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Monday, January 9, 2012
WND Downplays Professor's Promotion of Discredited Vaccine-Autism Theiory
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Jan. 6 WorldNetDaily article has an author identity crisis. It carries the byline of WND news editor Jay Baggett, but it also begins "By Dave Tombers." Why doesn't Tombers, who has written numerous articles for WND, get his own article archive?

Regardless of the actual authorship, the article is mostly a rewrite of an Alliance Defense Fund press release about John Oller Jr., a professor at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette who is being represented by the ADF in suing his school because, according to Baggett/Tombers, "he has been targeted by fellow faculty members over his views on creation and intelligent design." Baggett/Tombers adds that "Oller repeatedly has been damaged because of the views expressed in his public lectures and published works on communicative disorders, autism causation and intelligent design." 

Note that term "autism causation," which comes straight from the ADF press release and is not addressed elsewhere in the Baggett/Tombers article, despite the ADF complaint itself focusing much more on the autism stuff than intelligent design. Baggett/Tombers also reproduces a quote from the complaint purportedly by a colleague  of Oller's saying that "Apparently he [Dr. Oller] doesn’t have much understanding of this issue" without noting that the colleague was referring to Oller's views on "autism causation."

And just what are those views? Oller clings to the discredited view that vaccines cause autism. Oller is so committed to this view, apparently, that Oller wrote a book on the subject that, according to the Independent Weekly, contains a foreword by Andrew Wakefield, the researcher who claims about a relationship between vaccines and autism were retracted by the medical journal that first published them, which later declared Wakefield's research to be an "elaborate fraud."

The Independent Weekly also points out that Oller is a linguist by education who has no expertise in immunology or biological sciences. notes that Oller is so anti-vaccine that he even disputes the fact that vaccines have virtually eradicated smallpox and polio.

It's clear that the university's problem with Oller stems much more from his clinging to discredited claims about vaccines and autism than about intelligent design, yet WND makes sure to hide that inconvenient fact. Perhaps because WND itself promoted the vaccine-autism conspiracy before it was discredited and remains an opponent of vaccines.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:00 PM EST
Updated: Monday, January 9, 2012 1:01 PM EST
Newsmax Not Quite As Hot for Gingrich in New Hampshire
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax got solidly behind Newt Gingrich in Iowa, from essentially endorsing him to buying airtime in the state for a half-hour informercial for him to insisting his fourth-place finish was a wonderful thing.

For New Hampshire, Newsmax has become less aggressive in its support for Gingrich and more focused on bashing front-runner Mitt Romney.

Opportunities for Newsmax to buy airtime for its Gingrich informercial are limited because essentially all of the available TV airtime in the state was spoken for well before the votes in Iowa were counted.

A Jan. 8 article by Tim Collie features an "exclusive interview" with Joe McQuaid, publisher of the Manchester Union Leader, which endorsed Gingrich. McQuaid not only touted the paper's Gingrich endorsement but argued that Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry "soon may have to muster their forces and unite behind one conservative to challenge GOP frontrunner and moderate Mitt Romney."

A Jan. 8 column by Newsmax editor Christopher Ruddy criticized Romney for lacking vision while touting Gingrich being a "visionary":

Newt Gingrich is not so much charismatic as he is a visionary. In fact, he’s a born visionary; his head is a virtual popcorn maker of ideas. This vision stuff — Gingrich talks incessantly about American exceptionalism — excites people.

When he visited Staten Island, N.Y., to accept the endorsement of its former Congressman Vito Fossella, Gingrich electrified the crowd of nearly 800 that turned out for the appearance, according to a local newspaper. This is in a New York City borough.

Ruddy didn't mention that Fossella -- whom Newsmax has tried to rehabitate -- left office in disgrace after a DUI arrest led to the revelation that Fossella had a mistress in Washington and fathered a child with her, making an endorsement from him less than wonderful.

