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Sunday, November 27, 2016
More Trump Stenography at CNS
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com spent much of its original pre-election coverage about Donald Trump simply transcribing what he said -- effecting acting as a campaign PR shop -- instead of providing any sort of balanced or analytical coverage of his campaign. That's been continuing since Trump's win, and it's still going on.

Here's the latest Trump stenography from CNS, as well as other uncritical endorsement of Trump's agenda:

Meanwhile, CNS managing editor Michael W. Chapman is vouching for the Muslim-hating credentials of Michael Flynn, picked by Trump to be his national security adviser (Chapman is quoting all of this approvingly, not as criticism of Flynn):

Trump stenography  may not be any actual journalists' definition of journalism, but CNS doesn't seem to mind as long as it's clickbait-y enough to get them those sweet Drudge Report links.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:55 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, November 29, 2016 8:46 PM EST
Thin-Skinned Farah Denies WND Is 'Fake News'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We know all about Joseph Farah's notoriously thin skin, and we knew he could not stay silent about a college professor who put WND on her list of fake-news outlets, and that Chelsea Schilling's WND article mocking the "leftist" professor with publishing the most unflattering photos possible of her would not be sufficient punishment for such criticism.

Thus, Farah's Nov. 24 WND column, in which he ranted that the professor who made the list, Melissa Zimdars, "had never actually worked in the media – only researched it and taught it." Then, as he is wont to do, he drops his pants and engages in a manhood-measuring contest by devoting a very long paragraph to reciting his resume, though much of what he recited took place before he started WND. He then huffed: "Between Ms. Zimdars and me, who do you think is in a better position to determine real news from 'fake news'?"

Actually, one does not need to have worked in journalism to be able to determine real news from fake, and one can argue that the extensive journalism experience Farah prides himself on having has only made him experienced in presenting fake news as real.

Farah then serves up his own, um, interesting definition of fake news:

Let me make my position on “fake news” clear. It does exist. It is most evident in the revolving door between politics and the media – a phenomenon that doesn’t bother the establishment media or establishment politics one little bit.

One thing you will note about my bio and the resumes of other news professionals at WND.com is the absence of any interest in partisan politics or the desire to be part of government.

That’s the nexus of where most “fake news” actually starts. When political activists can move seamlessly from election campaigns to directing newsrooms and back again, the line between news and political agitprop is blurred to the point of journalistic prostitution.

Farah seems to not be aware of journalistic prostitute (and WND employee) Jerome Corsi, who teamed up with Trump adviser Roger Stone to use the pages of WND to push sleazy rumors about Hillary Clinton. Indeed, Farah surely knows there has never been any line between news and political agitprop at his website -- all its political "news" is designed to promote the Republican or conservative and denigrate the Democrat or liberal.

Farah also seems to have missed that revolving door happening between news and government happening not only with the Trump campaign -- which hired the head of Breitbart News to run the campaign -- but within his own website, in which political prostitute Jerome Corsi touted how "WND author and Oxford professor Theodore Roosevelt Malloch is being referred to the Trump transition team as a candidate for either ambassador to the United Nations or to the United Kingdom," acording to "sources close to the vice-president-elect, Mike Pence."

And as usual -- despite the evidence that WND does, in fact, traffic in fake news -- Farah manages to portray himself as the victim rather than the perpetrator:

I do, however, thank Ms. Zimdars and the major media that touted her “list,” however misguided and wrong-headed it was. Why? Because there really is such a phenomenon as “fake news.”

It’s found in scandalously phony reports like the one published by Ms. Zimdars and broadcast nationally by outlets thrilled by the condemnation of their anti-establishment competition. (To her credit, following WND’s report on Ms. Zimdars’ effort, she pulled it from her own website, though it circulates forever on, ironically, “fake news sites.”)

It’s found in websites without names and addresses associated with it that I strongly suspect are fronts for those who seek to undermine enterprises like WND.com. (One notoriously exploitive example is called WorldNewsDaily, which intentionally and shamelessly seeks confusion with the oldest, enduring similarly named site you are reading now.)

Needless to say, given how litigious WND is, it can easily sue that "notorioiusly exploitative website" out of existence (or at least into changing its name and look). Yet, strangely, it apparently hasn't.

