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Sunday, May 22, 2016
MRC's Bozell Rushes to Exploit Facebook 'Bias' Controversy
Topic: Media Research Center

In a column last week, Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell called the New York Times "shameless" for looking into Donald Trump's behavior with women (something the Ted Cruz-supporting Bozell and the MRC could have done when it mattered, but chose not to).

At the same time, Bozell was being unambiguously shameless in exploiting allegations of bias at Facebook in its "trending news" feed (a relatlvely tiny part of Facebook) for his own -- and, thus, the MRC's -- right-wing political agenda.

Bozell made sure to insert himself into the meeting between Facebook and conservatives, being self-aggrandizing in the process as he proclaimed his attendance there:

I look forward to sitting down with Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook because, as I’ll explain to them, no one knows more about liberal bias in the media than we do. We have been documenting and exposing it for almost 30 years. Facebook has a serious problem. Trust is everything and now conservatives don’t trust them. My hope is that today’s meeting will begin to put concerns to rest.

After the meeting, Bozell made sure to keep pressing conservatives' anti-media meme, even as he kinda conceded that Facebook isn't as evil as he has suggested:

I think this was a very productive first meeting. I think Facebook understands there is a problem. And I think that from the very top, there is a genuine desire to resolve it. There were good exchanges and overall, it was cordial. We’ll see how the investigation turns out. There has been a serious issue of trust within the conservative movement about this issue, but everyone in that room, on both sides, wants to see it restored.

But Bozell resorted to self-aggrandization in an appearance on Fox Business:

I explained from our standpoint between the Media Research Center and for America, my other organization we have some 19 million Facebook fans. You know, I think we're biggest out there and we’ve never had a problem, but there’s too much smoke to dismiss the lack of a there is a problem within Facebook[.]

Bozell also mocked Breitbart News for declining to take part in the Facebook meeting despite being invited, saying their attitude was kind of defeatist and angry and thoroughly unproductive," not to mention "silly."

But another attendee at the Facebook meeting, Glenn Beck, had a different view of the meeting, painting it as a attempt by conservatives to shake down Facebook:

I sat there looking around and heard things like:

1) Facebook has a very liberal workforce. Has Facebook considered diversity in their hiring practice? The country is 2% Mormon. Maybe Facebook’s company should better reflect that reality.

2) Maybe Facebook should consider a six-month training program to help their biased and liberal workforce understand and respect conservative opinions and values.

3) We need to see strong and specific steps to right this wrong.
It was like affirmative action for conservatives. When did conservatives start demanding quotas AND diversity training AND less people from Ivy League Colleges.

I sat there, looking around the room at ‘our side’ wondering, ‘Who are we?’ …

What happened to us? When did we become them?

[...]

The overall tenor, to me, felt like the Salem Witch Trial: ‘Facebook, you must admit that you are screwing us, because if not, it proves you are screwing us.’

Slate's Will Oremus adds:

Beck gets some important things right here. For the conservative politicians and talking heads who fanned this firestorm, it was never about “evidence.” (It rarely is.) It was about seizing an opportunity to stoke resentment and mistrust of the media. That resentment and mistrust is crucial to causes like convincing people that climate change is a hoax or that Donald Trump is qualified for the presidency.

That the controversy is largely the product of cynical conservative grandstanding is not Beck’s only insight. He also recognizes that it is very much in Facebook’s own business interests to appeal to conservatives every bit as much as liberals, and he sees that Facebook is smart enough to recognize that, too.

[...]

But the biggest thing Beck gets right, at least partly, is that bias is human and natural, and that the key is not to deny one’s biases but to acknowledge them. 

Yes, Beck is a loon most of the time, but the fact that the MRC hasn't acknowledged his point of view on the Facebook meeting, and downplayed the fact he was even there, suggests he may be on to something. But the fervor with which the Federalist's publisher (who got that job despite his history of plagiarism) Ben Domenech went after Beck and conservative writer Erick Erickson for expressing this viewpoint ("Beck and Erickson can go to their rooms to play their hit song 'Alone in My Principles' and leave the media criticism fray to those of us who believe it is important and valuable, and have the spine to do it") also suggests an element of truth about the cynical, agenda-pushing exploitation of right-wing "media criticism" that Bozell and the MRC don't want to see getting out into the wider media.

UPDATE: Bozell continue to play up the controversy in an appearance on The Blaze TV, likening it to another right-wing conspiracy, the so-called IRS scandal: "For anyone to suggest that Facebook has a policy against conservatives, it's just simply unfounded. It's silly. The IRS didn't have a policy against conservatives. There were people within the IRS who had a policy against conservatives."

Oddly, there was no mention of Beck during the segment, even though he operates the The Blaze and Bozell brought up his affirmative-action plan to bring conservatives into Facebook that Beck was denouncing.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:42 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, May 23, 2016 7:38 PM EDT
Saturday, May 21, 2016
Transgender Derangement Syndrome, Supersize WND Edition
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Instances of cross-dressing men invading women’s privacy illustrates how such obscene conduct threatens the survival instincts of girls and women – normal, real men know this and will protect women and girls at all cost. At this time, the rates of rape of college girls and women in “higher” education is shocking! It is just such mean-spirited men who eventually run major businesses, sports groups, banks, become entertainers and politicians, and demand that females receive all male sociopaths who “feel” they are women. Really?!

Ivy League professorial elites charged that their reputations are damaged by wrongheaded claims of a campus “rape culture.” This resulted in a Title IX federal discrimination complaint. Title IX was designed to protect women and girls from discrimination due to their sex. Now, however, Title IX is used as a sledgehammer by government bullies to enforce aggression against girls and women, forcing females to abandon safety for the benefit of aberrant transgender guys.

-- Judith Reisman, April 26 WorldNetDaily column

At issue seems to be the idea that there is a biological basis for transgender identity. Thus, the refrain becomes, “It’s normal, because of SCIENCE!”

