What Happened To TV Ad Campaign For Corsi Book (And The Money Farah Begged Readers For To Fund it)? Topic: WorldNetDaily
Bach in March, we wondered why WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah was begging for money to run commercials for Jerome Corsi's birther book. Now we must wonder what happened to those commercials -- and the money.
In a March 27 article, WND kicked off its publicity campaign for Corsi's "Where's the Birth Certificate?" by declaring that "WND needs to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to air these commercials on television networks and stations throughout the country" and begging readers for money, with only the promise of a signed copy of Corsi's book in return.
But to our knowledge, no commercials for the book have ever aired on TV. And the page at the WND online store to donate to the ad campaign now redirects to a general page about Corsi's book, with no mention whatsoever about the donation drive.
So what happened? Did nobody answer Farah's pleas, perhaps concluding that, since WND is a for-profit operation, he can use his own money to buy ads? Or did Farah decide that the book received enough free publicity (i.e., from Drudge) that paid advertising was superfluous?
And if people did donate to the ad campaign, what happened to that money? Did Farah return it, or is he hoarding it for some future Obama-bashing endeavor?
Farah has generally declared himself exempt from the accountability he demands from others. Given that this is a case that involves him publicly soliciting money from others for his business ventures, it would be prudent and moral of him to just as publicly account for where the heck that money went and prove that it wasn't diverted to, say, WND's day-to-day operations or remodeling his house.
Then again, he never promised accountability, so one could say that Farah's scam of profiting off other people's money appears to have been a success -- not exactly a business model most reputable schools teach.
Latest CNS Attack On Obama Turns Nitpicky, Lame Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com's Patrick Goodenough actually devoted a June 7 article to this:
When President Obama last week invoked the regular six-month waiver to bypass U.S. law mandating that the American Embassy in Israel be moved to Jerusalem, the notice was released on Friday afternoon, a common time for the White House to “dump” material that ends up drawing little media attention.
That's the attack. Really.
Of course, Goodenough waits until the eighth paragraph to inform his readers that President Bush had the same exact policy. But:
A striking difference between Obama’s waiver notifications and those of President Bush is that in Bush’s case, he inserted into the legal jargon a sentence stating, “My Administration remains committed to beginning the process of moving our embassy to Jerusalem.” The phrase appeared in all 16 Bush waiver notifications.
Clinton did not include those or similar words in his notices, and after Obama took office, he dropped Bush’s wording.
Obama has now issued five waiver notifications, with four of the five released on Fridays. (The exception was on June 2, 2010, a Wednesday.)
Of the 16 times Bush invoked the waiver during his two terms, four were released on Fridays (Dec. 14, 2001, Jun. 14, 2002, Jun. 13, 2003 and Jun.1, 2007). Most were typically released on Tuesdays or Wednesdays.
Clinton invoked the waiver four times between June 1999 and December 2000 – twice on a Friday and once each on a Monday and Thursday.
Things were apparenly a little slow in CNS headquarters over the weekend if this is the only Obama attack they could come up with.
NEW ARTICLE: WorldNetDaily's Stupid Birth Certificate Tricks Topic: WorldNetDaily
WND is betting it all that President Obama's birth certificate is fake -- which explains the increasingly desperate and dishonest ways Jerome Corsi and Co. are trying to prove it. Read more >>
Flashback: MRC Defended Vitter From Media During Prostitute Scandal Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center, needless to say, is ecstatic about the sexting scandal involving Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner, which launched it into its usual mode of self-righteous right-wing activism on media coverage.
The MRC was quick to run to the defense of right-wing blogger Andrew Breitbart, whose websites first reported the sexting claims against Weiner. Lachlan Markay, in a June 7 NewsBusters post, was upset that some were pointing out that Breitbart has a history of targeting Democrats and a checkered past, while another NewsBusters post by Alex Fitzsimmons complained that some were "besmirching" Breitbart and "assault[ing] Breitbart's credibility." Noel Sheppard also ran to Breitbart's defense, grumbling that some were "fixating on Breitbart to minimize the seriousness of this issue." The MRC's Matthew Balan, meanwhile, huffed that CNN's Anderson Cooper "played up Breitbart's supposedly 'questionable credibility.'"
