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Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Did Right-Wing Filmmakers Buy Favorable Coverage From MRC? It Appears So
Topic: Media Research Center

Last year, we highlighted how the Media Research Center was effectively serving as a public relations agent for right-wing filmmaker Phelim McAleer, not only promoting a campaign to raise money for McAleer's proposed film about rogue abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell but also promoting a costly billboard McAleer petulantly bought to bash a crowdfunding site that kicking him off while not asking the question of why he needs funding for his film when he is apparently not hurting for funds.

Turns out we were more right than we knew.

An Aug. 8 MRC email touts McAleer and his wife, Ann McElhinney, as the latest "fantastic speakers" added to next year's MRC junket -- er, Caribbean cruise. The email notes what "Ann and Phelim said about the upcoming MRC cruise": 

“We’ve had the privilege of working with Brent Bozell and his team to promote our movie about the crimes of Dr. Gosnell. We’ve never been around a more dedicated team of professionals. When they commit to something, they do it right. So we expect nothing but the best on this cruise.”

Here's a screenshot of the statement from the email:

That looks to us like an admission that those MRC posts on McAleer's fundraising campaign were at least done on McAleer's request, if not actually paid for by McAleer -- something that the MRC never disclosed to its readers.

And that's not all: At the same time the MRC was publishing those articles last year at McAleer's behest if not his subsidy, Terry Jeffrey, editor in chief of the MRC's "news" division, CNS News.com, conducted a 13-minute video interview with McAleer that was set up to promote his Gosnell crowdfunding project. As one might expect inan interview where the subject is paying for the microphone, Jeffrey tosses softball after softball and doesn't challenge anything McAleer says. Jeffrey laughably asks how McAleer's funding his film when, as we now know, he knows perfectly well how it's being done and he's being paid to help raise that money.

Jeffrey also emphasized that McAleer will be making a "factually accurate, true-to-life dramatization" of the Gosnell case, even though McAleer has a history of distorting facts in their previous work.

Demonstrating that all of CNS' "news" managers were in on the deal, managing editor Michael W. Chapman wrote an article touting how a couple of has-been right-wing actors "call upon viewers to donate to gosnellmovie.com, a proposed documentary on Gosnell by filmmakers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney."

Neither Jeffrey nor Chapman disclose that their promotions were done with the full cooperation, and possibly the money, of McAleer.

If a "liberal media" outlet had committed this severe breach of journliastic ethics, the MRC would be screaming bloody murder. But the MRC has never been interested in holding itself to the standards it demands that others follow.

Combined with recent allegations that Donald Trump is paying Breitbart.com for favorable coverage, this sort of apparent pay-for-play isn't making the right-wing media look good.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:00 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, August 11, 2015 9:21 PM EDT
Newsmax Attacks Fox Anchor on Trump's Behalf, Finds Haters To Back It Up
Topic: Newsmax

Already heavily in the tank for Donald Trump, Newsmax does the billionaire's bidding once again with a smear piece on Trump's new bete noire, Fox News' Megyn Kelly.

Reading like something sent straight from Trump oppo research, an Aug. 9 article by Greg Richter recounts a 2010 interview Kelly did in which she was "rollicking with Howard Stern, discussing her breasts and her husband's penis size and engaging in some graphic sex talk." This, Richter posits, makes Kelly a hypocrite for being "turned off by Donald Trump’s sexist remarks."

Richter then digs up, of all people, Walid Shoebat to pile on Kelly for talking to Stern, highlighting a blog post in which Shoebat and his son Theodore highlight the Stern interview and declare that "Meghan [sic] Kelly is a wretch and a vulgar low life."

Walid Shoebat, as we know, has made a career out of claiming to be a reformed Palestinian terrorist-turned-far-right Christian, though evidence of any actual terrorist acts committed by Shoebat is scant at best. WorldNetDaily has allowed Shoebat to peddle dubious and false anti-Muslim claims.

Theodore Shoebat, meanwhile, is a rabid homophobe who advocates executing gays as well as anyone who issues "opinions expressed in favor for homosexuality."

This is who Newsmax thinks is a good character reference for Trump and a credible critic of Kelly. That's how far in the tank Newsmax is for Trump.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:53 AM EDT
Monday, August 10, 2015
MRC Won't Criticize Fox News' GOP Debate Questions
Topic: Media Research Center

With Fox News acting as host and Fox anchors acting as moderators, the Media Research Center presumably got the Republican presidential debate setup it wanted, free of influence from that nasty "liberal media" and their silly gotcha questions. The MRC has railed against the idea of other networks that don't identify as explicitly conservative getting involved in talking with GOP candidates over various perceived slights.

