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Tuesday, January 5, 2016
WND Relives An Old 'Shadowy Middle Easterner' Conspiracy Theory
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily just loves a good conspiracy theory. Look at how fast it jumped on (discredited) claims of a never-arrested third suspect in the San Bernardino shootings -- since we originally wrote about it, WND columnists Pamela Geller and Jack Cashill have also pushed the conspiracy.

That one apparently reminded WND of an earlier, never-proven conspiracy it promoted -- that there was a third, Middle Eastern man involved in the 1995 bombing of the Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City. WND published a book by a local TV reporter, Jayna Davis, pushing the conspiracy theory. (The book was published in 2004, when WND's book imprint was operated with religious-oriented publisher Thomas Nelson; when that deal ended, Thomas Nelson got to keep the rights to most of the titles published under it.)

A Dec. 27 WND article by Leo Hohmann rehashes Davis' conspiracy theory about the purported involvement of a "shadowy Middle Easterner" who "was seen in the Ryder truck with Timothy McVeigh" before the bombing,but the FBI "had their case of “homegrown domestic terror” against two native-born Americans, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, and they refused to consider that the case may have involved an element of international terror." Hohmann goes on to quote Davis asserting there are "striking parallels between 1995 and what is happening today" and that both the Oklahoma City and San Bernardino attacks were, in Hohmann's words, "part of a larger network of sleeper cells operating within the United States."

Hohmann doesn't mention that despite all the circumstantial evidence Davis and WND have pushed on the Oklahoma City bombing, no Middle Eastern connection has been established. When Davis' "shadowy Middle Easterner," Hussain al-Hussaini, was arrested on unrelated charges in 2011, an FBI spokesperson stated that al-Hussaini was "thoroughly investigated" in connection with the Oklahoma City bombing and "was found to not have any role whatsoever in the attack on the Murrah Federal Building in 1995." The spokesperson added, "The investigation was closed and the FBI has no further interest in that individual."

Then as now, WND has no intention of letting the facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory -- especially when "shadowy Middle Easterners" play a role.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:26 AM EST
Monday, January 4, 2016
AIM Chairman Baselessly Blames Bookstore for Apparent Prank
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Accuracy in Media chairman Don Irvine rants in a Dec. 29 AIM blog post:

Looks like a Miami, Florida Barnes & Noble got caught red-handed showing its liberal bias towards some Republican presidential candidates. Especially when it comes to Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

Robbie Myers, the digital director for the Senate Republican Conference, spotted Trump’s new book, Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again, along with another Trump book and Carson’s latest, A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties, in the store’s humor section.

Maybe the manager of the bookstore thinks Trump and Carson are just naturally funny guys—they’re certainly funnier than Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders—but considering that they are the only books written by any presidential candidates in that section is suspicious at best.

This type of behavior by a bookstore towards Republican or conservative books isn’t anything new, but in the age of social media it’s much harder to get away with it.

Completely lacking from Irvine's post: any evidence that a bookstore employee actually did this. It's much more likely that a mischievous customer put the books there without the knowledge of any employee.

This reminds us of the time WorldNetDaily devoted an actual "news" story to a copy of Hillary Clinton's autobiography being placed in a bookstore's science fiction section. WND credited a "mischievous customer" who "is likely one of the majority of Americans who, according to new national polls, think the New York senator is not being truthful in her new book."

We're guessing Irvine was perfectly fine with that bit of silliness and did not baselessly blame bookstore employees for it, as he is doing here.

And Irvine wonders about AIM's increasing irrelevence in the media-criticism game.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:54 PM EST
WND and David Barton Bash The Messenger Who Exposed His Discredited Book
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A couple months back, we reported that WorldNetDaily is republishing David Barton's discredited book "The Jefferson Lies," pulled from the market in 2012 by mainstream Christian publisher Thomas Nelson after it lost confidence in it after numerous reports of falsehoods turned up. Now, WND and Barton have turned on their spin machine to sell it in preparation of its Jan. 12 sale date.

On Dec. 9, WND published Barton's lengthy defense of his book. As Warron Throckmorton -- one of the chief fact-checkers who discredited it -- details, it's a rehash of a defense Barton wrote in 2013, right down tothe claim that the book "will be released by Simon & Schuster in 2013" (which WND appeared to have corrected after Throckmorton pointed it out). Barton also spends a lot of time personally attacking Throckmorton; as Throckmorton noted, "It is a sign of a weak argument when you spend little time on the facts and a lot of time on the personality of the person bringing the facts."

That's apparently the main defense Barton and WND will be serving up. A Dec. 17 WND article by Michael Thompson (who "works in the marketing department for and WND Books and is the social media manager for WND") is a book promotion under the headline "Anatomy of an American book banning." But Barton's book was never banned; as we've noted, WND has continued selling "The Jefferson Lies" long after every other respectable bookstore stopped selling it. And the end of Thompson's article notes that copies of the book were "recovered by Barton and WND before it could be destroyed." If "recovered" means Barton buying 17,000 copies from Thomas Nelson, then sure. (As that link shows, Barton's attempt to republish his book through Glenn Beck's publishing arm was as much of a failure as the Simon & Schuster venture -- even though Beck himself wrote the book's foreword.)

