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Tuesday, January 12, 2016
WND's Birthers Mostly AWOL On Cruz Birther Case
Topic: WorldNetDaily

For the past couple of years, WorldNetDaily -- the go-to outlet for Obama birthers needing a job -- has been aggressively avoiding talking about the eligibility of Ted Cruz for president. WND supports Cruz's campaign, after all; its refusal to apply to Cruz the constitutional principles it claimed it was applying to Obama demonstrates that the Obama birther campaign was all about personal destruction.

Now that the Cruz birther issue has blown up thanks to Donald Trump (WND's man of the year) pushing it, WND is far behind the curve.

A Jan. 7 WND article by Bob Unruh features John McCain throwing Cruz under the bus by perpetuating the issue,  but he very carefully avoids mentioning the fact that the extremely narrow definition of "natural born citizen" WND has applied to Obama for years to prove Obama isn't eligible would render Cruz ineligible as well.

No mention of Vattel or Minor v. Happersett, the authorities WND previoiusly relied on for its "natural born citizen" definition. Instead, Unruh lamented thatthe Constitution "doesn't define 'natural born citizen,' and the Supreme Court has never clarified it," and asserted that "most modern-day legal analysts" say Cruz is eligible (but didn't mention that, by definition, Obama is also eligible).

Then two big birther stories broke over the weekend -- it was reported that Cruz's mother appeared on a list of Canadian citizens eligible to vote in the country four years after Cruz's birth, followed by the Cruz campaign releasing the birth certificate of the mother. These would be huge stories at WND had they involved Obama; instead, WND published only a brief summary about the birth certificate it stole from Breitbart, and it censored the voter-list story completely.

The only birther-related thing WND did all weekend was a column by Larry Klayman declaring that neither Cruz nor Marco Rubio are eligible (and, yes he does invoke Vattel and Minor v. Happersett). But he also declared that "Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim under Shariah law thanks to his Muslim father" and called Cruz and Rubio "Cuban-American pale faces." WND has not promoted Klayman's declaration anywhere else on its website.

A Jan. 11 WND article by Douglas Ernst took a weird tangent, featuring aconstitutional law professor questioning Cruz's eligibility followed by Rush Limbaugh deffending Cruz: "It’s settled. Cruz’s mother was a citizen. Therefore, he is. Deal with it!" Again, no mention of the precedents WND cited to declare Obama ineligible, or the fact that WND had previously proudly proclaimed that Limbaugh is a birther -- which would seem to run counter to his current insistence that Cruz is eligible.

WND is still clearly afraid to do much with the Cruz birther story, lest its blatant hypocrisy on the issue be further exposed. A sad state for a "news" organization that purports to be "dedicated to uncompromising journalism" and proclaims itself as "the new American gold standard for news."

UPDATE: One more thing we forgot to note. Unruh wrote that "Trump also had supported questions into Obama’s eligibility back in the day, even opennig the door to the idea Obama was born in Kenya and his birth registered in Hawaii to allow him the advantages of American citizenship." But he didn't mention that WND was advising Trump on birther issues at the time.

Unruh doesn't mention what contact WND has had with Trump regarding Cruz birther issues.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:28 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, January 12, 2016 7:32 PM EST
Monday, January 11, 2016
NEW ARTICLE -- Slanties 2016: The Slant Awakens
Topic: The ConWeb
There aren't many stars, but there's definitely a war going on in the ConWeb, with the usual misinformation and wackiness that entails. It's time once again to recognize their efforts. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 5:56 PM EST
WND Quietly Deletes Article Falsely Claiming Hillary Says She Hates Israel
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily is the worst "news" organization in America, and its abysmal editing standards are just one reason.

On Jan. 10, WND posted an article with the provocative headline "New Hillary email dump: 'I hate Israel'."

WND's implication -- that Hillary Clinton is on record as saying she hates Israel -- would be news if not true. But it's not. The article, poorly written as it is, doesn't even support the headline.

