ConWebBlog: The Weblog of ConWebWatch

your New Media watchdog

ConWebWatch: home | archive/search | about | primer | shop

Saturday, August 13, 2016
WND Getting Desperate for Travelers On Its Holy Land Trip
Topic: WorldNetDaily

For months, WorldNetDaily has been heavily promoting a trip to the Holy Land in November, to be hosted by WND editor Joseph Farah and WND fave author, messianic rabbi and Obama-basher Jonathan Cahn. But in an apparent reflection of its financial problems, WND is having trouble getting enough people to sign up.

In a June 5 article, WND declared that "Registration and deposits must be completed by June 10," adding that "your opportunity is fading fast. The final deadline for the 2016 WND Israel Tour is almost here." The article also asserted, "The window of opportunity to join in this extraordinary quest is almost closed. Travelers need to register now or it will be gone for good. And an experience which even the first man on the moon called the highlight of his life will be lost to you forever."

Well, not so much. Just a week later, WND announced that the "final deadline" had been extended month, which it furiously spun by asserting there was so much demand it had no choice but to extend it:

The calls and emails were frantic and desperate. And they all had the same message – we need more time!

They got what they asked for. In response to a last minute surge of registrations, the deadline to sign up for the WND Israel Tour has been extended to July 9. More than 300 people have registered for the extraordinary trip – and registrations are still pouring in. But the window of opportunity can’t be held open much longer.

“We’ve got hundreds signed up for participation in this spiritual trip-of-a-lifetime and still plenty of space to be part of it – but time is our enemy,” said WND Founder and CEO Joseph Farah. “If you yearn to be with us, now’s the time to register. We will not be able to guarantee your participation for much longer.”

It’s urgent anyone who wants to join this incredible pilgrimage go to the official website at or call Coral Tours toll-free at 1-866-267-2511 and register right away. Registration and deposits must be completed by July 9.

An article on June 26 pushed the July 9 deadline, but a July 3 article made no mention of it, claiming vaguely that "The window of opportunity ... is closing quickly" and adding that "Cahn pleaded with believers not to wait, as reservations and openings may be limited."

A July 10 article -- a day after the previous deadline expired -- pushed the tour again without imposing a new deadline, repeating the exhortion that "Cahn pleaded with believers not to wait." A July 17 article was effectively a repeat, again with no deadline.

Nearly two months after the original "final deadline," WND was still promoting the tour. A July 31 article stated this:

Hundreds of people already have signed up, and while space remains open, organizers are encouraging those interested to sign up quickly, since airline seats are filling up, and when that happens, fares will increase, possibly substantially.

But if "hundreds of people already have signed up," there wouldn't need to be such a heavy push nearly two months after its initial deadline to add more. And we thought that in tours that include air travel, the price for the flight is negotiated beforehand as part of the total tour package and not subject to change afterwards barring unusual circumstances (of which there are currently none; prices for flights have been trending downward this summer).

An Aug. 7 article, however, pretty much eliminates all deadline urgency, beyond copying-and-pasting the claim that "Cahn pleaded with believers not to wait, as reservations and openings may be limited."

It seems that even WND is giving up on the possibility of a successfully filled package tour.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:53 AM EDT
Friday, August 12, 2016
MRC Vilifies Howard Stern, Gives His Friend Trump A Pass
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham and Brent Bozell dedicated much of their Aug. 5 column to bashing "sex-crazed radio shock jock" Howard Stern and sneering at the idea that he should be allowed to interview Hillary Clinton:

Stern, who left broadcast radio for satellite radio so he could be as raunchy as possible and make his millions dwelling on the lowest common denominator for the demographic, men ages 18 to 34, has a less-than-zero chance of scoring a Clinton interview. The risk-averse woman, who hasn't held a press conference yet in 2016, isn't going to upset all her feminist supporters to please Stern.

If any Clinton adviser wanted to suggest to her that it could be a great opportunity to address the gender gap, one can easily look at what accomplished women discuss on his show. Take a Newsmax headline from a year ago that read, "Megyn Kelly Talks with Howard Stern: Breasts, Penises, Sex." Those are the lifelong obsessions of Stern (and his audience).

It was an act of media trolling for The Washington Post's Geoff Edgers to help Stern make his sales pitch to Clinton. Edgers insisted Stern's show is "simply the best broadcast entertainment interview show around."

Stern gave the Post an hour-long interview, but somehow Edgers didn't ask why an aspirant of the highest office in the land should lower herself to an interview with a guy who played fictional superhero Fartman and sold videotapes called "Butt Bongo Fiesta."

Graham and Bozell go on to note that Clinton's fellow presidential candidate, Donald Trump, is a "friend" of Stern, but only in passing while complaning that Edgers asked Stern to criticize Trump for his attacks on the media while Hillary Clinton hasn't held a press conference in months.

But Trump does not get the guilt-by-association treatment from Graham and Bozell for being friends with Stern. But it was just a few months ago that Graham was somehwat more willing to use Stern to attack Trump.

