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Thursday, December 31, 2015
WND's Terrible Pollster Serves Up Another Terrible Poll
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Bob Unruh breathlessly wrote in a Dec. 28 WorldNetDaily article:

Pundits might point to billionaire Donald Trump’s huge lead in the GOP presidential primary race as being the result of his generally anti-Washington, anti-government, anti-establishment, anti-politically correct attitude.

If so, it’s not just whites who are ticked at the bureaucracy, but minorities too.

Because a new poll, which still has Trump leading the race, shows 40 percent of blacks are lining up behind Trump, as are 45 percent of Hispanics, and even nearly 19 percent of Asians.

Blacks and Hispanics, in fact, even support Trump at a higher level than whites.

If that result is more than a bit surprising, consider the source: Clout Research. Yes, the outfit run by discredited pollster Fritz Wenzel, now under a new name.

And a not-so-deep dive into the numbers show just how terrible that poll is. As Colin Campbell noted, of the 447 poll respondents, only 10 were black, and four stated a preference for Trump. Hence the claim that "40 percent of blacks are lining up behind Trump" is based on some very severe undersampling.

Similarly, the poll included just 31 Hispanics, 14 of whom preferred Trump. So that "45 percent" is heavily at odds with reality. And there's no evidence Wenzel reminded those Hispanic respondents about that time Trump called most Mexicans rapists and drug-runners (which is slightly more untrue than the results of Wenzel's poll).

To demonstrate just how out-of-whack the entire poll is, it includes just 19 Democrats, compared with 365 Republicans and 61 self-proclaimed independents. That's clearly not a representative sample of Americans.

The idea that this Wenzel's poll is representative of anything is absurd. But absurd polling is how Wenzel and WND roll.

Needless to say, Trump loves it, which may have been the poll's real intent all along.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:44 AM EST
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
NewsBusters Blogger Pushes Misinformation About Climate Change (And Journalists)
Topic: NewsBusters

Tom Blumer rants in a Dec. 12 NewsBusters post:

Apparently a generation of "journalists" has been raised to believe that the matter of human-caused global warming is "settled science," and that anyone who doubts the agenda-driven, redistributionist "climate change" movement is an enemy of civilization. Additionally, these people clearly don't understand the orchestrated, false-drama nature of diplomatic gatherings such as the one in Paris which just concluded with yet another "breakthrough" but non-binding "agreement" to reduce carbon emissions.

Thus, it's disconcerting, but not at all hard to believe, that these ignorant, gullible children disguised as discerning adults wildly cheered the announcement of the aforementioned agreement as if an athlete on one of their favorite teams just delivered a last-second victory:

Blumer's headline on his rant claims these are "objective" reporters. He has no evidence of that. He cannot prove that every journalist caught cheering in the video -- or any of them, for that matter -- is "objective." In fact, it's highly likely that, given the subject matter of the Paris COP 21 conference, a significant number of those journalists covering it respresent organizations that cover the environment and might very well be happy about an agreement taking place.

It's also not clear exactly where the video was shot. Blumer's source, via a right-wing denier or two, is a reporter for The Economist, who states only that she was with "journos." In fact, COP 21 handled journalists two different ways: Media accreditation could be obtained from the conference for journalists who "represent a bona fide media organization" -- which, again, does not necessarily equal an "objective" media organization -- while "The Press Room of the Climate Generations areas will be open to journalists whether or not they are accredited."

But that's only the beginning of Blumer's misinformation. He goes on to write:

Meanwhile, in the real world, mountains of evidence exist that CO2 levels don’t affect global temperatures, while satellite data indicate that there has been no global warming for almost 19 years.

Blumer's support for "mountains of evidence" was a Google search for "co2 doesn't cause global warming" and an claim from a "skeptic" website that denier Fred Singer. is "closing in on" -- not proving -- the idea that CO2 doesn't cause global warming. Blumer, of course, ignores that there are mountains of evidence to support the idea that CO2 does, in fact, affect global temperatures.

As for Blumer's claim -- common in denier circles -- that "there has been no global warming for almost 19 years," that's kind of bogus; technically correct but relies on cherry-picked data by starting with the abnormally hot year of 1998. The overall trend of the past century, a more useful period of time for examining climate, has been rising temperatures. As "The Daily Show's" Trevor Noah explains, it's like claiming that "Star Wars" is all about a guy kissing his sister.

Also, there are questions about whether there is even a pause. But that scenario doesn't fit Blumer's denier agenda, so he won't tell you.

