WND's Fake-Name Reporter Makes Another Unverifiable Claim Topic: WorldNetDaily
"Reza Kahlili" has another impossible-to-verify scoop for WorldNetDaily:
Iran successfully has built a nuclear bomb with the help of Russia and North Korea and has enough weapons-grade uranium and plutonium for more, according to a source in the Revolutionary Guards intelligence unit.
The source, who has access to Iran’s nuclear program, said the Islamic regime is working out of seven nuclear sites, most unknown to the IAEA, and that its nuclear bomb program is complete.
The source, who revealed the existence of the regime’s microbial plant and its effort on biological weapons as published on Jan. 1 by WND exclusively, now has provided information on two of the seven secret sites.
Uh, yeah. If you'll recall, we pointed out that one of the biological weapons Kahlili's source has claimed that Iran has "genetically altered" is smallpox, which can't possibly be true because naturally occuring smallpox was eradicated in 1977 and the only place the disease exists is in two highly secure laboratories in the U.S. and Russia.
Since we have a reporter hiding behind a fake name citing an anonymous source, there's simply no reason to trust anything "Kahlili" writes -- and yet another reason not to believe WND.
CNS' Staff Keeps Up Dishonest Planned Parenthood Reporting Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com repeatedly engages in the journalistic malpractice of reporting the number of abortions Planned Parenthood performs, followed by the amount of federal money Planned Parenthood receives, without informing readers of the fact that none of that federal money pays for abortions.
It does so again in a Jan. 7 CNS article by Penny Starr, which reports that Planned Parenthood clinics "performed 333,964 abortions in fiscal 2011" and that it received $542.4 million in "government health services grants and reimbursements." Keeping with dishonest practice, Starr refuses to report that none of that federal money paid for abortions.
WND Libels Obama As A 'Psychopath' Topic: WorldNetDaily
A photo on WorldNetDaily's front page promoting a Jan. 9 article by Joe Kovacs headlined "Top 10 jobs that attract most psychopaths" contains a particularly evil-lookng picture of President Obama:
That picture is repeated in the article.
The funny thing is, Kovacs' article doesn't even mention Obama or list president of the United States as a job that attracts psychopaths.
Given WND's dismissive attitude toward the truth, it's unlikely that it can prove in a court of law that Obama is a "psychopath," which is being presented as fact, not opinion, and thus makes WND open to a libel lawsuit by the president should he feel inclined to file one.
NewsBusters: Limbaugh Merely Said A 'Questionably Appropriate Word' About Sandra Fluke Topic: NewsBusters
The Media Research Center's tin ear for misogyny rears its ugly head again in a Jan. 7 NewsBusters post by Tom Blumer, in which he touted a columnist who "made several quite valid points in comparing the media firestorm over Rush Limbaugh's comments about Sarah [sic] Fluke to the virtual silence over Des Moines Register columnist Donald Kaul, who, if he were in charge, 'would tie Mitch McConnell and John Boehner ... to the back of a Chevy pickup truck and drag them around a parking lot until they saw the light on gun control.'"
Blumer complained that "a search at the Associated Press's national web site on Kaul's last name comes up empty," apparently unable to comprehend the difference between a local newspaper columnist and a nationally syndicated radio host. Blumer then set about to minimize what Limbaugh did:
And I should empahasize that what Limbaugh said cannot be credibly construed as "hate speech." Sandra Fluke defined what she is for us in her own "testimony" at a bogus, non-official "hearing"; Limbaugh merely summarized it one questionably appropriate word.
Uh, no. Limbaugh launched 46 separate personal attacks against Fluke during a three-day misogynistic tirade, and he apologized for only two of them, "slut" and "prostitute."
WND Still Defending Scott Lively's Anti-Gay Activism Topic: WorldNetDaily
An unbylined Jan. 7 WorldNetDaily article is almost entirely dedicated to defending anti-gay activist Scott Lively against a lawsuit filed by a Ugandan gay-rights group accusing Lively of encouraging the persecution of gays in Uganda, specifically through a proposed law that would permit the death penalty for mere homosexuality.