The problem here is that there is a biological basis for a great many things. If science identifies a specific gene, or a specific neurological basis, for being homosexual, for being a child molester, for being left-handed, for being Republican, for whatever, this doesn’t mean all behaviors we can thus identify are equally worthy of social sanction. There are two genders. These are male and female, XY and XX. Being able to identify, biologically, why some people feel the urge to be what they are not does not make this less a mental or psychological disorder. Yet in our reluctance to call these things what they are – deviant, weird, or simply mistakes of biology – we now seek to normalize and mainstream anything, real or imagined, that might make a single person feel better about him-, her-, or itself.

In the process, we’ve relegated to the status of ignorant bigots all those who grew up believing that there was such a thing as “normal.” Regardless of what your social media contacts say, it’s the burden of the weirdos to conduct themselves with a little consideration when traveling among the squares. Believing that isn’t hate. It’s just common sense.

-- Phil Elmore, April 27 WND column

Lately, the news has been replete with how the civil rights of transgendered people are being trod upon by narrow-minded state governments and the bigoted straight majority. In a truly perverse turn of events, even the term “transgendered” has become nebulous; it is no longer employed to reference pre-operative transsexuals, but people who have chosen to represent as the opposite of their biological gender. The term “transvestite” doesn’t fit the bill, either; these are people who claim to literally identify as the opposite gender – at least at present.

While this liberally lubricated political football (again, no pun intended) defies logical interpretation and has given rise to truly bizarre and inane grandstanding on the part of everyone from chain stores to rock stars, it is nothing compared to what is next coming down the pike: legitimizing and then ultimately decriminalizing pedophilia, or child molestation.

-- Erik Rush, April 27 WND column

Just think: Target has declared war on gender.

Last year, Target announced that it was doing away with boys’ toys and girls’ toys.

[...]

Now Target has gone even further, imposing the struggles of less than 1 percent of the population on the rights of the other 99 percent.

To add insult to injury, a Target rep on Facebook suggested that those who had a problem with this could use the handicapped bathroom!

So, rather than telling the less than 1 percent who struggle with their gender identity to use the handicapped bathroom, Target is telling them to use the larger, mens’ and ladies’ bathrooms, while telling the 99 percent to use the single handicapped facility.

This is just plain insanity.

-- Michael Brown, April 27 WND column

President Obama’s done lost his mind. He’s just flushed the civil rights of men and women, boys and girls, to pee in peace and shower without having naked, sexually confused or sexually predatory members of the opposite sex ogling them, or intentionally exposing their genitalia for a cheap thrill.

-- Matt Barber, May 13 WND column

You might expect me to be very upset about Barack Obama’s mandate on public schools across the country to accommodate sexually confused students and, presumably, non-students alike, from using the restroom of their choice, regardless of their biologically defined sex.

After all, I opposed such ideas when they were first proposed in California and some Maryland school districts years ago.

But I actually want to thank Obama for doing a service to the nation – perhaps his first since entering White House.

I’m thankful because I believe this action will awaken millions of American parents to rethink their decision to place their children in public schools.

-- Joseph Farah, May 13 WND column

What we’re witnessing is total lawlessness and a meltdown of civil society. The safety and protection provided by our laws are unraveling right before our eyes. So it’s important to know why, and it’s vital we see hope in the midst of it all.

First, we have to realize the issue has nothing to do with transgender people. These are folks for whom Christ died and loves dearly. They are humans, precious in God’s site and created for His purposes. They need the truth spoken in love so they can find hope and healing in the arms of Jesus.

Rather, this has everything to do with the revolution – the radical sexual revolution bent on removing God’s moral boundaries, redefining God’s moral values and reshaping a new godless America. The transgender community just happens to be the easiest group to exploit for the political ground needed to make the revolution happen.

-- Jason and David Benham, May 15 WND column

The so-called “rights” of transgendered people – of which statistics show represent barely 0.3 percent of the total population – are now deemed to be more important than the rights of the majority.

There’s a whole variety of problems with this latest so-called equality that’s being foisted on us – “us” meaning mainstream – read that normal – people, who through centuries have recognized there are two sexes, male and female, and that there is a difference between little boys and girls and adult men and women.

-- Barbara Simpson, May 15 WND column

America must say NO to the gender manipulation of minors. Both physicians and parents need to be held civilly and possibly criminally liable for taking vulnerable children down these roads.

Gender-troubled youth themselves are victims, yet not of conventional male/female sex distinctions, but of adults who enable them to embrace the demonic delusion of being the opposite sex.

It’s mental illness, and some of the top experts in the field are not afraid to say so. It’s also deep spiritual oppression.

But if we let Obama and Loretta Lynch get away with this abuse of power – which is worthy of impeachment – it will enshrine deviance as a new civil right and subject those who disagree to an unprecedented wave of judicial and legal persecution.

-- Linda Harvey, May 17 WND column

In the meantime, the press and other media dutifully advance the idea that a boy who thinks he’s a girl represents normalcy. News pieces celebrate this aspect of societal malaise, showcasing “proud trans teens” and the deluded adults who feed their neurosis. These reports seldom draw any causality whatsoever, stemming from such things as having been raised in notoriously liberal enclaves, highly dysfunctional families of origin, or having one parent (usually the father) who is conspicuously absent. Lighthearted television dramas and comedies about everything from doctors to private detectives invariably find ways to gratuitously interject the importance of gay and transgender rights and “global gender parity” into nearly every episode.

It’s brainwashing, plain and simple – and it is manifestly evil.

-- Erik Rush, May 18 WND column

It’s good that dozens of members of Congress have penned and signed a letter to the Department of Justice and the Department of Education, pressing for explanation about President Obama’s carrot-stick demand for schools to open all bathrooms to both sexes, else face loss of federal funding.

Among their requests for clarity: Address what happens to teachers, administrators and others who don’t comply and explain whether feds will also “accommodate rights of conscience and privacy in an individual’s or institution’s non-compliance,” the letter states.

But their letter doesn’t cut to the chase of all that’s wrong with the transgender madness sweeping America right now – and that’s the subtle drive to destroy the traditional family.