Blumer concludes his rant by stating: "Objectively written history, should it continue to exist, will not be kind — to the statist alarmists, or to the journalists who continue to provide them cover." Objective history hasn't exactly been kind to him, either.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:28 PM EST
WND's Ethically Challenged (And Terrible) Pollster Is Back, Under A New Name
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A while back, WorldnetDaily was pushing a couple polls it commisioned -- one claiming that "a startling two-thirds of likely GOP voters believe the new House speaker should be someone from outside Congress," and another asserting that 85 percent of Americans believe the country is "off on the wrong track."

A few weeks ago, WND posted more polls, including a strange finding that Hillary Clinton was found to be "least appealing" at three times the rate of Donald Trump and that Clinton was mostly likely to "cut them off in traffic."

We'd never heard of WND's polling partner, Clout Research, so we checked into them. And look who's running the place: Fritz Wenzel.

If you'll recall, Wenzel is a former newspaper political columnist who reportedly did work for a Republican member of Congress while still working at the paper and who, while still at the paper, was accused of burying financial misdeeds involving another Republican congressman -- both serious ethical breaches.

Wenzel had previously done highly skewed polling -- some to the point that it was effectively push polling -- for WND under the name Wenzel Strategies, and as far as we can tell, Clout Research is simply a renamed Wenzel Strategies. The renaming may be a rebranding strategy given Wenzel's historical unreliability; Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight.com gave Wenzel Strategies an overall grade of D for accuracy.

But Wenzel hasn't lost WND as a client -- he does deliver the skewed results  WND demands, after all.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:37 AM EST
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
MRC's Double Standard on 'Lazy' Politicians
Topic: Media Research Center

A Dec. 21 NewsBusters post contains a dutiful transcription of the Media Research Center's glorious leader:

"Let's pretend that Marco Rubio were a Democrat." Members of that party would, "in a New York second," slam the Washington Post for the "bigotry and racism and profiling" in their story "because, after all, they just called an Hispanic lazy" in today's front-page hit piece, "Rubio's aloofness on stump unnerves GOP activists," the Media Research Center's (MRC) Brent Bozell argued in his appearance on the Dec. 21 edition of Fox News Channel'sYour World w/ Neil Cavuto.

A headline for an online edition of the story is freighted with even more loaded language: "Will Rubio work hard enough to become president? Some backers are worried."

Bozell doesn't mention that the Post article in question not once uses any form of the word "lazy," meaning that his assertion is false on its face. It's not even true in paraphrase; the Post cited actual Republicans -- not asserted on its own, as Bozell claims -- who are "alarmed at his seeming disdain for the day-to-day grind of retail politics," citing his reluctance to stray outside the Des Moines area while campaigning in Iowa and his reticence to talk to the news media or take questions at town hall meetings. The Post also gave ample space to Rubio and his partisans to respond to the charges.

As if Bozell deliberately misrepresenting the issue wasn't bad enough, his own record leaves much to be desired when it comes to accusing politicians of being lazy.

When Fox News chief accused President Obama of being lazy in an interview that appeared in Zev Chafets' fawning Ailes biography -- and "lazy" was the exact word Ailes used -- Bozell's MRC rushed to his defense:

  • Matt Hadro insisted that Ailes actually "used Obama's own words," though that's not exactly true. Obama responded to a question about "the trait you most deplore in yourself, and the trait you most deplore in others" by saying, "There is a deep down, underneath all the work that I do, I think there's a laziness in me. It's probably from, you know, growing up in Hawaii and it's sunny outside, and sitting on the beach." That's does not equal to Ailes' Obama-is-lazy assertion.
  • Mastthew Sheffield dismissed the controversy as merely being about "one small anecdote" and asserted that it was Obama who "called himself lazy."
  • Joe Newby whined that "Since Obama’s election, liberals have bent over backward to portray any criticism of the president as racist."
  • Sheffield returned to assert that "Roger Ailes had idleness on his mind, not racism,"and that any newspersonality who calls Ailes out on it is just a "Fox hater."
  • Noel Sheppard was taken aback by the statement by media critic Howard Kurtz -- not yet a Fox News employee -- stating that "I think this president works very hard and doesn’t take many vacations," going on to sneer that "when you factor in the number of rounds of golf he's played, I'm not sure many Americans would consider him a hard worker."

If Bozell allowed his employees to defend calling Obama lazy, why should anyone believe him when he exhibits a double standard?


Posted by Terry K. at 2:46 PM EST
WND Publishes Book Denouncing Expertise
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Here's the pitch for a new WorldNetDaily-published book:

The modern media is filled with “experts” who don’t seem to know very much about what they are talking about. Now, a self-described “average, working-class guy” has risen up to confront what he calls the “new religion” of faux sophistication.