MRC chief Brent Bozell declared back in 2007 that "the GOP put an end to this charade by refusing to debate on CNN or MSNBC" and put his stamp of approval of Fox as being in charge of GOP debates, declaring that "They ought not to suggest, but demand, a Brit Hume or a Chris Wallace as moderators."

So Bozell and the MRC got what they wanted -- including Chris Wallace as one of the moderators. But the Fox News anchors sounded a lot like they weren't employed by Fox, according to much of the ConWeb:

  • At Newsmax, Dick Morris complained that the Fox moderators "pummeled Trump with such personal attacks and treated all of the other candidates like enemies," adding that "Megyn Kelly was especially partisan, her bias showing through her questioning of Trump.
  • Newsmax also highlighted how "Fox News is facing a backlash from conservatives after critics felt the network was biased and unfair in the manner it approached the forum for the Republican presidential candidates' debate Thursday, and namely, Donald Trump."
  • WorldNetDaily declared that Fox News "had launched a full-blown assault on" Trump and that "Megyn Kelly took dead aim at Trump all evening." Garth Kant and Chelsea Schilling went onto huff, "Few of the other GOP candidates were on the receiving end of such pointed attacks by Fox News debate moderators."
  • WND's Joseph Farah grumbled: "When Fox News gets rave reviews from the fringe MSNBC for its aggressive pursuit of the leading Republican presidential contender and kid-glove treatment of GOP establishment figures, you might think the big audience could prove to be a mixed blessing for the future of Fox."
  • Even MRC fave Mark Levin ranted about Fox's bias and how Kelly's question about Trump's misogynism was just "stuff that’s cherry-picked out of Season 6 of ‘The Apprentice.'"

Even though the Fox anchors were apparently sounding just like the "liberal media" in their debate questions, and much of the right-wing media has been quite vocal about it, the MRC has been almost completely silent, even though accusing the media of unfairly targeting conservatives is kind of its job.

In fact, quite the opposite happened: an Aug. 7 Newsbusters post by Tim Graham touted how "The first GOP debate's Fox News moderators were so hard on the candidates that a New York Times columnist called it an "inquisition" and said the debate 'compels me to write a cluster of words I never imagined writing: hooray for Fox News.'" Graham did conceded that there is an issue of "whether the Fox moderators have provided Democratic operatives with priceless video for negative commercials," but he didn't criticize the apparent slant of the questions.

Then, in an Aug. 10 post, Mark Finkelstein noted MSNBC host Joe Scarborough reiterating our point, that a non-Fox News network that asked those questions would be the victim of "trashing" for months to come -- then says only that it's an "interesting point." He doesn't note that his employer has been conspicuously silent on the issue.

So what happened? Did the MRC not see the Fox moderators' questions as bias because they are from Fox? Or is Fox exempt from MRC scrutiny because it's too important a booster of conservatives to criticize publicly -- that is, effectively buying the MRC's silence?

The MRC will probably never cop to its silence (publicly, awanyway). After all, this is the debate lineup they demanded.

P.S. We suspect Levin's Fox-bashing quote won't be installed in the vast archive of Levin stenography the MRC operates over at its CNS "news" operation.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:08 PM EDT
CNS Unemployment Numbers Distortion Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

Is CNSNews.com getting tired of cherry-picking data and misleading readers about unemployment rates? Sort of. 

The only article CNS generated in response to the July unemployment numbers  was an Aug. 7 piece by Susan Jones declaring that "A record 93,770,000 Americans were not in the American labor force last month, and the labor force participation rate remained at 62.6 percent, exactly where it was in June -- a 38-year low."

The fact that 215,000 jobs were added in July was reduced to a bullet point at the end of the article.

This is yet another article in CNS' history of cherry-picking unfavorable unemployment numbers and burying or censoring positive ones.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:47 AM EDT
Sunday, August 9, 2015
Operation Rescue Sics Lawyers On Those Who Note Its Link to Anti-Abortion Violence
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An Aug. 6 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh touts how "Troy Newman, head of Operation Rescue, has dispatched a cease and desist letter to [Cecile] Richards and Planned Parenthood":

“I cannot stand by while Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards and ABC News air false allegations against me that are now being repeated as fact in numerous news sources,” Newman said in a press release.

“I have never condoned violence against abortion providers or businesses and Richards’ patently false statements against me must be retracted,” he said.

Well, that's demonstrably false. As we've documented, Newman is on record at least twice as condoning violence against abortion providers -- once in a 2003 press release lamenting that a court barred a proposed defense in Paul Hill's trial for murder of an abortion doctor that would have allowed him to claim it was a " justifiable defensive action," and in a conversation with Scott Roeder, killer of George Tiller, in which Roeder claims Newman said that it “wouldnʼt upset” him if Tiller were murdered.