-- Cheryl Chumley, May 20 WND column


Posted by Terry K. at 10:06 AM EDT
Friday, May 20, 2016
MRC Wants To Hide The Fact That Broaddrick Has Discredited Herself
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is on a Donald Trump lovefest because he played the "rape" card on Bill Clinton (and, by extension, Hillary). But for the MRC to keep embvracing Trump's strategy, it must ignore that the person who claims to have been raped by Clinton, Juanita Broaddrick, spent 15 years claiming the opposite and even filing a sworn legal affidvait asserting nothing happened between her Clinton. And the MRC is continuing to ignore or downplay it. 

A May 19 post by Kyle Drennen is upset that NBC's Andrea Mitchell for saying that therape allegations against Clinton are "discredited." He did not mention Broaddrick's affidavit claiming Clinton made no "unwelcome sexual advances" toward her, but he did engage in another act of desperation: quoting WorldNetDaily. He links to a WND article by anti-Clinton author Candice E. Jackson, who interviewed Broaddrick about Mitchell (as well as how "Broaddrick’s life – like that of so many others – has been deeply and permanently scarred by her alleged unwanted sexual encounter with Bill Clinton"). Jackson also conveniently omits any mention of Broaddrick's affidavit.

That was followed up with a post by Nicholas Fondacaro, who whined that an ABC reporter who pointed out the fact the accusations are "decades-old and discredited" was "misleading the audience." He then uncritically quoted Broaddrick's current story about Clinton as a "refresher on one of the incidents." He also quoted a newscaster noting the "factual discrepancies" in the accusations against Clinton but didn't mention the affidavit.

Kristine Marsh noted that on "The View," "Paula Faris and Whoopi Goldberg also went back and forth a few times about Broaddrick’s credibility. Goldberg insisted that Broaddrick had changed her story 'multiple times' while Faris argued it was only 'once.' Sunny Hostin jumped in to defend Goldberg, saying that people were going to question Broaddrick’s 'credibility' because her story has 'been disproven' after she recanted it in an affidavit."

But rather than discuss the credibility issue further, Marsh quickly changed the subject: "The View panel ignored the fact that Juanita Broaddrick wasn’t the only woman who made accusations of sexual assault against Bill Clinton. They also did not bring up how Hillary Clinton has been accused of trying to cover up and silence these women over the years and that is one of the reasons why her husband’s infidelities and alleged crimes against women are important to this election cycle."

Whether the MRC acknowledges it or not, Broaddrick has credibility issues. Continuing to parade her out for the sake of scoring anti-Clinton and pro-Trump points is a questionable game -- especially since, as Fondacaro conceded, Trump himself was once accused of rape by his ex-wife Ivana.

UPDATE: Drennen cites WND again in a May 20 post quoting Broaddrick bashing Mitchell for calling her claims "discredited." But Drennen again fails to explain exactly why Broaddrick is considered discredited. 


Posted by Terry K. at 2:52 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, May 21, 2016 10:04 AM EDT
WND's Facebook Fail
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It was inevitable that WorldNetDaily would try to insert itself into the controversy over alleged bias at Facebook. And that it does, in the most ham-fisted, dishonest way.

An unbylined May 15 WND article is headlined "Facebook bias: It's baked into the algorithms." It claims: "A four-month WND study of Facebook traffic and engagement patterns of prominent alternative news sites with a more 'conservative' perspective confirms recent charges that the social-media giant actually ignores its own rules and guidelines at the expense of these online enterprises."

No, WND didn't actually study the issue for four months; what it actually did was "compiled a sample-size of four months of data" on engagement "using data provided by Facebook itself to page managers (Facebook.com/WNDNews) in its insights tab, and tracked several news sites through the Pages to Watch feature since the start of 2016." It claims that the data it compiled shows "how engagement for those news sites had seen significant drops in engagement, seemingly supporting accusations by former Facebook employees of internal newsfeed tampering."

Except that it doesn't. The place on Facebook where bias was alleged was the "trending topics" section, not the posts made by news organizations themselves, which is apparently what WND counted -- in other words, it's an apples-and-oranges comparison. WND also provides no evidence that the decline in engagement it documented has anything to do with "algorithms" or anything else at Facebook. Additionally, WND failed to compare the date with engagement rates from liberal news sites, which you'd think would a mopre apt comparison than its fellow right-wing sites. And it apparently failed to account for whether any of the websites it monitored ran marketing campaigns on Facebook to promote their content -- after all, promoted copy to people outside their followers would seemingly skew engagement rates.

Further, WND apparently posted data only for the first and last day of its comparison; the bars represent "the end of January" and "May 9, 2016," and doesn't display any of the data in between that might better demonstrate the persistent decline in engagement it claims took place.

If anything, WND's data proves how terrible its engagement on Facebook is, especially compared to those other right-wing sites. According to the data, Breitbart.com is through the roof, displaying 100% engagement in January and 60% engagement in May. By contrast, WND was a 38.47% in January and 23.89% in May. WND can take a little solace in the apparent fact that The Blaze, the Daily Caller and the Washington Examiner had even lower engagement rates in May.

WND's data dive proves nothing, since it's so incomplete and irrelevant to the issue at hand. And it completely ignores the fact that WND's utter lack of credibility -- which this shoddy data only perpetuates -- may very well be a major factor in the lack of Facebook engagement it laments.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:25 AM EDT
Thursday, May 19, 2016
MRC Flip-Flops, Now Fully Defending Trump Against Media Attacks It Refused To Do When It Mattered
Topic: Media Research Center

Last week, the Media Research Center whined that the "liberal media" did a critical story on Donald Trump the anti-Trump MRC's own "news" division, CNSNews.com, could have done months ago when Trump was not yet the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, but did not.

Now, the MRC is in full Trump-defending mode. Yes, MRC chief Brent Bozell  once declared that Trump does not "walk with" conservatives, but he's clearly putting party loyalty ahead of whatever conservative priniciples he has. 

The MRC is also contradicting its longtime refusal to come to Trump's defense when he complained about media bias (though that was mostly because he was complaining about Fox News, which the MRC is afraid to criticize lest it lose access to its highest-profile media outlet). But bashing the "liberal media" comes before principle at the MRC.

