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Tuesday, March 19, 2013
NewsBusters Does Damage Control for CPAC
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters' Matt Hadro labored to downplay an incident at last weekend's CPAC in which an audience member at a session titled "Trump the Race Card: Are you sick and tired of being called a racist when you know you're not?" touted the benefits of slavery.

In a March 18 NewsBusters post, Hadro attacked CNN for reporting on the incident, dismissing the audience member as "a random CPAC attendee" and calling the incident "isolated." Hadro also played up how "GOP strategist Ana Navarro gave some much-needed context" by further playing it down by claiming that "there were 10,000 people that went through there in three days" and "it's very hard to keep some jerks out, to keep the crazy out."

Has Hadro or anyone else at NewsBustsers ever given that benefit of a doubt to a liberal event? Probably not.

Hadro also uncritically repeated Navarro's claim that the people who brought up slavery in the session "got thrown out." In fact, TPM reports that they weren't removed and that " several attendees expressed sympathy with their grievances about oppression against whites if not their take on slavery."

So, no, it wasn't as "isolated" or "random" as Hadro would have you think.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:20 PM EDT
Who Does The Devil In Bible Miniseries REALLY Look Like?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Given that WorldNetDaily already thinks President Obama is the Antichrist, it's no surprise that it would pounce on claims that the devil in the miniseries "The Bible" looks like Obama.

WND's self-proclaimed Bible scholar Joe Kovacs -- who apparently hateds Obama more than he loves God -- obliges by pushing the meme in a March 18 article: "President Barack Obama, already famous for having flies attracted to his face, is now the subject of devilish talk after Sunday night’s episode of 'The Bible' miniseries on the History Channel, with big names such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh providing their thoughts."

But there's another, more sinister likeness that Kovacs has overlooked.

The actor playing the devil is Mehdi Ouazanni. He's the guy on the left, and on the right is someone whom you might find familiar:

That's right. If the devil is Obama, the guy who portrays him is really Joseph Farah. 

Given Farah's jihad against Obama for the past five years, the theological implications of this are staggering. Since Farah also portrays himself as a Bible expert, perhaps he can explain.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:24 AM EDT
Monday, March 18, 2013
Bozell Silent About Ashley Judd Rape Joke By His CPAC Introducer
Topic: Media Research Center

Brent Bozell's Heatheriffic speech at CPAC was introduced by right-wing "comedian" Steven Crowder, as the beginning of the video of the speech as posted on MRCTV shows.

But Crowder's remarks leading up to his introduction of Bozell included a joke about  actress Ashley Judd, who's thinking about running for Senate in Kentucky:

By the way, in breaking news, Ashley Judd just tweeted that buying Apple products, again, is akin to rape. From her iPhone. Rape—now she knows how my brain felt after Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. Oh, she said it. What is this obsession with Ashley Judd and rape? It's pretty unnerving.

As Mother Jones points out, there' s a reason Judd talks about rape: She is, in her own words, "a three-time survivor of rape." And rape in Africa is a large part of what she does as a public health activist.

But rather than immediately denounce Crowder's crude remarks, Bozell started in immediately on his prepared remarks, which included the pompous declaration, "After three long days, they saved the best for last: me."

Given that Bozell's first instinct when Rush Limbaugh went on a three-day misogynistic tirade against Sandra Fluke was not to criticize Limbaugh for his vile remarks but to set up a "We Stand With Rush" website, it's not really a surprise that Bozell is similarly callous about rape jokes.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:06 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, March 18, 2013 5:13 PM EDT
WND's Mind-Reader Smears Obama Again
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Anderw G. Hodges is WorldNetDaily's go-to guy when it wants some pseudo-scientific dressing to smear President Obama. He obliges again in a March 17 WND article by Bob Unruh:

“Obama replied to (rare) press challenges about his contribution to the problem, ‘Give me an example of what I might do.’ Then he proceeded to unconsciously answer his own question with further denials, declaring, ‘I am not a dictator. I’m the president,’” Andrew G. Hodges, M.D., told WND in an assessment.

“Understand his powerful ‘dictator’ image spontaneously comes from his mind. Immediately following it with ‘president’ he unconsciously confesses, ‘I am the dictator president,’” Hodges said.

“For good measure he adds further unconscious proof in yet another vivid denial. I ‘can’t force Republicans to do the right thing’ – confessing again that in dictatorial fashion he was forcing the Republicans’ hands by not negotiating and failing to do the right thing.”