At no point does WND directly quote more than three words at a time from the lawsuit, nor does it provide a link to the complaint against Lively, filed by Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG). But paragraph upon paragraph are lavished on statements made by Lively's lawyers at the right-wing legal group Liberty Counsel. The WND article is framed around the Lively defense's argument that an outcome that doesn't favor Lively means that "First Amendment free speech protections should play second fiddle to an international consensus that criticism of homosexuality is criminal." It's a ridiculously unbalanced article.
Such unbalance -- which WND brought to a previous article on the lawsuit -- means that Lively's anti-gay activism is soft-pedaled. Thus, Lively's February 2011 WND rant about how "lavender Marxists" are "murderers" who "have fixed their malevolent gaze on Christian Uganda" goes down the memory hole and does not serve as an example of Lively's rhetoric -- which one can reasonably assume was even more inflammatory while in Uganda, where he was out of the reach of U.S. media.
Indeed, the lawsuit includes quotes from Lively in Uganda in which he calls pornograhy a "tool of 'gay' social engineering," held a closed-door meeting with pastors there, after which he claimed he described how "America was brought low by homosexual activism," and equated homosexuality with sexual violence against children. WND fails to mention any of this.
WND also rehashes the defense's complaint "SMUG also does not tell the court that David Kato – the murdered Ugandan activist whom SMUG makes the centerpiece of this lawsuit – was killed not by an enraged homophobe incited by Mr. Lively’s protected speech, but by a homosexual prostitute upset over a failed business transaction." In fact, observers say Ugandan police may be trying to cover up a motive of homophobia in Kato's death, and that the man who was convicted in Kato's death may have been set up to murder Kato for being gay and thought if he established a homosexual sex demand, he would be treated leniently.
Never one to let a good marketing opportunity go to waste, the WND article includes a link to purchase Lively's discredited anti-gay screed "The Pink Swastika" at WND's online store.
Dick Armey Doesn't Know What The MRC Is Topic: Media Research Center
How ineffective must the Media Research Center be when one of the country's most prominent conservatives can't figure out exactly what it is?
The Daily Caller reports on right-wing displeasure that Dick Armey, the ousted founder of FreedomWorks, talked to Media Matters (disclosure: my employer) about the behind-the-scenes turmoil at the group. Turns out he thought he was talking to the MRC:
“I wouldn’t know Media Matters from a hole in the wall,” the 72-year-old told TheDC. “That was a major, big screw up on my part. I thought they were somebody else.”
When asked who he thought Media Matters was, Armey replied, “Who’s the guy with the red beard that always does the show where he points out how biased the press is?”
“Oh… the Media Research Center? Brent Bozell?” TheDC suggested. Bozell appears weekly on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show to spotlight liberal media bias in a segment called “Media Mash.”
“Yeah, I thought it was Brent Bozell,” Armey replied. “What I thought I had was I’d get them interested in the absolute screw job I got from The Washington Post.”
While at least some of Armey's cluelessness is his own fault, it also illustrates the questionable status of Bozell and the MRC in the conservative movement. That a leading conservative can't figure out how to differentiate the conservative media-watchdog group from the liberal media-watchdog group says a lot about how the MRC has failed to stand out.
Given that, maybe the MRC really did need to blow $5 million on things like billboards and such to mostly preach to the converted.
WND's Latest Obama Smear Job: 'The First Muslim President' Topic: WorldNetDaily
Building on last month's edition, which ominously (and ludicriously) painted President Obama's re-election as an "American Tribulation," this month's edition of WorldNetDaily's Whistleblower magazine returns to old-school Obama-hate with the theme "The First Muslim President":
Barack Obama’s relationship with Islam has long been one of the most radioactive questions surrounding his presidency. Before the 2008 election, it was considered impolite in the extreme even to mention publicly Obama’s middle name, “Hussein,” a name given only to Muslim babies. And despite repeated polls showing a significant percentage of voters – one in three conservative Republicans and almost one in five of all voters – believe the president is currently a Muslim, those who dare bring up the issue are mercilessly scorned as ignoramuses and bigots.