So, we have the MRC's Clay Waters whining that the New York Times documented Trump's long history of sexist behavior toward women. He made sure to highlight that these "unflattering" stories, "many of them 20 years old," took "five Times reporters" to cover.

Remember it was just a few weeks ago that the MRC was simultaneously claiming that the overall negative tone of the media's Trump coverage was irrelevant but also not negative enough.

Waters then immediately launched into the ol' Clinton Equivocation:

The Trump behavior described by the various women is immature and boorish. But did former president Bill Clinton’s sexual history or his multiple sex (and worse) scandals get this sort of front-page over-the-fold analysis? Hardly. In fact, during the 1992 campaign, the Times referred to blockbuster rape allegations made against Clinton by former Arkansas nursing home administrator Juanita Broaddrick as typical “toxic waste” and did everything it could over the years to avoid covering the story.

[...]

Yet when Juanita Broaddrick's allegation of sexual assault by Bill Clinton finally emerged publicly in 1999 in the Wall Street Journal, the Times sniffed that her claim had obvious problems and defended its failure to cover them, blaming nationwide "scandal fatigue" and lamenting that "smaller outlets on the Internet and cable television" were "overwhelming the slower and more sober judgments of mainstream news organizations" in having the gall to publish a sex candal involving a Democrat president (this less than a year past wall-to-wall coverage of Anita Hill's claims against Clarence Thomas).

The Times did its best first to ignore, then discredit the story, calling the Wall Street Journal editorial page "one of the nation's most conservative and a strident critic of Mr. Clinton." Times reporters Felicity Barringer and David Firestone in February 1999 explained why their paper passed on Broaddrick’s rape allegations in 1992, when coverage could have swung the election.

But it's in the excerpt of that Times defense that the truth -- which Waters doesn't otherwise acknowledge -- comes out: Broaddrick was denying in 1992 there was any attack, and later made that denial under oath. She later flip-flopped. Which means Broaddrick is a liar -- she was either lying then or is lying now.

Nicholas Fondacaro followed up by attacking ABC for reporting on the Times story, in a post headlined "ABC Takes NYT's Bait: Network Reports on Trump Hit Piece." Does that mean the MRC is taking Trump's bait by rushing to his defense?

Fondacaro then latched onto how one of the Times' interviewees, Rowanne Brewer Lane, "has spoken out about her words being twisted by the paper." But the Washington Post's Callum Borchers points out that Brewer Lane is falsely claiming that the Times said Trump "paraded" her in a swimsuit she was asked by Trump to change into; that word appears nowhere in the Times article. Borchers adds:

Many people would surely view Trump's behavior that night 26 years ago as inappropriate — or at the very least, rather forward. He chatted up a model for 20 minutes, invited her to put on the spare bikini he just happened to have lying around and then — while still technically married — introduced her to other guests as a "stunning Trump girl," as if she were somehow Trump's. It's not much of a stretch to call this sequence of events a "debasing face-to-face encounter," as the Times did.

[...]

Even if Brewer Lane's grievances did necessitate a correction, they wouldn't invalidate the premise of an entire 5,000-word story based on interviews with more than 50 women.

But now that the MRC is on Trump's side, that's exactly what it wants its followers to believe. And it comes straight from the top.

In their May 18 column, Bozell and Tim Graham summarize all of this, ranting about both how the Times dismissed Broaddrick (while, like Waters, ignoring that she's a documented liar) and how Brewer Lane's criticism of the story meansthe entire story "quickly blew up in [the Times'] faces." They huffily conclude:

It's safe to say that Trump is no one's idea of Mr. Manners. His rudeness toward women was summarized by Fox's Megyn Kelly at the first GOP debate. And the way Trump treated her afterward underlined it. But The New York Times now has no right whatsoever to pass judgment on presidential candidates and their treatment of women.

Oh, please. Bozell and the rest of the flip-flopping MRC have no right whatsoever to pass judgment on the "liberal media" for doing the job the right-wing media wouldn't in vetting Trump.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:55 PM EDT
At Lawyers' Apparent Demand, WND Disappears Anti-Vaxxer Angle To A Story
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Bob Unruh writes in a May 11 WorldNetDaily article:

Lawyers representing a Pennsylvania mom and dad whose newborn daughter was confiscated – reportedly without reason – when she was born are arguing a trial is needed in the case to assign liability, injury and damages.

The case developed a few years back when the social worker, Angelica Lopez-Heagy, came to the new mom’s hospital room and announced she was investigating.

When the mom wanted to know the allegations, Lopez-Heagy refused to answer, and when the mom said she couldn’t answer without knowing what was happening, the social worker called police and took custody of the newborn.

A judge returned custody to the parents within a day, but officials with the Home School Legal Defense Association have been fighting for the parents’ rights since then because of the egregious nature of the constitutional violations.

“The parental rights of Mr. and Mrs. Ferris were violated the day they lost custody of Annie,” the organization said Wednesday in a statement online. “HSLDA hopes this lawsuit will bring justice to the [Scott and Jodi] Ferris family and lead to more government officials protecting parental rights rather than trampling them.”

But Unruh is  hiding an important aspect to this story -- and he is deliberately doing so. How do we know? Because Unruh included it in his first report on the case in 2012. See if you can spot it. Hint: this article is headline "State confiscates newborn over vaccinations":

An organization that routinely deals with homeschooling issues across the U.S. and around the globe is taking on a case of parental rights because the circumstances – a social worker calling police over a newborn’s shots – is just too egregious to let pass.

[...]

[HSLDA chairman Michael Farris] said among the issues in the case: social service workers who called police when a new mother wanted tests before authorizing shots for her child, a hospital that ejected the new mom from its property over the issue, a social service “investigation” into the birth, and others.

[...]

The mixups just wouldn’t quit. When Jodi said she was cooperating, the social worker implied the issue was Jodi’s refusal to consent to a vitamin K shot for the baby.

