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Monday, April 23, 2018
CNS' Obama-Bashing Hot Take on Comey
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com apparetly would like to be one of the cool internet kids with their hot takes, so it tries one regarding a TV interview with James Comey in an April 16 article:

Former FBI Director James Comey in an interview broadcast on Sunday night that he “deeply” respects former President Barack Obama “and his higher loyalty to the values I care a lot about” but that current President Donald Trump is “morally unfit” to be president.

When Obama, who Comey believes has a “higher loyalty to the values I care a lot about,” served in the Illinois state legislature, he repeatedly opposed a bill that would have treated babies who survived late-term abortions as “persons” who have the same constitutional rights as any other person.

In addition to being a really dumb hot take, it's highly misleading. As we've documented, Obama has said he opposed those bills because the law would likely have been struck down in the courts for giving legal status to fetuses, a requirement that a second doctor be present at abortions, and their lack of a "neutrality clause" to make sure the bill would not affect current abortion laws, and the bill in question would have required any fetus who survives an abortion who cannot survive outside the womb to receive medical care (the state already requires post-viable fetuses to receive medical care).

The link CNS used to back up the claim is a video made by anti-abortion activist Jill Stanek that similarly misleads about the bill.

Call that a big ol' hot-take fail.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:30 PM EDT
WND's Farah Stands By His Convicted-Felon Ex-Congressman Buddy
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've documented WorldNetDaily's love of former Republican Texas Rep. Steve Stockman -- to the point where it was effectively serving as Stockman's PR shop during Stockman's single term in Congress from 2012 to 2014 and his ill-fated primary run for a Senate seat against incumbent Republican John Cornyn. Stockman had responded in kind, giving away copies of a WND-published anti-Obama book written by then-WND reporter Aaron Klein to his fellow members of Congress.

But even Stockman's recent conviction on numerous fraud charges isn't shaking WND's faith in him.

An anonymously written April 12 WND article offered up a mostly straight, if vaguely written, account of Stockman's conviction on 23 charges "related to financial crimes," with the details of the offenses limited to claiming that "Essentially, he was charged with using charitable donations for projects and activities unrelated to the charities to which they were donated." WND spent more space recounting Stockman's right-wing-friendly record -- i.e., noting that "he called for a congressional investigation into Alfred Kinsey’s 1948 writings about men and sex after learning that Kinsey included in his study the data from the diary of a pedophile" -- then on the details of the charges for which Stockman is currently in the news.

The truth is that Stockman used that money from donors for a wide variety of strange and eclectic purposes, including to "spy on political rivals with Inspector Gadget-style tools, to pay off his credit card debt, to go on dolphin boat rides, and to buy up copies of pop-up Advent books published by his brother." Stockman pledged to use the money to establish a center for conservative interns in Washington, which never happened.

But the truth doesn't matter to WND editor Joseph Farah, who used his April 15 column to proclaim Stockman innocent, despite the overwhelming evidence against him:

I’ve known Steve for many years. There’s not a corrupt bone in his body. Don’t believe anything else you read about this case anywhere – including Fox News, which hung him out to dry.

Steve went to Washington to do one thing – defeat the Deep State.

There’s an old saying about the feds: If they want to get you, they have an unlimited budget and unlimited power to do so. Knowing what we now know in more graphic detail than ever before, are you surprised?

Farah then quoted Stockman's wife supporting her husband:

I haven’t talked to Steve, who is in lockup awaiting sentencing. But, according to his lovely and loyal wife, Patti, he’s doing fine under the circumstances, which I am gratified to hear.

[...]

It seems Steve has already made lots of friends – guards, warden, doctors, nurses, staff. He’s one of the friendliest, most down-to-earth guys I ever met. Everybody’s laughing because Steve is as funny as any stand-up comic you ever heard.

Patti was just happy to see him laughing.

“After a moment of pain, we had a wonderful visit,” she related. “Steve had a rough start at that facility health-wise, but things seem to be under control now. He’s been furiously writing things he’s been wanting to write for several years now and is excited about how easily it is just pouring out of him.”

Someday, we’ll get the whole story, it seems. But not today or tomorrow, for sure.