In May, Graham complained that the Washington Post did an article about Trump's "sex boasts….and sex life" as discussed on Stern's show, whining that "the Post didn’t locate these 19-year-old quotes when there were still Republican opponents in the race appealing for the conservative-Christian vote." But as we noted, neither did the MRC or its "news" division, -- both entities completely ignored the Trump-Stern interviews when they first surfaced three months earlier, making Graham's bashing of the Post for doing the story his employer refused to do utterly hypocritical.

Graham and Bozell concluded their column by huffing that Stern is "not going to criticize his pal" Trump. And neither will Bozell or Graham.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:51 PM EDT
CNS Lifts Story Idea, Headline From Liberal Website

On Aug. 2, liberal-leaning watchdog group Right Wing Watch published an article on a 2001 speech by then-Rep. Mike Pence, now Donald Trump's running mate, proclaiming how Rush LImbaugh inspired his political career, under the headline "FLASHBACK: Mike Pence: 'It Is A Literal Truth... I Am In Congress Today Because Of Rush Limbaugh'."

On Aug. 11,'s Rachel Hoover did a blog post on the same subject, with a suspiciously similar headline:

While Hoover apparently cribbed from Right Wing Watch for her headline and subject matter, her article is different, uncritically repeating Pence's praise of Limbaugh while Right Wing Watch emphasized how Pence, like Trump's campaign, is a creation of right-wing radio.

Good to know CNS is getting content ideas from liberals.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:52 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, August 14, 2016 11:22 AM EDT
WND Goes Further Down the Conspiracy Rabbit Hole With Clinton Body Count Speculation
Topic: WorldNetDaily

After WorldNetDaily plunged into the conspiracy-theory pool with dubious speculation about Hillary Clinton's health (something it's been doing for months, actually), it's treading quickly toward the deep end with another old conspiracy chestnut: the Clinton Body Count.

The fact that it's been discredited hasn't kept WND from trying to revive it for the 2016 election, or from trying to add to it. Dutiful WND stenographer Bob Unruh cranks it up for n Aug. 9 article, declaring that "Three people with tangential connections to Bill and Hillary Clinton have died in unusual circumstances over the last few weeks, sparking a renewed interested in the so-called 'body count' of people who allegedly got in the way of the 'Clinton machine.'"

Note the word "tangental." That tells us WND knows this is utter bull, but its utter hatred of all things Clinton compels it to pretend said bull as legitimate.

One of these purported Clinton-linked deaths, according to Unruh: "Seth Rich, a DNC staffer, reportedly was shot in the back on July 10 in Washington while he apparently was walking home from his girlfriend’s apartment. Reported [right-wing column ist Rachel] Alexander: “Some are speculating that Hillary Clinton is behind the murder, because Rich could have been the DNC staffer responsible for leaking the 20,000 damaging DNC emails to WikiLeaks." Unruh added that "WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appeared to suggest Tuesday that recently murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich, a 27-year-old Democratic National Committee staffer who was shot near his townhouse in Washington, D.C. last month, was the source of the WikiLeaks-exposed DNC emails."

Unruh trires to do a pre-emptive runaround of a Snopes item debunking various conspiracy theories around Rich's death by quoting Alexander huffing, "This is strange, since how does Snopes know that it is false? The police haven’t even completed their investigation yet, which Snopes admits. Many murders go unsolved, including several of the strange deaths of people associated with the Clintons.”

Another of the new persons on Unruh's list is actually a rehash: "WND reported just weeks ago on the death of former U.N. official John Ashe in his New York home. Some have speculated whether it was a case of 'Hillary Clinton silencing people who ‘know too much.'" As we've documented, Snopes debunked this conspiracy, which Unruh doesn't mention.

Unruh also added:

Alexander also noted: “Victor Thorn, who wrote four books exposing the Clintons, reportedly killed himself with a gun on his 54th birthday, August 1, while on top of a mountain near his Pennsylvania home. The books he wrote were ‘Hillary (And Bill): The Sex Volume,’ ‘Hillary (And Bill): The Drugs Volume,’ and ‘Hillary (And Bill): The Murder Volume,’ and his latest which was published in February, ‘Crowning Clinton: Why Hillary Shouldn’t Be in the White House.'”

She continued, “According to the Inqisitr, Thorn had appeared multiple times on The Russell Scott Show and told the host, ‘Russell, if I’m ever found dead, it was murder. I would never kill myself.'”

Neither Unruh nor Alexander mentioned that Thorn was a Holocaust denier who blamed Israel for the 9/11 attacks and wrote for a website considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Perhaps if WND wouldn't traffic in politically motivated conspiracy theories, it wouldn't be in such deep financial trouble.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:52 AM EDT
Thursday, August 11, 2016
The MRC Flip-Flops on Ice-T

An Aug. 8 blog post by managing editor Michael W. Chapman praises "rap artist and TV star Ice-T, who is liberal," for declaring that "right to bear arms is 'the last form of defense against tyranny,' and that the right is not about hunting animals but about protecting oneself from an oppressive government." Chapman rather benignly describes Ice-T's rap career this way: "Ice-T, born Tracy Lauren Marrow, started his rap music career in the 1980s and won the “Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group” in 1991."