Newsmax also had a weird nexus of its preferred candidates in a Jan. 6 article nothing that former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum had signed on as chairman of Gingrich's campaign in Florida. Newsmax endorsed McCollum, and Ruddy raised money for him, in the 2010 Republican primary for Florida governor. McCollum lost, after which Newsmax flip-flopped and endorsed his victorious rival, Rick Scott.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:00 AM EST
Sunday, January 8, 2012
CNS Hides Anti-Gay Activist's Agenda

A Jan. 4 article by Philip Shepherd is almost entirely dedicated to attacks on a new California law requiring study of the contributions of gays and lesbians made by a single person, Randy Thomasson of the group Save California. Shepherd quotes statements by state officials about the law, but does not let anyone rebut Thomasson's attacks.

Shepherd seems deterimined to whitewash Thomasson, for he describes Save California no less than three times in a euphemistic fashion. First, Shepherd describes it as a "pro-family group"; then he claims it is "a nonprofit organization that 'stands for moral virtues and against the liberal takeover.'" Finally, Shepherd devotes his final paragraph to boilerplate eupemism: is a leading West Coast nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that  represents children and families in the areas of marriage and family, parental rights, the sanctity of human life, religious freedom, financial freedom, and back-to-basics education.

In reality, Thomasson and his group are virulent anti-gay activists. He has likened homosexuality to drunk driving and drug abuse, denounced the California as "sexual indoctrination" and "brainwashing" -- statements Shepherd avoided in his own quotes of Thomasson -- and claimed that Lawrence King, a gay teenager murdered by a classmate, provoked his murderer into killing him.

Shepherd seems determined to hide the truth about Thomasson -- not to mention, by extensively quoting him,  refuse to provide a fair and balanced account of the California law.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:23 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, January 8, 2012 10:38 PM EST
WND Also Sent Out Anti-Gay Group's Homophobic Email
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Salon's Justin Elliott detailed how The Weekly Standard sent out on its email list a message from the group Public Advocate of the United States, which repeats anti-gay attacks against a new California law that would bar discrimination against gay and transgendered students in public schools. The email referenced "appalling homosexual acts," "sexual deviants," and a "perverted vision for a homosexual America." The Weekly Standard later responded by saying the email had slipped through its "vetting system" and would not send it out again.

But the Weekly Standard is not the only organization to send the anti-gay message to its readers -- WorldNetDaily has sent it out three times. Equality Matters highlighted it when WND sent it out in April; by our count, WND has sent it out twice more, on Nov. 22 and Dec. 20.

The difference between WND and the Weekly Standard is that WND's "vetting system" obviously approved this virulently anti-gay message.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:41 AM EST
Saturday, January 7, 2012
MRC Peddles More Deceptive Attacks on Planned Parenthood
Topic: Media Research Center

A companion piece to Terry Jeffrey's deceptive attack on Planned Parenthood at, a Jan. 4 MRC Culture & Media Institute article by Paul Wilson hurls even more deceptive attacks at Planned Parenthood.

Wilson calls Planned Parenthood an "abortion group," even though abortion comprises only a tiny percentage of the total number of medical services it provides.

Wilson also complains that the TV networks (as per MRC standards, only the broadcast networks are analyzed) ignored how "Live Action, a pro-life group, put out seven 'sting' videos about Planned Parenthood during the 2011 year." As we repeatedly pointed out when the MRC previously attempted to promote these videos -- which sought to entrap Planned Parenthood clinic workers in a fake sex trafficking scheme -- Planned Parenthood actually contacted the Justice Department immediately after the visits from the Live Action actors, undercutting the entire scandal thing.

Nevertheless, Wilson ignored this and asserted that "Live Action put out videos showing Planned Parenthood staffers assisting sex traffickers at seven different clinics evade mandatory reporting laws." Of course, they were fake sex traffickers.

Wilson also writes:

When the House of Representatives voted to defund Planned Parenthood on Feb. 18, in part as a reaction to the videos, all three major networks aired Rep. Jackie Speier's (D-Calif.) impassioned plea to preserve abortion funding. 

In fact, Speier did not make an impassioned plea to preserve abortion funding; she defended federal funding to Planned Parenthood by disclosing an abortion she had due to medical complications. Further, federal funding for Planned Parenthood does not pay for abortion.

