WND Columnist Defends Taking Hoffa Out of Context Topic: WorldNetDaily
In his Sept. 7 WorldNetDaily column, Phil Elmore went on a rampage against Labor Day speech the Labor Day speech made by union official James Hoffa (whom he misidentifies as "Jimmy Hoffa Jr."), taking out of context the statement "Let's take these son of a bitches out," declaring: "He was saying, clearly and publicly, that his political opponents in the tea party must be intimidated, assaulted and killed. That is what it means to "take out" someone whom you characterize in such profane terms. There is no other plausible explanation." Elmore didn't mention that Hoffa had prefaced his statement by saying, "Everybody here's got to vote."
Readers called Elmore on the out-of-context stuff in the Facebook comment thread attached to his column, further wondering why he didn't take to task similar rhetoric by right-wing activists, citing Michele Bachmann's 2010 comment, "We need to have your help for candidates like me. We need you to take out some of these bad guys."
Elmore didn't appreciate that, apparently, so he used his Sept. 14 column to double down. He complained about the "small army of leftist trolls and self-proclaimed "independents'" who criticized his out-of-context plucking of Hoffa's remark, dismissing them as "simply persistent contrarians trolling WND's pages." Elmore asserted that "Neither the alleged perfidy of Fox News nor the casual inclusion of a reference to voting excuse, rationalize, justify, or even sufficiently modify Hoffa's comments," adding:
When Gabrielle Giffords was shot by a deranged assassin, libs were quick to blame Sarah Palin for again creating that bothersome tone, that viciously evil atmosphere. Between the OKC bombing and Giffords' shooting were countless other examples of liberal ghouls eager to pin random acts of violence on conservatives as a group. It doesn't matter that a conservative or libertarian never says, explicitly, what liberals claim he or she is implying. Democrats' political opponents are presumed to speak in a complicated code that only lib augurs can interpret correctly.
When Jimmy Hoffa speaks, by contrast, he must be taken at his literal word, because he is a Democrat who supports Democrats. If he does not say, "we must physically assault our opponents," he must, we are told, be given the benefit of any doubt the rest of his violent rhetoric generates. Why, he even went so far as to mention voting in the "full clip," which was so scurrilously edited by the ever-nefarious Fox News to "smear" poor, innocent James P. Hoffa. How dare Fox paint him as a firebrand exhorting his followers to perpetrate violence?
The problem with Hoffa's original speech, and with his follow-up comments, is that his words are laden with violent metaphor and pregnant with threats both implied and credible. When an aggressive man speaking before an organization with a history of aggressive protest aggressively invokes deliberately aggressive imagery, then says, "of course, not aggressively," I don't believe him. If Hoffa had said, in the middle of his original speech about "taking out" those "son of a bitches," something like, "… but of course through nonviolent means," a disclaimer so explicit would still be insufficient to soften the loaded rhetoric surrounding it.
Elmore remained silent about Bachmann's "take out some of these bad guys" comment, let alone opine on whether we should be taking her at her literal word or merely focusing on tone and atmosphere.
Newsmax's Kessler Fluffs New RNC Chairman Topic: Newsmax
Ronald Kessler didn't give Michael Steele a fawning profile when he became Republican National Committee chairman in 2009 -- all he got was a mostly straightforward story on his plans. Kessler eventually turned on Steele, claiming that he "seemed to go out of his way to thumb his nose at fellow Republicans."
But there's a new RNC chairman now, and Reince Priebus is getting the full Kessler fluff treatment, right down to the banal personal details:
A lawyer from Wisconsin who ran the state Republican party, Priebus, 39, served as general counsel of the RNC under Steele. Priebus’ first name Reince rhymes with pints, as in pints of his favorite beer, Miller High Life from Wisconsin. In his office at just 6 p.m., Priebus offers me a cold Miller but does not seem offended when I go for a Heineken instead.
“I’ve got a bizarre name, but I’m about as normal as they come,” Priebus says. “I always tell people it’s what happens when you have a Greek and a German who get married. It’s a bit of a disaster.”