Yet, there’s a side to Obama’s life, from his Muslim childhood, schooling, Quran studies, mosque attendance and prayer in Indonesia, to his bewilderingly pro-Muslim policies today as president, that has been carefully concealed from the public by the “mainstream media.”
If you’ve wondered why the current U.S. president seems so supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood – both in the Arab-Muslim Middle East and, in the form of its various front organizations, within America itself – “THE FIRST MUSLIM PRESIDENT” will open your eyes.
Given that the author list is filled with Obama-haters like Joseph Farah, David Kupelian, Aaron Klein and Jerome Corsi, and given that said Obama-haters have been harping on Obama's purported Muslim-ness for years, there appears to be little here that most people don't already know and -- given Obama's decisive re-election -- have decided they don't care about. So, not much eye-opening, but a lot of sleaze, guilt by association, and outright hate.
NewsBusters Nitpicks Reporting on Boehner's Speaker Election Topic: NewsBusters
Ken Shepherd devotes a Jan. 4 NewsBusters post to complaining that a Washington Post article on the re-election of John Boehner as House speaker stated that Boehner "narrowly" won the seat. But Shepherd fails to explain exactly why that win really was narrow.
Shepherd declared that Boehner "handily beat his closest opponent, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for the office, 220-192. Boehner did see a smattering of dissenting votes in his conference, but no serious challenger within his conference came close to depriving the Speaker of a majority on the first ballot." He added that Post reporter Paul Kane "sought, like others in the media, to portray the vote as a razor-thin close call -- 'Boehner watched the white-knuckle proceedings from off the floor' -- that underlines how "difficult for him" it's been for Boehner to lead the House Republican conference over the past two years." Shepherd went on to huff, "It might have helped Kane's "close vote" storyline if there was one Republican to whom most dissenters rallied around, but the anti-Boehner vote was fractured."
But the issue was never a specific opponent -- it was whether dissenting Republicans would embarrass Boehner by denying him a majority on the first ballot. Shepherd seems to have overlooked a claim on NewsBusters' sister website CNSNews.com that Boehner would not be re-elected speaker and would "either resign or be forced out," citing "a group of Congressmen" who planned to deny Boehner a majority. Ultimately, Boehner got just six votes above the needed majority of 214, even though there are 233 Republicans in the House.
Shepherd also wrote, "When all was said and done, a full 95 percent of the House GOP voted for Boehner, meaning just 5 percent defected. By contrast, a full 4 percent of Democrats refused to cast a vote for Nancy Pelosi, a fact which Kane left unmentioned." But Pelosi's dissenters are irrelevant because, since the vote for speaker typically breaks along party lines and Democrats are the minority in the House, Pelosi had no realistic chance of being elected speaker.
By contrast, if enough Republicans refused to vote for Boehner, he would not have won the necessary majority. That was an actual possibility, a fact Shepherd glosses over.
It has yet to be reliably confirmed what psychiatric drugs, if any, Adam Lanza had been taking prior to undertaking his Sandy Hook school massacre. But that's not keeping WorldNetDaily from blaming them anyway.
here’s a clear link between SSRIs – selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors – and violence, homicides and suicides. The list of horrific crimes by people taking such drugs is daunting. Millions of prescriptions are written annually, a high proportion for youngsters to “calm them down” in classrooms. You know the names: Prozac, Luvox, Zoloft, Paxil; they alter brain chemistry, sometimes with fatal results.
A Jan. 4 article by Michael Carl, in addition to cherry-picking crime statistics to downplay gun violence, gave space to a firearms trainer with the delightful name of Ignatius Piazzato rail against thedrugs
“Prior to the introduction of psychiatric drugs being given to children and adults, we did not have these homicidal and suicidal mass shootings, even though guns were readily available and unrestricted,” Piazza said.
He contended that a ban on the use of psychiatric drugs would result in a significant drop in mass shootings.
