WorldNetDaily's biased, whine-prone White House reporter hangs it up. But don't worry -- we'll still be treated to his homophobic rants in his WND column. Read more >>
Thursday, March 21, 2013
CNS Won't Blame Bush For Troops Killed In Iraq, But Want Him To Get Credit For War
CNSNews.com has a lot of trouble admitting that thousands of American troops were killed in Iraq under President Bush, even as it runs monthly body counts of troops killed in Afghanistan under President Obama. But by golly, CNS wants to make sure Bush gets credit for killing Saddam Hussein!
A March 19 CNS article by Fred Lucas states:
A reference to the American troops killed in Iraq comes only in quoting Obama noting "the nearly 4,500 Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice to give the Iraqi people an opportunity to forge their own future after many years of hardship."
Lucas also endeavors to justify the war, claiming that "At the time, U.S. intelligence believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, as did many in the international community, including opponents of the U.S.-led invasion."
WND Raising Money To Help Arpaio (And His Birther Friends) Fight Recall Election
WorldNetDaily has long been cozy with Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, working closely with him to make sure his cold case posse's "investigation" of President Obama's birth certificate stuck to WND's birther conspiracies and ignored inconvenient facts. Now, it appears the ties have grown closer than ever.
On March 20, WND sent out an email (screenshot below) to its "a subscriber to the Offers from WNDsuperstore.com e-mail list or past customer" soliciting donations to a fund to defend Arpaio against a recall effort. The email's text echoes a Feb. 21 WND article by Bob Unruh announcing the creation of a "citizen coalition," Citizens to Protect Fair Election Results, to defend Arpaio against the recall.
In fact, the "concerned citizens" behind the group are the birthers from the Surprise Tea Party who petitioned Arpaio to do his birther investigation following a presentation by WND's Jerome Corsi. And as we've previously noted, the group is represented by none other than failed lawyer Larry Klayman, who is forwarding the false legal argument that Arpaio can't be recalled until six months after starting his new term, a requirement that applies only for an elected official's first term. Like Unruh's article, the flawed legal reasoning is repeated in the email and the group's birther ties are not mentioned.
The email, which lists Klayman as its author, concludes by stating: "I urge you to make a donation to support Sheriff Joe Arpaio right now – no matter the amount. If everyone who reads this appeal gave the minimum amount of $5, it would raise the considerable necessary resources to protect Sheriff Arpaio."
That text links to a page at the WND online store where one can donate to Citizens to Protect Fair Election Results.
This raises all sorts of red flags. First, the email is not listed as paid for by Arpaio, CPFER, or Klayman, which means that WND is, for all intents and purposes, donating to a political campaign.
Second, as the Arizona's Politics blog details, CPFER is registered with Arizona state corporation officials as a limited liability corporation, or LLC. In other words, it's a for-profit corporation. As far as we know, it's highly unusual for a political action group to be an LLC.
While we're unclear on how the law works, we suspect this means that not only are donations to CPHER not tax-deductible, there is no requirement for the group to disclose its donors. As Arizona's Politics, the LLC filing largely protects group members from individual liability should, for instance, it be required to pay legal fees in the event of an unsuccessful legal action. But it will likely not stand as an LLC because of its political activities -- it should eventually be turned into a political committee that is required to disclose donors and finances.
In other words, it's a very shady thing all around, and WND's direct involvement in the group is very much a red flag for possible election law violations. And remember that Klayman is also WND's attorney, which raises conflict-of-interest issues.
So it seems WND isn't completely ready to give up on the birther stuff just yet.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
At The MRC, Reporting Facts = Contempt
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center is taking the Colbert axiom that facts have a liberal bias to the next level: It's an expression of contempt to merely report facts.
Kyle Drennen wrote in a March 19 MRC item, headlined "Report on Iraq War Anniversary By NBC's Richard Engel Drips With Contempt" (boldface is his):
How did Drennen read Engel's mind to confirm the "contempt" in his heart? He doesn't say. And Drennen never contradicts anything Engel reported.