Fartah concluded his column by publishing Stockman's address in prison and a request from Stockman's wife for prayers, adding "In closing, let me say I hope President Trump pardons Steve Stockman like he pardoned Scooter Libby. I can’t say any more. I’m too choked up."

So a criminal friend getting busted chokes Farah up, but not publishing fake news and pretending that the actual truth is fake does not. Got it.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:32 AM EDT
Sunday, April 22, 2018
MRC Pretends Williamson Lost Writing Job For Being A Conservative
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Curtis Houck rants in an April 5 post:

In another sign of extreme cowardice and censorship of conservatives, The Atlantic and editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg decided to firemconservative and former National Review writer Kevin Williamson on Thursday after just over two weeks since the announcement following vicious backlash to the hiring. 

The excuse was holding a pro-life position about women aborting children facing the death penalty, but the reality is that it only served as an excuse to pull the trigger.

Goldberg made the announcement in a Thursday memo to staff that Williamson “is not the best fit for his talents, and so we are parting ways” because his view in a podcast and previous tweets about women who have abortions and the death penalty were “contrary to The Atlantic’s tradition of respectful, well-reasoned debate, and to the values of our workplace.”

The cowardly EIC argued that he thought “Kevin would represent an important addition to our roster of Ideas columnists, and I addressed the controversy surrounding some of his past tweeting and writing” because “no one’s life work should be judged by an intemperate tweet, and that such an episode should not necessarily stop someone from having a fruitful career at The Atlantic.”

Of course, Goldberg peddled fake news when he made that argument as the views Williamson has on abortion were the exact reason that will prevent him “from having a fruitful career at The Atlantic.”

The gutless Goldberg claimed that Williamson’s stance “was also a centerpiece of a podcast discussion in which Kevin explained his views on the subject of the death penalty and abortion” and that Goldberg, in his infinite wisdom, realized that the former National Review correspondent’s stance was “his carefully considered views” and not a one-off tweet.

[...]

To recap, The Atlantic still maintains far-left writers such as Peter Beinart, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Adam Serwer, and Alex Wagner, but Williamson was fired solely because of his conservatism. Nevermind the fact that he was anything but a Trump supporter; the reality that he was still let go shows how the left’s censorship has no limits. 

A couple things here. First: Houck provides no evidence that executing women who have an abortion is a mainstream "pro-life" view. He cites no mainstream anti-abortion activists who hold that view --indeed, the mainstream anti-abortion movement regularly denies that it has a goal of doing so. That makes Williamson's view an extreme one, and one  for which Williamson was justly fired.

Which brings us to our second thing: Houck is engaging in lies and projection by falsely painting Williamson's firing as a larger attack on conservatives. He has no facts on which to base his claim that Goldberg was issuing "fake news" on the reason for Williamson's firing, and calling Goldberg "cowardly" and "gutless" is simply classless name-calling. Houck's gratutious attacking of other Atlantic columnists as "far-left" is one that the MRC has engaged in to the point of meaninglessness. He cites no instances of those columnists advocating the execution of people engaging in currently legal behavior.

Houck rants about "the left’s censorship," but his employer's "news" division, CNSNews.com, has no columnists, let alone employees, who are anything but conservative. Houck should address bias on his own home turf first before casting stones elsewhere.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:15 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, April 22, 2018 7:17 PM EDT
Newsmax Profiles Eric Bolling, Ignores His Sexual Harrassment Scandal
Topic: Newsmax

The April 9 Newsmax item "5 Minutes With ... Eric Bolling" is as fluffy as they come:

You may know Eric Bolling from his time on TV as a financial analyst on CNBC and Fox Business, or maybe as a regular on Fox News shows like “The Specialists” or “The Five.”

The 55-year-old is also a New York Times best-selling author, and a familiar face of the opioid epidemic as he works to push awareness among parents and their children after losing his own son, Eric Chase, to an accidental overdose last year.

The commodities trader-turned-media commentator also counts President Donald Trump as a personal friend, and he’s been known to get the occasional shout-out on the presidential Twitter feed.

Missing from that description, as well as any of the questions that follow: The important fact that Bolling was fired by Fox News (euphemistically described as "amicably" parting ways) following allegations of sexual harrassment surfaced against him. The firing occurred the same day as his son's overdose.