The unbylined article tries to desperately to claim that it's "an explosive development" that Clinton received emails from adviser and friend Sidney Blumenthal. The lead paragraph asserts that "Hillary Clinton’s emails reveal the front-running Democrat for president received communications that say 'I hate Israel' from the son of her most trusted adviser," but that's not true either.

WND eventually explains that Blumenthal had emailed copies of articles written by his son, Max Blumenthal, that came from a book he wrote that, in WND's words, was "a widely criticized and rabidly anti-Semitic volume that castigated Israeli policies." WND offers no evidence to back up its claim beyond noting that "The Nation’s media editor Eric Alterman referred to it as the 'I Hate Israel handbook.'"

And that's where the "I hate Israel" quote comes from -- not from Clinton, not even from Blumenthal or his son, but from a critic of Max Blumenthal that may or may not have applied to the specific pieces sent Clinton's way.

WND loves to play fast and loose with the facts, but any student editor would have done a much better job handling this piece than WND did.

WND seems to have recognized this, if only after the fact -- the article was quietly deleted from WND not long after it was posted (though it was live long enough to accumulate at least 23 reader comments). It's still available in Google cache. WND has not offered a public explanation of why, let alone who wrote and edited the article or whether it will publicly apologize to Clinton for putting words into her mouth.

Here's the entire content of WND's deleted article:

Communications with adviser reveal stance on Jewish nation

In an explosive development, Hillary Clinton’s emails reveal the front-running Democrat for president received communications that say “I hate Israel” from the son of her most trusted adviser.

As Clinton’s email scandals goes “nuclear” with more and more classified material coming to light, one disturbing trend is becoming apparent: Hillary’s deep contempt for the state of Israel in general, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in particular.

When the U.S. State Department released more than 5,000 pages of Clinton’s emails from her private server on New Year’s Eve, it included correspondence with her one-time advisor Sidney Blumenthal. The communications revealed an exchange regarding Israel, and Blumenthal cited the work of his son, journalist Max Blumenthal, a self-described “anti-Zionist” known for his radical anti-Israel views.

According to the Times of Israel, “In March 2010, Blumenthal plugged his son’s work – this time, playing up links between evangelical Pastor John Hagee and Netanyahu – in the context of an article (written by a different writer) discussing a controversial Pentagon briefing on U.S. relations with Israel and the Arab world. … The briefing had dealt with the lack of progress in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and American concerns over a growing perception among Arab leaders that the US was incapable of standing up to Israel.”

The senior Blumenthal sent several articles written by his son and referenced the younger man’s plans to move to Israel for several months to write a book. “He tracks a lot of things that do not appear in the mainstream press,” he wrote to Hillary.

Just in time for the 2016 election, hear Hillary Clinton say she would NOT run for president, in “Hillary Unhinged” by Thomas Kuiper

Hillary then took the articles in question and instructed a staffer to print five copies “without the heading from Sid.” She noted the articles came from Max Blumenthal’s book “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel,” a widely criticized and rabidly anti-Semitic volume that castigated Israeli policies. The Nation’s media editor Eric Alterman referred to it as the “I Hate Israel handbook” and wrote Blumenthal’s “case against the Jewish state is so carelessly constructed, it will likely alienate anyone but the most fanatical anti-Zionist extremists, and hence do nothing to advance the interests of the occupation’s victims.”

According to the Times of Israel, “Blumenthal also sent Clinton a piece by leftist Israeli Uri Avnery, who also analyzed the Pentagon briefing by leveling a damning critique against Netanyahu. Clinton asked Blumenthal, in response, how she should use this material in an upcoming talk she was supposed to have with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).”

Blumenthal speculated on Netanyahu’s psychological makeup by suggesting his actions were motivated by a desperate attempt to live up to his father’s expectations.

In an email sent immediately after the May 2010 Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound Turkish ship Mavi Maramara in which nine activists were killed, Blumenthal referred to the operation as “Bibi’s Entebbe in reverse.” Noting that Netanyahu’s brother Yoni was “heroically killed” in the 1976 hostage rescue mission, he said the brothers’ father Benzion “adored” Yoni, while the younger Benjamin has always lived in his brother’s shadow. “Bibi desperately seeks his father’s approbation and can never equal his dead brother…(he) has never measured up,” Blumenthal suggested.