Farah concludes by stating how to "put an end to" fake news: "In one word – discernment." Remember, people like Clark Jones have already discerned that WND is a provider of fake news, and he knows better than pretty much anyone.

UPDATE: Farah's insistence that he and everyone else at WND have an "absence of any interest in partisan politics" is further belied by the fact that, according to The Intercept, a pro-Trump super PAC paid WND $2,000 for "online voter contact." That probably consists of the super PAC renting WND's mailing list, but it's definitely interest in partisan politics.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:54 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, November 27, 2016 11:05 PM EST
Saturday, November 26, 2016
MRC's Gainor Redefines Fake News To Attack 'Liberal Media'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has had trouble dealing with the issue of fake news getting Donald Trump elected president -- in particular, its own enthusiastic promotion of a false Fox News story about Hillary Clinton's purportedly imminent indictment.

Now, it appears the MRC has simply decided to redefine the term as something only the "liberal media" does.

Loyal MRC apparatchik Dan Gainor made a Nov. 21 appearance on Fox Business -- where, like sister network Fox News, MRC talking heads are all but assured their anti-media views will never be subject to question -- in which he was called on to rant about an incomplete quote of Reince Priebus that NBC tweeted out (yes, this outrage is centered on a tweet). Asked if the Trump administration would establish a registry for Mulsims, Priebus responded, “Look, I’m not going to rule out anything, but I wouldn’t, we’re not going to have a registry based on a religion.” Gainor and Fox Business anchor Melissa Francis were incensed that NBC tweeted out only the first part of Priebus' statement, even though it actually negates the latter half of it.

Gainor ranted in response: "Of course it's something to get upset about. This is the same network that gave us Brian Williams and fake news. The media are all upset about fake news and they’re giving us fake news!"

No, Dan, Williams did not report "fake news" -- he embellished his personal association with certain news events. Not fully quoting Priebus to the MRC's satisfaction, even though his statement was self-contradicting, is also not fake news.

Fake news is what Facebook allowed to appear from shady websites that cared more about making money and creating clickbait than telling the truth -- a situation that came about in no small part because Facebook was afraid of Gainor's boss, Brent Bozell, accusing it of liberal bias (again). It's the MRC promoting that fake Fox News story, then refusing to clearly tell its readers the story was fake.

As long as Gainor and the rest of the MRC desperately try to obfuscate and redefine and change the subject, there will never be a serious discussion of fake news in which the MRC takes part.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:54 PM EST
WND Columnist Hypocritically (and Dishonestly) Laments Arpaio's Defeat
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Barbara Simpson's Nov. 20 WorldNetDaily column is one large sad for the defeat of Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio lost his re-election bid. But she does this in a very hypocritical way.

Simpson touted how Arpaio "was successful in money raising – some $12 million – much from out of state"-- then complained about out-of-state money being used to defeat him: "But his campaign was hurt by the money clout of George Soros who spent $2 million to defeat Joe. In addition, there was $500,000 from Laura and John Arnold, Texas billionaires and $250,000 from Steve Jobs’ widow."

Simpson went on to complain that "the government, up to and including the White House, targeted him for legal issues," and that anti-Arpaio ads meant that "Arizonians were drowning in anti-Arpaio bilge. It makes you wonder what they were afraid of."

Meanwhile, Simpson mocked another candidate targeted by the government for legal issues and the subject of much anti-candidate advertising: "Reportedly, Hillary Clinton herself has been having some crying jags about losing. After all, she believed she was destined to be president."

Simpson also potrayed Arpaio's defeat as being solely about his immigration stance: "The reality was – and is – Joe Arpaio is a law-and-order man. When people cross the border illegally, they have broken the law, and he saw it as his responsibility to enforce the law." She also complained that the opposition "painted Joe Arpaio as a foe of immigration, Latinos and anyone not white."

In fact, Arpaio not only was accused of using racial profiling, he was charged a month before the election with contempt of court for continuing to racially profile despite a court order not to.  Simpson dismissed it as "an order that essentially says he has to ignore enforcing the law," which is not true -- Arpaio would not be in this trouble if he simply stopped using racial profiling.