Priebus graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1994 and from the University of Miami School of Law in 1998. He met his wife, Sally, at a high school youth group; their first date was a Lincoln Day conservative dinner.
“We did go to a movie afterward,” Priebus says, “so it was a legitimate date.”
They married in 1998 and have two children, Grace, 1, and Jack, 6.
Priebus likes to fish and golf. He owns three shotguns, a rifle, and a handgun. He has enjoyed an occasional moose steak.
MRC Admits Social Security-Ponzi Scheme Is Bogus -- But Runs With It Anyway Topic: Media Research Center
Slavishly toeing the conservative line, the Media Research Center has embraced the erroneous idea that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme -- so much so that it lashes out anyone who proves otherwise.
That's what Clay Waters did in a Sept. 13 MRC TimesWatch post. He dismissed a New York Times blog post debunking the Social Security-Ponzi scheme comparison as a "liberally slanted fact check" by "two liberal reporters." Waters makes no attempt to disprove the fact-check -- thus conceding the factual basis that there is no connection -- but declares that the reporters are stupid for clinging to silly facts because the bogus comparison works as a talking point for right-wingers:
[Reporters Michael] Cooper and [Nicholas] Confessore seem unable to conceive that “Ponzi Scheme” is a (potent) metaphor for the unsustainable state of Social Security’s current financing trajectory (one that liberal MSNBC host Chris Matthews has also recently employed), meaninglessly faulting Perry for his comparison not being an exact match in all particulars.
But, again, Waters offers no evidence that it matches up at all. In other words, winning a political argument matters more to Waters than the truth.
Another Dubious Islam 'Expert' Linked to WND Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've already noted how WorldNetDaily attempted to discredit Walid Shoebat for exposing holes in his past as a self-proclaimed former terrorist while giving presentations to law enforcement groups as a so-called expert on Islamic terrorism who engages in little more than Muslim-bashing. Now another dubious terrorism "expert" has WND ties as well.
Wired's Danger Room blog details how an FBI intelligence analyst named William Gawthrop has created Muslim-bashing research used in counterterrorism briefings for law enforcement. Before he joined the FBI, a 2006 WND article reported how Gawthrop said that the Pentagon has never conducted "a 'systematic study' of Muhammad's military doctrine" since "Muhammad's mindset is a source for terrorism," and that"hitting "soft spots" in the Islamic faith that, once exploited, "may induce a deteriorating cascade effect upon the target." But first, according to WND, Gawthrop said that "officials must first overcome the political taboo of linking Islamic violence to the religion of Islam."
Wired notes that such simplistic elevating of cherry-picked Quran verses is as useful a guide to terrorist behavior as “diving into the rite of exorcism” is to understanding Catholicism.
CNS Puts Words In Obama's Mouth Again Topic: CNSNews.com
A Sept. 16 CNSNews.com article by Fred Lucas carries the headline "Obama Predicts: His Plan Will Cost $235,263 Per Job." But Obama never said that.
What he did say, according to Lucas:
“It’s estimated that the American Jobs Act would add two percentage points to the GDP, and add as many as 1.9 million jobs, and bring the unemployment rate down by a full percentage point,” Obama said, according to the official White House transcript of his remarks.
Lucas then performs a bit of crude math: "$447 billion divided by 1.9 million equals approximately $235,263."
This isn't the first time CNS has portrayed Obama as saying things he did not say. In 2009, CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey asserted that Obama "referred to American opponents of amnesty for illegal aliens as 'demagogues'" when, in fact, Obama was discussing a "pathway for legalization" for illegal immigrants -- something for which Jeffrey provided no evidence is "amnesty" -- and never used the word "amnesty."
Similarly, Jeffrey claimed that then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid supported a bill "that would include giving amnesty to illegal aliens" when Reid never used the word "amnesty."
Christopher Ruddy takes a surprisingly moderate view of George Soros in his Sept. 15 Newsmax column, declaring that "he’s neither evil nor completely liberal. He is, in my mind, a liberal partisan whose own political views don’t fit neatly into any box." But he also writes this:
Despite the fact Soros has billions — an estimated fortune of $14.5 billion — he cannot determine elections at will, as 2004 and 2008 proved.