The senior Blumenthal continued to push his son’s anti-Israel views on Hillary. As noted by the Times of Israel, “In 2012, Blumenthal sent his son’s article in al-Akhbar, ‘The Bibi Connection,’ to Clinton, who then relayed it onward. The article emphasized Netanyahu’s intent to campaign against Obama’s reelection in 2012, arguing that ‘Netanyahu’s shadow campaign is intended to be a factor in defeating Obama and electing a Republican in his place.’ … The article reflected upon Netanyahu’s ties to prominent Republicans such as Newt Gingrich, as well as the prime minister’s right-wing pedigree. It noted that when his father, Benzion Netanyahu, ‘returned to Israel to launch a political career, the elder Netanyahu was rejected by Menachem Begin, the (then-)Likud Party leader, who, as right wing as he was, considered him dangerously extreme.’”

Hillary offered a “terse” response on some of Sidney Blumenthal’s policy suggestions regarding Israel, upon which he backed off. However, “Blumenthal could not keep Netanyahu out of his semi-retraction, hinting at missed peace opportunities by the Israeli leader: ‘Of course, if Bibi were to have engaged Syria in negotiations taking its previous gestures seriously …’ he wrote, before changing the subject without concluding the hypothetical.”

Learn more about the Hillary Clinton Investigative Justice Project, conceived by two veteran investigative journalists who plan to take their findings to state attorneys general in jurisdictions in which the nonprofit, tax-exempt Clinton Family Foundation does business

The email dump revealed Blumenthal was not the only one commenting on Middle East policy. Foreign-policy analyst Anne-Marie Slaughter, formerly the State Department’s director of policy planning, wrote to Clinton the “time was right” for the U.S. to recognize Palestine during the emerging of the Arab Spring.

“It would allow you and POTUS to have accomplished the goal POTUS laid out at UNGA last year and would make it much harder for Syrians, Iranians, even Saudis to use this issue to divert domestic opposition, strengthening the seismic shift across the region to create fault-lines around reform/no reform instead of Arabs/US-Israel,” wrote Slaughter.

The Times of Israel notes, “The emails also indicate the existence of a lengthy correspondence over attempts to reconcile Israel and Turkey following the events of the 2010 Gaza flotilla, but the emails are so heavily redacted as to expunge any clue as to what was actually discussed. … Another series details attempts in 2010 to broker direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, with significant input from the parties involved in the Arab Peace Initiative.”

With the increasingly incendiary situation in the Middle East in which the U.S. maintains a precarious diplomatic balance, some fear Clinton’s well-documented anti-Israel position might tip the balance in favor of terrorists.

We've asked WND editor Joseph Farah for an explanation of the editing process that allowed such a flawed, poorly written article to be published. We'll print his response if he chooses to provide one.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:46 AM EST
Sunday, January 10, 2016
CNS' Unemployment Numbers Get A Little Less Distorted

It seems someone at is reading us after all.

Last month, we debunked CNS' obsession with twisting unemployment figures by playing up the labor force participation rate is dishonest (not to mention a meaningless measure of unemployment) because the majority of people who aren't working are doing it by choice -- they're retired or in school.

Sure enough, CNS' main story on the December unemployment figures, by Susan Jones, is all about the labor force participation rate. But wait -- what's this buried in the sixth paragraph of thte article? Why, it's the first-ever breakdown of the labor force participation rate:

Ahead of this month's unemployment numbers, the Labor Department released an article examining why people who are not in the labor force are not working.

It found that in 2014, 87.4 million people 16 years and older neither worked nor looked for work at any time during that year.

Of this group, 38.5 million people reported retirement as the main reason for not working. About 16.3 million people were ill or had a disability, and 16.0 million were attending school. Another 13.5 million people cited home responsibilities as the main reason for not working in 2014, and 3.1 million individuals gave “other reasons.”  

The self-reported reasons that people gave for not being in the labor force varied by age and gender, and the analysis includes charts comparing the reasons given by various worker groups in both 2004 and 2014.