But there were other scandals in which Arpaio and his office were involved , putting the lie to Simpson's claim that Arpaio is "a good man" who was "being railroaded."Among them:

  • Arpaio's office failed to adequately investigate more than 400 sex-crimes cases, including dozens of allegations of child molestation, over a three-year period.
  • Arpaio had the editors of a local newspaper arrested for reporting that Arpaio had subpoenaed the paper in a lengthy dispute stemming from it publishing Arpaio's home address while reporting on his real estate holdings. The editors were later awarded $3.75 million after suing for false arrest.
  • Arpaio launched a secret investigation of the judge presiding over the racial profiling case, as well as his wife, based on a statement the wife was purportedly overheard making at a restaurant.

There's a lengthy Wikipedia page dedicated to Arpaio's scandals.

That wasn't the only instance in which Simpson departed from reality. She wrote of the legal costs in defending Arpaio's actions as sheriff: "Over the years, the costs to the people to defend him grew to over $30 milliion and questions started to be raised." In fact, Arpaio's office has racked more than $142 million in legal fees since he first was elected to the job.

Simpson also whined: "One of the most ludicrous comments I saw after the election was from the Associated Press, which said Arpaio’s defeat shows 'Arizona voters care little about immigration.' Tell that to Arizonians whose lives have been disrupted and ruined by the criminal activities of illegal aliens in the state. I know. I’ve talked with many of them."

Simpson took that quote out of context. In fact, the AP article added context that she deliberately omitted: "Exit polls showed that only about 1 in 10 voters named immigration as the most important issue, and three-quarters said they supported a path to legal status for immigrants."

Nope, Arpaio is not a "good man." And Simpson is not an honest writer.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:16 AM EST
Friday, November 25, 2016
MRC Doesn't Understand How Twitter Works, Blames It For Hashtag Mocking Pence
Topic: Media Research Center

Does the Media Research Center not understand how Twitter works? Apparently not.

In a Nov. 21 post headlined "Twitter Jabs Trump Administration After Hamilton Hubbub," Sarah Stites complains that "Following the Hamilton cast’s public message to Mike Pence at a weekend performance he attended, Twitter erupted into controversy surrounding the appropriateness of the comments." She strangely vascillates between blaming Twitter users and Twitter itself for this:

With the intention of lampooning the Trump Administration, people tweeted out the names of popular shows, but with words changed to achieve relevancy in the current state of American politics.

How to Succeed in Government without Really Trying, The Book of Moron, The Tantrum of the Opera, Guys and Walls and Oklahomophobia reflected new takes on the classics. Seven Brides for Seven Bigots, The Kids Are Alt-Right, Singing in the Reich and There's a Tranny, Get Your Gun were also among the titles devised.

This is not the first time Twitter has wielded hashtags to exaggerate or caricature the President-elect, his administration or his policies. In October, with #TrumpBookReports, Twitter users imagined how the incoming POTUS would summarize the plotline of a classic novel in 140 characters or less.

Note to Stites: Twitter is a medium, not a singular organization. It, as an organization, is not responsible for creating the #NameAPenceMusical hashtag -- people who use Twitter did. Attacking Twitter for the proliferation of the hashtag is nonsensical.

And why is Stites so upset about a hashtag, anyway? Does she want Twitter to censor all criticism of Donald Trump and his incoming presidency? Does she agree with Twitter cutting off the accounts of some of the more offensive elements of the alt-right, or does she think that's censorship? If the latter, why try to pressure Twitter into curbing criticism of Trump, which seems to be what she's trying to do?


Posted by Terry K. at 10:29 AM EST
WND's Massie, Self-Unaware Trump Supporter, Bashes Obama's 'Lavish Lifestyle'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

You know a Mychal Massie column could be a good one (and by "good" we mean "crazy and incoherent and hateful") if he starts plundering his thesaurus for five-dollar words to insert. And he doesn't disappoint in his Nov. 21 WorldNetDaily column.

Indeed, Massie throws in his old "Erebusic" chestnutand, in the middle of of yet another anti-Obama rant, throws in "usufruct" for good measure:

It wasn’t that Obama lied as such – he’s a politician and that’s what they do – he lied and then personally boasted, along with his malevolent jackals, how clever they were in putting one over on We the People. Obama did it with “cash for clunkers”; those he surrounded himself with joined him in boasting of the public’s “stupidity” pursuant to the Iran deal and Obamacare.

