WND's Latest Desperate Grab At Credibility Fails Miserably Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily spent much of the past year touting how some previously unknown website proclaimed it to be "trustworthy" (conveniently ignoring the child-sex charges against a minister at the church that ran the website). Now WND is making another desperate grab for credibility.
Less than 48 hours after Ranker.com added a new category for “Top Websites 2014,” a small but enthusiastic band of WND fans made it No. 1 – topping Google, Amazon, Twitter, Facebook and Netflix among many other more well-known giants.
Though only a few hundred votes had been cast, the expression of Internet users is not without precedent, says Joseph Farah, founder of WND.com.
“What does all this mean?” asked Farah rhetorically. “It doesn’t mean we’re the biggest website, of course – not even close with behemoths like Google and YouTube around. But it is a measure of loyalty and passion. WND has always evoked those qualities – and, I hope, always will.”
Tellingly, WND does not include a link to the Ranker.com list in its article. That's because if it did, it would be clear that the ranking is utterly meaningless.
It's also a very volatile list. As of this writing, WND is ranked 33rd out of the 36 websites listed. The top of the list is now dominated by gay-themed websites and blogs -- mainly because the currently top-ranked site, the gay blog Joe.My.God., had his readers freep the poll. It seems that Joe.My.God.'s readers are much more loyal and passionate than WND's.
Despite Farah touting the temporary ranking as one of "loyalty and passion," it was nothing of the sort. The screenshot at Joe.My.God of WND at the top of the list showed that it received only 68 positive votes. As of this writing, WND has received only 71 positive votes and a whopping 3,405 negative votes.
Note one other thing: Ranker lists the person who submitted each website to the list. The person who submitted WND? Joseph Farah.
There are myriad reasons nobody believes WND, and desperate grabs at credibility are just one of them.
P.S. That minister, by the way, was found guilty of the child sex charges and sentenced to 20 years in prison. WND, which published a December 2012 article by Bob Unruh taking the minister's side and portraying his prosecution as anti-Christian bias, did not cover the trial or sentencing.
Meanwhile ... Topic: CNSNews.com Right Wing Watch catches CNSNews.com editor in chief Terry Jeffrey ranting during a radio appearance about public education, accusing President Obama of “federalizing 4-year-olds” by promoting preschool and declaring that Obama and Kathleen Sebelius favor "something akin to" the Communist Manifesto model for education.
WND's Kupelian Still Fearmongering About Antidepressants Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily managing editor David Kupelian loves to fearmonger about antidepressants. He does so again in a March 16 WND column:
Without a doubt, they’re two of today’s most alarming health trends:
A staggering one in every 50 American children now has some form of autism, according to the most recent reporting from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The number of people now taking antidepressants like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor, Luvox and Celexa – all with the FDA’s scary “black box” suicidality warning label – has become equally stratospheric, with 11 percent of all Americans 12-and-over taking them, and an astonishing 23 percent – almost one in four – of women in their 40s and 50s.
These two megatrends intersect, researchers say, when pregnant women are treated for depression, anxiety and other maladies with antidepressants.
Indeed, multiple studies conducted over several years now lead research scientists to conclude that women taking any brand of modern antidepressants – commonly called “SSRIs” (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) – while pregnant run an increased risk of giving birth to a child with an autism spectrum disorder.
Yet, the public – most importantly, the tens of millions of American women currently taking antidepressants, including 7-13 percent of all pregnant women – strangely has heard very little about this research and its important implications.
Perhaps that's because such research is not conclusive.
He highlights a two-year-old "groundbreaking peer-reviewed study out of California-based Kaiser Permanente documented a significantly increased prevalence of children born with autism spectrum disorders in pregnant mothers taking antidepressants, especially during the first trimester, compared with mothers not taking such medications." But he buries mention of a Danish study published in December found no increased risk. WebMD goes on to summarize the limits of previous studies, including the one Kupelian highlighted:
In one recent U.S. study, mothers' SSRI use during pregnancy was tied to a twofold increase in the odds that her child would have autism. A Swedish study saw a similar pattern, though the risk linked to the drugs was smaller.
But both studies included only small numbers of children who had autism and were exposed to antidepressants in the womb.
The new study is "the largest to date" to look at the issue, using records for more than 600,000 children born in Denmark, said lead researcher Anders Hviid, of the Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen.
And overall, his team found, there was no clear link between SSRI use during pregnancy and children's autism risk.
WebMD goes on to point out it may be the underlying depression, and not the antidepressant, that contributes to increased autism risk. Indeed, in the Danish study, "once the researchers factored in the psychiatric disorders themselves, that statistical link fell away."