Curiously, Chapman did not mention Ice-T's most notorious moment as a rapper -- though a fellow Media Research Center employee did not two weeks earlier.

Sarah Stites devoted a July 23 NewsBusters post to describing "The Five Most Vile Anti-Police Raps," harrumphing, "Long before the #BlackLivesMatter movement took hold, many rappers have been singing about police run-ins, alleged 'police brutality,' and their overall hatred and distrust of the 'system.'"

One of Stites' vile five: "Cop Killer" by Body Count, a rap-metal fusion fronted by none other than Ice-T.

So is Ice-T a vile cop-hater or a Second Amendment hero? Chapman and Stites have apparently decided he can be both.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:04 PM EDT
MRC Downgrades Trump's Implicit Threat to Hillary To A 'Remark' And 'Slip'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center doesn't think Donald Trump's implicit threat against Hillary Clinton's life is that big of a deal. It's predicably whining that Trump got more coverage than something involving Hillary Clinton.

Nicholas Fondacaro is first up to distract:

Similar to how the “Big Three" played down the alleged ransom payment to Iran, the nets chose to focus primarily on a Donald Trump controversy instead of a Hillary Clinton one. On Monday Clinton held a rally in Orlando, Florida and in attendance was Seddique Mateen, the father of the Orlando nightclub terrorist, while on Tuesday Trump used innuendo to suggest that 2nd Amendment supporters would somehow stop Clinton. In all, the nets dedicated over four times the coverage to Trump, rather than Clinton, during their Tuesday evening broadcasts.

Note that Fondacaro refuses to admit the implicit violence in Trump's "innuendo."

Next up is Scott Whitlock, who portrays Trump's threat as a "gaffe":

The journalists at MSNBC responded differently to gaffes by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. On Tuesday morning it became clear that Seddique Mateen, the father of the Orlando nightclub shooter, sat directly behind Clinton at a rally in Florida. Rather than express outrage, MSNBC journalists praised the Democrat’s quick response in putting out a statement in response.

However, when Donald Trump at a rally on Tuesday said that “maybe” “Second Amendment people” can do something about Hillary Clinton’s liberal judges, MTP Daily host Chuck Todd pounced. He opened show by demanding, “What did Donald Trump mean by this?”

Whitlock also fails to acknowledge the implicit violence in Trump's"gaffe."

Whitlock returned with a so-called "study" of coverage, downgrading Trump's threat to a "remark" in his headline and in the accompanying chart:

Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton should have been forced to deal with campaign messes on Tuesday, but the three networks only treated the Republican’s problem as a huge gaffe worthy of extensive coverage. ABC, CBS and NBC deluged viewers with more than five times more coverage — 25 minutes and 35 seconds versus 4 minutes and 41 seconds —  to Trump’s “Second Amendment people” remark than they did to the father of an ISIS-inspired terrorist sitting right behind Clinton at a rally in Orlando, Florida. 

CBS pounced on Trump’s comment that “maybe” “Second Amendment people” can do something about Clinton’s judges, highlighting the story for 14 minutes and 24 seconds on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. In contrast, the Evening News and CBS This Morning hosts allowed just a scant 59 seconds to Seddique Mateen, the father of a man who murdered 49 people in an Orlando night club, attending a Clinton at a rally on Monday. 

As expected, MRC chief Brent Bozell ran to Fox News to tout the coverage "study" (keeping his mouth shut about Roger Ailes' travails pays off!) and makes it clear how he intends to interpret Trump's implicit threat:

What did Donald Trump say? Either you believe what he said, which is that a political movement, gun rights movement, could stop the election of Hillary Clinton or you believe her supporters, which is that he's openly advocating killing her. Now, I’m not even going to debate it. It's obvious. However, it becomes a huge controversy. 

Bozell went on to rant about "the Clinton playbook for the media in deflecting from really any Clinton-related scandal." Meanwhile, he's using the Trump playbook for the right-wing media to push the Clinton Equivocation, the right-wing axiom that anything a Clinton does (even if there's no evidence a Clinton had a role in doing it, as with the case of Seddique Mateen), is automaticlaly worse than anything any conservative or Republican has done.

(Funny thing is, last week Bozell appeared on The Blaze to complain that Trump is "stupid" for saying things that distract from Hillary's purported crimes and stuff. And yet he's defending Trump's latest stupid act. Apparently, Trump is not so stupid that Bozell will not ultimately defend him.)

Bozell's lieutenant, Tim Graham, followed shortly thereafter with his own trip to Fox News, and the NewsBusters post hosting the Graham clip downgraded Trump's threat even further; it's now apparently a "slip." Graham, meanwhile, somehow managed to avoid passing judgment on Trump's words, but we assume that he's in lockstep with MRC groupthink and considers it a "slip" as well.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:31 PM EDT
WND Doubles Down on Hillary Health Conspiracy Theory
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The whole Hillary-is-a-criminal thing isn't working out for WorldNetDaily.