Marc Fitch, an author, novelist, and WND contributor, challenges the priesthood of the new faith in “Shmexperts: How Ideology and Power Politics Are Disguised As Science.”

He argues those called experts have far too much influence in our society and it is time to start “brushing some of it off.”

“We have a founded a new faith, a new religion, one not based on spirituality or on faith necessarily but one supposedly based on science,” Fitch told WND. “And we elected people who we deem the most rational and the most intelligent among us to serve as the priests and prophets of this new faith. Unfortunately, humankind, individuals, are at their very core irrational beings. We all are. We all have beliefs for which we cannot offer up scientific proofs or evidence that prove what we believe.”

[...]

Fitch argues those whom the media often call “experts” simply act as “politically correct gatekeepers” who impose only one point of view on the culture.

Paraphrasing Henry Kissinger’s observation that experts are simply those educated in the prevailing opinion, Fitch said many of the things conservatives hate about the media, universities, and other institutions can be explained by examining the way “expertise” is promoted.

[...]

Fitch said he wrote the book when he kept noticing how often the expectations of experts didn't meet the facts.

"Who are they representing?" Fitch asked. "Because they were getting everything wrong and telling us things should be good when things were actually bad. So I began thinking, 'Why are we listening to these experts?' And as I began investigating a little bit more, I found 'expert' is often just a moniker the media gives people who support a particular ideology or a particular way of thinking.'"

This has huge consequences for American society, even when it comes to something as important as presidential politics. Fitch contended the rise of "outsider" candidates such as Donald Trump and Ben Carson in the Republican Party and Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Party is a perfect example of how many people are looking for answers beyond the supposedly "acceptable" alternatives.

[...]

One of the most important themes in Fitch's book is the value of humility. This virtue, Fitch said, is something often missing from the "experts" who presume to tell people how to live their lives.

"Just because you're educated in something doesn't mean that you're going to have had the humility necessary to understand the lessons life has brought to your door," Fitch told WND. "So much of being a 'shmexpert' is about arrogance. And what the book tries to teach is that we need humility to truly learn about the chaos and complexity of our world."

What Fitch and WND are basically saying is that anyone who does not agree with them cannot possibly be an expert. Fitch even goes on to admit he's noty really an expert on anything:

Fitch embraces an irreverent approach, jokingly dismissing today's "experts" as just "shmexperts." And he says the reason people should embrace his message is because he's writing for the common man. After all, he's one of them.

"People will often ask, 'Oh, are you an expert on experts?'" he joked. "No, I'm just a normal guy."

He told WND he wrote the book because, as a family man, he had concerns about the future direction of the culture and the country.

"The reason why I'm the right person to write "Shmexperts: How Ideology and Power Politics Are Disguised As Science" is because I'm nobody. I'm just kind of an average, working class guy. You don't need to be somebody. You don't need to be an expert. You don't need to have multiple degrees to have an opinion that counts and is valid on so many of these important issues."

And because he’s living those issues, just like his readers, Fitch believes he is the man to lead the new rebellion against the tyranny of the "shmexperts."

"I'm just like everybody else," he said.

What Fitch and WND call "the tyranny of the 'schmexperts'" is really an attack on intellectuals (as well as anyone who disagrees with them). But don't take our word for it; a writer for the conservative website The Federalist has something to say on the subject:

I fear we are witnessing the “death of expertise”: a Google-fueled, Wikipedia-based, blog-sodden collapse of any division between professionals and laymen, students and teachers, knowers and wonderers – in other words, between those of any achievement in an area and those with none at all. By this, I do not mean the death of actual expertise, the knowledge of specific things that sets some people apart from others in various areas. There will always be doctors, lawyers, engineers, and other specialists in various fields. Rather, what I fear has died is any acknowledgement of expertise as anything that should alter our thoughts or change the way we live.

This is a very bad thing. Yes, it’s true that experts can make mistakes, as disasters from thalidomide to the Challenger explosion tragically remind us. But mostly, experts have a pretty good batting average compared to laymen: doctors, whatever their errors, seem to do better with most illnesses than faith healers or your Aunt Ginny and her special chicken gut poultice. To reject the notion of expertise, and to replace it with a sanctimonious insistence that every person has a right to his or her own opinion, is silly.