I have found that when billionaires like Soros attempt to influence matters, they often create an “equal and opposite“ reaction from others in the political system.
We saw that effect in 2010 when wealthy Republicans contributed hundreds of millions to help the GOP take back the House.
Ruddy doesn't admit it, but he knows whereof he speaks when he talks about "billionaires like Soros" who "attempt to influence matters" -- after all, that's what Newsmax owes its existence to. Conservative billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife -- for whom Ruddy worked as a reporter for the Scaife-owned Pittsburgh Tribune-Review -- contributed money to the startup of Newsmax, and by 2002 was its third-largest shareholder. Scaife and Ruddy are the sole owners of Newsmax.
But Newsmax was but one arm of Scaife's anti-Clinton operation in the 1990s; he donated millions to right-wing, anti-Clinton causes, including to anti-Clinton (and now anti-Obama) group Judicial Watch.
It can be argued that Scaife's aggressive funding of anti-Clinton causes -- including Newsmax -- helped lead to “equal and opposite“ reaction from liberals, culminating in the election of Barack Obmaa as president in 2008. Again, don't expect Ruddy to mention that.
Richard Bartholomew catches WorldNetDaily's latest reader-fleecing scheme: selling a "9-11 / 10th Anniversary “NEVER FORGET” Challenge Coin." Turns out you can buy the coin a lot cheaper directly from its manufacturer, without WND's significant markup.
WND loves taking its readers for everything it can.
Posted by Terry K.
at 10:25 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, September 17, 2011 10:26 AM EDT
CNS Rewrites AP Headline To Claim Obama Wants Amnesty For "Illegal Aliens" Topic: CNSNews.com
President Obama gave a speech last night at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute's Awards Gala, and the Associated Press write-up of the event led with Obama saying his jobs package "would put more money in the pockets of Latino workers and business owners and increase opportunities for Hispanics." It carried the headline "Obama pushes jobs plan as help for Hispanics."
That headline apparently wasn't exciting enough -- or sufficiently disparaging of Obama -- for CNSNews.com. Its version of the AP article carries the headline "Obama Renews Call for Amnesty for Illegal Aliens," with the original headline relegated to a subhead:
CNS made no changes to the AP article itself; rather, it decided to ignore the AP's lead and interpret a statement later in the article that Obama "remained determined to pass a rewrite the nation's immigration laws to offer a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants" as calling for "amnesty" for "illegal aliens."
Neither "amnesty" nor "illegal aliens" appears in the AP article, and the AP Stylebook rejects the use of "illegal alien," preferring the term "illegal immigrant" instead.
CNS regularly declares anything faintly resembling immigration reform to be "amnesty" -- which is a loaded term that influences people to oppose immigration reform.
CNS likes to add a right-wing reinterpretation of AP headlines to AP articles on its site, particularly when immigration issues are involved. Last month, it changed an AP article headline from "US makes criminals priority for deportation" to "Obama Administration Grants De Facto Amnesty to Many Illegal Immigrants."
In July, it changed the AP headline "AP sources: Obama ends talks brusquely" to "Obama Showboats His Way Out of Debt-Limit Talks."
WND's Farah Still Can't Take Criticism Topic: WorldNetDaily
You'd think that after all these years working in the media, Joseph Farah wouldn't be so thin-skinned about criticism. But he is, with all the petulance we've come to expect from him.
In a Sept. 13 WorldNetDaily column even he admits he's "probably better off not writing," Farah takes radio host Michael Medved to task for criticizing WND on his show ... in May. Farah only caught it last week, when the show was rebroadcast. Farah takes his usual potshots, noting that Medved once "toiled for the site as a weekly columnist – a position from which he was terminated for lack of interest by the public" and that "years after, Medved called both me and my wife, Elizabeth, to tell us, in his words, that I was the most ethical businessman he had ever worked with in his life."
Conspicuously missing from Farah's column is any direct quote of anything Medved said -- it's all paraphrase except for a single word, Medved's use of "WorldNutDaily." That evasion gives Farah license to set up straw men of Medved that he can easily knock down.