Further, as reported in the book "In the Wake of Violence: Image & Social Reform" Cheryl R. Jorgensen-Earp, Newman seemed to justify James Kopp's murder of abortion doctor Barnett Slepian: "Kopp picked up a gun because he was discouraged at the lack of progress in the pro-life movement just as disappointment with their situations causes many poeple to seek abortions. The end result is frustration, temporarily solved by a bloodletting." Jorgensen-Earp notes that Newman's argument was effectively absolving Kopp of blame for killing Slepian, invoking an argument that makes a violent actor "twice removed from responsibility for his or her act, a victim of both uncontrollable emotion and the immoral force that generated that emotion."

The cease-and-desist letter Operation Rescue sent to Planned Parenthood -- it has also sent similar letters to ABC News and the Crooks and Liars blog for reporting Richards' comments -- is a masterpiece of lawyerly writing, carefully making sure not to address the specific allegations made about Newman and his Operation Rescue lieutenant, Cheryl Sullenger, regarding their history of anti-abortion extremism. It asserts that Newman "has never participated in, planned, assisted, caused, aided or abetted" in the deaths of Slepian or Tiller. However, the fact that the Operation Rescue phone number for Sullenger was on a note in Roeder's car following his arrest suggests some level of aiding and abetting in Tiller's murder, even if it was, as Newman and Sullenger have claimed, basic information provided to Roeder when he called them.

And given that Newman moved Operation Rescue to Wichita for the specific purpose of targeting Tiller, it can be argued that Newman aided and abetted Tiller's murder by creating an atmosphere that was increasingly hostile to the doctor -- not to mention inflammatory rhetoric including hosting a picture of Tiller on its website surrounded by flames with the words “America's Doctor of Death” -- thereby opening an opportunity for a violent act to take place.

The letter also claimed that Newman never planned, assisted, etc., in "the bombing of any clinic, whether an abortion facility or other." Again, he certainly seems to be condoning such violence with the presence in his organization of Sullenger, who was sentenced to three years in prison for conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic.

Yet the letter asserts, "Those are the true facts." Actually, it's Newman, Sullenger and Operation Rescue who are avoiding the "true facts" by refusing to discuss and admit acts and comments that have long been attributed to them publicly. What they're actually trying to do is suppress discussion of their behavior, not seeking to respond to alleged defamation.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:03 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, August 9, 2015 8:55 PM EDT
Saturday, August 8, 2015
MRC Invokes A Fallacy to Bash Jon Stewart Out The Door
Topic: Media Research Center

We predicted that the Media Research Center would be hurling all sorts of envy and spite at Jon Stewart as he finishes up his run as "Daily Show" host, and we weren't wrong. The winner in that competition is Scott Whitlock, who served up this bit of sneering derision in an Aug. 7 NewsBusters post:

According to the networks on Friday, Jon Stewart's departure from the Daily Show means "America's satirical voice," the man who held the powerful "accountable," had said goodbye. A more honest reading would be that a low-rated liberal comedian left his basic cable television show.

[...]

On Thursday, the networks fretted the loss of America's "trusted, "profound" "beacon." But as the website FiveThirtyEight.com pointed out, Stewart's reach and ratings were always small[.]

Whitlock again invokes the MRC's favorite fallacy, that quality directly correlates with popularity. If there were true, the greatest movie of all time, "Citizen Kane" wouldn't have failed to make its production costs back on its initial release.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:38 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, August 8, 2015 10:39 AM EDT
Friday, August 7, 2015
MRC Bigwigs Shill for Levin Book, Don't Disclose Business Deal With Him
Topic: Media Research Center

In an August 5 NewsBusters post, Tim Graham mockingly wrote of "this week’s contest to see who can be the most obsequious Jon Stewart ring-kisser."

But when it comes to be the most obsequious Mark Levin ring-kisser, Graham has that covered. Graham and Brent Bozell let the Levin sycophancy fly in their latest column, which was posted the same day as Graham's above hypocritical sneering:

Arrogant liberal journalists naturally assume that conservative talk radio only succeeds in making Americans dumber. They reach this conclusion by avoiding conservative talk radio entirely.

The overwhelming majority would never dare appear on one of these shows and debate the conservative host.

If one of them ever entered the ring with Mark Levin, they'd invoke the "mercy rule" before the first commercial break.

In recent years, Levin has matched a brainy talk show with a series of brilliant political books. The latest is called "Plunder and Deceit: Big Government's Exploitation of Young People and the Future." It's a good bet that no liberal journalist will read it, no liberal newspaper will review it, and that no liberal network would imagine calling up Levin for an interview. They are too busy advocating tolerance and diversity.