His wife took usufruct to unparalleled extremes and heretofore not witnessed levels of spending and an in-our-face lavish lifestyle with a disregard that exceeded that for which Marie Antoinette was legendary.

Obama, as I have stated numerous times, had the opportunity to end the fractious divisiveness of race mongers. Obama had the golden scepter with which to virtually speak racial discord and the fomenters of same into oblivion. Instead he embraced and consciously increased racial animus and immiseration.

Obama embraced and projected the lowest common denominator of moral propriety – all the while preening and sneering contemptuously at those he viewed as beneath him, or perhaps more accurately stated, those he viewed as his subjects.

Yes, the guy who supported Donald Trump for president is  attacking the Obamas for their purported "lavish lifestyle."

Massie also called Hillary clinton a "a wholly corrupt, diseased, barely ambulatory, incoherent, shoddy old 'white' woman." No, we don't know why Massie put Clinton's race in scare quotes.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:29 AM EST
Thursday, November 24, 2016
AIM's Kincaid Defends Another White Nationalist Group
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Like the Media Research Center, Accuracy in Media is also in distraction mode when it comes to Trump adviser Stephen Bannon.

Cliff Kincaid's Nov. 15 AIM article immediately starts attacking the Southern Poverty Law Center for pointing out Bannon's promotion of alt-right white nationalist views as the guy who ran Breitbartn (and, by extension, media outlets that cite the SPLC), ranting that the SPLC "has no business being cited as a credible source by any responsible news organization. It smears conservatives for profit, diverting attention from real domestic threats, such as the Marxist extremists currently demonstrating against Trump in the streets and threatening to disrupt his inauguration."

Kincaid goes on to whine that "This journalist was named a member of the 'radical right,' a designation then transformed into a charge of 'Islamophobia' by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The accusations are designed to silence First Amendment rights and discourage the media from going to conservative sources for news, information and commentary." Kincaid doesn't dispute the accusation or anything else in the SPLC's profile of him, but is simply attacking the messenger.

Kincaid then plunges into conspiracy-theory mode:

Even more troubling, SPLC President and CEO Richard Cohen was a member of the “Countering Violent Extremism Working Group” of the Department of Homeland Security in 2010. It is possible that Cohen, in this capacity, was able to get access to classified information, and that the SPLC, in turn, shared its erroneous data on conservative opponents of the Obama administration with federal law enforcement agencies.

Kincaid dismisses the allegations against Bannon by benignly describing them stemming from his leadership of Breitbart, which "features some unorthodox conservative views that Bannon’s critics have tried to pin on him." At no point does Kincaid rebut any of the specific charges made against Bannon.

Then, Kincaid goes off on a tangent:

Before [CBS anchor Scott] Pelley uncritically cited the SPLC, Kate Snow was on MSNBC talking about how Trump’s stand against illegal immigration was similar to that of the secretary of state of Kansas, Kris Kobach. She said Kobach had given “support” to the Social Contract Press, which she described as a “hate group” designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Social Contract Press rebuts all of the accusations, while noting that the SPLC’s $300 million cash hoard “rivals that of [the] Clinton Foundation.” It was the Social Contract Press which published one of [Ken] Silverstein’s articles exposing the SPLC.

Indeed, Silverstein’s exposé was just one section of a major report the Social Contract Press published in 2010 that examined the SPLC’s strategy and tactics.

Yet, it’s Bannon who is being accused of being an extremist. 

Kincaid is doing a lot of obfuscation here. The specific claim here is that Kobach, in 2015, gave a presentation at a conference hosted by the Social Contract Press. The SPLC has pointed out that the Social Contract Press, published by notorious anti-immigration activist John Tanton -- described by the SPLC as "a man known for his racist statements about Latinos, his decades-long flirtation with white nationalists and Holocaust deniers, and his publication of ugly racist materials" -- is an outlet for the writings of white nationalists and filled with race-baiting. Kincaid somehow failed to mention that.

The Social Contract Press' attack on the SPLC is, like Kincaid's, an attempt to deflect from the SPLC's documentation of its work by attacking the messenger. While Kincaid claims the Social Contract Press has "rebut[ted]" the SPLC's claims, he provides no link to it beyond its general SPLC-bashing work.