It was just a few years ago, however, that the MRC engaged in exactly the same behavior it criticizes now -- attacking the credibility of a activist leveling sex-related accusations against a politician. Of course, that politician was a Republican.
A July 2007 MRC Culture & Media Institute column by David Niedrauer responded to Hustler publisher Larry Flynt's expose of Republican Sen. David Vitter's "dalliances with prostitutes" not by criticizing Vitter but by attacking Flynt as "a political partisan with an axe to grind," and complaining that "The media are regurgitating Flynt's gotcha spin on Vitter while largely ignoring Flynt's agenda and partisan history":
Flynt, who has a history of savage attacks against social conservatives going back to the 1980s, found Vitter's telephone number in the telephone list of Pamela Martin & Associates, which federal prosecutors accuse of being a prostitution service.
The founder of Hustler magazine, Flynt is a self-described nemesis of the religious right. Flynt has embarked on a new campaign against what he calls “hypocrisy” in conservative lawmakers after placing an ad in the Washington Post in early June offering $1 million to anyone who could document a past “sexual encounter” with a member of Congress or a “high-ranking government official.”
Flynt conceded on the MSNBC show Live with Dan Abrams last week that his feud against conservative Republicans is personal as well as political: “Well, Dan, I've been jailed nine times, been shot and paralyzed, all for publishing Hustler magazine. So let's just say that it's payback now, and payback's a bitch.”
“I've been a die-hard Democrat all my life," continued Flynt, adding gleefully that most of the Republicans he's exposed over the years for sexual indiscretions “have actually been fundamentalists.”
Gee, we don't recall the MRC describing Breitbart as "a political partisan with an axe to grind," even though he's no less of one than Flynt is.
Even years after Vitter's scandal was exposed -- with Flynt yet to be discredited over it -- the MRC was still attacking Flynt's credibility. In an October 2010 NewsBusters post, Rich Noyes lamented that in a CNN appearance, host Don Lemon asked Flynt to "regurgitate tawdry details of Republican Senator David Vitter’s prostitution scandal" and was "begging Flynt to reveal 'tips' and 'hints' about other politicians who might be exposed." Baker huffed, "It’s bizarre that an anchor on CNN, which touts itself as 'the most trusted name in news,' would ask a pornographer to smear public officials by name without any independent journalistic corroboration."
Did the MRC demand "independent journalistic corroboration" for Breitbart's claims about Weiner before embracing them? We didn't think so.
By its own standards, the MRC should have shunned Breitbart's claims about Weiner until they were independently verified. It didn't -- making this yet another on the long list of the MRC double standards.
For NewsBusters, Random Blog Commenter = 'The Left' Topic: NewsBusters
Tom Blumer spends a June 5 NewsBusters post defending Mitt Romney from an Associated Press fact-check (one of two posts Blumer devoted to the subject). Blumer got a little more desperate to attack AP as he went along.
After the AP declared that, despite Romney's assertion to the contrary, Obama has issued "no formal - or informal - apology" for America or "No saying "sorry" on behalf of America," Blumer declared he could read Obama's mind as towhat he really meant:
Oh please, guys. Obama never said "sorry," so making it a point to recite to the nations of the world a litany of the allegedly horrible things we've done during the course of our history doesn't count? Plenty of people on the left and the right have interpreted what Obama has done as the functional equivalent of "apologizing."
Blumer's evidence that "the left" has "interpreted" what Obama said as "apologizing" was a link to a commenter on a New York Times blog post who wrote that "Obama has done the right thing and apologized for his predecessor, Bush."
Blumer has decided that this random commenter speaks for the entire "left," apparently.
Blumer's example of "the right" agreeing that Obama apologized is a hateful screed by Washington Times columnist Jeffrey Kuhner who smeared Obama as "a cultural Muslim who is promoting an anti-American, pro-Islamic agenda."
Is Blumer endorsing the views of a man who has a long history of unhinged rhetoric? It sure seems like it.
