Aaron Klein Anonymous Source Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
What's been happening lately with Aaron Klein's excessive use of anonymous, unverifiable sources to make dubious claims? Let's take a look.
A Feb. 24 article claimed that "NATO countries are strongly considering the possibility of an international deployment to Syria if the Syrian opposition does not make major advances in the next few weeks," citing "informed Middle Eastern diplomatic and security officials." Klein did not explain how these "officials" were "informed," making that modifier essentially meaningless.
A March 4 article claimed that "Turkey has been arming al-Qaida organizations as part of its aid to opposition targeting the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad," citing "Egyptian security officials." As we've detailed, Klein was unusually friendly with the corrupt Mubarak regime, so much so that his reporting last year was aimed at keeping Mubarak in power and bashing the popular uprising against him.
A March 11 article claimed that "Iran has been pressing jihadist groups in Gaza to continue firing rockets into Israel," again citing "Egyptian security officials."
A March 15 article claimed that "An internal Hamas investigation has found that Iran is paying off Hamas members to form independent militias to do Tehran’s bidding against Israel," citing "sources in Hamas." Klein has long been hostile to Hamas, so there's no reason any Hamas "source" would dare trust him.
A March 26 article claimed that "The U.S., Turkey and NATO have held high level military meetings the past few days to discuss options regarding Syria, including the possibility of a military campaign targeting the regime of President Bashar al-Assad," citing only "informed Middle Eastern security officials."
A March 31 article claimed that "President Obama has been engaged in secret, back-channel talks with Iran in which he informed Tehran’s leaders he is completely opposed to any Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities," citing only "informed Middle Eastern officials." Again, no explanation was offered regarding how these officials were "informed."
NewsBusters Finds 'Liberal Bias' In A Peeps Diorama Topic: NewsBusters
How much is the Media Research Center obsessed with The Washington Post? NewsBusters is even scouring the Post's contest entries for signs of "liberal bias."
IN a March 28 NewsBusters post, Ken Shepherd takes offense to an Occupy-themed display won the top prize in the Post's annual Peeps diorama contest:
Just when you thought Occupy D.C. was dead and gone and, with it, the Washington Post's gauzy coverage, the paper has resurrected it's puffery of the leftist movement just in time for Easter.
This time, the Post fondly remembered the left-wing squatters' camp by awarding its sixth annual Easter Peeps Diorama Contest to Cori E. Wright of Falls Church, Va., for her "OccuPeep D.C." display. Wright, a decorative painter who works for the Architect of the Capitol told the Post that she "[doesn't] necessarily agree with the occupiers, but I agree with the right to occupy." [see photo of diorama below page break]
"I didn’t want to be disrespectful. I didn’t want to fill the signs with puns. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t one-sided," Wright noted.
"In the Post newsroom, her sincerity and objectivity reigned," Post staffer Katherine Boyle gushed.
Shepherd didn't mention the fact that the Occupy diorama really is balanced, down to the depiction of rats, which the Post described as its "favorite accessory":
Shepherd also seems to have ignored the possibility that the Occupy diorama was. you know, the best entry and deserved the reward.
But that would have required Shepherd to be fair and objective, and the MRC isn't paying him to do that.
WND's Movie Reviewer: Obama Is An Evil Fairy-Tale Queen Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Drew Zahn uses his March 31 review of the film "Mirror Mirror," a takeoff of the Snow White story, to slap together some Obama-bashing by likening the film's "evil queen" to President Obama:
The queen has lived in isolation from the people for years (Columbia, Harvard, the White House, vacationing in Hawaii and Paris – if you catch my hint) and slowly finds herself in charge of a financially crumbling kingdom (the U.S. isn’t a kingdom, but the parallel is still there, yes?).
Her answer to this dilemma? She’s going to spend lavishly in a scheme to fix her country’s financial fortunes (stimulus package!).
“But, my queen,” her advisor explains, “you’re broke.”
Her answer? “Then go collect more taxes!”
Sounds quite a bit like the plan proposed by Obama – spend the nation into oblivion, then raise taxes to pay for it.
Later, the local magistrate balks at surrendering the people’s money to the queen’s czar, I mean, assistant. But tax day just so happens to arrive right after the kingdom is devastated by news of Snow White’s death.
“Are you seriously going to argue about money,” the queen’s assistant asks, “on this day of grieving?”
No sooner were the words out of the assistant’s lips, than my wife and I turned to one another in the theater and said in near unison, “No, because you should never let a crisis go to waste.”