Kupelian tries to pick apart that study, relying on the Kaiser Permanente researcher who gave the results he wanted. He also quotes Dr. David Healy, who has been accused of fearmongering about every drug approved since 1990.
Should the risks of antidepressants be investigated? Absolutely. But Kupelian is an unreliable messenger -- as we've documented, he blamed Andrea Yates killing her five children on antidepressant use, ignoring the fact that Yates and her husband were in thrall to a fundamentalist Christian minister who led them to live a needlessly austere lifestyle.
Kupelian is not speaking knowledgably -- he's simply trying to scare people.
No, Brad Blakeman, Obama Is Not Giving Away The Internet Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax gives space for Republican operative Brad Blakeman to rant:
Republican strategist Brad Blakeman is slamming plans by the U.S. government to open up the body that manages Internet names and addresses to the global Internet community.
Blakeman, who warned in a Newsmax column in 2010 that President Barack Obama was surrendering control of the Internet, told Newsmax TV's John Bachman and J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" Monday, that the administration's decision has been a long time coming.
"I gave a factual account of what the president was going to do and sure enough now in 2014, safely re-elected, our internationalist president is seeking to give our most important precious asset, the Internet, to basically international control. The United States developed it with taxpayer dollars at DARPA, which is at the Pentagon, as an open architecture networking. We didn’t keep it for ourselves, we monetized it and were able to make countries a lot smarter, a lot freer and now the president seeks to be beholden. It does not make any sense. It's not in our interest," he said.
Asked whether he would agree with a foreign policy expert who over the weekend likened the move to the giveaway of the Panama Canal in the 1970s, Blakeman replied, "No, it is more dangerous than that. The Panama Canal is certainly important to us, but nowhere near important as the Internet, which touches every American household. Our military uses the Internet now, our other government agencies as well as our private sectors rely on it.
"We created it. Nobody has ever made a complaint about America not being free and open and giving access to those who wanted it either through the registration of domain names or the giving out of IP addresses."
Blakeman said it is just another example of Obama's strategy of appeasement.
In fact, the plan to transfer ICANN, the body that manages Internet names and addresses, to international control has been in the works since 1998, and it was always the plan that the U.S. would eventually relinquish control over ICANN.
The attorney general of Pennsylvania shut down an investigation of corrupt elected officials because everyone they caught – on tape – taking cash and gifts … was a black Democrat.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the sting operation began with a deal: A black lobbyist (who had been accused of fraud and participated in the sting to gain favorable treatment from the authorities) offered elected officials – black and white, Democrat and Republican – cash and gifts in exchange for votes.
Over a three-year period, the lobbyist found a handful of politicians willing to take the deal.
“Sources with knowledge of the sting said the investigation made financial pitches to both Republicans and Democrats, but only Democrats accepted the payments,” said the Inquirer.
Furthermore, all the offending Democrats were black, members of the Philadelphia delegation to the state legislature.
But Flaherty, as he's prone to do, obsesses over the racial aspect, downplaying claims that the investigation was problematic in other areas.
One key clue to Flaherty's race-baiting agenda is that he omits the name of the lobbyist at thecenter of the sting -- Tyron Ali -- identifying him only as a "black lobbyist." In fact, Ali does not appear to be black at all.
Flaherty mentions only in passing that Ali "was under investigation for $430,000 in fraud as well as other cases of violations of election law." Ali had been more than under investigation -- he was charged with more than 1,700 counts related to defrauding the state by diverting money earmarked for meals for low-income children and senior citizens for his own use. The press release announcing Ali's arrest mentions nothing about "election law." Strangely, every single count against Ali was dismissed via secret negotiations between Ali's attorney and and the state attorney general's office.
But Flaherty doesn't care about such trifles -- not when there's black people to race-bait about.
MRC Promotes Falsehood-Prone Todd Starnes Topic: Media Research Center
Kristine Marsh devotes a March 13 Media Research Center Culture & Media Institute article to promoting the latest book by right-wing Fox News commentator Todd Starnes. Marsh allows Starnes to promote numerous dubious and unsubstantiated claims without any pushback:
In a recent interview, Starnes told the MRC’s Culture and Media Institute, “That is really disturbing for me. There isn’t a Christian influence or even family-friendly influence coming out of Hollywood anymore.” He cited the increasingly anti-Christian Saturday Night Live, which in a single recent episode mocked pro-lifers and the Bible. Another example is ABC’s mercifully cancelled “GCB” (“Good Christian Bitches”). The name says it all.