Worse, it’s dangerous. The death of expertise is a rejection not only of knowledge, but of the ways in which we gain knowledge and learn about things. Fundamentally, it’s a rejection of science and rationality, which are the foundations of Western civilization itself. Yes, I said “Western civilization”: that paternalistic, racist, ethnocentric approach to knowledge that created the nuclear bomb, the Edsel, and New Coke, but which also keeps diabetics alive, lands mammoth airliners in the dark, and writes documents like the Charter of the United Nations.

This isn’t just about politics, which would be bad enough. No, it’s worse than that: the perverse effect of the death of expertise is that without real experts, everyone is an expert on everything. To take but one horrifying example, we live today in an advanced post-industrial country that is now fighting a resurgence of whooping cough — a scourge nearly eliminated a century ago — merely because otherwise intelligent people have been second-guessing their doctors and refusing to vaccinate their kids after reading stuff written by people who know exactly zip about medicine.

That's the world Fitch seems to want, and WND has enabled him to spread his dangerous message.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:07 AM EST
Monday, December 28, 2015
Obama's Christianity Makes Tim Graham Want To Vomit
Topic: Media Research Center

When we read the Washington Post article on President Obama's Christian faith, we knew that the Media Research Center couldn't resist attacking it -- being a positive story about Obama's faith -- and we said so on Twitter.

And we were right. Stepping to do the trashing is Tim Graham under the headline "Emetic WashPost Front Page: 'The Quiet Impact of Obama's Christian Faith'." Graham is particularly incensed that the Post pointed out the fact that "no modern president has had his faith more routinely questioned or disparaged, and the nation has grown more polarized during his presidency" than Obama:

Fact checker, please? Does the Post really want to “scientifically” attempt to prove that George W. Bush’s faith was less disparaged? Or that he discussed his spiritual awakening less?

This from a guy who's an official at an organization that thinks the completely subjective idea of "bias" can be measured scientifically.

Graham went on to sneer that the story "focused on an Obama speech at a Charleston church after nine people were senselessly murdered there after a Bible study in June – an occasion on which it would seem awfully hard to avoid talking about church," and that it "claimed Obama hopes to reach out for bipartisan work on criminal justice reform, gun control, and the closing of the prison at Guantanamo...as if there’s any reason for optimism."

Graham concluded by insisting that "Obama’s political base wants his faith to be as “quiet” as possible, almost nonexistent -- unless it can be put on display after a church shooting."

Oh, by the way, "emetic" means something that causes vomiting. (Kudos on the thesaurus-plundering, Tim.)  Graham is ostensibly referring to the Post's decision to report on Obama's faith, but it's clear from the tone of his post that the mere fact that Obama is a Christian makes him want to vomit as well.

The guy who has a sad that his well-paid right-wing anti-media rage isn't accepted as "sincere" is cynically mocking the sincerity of Obama's faith.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:31 PM EST
WND's Anti-Hillary Witch Hunt Won't Be Transparent
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has a longstanding problem with the transparency of its partisan political crusades. We've previously pointed out how WND's anti-Obama birther petitions contained no independent verification mechanism, making it difficult to determine how many actual people signed them -- an issue when the signature counts could so easily be gamed.

It looks like WND will be using the same murky techniques for its newest political jihad. We've detailed how WND will become a full-fledged media ar of the Republican Party by conducting an anti-Hillary Clinton witch hunt masquerading as an "independent campaign," and begging WND readers for money to help do it, even though such donations would be de facto Republican campaign contributions.

Now, WND is touting its purported fundraising success. A Dec. 25 WND article asserts that the campaign is "on fire," in the words of WND editor Joseph Farah:

Since the campaign was launched recently, hundreds of Americans have donated to the cause, says Farah.

“It’s on fire,” he says. “I haven’t seen such enthusiasm since the campaign to dump John Boehner earlier this year. That campaign proved successful. I think this one will too.”

The proof Farah offers that "hundreds of Americans" have donated? None. The amount of money donated so far? Farah shows no indication he'll disclose it. Any accounting of how donations are spent being provided to donors? WND has said only that it will give donors "regular insider updates on the progress of the campaign," which is not the same as accounting for how the money is spent.

You'll recall that WND's last attempt to raise money for a political cause -- a super PAC to benefit right-wing candidates -- raised much of its (meager) funding from WND itself, and spent nearly all of that advisers and administrative expenses, with none spent on the candidates it was purportedly benefiting.

And despite WND's insistence that the money will come through "contributions from ordinary Americans," no guarantee is provided regarding money from more-than-ordinary Americans -- deep-pocketed right-wing activists who, like WND, want to destroy Hillary by any means necessary.