Of course, the words we quoted weren’t actually spoken in “Mirror Mirror,” but by Obama’s former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.
Later in the film, Snow White learns the bandits have stolen what the thieves call “the queen’s gold,” but what is really the collected tax money.
“Did you break into the queen’s palace to steal it?” she asks.
“No, we got it outside the village,” she’s told.
“So you stole the people’s gold,” she responds.
Wait! Wait! You mean tax money is actually the people’s money? Hmm … sounds like “Evil Queen Obama” could learn a few things by looking in the “Mirror.”
Zahn has a bad habit of injecting WND's far-right agenda into his reviews. For instance, he didn't like the animated film "Tangled" because it teaches that children can think for themselves, and he used his review of a Transformers" film to opine that Obama is a Decepticon.
A March 29 article by Schilling touts how "Media from former communist nations are once again breaking through the veil of silence surrounding President Obama’s eligibility for office – even when the U.S. media refuse to investigate what is being called the 'largest scandal in American history.'" Of course, the outlet calling it that is Pravda, the former propaganda mouthpiece for the Soviet Union, so it's not exactly what one could call reliable.
Schilling adds the state-controlled Voice of Russia item she reported on previously, as well as "Neviditelný pes (The Invisible Dog), a popular news website from Prague." Schilling offers no evidence that this website is credible, let alone "popular."
Indeed, Schilling offers no reason why any of these organizations should be treated as credible. They're certainly no more so than WND, which is so motivated by Obama-hate that it refuses to acknowledge the existence of John Woodman, who has written a book debunking birther claims.
If anything, if these outlets are simply regurgitating WND's birther conspiracies, they're no more trustworthy than WND, which has repeatedly lied in order to push its anti-Obama birther agenda.
WND is also turning to second-rate rock stars to push its birther agenda as well. Another March 29 WND article highlights how "Megadeth singer and guitarist Dave Mustaine believes Barack Obama was born somewhere outside the United States."
Do WND really have much of a case on the birther stuff when the only supporters they can dredge up are Soviet-linked websites and washed-up rock singers?
UPDATE: WND also loves foreigners who opine in approved ways on birtherism. A March 28 article details how Lord Monckton bot "a first-hand look at evidence collected by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his investigative team" and said "he is convinced that the document presented by the White House as Barack Obama’s birth certificate is fraudulent."
We've previously noted how Monckton has presented himself as an anti-global warming expert despite having no scientific credentials.
MRC's Graham Tries Guilt-By-Association to Attack NPR Topic: NewsBusters
Tim Graham tries a bit of guilt-by-association against NPR in a March 25 NewsBusters post, claiming that "This American Life" -- which Graham calls a "trendy public-radio show" that "airs on many NPR stations" -- which recently retracted a episode about a factory in China that produces Apple products for inaccuracies, "caused a black eye for NPR (by their one-degree association)."
Graham offers no evidence that NPR was harmed by the "This American Life" controversy -- perhaps because, despite Graham's insistence, there is no "one-degree association" between them.
"This American Life" is produced by Chicago Public Media and distributed by Public Radio International. both of these entities are completely separate from NPR. Also, there are no "NPR stations" per se. NPR operates no radio stations; rather, NPR provides news and other programming to independently owned public radio stations. While many public radio stations air NPR programming, to call them "NPR stations" as Graham does is something of a misnomer since they also run programming from PRI and other sources.
This is just lazy writing that permits Graham to make a lazy smear.
WND Devotes Issue of Magazine to Bashing College Education Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily is not big on book-learning, it appears.
As a March 30 WND article describes, the April issue of WND's Whistleblower magazine has the theme of "The College Illusion," dedicated to denigrating the value of a college education. Why? Because your child might be exposed to non-conservative ideas and the possibility of sex (also, Obama is to blame as well, somehow):
Even as Barack Obama attempts to buy off the youth vote by promising ever more government student loans and promoting college as a virtual civil right for the masses, a new reality is taking hold: For many, college is not the smartest thing to pursue after high school.
Obviously, to go into medicine, law, engineering or similar fields requiring standardized formal training and professional certification, higher education is still a must. But the idea, unquestioned for generations, that college is the ideal destination for all high-school graduates – that even those who have no particular interests or career focus should just go to college anyway, take courses, meet people, enjoy the wild social life, and try to obtain some sort of four-year degree while racking up crushing debt – is increasingly being questioned … and rejected.
Then there is the jarring reality that the vast majority of professors lean left – many far left. This is no trivial matter, and predictably results in the ongoing indoctrination – some call it brainwashing – of millions of students every year. Indeed, the leftwing, secular-socialist orientation of the modern university has played a gigantic role in the steady transformation of the American mind.