“God Less” is rife with examples of Christians forced to stand by while gays and other liberals relentlessly push their agenda. The litany is becoming familiar: bakery owners from Colorado and Oregon that refused to bake wedding cakes for same-sex couples; a Christian t-shirt company that would not print shirts for a gay pride rally; a New Mexico wedding photographer that would not give her services to a lesbian wedding; college students across the country who were bullied by their professors to wear “gay pride” apparel or write essays that contradicted their Christian beliefs; and teachers who were punished for signing pro-traditional marriage pledges, not attending pro-gay plays or posting their beliefs on their personal Facebook pages.
Telling such stories, of course, makes Starnes awfully unpopular in certain circles, “It’s getting to the point that I don’t mind the death threats,” he laughed, “as long as they’re creative.” To him, it’s a matter of preserving the right to speak up. “Sometimes stuff gets to you but its all opinion and everyone has one. That is what I love about America –hearing everyone’s ideas. The Left doesn’t appreciate that. They have this mentality that you can have an opinion as long as that’s my opinion. I know that because I live among them in New York.”
Marsh doesn't mention the real reason Starnes is "awfully unpopular in certain circles": His tales of Christian persecution tend to be overblown, if not outright false. For example, Alan Noble of Patheos has documented a few recent examples of Starnes' so-called reporting being exaggerated to the point of falsehood. Noble points out that "consistently deceives and manipulates facts in order to exaggerate or fabricate incidences of Christian persecution," adding, "For our own good, we need to reject and denounce hucksters like Starnes."
Marsh, it seems, is too busy promoting Starnes' book to contemplate the possibility that he's not the reporter he claims to be.
Newsmax Hauls Out 'D.C. Super Lawyer' To Defend Republican Senator Topic: Newsmax
David Patten uses a March 15 Newsmax article to haul out "D.C. super lawyer Cleta Mitchell" to vociferously defend Republican Sen. Mike Lee against suggestions of corruption -- necessary because the claim was reported by a conservative newspaper, the Washington Times:
“I think this is a smear,” Mitchell told Newsmax, “and you can quote me on that. I think this is a smear. Mike Lee is as honest as the day is long.”
A well-known figure in conservative politics, Mitchell advised Lee on the short-sale of his former Alpine, Utah home. That transaction is at the center of what she sees as a transparent attempt to impugn Lee’s reputation.
Urgent: Do You Approve Or Disapprove of President Obama's Job Performance? Vote Now in Urgent Poll
“He talked to me at the time to make sure that he didn’t break any rules, that whatever he did was done completely in accordance not just with the rules and the law, but to make sure there was no appearance of impropriety,” she stated.
Brian Phillips, Lee’s communications director, issued a one-sentence statement Friday regarding the latest developments as reported by Washington Times editor and vice president John Solomon.
"The article doesn't present any new information about the senator and, as it relates to his house, the senator filed all the required documentation,” Phillips stated.
Although Solomon stated that a common pool of witnesses is providing leads about each senator, Mitchell maintained Friday that the issues affecting Reid and Lee “are absolutely unrelated.” She added that she has confirmed this “with sources,” and believes the source of the smear is someone in Utah.
“There’s no relationship between Harry Reid and Mike Lee on this,” Mitchell told Newsmax. “… These are two completely different scenarios that have somehow gotten reported as the same thing, when they’re absolutely unrelated.”
As someone who worked with Lee on the matter in question, Mitchell is essentially advocating for a client. Did anybody think she wasn't going to defend Lee?
WorldNetDaily managing editor David Kupelian uses a March 16 WND article to try and liken the missing Malaysian airliner -- about which we continue to know nothing -- to the 1999 crash of a EgyptAir plane that he tries to blame on terrorism:
Less than 15 years ago, in October 1999, one of the worst air disasters in modern history occurred when Egypt Air Flight 990 crashed into the Atlantic shortly after takeoff from New York.
It wasn’t until two-and-a-half years later that the National Transportation Safety Board finally reached the conclusion many observers and analysts had claimed immediately after the crash – that the plane’s Egyptian copilot, Gameel El-Batouty, had cut power to the engines and intentionally sent the plane plummeting into the ocean, killing all 217 people aboard.
The U.S. government panel declined to suggest a motive, except to speculate that El-Batouty might have “committed suicide.” And the Los Angeles Times suggested El-Batouty might have been taking revenge against an Egypt Air executive who was aboard the flight.
However, to most people, “mass murder” or “terrorism” constituted a more apt description than “suicide” regarding the wanton annihilation of hundreds of passengers. Despite the fact that the copilot, El-Batouty, had calmly repeated over and over the Arabic phrase “Tawakkalt ala Allah” – meaning “I rely on Allah” – for almost a minute and a half during his deed – and that such behavior, according to the NTSB report, “is not consistent with the reaction that would be expected from a pilot who is encountering an unexpected or uncommanded flight condition” – the federal report steered clear of suggesting jihad as a motive.
