Topic: Media Research Center
Because Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is an inveterate liar, the Media Research Center must defend him by attacking fact-checkers. Read more >>
Monday, August 1, 2016
Newsmax's 'Ben-Hur' Fail
The fail starts early in Robert V. Carl's July 29 Newsmax article on the upcoming remake of "Ben-Hur":
But facts aren't the point of Carl's article -- spin is. Much of his article is devoted to how "Distributors Paramount and MGM have been screening the movie for influential Christian leaders" to avoid the plight of "recent big-budget biblical films that took so much liberty with the source material that they failed to attract the faith-based audience they sought."
But the real purpose of Carl's article is unspoken: to respond to the negative buzz surrounding the film.
The Hollywood Reporter states that "Early tracking suggests Ben-Hur will open in the $14 million to $15 million range over the Aug. 19-21 weekend, a sobering start for the faith-centric ancient epic, which reportedly cost just under $100 million to produce," adding that the film's projected opening date has slid from February. And even the conservative PJ Media notes that "the director, Timur Bekmambetov, is known for what are more or less flops: Wanted (2008) and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)."
It's an interesting bit of Hollywood spinning reminiscent of another Newsmax writer, James Hirsen, who consistently championed the increasingly erratic and vile Mel Gibson without disclosing his insider relationship with the actor or his heading a foundation that worked to advance the ultraconservative Catholic faith of Gibson's father.
WND's Coverage of Trump's Remarks on Khan Censors the Controversy
Is Donald Trump one of the contributors to WorldNetDaily's plea for cash to stave off its existential financial crisis? If he isn't, he should be.
The Trump campaign's PR flacks couldn't have written a better "news" article spinning away the firestorm of controversy over Trump's attacking a Muslim couple whose son died in the Iraq war for committing the offense of criticizing him at the Democratic National Convention than the unnamed WND writer who managed to address the controversy by ignoring it completely in his or her July 30 article:
It's nothing more than a mild rewrite of Trump's own press release, which also includes the interview transcript.
WND doesn't seem to understand that stenography -- which is what reproducing a transcript is, especially when Trump is not disputing the accuracy of any of the things it was reported he said -- is not journalism. Nor is simply rewriting someone's press release to put it in inverted pyramid form while retaining the Trump campaign's dishonest spin.
Trump would normally have to pay a news outlet under the table (as it's alleged he has with Breitbart) to get that kind of fawning, uncritical coverage. Joseph Farah and WND could certainly use the cash right now, and we doubt Farah is above accepting money for favorable coverage.
In cash-strapped WND, Trump can buy himself an entire "news" outlet on the cheap -- if he hasn't already.
Sunday, July 31, 2016
AIM's Kincaid Repeats Discredited Falsehoods About Margaret Sanger
Topic: Accuracy in Media
Accuracy in Media's resident gay-obsessed, factually challenged Obama-hater Cliff Kincaid takes to AIM's sister site Accuracy in Academia to praise Dinesh D'Souza's Hillary-bashing film "Hillary's America," which also purports to detail the history of the Democratic Party. If Kincaid is any guide, the film is an ahistorical mess, playing on the fallacy that the Democratic Party of a century ago is exactly the same as the party today.
Kincaid writes of the film:
About Kincaid's first claim: Yes, Sanger spoke to a KKK women's auxiliary. But as we've noted, fact-checkers have pointed out that the KKK auxiliary was not the KKK itself, Sanger was not a KKK supporter, and Sanger pointed out in her autobiography that while she would speak on the issue of birth control to preetty much anyone who would have her, her KKK auxiliary speech was a surreal experience.
About Kincaid's second claim: As we've also documented, the term "human weeds" appears nowhere in "The Pivot of Civilization," and Sanger never called for "terilizing 'inferior' races."
If Kincaid is getting his information about Sanger from D'Souza's film, that kinda discredits the whole film, doesn't it? Not to mention further putting the lie to AIM's insistence that it cares about accuracy in media (or academia).