Farah then writes, "Everybody in show business or promoting a book needs a gimmick – even if it means ad hominem attacks and name-calling." You know, just like Farah.
But Farah wasn't done bashing his critics. He demonstrated he can hold a grudge for a needlessly long period of time on his Sept. 14 column, in which takes glee in how a the life of former critic has turned out more than a decade after said criticism was made.
In a 1999 column about right-wing attempts -- led by Farah -- to downplay the death of Matthew Shepard by bringing up Jesse Dirkhising, a 13-year-old boy who died as a result of sexual abuse at the hands of two homosexuals, Then-Washington Post columnist E.R. Shipp pointed out that the Post gave more coverage to Shepard's death because it "parked public expressions of outrage that themselves became news. That Jesse Dirkhising’s death has not done so is hardly the fault of The Washington Post," adding that "those who are inclined to believe the David Dukes, Joseph Farahs and Tim Grahams of the world – who have asserted that the story has been suppressed so that homosexuals won't be portrayed negatively – will not be satisfied."
Farah is still raging over that comparison:
To this day, I still don't know who Tim Graham is, but I do know who David Duke is. I didn't like the implication that association made then, and I don't like it any better today. Shipp, whose claim to fame is winning a Pulitzer Prize for commentary while with the New York Times, knows that association with David Duke is the coward's way of calling someone a bigot, a racist, a Ku Klux Klansman.
(Really? Farah is completely unfamiliar with one of the leading figures in right-wing media criticism? Or does Farah have a petty grudge against too?)
Needless to say, this all leads up to mean-spirited potshots against Shipp and what she has done since leaving the Post:
For a few years, Shipp served as a professor of journalism at Hofstra University.
You can see just how popular she was among her students.
Here are a few of the more polite and printable adjectives students used to describe her classroom demeanor: rude, condescending, belittling, unprofessional, unhappy, nasty, awful, horrible, terrible, arrogant.
Some also described her as the "worst teacher ever." One said he was "shocked that anyone would hire her." Another said she "learned nothing" in the class, while another student described the experience of taking her class as a "waste of money." There was not a single favorable comment on this faculty rating site. Not one – not even a neutral characterization.
She left Hofstra in 2008 for whereabouts unknown.
Farah also dips his toe into the Shepard revisionism pool, claiming he was killed "apparently by monsters who knew nothing about his sexual proclivities." That's the story one of the killers wants you believe now, in contradiction of all the evidence indicating otherwise, like his gay-panic defense during his murder trial.
Farah doesn't explain how Shipp's purported fate is somehow worse than his own -- doomed to fleece his readers by running a truth-challenged, conspiracy-obsessed website.
MRC's Gainor Uses Bad Math to Bash Obama Topic: Media Research Center
Dan Gainor writes in a Sept. 15 MRC Business & Media Institute post (and CNSNews.com item):
The Washington Post might be a day late and $38 billion short, but it's being honest about Barack Obama's failed green jobs program. According to the Post, the "$38.6 billion loan guarantee program" has created just "3,545 new, permanent jobs" "after giving out almost half the allocated amount."
For those not doing the math at home, that means more than $5 million per job.
Only, not so much. As former White House economist Jared Bernstein details, the government didn't actually spend $38.6 billion on the loan guarantee program -- that assumes that all the loans will go bad, an extremely unlikely occurrence. The actual cost of bad loans that will result in the government covering for them will likely end up being under $5 billion, which Bernstein points out "gets you into a much more reasonable neighborhood re bang-for-buck."
WND Joins The Chaz Bono Freakout Topic: WorldNetDaily
Apparently feeling outgunned by the Media Research Center on the Chaz Bono freakoutbeat, WorldNetDaily called in the heavy anti-gay artillery for some Bono-bashing: the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer. And he delivers his hate in a Sept. 13 WND column:
Chaz Bono is not a "he," Chaz Bono is a "she." She is a "she" in every single cell of her body and will be until the day she dies. Her DNA from the moment of conception was indisputably female, and it will always be female.