Wilson goes on to do even more whining that the TV networks (again, only the broadcast networks) won't cover investigations into Planned Parenthood ginned up by right-wing groups whose agenda is to destroy Planned Parenthood.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:23 PM EST
WND's Klein Repeats Lame Attack on Cordray
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The last time WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein wrote about Richard Cordray, President Obama's nominee to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, he resorted to an exceedingly lame attack repeating claims by Cordray's political enemies that Cordray misused funds as Ohio attorney general by providing state-paid legal support for three state employees accused of accessing the personal information of Samuel Wurzelbacher, aka "Joe the Plumber."

Now that Obama has issue a recess nomination of Cordray to the post, Klein uses a Jan. 4 WND article to repeat the same lame allegation. As before, Klein provides no evidence whatsoever that Cordray engaged in any wrongdoing, only the same accusations by the same political enemies -- who, of course, Klein fails to label as anything other than "critics."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:12 AM EST
Friday, January 6, 2012
CNS' Hypocritical And Deceptive Recess Appointment Freakout
Topic: is taking President Obama's recess appointment of Richard Cordray as head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and three members of the National Labor Relations Board in the biased, hypocritical way you'd expect. A few sample headlines:

Obama on Flouting Article 2, Section 2 of Constitution: ‘I Refuse to Take No for an Answer’

The Heck with the Senate: Obama Skips 'Advise and Consent' in Naming 3 Members to NLRB

Pelosi on Obama Nullifying Constitution's Confirmation Mandate: ‘I’m Proud of What the President Did’

Of course, CNS had no problem with President Bush making recess appointments. For instance, it promoted Bush's recess appointment of a federal judge -- approvingly quoting conservative C. Boyden Gray calling Democrats' "permanent minority filibuster" against him "an unconstitutional measure" -- then touted the upholding of , approvingly quoting the right-wing American Center for Law and Justice's Jay Sekulow attacking then-Sen. Ted Kennedy's "obstructionist tactics he is utilizing in the Senate to prevent up-or-down votes on President Bush's nominees."

When CNS bothers to address the one legal argument at question regarding these appointments -- whether they can be made during a pro forma session of Congress during which no business is conducted and is intended only to  prohibit the president from making recess appointments -- it has largely ignored arguments that disagree with its predetermined conclusion that what Obama did was illegal.

A Jan. 4 article by Matt Cover asserts that "the Constitution seems to back Boehner’s position" that "either house of Congress can adjourn only for three days during a session," thus disqualifying the appointments. A Jan. 5 article by Fred Lucas cites "constitutional scholar" John Eastman claiming that Obama "simply ignored the section of the Constitution, which governs when Congress can adjourn," failing to mention Eastman's affiliation with the right-wing Claremont Institute.

CNS has thus far ignored the analysis of John Elwood, who worked in the Department of Justice and solicitor general's office under President Bush, in which he pointed out that the resolution authorizing these pro forma sessions specifically states that no business can be conducted, raising the question of the legality of such sessions. Elwood also cites a 1982 court ruling stating that "[T]here is no reason to believe that the President’s recess appointment power is less important than the Senate’s power to subject nominees to the confirmation process."

Cover also cranked out a Jan. 6 article trying to make a big deal out of how Sen. Harry Reid "took to the Senate floor during a 'pro forma' session on Dec. 23 to pass a two-month extension to the payroll tax." But that particular pro forma session was long over by the time Obama made his appointments. Ignoring Elwood's analysis, Cover insisted that "the Senate was not in recess" when the appointments were made.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:04 PM EST
MRC's Gainor Denounces 'Vile' Attack on Santorum, Ignores His Boss' Vile Attack on Obama
Topic: Media Research Center

Dan Gainor blanketed the Media Research Center empire with a Jan. 5 column -- posted at the Business & Media Institute, the Culture & Media Institute and -- denouncing the campaign by "the vomitous Dan Savage" to criticize Rick Santorum by redefining "santorum" as a term associated with gay sex. Gainor ranted that this was "the lowest form of hate speech," "so vile you don’t want to read it or see it or hear it" and whined about "Savage’s monstrous activities."

Ganior makes no mention, however, of the vile activities of his own boss, Brent Bozell, who called President Obama a "skinny ghetto crackhead." 