WND Buries Real Motive of German Gunman, Instead Plays Up Unverified 'Allahu Akbar' Angle
WorldNetDaily's unbylined July 22 article on a mass shooting in Munich begins the way you'd expect it to: with a headline screaming "'Allahu Akbar' gunman slaughters children in Munich" and a lead paragraph stating "A gunman shouting “Allahu Akbar” burst out of a bathroom at a McDonald’s restaurant and opened fire on children before rampaging through a nearby shopping mall."
But if you read the article further, it's clear that the “Allahu Akbar” claim has not been substantiated -- WND cites only a single witness making the claim.
And it's not until the 30th paragraph of the unbylined article that what appears to be shooter Ali David Sonboly's real motive gets mentioned:
The scare quotes WND put around Breivik's description are kinda cute, considering that Breivik's manifesto followed WND's anti-Muslim, anti-multiculturalism and anti-feminist agenda so closely that he cited WND six times in it. WND has never told its readers about that, by the way.
Since then, it's been revealed that the Iranian-German Sonboly considered himself "Aryan," was proud that he shared his birthday with Adolf Hitler, hated Turks and Arabas and that all of his victims were immigrants. WND hasn't reported that yet -- perhaps because, as with Breivik, Sonboly's political views are basically those of WND taken to a murdrerous level.
Despite the fact that WND has never offered any evidence that the "allahu akbar" claim has been corroborated, WND repeated it in a July 29 article asserting that Sonboly "reportedly yelled the Islamic battle cry 'allahu akbar' while shooting." And again, that came before WND's admission that "authorities believe Sonboly was acting along [sic] and was simply obsessed with mass shootings."
Saturday, July 30, 2016
CNS' Reaction to Hillary's Historic Nomination: Benghazi!
CNSNews.com reacted to the historic news of Hillary Clinton being the first female major-party presidential nominee in its usual fashion: with partisan sniping instead of the fair and balanced journalism a real news operation is supposed to engage in.
The news of Democratic National Convention delegates affirming the nomination was mostly ignored by CNS, which ran only an Associated Press article and devoted no original coverage to it.
CNS did devote some original coverage to Clinton's acceptance speech, but in its own bizarre stenographical way. Two articles focused extremely narrowly on two statements she made: "Hillary Clinton: 'I'm Not Here to Take Away Your Guns'" and "Clinton on Illegal Immigrants: 'Inhumane to Kick Them Out'." That's lazy reporting at its finest.
The day after the convention, though, CNS issued its mostly politically driven -- and, thus, journalistically suspect -- reaction: a story by Rachel Hoover describing how "In their 'Additional Views' supplement to the House Select Committee on Benghazi report, Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Mike Pompeo (R-Kansas) conclude that 'the administration misled the public about the Benghazi attack,' which occurred on Sept. 11, 2012."
If you'll recall, the House Benghazi report came out a month ago. A month ago. In other words, there is no news value to Hoover's article -- it's a month-old story that CNS could have easily done at the time but apparently chose not to in order to play a political game.
Additionally, the fact that Jordan's and Pompeo's views are relegated to a supplement and not included in the report proper tells us that they were rejected by the Republican majority and should carry less weight. Indeed, the Jordan-Pompeo supplement appears to rely heavily on opinion, not fact, for its conclusions, such as its assertion that the Obama White House "misled the American people for political gain" immediately after the attack.
But Hoover also violates the dicate of her boss, Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell, who says that "The first rule of journalism is that if you don’t have two independent sources, you don’t have a news story." Hoover quotes only the Jordan-Pompeo supplement -- which is anything but "independent" -- and nobody else.
CNS hasn't figured out that stenography is not journalism, and uncritically repeating partisan attacks isn't either, and not even Bozell's own guidance is making a difference.