“Jodi replied that no one had asked her about such a shot. Moreover, she had overheard hospital staffers saying that they had already given Annie such a shot,” the report said.

Then, when Scott left the hospital to tend to their older children, hospital officials demanded permission to give Annie a Hepatitis B shot.

In other words, it appears this is all about anti-vaxxers upset that the hospital tried to do the right thing in the face of unreasonable parents. WND loves pushing anti-vaxxer claims, after all, so it would love this story. Plus, WND loves the HSLDA, as you'd expect from a "news" organization run by homeschoolers, and the HSLDA's Farris founded homeschooler-friendly Patrick Henry College, where at least one child of WND editor Joseph Farah attended school (who just happened to write a fawning profile of Farris for WND in 2009).

Needless to say, Unruh mentions none of these conflicts of interest in his articles on the case.

Because Unruh is a lazy reporter, the 2012 story is effectively a rewritten HSLDA press release. It seems that Unruh is again following HSLDA orders; its current press release on the case, like Unruh's current article, mentions nothing about vaccinations and shots.

So in the tank for the HSLDA is Unruh, in fact, that he makes no effort whatsoever to even seek out the other side of the story; he simply adds at the end, "The hospital and social worker’s agency in Pennsylvania previously declined to respond to WND requests for comment."

Such lazy stenography designed to promote the editor's buddies is just another reason why WND has no credibility.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:48 AM EDT
Wednesday, May 18, 2016
NEW ARTICLE: A Fox News-Shaped Blind Spot
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center can't bring itself to criticize Fox News for its pro-Trump bias -- even when it documents irrefutable evidence of the bias. And when the MRC can be moved to criticize Fox News at all, it hides behind Mark Levin to do it. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 5:41 PM EDT
Irony: Rabidly Anti-Hillary WND Questions Newspaper's Focus on Trump
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The headline of Chelsea Schilling's May 11 WorldNetDaily article screamed: "Amazon CEO orders 20-man army to dig up dirt on Trump." In it, she ranted:

Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos, who is also a Democratic Party donor and controls a personal investment firm that owns the Washington Post, now has an army of 20 newspaper staffers to scour Donald Trump’s life for any dirt they can find on the presumptive GOP nominee.

“There’s a lot we don’t know,” Washington Post Associate Editor Bob Woodward told the National Association of Realtors Convention in Washington on Wednesday. “We have 20 people working on Trump. We’re going to do a book. We’re doing articles about every phase of his life.”

But there's one major error here: At no point does Schilling prove, let alone state, the headline's contention that Bezos personally ordered a "20-man army" to report on Trump.

WND has admitted the error by changing the headline to refer to "Amazon CEO's newspaper" and removing the false reference to Bezos. But the original, false headline remains in the article's URL.

Schilling pushed her luck in an article the next day by harrassing the Post directly:

WND asked the Washington Post: “Exactly how large is the team your paper has tasked with thoroughly investigating Hillary Clinton’s background and associations? Are there at least 20 people tasked specifically with digging through her past and finding details in ‘every phase’ of her life?”

Washington Post Vice President of Communications and Events Kristine Coratti told WND that Woodward was referring to a large team of two-dozen reporters and researchers working on “a special book project” examining Trump’s life.

Why a book on Trump and not Hillary and her 22 biggest scandals?

“[W]e have years and years of reporting on Hillary Clinton to draw from, including her last presidential campaign, her time as secretary of state, and her position as U.S. senator,” Coratti explained. “Because Trump’s involvement in political life is far more limited, the Post newsroom decided to embark on a book as a special project. In order to complete the book in a timely fashion, reporters from throughout the newsroom have been assigned to work for a brief period on particular aspects of his life and career.”

Coratti claims the Post has the “same number of people” on staff investigating Trump and Clinton for its news coverage. She said the Post is planning a series on “the life and career of Hillary Clinton,” which “launches in just a few weeks.” Coratti wouldn’t provide any further details about the upcoming series.

So WND asked if she could point to any investigative stories on Hillary’s past that the Post team has published in the last month.

That’s when Coratti stopped responding to WND’s requests for comment.

Of course, as we've documented, WND's big list of 22 Hillary "scandals" (which actually includes 23, but who's counting?) are mostly bogus accusations trumped up over the years by WND and other right-wing media.

We figured two can play this game, so we emailed Schilling (and cc'd her bosses, Joseph Farah and David Kupelian), pointed out WND's anti-Hillary jihad and basically asked the same questions of WND that she asked of the Post:

  • How many WND employees are investigating the background of Clinton? Is there a comparable number of WND employees investigating the background of Trump?
  • Will WND give the numerous scandals in Trump's background the same prominence as "Hillary and her 22 biggest scandals"?
  • How many Trump articles at WND in the past month fall under the category of "somewhat like campaign promotions," versus those that take an investigative look into his background?
  • Can WND point to any investigative stories on Trump's past by its reporting team it has published in the past month?

Needless to say, Schilling, Farah and Kupelian all failed to respond -- perhaps because they know they have no intention whatsoever to subject Trump to the same scrutiny as Clinton. Remember, Kupelian has abandoned his sense of morality to back Trump, and candidates endorsed by WND management get a free pass from the operation.

But it looks like we got our answer anyway in the form of an unbylined May 14 article proudly proclaiming its anti-Hillary jihad and declaring that "It’s time to arm yourself with the facts about Hillary Clinton." The article then lists all the extant and promised WND-produced books, magazines and secretive smear operations, and for good measure throws in an anti-Hillary book by notoriously unreliable author Ed Klein. So, actually, not a lot of facts involved here, given WND's utter lack of credibility.

The article concludes:

That’s our essential guide to the truth about Hillary.

There’s not much time left to get informed and help inform others.

Use these tools to get the word out – and save America from a fate worse than death.

“We’ve been investigating her longer than the Justice Department,” said Farah. “But time’s running out to get the word out to the public. We’ve documented the case against her. We will continue to do so – with far more coming. But we need a little help from our friends to get the word out on a very tight deadline.”