At a time when three anti-Hillary books are at the top of the New York Times' nonfiction bestseller list, WND's attempt to play to the anti-Hillary crowd, Jerome Corsi's "Partners in Crime," is tanking -- ranking a dismal 11,703rd at Amazon as of this writing, a terrible showing for a book out only a week on a candidate for president. Perhaps Corsi's track record and the fact that the book is dedicated to a convicted criminal has something to do with it.

Obsessing about Hillary Clinton's purported health issues, however, is apparently drawing enough eyeballs to the website -- never mind that it's mostly bogus, but when has that ever stopped WND before? -- so WND is doubling down. Bob Unruh does the stenography job this time around:

Two prominent physicians sounded an alarm about Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton’s suspect health just as a video of her appeared revealing what the Drudge Report labeled “another brain freeze.”

There long have been questions about Clinton’s health, from her tripping and falling, to reports of blood clots, to special glasses that she used during the Benghazi congressional hearings.

But those incidents happened before she formally entered the presidential race.

Now that she is running, the “seizures,” the “brain freeze” and the fact she was helped up steps are raising red flags, according to Fox News “Medical A-Team.”

Appearing on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, Dr. Marc Seigel and Dr. David Samadi both insisted Clinton’s health is a campaign issue.


“The picture going up the stairs speaks a million words,” Samadi told Hannity. “Is she fatigued? Is she dehydrated? One of the main reasons she fell in 2012 and had the concussions was severe dehydration. They’re holding her and going up the stairs. So she may be really dehydrated, she may have arthritis, she may have back pain, she may have fallen again. We don’t know. There are questions that are unanswered. What we know today is she’s on thyroid medication, she suffers from hypothyroid, low thyroid, that can cause fatigue and gaining weight and all of that.”

Needless to say, Unruh doesn't mention that Samadi is a urologist who specializes in prostate surgery, so he cannot possibly add anything relevant to Hillary's health to the discussion.

Unruh fills out the rest of his article with right-wing conspiracy theorists and armchair analyses of alleged professionals who have never examined Clinton.

Unruh followed that with another article breathlessly declaring that "Fresh questions are being raised about Hillary Clinton’s health, including her mental well-being, after a new photo emerged that appears to show an aide holding her up at a campaign event." LIke the right-wing blogger from whom he lifted the information, Unruh offers no context for the months-old photo but insisted that the image "suggest[ed] a physical problem."

WND also published a column by right-wing doctor and misinformer Jane Orient, who goes full conspiracy theory:

While we don’t have Mrs. Clinton’s medical records, it is widely stated that she experienced a fall that caused a concussion. Since then, she is sometimes seen wearing eyeglasses with prisms, as are used to correct double vision.

Concussions often cause traumatic brain injury, which might not be visualized on a standard CT or MRI. Many of our veterans who experienced blast injury from improvised explosive devices suffer from it. These are some symptoms: difficulty thinking, attention deficits, confusion, memory problems, frustration, mood swings, emotional outbursts, agitation, headaches, difficulties with balance and coordination, and seizures. Many veterans with such an injury cannot hold a job or interact normally with their families.

Obviously, it would be very dangerous for a person subject to symptoms like this to be dealing with foreign leaders or making critical decisions. The president of the United States may have to make world-changing decisions on a moment’s notice. For example, should we launch nuclear-armed missiles? And if the commander in chief is confused, who will make the call?


Is it conceivable that Hillary supporters would really be voting for Huma Abedin, Clinton’s top aide, or for the first first-man president, Bill Clinton? The American people are entitled to know the objective medical facts about Secretary Clinton.

The American Medical Association discourages doctors from speculating on the health of a public figure. Orient might want to look into that sometime.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:19 AM EDT
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
NEW ARTICLE: CNS Does the Unemployment Shuffle
Topic: just can't stop playing up cherry-picked jobless statistics to make President Obama look bad while burying the good news about new jobs created. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 8:35 PM EDT
MRC's Response To Our Post On Its Crowdfunded Film Is A Huge Fail
Topic: Media Research Center

So the Media Research Center took the time to respond to our post -- well, the Huffington Post version of it -- on the MRC's attempt to crowdfund for a upcoming documentary on coal miners purportedly harmed by President Obama's clean-air policies.

Here it is, in its entirety:

Huffington Post Uncorks on Upcoming 'Right-Wing' MRCTV Documentary -- Without Seeing It

Look out, the leftist media has discovered an anti-Obama media plot. On Sunday night, The Huffington Post published an article on our sister organization MRCTV with the headline “Right-Wing Media Org Is Crowdfunding to Distort Obama’s Record on Coal.” They began:

The right-wing Media Research Center is getting into the crowdfunding business, setting up a Kickstarter page to raise $15,000 for “completing the production and marketing” of a “short documentary” about “the devastating human toll of the EPA’s war on coal,” to be called Collateral Damage.

MRCTV crews went to West Virginia to report on the economic dislocation caused by the Obama administration's climate-change policies, inspired by Obama's campaign promise in 2008 to bankrupt coal companies through environmental regulation -- a promise he succeeded in imposing, to cheers from the Left.