Apparently, that's not "vile" to Gainor at all. Which makes him the same kind of gutless hypocrite as Tim Graham and so many other MRC employees.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:56 PM EST
AIM's Kincaid Takes Anita Dunn Out of Context, Admits He's Doing So
Topic: Accuracy in Media

You gotta love the chutzpah-tasatic dishonesty inherent in the Obama derangement of Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid. In a Jan. 3 AIM column attacking for Obama aide Anita Dunn, Kincaid writes:

You may remember Dunn as the Obama aide who once said communist mass murderer Mao and Mother Teresa were “two of my favorite political philosophers.” The Soros-funded Media Matters said she was taken out of context.

Kincaid, of course, is taking Dunn's statement out of context -- even admitting he's doing so -- and he dishonestly fails to link to the Media Matters item explaining why it's out of context.

That's not the only dishonesty Kincaid is engaging in here. The headline of his column reads "Former Obama Aide Lobbied for The Washington Post." But that's an inaccurate statement -- Dunn has done consulting work (which she claims is not lobbying) for Kaplan University, a subsidiary of the Washington Post Co., which also owns the Washington Post. Kaplan University is not the Washington Post, though Kincaid does make that distinction somewhat clearer in his column.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:42 AM EST
WND Stealing Content From Other Websites, Pretending WND Created It
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Plagiarism isn't enough for WorldNetDaily, it seems -- now it's apparently decided to take credit for stories it didn't write.

A Jan. 5 article on the WND website touts how a new Bible translation "has had its verses on homosexuality reworded, making them clearer in denouncing the practice," and carries the byline of WND news editor Felicia Dionisio.

In fact, click on "read the full story" and it takes you to the Christian Post website, where the full article carries the byline of Michael Gryboski -- not Dionisio.

One might attribute this to a production error due to unfamiliarity with WND's new website layout, but WND has a long history of appropriating the work of others for its own purposes. Even without Dionisio's unearned byline, this article is one of many on the WND site in which WND has simply copied the first couple of paragraphs to its own website -- occasionally offering credit to the author -- then linked to the full story on the originating website.

WND is presumably doing this without properly compensating the original owners of the work -- after all, WND subscribes to no wire service. WND probably considers this to be covered under fair-use laws, but WND is a for-profit business and, as it likes to remind us, "a leading Internet newssite in both traffic and influence," so there's no good reason it can't pay for what appears on its website.

The headline links that appeared on the old WND site are one thing, but actually cutting-and-pasting parts of articles created by others without compensation so they can drive traffic to WND is something else entirely.

WND is, quite simply, trying to profit off the work of others without paying for it. That's stealing. But then, given how casual WND has become about plagiarism these days, that's not surprising.

P.S. In the bio attached to her byline, Dionisio states that she "considers her tenure as a news editor at WND a life-changing experience. The truth has a way of doing that." That's an ironic invocation of "truth" in an article in which she lies about its creation.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:23 AM EST
Updated: Friday, January 6, 2012 1:39 AM EST
Thursday, January 5, 2012
NewsBusters' Double Standard on Insults
Topic: NewsBusters

Tim Graham is all upset in a Jan. 4 NewsBusters post that a Washington Post humor columnist said that Rick Santorum "LOOKS and SOUNDS like a little boy."

But wasn't it just a couple weeks ago that Graham's Media Research Center boss Brent Bozell, declared that President Obama looks like a "skinny ghetto crackhead"? Why, yes, it was. Where's Graham's indignance over that?

Or is he just another hypocritical MRC hack who has a finely tuned set of double standards, like many other MRC employees, and sufficient lack of a conscience to flit between them depending on which will better advance his right-wing agenda?

Our money's on the latter.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:46 PM EST
WND Promotes Unverified, Anonymous Attack
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's love of anonymous sources -- despite WND editor Joseph Farah's dismissal of anonymous claims as "usually quotes made up out of whole cloth to help make the story read better" -- reaches a new level in a Jan. 3 article by Bob Unruh

In the article, Unruh touts the claims of an anonymous man "dentifying himself as a brain surgeon" who called into Mark Levin's radio show and declared that "secret plans being developed by the federal government under the Obamacare law will provide only 'comfort care' for some ailments." The man suggested that he had learned this from "a conference in Washington of an organization of neurosurgeons in which information  from the government was presented."