“He suggested the idea, ‘I should somehow do a ‘Jedi mind-meld’ with these folks [Republicans] and convince them to do what’s right.’ He used a mixed image from two sci-fi shows,” Hodges explained. “First he alluded to a Jedi ‘mind trick’ used on weak-minded foes (‘Star Wars’ films) implying his continued mind games to trick subservient foolish Americans.

“He suggested the idea, ‘I should somehow do a ‘Jedi mind-meld’ with these folks [Republicans] and convince them to do what’s right.’ He used a mixed image from two sci-fi shows,” Hodges explained. “First he alluded to a Jedi ‘mind trick’ used on weak-minded foes (‘Star Wars’ films) implying his continued mind games to trick subservient foolish Americans.

As is WND's style, Unruh made no apparent effort to contact others for a contrary opinion of Hodges' gimmicky "ThoughtPrint decoding" or explain how Hodges is doing anything other than projecting his own hatred of Obama and/or throwing red meat to the rubes who hate Obama as much as he does.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:25 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, March 18, 2013 3:34 PM EDT
CNS: Some Catholics' Opinions Are More Equal Than Others

A Quinnipiac poll finding that support for same-sex marriage among Catholics is at 54 percent did not sit well with the right-wing Catholics at So they figured out a way to spin the numbers.

How? By essentially declaring that there are two kinds of Catholics, and the opinions of one kind don't really matter.

Catch the spin in a March 7 CNS article by Patrick Burke:

Quinnipiac University conducted a national poll and reported that “American Catholics support same-sex marriage” by a margin of 54 to 38 percent, but for those Catholics who go to church every Sunday, a requirement of their faith, the poll results showed that Mass-attending Catholics oppose same-sex  “marriage” by a margin of 55 to 38 percent.

CNS then revealed how it got to that number: asked Quinnipiac if results were available to the question of same-sex marriage based on Mass attendance.

The polling institute responded by e-mail with results that showed 55 percent of Catholics who attend Mass weekly oppose same-sex "marriage" -- 38 percent voiced support for gay “marriage” and 9 percent either did not know or did not give an applicable response.

In other words, at least 55 percent of Catholics who attend Mass weekly as required by their faith oppose same-sex "marriage."

On all other questions, the poll proceeded to break down results asked of American Catholics based on rate of Mass attendance. For example, American Catholics were asked whether or not they believe the Church is headed in the right direction, in addition to their views on Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

Burke doesn't explain why the opinions of Catholics who don't go to church weekly are less valid than that of those who do.

Burke also quoted Catholic League president William Donohue attacking the Quinnipiac poll without disclosing that his boss, Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell, is on the Catholic League's board of advisers.

(h/t Wonkette)

Posted by Terry K. at 10:58 AM EDT
WND Ramps Up Anti-Vaccine Fearmongering
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has long been anti-vaccine -- a dishonest instinct that appears to be rearing its ugly head again.

On the heels of factually challenged fearmongering about HPV vaccines,  a March 15 WND article by Garth Kant promotes a billboard campaign by the National Vaccination Information Center "urging parents inform themselves about potential dangers from vaccines." But Kant is silent on just how anti-vaccine the organization is.

Slate's Phil Plait reports:

NVIC is an antivax group, plain and simple. Despite hugely overwhelming tsunami-level amounts of evidence showing no link between vaccines and autism, they still think there is one. They go on and on about “vaccine injuries”, yet actual severe side effects from vaccines are very rare, especially when you realize that many millions of vaccines are given every year. The NVIC relies on anecdotes of injuries as evidence, but that's very dangerous thinking. Stories and personal observations are a good place to start—it’s how you might notice a connection between two things—but it’s not where you end. You must apply rigorous testing to your ideas, so that you can make sure you’re not seeing a connection where none exists.

But that’s not what NVIC is about. They are convinced vaccines cause injuries, and ignore evidence that there isn’t.

Sounds a lot like WND. In an attempt at false balance, Kant writes: "WND has long attempted to provide such information by reporting on the controversies surrounding vaccines for small pox, human papillomavirus (HPV), autism and the wide variety of vaccinations given babies." But much of that reporting has been misleading, unbalanced, or just plain false.