“Over time, as our youth are no longer begin drugged into becoming sociopaths, we will return to the days when these type of horrific, murderous rampages never happened,” Piazza said.
WND managing editor David Kupelian devoted an entire Jan. 7 column to the subject, regurgitating a earlier correlation-equals-causation attack he had done in his book "How Evil Works." Once again, he cited the case of Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children, blaming the antidepressant Effexor for it. As we pointed out the last time he did this, Kupelian failed to mention the influence of a fundamentalist Christian preacher to which Yates and her husband were in thrall, who preached austerity (the Yates family lived in a bus the preacher had sold them) and taught that it was better to kill oneself than to mislead a child in the way of Jesus. It's arguable that that the life Yates was living compounded the stress on her mental state, but Kupelian is silent about it.
Kupelian then went on to suggest a conspiracy of silence:
When on earth are we going to find out if the perpetrator of the Sandy Hook school massacre, like so many other mass shooters, had been taking psychiatric drugs?
In the end, it may well turn out that knowing what kinds of guns he used isn’t nearly as important as what kind of drugs he used.
That is, assuming we ever find out.
When is Kupelian going to start caring about reporting facts and not spewing baseless conspiracies?
Newsmax Columnist Baseless Claims Obama's 'Hollowing Out' Navy Topic: Newsmax
Herbert London uses his Jan. 3 Newsmax column (also posted at Accuracy in Media) to rehash Mitt Romney's campaign claim that President Obama is decimating the Navy:
In the World War I period from 1914 to 1918 the United States had a fleet level of 363, a fleet smaller than Germany, the United Kingdom and France. It remained at that level in the 1920’s (an average of 376) and during the ‘30’s till 1938 (an average of 339 ships).
Now the U.S. Navy is a mere shadow of itself. During the recent presidential debate, candidate Mitt Romney noted that naval capability had shrunk to a level lower than World War I. Technically he was correct since naval forces are now at 287.
President Obama glibly responded by suggesting this is irrelevant; after all, we don’t rely on bayonets or horses either. His implication is that our ships are more sophisticated than their predecessors at sea so the numbers do not carry the same logistical weight they once did.
By any standard this is questionable. Numbers matter. If one third of our ships are in repair and one third are in port for the rest and relaxation of sailors, there are approximately 90 vessels available to patrol the seven seas protecting American interests. This is not only an historical record, it is a number inadequate for the task at hand.
An active and assertive blue water Chinese navy is intent on challenging U.S. naval superiority in the Pacific. In the past, challenges of this kind were met by a show of force, an aircraft carrier force or joint military maneuvers with an allied nation. At the moment, we do not have the fleet strength for a symbolic act or to engage in joint training with say, Japan.
The Obama administration has simply hollowed out U.S. capabilities.
That's simply not true. The U.S. controls 50 percent of the world's naval power, compared to just 11 perdent in 1916, and fact-checkers agree that Romney (and London's) obsession with comparing Navy ship numbers over decades is meaningless.
London also misses the fact that there wasn't an Air Force in 1916, which reduces the need for a massive number of ships.
London goes on to lament that "Military spending is 4.5 percent of GDP, a far cry from World War II levels and a fraction of domestic spending on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security." London ignores that this is a large increase from the late 1990s, when military spending was 3 percent of GDP. Current declines in military spending are mostly tied to the winding down of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Another One-Sided Story From WND On Discrimination Lawsuit Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh turns in yet another biased effort on the case of Crystal Dixon, a woman who is crying discrimination after being fired from her human resources job after writing a letter to the editor denouncing gay rights.
As he did back in December, Unruh uses a Jan. 4 WND article to lavish attention on Dixon's side of the case, as presented by a right-wing legal organization.Unruh makes no effort to present the case of Dixon's former employer, nor does he quote or link to the rulings in the case he is ostensibly writing about.
At no point does Unruh explain that Dixon's attack on gay rights raised questions about her ability to perform her human resources job fairly and without bias, threatening the university's reputation and justifying its decision to terminate her.