The death of Bolling's son is sad and tragic, but it should not overshadow how Bolling lost his job -- espeicially since it appears that Bolling appears to be using this opioid awareness campaign as a way to rehabilitate his own image.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:44 AM EDT
Saturday, April 21, 2018
CNS Turns Single Question to Pompeo Into Two Articles
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com typically ignores a lot of news, particularly when it doesn't advance its right-wing agenda. Yet when it wants to, it can give a ridiculous amount of focus on a single thing.

And so it goes with a question to Mike Pompeo during his confirmation hearing to be secretary of state, as asked by Sen. Cory Booker, on whether Pompeo thought that gay sex was a "perversion." CNS reporter Patrick Goodenough managed to squeeze two entire articles out of this single question.

The first focused on the question itself. Goodenough admitted that "did not answer directly when asked several times by Booker" about the issue, then explained that the question derived from a speech Pompeo gave at a church in which he quoted a partisan prayer claiming that "We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle." Goodenough touted how the so-called prayer was also read in state egislatures and had been "read out on radio stations and from pulpits across America. He then reproduced the entire "prayer," which also claimed that "We have worshipped other gods and called it multi-culturalism" and "We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare."

The second article by Goodenough was a political attack, bashing the Council on American-Islamic Relations for praising Booker over the question by noting a decade-old statement by a lower-level CAIR official criticizing homosexuality (but not explaining that it's really no different that how his boss, Michael W. Chapman, feels about it). He also wrote that "Islamic doctrine frowns on homosexuality" and that "countries where the death penalty for homosexuality is applied or codified in law are all Islamic."

These are literally the only two original articles CNS generated on Pompeo's confirmation hearing -- both focused on a single question.

Goodenough later followed up with an article on CAIR's opposition to Pompeo's nomination, complaining that CAIR "was thrilled when Democrats on the Senate panel grilled Pompeo last week over his views on Islam." He did not similarly note what lines of questioning from Republican members of Congress "thrilled" conservative boosters.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:06 PM EDT
Jay-Z Derangement Syndrome
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Jay-Z is an unhappy, blind person. I know because I’ve been there. Like him, I thought and felt like my mother, whom I resented but thought I “loved.” I believed that “racism” existed, and that whites were to blame for blacks’ suffering. It’s a lie, meant to keep whites afraid and blacks angry.

Jay-Z’s mother is a lesbian. When she came out, telling him she felt she may “love” another woman, he said he cried in happiness for her. But he has no peace. His father left the family when he was young. They supposedly reconciled before he died, but there’s nothing to indicate Shawn Carter ever truly reconnected with his father or loved him, let alone anyone else.

He’s married to Beyoncé and has children with her, but he allows her to go out on stage half naked, setting a bad example for their daughters as well as young girls and married women who look up to her. Together, they support the radical, far-left hate movement Black Lives Matter, which is worse than the KKK – killing the souls of black people by lying to them. The two came out for Barack Obama, the worst president in history who helped escalate murder in black communities by stoking black anger, undermining police and letting criminals and illegals roam free.

Jay-Z appeared on David Letterman’s Netflix show “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.” They talked about Donald Trump, repeating predictable nonsense, calling the president a “racist” and saying he brought out an “ugly” part of America that people forgot existed. But these sick entertainers represent the truly ugly part of America – and they never let people forget about the mess they push!

There’s no evidence the president is “racist,” and there’s no proof “racism” has ever existed. It’s an illusion promoted by the children of the lie, meant to prevent white people from telling the truth and keep blacks deluded and blaming someone else for their problems. 

[...]

Jay-Z thinks the president “brought out” ugliness in America. In reality, we on the right watched the evil that Obama ushered in and emboldened, but, finally, Trump is making things right. The insane overreactions against Trump is the anger already in evil people who were accustomed to getting their way. Anyone expressing anger already had that spirit inside them before they ever knew about Trump.

I urge anyone who has any anger to pray and know yourselves so you do not fall for the lie.

-- Jesse Lee Peterson, April 8 WND column


Posted by Terry K. at 11:01 AM EDT
Friday, April 20, 2018
MRC's NewsBusters Is Getting Conspiracy-Happy Again
Topic: NewsBusters

The Media Resarch Center's newfound love of conspiracy theories continues in a March 31 NewsBusters post by Tom Blumer complaining that normal people in the media didn't see the same conspiracy theories he did:

On Thursday, shortly after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he would not appoint a second special counsel, CNN's Jeffrey Toobin agreed with the decision, claiming that "as far as I could tell, most of the accusations against the FBI are lunatic conspiracy theories."