Despite the inconvenient truth that the documentary isn’t available for The Huffington Post to view, they claim “it looks like this documentary will be on the dishonest side.” They find it completely defensible for Obama to claim “You know, the irony is that what’s actually hurt coal is not any EPA rules.” They also complained “apparently nobody has told the MRC that Obama is not running for re-election, so bashing him seems rather pointless.”

A few observations on it:

Not only did the MRC not name us as the writer -- ironically, the MRC's post is anonymously credited only to "NB Staff" -- the post falsely portrays our post as the official opinion of the Huffington Post. In fact, we are not employed by HuffPo; we're one of hundreds of writers who post their content there without compensation.

On top of that, the MRC did not provide a link to our post so readers could see it for themselves.

That meant that the MRC's readers would not be able to see that the anonymous MRC writer avoided addressing the two main issues we brought up: why the MRC, which raised more than $15 million last year, couldn't allocate a measly $15,000 to finish its film and resorted to crowdfunding instead; and why the MRC took President Obama's statement about EPA rules not being the main culprit in coal's current downfall out of context and hiding fracking is also a major culprit and that he wants to retrain coal miners.

Of course, the MRC doesn't have to trust us on coal mining. It can look to its own ideologically aligned sources, like the Washington Examiner, which similarly admits that "the precipitous drop in oil prices" has driven the current loss in mining jobs.

The MRC can also turn to one of its own, editor in chief Terry Jeffrey. His May 6 article on how "The United States has lost approximately 191,000 jobs in the mining industry since September 2014" includes a handy chart that shows that -- oops -- current mining industry employment is higher than it was during much of the presidency of Republican George W. Bush:

Finally, the MRC's complaint that I criticized its yet-to-be-completed film without having seen it is rather rich given the MRC's history of bashing films its employees couldn't be bothered to see beforehand.

So, yeah, pretty much a fail all around.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:17 PM EDT
WND Columnist: Vote Trump Because Obama Wasn't Qualified Either
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Observe the interesting bit of talking down of qualifications Ben Kinchlow does in his Aug. 7 WorldNetDaily column, effectively claiming that Donald Trump should be elected despite his manifest disqualification to hold the office. His defense: Obama wasn't qualified (and apparently wasn't born here, proving that Kinchlow is a discredited birther), and people will vote for Hillary only because she's a woman!

There is one overriding factor that will be at the forefront of the upcoming election, just as there was a similar factor in play regarding the election of our last president. Remember, this was/is a man who had, in effect, done nothing of significance in life, has no definitive proof of American citizenship, bowed to the Saudi king and has called the Islamic call to prayer “one of the most beautiful sounds” on earth.

So why was Obama elected president? It wasn’t because he was the most eminently qualified individual, but because America wanted to prove to itself, and the world, that it was not racist – ergo they elected Barack Hussein Obama.

Today we come face to face with another issue confronting the American voting public. America has an extremely high percentage of voting-age college students, millennials, transsexuals, homosexuals, bisexuals and feminists. In addition, many normal Americans want to demonstrate that they are not racists, homophobes or anti-feminist.

So, let’s cut to the chase.

Actual qualifications (ala Obama) have little to do with the matter, and since most politicians have a few blots on their public records, we, the voting public, are willing to overlook some of their missteps. Consequently, in order to prove, as Americans have previously done, that they were not racists by electing a black person, they now want to demonstrate they are not anti-feminist by electing a woman. Yes, you read that right. This not about qualifications, character, ability, experience, the American way, etc. This is about electing the first woman president in our history.

Don’t believe me? Point out one continuing negative stream of reportage (absent Fox News) regarding Hillary Clinton. You will find high-ranking Republicans criticizing Trump and media reports on his gaffs and misstatements. Has Trump made dumb statements? Spoken out of turn? We all know the answer to those questions; now ask those same questions about Hillary Rodham Clinton.


Let me reiterate: America voted in Barack Hussein Obama to prove that we were not racists – and now comes the opportunity to demonstrate to the world (and ourselves) that we are not anti-feminist, sexist bigots.

So, the question is: Will it be “hooray for Hillary” – regardless of qualifications – other than the fact that she’s a woman?

Is Kinchlow really claiming that Clinton isn't qualified to do the job? Sheesh.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:54 AM EDT
Tuesday, August 9, 2016
CNS Portrays False Attack on Hillary As Credible, Merely Disputed

The idea that Hillary Clinton's emails outed an Iranian nuclear scientist, thus leading to his execution by Iranian authorities, is a myth -- but don't tell that.

An Aug. 8 CNS article by Susan Jones uncritically repeated Republican Sen. Tom Cotton's suggestion that scientist Shahram Amiri was executed because "in the e-mails that were on Hillary Clinton's private server, there were conversations among her senior advisers about this gentleman. That goes to show just how reckless and careless her decision was to put that kind of highly classified information a private server. I think her judgment is not suited to keep this country safe." Jones quotes from the emails, but none of them mention Amiri by name, nore do Cotton or Jones back up the suggestion that Iranians had access to Clinton's private server.