Jones won't mention that this explanation effectively blow up CNS' obsession with the labor force participation rate -- since it demonstrates that the vast majority of them are out of the labor market by choice -- so we will.

CNS finally shooting down its own misinformation on unemployment numbers doesn't mean the misinformation has stopped, however. CNS managing editor Michael W. Chapman repeats his fixation on racial unemployment with an article about how "unemployment rate for blacks was also nearly double that of whites." As before, Chapman fails to mention that black unemployment has always been double that for whites, even under Republican administrations.

And Jones' article waited until the third paragraph -- following two paragraphs of ranting about the labor force participation rate -- to mention the good news: that 292,000 jobs were created in December. As we've said, good news for America is bad news for CNS.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:39 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, January 10, 2016 9:45 PM EST
Saturday, January 9, 2016
What Stories Did WND Cover Up In 2015?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

So WorldNetDaily has once again published its annual "Operation Spike" list of what it claims are "the most underreported or unreported news events of the year" but is really about its own top right-wing stories and editor Joseph Farah's personal agenda.

That makes it a good time to do our own year in review and look at the stories WND spiked in 2015.

First up, of course, is WND's apparently helping to inspire Dylann Roof's masscare of blacks at a Charleston church. We documented how Roof shared an obsession with "black-on-white crime" with WND regulars Colin Flaherty and Jack Cashill, as well as a fondness for apartheid-era South Africa with WND columnist Ilana Mercer. But WND has censored this story on its website, with only Cashill responding to it by trying to change the subject and peddle the conspiracy that Roof didn't atually write the manifesto in which those views were articulated.

WND has also covered up how -- using its own standards as applied to Barack Obama -- that Ted Cruz is not eligible to be president. When Cruz announced his candidacy for president in early 2015, WND did not want to bring up the subject, instead gushing that Cruz "will follow the playbook of the right’s greatest hero, Ronald Reagan." Even WND's chief birther, Jerome Corsi, doesn't want to touch it -- perhaps because doing so would meanhe would have to admit he was trying to destroy Obama instead of being a fair and balanced reporter.

Another story WND definitely made sure was buried was the failure of a super PAC funded by WND and endorsed by Farah and Corsi for the 2014 midterm elections. The Takeover Super PAC raised less than $55,000 -- much of that from WND itself -- and spent nearly all of it on salaries and administrative expenses, with no money being spent on behalf of any candidate.

WND obviously believes it should not be subjected to the same standards it holds others. Given WND's atrocious record as the worst "news" organization in America, is that a surprise?

Posted by Terry K. at 6:51 PM EST
Friday, January 8, 2016
MRC Rails At Cruz Birtherism, Was Blase on Obama Birtherism
Topic: Media Research Center

Ted Cruz's possible presidential eligibility issues are back in the news again -- promoted by Donald Trump, not the "liberal media." But the "liberal media" is reporting on what Trump said, so the Media Research Center is mad.

Scott Whitlock complained in a Jan. 7 NewsBusters post: "In 2011 and 2012, the journalists at Good Morning America railed against birther claims relating to Barack Obama, assailing the conspiracy theory as 'bizarre' and 'nonsense.' Yet, the same program lacked outrage on Thursday as Donald Trump promotes a form of birtherism against Ted Cruz." Whitlock went on to grumble: "The whole tone of the segment lacked judgment of the legitimacy of birtherism."

We would remind Whitlock that his employer helped cause this situation by not consistently and forcefully denouncing Obama birtherism when it was promoted by his fellow conservatives. As we've documented, the MRC mixed tepid denouncements of Obama birtherism with tepid endorsements of it, those denouncements coming only when 1) other conservatives were threatened with being tarred as birthers, and 2) when it could find an excuse to blame the media for it.

But far be it from the MRC to let hypocrisy to get in the way of a good anti-media attack. The same day, a post by Kyle Drennen portrayed said reporting on what Trump said as "promoting,"  then huffed: "While both networks were happy to portray false claims about Cruz’s citizenship as a problem for his presidential campaign, NBC and CBS routinely condemned anyone who even mentioned similar untrue birther attacks on Barack Obama."