Thompson also attacks Throckmorton, arguing that the utterly irrelevant issue of his decision to stop hating gays like a good right-winger should is a reason his work debunking Barton shouldn't be trusted:

Though a professor at a conservative school, a past contributor to National Review and a self-defined “traditional evangelical,” Throckmorton’s conduct over the past few years reveals a relentlessly negative approach toward and borderline obsession with Christian conservatives.

Throckmorton has endorsed the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center’s call for the American Family Association to be considered a hate group characterized with the likes of neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. He has described conservative pro-family groups such as the American Family Association, Americans For Truth About Homosexuality, the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, and Liberty Counsel as an “evangelical culture war complex” only interested in the commandment, “thou shalt demonize the gays.” He has even condemned former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and his participation in “The Response” prayer gathering.

This hostility to evangelicals is surprising as Throckmorton was once seen as a key authority in the effort to help homosexuals refrain from same-sex sexual activity through counseling. He produced a documentary, “I Do Exist,” which showed change is possible for homosexuals. He was also critical when the American Psychiatric Convention canceled a dialogue on the role of religion in homosexuality at its convention.

However, Throckmorton seems to have reversed his position on homosexuality. He now says he “regrets” the video was used “as a part in the culture war surrounding homosexuality.” Furthermore, he says, “I now believe durable change in basic attractions is very infrequent.” According to the Sexual Identity Therapy he created, “The emergence of a gay identity for persons struggling with religious conflicts is a possibility envisioned by the recommendations.” Throckmorton has also affirmed that accepting one’s homosexuality can be “healthy.”

Thompson defends the personal attacks on Throckmorton because "as it was the opposition of supposed conservatives that observers largely credited for the demise of 'The Jefferson Lies,' Throckmorton’s 'team' is highly relevant, especially when his sole professional focus at this point seems to be attacking Christian conservatives. More importantly, it appears such 'conservative' criticism was the key factor in getting Thomas Nelson to pull the book."

Thompson's boss, WND editor Joseph Farah, is totally down with the personal attacks because apparently only right-wingers predisposed to liking Barton can properly critique him:

“But the testimony of unqualified critics, far-left ministers crusading against the Founding Fathers, and a former conservative looking to make a name for himself in the liberal press are hardly credible,” said Joseph Farah, founder and chief executive officer of WND and WND Books, the new publisher of “The Jefferson Lies.”

At no point in this article do Thompson or Farah rebut any claim made by Throckmorton, nor do they show any intention of giving Throckmorton an opportunity to respond at WND.

In other words, it's all about vengeance against a critic rather than telling the truth. Barton and WND are trying to reframe the controversy over the book as "political correctness" linked to an ownership change at Thomas Nelson rather than over botched facts. But as Throckmorton points out, Thomas Nelson currently publishes numerous right-wing authors -- including WND's own Jerome Corsi.

Meanwhile, Throckmorton has already gotten his hands on a copy of the republished Barton book, and he's already found a couple whoppers about himself and his efforts in debunking Barton. Throckmorton adds: "This misrepresentation of recent history is just the first of many issues from the second edition of The Jefferson Lies I will explore in the coming months."

Sit back and enjoy, folks. This will be fun to watch.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:40 AM EST
Sunday, January 3, 2016
CNS Just Can't Stop Dishonestly Smearing Planned Parenthood Over Federal Funding

One of's favorite dishonest reporting tactics is to falsely smear Planned Parenthood by reporting the about of federal funding it receives along with the number of abortions it has performed, but omitting the crucial fact that federal funding does not -- and cannot -- pay for abortions there.

Well, CNS is riding the dishonesty horse again, and this time it's Penny Starr doing the deceptive honors:

Planned Parenthood says in its new 2014-2015 annual report, which was released this month, that its affiliates around the country did 323,999 abortion procedures in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, 2014 and that those affiliates received $553.7 million in “government health services grants and reimbursements” in the year that ended on June 30, 2015.

In its previous annual report, Planned Parenthood had reported that its affiliates did 327,653 abortions in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, 2013 and that those affiliates had received $528.4 million in “government health services grants and reimbursements” in the year that ended on June 30, 2014.

At no point in her five-paragraph article did Starr note that, by federal law, money from Title X and Medicaid -- which is where the federal funding to Planned Parenthood comes from -- cannot pay for abortions. She did, however, devote one-fifth of her article to mentioning that " contacted Planned Parenthood to ask why the organization has different 12-month periods for reporting services and revenues but no response was received."

That's the kind of dishonest bias that makes Starr a star CNS reporter.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:26 PM EST
Saturday, January 2, 2016
WND Censors Shared Birther History In Giving Award To Trump
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has been a fan of Donald Trump for a long time -- something that arguably began when Trump embraced WND's Obama birther agenda.