Graham and Bozell won't tell you, of course, that Levin's on the payroll --  the MRC pays Levin to say nice things about it on his radio show, and the MRC recipriocates by saying nice things about him on its network of websites. Meaning that their column is, in fact, a paid advertisement for Levin's book.

How dedicated is the MRC to slobbering over Levin? For but one example: the blog at MRC-operated CNSNews.com has run a whopping 22 articles transcribing Levin's pearls of wisdom just since July 1. That's even more than the rate at which CNS managing editor Michael W. Chapman publishes the most hateful words he can find from Franklin Graham.

CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey joined his bosses in the paid-ad route, also devoting his August 5 column to slobbering over Levin and describing how his book "compelling argues [sic]" against "open-ended immigration" and "warns of the collapse of constitutional restraints on government power."

Like his bosses, Jeffrey didn't the business arrangement between Levin and and his employer.

We'd say how ironic it is that a self-proclaimed media watchdog would refuse to do something so fundamental to journalism as disclose an obvious conflict of interest, but the MRC has never subjected itself to the same rules it applies to others.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:46 AM EDT
Thursday, August 6, 2015
WND Still Hiding Extremist, Violence-Condoning Links to Anti-Abortion Videos
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An Aug. 3 WorldNetDaily article by Bob Unruh, on a judge blocking release of more dishonestly edited anti-abortion videos, is alarmingly headlined, "Baby-parts judge fears 'violence' -- against abortionists." Unruh writes of the request to block the videos, requested by the National Abortion Foundation:

“That security has been compromised by the illegal activities of a group with ties to those who believe it is justifiable to murder abortion providers,” said NAF President Vicki Saporta in an announcement about the filing. “CMP went to great lengths to infiltrate our meetings as part of a campaign to intimidate and attack abortion providers.”

Saporta provided no support for her claim that CMP is tied to “those who believe it is justifiable to murder abortion providers.”

And so, WND continues to hide evidence that Operation Rescue -- one of the groups behind the anti-abortion videos from the Center for Medical Progress -- and its principals Troy Newman and Cheryl Sullenger do have a history of perpetrating or condoning violence against abortion doctors.

As we've documented -- and as Operation Rescue has yet to refute -- Newman has twice been reported to condone the murder of abortion doctors, and Sullenger served prison time for plotting to bomb an abortion clinic.

WND has an obvious conflict of interest here because it published an anti-abortion book by Newman and Sullenger last year. but Unruh won't tell you that either.

We don't think Unruh is a stupid enough reporter to omitted this information inadvertently. Which means he's deliberatly withholding information.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:33 PM EDT
CNS Promotes Anti-Gay 'Civil Rights Activist'
Topic: CNSNews.com

Penny Starr writes in an Aug. 4 CNSNews.com article:

President George W. Bush, rather than President Barack Obama, will be best remembered for a legacy of having helped the African people, a Nigerian civil rights activist and attorney said on Tuesday.

“President Bush will really be remembered as the president who had the most impact on Africa of the last three presidents,” said Emmanuel Obege. “I think they’re no doubt about it.”

[...]

When asked to expand on his contrast of the impact on Africa of the Bush and Obama presidencies, Obege responded that each had very different priorities.

“The point I’m trying to make is President Bush actually did something that was relevant to the crisis that was facing the continent at the time,” he said.

“When you show up and you’re saying to the people of Africa ‘You need to legalize gay marriage’ – I had a lot of Africans say, ‘Well, when our presidents go to America we don’t say to you to legalize polygamy even though we have a lot of polygamy in Africa and we think it’s a great idea, but we don’t come to your country and tell you to do that.’”

Obege referred to Obama’s recent visit to Kenya where he lobbied for homosexual rights.

Holding a four-year-old HIV-positive boy from South Africa, President Bush speaks at the White House on May 30, 2007 about his efforts to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa and worldwide. (AP File Photo)
‘And the president of Kenya [Uhuru Kenyatta] said to him, ‘Well, Mr. President, thank you very much for your kind thoughts but this is really not an issue for us,’” Obege said.

“I’ve been asked when I testified in Congress ‘What is happening with the persecution of gays in Nigeria?’ Obege said. “And I said, very frankly, no gay person has been killed in Nigeria but you have thousands of Christians being killed.”

Not only does Starr spell the man's name wrong throughout her article -- it's Emmanuel Ogebe -- she uncritically repeats his falsehood about Obama and gives him a pass on his denial of gay persecution in Africa.

Contrary to Ogebe, Obama never pushed for legalization of gay marriage during his visit to Africa. He did, however, highlight the persecution of gays in Africa and argued that they shouldn't be the victim of discrimination because of their sexual orientation.