Not a word about WND's Trump investigative efforts. No sense talking about something that doesn't exist, right?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:25 AM EDT
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
CNS' Right-Wing Bias Illustrated, In Two Stories
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com, the Media Research Center's "news" operation, likes to pretend it's not biased, what with its mission statement that it "endeavors to fairly present all legitimate sides of a story." That's never been true, of course.

Now, CNS has helpfully served up exactly how its right-wing bias works in practice through its treatment of two sides of the same story.

In a May 9 article, CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey begins respectfully: "In a legal complaint filed against the U.S. Justice Department today, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory asked a U.S. District Court to help his state protect the “bodily privacy rights” of people seeking to use public bathrooms consistent with their biological sex."

Throughout the article, Jeffrey painstakingly quotes and paraphrases McCrory's defense of his state's bathroom law, assertg that the complaint "explained the North Carolina law’s basic operations," as if there are no legal experts in the Justice Department. Jeffrey declared that "The complaint simply seeks that the court declare that the North Carolina governor and secretary of public safety are not violating federal civil rights law or the federal Violence Against Women Act by enforcing a law that requires biological  males to use men’s rooms and biological women to use women’s rooms."

By contrast, Susan Jones' May 10 article is filled with bias and opinion -- you'd never know it's supposed to be a "news" article from reading it -- that sneered at Attorney General Loretta Lynch's defense of the Obama administration's transgender initatives. Jones' opening paragraph is pure opinion:

The U.S. Justice Department is putting the feelings of transgenders -- men who think they are women and women who think they are men -- above the privacy rights of the vast majority of people who don't contest the biological facts of who they actually are.

Jones then ghoes on to lecture Lynch on how she's wrong about transgenders:

But Lynch was referring to people who, in fact, are pretending to be something that -- biologically -- they are not. A man "identifying" as a woman is not a biological woman. And likewise, a woman "identifying" as a man is not a biological man. Until now, that is, when the federal government has determined that biological facts matter less than wishes and feelings.

Jones lectured some more later in her article:

Lynch accused North Carolina and its leaders of creating "state-sponsored discrimination against transgender individuals, who simply seek to engage in the most private of functions in a place of safety and security, a right taken for granted by most of us."

(Much of the outcry over this issue comes from people who are not confused about their gender "as noted at birth," and who also "simply seek to engage in the most private of functions in a place of safety and security." Many women, in particular, object to sharing restrooms with men who supposedly "identify" as women.)

Remember, this is supposed to be a "news" article. But that's how CNS rolls -- complete with the lie about how it "fairly presents" the news.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:20 PM EDT
WND's Farah Serves Up More Obama Lies
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In the midst of yet another anti-Obama screed in his May 8 column, WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah writes:

Let’s get this straight: There’s nothing compassionate about whining for more benefits someone else has to pay. Furthermore, every time a business is mandated to pay extra for new services to its employees, it hires fewer people.

I will also say there is nothing compassionate about raising the minimum wage. It’s a job killer – and America needs jobs with nearly 100 million people not working.

As we've pointed out, the reason there are "nearly 100 million people not working" is that most of them are either retired or in school. Even the conservative American Enterprise Institute agrees that the labor force participation rate, which is the number Farah is citing, is a meaningless gauge of unemployment.

Farah then rants:

Obama is a user, a leech, a demagogue, a phony who never lifted a finger even to assist his own impoverished relatives in Kenya. He did, however, see to it that you increased foreign aid to that country so Americans would live more like Kenyans in the future.

In fact, WND reporter Steve Peacock's evidence-free attempt to atrribute all spending initiatives in Kenya directly to Obama obscures the fact that,as Peacock eventually admitted, U.S. aid to Kenya actually decreased under Obama, from a high of $830 million in fiscal year 2009 to a low of $460 million in fiscal year 2013. While Peacock claimed aid to Kenya was budgeted to rise to $630 million in 2016, that's still about 25 percent less than was spent under the final budget approved under George W. Bush.

So, yeah, Farah is lying again. No, we're not surprised.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:30 AM EDT
Monday, May 16, 2016
NewsBusters Anonymously Screeches At ESPN For Hiring 'Leftist, LGBT Activist' Soccer Player
Topic: NewsBusters

"Bruce Bookter" whines in a May 5 NewsBusters post:

In what might go down as the most redundant and superfluous hire in the history of redundant and superfluous hires, a network already dominated and run by leftist, LGBT activists hired…wait for it…a leftist, LGBT activist.

The network doing the hiring, in this case, was ESPN. The hired activist is former U.S. women’s soccer gold medalist, and World Cup champion Abby Wambach.

"Bookter" goes on to misread the title of Wambach's new ESPN podcast "Fearless Conversation" as "fearless conviction": "I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that Wambach’s 'fearless conviction' will not be that gender is not a choice, and that bathrooms made for women should only be used by women."

Not only does "Bookter" know nothing about proofreading his own work -- funny, since he considers himself to be a "sports journalist" who presumably knows better -- he knows nothing about "fearless conviction" since he possesses none himself. Remember, "Bookter" is a gutless coward using a fake name lest he be held personally accountable for what he writes.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:33 PM EDT
Alleged Ex-Clinton Mistress Discredits Herself By Partnering With WND
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has trotted out the latest step in its anti-Hillary jihad: publishing a book by Dolly Kyle, known as Dolly Kyle Browning during the Clinton presidential years, bashing Hillary Clinton despite the two presumably not having much contact given that Kyle was supposedly Bill Clinton's secret lover for years.

In the promotional article for the book, WND quotes Kyle pushing WND-style right-wing anti-Clinton talking points:

“Billy Clinton is an untreated sex addict and serial rapist, serial sex abuser,” alleged Kyle. “He’s a sexual predator and Hillary is complicit in all of that. I’m over being outraged about it because I’ve been watching this for 40 years and at this point I’m so sick of them I could puke. But the fact of the matter is, it did outrage me when Hillary Clinton sat in front of the television cameras and said women who have been raped and sexually assaulted should be believed. That was actually the last straw that made me want to write this book. She says women who were raped or sexually assaulted should be believed – unless, of course, it’s Billy who did it.”