“When young people’s values and common sense are hammered and manipulated for four or more years by authority figures bent on propagating a leftist worldview,” says Whistleblower Editor David Kupelian, “many students emerge from college profoundly changed – for the worse.”
Alongside the far-left politics is an almost surreal level of in-your-face sexual anarchy – often openly and officially celebrated on campus. And the flipside of such a hyper-sexualized and “tolerant” campus culture is an extreme intolerance toward traditional Judeo-Christian moral and religious values and the students that hold them.
Remember, WND is a huge promoter of homeschooling -- it seems to be a requirement to work there -- and Joseph Farah and Co. are not interested in anything that will undo the indoctrination they've performed on their own children. They apparently don't want anyone else's children to get a fully rounded education, either.
Is The MRC Really Harrassing Comcast Board Members At Home? Topic: NewsBusters
An unbylined March 29 NewsBusters post finds the most newsworthy aspect of a recent Ed Schultz radio segment to be that he kinda-sorta portrayed Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell as a "pig" for leading a campaign to get him fired from MSNBC, taking this as evidence that "we're getting to him it seems."
Unremarked upon, meanwhile, was another thing Schultz said: "[Bozell] wants Phil Griffin fired. I mean, Comcast, they're calling Comcast board members at home. That's the rumor that I'm hearing. I haven't confirmed it but that's what I'm hearing."
Is that true? Seems a bit stalker-y if it is. Then again, given MRC official Tim Graham's seeming acquiescence to beligerent and distasteful tactics as long as the goal is worthy enough, this might actually be happening.
The MRC might want to explain exactly what it's doing to force Comcast, which now owns the majority of NBC, to fire Schultz and Al Sharpton.
WND's Mercer Cites VDARE to call Trayvon Martin Shooting a 'Statistical Anomaly' Topic: WorldNetDaily
Ilana Mercer has a few issues with black people, as we've detailed. In her March 29 WorldNetDaily column, Mercer weighs in on the Trayvon Martin shooting, and says pretty much what you'd expect her to, complete with a cameo from the white nationalists over at VDARE:
Don Lemon, a (pi—poor) prime-time reporter for CNN and a pillar of the RIC, gave the hoodlum from Congress a most sympathetic hearing. Lemon’s RIC comrades in the corporate media were careful to air only images of a cherubic-looking Trayvon, aged 12.
Taken off his Twitter account, however, Trayvon’s image is much more menacing, with a Twitter feed to match.
“@NO_LIMIT_NIGA,” as Trayvon called himself, tweeted and retweeted about “ThickD-ckThursday,” a favorite “PickUpLine”: “My you have a longue tongue..What do you use it for?” And, having dispensed with the poetry, got dirty: “f–k a b–ch, any b–ch, who you want? Take yo pick, but you gone have to take yo time.”
Granted, Trayvon’s tweets are not germane to the facts of his slaying. They are, nonetheless, telling.
Courtesy of Patrick Buchanan’s “Suicide of a Superpower” come the FBI’s crime figures for 2007: “Blacks committed 433,934 violent crimes against whites, eight times as many as the 55,685 that whites committed against blacks. Interracial rape is almost exclusively black-on-white, with 14,000 assaults on white women by African-American males in 2007. Not one case of white sexual assault on a black female was found in the FBI study.” (Page 243)
“In the same time period as the Trayvon Martin incident,” documents VDARE’s Peter Bradley, “a multitude of anti-white attacks by blacks occurred that remained strictly local news.”
On the facts, an honest conversation about race would quickly dispense with the canard that blacks are habitually persecuted by whites. They are not.
Such a dispassionate, contextualized discussion of the reality of crime in the U.S. would invariably lead to the conclusion that the alleged “white” offender in the Trayvon travesty must be regarded as a statistical anomaly.
MRC's Graham Apparently OK With Anti-Abortion Activists Targeting Children Topic: NewsBusters
Tim Graham doesn't seem to care much for the idea that turnabout is fair play.
In a March 30 NewsBusters post, Graham suggests there was nothing at all wrong with anti-abortion protesters targeting the 11-year-old daughter of the Maryland landlord who leased space to an abortion clinic by picketing at her middle school, calling them merely "aggressive," and besides, they were "near (but not on) the property of the middle school his daughter attended."