WND editor Joseph Farah and reporter Jerome Corsi coached Trump on his birther outbursts in 2011 (though they never admitted doing so to WND readers). Farah gushed that "I am eternally grateful to him for standing up boldly and demanding to see Barack Obama's birth certificate," adding that Trump is "doing God's work here."

That has led to WND becoming an unabashed fan of Trump's presidential campaign. Farah has gushed further that Trump is "a shot of adrenaline" for "raising issues bluntly and fearlessly," particularly thrilled at how Trump is shaking up the Republican party: "There’s one guy they really fear. They can’t control him. They can’t intimidate him. He won’t take their advice. He won’t play by their rules. And every day he gets more popular."

WND is even manufacturing polls to benefit Tump, using terrible pollster Fritz Wenzel to create the ridiculous result that because four of exactly 10 blacks polled supported trump it means that "40 percent of blacks are lining up behind Trump."

So it's no surprise that WND named Trump as its "Man of the Year." Continue the gushing, anonymous WND reporter:

They treated his campaign announcement as a joke. They tried to destroy his business. They called him every foul name they could come up with. But at the end of 2015, the biased journalists, political consultants, leftist activists, snarky comedians and embittered critics of every stripe had to concede one man had beaten them all.

Donald J. Trump is the Republican favorite for president of the United States. There’s no indication he’ll fall from the top spot any time soon. And he’s the WND 2015 Man of the Year.

“It is my great honor to be named Man of the Year by your publication,” Trump said in a statement to WND. “I very much appreciate your informative polls and coverage. Together, we will Make America Great Again.”

Unmentioned, however, is the one thing that originally brought WND and Trump together -- birtherism. Trump doesn't want to talk about being a birther these days, though. And while Farah remains a proud birther, WND is so averse to touching the subject that it hypocritially won't apply the overly narrow eligibility standards it applied to Obama to Ted Cruz, even though by those same standards Cruz is even more ineligible to be president than Obama.

It appears that WND is willing to censor the truth in order to help Trump -- even if it's something it would have gladly reported just a few short years ago.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:21 PM EST
Friday, January 1, 2016
Content-Stealing WND Suddenly Concerned About Copyright Protection (On Its Own Content)
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has built its website in no small part of stealing content. WND editor Joseph Farah insists that his theft of content is "fair use" because he attributes the original source, but we doubt it actually covers the main thing WND does in that department -- copying and pasting a few paragraphs of someone else's content on its own website and linking back to it.

But when it comes to its own content, it's much less sanguine about theft. Which made Farah's quote in a Dec. 20 WND article, touting how WND has signed up with iCopyright to allow "online publishers and bloggers to republish WND content for free – safely and without legal risk," rather amusing:

“We were so tired of playing whack-a-mole with bloggers reposting WND’s copyright content without permission that this seemed like an easy option to use,” said Joseph Farah, the Internet pioneer who launched WND, the first independent news service 19 years ago. “This option provides a syndication carrot rather than a legal stick for publishers who want our content but also want to do the right thing and avoid costly lawsuits for everyone.”

Farah is not so tired of it, however, that his website has refused to stop stealing content for itself.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:17 PM EST
Thursday, December 31, 2015
CNS Censors Obama Statement on Christians In Middle East
Topic: loves to bash President Obama for purporting not caring enough about the plight of Christians in the Middle East. From body-count refugee totals that overemphasize how few Syrian refugees are Christian (and burying the news that explains why that's not a deliberate act by the Obama administration) to letting Franklin Graham rant , along with other right-wingers, that Obama doesn't care about Christians, CNS is making its right-wing agenda known.

So you'd think CNS would be jumping with joy that Obama issued a statement just before Christmas specifically addressing "Persecuted Christians at Christmas":

During this season of Advent, Christians in the United States and around the world are preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  At this time, those of us fortunate enough to live in countries that honor the birthright of all people to practice their faith freely give thanks for that blessing.  Michelle and I are also ever-mindful that many of our fellow Christians do not enjoy that right, and hold especially close to our hearts and minds those who have been driven from their ancient homelands by unspeakable violence and persecution.

In some areas of the Middle East where church bells have rung for centuries on Christmas Day, this year they will be silent; this silence bears tragic witness to the brutal atrocities committed against these communities by ISIL.

We join with people around the world in praying for God’s protection for persecuted Christians and those of other faiths, as well as for those brave men and women engaged in our military, diplomatic, and humanitarian efforts to alleviate their suffering and restore stability, security, and hope to their nations.  As the old Christmas carol reminds us:

The Wrong shall fail,

The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men.

But not only did CNS never mention Obama's statement on its front page over Christmas weekend, we  could find no mention of it in CNS' archive.

Meanwhile, the rest of the ConWeb at least recognized that the statement exists. Newsmax did a full story on it; WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah wrote a column aout the statement, then dismissed it as "just words" and whined that Obama used the Islamic State group as ISIL.

CNS claims to be a news organization that "endeavors to fairly present all legitimate sides of a story." Apprently not, especially if they interfere with its right-wing agenda.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:40 PM EST
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 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 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

For weeks, 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

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