Kyle says Bill Clinton benefited from a culture in which many rapes and sexual assaults were simply never reported. Now, she says, that culture of silence is changing, even among the feminists who traditionally have defended the Clintons.

“In the book, I talk about the National Organization for Women and how their traditional stance on abortion has overridden everything,” Kyle told WND. “Now that they are celebrating their 50th anniversary, they are finally coming around to embracing more issues. And one of the huge issues is rape and sexual assault. Younger women appear to be catching on to that. Older women, some of whom may have been raped or sexually assaulted and never reported it, are still in some kind of denial.”

Of course, the problem for Kyle is that she has aligned herself with WND, whose utter lack of credibility undermines anything Kyle has to say. And Joseph Farah and WND's 20-year obsession will be seen as further evidence that, as with being the premier Obama birthers, WND is simply pursuing a personal vendetta of destruction, not reporting facts.

Speaking of birthers, Jerome Corsi trots himself out in a May 5 WND article to vouch for Kyle, claiming that "Kyle’s assessment aligns with the conclusions of Roger Stone and Robert Morrow in their 2015 bestselling book 'The Clintons’ War on Women,' which contends Hillary is an 'accomplice after the fact.'"

WND has taken care to hide Stone's swinger lifestyle from its readers, lest a lifestyle that under normal circumstances WND would denounce as deviant and immoral detract from his usefulness as a Clinton smear artist.Morrow, meanwhile, has some bizarre and creepy sexual fantasies about Hillary -- another thing you'll never read about at WND.

Thanks to WND, Kyle is now lumped with the fetid, discredited likes of Stone and Morrow. 

And Corsi, too: In a May 9 WND opinion piece, Kyle parrots Corsi's obsession with Hillary Clinton's alleged health issues, suggesting that she's "cognitively impaired" and medically unfit to be president.

Two days later, WND excerpted a section of Kyle's book opining about foreign policy, of all things. The fact that she repeatedly refers to Obama as "Barack Hussein Obama"  and apparently goes birther by claiming that Obama is "some part 'black' due to an unidentified mix from his mixed-race father," as well as repeating right-wing anti-Hillary talking points about Benghazi, tells you she's on the same wavelength with WND as far as personal destruction is concerned.

WND's latest attempt to promote Kyle's book is a May 14 article repeating an anecdote from it claiming that Hillary used an epithet 30-plus years ago. But it's third-hand hearsay attributed in part to "Arkansas State Police troopers" -- the same '90s Clinton-bashers who, when asked to testify under oath, backed off their most lurid accusations -- and is not verified.

Strangely, though, WND buries to the end of this lengthy article one place where Kyle deviates from WND's anti-clinton dogma:

Kyle said she believes a good portion of the Clinton death list is “unsubstantiated baloney” and includes accidental deaths of people whose names have been added to the list by conspiracy theorists.

As recently as January, WND has promoting the "Clinton body count" -- first created in the '90s by then-WND reporter David Bresnahan -- as real and unquestioned, despite the fact it's totally discredited as Kyle states.

But then, Kyle appears to have drunk deeply enough of WND's Clinton-hating Kool-Aid that she eventually come around on that issue.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:27 AM EDT
Sunday, May 15, 2016
MRC Whines Media Reported Trump Story MRC's Own 'News' Outlet Ignored
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham complains in a May 11 post:

It’s mid-May, which means it’s time for The Washington Post to unload the cheap-shot “investigative” stories on the Republican front-runner. On the front of the May 11 Washington Post is a story on Trump’s sex boasts….and sex life. The online headline is “From playboy to president? Trump’s past crude sex talk collides with his White House bid.“ In the newspaper, it was "Before candidate Trump, there was playboy Trump: Extolling Lothario lifestyle worked for the developer, but now it behooves him to back off old boasts."

Bill Clinton’s crude sex talk? Not front-page news in the Post. Crude sex talk from JFK or LBJ? Not front-page news in the Post. Remember the 2008 Post story on Obama's sex life? But here’s how reporter Mary Jordan began, by quoting from a Trump radio interview with Howard Stern:

[...]

Notice 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. The Post somehow couldn’t find the time for this story until the term “presumptive nominee” fit.

Jordan noted Trump’s exchanges with Stern were posted online by BuzzFeed “this year” – that would be in February. The Post thought they became front-page material on May 11. Check the liberal rag's Romney-haircut-bully-from-1965 timing.

You know who else didn't think Trump's sexist comments to Stern were front-page material when BuzzFeed first reported them in February -- or since? The MRC and its own "news"division, CNSNews.com.

BuzzFeed reported on Trump's sexist comments on Stern's show on Feb. 24. Both the MRC and CNS completely ignored them. In other words, CNS and the MRC could have made a big deal about these comments for the past three months had they chosen to do so. They didn't.

This means Graham is being utterly hypocritical in bashing the Post for focusing on the story the MRC itself ignored for months.

Instead, the MRC was much more concerned about a Trump-Stern story BuzzFeed reported a week earlier, in which Trump had told Stern in 2002 that he supported an invasion of Iraq. This time, though, the MRC was bashing NBC's Chuck Todd for confronting Trump about it.

Susan Jones' Feb. 22 CNS article on the comments was framed as allowing Trump off the hook because he wasn't a politician at the time he made the comment. And the MRC's Nicholas Fondacaro instead chose to attack Todd for saying during his Trump interview it's not solely the media's reponsibility for vetting Trump and that "a normal campaign that was running against Donald Trump" should be even more aggressive.

Indeed, for as anti-Trump as most top MRC officials are -- MRC chief Brent Bozell endorsed Ted Cruz and attacked Trump for not being a movement conservative -- they did not leverage the MRC's resources as fully as they could have to take him down.

Instead, the MRC concocted a conspiracy theory that the "liberal media" conspired to make Trump the Republican nominee so he would lose to Hillary Clinton in November.