WND Columnist Pines For Days When Homosexuality Was Illegal Topic: WorldNetDaily
Most recently, Focus on the Family announced that they wouldn't oppose a homosexual nominated to the Supreme Court over sexual orientation. A spokesperson for the organization commented in 2009 that the nominee's sexual orientation "should never come up" because "it's not even pertinent to the equation." Not even relevant to know if an individual appointed for life to the highest court in the nation has a traditional view of the family, or is a self-avowed homosexual? Where did that come from? Certainly America's Founding Fathers would be shocked, since they followed lock-step with Christian Western tradition that criminalized homosexuality.
Today's conservative Christian leaders believe what was scandalous just 30 years ago: that homosexuality should be legal. Back in the Dark Ages, way back in 1986 when the Supreme Court upheld Georgia's anti-sodomy law, Christian leaders actually believed that homosexual behavior should be criminal. Their beliefs have changed rather quickly with the culture, preferring to garner social acceptance through a moral fluidity that reminds me of Groucho Marx's quip: "If you don't like my principles, I have others."
Despite victories for traditional marriage in states across the Union, social conservatives are losing because they've missed the heart of the issue. Same-sex marriage is a diversion. The real battle is over the morality of homosexuality itself.
CNS Charges Kagan Conflict of Interest on Health Care, Ignores Thomas' Topic: CNSNews.com
Over the past few months, CNSNews.com has been trying to force Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan to recuse herself from ruling on challenges to President Obama's health care reform law because she might have worked on the issue as Obama's solicitor general.
It hasn't been very successful so far at proving its case. In a March 29 article, editor Terry Jeffrey conceded that emails CNS obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request -- the only evidence it has so far -- do not show that Kagan "express[ed] an 'opinion concerning the merits' of the lawsuits filed against the health care law -- an act that would trigger one of the recusal standards" under federal law.
Jeffrey gave it another shot in a June 3 article, Jeffrey tried to reframe things by baselessly asserting that "When Kagan assigned [then-assistant Neal] Katyal to handle the expected litigation challenging President Obama’s health-care law she was a legal partisan in the matter." Jeffrey offered no new evidence to back up his claim, just a reinterpretation of the FOIA emails.
Meanwhile, there's a another conflict-of-interest issue brewing. Justice Clarence Thomas' wife, Ginni, is a right-wing activist who founded Liberty Central, a group that has attacked health care reform. An article on the Libery Central website originally credited to Ginni Thomas, then changed to a different byline and ultimately removed, attacked health care reform as unconstitutional.
Further, Thomas failed to state his wife's income on financial disclosure forms, despite the fact that she earned hundreds of thousands of dollarsover the last several years working for right-wing groups like Liberty Central and the Heritage Foundation. Thomas has since filed amended forms that list his wife's income.
Curiously, CNS has never addressed Clarence Thomas' apparent conflict-of-interest issue regarding his wife's activism -- let alone his failure to disclose his wife's income -- even though it's at least as major as the issue regarding Kagan. Jeffrey and crew, it seems, are simply protecting an ideological soul mate until it can figure out how to plausibly explain it away. But the fact that it has remained silent for so long indicates that no such defense exists.
WND Shocked To Discover Movie Set In China Is 'Distinctly Eastern' Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily movie reviewer Drew Zahn, who we saw last complaining that the Disney movie "Tangled" teaches children to think for themselves, finds something objectionable in the new movie "Kung Fu Panda 2." Namely, that a movie about a panda living in China doesn't try to shove a Christian agenda down the throats of its viewers.
In his review, Zahn grumbles that the film is "distinctly Eastern" in its presentation of the idea that you must find your own path to inner peace:
For Po's desire to know where he came from and what happened to his birth parents is a quest put before him by his Kung Fu master, who tells him "every master must find his path to inner peace," some through meditation, some through fasting and some through pain.
"Once I found inner peace," his master explains, "I was able to harness the power of the universe."
This Eastern, mystic, New Age-like blather, unfortunately, pervades the film. It's the protagonist panda's prime motivation. It's the underlying religion upon which the movie builds its otherwise positive message.
Yet no matter how pretty and positive the film's message may be, building a pretty pagoda on such a sandy foundation makes the entire structure in danger of falling down (Matthew 7:24-27). Indeed, the absence of real meat in the storyline, depth in the characters or truth in the moral of the story make "Kung Fu Panda 2" a sequel worth skipping.
Zahn adds: "Forgiveness might have been a nice touch, but perhaps that's a bit 'too Christian' for this distinctly Eastern film."