Like Whitlock, Drennen needs to review his employer's history on birtherism. If conservatives like Brent Bozell and the MRC had acted more forcefully in saying that birther attacks on Obama were "untrue" from the get-go, the issue wouldn't have festered and then come back to haunt Cruz.

Both Whitlock and Drennen are silent on right-wingers who have embraced Trump going birther on Cruz, including close personal MRC friends Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. But then, as we've seen, being buddies means that the MRC will never issue any meaningful criticism of Limbaugh or Coulter, no matter how offensive their public statements become.

The MRC had an opportunity to act like responsible adults on the birther issue and set the tone that such fringe attacks had no place in the Republican Party, but it didn't -- presmably because it liked that the issue was hanging over Obama's head, just as discredited conspiracy theories like TravelGate and Vince Foster's purported murder hung over President Clinton.

What goes around comes around. The MRC ought to know that.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:18 PM EST
WND Race-Baits: 'Coming To Your Suburb: The Ghettos'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily doesn't like black people unless, as is the case with columnists like Jesse Lee Peterson and Mychal Massie, they sound like white racists. But being openly hostile to blacks gets WND in trouble -- specifically (and the only real trouble it cares about) threatening its ad revenue. So it's had to tone things down a bit.

So Bob Unruh's Dec. 27 WND article is more explicitly racebait-y than we've seen in a while. The unsubtle headline: "Coming To Your Suburb: The Ghettos."

Unruh waits until the 16th paragraph to use the word "black" in describing those from the "ghettos" who are coming to defile "predominantly white suburban neighborhoods," but the dog whistle is all too clear in his opening paragraph: "The Housing Authority of Baltimore City is secretly relocating Section 8 subsidized housing families from the inner city into suburban homes – and some critics are charging it is part of a plan to deliberately cause damage to the communities there." And right at the top is a picture of President Obama, who is apparently considered representative of the "ghetto" at WND.

Unsurprisingly, Unruh omits key details of what's happening in Baltimore. As actual reporters have pointed out, there is high demand for affordable housing in the Baltimore region, and suburban areas have done little to create it, failing to do even simple things like prohibiting landlords from discriminating against Section 8 vouchers.

Unruh also ignores that, as those actual reporters also pointed out, Baltimore was a hotbed of "government-sanctioned residential segregation," and the lingering effects of that and other segregation efforts like redlining have made Baltimore obne of the most segregated urban areas in the country.

In his apparent quest to make sure Baltimore stays that way, Unruh turns to WND's coterie of race-baiters. First up is Peterson, who rants that blacks should stay in the ghettos where they belong and defends whites who want to live in a race-segregated community: "The Obama administration is now redistributing poor inner city families to American suburbs. ... This idea of taking the power away from white people by passing these type of laws and then forcing it on them is evil and is not going to turn out for the good."

Peterson continues, sounding like a serious segregationist: "These blacks aren’t separated from whites because of 'segregation' ... They’re separated from whites because they’re having children out of wedlock, they’re reliant on the government to pay their rent, food, medical, everything, and so they lock themselves into these government sponsored neighborhoods."

Unruh then adds the old reliable race-baiter, Colin Flaherty, to the mix to peddle the racist "there goes the neighborhood" argument:

“Children from Section 8 housing don’t just overload schools, they overload schools with children with less interest in learning,” Flaherty said. “Less interest in behaving in class rooms. Less interest in listening to teachers. And greater tendencies for violence, drugs and defiance.

“This is not theory. This is the experience of every neighborhood that has suffered Section 8 housing being inserted into their community.”

He's followed by WND columnist Jack Cashill, who according to Unruh says that "Section 8 housing essentially subsidizes degeneracy and encourages the destruction of neighborhoods."

Unruh then expands the race-baiting argument to complain that Section 8 housing brings in -- gasp! -- non-conservatives:

While Peterson's arguments focus on the damage Section 8 vouchers can present to established suburbs and smaller municipalities, others are equally concerned by the intentional political demographic shift that will occur in these areas, most notably by flooding more conservative suburbs and satellite communities with the urban poor, a demographic that consistently votes for Democrats.