WND, after all, has explicitly admitted its intent is political, not journalistic -- and, thus, subnject to Federal Election Commission regulations -- by stating that one of the main goals of its witch hunt is to "prevent her from becoming the next president of the United States." And it's not like WND's so-called journalism can be trusted anyway, given how it utterly shredded what little journalistic credibility it could plausibly claim it had by waging a (largely counterfactual) scorched-earth campaign against President Obama.

And WND's campaign won't even involve much actual reporting. WND claims much of it will pay to "hire legal talent" and "private investigators." Farah has stated his unsupported conclusion that "The Clinton Family Foundation is effectively a criminal, money-laundering operation principally established to enrich the founders with political payoff money, including millions from foreign donors,"and his witch hunt will apparently trying to back-prove that. If he doesn't have that evidence, what business does he have to make that claim in the first place?

In other words, WND's Hillary-bashing goal will be death by frivolous lawsuits, not by reporting facts.

In other words, WND won't rely on its own reporting. Pretty sad for a self-proclaimed news organization, isn't it? And all the more reason one should be wary about giving money to WND that will never be accounted for.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:48 AM EST
Sunday, December 27, 2015
CNS Obsesses Over Lack of Christian Syrian Refugees, Buries Its Own Reporting On Why
Topic: CNSNews.com

For weeks, CNSNews.com has been obsessed with the idea that Christian refugees from Syria should be brought into the U.S. at a higher rate than -- if not exclusive to -- Muslim refugees from Syria. Reporter Patrick Goodenough has been pushing the meme in various body count-esque articles:

Goodenough's reporting implies (since he can't prove it) that the U.S. government is somehow preventing Christian refugees from entering the U.S.

Getting much less play at CNS, however, is its own reporting demonstrating that isn't the case.

Goodenough himself reported on Dec. 2 that Christian refugees from Syria rely on Christian churches and agencies instead of the United Nations, which the U.S. uses to bring in refugees:

Campaigners working with Syrian Christians say many of those who have left the country avoid U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) refugee camps due to safety fears, and tend to seek shelter instead with churches, Christian charities or with relatives in surrounding countries.

Christians who have fled Syria may therefore be unintentionally discriminated against by Western refugee programs – like the one in the U.S. – which rely largely on the UNHCR for initial referrals of applicants.

Goodenough's body-count reporting since that article, however, has failed to acknowledge his own work detailing why there are not more Christian refugees from Syria in the U.S.

A Dec. 18 CNS article by Melanie Hunter quotes -- but does not dispute -- Anne Richard, assistant secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration, pointing out that the number of Christians fleeing Syria is relatively low because, in Hunter's words, "some of the Christians are not fleeing Syria because they support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and feel safer with him there."

Hunter also notes (reluctantly, we're guessing) that Richard also said the U.S. will trying to bring in any refugee being persecuted for their religion, no matter what that religion is, and that the State Department would not change the refugee program to “bring more of one particular religion than another.”

Goodenough has also ignored these findings in his subsequent body-count reports.

Of course, the desire to “bring more of one particular religion than another” is what Goodenough, Hunter and CNS are implicitly demanding the U.S. do, because they apparently believe Christians are more human than Muslims.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:15 PM EST
Saturday, December 26, 2015
WND's Kupelian Goes The Revisionist-History Route To Sell His Book
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In coordination with the release of WorldNetDaily managing editor David Kupelian's new book "The Snapping of the American Mind," WND has republished Kupelian's 2006 book "The Marketing of Evil" in paperback.

A WND article by Kupelian -- weirdly presented as a letter to his "friends" -- asserts that the book has had "a decade-long run as a hardcover culture-war bestseller." We highly doubt that; Kupelian offers no sales figures to back him up, and most actual "bestselling" books don't take nine years to go from hardback to paperback.

Kupelian then moves on to a slab of historical revisionism regarding a controversy involving the book:

Banned on campus!

Within a few months of its release, “The Marketing of Evil” became the focal point of a national scandal when several openly homosexual professors at Ohio State University brought “sexual harassment” charges against head librarian Scott Savage, a Christian, after he recommended “The Marketing of Evil” as required reading for all incoming freshmen. The gay profs maintained that merely recommending the book constituted an act of “harassment due to sexual orientation.” (Chapter 1 documents, in “gay rights” leaders’ own words, their brilliant but little-known strategies for mainstreaming homosexuality in a largely Christian country.)

The rest of the faculty members were so intimidated by the angry gay professors that they voted in agreement with them. It was so obviously bizarre and unjust that major media exposure by Sean Hannity, Brit Hume on Fox’s “Special Report,” MSNBC, the New York Post, Human Events and many others – plus stout legal pressure from the Alliance Defending Freedom – caused the university to cave in and drop the insane charges.