Will AIM Still Deny Ivins Is Anthrax Killer? Topic: Accuracy in Media
Last weekend, the Los Angeles Times published an excerpt from a new book on the 2001 mailing of letters containing anthrax spores, which killed five people and disrputed mail service and governmental functions. The article and book, by David Willman, focuses in part on Bruce Ivins, who committed suicide in 2008 after investigators began focusing on him after first targeting Steven Hatfill -- to whom the government eventually paid millions of dollars in a legal settlement -- as the prime suspect.
Willman writes that the letters were mailed from a New Jersey mailbox located outside the offiices of a college sorority Ivins was obsessed with, that Ivins made a career as a civilian microbiologist for the Army despite a history of mental instability -- a psychiatrist confied that Ivins was the "scariest" patient he had ever known -- and that Ivins had created the batch of anthrax that matched the material in the letters and had unrestricted access to it.
But when the FBI announced in 2010 that Ivins was responsible for the anthrax attacks and that it was closing the investigation, Accuracy in Media was quick to run to Ivins' defense.
In a Feb. 26, 2010, AIM column, Cliff Kincaid complained that the FBI "conveniently blames a dead man, who committed suicide under FBI pressure, for the anthrax murders." Kincaid continued:
The FBI blames “the late Dr. Bruce Ivins” and claims that he “acted alone in planning and executing these attacks.” But the “evidence” is unconvincing and the case should still be considered unsolved. Ivins, like another suspect in the case, Dr. Stephen Hatfill, had been harassed and hounded by federal agents. The difference is that Hatfill stood up to the pressure and, with the help of Accuracy in Media, eventually collected a financial settlement from the federal government for the damage to his career and reputation.
Kincaid insisted that "The likely culprits ... were Al-Qaeda operatives who were part of a second wave of attacks on the U.S. homeland. But because the FBI went on a media-generated wild goose chase after Hatfill, precious time, leads and evidence were lost."
In a March 24, 2010, column, Kincaid asserted that "expert observers ... believe the FBI failed to seriously consider the role of foreign terrorist organizations and their sponsors in the anthrax mailings," adding, "Public confidence is already lacking because serious analysts do not think the FBI’s blaming of Ivins holds up under scrutiny."
Two days later, AIM published a column by Kenneth J. Dillon claiming that "There’s a gaping hole in the FBI’s argument that U.S. Government scientist Bruce Ivins was the anthrax mailer." Dillon blamed an "Islamic ideologue" who he claimed "special kind of access" to the anthrax, "the kind you get when you steal something." Ivins, meanwhile, was "capable, dedicated, patriotic, and psychologically vulnerable," Dillon wrote:
Ivins was a pianist at his church, taught children juggling, was married and the father of two adopted children, was involved in many research projects, was entrusted with the anthrax, and had developed a promising vaccine for anthrax. This is the profile of an active contributor to his community, hardly of a ruthless anthrax mailer. The FBI, however, has tried to use his various quirks and obsessions to make Ivins out to be an intrinsically evil person.
Dillon concluded by scoffing at FBI Director Robert Mueller's statement that that Ivins was guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt": "Given the weak evidence and the widespread skepticism among experts and the public, this is an extreme statement that lacks any credibility."
Will AIM revisit the anthrax case in the wake of this article and book and concede at last that Ivins is the culprit? You'd think that Kincaid, who now heads AIM's Center for Investigative Journalism, might have done some, you know, investigative journalism to get to the bottom of this.
MRC's Graham Upset That Media Ignored Hypothetical Statement Topic: Media Research Center
In a June 5 NewsBusters post, the Media REsearch Center's Tim Graham grumbled that a statement in a courtroom argument by Solicitor General Neal Katyal was "blacked out by all the networks – and all the major newspapers and wire services." But Graham ignores that, in context, it was a hypothetical argument that Katyal made clear he didn't agree with.
The big tell that Graham intends to mislead is that he doesn't cite the original transcript of the argument; instead, he regurgitates what a right-wing blogger wrote. As Graham quoted the Washington Examiner's Philip Klein's portrayal of it, Katyal "told a federal appeals court that Americans who didn't like the individual mandate could always avoid it by choosing to earn less money."