And to apparently prove that, Kant rehashes some of WND's past fearmongering on vaccines. Among those is the claim that HPV vaccines guard against only two of the 100 strains of HPV; in fact, the vaccines protect against four strains, and Kant fails to note that those strains are responsible for 90 percent of genital warts cases and 75 percent of all cervical cancers.

Kant also repeats a claim by Dr. Joseph Mercola without noting that Mercola is a conspiracy theorist who has been twice ordered by the Food and Drug Administration to stop making claims about his supplements that go beyond their intended uses.

Kant goes on to dishonestly overstate the danger of vaccines by writing, "But, just because vaccinations are safe for most doesn’t mean they are safe for all." The reality is that "most" is actually "nearly everyone." As even WND has conceded, the rate of adverse reactions of the more than 35 million doses administered of the HPV vaccine Gardasil is a paltry 0.05 percent.

Kant even cites his WND boss, Joseph Farah as some kind of medical authority: "Because HPV can be transmitted by sexual activity, Farah recommends parents talk to their sons and daughters about chastity." Apparently, Farah thinks an HPV vaccine is some sort of green light for reckless sexual activity -- an ignorant notion.

Kant even rehashes the debate over whether the preservative thimerosal causes autism, spending several paragraphs on the issue before getting around to nothing that no actual researcher has found a link between thimerosal and autism.

Kant is just engaging in irresponsible fearmongering, and WND's readers will be stupider for it. Then again, that's the kind of reader WND seems to want.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:38 AM EDT
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Dear Matthew Sheffield: There's Nothing 'Innovative' About CNS
Topic: NewsBusters

Matthew Sheffield devoted a March 6 NewsBusters post to his ongoing lament that right-wing funders won't fund a genuine news operation. As we've pointed out, this is essentially an admission that conservative journalism doesn't succeed in the marketplace, since the top conservative newspapers in the country have long been money pits kept alive with the help of either right-wing billionaires or being subsidized by more profitable ventures.

Sheffield does get some things correct, such as agreeing with the Huffington Post's Michael Calderone that  the conservative media in its current state is more interested in playing gotcha than doing real shoe-leather journalism. But he also oddly complains that Calderone "ignores some very innovative journalism being produced by my colleagues over at"

Actually, what Sheffield calls "innovative" at CNS is really a more extreme case of the problem Calderone outlines:

There's nothing terribly "innovative" about any of this --  right-wing outlets have been doing the same thing for years. CNS, however, does have the financial power of a multimillion-dollar nonprofit organization behind it.

But then, Sheffield has already conceded that the only way right-wing "news" can succeed is with a deep-pocketed ideologue funding it, not through the free market.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:48 PM EDT
WND's Klein Revives Teresa Heinz Kerry Zombie Lie
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It's suddenly 2004 in the brain of Aaron Klein, as evidenced by his March 14 WorldNetDaily article:

Secretary of State John Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, is a primary donor to the Tides Foundation, one of the country’s biggest financiers of the radical left.

Tides is a controversial clearinghouse that funds groups such as, ACORN, Media Matters for America and a litany of so-called anti-war organizations.

If that line of attack sounds familiar, that's because it is --  WND was making the exact same attack in 2004 when John Kerry was running for president.

But Klein ignores, as WND did then, an inconvenient fact about Teresa Heinz Kerry's donations to Tides: They are earmarked for specific projects in Pennsylvania.

Klein provides no evidence that any Heinz Kerry money funds any of the "radical left" programs he names -- he's merely playing a crude version of the dishonest guilt-by-association game that is one of his unfortunate fortes.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:34 PM EDT
Bozell Takes His Heathering To CPAC
Topic: Media Research Center

Last year, Brent Bozell pulled himself and his Media Research Center out of conservative confab CPAC in a huff because Bozell wasn't granted a prominent enough speaking slot -- which MRC's own news organization and blog failed to tell its readers.

This year, Bozell apparently got the speaking slot he demanded, and he used it to do some serious Heathering, continuing his expansion of his right-wing purity test to the entire Republican Party. Craig Bannister quoted from the speech in a March 16 blog post:

"So what do we conservatives believe? What is a conservative?

"Throughout this wonderful conference so many very good leaders have discussed this so eloquently. Another discussion is unnecessary. Instead, let me tell you first what a conservative isn't.