CNS Is Turning Into NewsBusters Topic: CNSNews.com
Terry Jeffrey apparently thinks the "news" operation he serves as editor in chief of, CNSNews.com, is no different than any other Media Research Center website.
Jeffrey devotes a Jan. 5 CNS "news" article to complaining about a Washington Post article critical of Catholics. That's the kind of thing that normally appears at the main MRC site or at NewsBusters, and it's rarely presented as "news."
NewsBusters, meanwhile, wrote a post (credited only to "NB Staff," which tells us that they don't want anyone to know who actually wrote it) about Jeffrey's article, failing to disclose that CNS, like NewsBusters, is an MRC operation.
This isn't the only anti-media rant presented as "news" at CNS. A Jan. 7 article by Elizabeth Harrington highlights how "Executive Producer Erik Jendresen of National Geographic Channel's upcoming television movie 'Killing Lincoln,' said John Wilkes Booth 'could be the poster child for the Tea Party.'"
This complaint did appear at NewsBusters, but written by Christian Toto and cross-posted from Breitbart.com. It seems that Harrington duplicated MRC effort in doing her own piece saying substantially the same thing.
Or is CNS abandoning any pretense of reporting "news" and turning itself into yet another MRC website devoted to whining about the "liberal media"?
UPDATE: A joke from a Jay Leno monologue is now a Jan. 8 CNS "news" article by Gregory Gwyn-Williams Jr. and Eric Scheiner. Yes, it apparently took two people at CNS to transcribe a joke and turn it into a four-paragraph article.
WND Again Touts 'Second Amendment Analyst' Who Inspired Terrorists Topic: WorldNetDaily
Michael Carl uses a Jan. 4 WorldNetDaily article to cherry-pick data to claim that "more Americans commit murders with hammers than with 'assault rifles' or other long guns."
As we pointed out when Newsmax did this, it's cherry-picked data that downplays the prevalence of gun violence. In fact, guns are the leading cause of violence-related death (homicide and suicide) for most age groups, as well as all age groups above the age of 15.
Carl follows that with this:
Second Amendment analyst and investigative journalist Mike Vanderboegh says the figures demand one question be asked: If it’s statistically proven that rifles are used in a relatively small number of homicides, why do those weapons seem to be the constant focus of attempts at new regulation?
“Why do they want to ban them? Because they are afraid of them? Why are they afraid?” Vanderboegh asked.
“I think it’s because many in our government fear that those weapons might one day get turned on them when their demands become too tyrannical,” Vanderboegh said.
Actually, Vanderboegh is a little more than a "Second Amendment analyst" -- he's the author of a "Turner Diaries"-esque novel that inspired defendants in an alleged plot to kill numerous government officials by attacking federal office buildings and to disperse a deadly biological poison.
As we've documented, WND has repeatedly promoted Vanderboegh's purported gun expertise. But neither Carl nor anyone else at WND will tell you that Vandervoegh inspires terrorists.
MRC Misleads on Cost of Fiscal Cliff Deal Topic: Media Research Center
Julia Seymour wrote in a Jan. 3 Media Research Center Business & Media Institute item:
To the chagrin of many conservatives, a deal that would result in tax hikes and lacked spending cuts was passed on New Year’s Day, hours after the the fiscal cliff deadline had passed.
Because it didn’t include spending cuts, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that it would cost $4 trillion over the next 10 years.
Actually, as Media Matters detailed, the CBO described the $4 trillion figure as lost revenue in comparison to what would have been collected if all the Bush tax cuts expired. Politico reported of the CBO estimate: "CBO begins its analysis from its March current law baseline that assumes all of Bush-era tax cuts would expire at New Year's Day, and therefore gives no deficit-reduction credit for the fact that the deal begins to raise rates for the wealthiest Americans." Politico added that the CBO attributed much of that figure to "lost revenues or payments on refundable tax credits."
But getting the story correct wasn't Seymour's job in the post -- it was to complain that "5 out of 6 morning and evening news programs on ABC, CBS and NBC" didn't mention her defective interpretation of the deal.