Unruh then cites a statement by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, which deny that any such presentation took place and stated that "the caller who identified himself as a brain surgeon is not actually a neurosurgeon."

So, we have an anonymous source whose identity can't be verified making a completely unverified claim, and  a respected group of surgeons who are on record discrediting the unverified claim. Guess who Unruh and Levin choose to believe?

Levin, however, told WND the denials are not convincing.

“The gentleman used a fake name on the air, so when the associations say they looked into it and could not find that he was at the conference, that is a straw man,” he said.

“My call screener was very comfortable that he was what he said he was, and I have no basis to disparage anything he said. He knew of the conference, he knew who was holding the conference, he knew of the various meetings at the conference, and he knew the subject-matter thoroughly.”

He continued, “It seems to me the focus by the deniers should be on uncovering what HHS is up to. Have they dug into it, have they filed FOIA requests, have they interviewed numerous attendees, etc.?”

Again, neither Levin nor Unruh provide any evidence to prove their anonymous source correct -- but they trust him anyway because he sounded like he knew what he was talking about.

This is WND's standard of journalism. Sad, isn't it?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:18 PM EST
CNS Still Falsely Framing Planned Parenthood's Federal Funding

Penny Starr begins a Jan. 3 article:

According to its latest annual report, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) received $487.4 million in tax dollars over a twelve-month period and performed 329,455 abortions.

As we've pointed out when CNS has previously made this claim, these two numbers have nothing to do with each other. The federal money Planned Parenthood receives does not, and cannot by law, pay for abortion services.

At no point does Starr report that in her article. That's simply dishonest of her. But then, she's following in the footsteps of her boss, Terry Jeffrey, who has perpetuated the same deception.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:09 PM EST
AIM Touts Dubious Attack on IPCC
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A Jan. 3 Accuracy in Media column by Rael Jean Isaac promotes a self-published e-book by Donna Laframboise attacking the International Panel on Climate Change and challenging the credentials of those who compile the IPCC's reports.

The claims Isaac and Laframboise make in the column are too vague to fact-check, but Media Matters found inaccurate and deceptive claims in a article based on Laframboise's book.

Isaac writes: "Laframboise identifies a number of graduate students (at least one without so much as a Masters degree at the time) who served as coordinating lead authors (the most important role, in charge of the entire chapter) or lead authors (responsible for large segments of text)." But this ignores the fact that, according to Media Matters, there are many authors: for the 2007 IPCC assessment, there were 450 lead authors and 800 contributing authors. Additionally, each chapter has at least seven lead authors and goes through two rounds of scientific review.

Using information taken from Laframboise's book, Fox News overlooks facts about some of the IPCC authors, according to Media Matters. One lead author, for example, was dismissed because he had earned a master's degree just two years earlier; in fact, he was already a board-certified doctor at the time he earned that master's degree.

Isaac makes a big deal out of how is Laframboise a "solitary blogger" who relied on the readers of her blog to do the research for her book. Given such apparently shoddy research and Laframboise's own obvious bias -- the thesis of her book is that the IPCC is "a spoiled child" that has "morphed into an obnoxious adolescent" -- it's probably best left as a self-published e-book.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:00 AM EST
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
More Plagiarism Uncovered at WND
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It seems that Jerome Corsi's adventure with his "trusted Kenyan professionals" is not the only recent instance of plagiarism at WorldNetDaily these days.

Loren Collins at Barackryphal has uncovered more examples of plagiarism at WND:

  • A Dec. 9 article by Aaron Klein cribs liberally from a CNN op-ed by William Bennett without attribution.
  • A Nov. 22 column by Joseph Farah copies statements made in articles by the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times.

We've previously detailed an earlier example of plagiarism by Farah, in which he lifted large parts of a 2005 article from a Reuters piece.

Ironically, Farah had complained in 2003 that the "AP is lifting WorldNetDaily copyright content seemingly at will without attribution or credit" -- exactly what he and Klein are doing to the AP and other news organizations.

Note to Farah and WND: A redesigned website can't hide the fact that you're stealing the work of others.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:58 PM EST

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