As a direct consequence of being publicly branded as “hate literature” and “homophobic tripe” by the Ohio State University faculty, “The Marketing of Evil” immediately became one of the hottest-selling books in the country, topping Amazon’s daily “Current Events” bestseller chart for more than a week.

First, the book was never "banned on campus," or anywhere for that matter; Kupelian is simply lying.

Second, as we documented at the time, Kupelian and WND were working closely with the Alliance Defense Fund (now Alliance Defending Freedom), which represented Savage, to promote the controversy (in which, by the way, the book was never banned) -- and, thus, boost sales of the book.  Isn't that an evil bit of marketing, not to mention a violation of journalistic ethics?

Third, Kupelian alters the details of the incident to make it sound more significant than it was. It didn't occur at the main Ohio State University campus in Columbus but, rather, at a satellite campus in Mansfield, Ohio. Savage wasn't accused with "sexual harrassment"; as Kupelian admits, the specific accusation was "harassment based on sexual orientation."

And Kupelian's book is very much filled with "homophobic tripe." He fails to mention that the book includes a discredited attack on sex researcher Alfred Kinsey as a "full-fledged sexual psychopath who encouraged pedophilia." We've documented how Kupelian repeated the wild claims by discredited anti-Kinsey obsessive Judith Reisman that Kinsey's "Table 34" somehow proves he performed sexual experiments on children. Despite claiming that Kinsey either conducted or caused "criminal sexual molestation" to be done "for the purposes of obtaining 'data' for his research," he never proves it.

We're guessing that Kupelian lets his falsehood-ridden attacks on Kinsey stand in the paperback version.

Meanwhile, Kupelian has bigger news to promote:

Finally – coming soon – I'll be able to tell you the story of how "The Marketing of Evil" is featured on-screen in an upcoming Hollywood feature film starring A-list actors, dramatizing the total transformation of a young person from a life of darkness to one of light – and who credits reading "The Marketing of Evil" as having played a significant role in that conversion! More on that later …

We'll believe that when we see it, especially the part about it being a "Hollywood" film involving "A-list actors." Given his track record, Kupelian's claim may very well be just as dishonest as the rest of the marketing for his book.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:57 AM EST
Friday, December 25, 2015
WND Invokes Right-Wing Snob Appeal To Sell Stuff
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As the Christmas season winds down, let's take a quick look back at how WorldNetDaily tried to profit off of it -- by invoking a certain right-wing snob appeal to draw visitors to its WND Superstore.

A WND article posted on Thanksgiving weekend touting its online store began like this:

Having a great Thanksgiving weekend?

Why ruin it all by driving to the crowded malls?

Instead, sit back home in your old easy chair and start your holiday shopping adventure in an online environment designed just for you – the freedom-loving, God-honoring WND visitor.

There are bargains galore on the best books, best movies and a lot more, including new and expanded departments on jewelry and accessories, bath and body, health and fitness, home and preparedness.

And be sure to check out the new department for your desktop and journals.

The WND Superstore isn’t just a bookstore any more. Now it’s an alternative place to shop for people who are sick and tired of corporate retailers who capitulate to political correctness just like the Big Media they so often support.

If you’re sick and tired of retailers who make their money at Christmas but resent it, maybe it’s time to give the WND Superstore a try. Everything you purchase there supports the pioneer in alternative media – WND, the first news agency created for the New Media.

Don’t be part of the problem. Be part of the solution. Make the WND Superstore your first holiday shopping stop this year.

Notice the snob appeal WND is using, trying to position itself as a destination for those who are "an alternative place to shop for people who are sick and tired of corporate retailers who capitulate to political correctness just like the Big Media they so often support." The subtext of "political correctness" here is not hating gays like WND (and, presumably, the company that actually runs WND's online store, REKO Market Direct) does. WND regularly does articles obsessing over companies that refuse to discriminate against gays -- i.e., "THE BIG LIST of 'gayest' companies in America."

And, no, WND is not "the first news agency created for the New Media" -- online-only news agencies existed as early as 1974. That's not even the most ridiculous and demonstrably self-aggrandizement in this little promo; it goes on to tout "Christmas gift recommendations from Joseph and Elizabeth Farah, the couple that launched the New Media."

The promo concludes with a little more snob appeal:

If you haven’t been to the WND Superstore lately, it’s time. There’s a new look, new functionality and lots of new selections – the perfect first stop for the gift buyer with a real social conscience.