Again: Anti-abotion protester didn't target the abortion doctor or his family. They targeted the 11-year-old daughter of the doctor's landlord. And Graham is apparently perfectly fine with that. He did concede, however, that "Most pro-life activists prefer protesting at a clinic location than near a school, which can (and did) lead to bad publicity, or worse." But he didn't condemn the protest; instead, he played the equivocation game by pointing out "what happened to James Pouillon when he repeatedly protested abortion outside Owosso High School in Michigan. He was shot dead in 2009."
The landlord's response to such intrusive attacks, however, has drawn Graham's ire. He's really unhappy that, as the Washington Post reported, the landlord is collecting the names and phone numbers of anti-abortion protesters who made harrassing calls to his home "by the dozens, at all hours," and formed a network of supporters who called them back and “In a very calm, very respectful voice, they said that the Stave family thanks you for your prayers.”
Graham huffed that the Washington Post let the landlord "present himself as perfectly tolerant of peaceful pro-life protests as a First Amendment exercise," adding:
Do we know every pro-abortion caller is "calm and reasoned"? More "calm and reasoned" than the protest calls they receive? Dvorak saves words like "tormentors" for the people who oppose ripping out the limbs and vacuuming out the skulls of unborn babies in the third trimester of development. "Turnabout is fair play" is the headline. So Dvorak and the Post don't take the position of "two wrongs don't make a right." They find it "clever" that if you called Stave once, you deserve "up to 5,000 calls in return."
But Graham has made it clear he doesn't really see targeting an 11-year-old girl for something her father did is "wrong." He's just upset that the landlord is fighting back against invasions of his family's privacy by using like-minded tactics against the protesters. Apparently, anti-abortion protesters can be as "aggressive" as they want, but their targets aren't allowed to respond.
CNS Misstates Cause of Sandra Fluke's 'Notoriety' Topic: CNSNews.com
In a March 29 CNSNews.com article on a Feminist Majority Foundation summit, Penny Starr describes Sandra Fluke as "the Georgetown Law student who gained notoriety in recent weeks for telling members of Congress that she and other students were suffering because their birth control costs were not covered in their health insurance plans."
Starr also falsely states that Fluke said she herself was "suffering because their birth control costs were not covered in their health insurance plans." In fact, Fluke never discussed her sex life or her financial situation during her congressional testimony.
WND's Farah Unhappy That Newsmax Has A Richer Sugar Daddy Than He Does Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah spends his entire March 27 WorldNetDaily column whining about his business rival, Newsmax's Christopher Ruddy. There are dark hints of betrayal and related things, but Farah's complaint really comes down to one thing: Newsmax has a richer sugar daddy than WND.
For the next year or so, I did everything in my power to help Ruddy pursue that story and others involving the Clinton scandals. When the New York Times Magazine did a story about “The Clinton Haters,” Ruddy and I were in the middle of it. When Hillary Clinton talked about “the vast right-wing media conspiracy,” we were in the middle of it – along with a guy named Dick Scaife.
Unlike Ruddy and me, Scaife had money – lots of it. He soon hired Ruddy to pursue the Clinton scandals at his newspaper, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
I warned Ruddy about Scaife. I never trusted him. I told Ruddy he would compromise his values if he went to work for Scaife. He didn’t listen.
Today, Dick Scaife and Chris Ruddy own Newsmax – some would suggest my competition.
And, there is no question that Newsmax was founded to be WND’s competitor. They were going to replicate our success on the Internet – but with nearly unlimited financial resources.
Over the years, I have observed with some disappointment the changes in values and character that Chris Ruddy has demonstrated. He still belongs to all the right conservative groups. He still sponsors the Conservative Political Action Conference every year. But, make no mistake about it, he is no more conservative than Mitt Romney – in fact, less so.
Farah is flattering himself by suggesting Newsmax is a WND ripoff. WND started in April 1997, while Newsmax launched in September 1998, so it's unlikely that WND at that point had much "success" to "replicate." Besides, WND and Newsmax -- along with the Media Research Center's CNSNews.com, founded around the same time -- all had the same mission: to destroy President Clinton.
While Farah has historically kept quite about WND's finances, it's doubtful that it's doing as well as Newsmax, which has diversified into financial and health newsletters and claimed $50 million in revenue in 2010. (granted, it used shady techniques to promote its financial products and borderline quacks like Russell Blaylock as health columnists).
Farah appears to be jealous that Newsmax has a sugar daddy like Scaife -- though presumably Farah wasn't bad-mouthing Scaife like this when the organization he founded in the 1990s, the Western Journalism Center, accepted $330,000 from him. Meanwhile, WND has had to make do with backers like Robert Beale, a convicted felon currently in prison for tax evasion.