Contrary to Ogebe's suggestion that gays are not persecuted in Nigeria, a 2014 Mother Jones article highlights the sad reality for gays in that country:

Around midnight on February 13, a young Nigerian man named Femi* was jolted out of his evening prayer by shouting outside his window. A crowd of some 40 people had gathered around his house. "No more homosexuals in Gishiri!" they yelled, referring to Femi's neighborhood within Nigeria's capital city, Abuja. The mob broke down his door and dragged him outside in his boxers. They beat him and about 13 other gay men that night with broken furniture, machete handles, sticks, and a garden rake, vowing to kill them if they didn't clear out of the neighborhood.

The attack, and other acts of vigilante violence targeting gays and lesbians around the country, was motivated by a new anti-gay law that Nigeria's president signed January 7. The measure, modeled off the one that Uganda enacted in late February, levies harsh prison sentences on anyone who makes a "public show" of a "direct" or "indirect" same-sex relationship or supports an LGBT organization (10 years), and anyone who attempts to enter into a same-sex marriage (14 years), even though this would be virtually impossible in Nigeria. The anti-gay backlash the law has provoked in Nigeria has led not just to violence, but to homelessness, unemployment, harassment, and a steep drop-off in HIV/AIDS treatment.

If  "no gay person has been killed in Nigeria," one -- and probably more -- will be killed soon, and Ogebe apparently doesn't care.

Another gay Nigerian writes of having fled the country because there ceased being opportunities for him there after his homosexuality became known: "I hope I will be able to walk freely in Nigeria one day without the fear of being lynched or jailed."

Further, according to Mother Jones, the ramped-up persecution of gays in Nigeria will likely hamper HIV/AIDS prevention efforts in the country because "social scientists have been scared off from taking stock of HIV trends in Nigeria—data that can improve the response to the epidemic—until the government can assure researchers that they will be exempt from punishment under the law."

It's laughable that Ogebe presents himself as a "civil rights activist" when he apparently believes a particular group of people doesn't deserve any. The fact that he was appearing at an event by the Family Research Council -- notorious for its hatred of gays -- is a clue that his "civil rights" credentials shouldn't be taken seriously. It seems that he thinks only Christians deserve full civil rights.

And Starr is just a lazy reporter who can't be bothered to tell both sides of a story, let alone spell the guy's name correctly.

UPDATE: CNS has corrected the misspelling of Ogebe's name in Starr's article. But here's a screenshot of the non-corrected version for posterity:


Posted by Terry K. at 8:44 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, August 7, 2015 12:59 AM EDT
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
WND Columnist Pushes Lies About Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've already documented how fringe-right doctor and WorldNetDaily fave Elizabeth Lee Vliet peddles fear and mendacity. Well, Vliet takes mendacity to new heights in her July 31 WND column smearing Mar agaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood:

Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood in 1916 and idolized by feminists today, was a leader in the Eugenics movement, speaking and writing extensively on the urgency of “exterminating inferior races.”

Sanger focused particularly on blacks, saying, “Colored people are like human weeds and are to be exterminated.” Sanger also wrote, “Slaves, Latin, and Hebrew immigrants are…a deadweight of human waste. Blacks, soldiers, and Jews are a menace to the (human) race.”

Sanger must be ecstatic. Her legacy of Planned Parenthood has cost the lives of over 57 million babies since 1973, with over 13 MILLION of them African-American babies. That makes Planned Parenthood the leader in black genocide. Over 80 percent of Planned Parenthood abortions are either black or Hispanic babies.

Those purported quotes from Sanger are lies. As Wikiquote notes, there is no record of Sanger saying either of the quotes Vliet attributes to her. While Sanger did once refer to "human weeds," it was not a racial reference, and the "menace" quote is simply made up out of whole cloth.

Vliet's claim that "Over 80 percent of Planned Parenthood abortions are either black or Hispanic babies" also appears to be false, and she offers no evidence to back it up. In fact, whites make up 55 percent of abortions nationwide, and blacks and other races constitute the rest. We found no evidence that Planned Parenthood's numbers are any different than those nationally.

The closest claim we were able to find to Vliet's assertion was by one group of anti-abortion activists that "79% of its surgical abortion facilities are located within walking distance of African American or Hispanic/Latino neighborhoods." But even that's misleading; the group's definition of "within walking distance" is a two-mile radius -- a rather lengthy distance to walk to anything, let alone a Planned Parenthood clinic -- and those "African American or Hispanic/Latino neighborhoods" tend to be on the fringe of that radius.