Based on flight-data recorder and other evidence, the Atlantic Monthly in 2001 published “The Crash of EgyptAir 990,” a chilling, moment-by-moment reconstruction of how “El-Batouty had gone haywire” after the main pilot took a bathroom break, leaving him free to purposely crash the plane.
Kupelian didn't read that Atlantic Monthly article close enough, for it notes that the FBI failed to uncover any terrorist links to the pilot. While we will likely never learn the truth about why the pilot deliberately crashed the plane, one possibility is that an EgyptAir executive who had demoted the pilot was a passenger on the plane.
It's a more logical explanation than Kupelian's suggestion of terrorism, which is not supported by any official investigation. But when has lack of evidence ever stopped anyone at WND before?
NewsBusters Silent As Anti-Obamacare Tale It Promoted Falls Apart Topic: NewsBusters
On Feb. 23, Jeffrey Meyer wrote a NewsBusters post defending Julie Boonstra -- a woman featured in an anti-Obamacare ad in Michigan -- after the accuracy of her story was criticized, complaining that "the liberal media has remained silent on this leukemia patient’s nightmare dealing with ObamaCare."
This is the only reference to Boonstra on NewsBusters, which means it hasn't reported how Boonstra's story has fallen apart. Talking Points Memo summarizes:
When journalists looked into her claim, Boonstra identified the new plan she chose on the Obamacare exchanges: a so-called "gold" plan from Blue Cross Blue Shield, per the Detroit News.
Her old plan cost $1,100 per month, which adds up to $13,200 a year in premiums alone -- before co-pays, out-of-pocket costs and drug expenses.
Her new plan costs $571 per month, which adds up to $6,852 per year. Her out-of-pocket costs are maxed at $5,100, which means a maximum cost of $11,952 per year. That means her new plan cannot cost her more than her old plan.
In other words, Boonstra would save at least $1,248 under Obamacare.
When the Detroit News told her this, Boonstra was in disbelief, saying it "can't be true."
"I personally do not believe that," she told the paper.
The Affordable Care Act sets a maximum of $6,350 in out of pocket costs. So even if Blue Cross were to raise her out-of-pocket costs to the upper limit, the worst case scenario is that Boonstra would pay under Obamacare is $13,202 with everything covered -- which is what her old plan cost her on premiums alone. Either way, she saves money.
Meyer hasn't said a word about that -- and neither has anyone else at NewsBusters.
WND Pretends Absurd Anti-Obama Attack Is Meaningful Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joe Kovacs spends a March 5 WorldNetDaily article taking a fringe political candidate's smear of President Obama very, very seriously:
When it comes to his policies favoring gun control, President Obama is being compared to some of the most reviled names in history, including dictators such as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and North Korea’s Kim Jong Il.
California State Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a Republican candidate for governor, tweeted a message Tuesday featuring an image contrasting what he said were famous names who championed gun rights with those who have backed gun control.
“These people stood for gun rights,” the image states, with portraits of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.
But when it comes to those who “stood for gun control,” the names and faces include Hitler, Stalin, Kim, King George III of England, China’s Mao Zedong and Barack Obama.
“Which side would you choose?” Donnelly said in his Twitter message he billed as a “history lesson.”
Of course, it's simply absurd to suggest Obama has acted anywhere close to the likes of Hitler and Stalin, on gun control or any other subject. And WND has a lengthyhistory of likening Obama to Hitler and other Nazis.
But this is the sort of anti-Obama propaganda WND readers eat up, as demonstrated by the reader poll at the end of the article, which asks, "Who is the most evil leader in the past 100 years?" The winner is Obama with 50 percent of the vote, twice as much as Hitler. and four times as much as Stalin.
Of course, these dead-enders are the only audience WND has left -- since nobody else believes what it publishes -- so it must pander to them any way they can.
CNS' Chapman Lectures The Pope About Catholicism Topic: CNSNews.com
There aren't many people out there who feel so secure in their Catholicism that they think they can lecture the pope about the religion he heads. CNSNews.com managing editor Michael Chapman is one of those people.
Chapman was appalled that Pope Francis doesn't hate gays as much as he does, so he wrote a March 5 CNS article designed to put the pontiff back on the right path, complete with linked footnotes to official church teaching:
Although Pope Francis in a March 5 interview seemed to leave open the possibility of approval for same-sex civil unions, the official teaching of the Catholic Church, from the Catechism, says that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered” and “under no circumstances can they be approved.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that “homosexual persons are called to chastity.” (2359) The Catechism further says, “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.” (2357)
Chapman updated the article a day later with more citing of the Catechism and a fuller context of the pope's response, in which he states that he "does not endorse same-sex civil unions or heterosexual civil unions but apparently is saying the different cases would need to be evaluated." That probably didn't make Chapman sleep too much better at night.