Farah is also incensed that Ruddy went over to the not-so-dark side and gave up his obsessive hatred of everything Clinton:
For instance, would Romney dare praise Bill Clinton? Ruddy and Scaife do.
Would he revel in the accomplishments of Hillary Clinton? Ruddy and Scaife do.
Would he go so far as to praise another big-government, boondoggle, unconstitutional, rip-off program devised by Barack Obama? Ruddy and Scaife do.
Ruddy even wrote a shamelessly glowing profile of Bill Clinton back in 2007. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read it.
Bill Clinton was a monster as president – a man who ruthlessly went after his enemies, including me, with politically motivated Internal Revenue Service audits. He lied under oath. He was impeached – and should have been convicted. I know for a fact Ruddy feared for his life when he was investigating him. Now, Bill Clinton is a saint?
What all this basicallycomes down to: Farah is jealous that Newsmax is a much more successful, profitable and prestigious organization than WND. Such pettiness is unbecoming for someone who purports to be a professional journalist, but being thin-skinned is how Farah rolls.
Newsmax's Kessler: 'Obama Blames America for Shooting Tragedy' Topic: Newsmax
Ronald Kessler joined the rest of the right-wing media in looking for any reason to bash President Obama by attacking his remarks on the death of Trayvon Martin. From Kessler's March 26 Newsmax column, headlined "Obama Blames America for Shooting Tragedy":
True to form, President Obama has used the tragic shooting of an unarmed black teenager to prejudge the case and blame all Americans.
Referring to the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida, Obama said from the White House Rose Garden, “You know, if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”
By drawing attention to Martin’s race, Obama suggested that the shooting was racially motivated.
Well, no, he didn't. But that won't stop Kessler from building up to full rant mode (and, of course, work in his favorite racial obesession, Jeremiah Wright):
Obama’s comment on the shooting is in line with his claim that police in Cambridge, Mass. “acted stupidly” because they arrested a black Harvard professor who was being obstreperous. And it is consistent with Obama’s dark view of America, a view he shares with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., his minister and mentor for 20 years. Wright said America created the AIDS virus to kill off blacks. Never mind that a supposedly racist country elected Obama president.
As noted in my story “'The Obamas' Confirms Worst Fears About the President," confidantes of the president say he attributes criticism of his policies to prejudice against blacks. In his speeches, Obama routinely refers to children “no matter what they look like” to suggest that opponents of his policies are racists who don’t want blacks to succeed.
In much the same way, Obama has pitted the poor against the rich, undercutting the most basic American ideals. He has even endorsed the Occupy Wall Street movement, which seeks to redistribute Americans’ wealth and encourages envy.
To those of us who have exposed genuine discrimination against blacks, what is heartbreaking about this public emphasis on race is how it has set back race relations. If this were a truly colorblind society, no one would mention race or notice skin color.
But Obama and many Democrats who follow his example by using any excuse to cry racism have turned back the clock to the 1960s, when the first thing we thought about when seeing a black man was the color of his skin.
Besides adding $5 trillion to the national debt since he took office, that is Obama’s shameful legacy.
WND's Unruh Again Disappears Arpaio From Lausuit Story Topic: WorldNetDaily
We detailed last month how WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh wrote a story about a homeschooling couple's lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, among others, that somehow managed to avoid mentioning Arpaio's name, despite the fact that the lawsuit is called Loudermilk v. Arpaio.
Well, Unruh has done it again. A March 26 article by Unruh reports on how the U.S. Supreme Court "refused to intervene in a case in which deputies threatened parents with the forced removal of their children unless they agreed to let social workers, who did not have a warrant or probable case, search their home." Unruh has once again failed to mention that Arpaio is one of the plaintiffs.
Then again, WND is trying to stay on Arpaio's good side after he delivered the (shoddily researched) birther investigation WND wanted, so airbrushing inconvenient facts is what we can expect from WND.
CNS Bombshell: John Holdren Owns A Car! Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com's weird obsession with Obama adviser John Holdren continues with a March 23 article by Fred Lucas and Matt Cover featuring this shocking discovery:
Obama Science Czar Dr. John P. Holdren, an ardent environmentalist who has called for an end to the auto industry since the '70s, owns two automobiles.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Holdren and his wife, Dr. Cheryl E. Holdren, have active registration plates for a 2000 Subaru Legacy and for a 2004 Toyota Prius – with both of them co-owners of both vehicles.
That's right -- CNS considers somebody owning a car to be news. Sad, isn't it?