Vliet's vicious hatred of Planned Parenthood does not give her permission to lie, no matter how proud WND is of publishing misinformation.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:46 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, August 5, 2015 2:51 PM EDT
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
CNS Dishonestly Smears Obama As Lover of China's "Five-Year Plan"
Topic: CNSNews.com

Yes, we know CNSNews.com puts its right-wing, anti-Obama agenda ahead of the facts. But never so egregiously as it did in the headline of an Aug. 1 article (curiously credited to "CNSNews.com Staff," as if nobody wanted to have their name associated with this): "Obama Wants 5-Year Plan: ‘I Guarantee You This Is Not How China’ Handles Its Infrastructure."

We can guarantee you that's not how a real news operation, staffed by actual journalists instead of ideologues, would have handled that headline.

The implication is that Obama is no different than a Red Chinese dictator who wants meaningless "five-year plans" to create the illusion of progress as in the old Soviet era.  In fact, as the speech the article reproduces makes clear, Obama was speaking after signing a three-month extension of the current funding plan for transportation needs in the U.S. Obama said:

Well, I am about to sign a three-month extension of our highway funding.  And that’s a good thing, because if this wasn’t in front of me and ready for signature, we would end up having projects all across the country that would be closing after midnight.

On the other hand, we have now made it a habit where instead of five-year funding plans for transportation, instead of long-term approaches where we can actually strategize on what are the most important infrastructure projects, how are they getting paid for, providing certainties to governors and mayors and states and localities about how they’re going to approach critical infrastructure projects -- roads, bridges, ports, airports -- instead, we operate as if we’re hand-to-mouth three months at a time, which freezes a lot of construction, which makes people uncertain, which leads to businesses not being willing to hire because they don’t have any long-term certainty.  It’s a bad way for the U.S. government to do business.

So what Obama is talking about is a "five-year" funding plan. And these "five-year plans" CNS is sneering at is how the federal government has handled transportation spending for nearly 40 years, including under Republican presidents. The Center for Climate and Energy Solution summarizes:

Since 1978, Congress has reauthorized the federal transportation program as part of a larger multi-year surface transportation law.The HTF funded only highways until 1983, when Congress created the Mass Transit Account, and in later years added bicycle/pedestrian projects, recreational trails, and funding for freight and passenger rail projects. Until 2008, the HTF was funded exclusively from highway- user fees, including fuel and vehicle fees.

The two most recent reauthorization laws are called SAFETEA-LU and MAP-21. SAFETEA-LU was enacted in 2005 and was intended to expire in 2009. While working on a multi-year reauthorization, however, Congress passed short-term extensions of SAFETEA-LU nine times. The current multi-year reauthorization, MAP-21, was enacted in 2012 and is set to expire on October 1, 2014, unless Congress reauthorizes the program.

MAP-21 has been extended twice since October 2014, and what Obama just signed is the third extension that will continue MAP-21 another three months.

And CNS fails to mention that one key reason there isn't a new transportaion plan is because of the Republicans that control the House and Senate. Politico reports:

There are emerging divisions between House and Senate GOP leaders, who now have fewer than six weeks to deal with a vexing highway problem that’s been unsolved for seven years and costs billions just to keep on life support past July 31.

In the House, Republicans have basically given up on finding the tens of billions of dollars they’d need for a long-term fix for the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges. Instead, they’re mulling how to pay for the latest punt. But on the other side of the Capitol, Senate Republicans refuse to admit defeat, even though they have yet to come up with the huge sums of money they’d need for a major extension.

Politico also notes that some Republicans are in favor of one of those hated "five-year plan" type things: "Senior lawmakers say they are aiming for a funding bill that covers up to four years, which would cost as much as $60 billion just to extend current highway spending levels."

Oh, and Obama cited the decidedly non-communist Germany as another example of a country that doesn't fund transportation this way. But strangely, that didn't make it into CNS' headline.

But hey, since when does the truth matter if there's a cheap political attack to be made?

By the way, this article was presented as "news," not the dishonest opinion that it is.

Thank you, Michael Chapman, for keeping CNS the hateful right-wing propaganda mill that Brent Bozell apparently hired you to do.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:40 PM EDT
Newsmax In Full Trump Promotion Mode
Topic: Newsmax

As one might expect given their history together, Newsmax is doing what it can to boost Donald Trump's presidential bid. Here are three of the most obsequious ways it's doing so.

1) The book promo. Newsmax loves giving away books to gin up subscriptions to its magazine, and this time it's using Trump's 2010 book "Time To Get Tough" as its loss leader. The promo copy is positively fawning:

Donald Trump officially put his name in the ring for the 2016 elections, and he touched down like a tornado with his presidential announcement at the Trump Tower in New York.