That would lead one to question why Toobin didn't complain about having an inspector general and federal prosecutor John Huber look into these matters. The fact is that there is enough evidence of a conspiracy and coverup to justify some form of inquiry — and Toobin, in his heart of hearts, should know that.

After detailing how people in the FBI really are conspiring against Donald Trump and doing things that are totally real and not conspiracy theories at all, Blumer huffed: "Toobin's contention, properly viewed, and regardless of the appropriateness of Sessions' decision not to engage a second special counsel, appears to be part of a real conspiracy — that of the establishment press to keep the truth from the American people."

So the people calling out conspiracy theories are the real conspirators. Got it.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:29 PM EDT
David Kupelian's Selective Massacre Memory
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An April 8 column finds WorldNetDaily managing editor David Kupelian in another lecturing mood, this time over the causes of mass shootings:

Guns. Bullying. Mental illness. Psychiatric medications. Violent videogames. Fatherlessness. The desire for fame.

Many reasons are invoked to explain why more and more frequently in today’s America, young men – and occasionally women – are turning into mass murderers.

Yet the highly politicized debate over core causes and prevention strategies generates far more heat than light. Liberals blame guns, the National Rifle Association and Republicans, while conservatives blame fatherlessness, godlessness and gun-free zones. But just as with most other life-and-death issues plaguing today’s painfully divided America, true consensus as to causes and cures – which could then become genuine policy solutions – always seems out of reach.

Kupelian then goes through a laundry list of recent massacres and their alleged causes, durnig which he adds copycat perpetrators to his checklist of causes. But he suspiciously omits two recent massacres from his recounting -- perhaps because Kupelian's employer may have helped to influence them.

Conspicuous omission No. 1 is Anders Breivik, who massacred dozens in Norway in 2011. Breivik's anti-Mulsim, anti-multiculturalism and anti-feminism manifesto cited WND six times.

Conspicuous omission No. 2 is Dylann Roof, who murdered nine blacks in a South  Carolina church in 2015. Roof'sobsession with black-and-white crime and the state of post-apartheid South Africa echoed similar concerns made by WND columnists.

Kupelian then plugs the current issue of WND's sparsely read Whistleblower magazine, which has the theme "Why kids become killers." But if WND won't examine its own possible role in culpability, why bother reading it?


Posted by Terry K. at 1:44 AM EDT
Thursday, April 19, 2018
CNS Opposes Syria Airstrike -- For A While
Topic: CNSNews.com

As events led up to President Trump ordering an airstrike on Syria over a chemical attack on civilians, CNSNews.com took a weirdly passive-aggressive approach to expressing its opposition to it.

First up was an April 11 column by editor in chief Terry Jeffrey headlined "An Attack Syria Did Not Do." This actually wasn't about the chemical attack --mentioned only obliquely in the final paragraph, in which Jeffrey warns "Look before you shoot" -- but, rather, the 1991 bombing of a passenger jet that exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, in which Syria was originally a suspect until it was determined that Libya did it. Jeffrey lectured in a bit of revisionist history:

In response to the attack on Pan Am 103 — an indisputable act of war against the United States — Congress would have been justified in authorizing the use of force to overthrow the regime of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Instead, the U.S. worked to isolate Gadhafi and encircle him with sanctions.

After the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, Gadhafi gave up his weapons of mass destruction programs, paid reparations to the families of Pan Am 103 victims, restored normal relations with the United States and recognized we had a common enemy in al-Qaida.

Then President Obama used military force — not authorized by Congress — to help rebels overthrow Gadhafi.

After Gadhafi fell, the Islamic State established a foothold in Libya.

That's an misleadingly simplistic view of what happened in Libya after 9/11. Gadhafi was trying to end Libya's isolation well before the Iraq war. Further, Libya was already in the midst of a civil war in 2011 by the time NATO, with the support of the U.S. -- not Obama himself, as Jeffrey falsely claims -- led a bombing campaign leading to Gadhafi's overthrow. Despite resuming "normal relations with the United States," Jeffrey also fails to mention that Gadhafi was still a repressive dictator. (Obama has admitted that not planning for the aftermath of Gadhafi's overthrow was the worst mistake of his presidency.)