In a 2015 article for WND, Aaron Klein described the increased use of Section 8 housing vouchers and other federal programs such as the Fair Housing Act by the Obama administration to "... integrate more minorities into townships across America, which could drastically impact local elections..."

Unruh doesn't let anyone respond to the race-baiting arguments of Peterson, Flaherty and Cashill, yet again making a mockery of his boss Joseph Farah's laughable insistence that his reporters "are always encouraged and required to seek out multiple sources and contrary viewpoints in news articles.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:49 AM EST
Updated: Friday, January 29, 2016 9:17 PM EST
Thursday, January 7, 2016
CNS Complains Of Lack of Details On Obama Gun Changes -- Then Mocks Those Changes
Topic: reporter susan Jones apparently thinks she's a comedian, and that her comedic stylings have priority over her so-called reporting.

After President Obama issued his execultive orders regarding gun regulations, Jones devoted a Jan. 5 article to complaining that a fact sheet on Obama's changes was "somewhat vague" on what it means when it claims that people "in the business" of selling firearms must obtain a federal permit to do so. Jones' story quickly crumbled; an "editor's note" was later added with Obama's pretty clear statement on what it means.

The next day, Jones followed up with an article on "new guildance" on the subject; she doesn't explain whether it appeared before she wrote her previous article.

So Jones has her details now. What does she do? She mocks them, particularly the examples provided in the "guidance" for having "all-American names" and thus lacking "diversity." Check out the mocking tone:

On Tuesday, President Obama said, "[A]nybody in the business of selling firearms must get a license and conduct background checks or be subject to criminal prosecutions."

But federal law already requires anyone in the business of selling firearms to get a license and conduct background checks.

So what's new in what the president announced? Extra scrutiny, perhaps.

In new guidance dated January 2016, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives explains what it means to be "engaged in the business" of dealing in firearms.


ATF notes that other factors may apply, including whether you represent yourself as a dealer in firearms; whether you are repetitively buying and selling firearms; the circumstances under which you are selling firearms (are you selling them shortly after acquiring them?); and whether you are looking to make a profit.

Here (verbatim) are the nine examples offered as specific guidance by ATF: (Note the all-American names used in the examples; no diversity here!)

The headline on Jones' article piles on the sneering attitude by name-checking the people in the ATF's examples: "Bob, Joe, Sharon, David, Lynn, Scott, Debby, Jessica, Doug: No Diversity in ATF's New 'Guidance' on Gun Sales."

This is a reporter who's supposed to be taken seriously? And this is a website that's supposed to be taken seriously as a "news organization"? We're not seeing it.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:01 PM EST
WND Would Still Rather Not Talk About Ted Cruz's Eligibility
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Even when its beloved birther buddy Donald Trump forces the issue, WorldNetDaily would still rather not talk about Ted Cruz's eligibility for the presidency -- something WND has been studiously avoiding because applying the same standards to Cruz that it did to Barack Obama would render Cruz even more uneligible to be president than WND insists Obama is.

But WND couldn't not report Trump's birther outburst. So it fell to Douglas Ernst to do damage control. In his Jan. 5 article, Ernst concedes that "Republican front-runner Donald Trump has officially gone into birther territory on Texas Sen. Ted Cruz," then sought to quickly dismiss any whiff of controversy:

Cruz’s mother was a U.S. citizen when he was born in Calgary in 1970, but his father had been born in Cuba. Legal scholars say it is likely Cruz would pass the U.S. Constitution’s “natural-born citizen” litmus test if the issue ever landed him in court.

But Ernst fails to mention that WND's preferred (albeit never supported in any relevant court ruling) definition of "natural-born citizen" when applied to Obama -- that both parents must be U.S. citizens -- would also render Cruz ineligible.

Note also how Ernst skips around the issue by failing to explicitly state that Cruz's father, Rafael Cruz, was not a U.S. citizen at the time Cruz was born -- he didn't become one until 2005. Ernst also fails to disclose the relevant conflict of interest that his employer is also the publisher of the new book by Rafael Cruz.