That means Drennen is holding Engel in "contempt" for reporting the truth. That's what passes for "media research" at the MRC.
The Month in Joseph Farah's Gay-Bashing
WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah has been on quite the gay-bashing tear of late.
In a March 5 column, Farah called gay marriage "one of the most radical ideas considered since child sacrifice." A week later, Farah denied he was likening gay marriage to child sacrifice -- "Of course I didn’t say they were the same. I just proclaimed them radical ideas" -- but then writes, "I didn’t intend to link child sacrifice with same-sex marriage. Yet they are linked. They are inextricably linked as behaviors characterized as abominations by the God of the Bible. They both emerge right from the pit of hell."
On March 18, Farah took aim at Sen. Rob Portman changing his mind about gay marriage because his son is gay: "I guess we should all be grateful Rob Portman’s son didn’t choose to become a polygamist or a serial killer."
And on March 19, Farah rants about proposed laws against anti-gay conversion therapy, declaring that "The homosexual lobby is powerful and forceful in the world of psychology, psychiatry and counseling."
But Farah ignores how some of that "conversion therapy" is conducted -- one gay teenager recounted how he received electroshock therapy, was ordered to masturbate to images of women, and was forced to medicine to induce vomiting when a therapist flashed a photo of two men holding hands.
Apparently Farah approves of such coercive tactics, perhaps reasoning that merely being gay is much worse than the psychological damage inflicted by such treatment.
CNS Wants You To Think Lesbians Are Fat And Drunk
CNSNews.com has been in quite the lesbian-denigrating mood of late.
A March 11 CNS article by Elizabeth Harrington complained that the National Institutes of Health "has awarded $1.5 million to study biological and social factors for why 'three-quarters' of lesbians are obese and why gay males are not." Harrington followed that up with a March 18 article grousing that the NIH "has awarded $2.7 million to study why lesbians are at a higher 'risk for hazardous drinking.'"
Given the anti-gay agenda of CNS and its Media Research Center parent, it's not a stretech to surmise that one purpose of Harrington's articles is to hold lesbians up for ridicule. Indeed, the comment threads of both articles are littered with hateful anti-gay invective, and no apparent attempt has been made to moderate the thread or delete extremely homophobic comments.
This combination of gay obsession and refusal to police its readers' invective reveals just how hateful and homophobic CNS employees are.
WND Push-Polls On Obama Impeachment
WorldNetDaily is continuing its shift away from Obama birtherism and toward Obama impeachment.
On the former front, birther queen Orly Taitz seems to have become persona non grata at WND. Not only did it ignore Taitz's crashing of a CPAC session headed by anti-Muslim activist Pam Geller to rant about birther stuff, Geller didn't even bring up Geller in her WND column about her CPAC appearance.
Is Geller following in WND's footsteps and pretending she didn't swallow the birther conspiracy hook, line and sinker? How dishonest of her.
On the latter front, a March 17 WND article by Bob Unruh summarizes the latest handiwork from ethically challenged pollster Fritz Wenzel, which purports to claim that more Americans are demanding Obama's impeachment. But if you look at Wenzel's questions -- which Unruh laughably called a "scientific survey" -- it's clear that Wenzel was pushing his respondents to agree with his predetermined conclusion that Obama should be impeached.
Look at the progression of questions on one issue, recess appointments:
Wenzel is simply reciting right-wing talking points about the case in a biased, misleading way, completely omitting the Obama administration's arguments. Further, it was not a "federal court" that declared the appointments unconstitutional -- it was a three-judge panel of that court, the DC Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. The administration can appeal to have the full DC Circuit review the case, after which it can go to the Supreme Court. In fact, one of the federal agencies involved in the case is petitioning the Supreme Court to review the case, bypassing the full DC Circuit.
In short, the DC Circuit panel that reviewed the case is not the last word on it, but Wenzel didn't see fit to tell his poll respondents that.