The well-known entrepreneur and American success story is brazenly taking a stab at real change for our country, with a solid plan to do away with the “losers” who run what was once the most powerful nation in the world.

His announcement speech exposed the flaws of the nation’s leaders and recalled strong elements from his best-selling book, “Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again.”

[...]

“Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again” is a pointed reflection on America today. It’s a face-the-facts profile of the damage the Obama administration has done and the concrete solutions needed to stop our decline. 

As per usual, the book comes with a three-month "free" subscription to Newsmax magazine and a financial newsletter, which must be canceled before recipients  are charged $39.95 for a year's subscription to the magazine and $49.95 for the newsletter.

2) Trump campaign-esque PR. The July 25 Newsmax article is listed as being written by Jim Meyers, but it may have just as well come directly from the Trump campaign's media shop:

Donald Trump has consistently been outpolling all announced Republican presidential candidates despite a barrage of lies in the media about the business mogul.

Here's a look at some of the more prominent untruths the media have reported about Trump:

Meyers has to really finesse the facts to go after some of these "untruths," like this:

The Washington Post reported that Trump said "McCain was not a war hero because he was captured by the North Vietnamese." But Trump immediately modified his statement by saying, four times, that McCain is a war hero, including: "He is a war hero" and "he is a war hero because he was captured."

But doesn't the fact that Trump "immediately modified" his statement on McCain mean that Trump actually did say McCain wasn't a war hero? You'd think so, but Trump -- er, Meyers feels differently.

3) Kessler's Trump-fluffing. Ronald Kessler -- a Trump-fluffer who did all he could to set the billionaire up for a presidential run in 2012 when he was still a Newsmax employee -- comes back to do some serious sucking-up to the guy in a July 27 article:

The "real Donald Trump" is not the brash, outspoken presidential candidate we're seeing but instead is a sound businessman with smart ideas, says a best-selling author.

During an appearance on Newsmax TV's "Newsmax Prime," Ronald Kessler tells host J.D. Hayworth that if Trump makes it to the general election, he'll know what to do.

"I interviewed his longtime assistant and vice president Norma Foerderer, who went back to when he didn't even have an office," says Kessler, who has written 20 nonfiction books about the Secret Service, CIA, and the FBI."

In a 2006 Kessler article titled "The Real Donald Trump," she revealed, “Donald can be totally outrageous, but outrageous in a wonderful way that gets him coverage. That persona sells his licensed products and his condominiums. You know Donald’s never been shy, and justifiably so, in talking about how wonderful his buildings or his golf clubs are.”

The private Donald Trump, on the other hand, is “the dearest, most thoughtful, most loyal, most caring man,” Foerderer said. That caring side inspires loyalty and is one of his secrets to success.

Kessler is so obsequious to Trump the guy might as well be paying him, if he isn't already.

4) Defending the indefensible. The Trump-fluffing has gotten so bad, Newsmax on Aug. 3 gave its Trump stories its own sycophantic section title, "Donald Trump Stays Strong":

Note the last story in that list, the only one that approaches being negative. It's about Trump aide Sam Nunberg, who had to be fired after offensive writings, including about Al Sharpton's daughter, surfaced. But the story itself, by Courtney Coren, desperately tries to spin things, quoting her boss trying to sweep the controversy under the rug by saying wonderful things about Nunberg:

Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy said that "Sam has played a terrific role in connecting the Trump campaign with the major media and grassroots organizations that have been key to Trump's success. I hope the investigation of this matter shows it is much to do about nothing."

That's the sound of a guy who is putting trying to stay in Trump's good graces above providing fair and balanced journalism.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:29 PM EDT
Monday, August 3, 2015
MRC Names Blogging Award After A Terrible Blogger
Topic: NewsBusters

Tonight is NewsBusters' 10th anniversary party, complete with party at a swanky downtown Washington, D.C. nightclub:

The celebration will be held at The Hamilton in downtown Washington, D.C., on Monday, August 3 from 6 to 8 p.m.

As part of the festivities, emcee Ann Coulter will announce our first annual Noel Sheppard Media Blogger of the Year Award. In honor of Noel's memory we established this award to go to a media blogger "who best reflects the spirit of Noel Sheppard’s energetic blog postings in pursuit of exposing the news media’s liberal political agenda."

Note that the Media Research Center is celebrating how "energetic" a blogger Sheppard was -- not how accurate he was.

We've been documenting Sheppard's work for NewsBusters since 2007, when we first noted his history of double standards, incomplete reporting, misleading claims and nasty attacks. He was also a factually challenged climate denier, to the point of telling lies about Al Gore to his infamous appearance on a conspiracy-theory TV show hosted by Jesse Ventura in which he delcared that global warming is all about “power and money and control of the population."