That was followed with an column that day with a byline from another dead guy -- this time founding father James Madison warning that presidents need congressional approval for foreign military intervention that's not in response to a "sudden attack."

AFter the bombing attack started, CNS quickly published an article credited only to "CNSNews.com Staff" complaining that "President Donald Trump announced tonight that he had ordered the U.S. military to launch what he called “precision strikes” in Syria in coordination with British and French forces—but without authorization of the U.S. Congress."

Then -- as if it suddenly remembered its mission was to be a Trump sycophant and not to question his decision-making -- CNS shifted into its usual rah-rah stenography mode:

None of these articles reference CNS' earlier concern about Trump acting without congressional authorization.

Jeffrey did return to shade-throwing in a more explicit form in his April 18 column, highlighting a 2013 tweet from Trump that "The President must get congressional approval before attacking Syria," adding: "President Trump did not seek and did not get that authority from Congress before he launched a "limited war" on Syria. To quote him, he made a 'big mistake.'"


Posted by Terry K. at 4:43 PM EDT
WND's Cashill Finds Another Dubious Character to Defend
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Jack Cashill sure knows how to pick 'em.

In addition to his longtime affection for murderers who kill people he doesn't like, the WorldNetDaily columnist has been on a roll this year in defending more people who arguably don't deserve it.

Cashill's latest subject is Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, who's currently embroiled in a scandal in which he is alleged to have blackmailed a mistress. He spends his April 10 column lashing out at the prosecuting attorney for "playing almost exclusively to the media" and trying to poke holes in the mistress' account of the affair. "The case against Missouri Republican Gov. Eric Greitens is almost as pathetic as the case against Donald Trump, but those who consume the state’s mainstream media do not know this and may never know it," Cashill huffed.

Unfortunately for Cashill, his column came out around the same time a report commissioned by the Republican-controlled Missouri legislature came out ofering vivid details of the coercive, abusive relationship. The woman gave sworn testimony to the bipartisan legislative committee, which found her credible. Greitens refused to participate in the committee's investigation and he denounced its findings.

Hey, at least Cashill does concede that the affair did occur and that "Greitens has admittedly done enough wrong, at least by Republican standards, that a resignation would not be out of order." So that's something.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:32 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2018 9:34 AM EDT
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
MRC Cheers 'Chappaquiddick' Film for Bashing Kennedys, Hides How It's Flopping At Box Office
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has long had an obsession with hating the Kennedy political dynasty -- so much so that it falsely attacks columnist Charles Pierce for a cutting remark about Ted Kennedy and Chappaquiddick that it wrongly interprets as praise for him.

So when news broke of a film that purports to tell the unvarnised truth about what happened at Chappaquiddick -- and, more importantly, make Ted Kennedy look bad -- the MRC was so giddy, it served as an unpaid (?) PR agent for the film.

In December, P.J. Gladnick cheered the trailer of the film for adhering to the Kennedy-hate that is right-wing orthodoxy: "If anybody feared that the upcoming Chappaquiddick movie would be a whitewash of Ted Kennedy, the recently released trailer should disabuse them of that notion."

Promotion of the film ramped up as its release date moved closer, led by Scott Whitlock:

  • Whitlock cheered the film's producer for refusing the "take the bait" from a Washington Post interviewer asking if the film had any resonance for the Trump era.
  • Whitlock also uncritically repeated the film producer's unsupported allegation that "powerful people"  tried to stop the film (and included the film's trailer in his post).
  • Another Whitlock post gushed that "The movie, in unflinching terms, shows Kennedy abandoning victim Mary Jo Kopechne to die in an overturned, submerging car" and complained that a Washington Post article about the film didn't like it enough.
  • Corinne Weaver lamented that "liberal Hollywood" allegedly kept a proposed Chappaquiddick film from being made 40 years ago.
  • Tim Graham raged when a writer argued that the film shows Democrats are addressing their issues with women while Republicans still have not: "For one, not all Democrats tried to rid themselves of Weinstein money. Take the Clinton Foundation keeping their quarter-million. And trying to argue Roy Moore "nearly won a Senate seat" is proof that the GOP is Worse Than Chappaquiddick?"
  • Christian Toto gave Jason Clarke, who plays Ted Kennedy in the film, lots of space to offer his political opinions, mainly about how terrible the Kennedys are. We thought the MRC opposed actors having political opinions.
  • Tom Blumer ranted at an "insufferably liberal" writer who thinks the film's portrayal of Ted Kennedy is inaccurate: "Anyone who knows the history, dramatically retold in the movie I saw Sunday afternoon, can only hope that the actually despicable Massachusetts senator accurately portrayed in the film makes the history books."
  • Bill D'Agostino complained that the media wasn't following the right-wing, anti-Kennedy line by promoting the film.
  • Graham and Brent Bozell wrote a column promoting the film, cheering how it's "drawing favorable reviews from the movie critics." They even used Ted Kennedy as a way to ludicrously portray Donald Trump as a wonderful guy by comparison: "[M]any older voters thought liberals sounded preposterous when they suggested Donald Trump's presidential campaign should be canceled over the "Access Hollywood" tape of him boasting of grabbing women in the crotch. Kennedy had a woman's death on his resume, and it never stopped the left from boosting him as the finest presidential timber."

One thing you won't read about at the MRC: How nobody wants to actually see this film.

In its opening weekend, "Chappaquiddick" made a paltry $5.7 million despite appearing on more than 1,500 screens. At that rate, it's highly unlikely to make back its production budget, despite it not being publicly disclosed.

That didn't keep MRC "news" division CNSNews.com from trying to spin away this dismal performance. Craig Bannister found someone who predicted the film would make only $2 million in its  opening weekend, so he laughably proclaimed that it "far surpassed box office predictions."

In its second weekend, "Chappaquiddick" saw its box office drop by about half. The MRC hasn't mentioned a thing about that.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:56 PM EDT
WND's Farah Finally Got That Logrolling Award From His Buddy
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It's a big sign of the sad state of things at WorldNetDaily that it has to rely on what few close friends it has to generate any sort of buzz about it -- and even then, it's all about editor Joseph Farah, not WND itself as it was a few years back when it latched onto a dubious "independent news organization" calling WND trustworthy (it was actually run by a cultish church for the main purpose of attacking the prosecution of its pastor on child sexual assault charges).

WND having Chuck Norris tout a book by Farah that won't be published for another six months is just one example. Another is the award given Farah by the Western Conservative Conference. It's the conference's second attempt at giving Farah an award; the first try, in 2016, was scuttled when the entire conference was canceled due to an "unfortunate medical issue."

Buyt the conference actually went forward as planned this year, and Farah got his award; originally called the "Hero of Freedom Award" in 2016, it somehow morphed into the "W. Stanton Evans Lifetime Achievement Award."

But the Western Conservative Conference was put on by the Western Journalism Center, which was founded by Farah in 1991 as a right-wing journalism-y thing that, like a lot of ight-wing journalism-y things in the 1990s, got funding from Richard Mellon Scaife. In the mid-2000s, Farah turned it over to friend Floyd Brown, who turned into a right-wing-fringe conspiracy-monger; Brown has since tried to recreate the core of the organization as a trainer of right-wing bloggers. Farah is listed as a "trainer."

In other words, this is all a big, steaming pile of logrolling and dealing between buddies.

Farah hints at it -- but, of course, does not admit it, or that he founded the organization giving him the award -- in his March 25 column made up of his speech upon reeiving the award, in which he recounts his long relationship with Brown:

Floyd Brown, the president of the Western Center for Journalism, and I were trying to figure out yesterday how long we have been conspiring together. Neither one of us is entirely sure, but I know it goes back at least to my days in Los Angeles in the late 1980s when I was still a part of what we euphemistically call the “mainstream media.”

[...]

But, I digress. When I first got to know Floyd Brown in the 1980s, I was either running the news department of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, then the flagship of the Hearst newspapers, or I was running another Southern California daily newspaper as editor in chief and about to be recruited to run the historic Sacramento Union, then the oldest daily West of the Mississippi.

The rest of Farah's speech was a victimhood rant blaming Google and Facebook for not promoting WND links (in fact, WND's own lack of credibility is much more to blame), railing against the Southern Poverty Law Center for (accurately) pointing out WND's extremism and unironically praying to God for forgiveness "for the way we try to wage war in the spiritual realm without calling on you first for the marching orders."