Wenzel similarly leaves out important details in a series of questions on Obama's drone policy:
Wenzel doesn't tell his respondents who the American citizens are who were killed by drone strikes -- known terrorists Anwar Al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, and Al-Awlaki's teenage son -- nor did he mention that all of these drone strikes occurred on foreign soil, not in the United States.
And, yes, Wenzel is a highly partisan pollster with a heavy anti-Obama bias, as Unruh demonstrates:
Can anyone really expect a "scientific" poll about Obama to come from someone with such clear animus against him? Bob Unruh apparently does.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Examiner's Demise Shows Even Conservatives Are Tired Of Funding Conservative Journalism
Topic: Washington Examiner
NewsBusters' Matthew Sheffield has long been begging right-wing funders to fund right-wing journalism. but even right-wing sugar daddies have limits to how much money they're willing to lose on the perennial money pit that is conservative journalism.
This has been proven again with the Washington Examiner's announcement that it will cease being a daily newspaper and refashion itself into a weekly conservative opinion journal. The Examiner is owned by conservative billionaire Philip Anschutz. While the privately held Examiner has never released its financial numbers, but given the shaky state of the newspaper industry as a whole, it's highly doubtful that the Examiner was a money-maker -- if it was, Anschutz would likely not be pulling the plug.
We detailed in 2009 how the Examiner stacked its opinion pages with conservative commentators that peddled the usual misinformation -- indeed, Anschutz reportedly mandated that the paper carry "nothing but conservative columns and conservative op-ed writers." While Examiner editor Stephen G. Smith insisted that the paper's news reporting was "down the middle," its was bound to be tainted by the opinion pages' right-wing tilt, fairly or not.
And there was some bias in the Examiner's news product, from pushing misleading talking points on health care reform to launching attacks on government security officials. One reviewer complained that the Second City comedy troupe didn't make enough anti-Obama jokes. A front-page headline once infamously blared, "Obama disses white guys." The bias even spread to the sports page.
Smith's insistence that the Examiner is "not some wild-eyed right-wing Web site" overlooks the fact that extremism has had its moments, which include promoting birtherism and Examiner columnist Tim Carney arguing against anti-discrimination laws.
Even giving the Examiner away -- it's a free paper -- apparently hasn't generated much reader loyalty or created much traction, at least not enough to make it profitable. The paper is typically sparse of advertising, with few display or classified ads, and often more legal notices from local governments (which the Examiner contracts with local governments to print) than either.
The problem with Sheffield's call for conservative journalism outlets ignores the fact that conservatives have demonstrated they don't want journalism, they want opinions that reinforce their views. The Examiner's move from journalism to full-time ideologically driven conservative writing is just the latest example.
UPDATE: Jim Romenesko catches the Examiner making a big front-page boo-boo in today's paper, on top of the news of its imminent dismantling:
On 10th Anniversary of Iraq War, 'Iraq' Appears Nowhere On WND Front Page
WorldNetDaily has long defended the Iraq War -- a 2007 column by Joseph Farah, for example, declared that increased terrorism in Iraq meant that "most of the terrorist violence is taking place in Iraq should suggest our strategy to make America safer is working," and that the Democrats' "surrender plan" would mean that "All the sacrifices we have made in Iraq to date would be for naught."
So on this 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, WND should be proudly looking back at its accomplishments, right?
Well, not so much. As of this writing, not only does today's WND front page not mention the anniversary, the word "Iraq" doesn't even appear. It does, however, feature a story on how a devil character in a Bible miniseries looks like President Obama.
WND clearly has its news priorities straight.
NewsBusters Does Damage Control for CPAC
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.
Who Does The Devil In Bible Miniseries REALLY Look Like?
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.
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:
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.
WND's Mind-Reader Smears Obama Again
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.
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 CNSNews.com. 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:
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.
WND Ramps Up Anti-Vaccine Fearmongering
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:
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.
Buy through this Amazon link and support ConWebWatch!
Accuracy in Media
Capital Research Center
Free Congress Foundation
Media Research Center
The Daily Les
Western Journalism Center
Support Bloggers' Rights!