On Aug. 9, Patrick Goodenough frames the claim as a mere dispute between the Trump and Clinton campaigns after Trump latched onto it:

The execution of an Iranian nuclear scientist surfaced on the campaign trail Monday when Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump suggested that his Democratic rival’s private server emails may have been linked to his death.

“Many people are saying that the Iranians killed the scientist who helped the U.S. because of Hillary Clinton’s hacked emails,” Trump tweeted, in reference to Shahram Amiri, executed last week according to the Iranian judiciary.

Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state is a major controversy in her presidential campaign and Trump’s tweet referred to reports that a couple of emails – among thousands released by the State Department in line with a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit – referred implicitly to Amiri.

The tweet drew a sharp retort from Nick Merrill, Clinton’s traveling press secretary, who said the GOP nominee was presenting a fabrication, under the cover of what other, unnamed people supposedly are saying.

“‘Many people are saying’ = ‘I made this up’” Merrill tweeted. “After a morning on the teleprompter, the muzzle was bound to come off.” (Trump gave a major economic speech in Detroit earlier in the day, reading off a teleprompter.)

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), for one, has raised concerns about the emails on Clinton's private server in relation to Amiri’s fate.

Not only does Goodenough fail to offer any proof of Iranian access to Clinton's server, he failed to mention the crucial fact that there's no link whatsoever between Amiri and Clinton's emails.

A Washington Post article posted before Goodenough's article -- so he had no excuse not to reference it -- debunked claims of a connection:

There are several possible explanations as to why Amiri decided to go home and face the judgment of the Iranian justice system, which concluded he was a traitor. The Iranian government may have threatened his wife and 7-year old son. He may have hated life on the run. He may have had a change of heart.

But there’s no reasonable connection between the discussion of Amiri’s case on email by Clinton’s staff to Amiri’s eventual execution. There’s no evidence her server was hacked. The Iranians knew all about Amiri well before the emails were released publicly. His kidnapping story never held water and his fate was sealed long before his sentence was carried out.

An Aug. 9 Washington Post fact-check by Glenn Kessler was even more definitive:

As can be seen with this timeline of newspaper articles, the defection and then return of Amiri was widely covered in the news media in 2009 and 2010. Iranian officials could have learned everything they needed to know about Amiri’s defection from reading The Post. Moreover, Iran first publicly raised questions about his disappearance. There was little to be learned from the cryptic messages in Clinton’s emails, even if Iran had somehow gained access to Clinton’s server.

Mystery solved! And four more Pinocchios for Donald Trump.

Will Goodenough correct his article? Will Jones explain to her readers that Cotton was wrong? Will CNS admit it's promoting a false, politically motivated attack and that it knows it's false? Does CNS even care about publishing fair and accurate journalism?

Posted by Terry K. at 4:29 PM EDT
WND Tries, Fails To Raise Questions About Hillary's Health Again
Topic: WorldNetDaily

For months now, WorldNetDaily has attacked Hillary Clinton by forwarding armchair analyses by so-called health experts who have never examined her (and Dolly Kyle) pontificating on Hillary's purportedly fragile health. Well, as part of WND's effort to avoid discussing Donald Trump's mental health issues, it got to do so again in an unbylined article regurgitating dubious speculation by other dubious right-wing websites:

In this heated presidential race where being “fit” and “stable” have become terms in the arsenal of both campaigns, startling photographs emerged Sunday showing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton apparently getting help in climbing up some stairs.

The photos, published by the Reuters and Getty news agencies, show Mrs. Clinton, 68, receiving help as she tries to ascend a staircase in front of a home. The images were actually taken in February when the former first lady was campaigning for president in South Carolina.

The popular Drudge Report splashed a banner headline Sunday evening that stated, “2016: Hillary conquers the stairs.”


Reporter Kyle Olson of the American Mirror asked in a brief article about the new photos on the stairs, “At what point is the mainstream media going to question Clinton’s health status?”

Of course, a six-month-old of Hillary being helped up stairs proves absolutely nothing -- not that WND will ever admit it, of course. As the Washington Post' David Weigel pointed out, this barrage was part of how "the Drudge Report, WorldNetDaily and a small army of would-be Twitter sleuths tried to build the case that the Democratic nominee for president has serious health issues and only they had noticed." 

Weigel goes on to further bust WND:

Indeed, for other websites critical of Clinton, the "stairs" photo was just one part of a #HillarysHealth mosaic. It gave WorldNetDaily a hook to resurrect "a July 21 video posted on YouTube [which] shows Clinton’s head suddenly turning and shaking vigorously for several seconds." That video, titled "Hillary Clinton has seizure/convulsions - tries to play it off making fun of seizures," was also robbed of its context. Two clips of Clinton bobbing her head had been looped and slowed down, as ominous music and voice-overs played behind them — a combination that helped the clip score 1.4 million views.