And you can rest assured that every penny you spend there will support your values, your beliefs, your principles – and your news.

That sounds like WND is settling for being a niche publication, albeit one for right-wing Christians for whom factual accuracy is a much lower priority than the desperate, false comfort of an echo chamber.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:40 AM EST
Thursday, December 24, 2015
NewsBusters Blogger Has A Meltdown Over Obama Hanging Out With Bear Grylls
Topic: NewsBusters

Dylan Gwinn rants in a Dec. 18 NewsBusters post:

So, if you were playing a drinking game where you took a shot for every time Bear Grylls congratulates President Obama on saving the world during Thursday night’s episode of “Running Wild with Bear Grylls,” I hope you filled out a will before doing so. Because you are no longer alive.

The real question is: How much was Gwinn drinking while he wrote this post? Because this is just the beginning of Gwinn's spittle-flecked freakout over Obama's appearance on Grylls' program.

Gwinn starts off by sneering that "I would be remiss if I didn’t give President Obama an opportunity to relay to you how hard he thinks he works," adding: "This is coming from the same President who may have logged less suit time and office time than any President in U.S. history, considering that he in six years, had played over 7 times as much golf as George W. Bush had in his entire presidency."

But the link Gwinn offers to back up that claim also points out that Bush had taken roughly three times as much vacation time as Obama had. And, really, isn't vacation time a much more accurate indicator of "suit time and office time" than playing golf? Gwinn won't answer that, of course, because it doesn't jibe with his anti-Obama agenda.

But Gwinn starts seriously freaking out  when Obama and Grylls talk about global warming:

Up until this point I hadn’t been playing the drinking game. But after this scene I desperately wanted to start. This is beyond nauseating. Obama credits his global warming advocacy to his belief in science, which is “indisputable” when it comes to global warming. Okay, let’s work with that.

One of the main thrusts of this episode was exposing Obama to the Harding Ice Field in Alaska, America’s largest ice mass that covers more than 300 square miles. Yet, according to the show it has shrunk by 812 feet since 2008, which is coincidentally also just before Obama became President. Which means this glacier has been dying on Obama’s watch. Though Bear didn’t ask Obama if he felt any sense of responsibility for adding to the glacier’s misery by flying an Osprey, multiple helicopters, and driving over a dozen large SUVs up to the glacier, essentially dumping an obscene amount of CO2 all over the already suffering ice.

I’m sure he meant to though.

Nonetheless, what Bear Grylls or any other thinking human could have asked Obama, if they wanted to gauge his true respect for science, is how he can say the scientific evidence is “indisputable,” when there are multiple other glaciers in Alaska that are advancing for the first time in recorded history? Like Alaska’s Hubbard Glacier that has been measured at advancing as much as 7 feet per day.

As FactCheck.org points out, the Hubbard Glacier is an anomaly; it's growing because of local conditions. Meanwhile, 90 percent of Alpine glaciers, of which the Hubbard is one, are shrinking, and Alaska's glaciers as a whole are losing 75 million tons of ice every year.

Gwinn concludes by huffing, "But why mess with a well-scripted narrative?" Nope, Gwinn definitely does not want to do that, especially when it comes to right-wing dogma on climate change.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:46 PM EST
WND's Massie Thinks Obama's Suits Are Communist
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In the midst of yet another anti-Obama tirade, Mychal Massie writes in his Dec. 21 column:

The Obamas eschew faux couture such as “swaddling clothes” in favor of suits for him by Hartmarx of Chicago (interesting that Obama would find a way to incorporate “marx” into even a clothing line) and Michael Kors, Jason Wu, Narciso Rodriguez and Isabel Toleda, to name but a very few clothing designers for her.

Where to begin to unpack such stupidity?

First, Hartmarx isn't an actual thing anymore. That names was for the holding company for, among other things, Hart Schaffner & Marx suits; it filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and is now owned by Authentic Brands Group.

Second, the "Marx" in the company's name has nothing to do with communism, no matter how much Massie's fevered imagination wishes it were so. The brand's origins go back to 1872, when the Hart brothers opened a men's store in Chicago. Their brother-in-law, Marcus Marx, joined the business seven years later.

Third: Why is Massie sneering at Obama for choosing off-the-rack suits made in America? That's utterly stupid. And the other designers Massie calls out by name are either American born or raised, or in the case of Canadian-Taiwanese Jason Wu, attended school in America. Two of them, Rodriguez and Isabel Toledo (Massie can't be bothered to spell her name correctly) were born to Cuban emigres. And Toledo has a line at Lane Bryant, for crying out loud, so Massie's suggestion of snobbery in Michelle Obama's taste in clothing is horribly misplaced.