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch, Supersize WorldNetDaily Edition
-- Jesse Lee Peterson, June 26 WorldNetDaily column
-- Erik Rush, July 13 WND column
-- Larry Klayman, July 15 WND column
-- Barbara Simpson, July 17 WND column
-- Jesse Lee Peterson, July 17 WND column
-- Wayne Allyn Root, July 28 WND column
Friday, July 29, 2016
What LGBT Stuff Is The MRC Freaking Out About This Month?
Topic: Media Research Center
There's too much anti-LGBT ranting at the Media Research Center to catch it all individually. So once again, we'll summarize the lowlights of the gay stuff the MRC freaked out about over the past month.
First up, NewsBusters coward "Bruce Bookter" mocked transgender athlete Chris Mosier after he appeared in ESPN's Body Issue for saying that he's finally comfortable in his own skin: "It must have been truly awful for Mosier. You know, forced to occupy the same body that was apparently good enough to become one of the greatest athletes in the entire world. The horror."
"Bookter" took even more offense to Mosier saying that, as a member of Team USA as a duathlete, "I sort of feel like I'm representing the good parts of the country":
So gays are waging "jihad" and are just like Nazis and commies? No wonder "Bookter" hides behind a fake name -- if we wrote such a thing, we'd be just as embarrassed to put our real name to it.
Tim Graham, meanwhile, is upset that a op-ed writer and "gay activist" Nico Lang correctly identified the anti-transgender American College of Pediatricians as a "right-wing advocacy group" for dismissing gender reassignment surgery as gender mutiliation -- and, while he's at it, the American Psychological Association for no longer considering being transgender as a mental illness:
So, according to Lang, science has progressed to the point where getting one’s penis or breasts removed is not “genital mutilation.” It’s a lifestyle choice? Who is stating a plain fact, and who is trying to empty words of their meaning?
Lang is delighted that the APA has abandoned the term “gender identity disorder,” with simple “gender dysphoria” – and that term only applies to people who have a “temporary mental state” of upset about their er, fluidity. Being transgender is exactly the same as being left-handed.
Maggie McKneely has a finely honed freakout after learning that the Nickelodeon cartoon "The Loud House" will include a same-sex couple, declaring it to be part of an "agenda" to "indoctrinate children":
And Karen Townsend has another TV-related freakout, this time because the show "Dead of Summer" has a transgender character whom Townsend claims was inserted "so that the show’s creator can promote his pet social cause – a friend is dealing with the issue. So, in true leftist form, we must ALL be made to deal with it." She whines aboutthe David Bowie Song "Modern Love' playing a role in the episode: "owie is prominent because, as every anguished teen from the 80’s knew, he was a source of courage for his free spirit way of living and pushing the boundaries of sexual liberation. Very appropriate for a show that is promoting LGBT lifestyles to teens in the 2010's."
Because, apparently, the only possible reason to ever put a gay person in a TV show is to "promote" an "agenda."
WND Takes DNC's Birther Bait Again
Art Moore begins his July 27 WorldNetDaily article by stating, "It appears the Obama family just can’t get birth certificates out of their heads." Actually, it's WND who has that problem.
For the second time this week, WND took the bait on a oblique reference to birthers by a member of the Obama family at the Democratic National Convention in order to rehash its discredited "eligibility" conspiracy theories. And Moore goes full-bore on it:
As we've noted, that "only law-enforcement investigation of the issue" was a corrupt sham, with Arpaio's "cold case posse" populated with the like of biurther conspiracists like WND's own Jerome Corsi.
And, no, Hillary Clinton did not "begin the whole “birther” controversy by questioning Obama’s eligibility." As CNN and others have documented, the 2008 Clinton campaign did not pursue the issue, though diehard supporters filed the first lawsuits on the issue. The one organization that pursued the birther issue to ludicrous extents and beyond was the definitely-not-supported-by-Hillary WND -- which, of course, Kovacs fails to mention.