Chapman then went on to lecture Cardinal Timothy Dolan the same way, footnotes included, in a March 13 article:
The office of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who heads the Catholic archdiocese of New York, said the archbishop is “fully supportive” of the Church’s teaching on “homosexual activity, “particularly as it is expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”
The Catechism says that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,” are “contrary to natural law,” and “under no circumstances can they be approved.” (2357)
On Sunday, Mar. 9, NBC Meet the Press host David Gregory interviewed Cardinal Dolan and asked him about football player Michael Sam, who recently came out as an open homosexual, and who likely will be drafted by the NFL this fall. “How do you view it?” said Gregory.
Cardinal Dolan said, “Good for him. I would have no sense of judgment on him. God bless you. I don’t think – look, the same Bible that tells us, that teaches us well about the virtue of chastity and the virtue of fidelity and marriage, also tells us not to judge people. So, I would say bravo.”
In an e-mail to Cardinal Dolan’s office, CNSNews.com quoted from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2357) that says “’homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”
CNSNews.com asked the Cardinal, 1) “Do you agree with the Catechism (2357) that says “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” and “under no circumstances can they be approved”?” and 2) “Do you believe that Michael Sam, an openly homosexual football player and public figure, is a good role model for young men or is Sam's open homosexuality scandalous?”
If Chapman is such an uber-Catholic, why isn't he working for the clergy instead of a right-wing website? Then again, CNS is almost a Catholic website.
WND's Unruh Puffs Homeschooling Activist, Ignores Scandal At School He Founded Topic: WorldNetDaily
Bob Unruh performs another feat of stenography in a March 13 WorldNetDaily article, uncritically repeating homeschooling activist Michael Farris' assertion that the Romeike family case (which WND has consistently misreported about) somehow means that the U.S. government can force children to attend schools that violate their parents' religious beliefs. As per usual, Farris' assertions are allowed to stand unchallenged.
Meanwhile, Unruh and WND have yet to report a controversy at the school Farris founded, Patrick Henry College. As we've documented, PHC has demonstrated a callous attitude toward female students who have been sexually assaulted that has essentially given male students accused of sexual assault a pass.
Apparently, WND's mission statement to serve "as a light exposing wrongdoing, corruption and abuse of power" doesn't involve covering WND's favorite sacred cows when they act the same way.
It took nearly a month to figure out how to correctly give Tim Graham credit for writing Brent Bozell's column, which it did for their March 12 column.
For their March 14 column, however, Bozell and Graham were given separate bylines instead of the shared one on the previous column. That means not only that the column appears on CNS' front page with only Bozell's byline, it appears on CNS' commentary page twice, once for Bozell and once for Graham.
Putting a byline on someone's work should be the easiest thing in the world as far as content management goes, but CNS has continually found a way to mess it up.
WND's Farah Goes On Anti-Science Rant Against 'Cosmos' Series Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah is not a big fan of science. He's even less of a fan of the new Neil DeGrasse Tyson-hosted "Cosmos" series. Why? He writes in his March 13 WND column:
The show includes a “Cosmic Calendar,” which asserts the scientifically unprovable notion that the history of the universe spans 13.8 billion years.
It promotes the unscientific nonsense of climate change and neo-Darwinism.
Experience more of Joseph Farah’s no-nonsense truth-telling in his books, audio and video products, featured in the WND Superstore
But, most of all, it deliberately and consciously undermines the possibility that God actually created the universe and made man in His own image, as the Bible records.
Farah then goes on a full-throated screed against science:
Here we go again!
Haven’t we heard all this before?
When will the same scientists who promote man-made catastrophic climate change and Darwinism as gospel truths be forced to apply the scientific method to their theories?
When will the public recognize that such beliefs are inherently “religious” because they start with presuppositions that can never be discredited regardless of the evidence?
When will everyone see through the fact that we now have a scientific establishment that is politically driven and government funded – a combination more dangerous than when the church was in charge?
When will the closed-minded scientific establishment that promotes this propaganda consider the possibility that they do not have a monopoly on truth – and stop blacklisting the increasing number of scientists who see design in every part of the universe?
When will Farah actually do a little investigative work and examine the scientific evidence that supports evolution and man-made climate change?
When will Farah stop assuming that everyone who disgrees with him is not only wrong but evil?