Of course, Massie is so afflicted by Obama Derangement Syndrome that he calls Michelle Obama "Buttzilla," so he would invent things to get mad about regarding the Obamas.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:27 AM EST
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
MRC's Double Standard on People Depicted As Simians In Editorial Cartoons
Topic: Media Research Center

So the Media Research Center has gotten all outraged over a Washington Post editorial cartoon (since pulled) that depicted the children of Ted Cruz as monkeys (since, according to cartoonist Ann Telnaes, Cruz is exploiting his children in his presidential campaign).

Which is fine -- the cartoon is certainly worthy of criticism. But we recall a time the MRC wasn't terribly bothered when editorial cartoons depicted people as simians.

In 2009, the New York Post ran an editorial cartoon seemingly depicting President Obama as a chimp who was shot dead by the police, with one of the policemen saying, "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill."

This caused no shortage of outrage, and the Post itself ran a tepid apology while denying any racial intent.

The MRC, meanwhile, wasn't bothered by it all. The only reference to it we could find at the MRC was a NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard, who went out of his way not to make a judgment about it while insisting the cartoon was really inspired by "a pet chimpanzee was shot to death by police in Connecticut." Sheppard asked, "Is this cartoon over the top or a good satire given all the attention the Post has paid to the chimp story?" He added "Bonus questions: If Obama was white, would media be so upset? Or what if Bush was still President, and he signed porkulus, would there be any outrage over this?"

So forgive us if we think the MRC's outrage is less than sincere. The double standard is just too blatant.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:14 PM EST
NEW ARTICLE: The Peacock Conspiracy
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily writer Steve Peacock's job is to portray any U.S. spending "... in Kenya!" as being on direct orders of President Obama himself, despite the complete lack of any evidence to prove it. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 8:53 AM EST
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
MRC's Yoder Is Upset Bogus Planned Parenthood Story Isn't Reported As News
Topic: Media Research Center

The headline of Media Research Center writer Katie Yoder's Dec. 15 NewsBusters post screams "Nets CENSOR Planned Parenthood Disposing Aborted Babies in Landfills." She elucidates within:

A story of aborted baby bodies in landfills should be reporter-bait. But it’s not, at least to ABC, NBC and CBS.

After a statewide investigation, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced Friday that his office found no evidence that Ohio Planned Parenthood affiliates participated in the selling of aborted baby parts. Instead, his office argued it discovered something else: aborted babies thrown into landfills by Planned Parenthood.

To date, the three broadcast networks, ABC, NBC and CBS, have ignored the story during their morning and evening news shows.

Needless to say, there's a whole other side to this story that Yoder deliberately ignores -- the part in which nothing nefarious is happening.

As Vox explains, Yoder's claim about "aborted babies in landfills" is more accurately -- and less inflammatorily -- explained as Planned Parenthood disposing of medical tissue as it always has. Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio president Stephanie Kight said Ohio Planned Parenthood facilities have been regularly inspected for decades — ever since the Ohio code about "humane disposal" was first enacted in 1974 — and they've never been cited for their fetal tissue disposal procedures until now. The contractors Planned Parenthood uses to dispose of unneeded medical tissue follow procedures are specifically outlined in state law.

While Ohio law states that fetuses "shall be disposed of in a humane manner," Vox states, it does not define what "humane" means in this context, so there's nothing to back up DeWine's claim legally. According to Vox, DeWine says pending legislation will clarify that definition and require fetal remains to be cremated or buried, but he won't explain why Planned Parenthood's procedures are improper based on current law.

(Curiously, at no point does Yoder mention that DeWine is a "pro-life Republican," and thus is arguably using his state post to advance an agenda instead of properly and fairly enforcing the law.) 

In short, Planned Parenthood is not breaking the law, and DeWine has effectively conceded that fact by saying he won't prosecute Planned Parenthood over the "humane" clause.

So, to clear things up for Yoder: The story hasn't been reported by the networks because there is no news to report -- Planned Parenthood following the law is not a newsworthy event. Unless Yoder considers DeWine's seeming abuse of his office to advance a political agenda to be news, which she probably doesn't since it's her agenda he's advancing.

Yoder concludes by whining that "Shining a bad light on Planned Parenthood doesn’t fit with the media’s agenda." Actually, "the media" treated this story responsibly; meanwhile, telling the entire, unbiased truth about Planned Parenthood certainly doesn't fit with Yoder's agenda.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:52 PM EST

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