While Graham's whining about the Post plays into this conspiracy theory, it also shows that the MRC will be acquiescing to Trump by portraying him as the victim of the "liberal media." The fact that Graham considers the Post's Trump-Stern story the equivalent of its 2012 story on Romney's prep-school years -- another story CNS and the right-wing media had no interest in until the Post reported it -- is evidence of that turn taking place.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:43 PM EDT
Newsmax's Gizzi: Brazil Needs A Repression-Loving Dictator
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax Washington correspondent John Gizzi, apparently responding to the current turmoil in Brazil, tweeted: "Brazil needs Emilio Medici, president from 1969-74 whose reign was called 'years of lead & torture' again."

Well, that may be because that's exactly what it was.

History student Colin Snyder details how Medici was installed as president by a military junta, and while economic growth occurred under his regime, it was better known for repression and torture:

With the economic and athletic success, many Brazilians were blissfully unaware of just how brutal repression had become. Future-president Luís Inácio “Lula” da Silva, who in the early-1970s had just begun his career as a metalworker, later commented that, if there had been a popular and direct election in 1970, Médici would have won in a landslide. He also enjoyed close relations with the United States, drawing on his time spent there as a military attache. In 1971, he made an official state visit to the Nixon White House, where the two men discussed possible ways to overthrow democratically-elected Chilean president Salvador Allende. And to build up support, Médici relied on propaganda in new ways, spending millions of cruzeiros on advertising campaigns designed to drum up patriotic support for the regime through slogans such as “Brazil: Love it or leave it” (“Brasil, Ame-o ou deixe-o“). He finished his mandate in March 1974,  leaving office just as Brazil’s economy started to show subtle signs of weakness that would come to plague the country throughout the rest of the decade and into the 1980s and 1990s. As he left office, he enjoyed a massive amount of popularity, seen as the man who finally “stabilized” Brazil, even while many of the economic policies that had created the “miracle” preceded his administration.

While he was popular while serving as president, his popularity quickly faded away. The growing economic turmoil of the 1970s, which proved increasingly difficult to curb, led more and more people to question the policies of his administration. In the 1980s, the Catholic vicariate of São Paulo and Protestant ministers managed to secretly obtain thousands of classified documents that detailed the use of torture in Brazil during Médici’s government; the documents, ultimately compiled and published as Brasil: Nunca Mais (“Brazil: Never Again,” translated into English as Torture in Brazil) shocked millions of Brazilians who had been unaware of (or had chosen to ignore) the extensive use of torture in the 1970s. Though at the time people referred to the Médici years as the “economic miracle,” these years ultimately became known as the “Years of Lead,” due to the regime’s heavy repression.

The New York Times reported that "According to the Brazilian Amnesty Committee, 170 opponents were killed and many were tortured in army and police cells" under Medici's rule, adding: "For many Brazilians, the principal memory of the Medici years was the pervasive fear of being caught up without documents and vanishing during a police sweep."

Y'know, maybe Medici isn't the kind of guy Brazil needs after all. 


Posted by Terry K. at 6:01 PM EDT
Saturday, May 14, 2016
WND Writer Still Dishonestly Championing Cause of Tax Evader
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In February, we detailed how WorldNetDaily author Alex Newman mounted a dishonest defense of tax evader Doreen Hendrickson by claiming the government is forcing her to commit perjury by signing an accurate amended tax return. Newman never accurately described the offense Hendrickson committed, Hendrickson did, let alone demonstrate what was supposedly false about the amended tax returns she was allegedly compelled to sign.

Well, Hendrickson recently lost an appeal of her prison sentence, and Newman is back to dishonestly defend her again.

In a May 7 WND article, Newman once again asserts that the government ordered Hendrickson to "perjure herself," and once again he fails to explain exactly why she disputes her income is exempt from the income tax. As we pointed out before, Hendrickson falsely claimed she earned no income at all, not that her income was exempt from taxes.

Newman also seems weirdly surprised that the appeals court ruling -- which he fails to provide a link for so WND readers can check it out for themselves -- rejected the bizarre argument from Hendrickson's attorneys that likened the government's actions "to Islamic Shariah law demanding the affirmation of Allah."

He also complains that the appeals court invoked the "collateral bar" principle to deny Hendrickson's challenge of the constitutionality of the laws under which she was convicted, calling it an "obscure legal theory" and a "rarely used doctrine" and parrots Hendrickson's attorney's assertions that her conviction is "transparently invalid." But according to the appeals court ruling -- which was actually issued in March, making Newman a couple months late to the party -- explicitly explains why Hendrickson's conviction does not fall under exceptions to the collateral bar prinicple.

Newman completely ignored another section of Hendrickson's appeal , that the standby attorneys assisting her in representing herself at her trial refused to ask her questions under examination that she had instructed them to ask. As the appeals court noted,Hendrickson didn't raise this objection until after her trial, and the standby counsel explained that the government had repeatedly objected to similar lines of inquiry (related to "her beliefs regarding the legal validity of the order") and that he did not ask the questions because Hendrickson had already “struggle[d] to provide answers to some of the questions she had provided.”

As before, Newman lazily glosses over the fact that Hendrickson and her husband, Peter, are tax protesters and that Peter Hendrickson has written an anti-tax book that, as we noted, caused at least one other person to face criminal penalties for following them. Instead, Newman parrots the Hendrickson's assertion that "the government hopes to suppress arguments made by Mr. Hendrickson in his book “Cracking the Code – The Fascinating Truth About Taxation In America.”

Despite the fact that Newman has had three more months to read the book aso he can properly explain its arguments -- which appear to be at the core of the controversy he's writing about -- he once again states that "WND has not read the book or independently verified its arguments."

And aside from a few paragraphs attacking the appealks court ruling, Newman makes no effort whatsoever to present the government's case against Hendrickson with anything resembling fairness or accuracy. Instead, Newman devotes nearly the entirety of his article to letting her, her husband and her attorneys attack the government with impunity and portray Doreen Hendrickson as a victim. That's a violation of WND editor Joseph Farah's oft-violated edict that "WND reporters and editors are always encouraged and required to seek out multiple sources and contrary viewpoints in news articles."


Posted by Terry K. at 11:08 AM EDT

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