When he wasn't issuing corrections for his blog posts -- which was surprisingly often --  he was slapping cliched, recycled headlines on 'em. If you wanted to hear how somebody was "smacked down" or "schooled," Sheppard was your guy.

Given that, it's rather fitting that Ann Coulter will be giving out the Noel Sheppard award. She's turned herself into a performance artist who must continually say offensive things in order to stay in the headlines, to the point that she's effectively taking a eugenic approach to immigration (no fatties!), which used to be a bad thing when right-wingers accused Margaret Sanger of it.

The fact that MRC thinks Sheppard 1) deserves an award to be named after him and 2) is being "honored" by having Ann Coulter give it out says volumes about the MRC.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:29 PM EDT
Sunday, August 2, 2015
MRC's Bozell & Graham Cherry-Pick To Attack Stewart
Topic: Media Research Center

Kicking off what is sure to be a week full of envy and spite at the Media Research Centder as Jon Stewart finishes up his run as host of "The Daily Show," Brent Bozell and Tim Graham devote their July 31 column to raging over Stewart's "secret" meetings with President Obama. In particular, they obsessed over one particular line:

Naturally, on his way out the door at Comedy Central, Stewart tried to turn the whole story into a nasty joke. After playing a series of Fox News clips reporting on the secret meetings, he announced one Obama meeting included Elvis and a space alien and the meeting opened with "the traditional Saul Alinsky prayer" before they "took turns [sexually penetrating] a replica of the Reagan eye socket." But wait, it gets worse. "The real Reagan eye socket is kept in the Smithsonian, and is only f—-ed on Christmas."

This kind of "comedy" mocking Christian, Fox-watching, Reagan admirers is his daily dish. 

Actually, Stewart was mocking people and Bozell and Graham, who seem to think that's what actually happened during the Stewart-Obama meeting.

Apparently, Bozell and Graham stopped watching the "Daily Show" segment after that joke, for they missed Stewart explaining what happened in that White House visit and why he went.

Stewart pointed out that he had been mocking Vladimir Putin long before the "secret" meeting with Obama in which he was purportedly instructed to do so, adding:

Let me tell you how this happened. The president asked me to come to Washington, and I did. Because if the president tells you and you don't, who the [expletive] know what would happen?And by the way, to all future presidents: If you ask me to do that, I will do that, because I have no idea how to react to that other than, "What time?"

And here's how the meetings went. Here's what happened: We spent about five to seven minutes with Obama kind of scolding me not to turn young Americans cynical. And then I spent five to seven minutes explaining to him I'm actually skeptically idealistic and smiling like this. And then we spent about 45 minutes arguing about "really, the VA can't befixed any quicker?" of "Healthcare.gov can't come online without crashing my son's Minecraft game?" And then the whole thing basically takes place over some of, truly, the best salmon you have ever had.

Remember my interview with Obama last week? It was that, but with salmon.

Don't expect Bozell and Graham to provide the behind-the-scenes transparency for its "news" operation, CNSNews.com, that it demands (and ultimately received) from Stewart because, well, the MRC does not believe CNS should operate by the same rules it demands the "liberal media" follow.

Stewart also noted he had an actual secret meeting with Fox News chief Roger Ailes. But none of this matters to Bozell and Graham. Stewart committed the unforgiveable offense of making a joke at the sainted Reagan's expense, so he must be destroyed.

Well, that and the fact that Bozell and Co. are insanely jealous of Stewart's free-market success, especially compared to its own  attempt at political satire, "NewsBusted," which is so painfully unfunny the even other right-wing websites ignore it.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:19 PM EDT
Saturday, August 1, 2015
WND's Morgan Brittany Is Unclear on the Concept
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Morgan Brittany seems to be unclear about how American presidential elections work. She concludes her Donald Trump-promoting July 28 WorldNetDaily column with this:

Maybe for a moment Trump has turned the political system on its head – but just be honest: Wouldn’t you love to see him win the nomination, debate Hillary, go on to win the White House and on Inauguration Day politely say to Barack Obama – “YOU’RE FIRED!”?

I would “pay” to see that!

Brittany is apparently unaware that President Obama, being term-limited, cannot run for president again and will be leaving the White House on Inauguration Day no matter who wins the presidency. Thus, he cannot be "fired," not even in a reality-show sense, since his leaving office is preordained.

Someone should also tell Brittany that she does not have to "pay" to watch the presidential inauguration, whoever is being inaugurated (though that could change if Trump is elected). It's easily viewable on TV, and she can even go see it in person if she can get past security and is able to brave winter weather in Washington, D.C. (or, if she buddies up to Trump, have a chance at a better seat).


Posted by Terry K. at 10:29 AM EDT

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