The clip wasn't from July 21, and (as the scrum of media should have indicated) it wasn't rescued from pro-Clinton censors. It was from June 10, when Clinton, fresh off a series of wins that effectively locked up the Democratic nomination, held a few events ahead of the District of Columbia's primary. Beat reporters followed Clinton to a coffee shop in the Shaw neighborhood; CNN's Dan Merica, to her left, asked her about the breaking news of President Obama's official endorsement. Then, to her right, the Associated Press's Lisa Lerer asked a question about Elizabeth Warren, whom Clinton had met with as vice presidential speculation swirled.

The reporters, who had covered Clinton for a year, interpreted her exaggerated head-bobbing as a joke at how she'd been suddenly surrounded — and as a successful attempt at ending the scrum. It did not occur to them that it would become seen as evidence of a "seizure," as people suffering from seizures do not typically laugh and continue to hold cups of coffee.

In WorldNetDaily's coverage, the evidence that Clinton's bobble-head moment resembled a seizure is that bloggers said it did.

WND's article, meanwhile, devolves into a rehash of its previous attempt to avoid talking about Trump's mental health issues by trying to raise questions about Clinton's mental health -- which is lazy padding and, frankly kinda sad.No wonder WND is in financial trouble.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:48 AM EDT
Monday, August 8, 2016
Dubious AAPS Doc Still Pining for (Ineffective) DDT To Stop Zika
Topic: Newsmax

Medical misinformer Jane Orient, president of the far-right Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, has hopped from WorldNetDaily, her usual home, to Newsmax, once again lamenting in an Aug. 3 column that we can't use DDT to wipe out mosquitoes and, thus, the Zika virus:

CDC and Florida are applying insecticides, but though they aren’t working very well, it is the height of political incorrectness to suggest trying DDT, which was used in effective vector-control programs up until the early 1970s, when the EPA banned it for overblown or even fabricated environmental concerns. DDT probably saved 500,000,000 human lives without killing anyone. Nor does it kill fish, birds, or cats. We might start with a head-to-head comparison of DDT with what we’re using instead for both effectiveness and hazard.

Orient doesn't seem to want to acknowledge that 1) DDT did, in fact, disrupt the ecosystem for fish and birds that eat fish, and 2) most mosquitoes are immune to DDT due to past overuse and bringing it back would do nothing.

Orient also complains about one particular commercial mosquito repellent:

The CDC-recommended strategy, with do-it-yourself prevention, is a step above nothing: Don’t have a baby (and here’s a condom), wear long sleeves and pants, and apply a mosquito repellent such as DEET.

It has taken an unprecedented action of warning about travel to an area in Florida, but what about those traveling from high-risk areas in the Caribbean and Central and South America?

Personally I have not found DEET under socks and long pants to be effective at keeping those ankle-biters from enjoying a meal. Maybe it wasn’t strong enough.

In fact, research has shown that DEET is a highly effective mosquito repellent. But then, Orient doesn't seem to be much interested in research.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:02 PM EDT
MRC's Graham May Want to Rethink His Denial of Roger Ailes-J. Edgar Hoover Comparison
Topic: Media Research Center

In a July 23 NewsBusters post, the Media Resarch Center's Tim Graham took offense to New York Times media critic James Poniewozik referring to outgoing Fox News chief Roger Ailes as the J. Edgar Hoover of TV news who acted for the conservative movement like "a power behind the power, unelected but mighty, outliving administrations and the ebbs and flows of elections, ruling by force and fear."

Graham dismissed that claim -- and the sexual harassment allegations against Ailes -- by asserting, "If these claims of sexual harassment are true, Ailes seems more like Bob Packwood than J. Edgar Hoover." That's one of the very few references to Ailes' sexual harassment scandal at the MRC, which is sadly not surprising -- Graham, Brent Bozell and the rest of the MRC would like to keep appearing on Fox News, after all.

But it turns out the J. Edgar Hoover comparison is much closer than Graham or even Poniewozik claimed. New York magazine's Gabriel Sherman has reported that Ailes used the Fox News budget to hire consultants, political operatives, and private detectives who reported only to him and conducted PR and surveillance campaigns against journalists, authors and other critics of Fox News or perceived threats to the organization.

Don't expect the MRC to report on this development, or Graham to revise his denial of the Ailes-Hoover comparison. Again, they don't want to jeopardize future Fox News appearances.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:29 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, August 8, 2016 2:33 PM EDT
Questions About Trump's Mental Health Are Driving WND Crazy
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Questions about Donald Trump's mental health have gotten WorldNetDaily in a froth. Not that it's treating those questions seriously with sober examination, mind you -- far from it. WND knows that the questions are legitimate, so it must do everything it can to change the subject.

WND managing editor David Kupelian's outright denial of Trump's issues in furiously attempting to distract by focusing on President Obama and Democrats was only the tip of the iceberg, it turned out.

Trump-fluffer Kent Bailey -- last seen here cheering Trump's appeal to whites -- chimed in with an Aug. 4 column denouncing the people making armchair diagnoses while reminding his that he's "a retired professor of clinical psychology with 32 years of experience in teaching, research and writing, and in practicing and supervising students in personality assessment and psychotherapy." And his own armchair diagnosis finds Trump to be crazy ... about America!