The conference itself, by the way, was so unremarkable that even WND didn't cover it. Beyond Joe Arpaio once again proclaiming himself to be a birther (and, thus, utterly without credibility), the only news came from peripheral events -- an unproven claim about an employee at a coffee stand at the convention center where the conference took place who "threatened to slip estrogen hormone pills into the coffee of attendees, and conference speaker and Muslim-hating philanderer John Guandolo for calling an employee of the airline he flew to the conference a "jihadi" for no apparent reason.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:22 AM EDT
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
CNS Reporter Uncritically Repeats White House Misinformation
Topic: CNSNews.com

With very rare exceptions, CNSNews.com reporter Melanie Arter is content to serve as an uncritical stenographer for White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and other Trump White House media representatives. That means Arter is on occasion reporting false or misleading information -- and, thus, misleading her readers.

For instance, a March 1 article features a prime bit of regurgitation from Arter:

In an effort to illustrate the “historic obstruction of Senate Democrats,” the White House pointed to acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, who is awaiting confirmation by the Senate, as an example of how it affects the safety and security of the American people.

“Earlier this week, I mentioned that we were going to begin regularly highlighting the historic obstruction of Senate Democrats, an issue that threatens the safety and security of the American people,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

“As a reminder, compared to the four previous administrations, this Senate has confirmed the fewest nominees. Half of the president's highly qualified nominees are still waiting on confirmation,” she said.

“Today, we have another example. Two-hundred and seventy-six days ago, Kevin McAleenan was nominated to be commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Kevin's primary responsibility would be to help safeguard American borders, keeping both terrorists and their weapons out of our nation, all while facilitating lawful international trade,” Sanders said.

“Kevin should be preventing terrorists and contraband from entering the nation, yet he is still awaiting Senate confirmation. Senator Schumer should stop putting the safety and security of the American people at risk and immediately confirm him,” she said.

But Sanders -- and, thus, Arter -- omits a critical piece of information. A real news outlet reported that McAleenan had been scheduled for a confirmation hearing last July, but it was "mysteriously postponed" the night before. Why? McAleenan had been accused of having an affair with a subordinate and misappropriating funding. McAleenan was ultimately cleared of wrongdoing, and his confirmation process resumed in October. That's at least three months of the total Sanders (and Arter) cited that cannot possibly be blamed on alleged Democratic obstruction.

Arter served up more dutiful (and redundant) stenography in a March 16 article:

White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short complained Friday of Senate Democrats’ obstruction of President Donald Trump’s nominees, saying at this rate, it will take 11 and a half years for his nominees to be given an up-or-down vote.

In the last four administrations combined, the Senate held 17 cloture votes of presidential nominees compared to the 79 cloture vote in the first 14 months of the Trump administration, Short noted.

“At this point, in the past four administrations combined -- the last four administrations -- the Senate had conducted 17 cloture votes combined - cloture vote, in essence, being a filibuster on a nominee. Seventeen cloture votes in the last four administrations combined, at this point,” Short said.

“Today, the Senate has had 79 cloture votes in the first 14 months of our administration. Seventeen, over the last four administrations, versus 79 in the first 14 months of our administration. That is roughly five times the number of the last four administrations combined,” Short said.

But Arter wasn't moved to research Short's claims beyond repeating them, so she ignored what another real news outlet reported -- that a 2013 change in the confirmation process, in which a simple majority is now needed to confirm a nominee instead of 60 votes before, is likely responsible for the growing number of cloture votes:

Cloture motions on nominations aren’t what they used to be, however. Before the use of the “nuclear option” that changed the filibuster thresholds, the moves to limit debate required bipartisan support except during the brief periods where at least 60 senators were members of the majority caucus.

Legislative issues like infrastructure and immigration would require bipartisan deals to be struck before those bills could reach the floor for consideration (especially since the Senate has no appetite for going nuclear on legislative filibusters).

Arter did it again in a March 29 article:

President Donald Trump on Thursday lashed out at online retail giant Amazon, complaining that they are putting thousands of retailers out of business and pay “little or no” state and local taxes.