But that's only half of Ernst's article. He spends the rest of it rehashing Obama birther stuff, again taking care not to mention that most of what he claims has been discredited, or that "the only official law-enforcement review of Obama’s documentation, done by Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona," is widely considered to be a joke.

Ernst has done his best nothing-to-see-here act. But every thing WND does this, the disparity in its birther treatment of Obama and Cruz becomes more glaring.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:48 AM EST
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
MRC Attacks Yet Another Film It Hasn't Seen
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center fancies itself as a bunch of movie critics, though they don't bother to actually watch any of the films they criticism and their idea of criticism is to attack any movie that promotes ideas it wants censored -- criticism of the Catholic church and abortion being among those.

The MRC's Tim Graham and Brent Bozell devote their Jan. 2 column to unloading on their newest target, the film "The Danish Girl," for telling the true story of a man who became transgender and underwent the first gender-reassignement surgery. The sneering begins right out of the gate, with the very first sentence devoted to attacking NPR for not pretending the film doesn't exist: "As night fell on Christmas Eve, National Public Radio was in its usual holy-day mode, using your tax dollars to mock the traditional Christian creed."

Actually, Christmas Eve isn't a "holy day" in most Christian religions, and Bozell and Graham offer no evidence that any "tax dollars" went toward the production of its story. So they're wrong right of the gate as well.

Graham and Bozell go on to rant that any promotion of the film is "propaganda," as is the film itself, and they're appalled that gender-reassignment surgery is being called "gender confirmation surgery" because it's really nothing more than "maiming of the male body." In response to the main character's declaration that "God made me a woman," they hiss: "God did not do this; it is man attempting to undo what God created."

Graham and Bozell go on to rant that "No one is allowed to rebut [the film's star Eddie] Redmayne’s Christmas Eve 'trans ally' sermonizing with facts or, even worse, Christian teaching." Read: It's MRC policy that fair-and-balanced media means gays and transgenders must be denigratted in the media at every opportunity, preferably with as much bile as possible.

They then go on to attack the man whose story inspired the movie as having descended into "madness," then complained that the movie didn't portray it, favoring thte "radical politics" of treating a transgender person like a human instead of the monster they wanted to see on screen.

That is, if Graham and Bozell had actually bothered to see the film. They give no indication that they have; apparently, all that was required to generate a column's worth of hateful swill is that NPR story.

Yeo, no need to offer an informed analysis of the film when right-wing ranting serves Graham and Bozell's purpose just as well.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:51 PM EST
WND Censors That Awards To Its Columnists Were Given By A Friend of WND
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily was positively gushing in a Jan. 2 article:

Abiding Truth Ministries, a pro-family nonprofit organization, has recognized a handful of WND figures on its new list of the “Top Ten Pro-Family Heroes of 2015,” including WND Managing Editor David Kupelian and two WND columnists.

Kupelian earned the No. 6 spot on the list for what ATM described as “his ongoing fearless publication of the truth and his newest book, ‘The Snapping of the American Mind.’”

Kupelian was grateful for the honor.

“I appreciate being acknowledged for bringing attention to the destructive reality underlying the ever-expanding LGBT agenda,” he said. “I wish more members of the news media – especially those in the alternative press, who are generally less influenced by the intimidation and political correctness of the left – would recognize that the LGBT juggernaut is changing America and Western Civilization in profoundly negative ways.”


In addition to Kupelian, WND columnist Matt Barber also showed up on ATF’s Top 10 list. He was No. 7 for his founding of, which ATM called “a wonderful new medium for Christian witness and defense of the truth.”

Another WND columnist, Dr. Michael Brown, received the No. 9 spot on the list. ATM lauded Brown “for the encouragement he has provided to the movement with his fearless radio commentary and especially new book, ‘Outlasting the Gay Revolution.’”

The fact that Kupelian, Barber and Brown are also anti-gay obsessives tells us that the "pro-family heroes" are actually nothing more than gay-bashers. Indeed, the full list also includes prominent gay-bashers like Janet (Folger) Porter and Peter LaBarbera.