There is no evidence whatsoever that Trump is suffering from any psychiatric disorder or pathology. However, as do most rich, powerful and influential persons, Trump has a number of personal quirks and eccentricities that sometimes get in the way of being “presidential” in the soft and sensitive girly world we live in. And to be truthful, even his closest and most loyal family and friends may, at times, recoil from his insensitivity, social missteps and unforced errors. Nevertheless, he is a bona fide member of the warrior class, and such alpha super-males often make waves in times of peace.

But in the “dark” kind of times outlined in the Republican convention, the sharp-edged warrior becomes a life-or-death necessity. In dark times, superficial things like the “first woman,” “I feel your pain” and high-sounding, socialist giveaway programs are literal threats to national survival. With terrorism rampaging in Europe and literally knocking at our door, I for one believe we are in dark times indeed – both domestically and internationally. Moreover, we need all the warriors we can get at every level of government – and that includes the president of the United States.

In a subtle way, we have implicit evidence that Donald Trump will bring fellowship and order to a world reeling from both domestic and worldwide violence and terrorism. Just look at the respectful, orderly and well-behaved masses of people at Trump’s meetings and the Republican Convention versus the hateful divisions, the need for massive police presence to maintain order and the overall chaos that defines the highly divisive Democratic/socialist way of life. At the Republican Convention talk was realistically harsh and critical, but people were exceptionally orderly and well-behaved. By contrast, the Democratic Convention was characterized by “talk sweet and then hit the streets and destroy cities if you do not get your way.” We already have ample evidence that Trump is truly the “law and order” candidate as advertised.

Gina Loudon -- another armchair-diagnoser -- also chimes in with her Aug. 7 column, and she goes the denial-and-distraction. She doesn't even mention Trump in her column, but she's quick to diagnose Hillary Clinton with a litany of mental illnesses:

Mental illness is nothing to ignore. It is dangerous to all involved. Hillary’s behavior might indicate a much deeper, darker mental condition that is flatly ominous. She has had visual, memory and reasoning issues in recent years following her head injury. She has endured many subsequent falls, which would be obvious indicators of traumatic head injury. Instead of running for president, Hillary could be seeking a medical battery of testing that could get to the heart of what may be a worsening mental disorder, as well as intense therapy and perhaps medication (if she isn’t already medicated), before more lives are lost at the hands of her incompetence.

Most devastatingly, the symptoms Hillary exhibits may be indicative of a deeper, progressive psychosis. A NIHMS study showed that pathological liars had increased white matter volumes in the orbitofrontal, inferior frontal and middle frontal cortices. Another theory said long-term use of lying may actually cause regional increase in white matter volume, and that repeated lying could cause permanent changes in brain chemistry. Whether the most caustic disease model of lying is caused by genetic factors or environmental influences is still up for major debate among experts.

If the condition of someone with such systemic mental conditions worsens, their decision-making capacity and overall ability to distinguish truth from fantasy could be impaired. This would be dangerous for the leader of a family, or a company, but it could be devastating for a national leader.

Only after making this declaration, though, does she concede that "Only testing and analysis by a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist could say for sure, and I am neither, nor have I ever examined Hillary in a clinical setting." Still, she goes on to declare that "it might be a healthy decision for Secretary Clinton to step back from the limelight, and instead seek some testing or therapy to determine her mental fitness before endangering more lives." She makes no such recommendation for Trump.

An Aug. 7 WND "news" article by Paul Bremmer also goes the distraction route, asking, "But while everyone is discussing Trump’s sanity, what about Hillary’s?" In addition to summarizing the attacks from Loudon and Kupelian, Bremmer calls in WND friend Michael Savage (conveniently, author of a book called "Liberalism is a Mental Disorder") and expertise-denying WND author Marc Fitch to denounce anyone who passes judgment on Trump's psyche as people who "are trying to give the impression that they are reasonable and rational – medical, if you will – thinkers, so the public will look up to them as the kings and queens of smart."

Fitch didn't mention Savage's book -- savage likes to present himself as an expert --  or a book sold at WND by Lyle Rossiter, who uses his psychiatric training to paint liberals as suffering from "psychopathology" that "threatens to destroy the West's greatest achievement: the American dream of civilized liberty."

Needless to say, at no point does Bremmer actually address the issue of Trump's mental health, merely serving as a stenographic gateway to attack anyone who actually does raise the issue.

Again, the fact that  WND is hitting back so forcefully strongly suggests that it knows Trump has mental health issues and it could be a legitimate avenue of attack. So as committed Trump fans, WND must attack and deny. Which may be a mental illness in itself.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:23 AM EDT

Newer | Latest | Older

Bookmark and Share

Get the WorldNetDaily Lies sticker!

Find more neat stuff at the ConWebWatch store!

Buy through this Amazon link and support ConWebWatch!

Support This Site

« August 2016 »
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31

Bloggers' Rights at EFF
Support Bloggers' Rights!

News Media Blog Network

Add to Google