But that's not really what he did. As Media Matters notes, citing the full transcript of the exchange in question:
In the oral arguments debating the merits of the case (the relevant portion begins just before the 50-minute mark), Katyal responds to a question by Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Sutton regarding whether or not the Supreme Court has ever heard a case similar to this by referencing the 1964 case Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States. In this case, the motel in question wished to continue to refuse to provide rooms to African Americans. The motel argued that Title II of the Civil Rights Act which prevents discrimination in places of public accommodation, was not a valid exercise of Congress' power under the Commerce Clause.
Katyal argued that the case demonstrated Congress' constitutional ability to "forc[e] people to do something that they wouldn't otherwise do" if it pertained to interstate commerce. Sutton claimed the cases weren't similar because the motel could "exit the business" as an alternative to complying, but that individuals have no similar ability. As a counter-example, Katyal said that if Sutton wanted "to play that game," than it was equally true that under the Affordable Care Act, an individual could chose to make less money as an alternative to complying with the individual mandate, as the hardship exemption in the health care reform bill means that individuals under a specific income threshold are exempt from penalties associated with the individual mandate.
But in a section of the transcript not included by any of the right-wing media, Katyal made crystal clear that he didn't think that in the real world people have the option of making less money. Katyal specifically stated that it was "kind of fanciful" to assume that either group would make that decision (full transcript below). In other words, Katyal was saying motel owners don't really have any option but to comply with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 just like individuals don't have any choice but to comply with the Affordable Care Act.
The headline of Graham's post also falsely portrays Katyal calling this a "neat idea"; in fact, that's what Klein called it.
Graham seems not to understand that the reason this story was ignored was because there was no story, and that to turn it into one, you would have to twist Katyal's words like Graham does.
Keene's Ex Caught Embezzling From ACU; Will Kessler Report? Topic: Newsmax
We noted earlier this year that the closeness of Newsmax's Ronald Kessler to former American Conservative Union chief David Keene -- now head of the National Rifle Association -- would likely keep Kessler from telling his readers that Keene's ex-wife, in an accusation highlighted by WorldNetDaily, had allegedly embezzled money from the ACU.
Now, the Associated Press is reporting that the ex-wife, Diana Carr, has pleaded guilty to a count of mail fraud in federal court. Court documents say she took $120,000 to $400,000 from the ACU over a period of several years.
Meanwhile, Kessler has said nothing about Carr's crimes, even as he has continued to fluff Keene in his new job at the NRA and spin away other controversies at the ACU.
The AP article also contains this interesting tidbit:
It is not the first time a Keene family member got into legal trouble while working at the ACU. In 2003, David Keene's son, David M. Keene, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for discharging a firearm in a crime of violence after he shot at the driver of another car from his BMW on the George Washington Memorial Parkway in northern Virginia. Police said the shot missed the other driver's head by inches. At the time, the younger Keene, then 21, was serving as ACU's director of online communications.
Will Kessler report on Carr now that she has entered a guilty plea? Or will he wait for guidance from Keene on how to spin it?
Corsi Still Pushing Discredited 'Expert's' Birth Certificate Claims Topic: WorldNetDaily
We wondered when Jerome Corsi was going to get around to writing more of his promised articles about discredited "expert" Doug Vogt's claims about President Obama's long-form birth certificate. He finally comes through in a June 5 WorldNetDaily article, coming an entire week after the first one.
As before, Corsi uncritically repeats Vogt's claims without permitting anyone to respond to Vogt or acknowledging that theObama Conspiracy blog has rather handily demolished many of Vogt's claims.
Will Corsi's third article -- presumably coming a week from now -- address how Vogt has been discredited? Don't count on it.
Part of CNSNews.com's continuing attacks on Planned Parenthood is a June 2 column by anti-abortion activist Jim Sedlak, who bills himself as "a recognized expert on Planned Parenthood." Sedlak writes:
Parents understand that Planned Parenthood is in the sex business – that it takes in millions of dollars from young people who have sex and not a penny from those who remain chaste. Parents see clearly that Planned Parenthood wants to lead their children into lives of sexual sin and away from their religious values and their families.
