling Bias Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A May 25 WorldNetDaily article by Aaron Klein is quick to label Media Matters (disclosure: our employer) as a "liberal advocacy group funded by philanthropist George Soros," but none of the conservative organizations Klein cites to attack Soros and other related groups -- such as the Media Research Center, the Capital Research Center, and FrontPageMag -- are identified as conservative. Even UndueInfluence.com, which bills itself as "Ron Arnold's Left Tracking Library ...because something just doesn't feel RIGHT," gets no ideological label.

Klein cites a Capital Research Center report on ProPublica claiming that it "churns out little more than left-wing hit pieces about Sarah Palin and blames the U.S. government for giving out too little foreign aid," laughably ignoring the fact that the CRC report is itself a right-wing hit piece -- it largely complains that ProPublica doesn't uncritically push right-wing talking points -- and ignoring that ProPublica has won two Pulitzer Prizes on subjects other than Palin and foreign aid.

Klein's attack on the Center for Public Integrity is even more laughable:

CPI regularly churns out partisan pieces. One widely debunked Center for Public Integrity study from 2008, covered extensively by the AP, claimed it found President Bush and top administration officials had issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq as "part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses."

Klein seems to have forgotten that WND published a lengthy series of articles attacking Al Gore before the 2000 election that began life as a CPI project (CPI ultimately parted ways with the authors). Of course, this was the same series that drew a libel lawsuit against WND by Gore associate Clark Jones, which WND ultimately settled out of court just before it was to go to trial by, in part, admitting that it made false claims about Jones. There was presumably also a financial consideration paid to Jones as part of the settlement, but that has been kept secret.

Klein also offers no evidence to back up his claim that the CPI report on the Bush administration's false statements about Iraq was "widely debunked"; the only purported debunking we could find was focused on semantics, claiming that "Being proven wrong is not 'lying.'" Maybe Klein's researcher, Brenda J. Elliott -- who helped put together Klein's factually deficient smear piece -- could enlighten us.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:39 AM EDT
CNS' Starr Shills for Oil Industry
Topic: CNSNews.com

The Media Research Center has received $412,500 in funding from ExxonMobil since 1998. This money presumably manifests itself in things like CNSNews.com reporter Penny Starr essentially doing PR work for the oil industry through "news" articles.

Take, for example, a May 26 article by Starr that uncritically reports on a PowerPoint presentation given by the John Felmy, chief economist at the American Petroleum Institute, the lobbying and promotion arm of the oil industry:

Armed with a Power Point presentation to illustrate the state of American energy, John Felmy, chief economist at the American Petroleum Institute (API), said the majority of “big oil” and natural gas ownership is in good hands – the hands of the American people.

According to a report published in 2007 by Sonecon, an economic advisory firm that analyses U.S. markets and public policy, corporate management owns only 1.5 percent of the U.S. oil and natural gas industry.

The rest is owned by tens of millions of Americans through retirement accounts (14 percent) and pension funds (26 percent).  Mutual funds or other firms account for 29.5 percent ownership and individual investors own 23 percent of oil stock holdings.

Institutional investors hold the remaining 5 percent.

[...]

As for the profits made by U.S. oil and natural gas companies that have been cited by congressional Democrats as reason to end tax incentives for the industry, Felmy put those earnings in perspective when it comes to high gasoline prices.

“If you took 100 percent of the earnings of the oil industry, you’d save 30 cents on the gallon,” Felmy said.

Starr makes no effort to seek out anyone who might be critical of the API's claims. Failure to pursue such an journalistic effort, one can easily assume, is why ExxonMobil is giving the MRC all that money.

Starr also shilled for the oil industry in a May 20 CNS article, in which she also repeated the API line about ownership and taxes. Starr also tried to play gotcha with Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill -- who has been leading a call to investigate possible price-fixing of gasoline by U.S. refineries -- by asking her if she knew how many oil refineries were owned by the top five oil companies. She didn't know, which caused Starr to gloat that "the five largest oil companies own 23 percent, or less than one quarter, of the 141 oil refineries operating in September 2010."

A more meaningful figure than the number of oil refineries owned, however, is the amount of refinery capacity controlled. According to Public Citizen, the five largest oil companies control 56.3% of domestic oil refinery capacity; the top ten refiners control 83%.

Starr does seem to be relying on the API as her main source on oil-related issues. A March 17 article featured "reaction from the oil and natural gas industry on both sides of the U.S. and Canadian border," including the API, on federal delays in approving a new oil pipeline between the two countries. Starr touted how "pipeline advocates" claim the pipeline will bring "economic growth and revenue growth through taxes on the project."

Starr plugged the API again in a January 5 article, in which she touted API president Jack Gerard's claim that "if the Obama administration and Congress would allow the industry access to domestic oil and natural gas reserves, the United States would get the energy it needs, create hundreds of thousands of jobs, and the government would add more than $1.7 trillion to its coffers." Like the earlier article featuring the API's Felmy, Starr sought no dissenting views.

By contrast, a May 12 article by Starr which began by stating that "Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), a great-grandson of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller who once controlled 90 percent of U.S. oil production, criticized the CEOs of the top U.S. oil corporations for being “out of touch” and compared their business practices to Saudi Arabia at a hearing on Thursday of the Senate Finance Committee," made sure to include Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch's statement that Democrats were trying to “exploit high gas prices for political gain” and that they have “no energy policy whatsoever.”

With Starr serving as the oil industry's shill, it seems ExxonMobil is getting its money's worth.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:25 AM EDT
Friday, May 27, 2011
Is WND Conceding Mike Guzofsky Is A Terrorist?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A May 24 WorldNetDaily article boosts Michael Savage's continuing crusade against the United Kingdom's ban on his entering the country, repeating a claim by Republican Rep. Allen West that "Savage was put on the U.K.'s banned-entry list with 'ruthless criminals,' including a Hamas terrorist and Russian skinhead" and Savage's own statement that the list includes "actual murderers and terrorists."

It can be argued that WND is now implicitly conceding that far-right Israel extremist Mike Guzofsky is a terrorist.

As we've detailed, when the banned-entry list first came out, WND originally described Guzofsky (aka Yekutel Ben Yaacov) as a "Jewish extremist," but then retroactively changed it to "Jewish nationalist." WND's Aaron Klein -- who has previously whitewashed Guzofsky's connections to the banned far-right movement Kahane Chai and has admitted that he "agree[s] with some of the sentiments of Rabbi Meir Kahane" -- ran to Guzofsky's defense, claiming that he's merely a dog trainer, ignoring the Kahane movement's history of violence.

Oh, and about Guzofsky's dogs? He told the New Yorker in 2004 that they're for scaring Arabs:

“We don’t want the dogs to kill the Arabs, just immobilize them,” Guzofsky said. He said that the dogs could smell the difference between an Arab infiltrator and a Jewish resident. “The adrenaline of the Arabs, they can detect it. The Arabs are very scared of dogs. Muslims think they’re unclean.”

WND, as has become regular procedure, didn't name Guzofsky among the people on the UK's banned list. But the fact that it's willing to call the non-Savage people on the list terrorists suggests that it may be getting tired of defending Guzofsky.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:35 PM EDT

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