But there's something that the WND article doesn't admit: Abiding Truth Ministries is run by Scott Lively, a notorious gay-basher whom WND has repeatedly defended and provided a platform to spew his hate frequently enough that he has his own column archive there. 

It appears that Lively's awards to WND columnists are little more than back-scratching --  a little payback for the website letting him promote himself and his anti-gay hatred.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:18 AM EST
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
MRC's Graham Whitewashes Meddling By Right-Wing Newspaper Owner
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center loves to rant about billionaires being involved in media -- when they're liberal, anyway. See, for example, the MRC's outrage that Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos is merely permitted to appear on TV.

Conservative billionaires, however, get a free pass, if not an outright defense. Which brings us to MRC official Tim Graham's Dec. 29 NewsBusters post regarding right-wing financier Sheldon Adelson's purchase of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Graham isn't outraged that Adelson did so, mind you; he's outraged that the New York Times is reporting on the purchase.

Graham sneers that "The New York Times is transparently panicking about republican-backing billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s secretive purchase of the Las Vegas Review-Journal" -- though he never explains just what what was "secretive" about it. As the Times article noted, the Adelson family bought the Las Vegas paper through a shell company, and its executive refused to identify the owners until the paper's reporters unraveled the mystery.

After quoting the Times noting  other newspaper-owning billionaires including Bezos and John Henry, owner of the Boston Globe, Graham huffed: "The Times thinks liberal billionaires buying newspapers and keeping them liberal is 'beneficial to the publications' and not to 'advance their personal agendas,' as if a liberal keeping a newspaper liberal isn’t a personal benefit." But Graham offers no evidence that either those owners or their papers are "liberal," however much that belief is apparently axiomatic at the MRC offices.

Graham also huffed at the Times' noting suspicions that Adelson bought the paper to "promote his political allies and protect his extensive gambling interests in Las Vegas," sneering thatit's only "liberal observers" who say so and that the Sulzberger family, which controls the Times, is doing exact same thing in the Times for its allegedly "liberal" beliefs. But Graham does not show that the Sulzbergers do not have the same financial interests in New York City (or anywhere else, for that matter) that Adelson has in Las Vegas, making Graham's argument a non-starter.

Graham is careful to omit the actual things that have caused concern about Adelson's ownership of the paper, as reported by the Times:

Also, while Mr. Adelson’s family was in talks to buy The Review-Journal, three of its reporters were asked to start monitoring three Nevada judges — one of whom is overseeing a lawsuit against Mr. Adelson. Subsequently, a small Connecticut paper owned by Mr. Schroeder, The New Britain Herald, published a critical article about the judge that appeared to use fabricated quotations and had the byline of a person who does not appear to exist.

Graham also failed to mention another piece of evidence that Adelson plans to use the Las Vegas paper for his own propaganda purposes: what he paid for it. As the Times noted, "Mr. Adelson’s family paid $140 million for The Review-Journal, a steep price given that The Review-Journal and a group of other publications was sold only nine months earlier for $102.5 million."

Graham concludes by stating:

Eric Fettman of the New York Post notes on his Facebook page: “You know, for all the furor over Sheldon Adelson buying the Las Vegas paper and not disclosing he'd done so, it's happened before. The successful bidder here didn't reveal himself until two weeks later. He was Eugene Meyer, father of Katharine Graham.” He bought The Washington Post in 1933 for $825,000.

What Fettman and Graham don't mention: Meyer purchased the Post in a bankruptcy auction, and the disclosure of him as the buyer waited 12 days until court confirmation of the sale, which seems prudent. So the circumstances werew far different from Adelson's purchase of the Review-Journal, which was not in bankruptcy.

Fettman and Graham also fail to mention that upon the announcement of his ownership, Meyer issued a statement that the paper would be run independently "to squash rumors that he planned to make The Post a mouthpiece for his Republican Party or for some Republican candidate."

Had there been an MRC around in 1933, Graham would probably have approved.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:18 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, January 5, 2016 11:19 PM EST
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

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