As for Obama's supposedly fraudulent Social Security number, the most logical explanation is that Obama’s return address was mistyped, the initial “9” typed as a “0” which would turn a Hawaiian zip code into one from Connecticut.
For an organization that (currently) insists the birther issue ended in "late 2011," WND sure likes to keep talking about it -- and taking the bait when Democrats bring it up.
CNS Buries News of Trump Inviting Russia To Hack Hillary's Emails
You'd think a presidential candidate inviting a foreign power to hack the email accounts of Americans would be big news at CNSNews.com, which purports to care a lot about national security.
But that candidate is Republican Donald Trump, so it wasn't.
CNS' initial article on the press conference in which Trump said he wished for Russia to hack Hillary Clinton's email, by Melanie Hunter, failed to even mention that he said it. Hunter began her article instead with Trump's statement that "he never met Russian President Vladimir Putin but as president, he would rather be 'friendly' with Russia so both countries 'can go and knock out ISIS together' along with other allies."
Hunter was in stenography mode, as most CNS reporters are when writing about Trump, and therefore she couldn't be bothered to note that Trump previously claimed he has spoken "directly and indirectly" with Putin.
Patrick Goodenough featured Trump's press conference in an article the next day -- but didn't mention the hacking invitation. Instead, he touted how "One day after Republican Donald Trump warned that China and Russia 'have never been closer,' China's military announced on Thursday it will hold joint exercises with Russian forces in the South China Sea."
Goodenough wrote an accompanying article that showed him in full spin mode, claiing that "The Russian government may soon release texts of emails hacked from Hillary Clinton’s private server during her time as secretary of state, a respected geopolitical affairs publication reported last month, citing Western intelligence sources." It wasn't until the 13th paragraph of his article that he noted Trump's invitation to Russia to hack Hillary's email, then immediately noted Trump ally Newt Gingrich's baseless assertion that Trump was making a "joke."
It wasn't until a full day later that CNS gave the hacking invitation a bit more prominence, in an article by Susan Jones -- but she, like Goodenough, spun Trump's words in a way to bury the whole treasonous aspect of it:
Not only did Jones failed to mention the bipartisan criticism of Trump's remarks, she referred to something she called the "Democrat National Convention."That's not a mistake -- right-wingers have maliciously switched "Democratic" for "Democrat" for years.
Jones' commitment to partisan posturing over something as basic as getting names correct tells us what a hack she is -- and the lack of journalistic seriousness of her employer.
UPDATE: A July 29 article by Goodenough on Joe Biden referring to Russian premier Vladimir Putin as a "dictator" waits until the very end to note Trump's hacking invitation to Russia, but then added, "Trump later characterized the comments as sarcasm."
This means that CNS has yet to make Trump's hacking invitation the primary focus of any article. And this is a "news" operation?
Thursday, July 28, 2016
Newsmax Highlights Negative News About Company It's Feuding With
Newsmax is currently embroiled in a dispute with Dish Network for the past couple months over the terms under which Dish carries Newsmax TV, which has meant that Dish has pulled the channel off its system for now.
That seems like the proper light in which to view Newsmax highlighting a July 22 Bloomberg article -- under the headline "Dish Network Loses Record-Setting 281,000 Subscribers" -- noting that Dish Network "lost a record number of TV subscribers in the second quarter as programming blackouts and price increases drove customers to seek cheaper online alternatives."
Newsmax failed to add a note to the article that it's in a dispute with Dish, which would seem to be a relevant disclosure.
Dear CNS: Obama is Right, World Is Less Violent Than Ever
On July 21, CNSNews.com published an unbylined article headlined "Obama: ‘The World Has Never Been Less Violent’." It's another bit of lazy stenography, cribbing from a speech in which Obama said that “we are living in the most peaceful” era in human history and that “the world has never been less violent.”
The powers that be at CNS are apparently going to trot that article out every time there's a terrorist attack or some other form of mass violence. CNS put it back on the front page earlier this week following terrorist attacks in Europe and adding "FLASHBACK" to the headline, though the "flashback" was to about one week ago.