"Paul Ryan, you're a good man and you mean well, and good for you for your courage trying to reform Medicare and rid us of Obamacare. But your proposed budget that has the federal government spending $41 TRILLION over the next ten years, with more and more and more spending increases every single year, and assumes all the oppressive Obamacare taxes.   Congressman, that's what liberal Democrats do, not us.

"This is not conservatism. It is, literally, Democrat Lite.

"Do you have national aspirations? Do yourself and your country a favor. Rip that budget up and come back with one that truly does reduce the size of government, which puts us on the path toward a balanced budget by reducing deficits, and one that puts us on the path of solvency by eradicating our debt.  Watch what happens to both your national aspirations, and your legacy.

"Haley Barbour, my friend, when you call for unity and on conservatives to "sing from the same hymnal" and then publicly trash good conservative groups like Club for Growth for supporting good conservatives, you're out of tune, and you're out of line. Do you want to be seen as a national conservative leader? Start supporting national conservative groups.

"John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Kevin McCarthy: You said all the right things to conservatives to propel the GOP back to the majority and you to the top three leadership positions in the House.

'You, like virtually every single other Republican elected to Congress solemnly vowed to rid us of Obamacare, which you can do simply by refusing to fund it. Why haven't you done so?

"While we're at it... when the Secretary of HHS decrees that we should be forced to pay for the murder of babies, why don't you decree that Americans are no longer going to pay for HHS?  What of all the other oppressive, and in the case of Planned Parenthood, evil organizations immorally funded by our tax dollars?  What of the utterly useless agencies like NPR, and PBS, and Legal Services, and the NEA and so many others you solemnly pledged to put out of our misery?

It looks like the war between establishment Republicans and right-wing agitators like Bozell will be continuing for some time.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:09 AM EDT
Saturday, March 16, 2013
WND's Schilling Repeats Zombie Lie About Military Voting
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In the midst of the dubious pile of evidence Chelsea Schilling tosses out in a March 14 WorldNetDaily article as purported evidence that President Obama has "declare[d] war" on the U.S. military -- that phrase, by the way, appears in quotes in the headline but nowhere in the article -- this one stood out:

WND reported in August 2012 when the Obama re-election campaign sued Ohio state officials in an attempt to suppress, in that pivotal swing state, the votes of America’s military men and women – who traditionally lean conservative and vote Republican.

Schilling links to an August 2012 WND article by her boss, David Kupelian, as evidence for the claim.

One little problem: Kupelian was lying.

As we documented at the time, the goal of the lawsuit was to extend civilian early voting to that of the military, not reduce the military deadline to the existing civilian one. No military votes were suppressed, no matter how Kupelian tried to twist the truth.

Because Kupelian never bothered to correct his lie, Schilling -- who has her own lengthy record of falsehoods -- uncritically picked it up, thus making it a zombie lie, which WND is also fond of.

If Schilling is such a lazy reporter that she just copies-and-pastes WND's factually challenged attacks on Obama without bothering to check their accuracy (and, really, doesn't Schilling know how much WND has lied about Obama?), why trust anything else in that article?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:00 AM EDT
Friday, March 15, 2013
MRC's Bozell Is Heathering The Entire Republican Party
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has long engaged in political Heathering -- denigrating and dismissing any conservative who displays even the slightest deviance from right-wing dogma as not a "real" conservative. MRC chief Brent Bozell appears to be expanding his Heathering to the entire Republican Party.

Since President Obama won re-election in November, Bozell has been on one long temper tantrum, trying to intimidate Republicans into not straying from right-wing by threatening to stop raising money for Republicans. jhat's a little awkward, given that the MRC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that is not supposed to take partisan stands. Bozell has since expanded that to going after Karl Rove's operation to promote electable Republicans over right-wing extremists, which prompted a tussle over a Rove spokesman who (accurately) called Bozell a "hater."

Bozell has now unleashed some Heathering on Rove, in the form of a letter signed by him and other right-wing activists to donors to Rove's American Crossroads super PAC, declaring that Rove isn't a real conservative:

Karl Rove and others are attempting to blame conservatives and the tea party. But a simple analysis shows this to be simply untrue. In 2012, the only Senate Republican winners were Jeff Flake, Deb Fischer, and Ted Cruz—all of whom enjoyed significant tea party and conservative support. Meanwhile, more moderate candidates like Tommy Thompson, Heather Wilson, Rick Berg, and Denny Rehberg went down to defeat despite significant support from Crossroads.