“I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!” Trump tweeted.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked Wednesday whether the president was looking for ways to go after Amazon.

“Look, we have no announcements and no specific policies or actions that we're currently pushing forward or considering taking,” she said.

Arter didn't tell her readers that Trump's tweet is factually wrong. the U.S. Postal Service does lose money, but not because of Amazon, since the USPS is required by law to at least break even on its parcel delivery operations. Amazon also collects sales taxes in all 46 states that have one, even though it's not legally required to do so.

If Arter can't be bothered to fact-check anything the Trump White House says and merely acts as a servile stenographer, what good is she as a reporter?


Posted by Terry K. at 3:25 PM EDT
WND Still Trying To Link Trump To Third Temple (And The End Times)
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has been leaning hard into linking Donald Trump to being key to building the Third Temple in Jeruasalem (and, you know, kick-start the End Times, but WND's pretending that's not actually an issue).

The latest attempt is an anonymously written April 1 WND article:

Donald Trump might not be the most popular person inside the beltway, in California, on U.S. college campuses or in the American media, but his support is growing in Israel, with one prominent rabbi saying he believes the president is destined to rebuild the Jerusalem Temple before the coming of the Messiah.

Rabbi Yosef Berger, the son of a widely revered Hasidic leader in charge of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, told Breaking Israel News Trump will play this “final historic reparation for his entire nation.”

“No leader in history has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the Jews and Israel,” Berger said. “[Trump] has already created a great tikkun (reparation) for the Christians through his unprecedented relationship with Jerusalem. Trump is the representative of Edom that will perform that final historic reparation for his entire nation by building the Temple.”

Edom is an ancient adversary of Israel, founded by Esau, the twin brother of Jacob, whose name was later changed to Israel, according to Genesis. As the slightly older brother of Jacob, Esau famously rejected his birthright for a mess of pottage or stew when he was famished after a hunting excursion. Some ancient rabbis saw Edom as a spiritual progenitor of Christians.

Berger makes a lot of predictions, apparently -- for instance, he has predicted that Jesus will return in 2022.

As befits the even-more-sorry-than-usual state of journalism at WND, this article lacks a byline for a reason -- it's little more than a rewritten version of an article that first appeared at the website Israel Today (to which WND links but still credits Breaking Israel News because the Israel Today article does as well). WND doesn't mention the End Times implications of this prediction because Israel Today didn't either.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:48 AM EDT
MRC Misunderstands The Whole Alleged Presidential Mistress Payday Thing
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Scott Whitlock complains in a March 30 post:

Given how much coverage the networks have devoted to Stormy Daniels’s claims of an affair with Donald Trump, it might be worth remembering how Hillary Clinton and ABC journalists reacted to Bill Clinton's accuser Gennifer Flowers in 1992. 

Stormy Daniels received $130,000 from Trump’s lawyer before the 2016 election. Speaking of $130,000, here’s Clinton on the January 30, 1992 edition of PrimeTime Live:

If somebody's willing to pay you $130,000or $170,000 to say something and you get your fifteen minutes of fame and you get your picture on the front page of every newspaper and you're some failed cabaret singer who doesn't even have much of a resume to fall back on, and what's there, she lied about —  you know, that's the daughter of Willie Horton, as far as I'm concerned. It's the same kind of attempt to keep the real issues of this country out of the mainstream debate where they need to be.
-- Hillary Clinton on ABC's PrimeTime Live, January 30, 1992.

From March 7 to March 25, ABC, CBS and NBC devoted 23 segments and 40 minutes of airtime to the Daniels controversy. On March 26, these networks offered a staggering 61 minutes to the porn star’s appearance on 60 Minutes.

Clearly, 2018 journalists are not following the advice of 1992 Clinton.

Whitlock clearly doesn't understand the difference between the two payments. Flowers was paid by a tabloid to tell her story about an affair with Clinton, while Daniels was paid by Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen -- not a tabloid -- not to tell her story during the 2016 presidential election lest it hurt Trump's campaign.

The sources of the money means different consequences: Flowers appeared less credible by taking money from a tabloid, while Daniels' credibility was enhanced by Cohen buying her silence, effectively making her claim of an affair credible.

If Whitlock does see the two are fundamentally different things, that just exposes him as a desperate pro-Trump shill.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:34 AM EDT

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