But CNS won't tell its readers that Obama is pretty much correct. The World Economic Forum reports:
Pinker expanded on his view of the downward trend in world violence in an article at Slate:
CNS would never do that -- it's so much easier to push its right-wing agenda with misleading information.
WND's Farah Tries to Nick A Little Credit For 'Left Behind' Books
WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah has a weird habit of making grandiose and dubious (and evidence-free) claims about his past -- for instance, that he marched with Martin Luther King and he was "literally working shoulder to shoulder" with Bill Ayers and Tom Hayden in his left-winger days.
In his July 26 WND column eulogizing right-wing author and activst Tim LaHaye, Farah writes this:
That's a weird little attempt to steal a little glory from LaHaye upon his death. Note that Farah is somewhat vague about what exactly he's stealing credit for -- he's definitely claiming having come up with the title "Left Behind," and he's sort of suggesting he may have thought of a similar plot.
Then again, Farah's fighting against the imminent failure of the business model behind WND, so someone else's financial success probably looks quite appealing.
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
MRC Bashes Pretty Much Anyone Who Praised Michelle Obama's DNC Speech
Topic: Media Research Center
The idea that Michelle Obama's universally loved speech at the Democratic National Convention must not be praised apparently wasn't limited to CNSNews.com -- it was apparently a companywide edict at the Media Research Center.
Post after post at the MRC attacked people in the media for committing the offense of saying nice things about Obama's speech, apparently believe that it is "liberal bias" to admit that her speech went over well.
Curtis Houck complained that the TV networks "gush[ed] over her “artfully painted” address featuring “trademark...grace” in attacking Donald Trump." Houck despised Obama's reference to the fact that the White House was built by slaves, denigrating the comment by sneering parenthetically that the White House "was gutted and renovated by multiple times post-slavery." Nicholas Fondacaro similarly called out people on CNN for praising the speech.
Semi-resident MRC New York Times-basher Clay Waters (who still gets to do so there, but not as the full-time employee he used to be) predictably bashed the Times' coverage of her speech, huffing that "The reporters misleadingly sold Michelle Obama’s First Lady persona as studiously nonpolitical."
Samantha Cohen was in full rant mode, grumbling that on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," "panelist after panelist took turns gushing over Michelle Obama." Cohen attacked co-host Mika Brzezinski for her "chilling remarks" that Obama's speech was "real" and "personal," unlike the "whitewash" she heard at the Republican convention. Cohen howled:
Somebody should explain to Cohen the difference between "media research" and a mean-spirited personal attack. Or does the MRC not see a difference between the two anymore?
CNS Reporter Weirdly Attacks Michelle Obama's Speech
CNSNews.com reporter Susan Jones has a nasty habit of injecting editorial comment into her supposedly fair and balanced "news" articles -- you know, the exact same thing her employer, the Media Research Center, loves to accuse the "liberal media" of doing. She's so biased, apparently, that she cannot admit the near-universal bipartisan consensus that Michelle Obama gave a very good speech on the first night of the Democratic National Convention.
Jones had to find a way -- presumably under orders from editors Terry Jeffrey and Michael W. Chapman -- to denigrate the speech in her article on it, which seems to explain her very odd opening paragraph:
Huh? What does that even mean? Is Jones so desperate to avoid saying anything nice about Obama's speech that she emulated a word cloud to open her article on it?
Much of Jones' article did find her in stenography mode summarizing the speech, but she couldn't resist getting one more dig in, adding at the end: "On the campaign trail in 2008, Michelle Obama made waves when she said, 'For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.'"
This negative spin contrasts with Jones' effort to put a happy face on Ted Cruz's speech at the Republican National Convention, insisting that Cruz's "powerful speech" was "well-received until the very end, when it became clear he would not endorse Donald Trump."
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