It was firmly expected that Republicans would capture the Senate in 2012. It is inexcusable that they failed and, in fact, lost two seats.


Mr. Rove and his allies must stop blaming conservatives for his disastrous results. It is time for him to take ownership of his record. He must also stop posturing himself as a conservative: his record supporting wasteful government spending and moderate candidates over conservatives spans decades.

No matter how he positions himself in this attempt at damage control, Mr. Rove’s efforts will not elect the type of leaders who will come to Washington to fight for conservative principles. In fact, they are likely to stifle the emergence of candidates like Marco Rubio, Pat Toomey, and Rand Paul. Further, the model that will be employed by the Conservative Victory Project has proven to be ineffective and a waste of political resources.

Heathering hasn't exactly worked on the TV-talking-head level. Why does Bozell think it will work against an entire political party?

Posted by Terry K. at 5:43 PM EDT
Meanwhile ...
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Richard Bartholomew catches WorldNetDaily promoting the pseudo-prophecy that Pope Benedict's resignation fulfills a prediction that his successor will be the "final pope." That's something even Joel Richardson (one of WND's favorite end-times prophets) calls a "proven fraud."

And Eqality Matters sums up Joseph Farah's March 12 WND column on the reaction to a previous column likening gay marriage to child sacrifice, which involves him denying he did such a thing before wishing he had.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:37 PM EDT
NewsBusters Still Citing Bogus Climate Change Claims
Topic: NewsBusters

Matt Vespa uses a March 13 NewsBusters post to push dubious climate change denier tropes.

Attacking a Slate blogger for highlighting that the Earth's temperature is rising “faster than it has been in 11,000 years," Vespa responded by citing a Daily Mail article claiming that global warming stopped 16 years ago. In fact, that claim relies on cherry-picked data and an arbitrary starting point for examining the data; the long-term trend demonstrates continued global warming.

Vespa also claimed that "1,000 scientists have questioned manmade global warming, and they’re made up of ex-NASA personnel and Nobel laureates." But as we've previously noted, not many of scientists on the list he cites -- peddled by global warming denier Marc Morano -- are trained in climatology, the relevant discipline for scientifically examining climate change.

Vespa complains that the Slate blogger, Phil Plait, "has cited Think Progress and another so-called media watchdog group, which shall not be named, in his posts – so you know it has a left-wing tilt." The watchdog "which shall not be named" is a presumed reference to Media Matters (my employer).

What kind of researcher goes all Voldemort on someone with whose views he doesn't agree with? Not a credible one.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:57 AM EDT
What Happened With WND Live-Streaming CPAC?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A March 1 WorldNetDaily article declared: "Can’t attend the Conservative Political Action Conference March 14-16? Now you can follow much of the action free online, courtesy of WND-TV." The article went on to state thatin addition to the main speakers, "WND-TV will pick up other highlights throughout the event as well as turn to NRANews for live interviews with other speakers and guests."

One would think that such a statement would mean that CPAC  would be streaming at WND. Well, not so much.

A March 14 WND article headlined "Watch Live: CPAC 2013"  begins with the editor's note "Click here to watch live coverage of CPAC 2013." That link takes you to the live feed at the conservative website The Right Scoop -- not to anywhere at WND.

So what happened? Did WND ever intend to live-stream CPAC at its own website, or was it merely trying to glom onto the CPAC bandwagon in an attempt to erase the stain of its discredited birtherism?

Or is it something a little more simple? A sign-up box at the bottom of the March 1 article states, "By signing up for for this FREE live event, you will also be signed up for news and special offers from WND via email."

It seems that WND was invoking CPAC to do a little bait-and-switch -- promising access to video it wasn't actually providing in order to harvest some email addresses for its mailing list.

Most people would call that dishonest. Actually, it's just another business day at WND.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:57 AM EDT
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Caruba vs. Caruba
Topic: Accuracy in Media

As the planet enters its seventeenth year in which temperatures have been steadily falling in response to a natural cooling cycle, the result of reduced solar radiation, the global warming hoax is finally being revealed as an instrument of the United Nations and individual governments, including our own, to impose “carbon taxes” that would raise billions of dollars for everyone involved.

Alan Caruba, Jan. 15 Accuracy in Media column

Climatologists measure changes in centuries, not decades. 

-- Alan Caruba, March 13 AIM column

Posted by Terry K. at 3:31 PM EDT

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