No amount of surgical mutilation and hormone injections can change that. God designed her to be a female, and a female she will be for the rest of her life.
The bottom line here is that, according to America's mental-health professionals, Chaz Bono is a mentally disturbed individual.
Chaz Bono needs to be helped, not lionized. She needs restorative therapy rather than stardom. She needs to become a patient, not a celebrity.
Anyone who cares genuinely about people will want that for her. No one who loves people would want anyone to be stuck in the swamp of pathologies that accompany such a disorder. When individuals are so mentally unsettled that they start cutting body parts off themselves, it's time to get them some help.
And it is possible for an individual like Chaz to reconcile her psychological identity with her biological identity.
Fischer goes on to cite Fox News' Dr. Keith Ablow as a supposed authority -- but even Ablow's fellow Fox Newsers want nothing to do with his attack on Bono. Fox host Megyn Kelly told Ablow that "you seem to be adding to the hate," later saying that Ablow's remarks were "irresponsible and dangerous."
It's all too appropriate that the anti-gay WND turned to one of the most virulent gay-haters out there to peddle more hate.
A Sept. 14 Newsmax article by Jim Meyers and Ashley Martella is devoted to peddling "Narcissist Nation: Reflections of a Blue-State Conservative," a new book by George Marlin, whom Meyers and Martella baselessly describe as "one of the country’s most influential conservatives." The authors quote Marlin saying that "Obama uses the ‘I’ word more than all the presidents have used it collectively in the 200 and some-odd years of our nation."
That's not even close to being true. Author James Pennebaker, unlike Marlin, has done some actual pronoun-counting:
Toward the end of his penetrating new book, “The Secret Life of Pronouns: What Our Words Say About Us,” Pennebaker crunches the numbers on presidential press conferences since Truman and finds that “Obama has distinguished himself as the lowest I-word user of any of the modern presidents.” If anything, Obama has shown a disdain for the first-person singular during his administration.
“Why,” Pennebaker wonders, “do very smart people think just the opposite?” He chalks it up the selective way we process information: “If we think that someone is arrogant, our brains will be searching for evidence to confirm our beliefs.” If we’re predisposed to look for clues that Obama is all about “me me me,” then every “me” he utters takes on outsize importance in our impressionistic view of his speechifying.
Thus, it seems that the central premise of Marlin's book has been discredited. We someone don't think Newsmax will be terribly interested in reporting that.
Why Is WND Hiding That Central Birther Premise Has Been Demolished? Topic: WorldNetDaily
A Sept. 11 WorldNetDaily article by Jerome Corsi makes a big deal out of "an authentic Hawaii Department of Health long-form birth certificate issued in 1961" as a way to attack Barack Obama's long-form birth certificate. But it appears that Corsi is hiding a crucial fact about that certificate.
The Obama Conspiracy blog is reporting that the "authentic" certificate Corsi is citing as a lower certificate number than Obama's despite being dated 19 days later. One of Corsi's major arguments to support the idea that Obama's certificate is a fake, as he detailed in an April 27 article, is that it was out of order from a pair of birth certificates known as the Nordyke twins.
Corsi asked: "how was it possible that the Nordyke twins had their birth certificates accepted by the registrar general in Hawaii three days later than the registrar general accepted Obama's birth certificate, when the twins' numbers are lower than Obama's number?" The answer, of course, is that more than one person was processing birth certificates in the Hawaii Department of Health office -- but that is too simple a answer for Corsi, who instead felt the need to blow it up into a conspiracy.
Speaking of conspiracies, it seems WND has engaged in a conspiracy of silence over this revelation. Obama Consipracy reports that WND originally posted the "authentic" birth certificate with its number faintly displayed, but later substituted it with a version with the number completely blanked out.
John Woodman, who has recently released a book debunking the claims of Corsi and other birthers (which, of course, Corsi and WND have studiously ignored so far), has the incriminating screenshots on his blog.
Any chance Corsi and WND will come clean about their deception? Don't count on it -- peddling birther conspiracies is how WND makes its money these days, and debunking one of its own conspiracies is not in its business model.