The Planned Parenthood Oregon Team Report referenced earlier documents that – in areas where Planned Parenthood is successful – churches and moral values lose. The document reports that church attendance among teens 15 to 19 years old, in those areas, has fallen from 60-80 percent to 4-9 percent.
In fact, the report doesn’t specifically credit or blame Planned Parenthood for this -- the "areas" in question are Germany, France and the Netherlands. Further, the report notes that religious authorities there have realistic attitudes toward sex. It also points out that these countries, which "expend less time and effort trying to prevent young people from having sex and more time and effort in educating and empowering young people to behave responsibly when they decide to have sex," have lower teen pregnancy, birth, abortion and STD rates, as well as a later average age of initial sexual activity, than the US. Sedlak doesn't mention that.
Sedlak also obscures the fact that the report goes out of its way to point out that disrespect for religious values is not the point:
This mixing of religion and public policy not only doesn’t exist in Germany, France and the Netherlands – it would not be tolerated. Public health policy is based upon research, not upon any one set of religious dictates.
This should not be interpreted as disregard or disrespect for religious values. The Dutch, German and French people consider the values of individual freedom and responsibility in sexual behavior extremely important. “In these countries, the morality of sexual behavior is weighed through an individual ethic that includes the values of responsibility, love, respect, tolerance and equity… The values that are incorporated into the individual ethic align well with the ethical teachings of Christianity and Judaism.” (Berne et al, 1999)
Still, Sedlak rants that "Taxpayers are actually giving Planned Parenthood over $300 million a year to seduce our children into sexual lifestyles – lives of sin." But refusing to tell the truth is a sin, too.
Corsi Dishonestly Crops FactCheck In His Birther Book Topic: WorldNetDaily
There are lots of problems with Jerome Corsi's WorldNetDaily's published birther book "Where's the Birth Certificate?" One of them is the way Corsi dishonestly edits the works of others to boost his case.
Corsi misleadingly attacks FactCheck.org as a website that "raised questions about McCain's eligibility without raising raising similar questions about Obama," later repeating the point that FactCheck "pursued McCain's eligibility issues but steadfastly defended Obama's." As support for his claim, Corsi includes on page 142 a screenshot of the FactCheck article in question:
Note that Corsi has included only the "Q" part of the web page. He cropped what the "A" was. Why? Because it undermined the point he was trying to make:
That's right -- FactCheck considered McCain to be a "natural born citizen" in its one and only look at the issue, despite Corsi's suggestion that it repeatedly questioned McCain's citizenship. Corsi also complained that FactCheck had not examined Obama's citizenship at the time it examined McCain's, but Obama was still locked in a presidential primary battle with Hillary Clinton at the time the article came out, while McCain had effectively secured the Republican presidential nomination by that time.
Further, according to WND's archive of birther stories, Corsi's employer did not publish its first story questioning Obama's birth until June 10, 2008 -- more than three months after the FactCheck article on McCain. Corsi's complaint here is a disingenous one.
A "exhibit" selectively edited to skew the facts is no exhibit at all -- it just shows how Corsi is trying to stack the case against Obama.
Farah Dubiously Boasts WND's Audience Is Richer, Smarter Than CNN's Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah has made something of a habit of claiming that WorldNetDaily is bigger than MSNBC -- a claim for which the available evidence shows the exact opposite -- so it's not surprising that he would make other baselessly grandiose claims about WND as well.
Farah does exactly that in his June 3 column, in which he, in his usual thin-skinned way, takes umbrage at a Yahoo Answers commenter who claimed that Farah is begging for money from his readers to fund a lawsuit against Esquire magazine over its satire of WND despite the fact that "most of their audience are not wealthy." Farah harrumphs:
But this guy posting on Yahoo Answers suggests the victims, in this case, are threatening, with their requests for help, poor Americans who don't know any better. He assumes, of course, that WND readers are mostly poor – a fact not in evidence. WND's readers rank far above those of CNN, for instance, in both education level and financial assets.
What proof does Farah offer that this is indeed the case? None, of course. Farah has presumably paid for some demographic research on WND that he seems to be citing, but unless he makes that research available to his readers, his claim will ring as hollow as his MSNBC boast.
But hey, when has lack of proof ever stopped Farah from mouthing off before?