Kincaid's defense of the Social Contract Press is another instance of him siding with white nationalists. In August, Kincaid defended the honor of unambiguously racist white supremacist Jared Taylor, and has previously laughably denied that the organization Taylor runs, American Renaissance, is racist.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:49 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, November 24, 2016 7:52 PM EST
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Bias (And Poor-Shaming) In Action At CNS
Topic: CNSNews.com

Huffington Post reporters wrote a pretty straightforward story about the food items that people on food stamps buy:

Though people like to complain about food stamp recipients using their benefits for unhealthy things like soda and extravagances like crab legs, new data show they buy basically the same food as everyone else.

Households participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and households that didn’t get benefits both bought a lot of junk food, according to a new study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the program.

About 40 cents of every dollar went to basics like bread, milk, meat, eggs, fruits and vegetables for both types of households. And 20 cents of every dollar went to sodas and salty snacks. As a percentage of their spending, soft drinks were the top individual commodity among food stamp households, and they came in second place among non-SNAP households.

Run that information through the right-wing bias filter at CNSNews.com, however, and you get this story by editor in chief Terry Jeffrey:

Soft drinks were the top commodity bought by food stamp recipients shopping at outlets run by a single U.S. grocery retailer.

That is according to a new study released by the Food and Nutrition Service, the federal agency responsible for running the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as the food stamp program.

By contrast, milk was the top commodity bought from the same retailer by customers not on food stamps.

In calendar year 2011, according to the study, food stamp recipients spent approximately $357,700,000 buying soft drinks from an enterprise the study reveals only as “a leading U.S. grocery retailer.”

That was more than they spent on any other “food” commodity—including milk ($253,700,000), ground beef ($201,000,000), “bag snacks” ($199,300,000) or “candy-packaged” ($96,200,000), which also ranked among the top purchases.

The important fact that the SNAP recipients' grocery cart was very similar to that of non-SNAP recipients was buried in the 10th paragraph of Jeffrey's article.

The implication of Jeffrey's bias -- much of his article obsesses over how much SNAP money went to soda and snack foods even though, again, the amount is similar to what non-SNAP households buy -- is that he wants SNAP recipients to be punished for being poor  and for behaving exactly like their not-as-poor neighbors.

Poor-shaming seems to becoming a thing at CNS. In July, CNS reporter Susan Jones fretted that an Obama administration fair-housing initiative would help "move inner-city minorities, for example, into subsidized housing in wealthier, whiter suburbs."


Posted by Terry K. at 3:56 PM EST
Tebow-Touters At The MRC Won't Mention His Miserable Fall Season
Topic: Media Research Center

We noted how Media Research Center writers such as NewsBusters Dylan Gwinn and CNSNews.com's Michael Morris crowed about football player-turned-baseball player and right-wing fave Tim Tebow hit a home run in his first instructional league game (while ignoring he went hitless in his other five at-bats in that same game). Well, that wasn't the only Tebow-touting the MRC engaged in.

Gwinn dedicated another post to Tebow, this time about an incident in which Tebow prayed over a fan who had a seizure while waiting in line for an autograph, adding, "If Tim Tebow lays hands on you, you’re in…well…good hands."

Morris gushed about that as well, adding that while Tebow went 0-for-3 at the plate that day, "one fan will likely remember the game for the exceptional character Tebow continues to exhibit off the field." Morris went on to spin Tebow's not getting a hit in his first three Arizona Fall League games ("Tebow responded in typical upbeat fashion") and touted another game in which he "just experienced what might be his best moment in his young professional baseball career with the New York Mets, hitting an opposite-field, walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to lift his team to victory." In between, Morris wrote a post plugging Tebow's new book "that deals with how to handle life’s struggles."

One thing you're not likely to hear about from Gwinnn or Morris, however: Tebow's full record in the Arizona Fall League, a developmental league for Major League Baseball's top prospects (and Tebow).

NBC baseball blogger Craig Calcaterra reports Tebow hit a dismal .194 in the league's month-long season, adding that the assessments of Tebow by baseball scouts were even more so:

More important would be the assessment of scouts who would be in a position to look past the results and determine whether there was anything promising there. Batting approaches that, even if they didn’t result in a lot of hits, could provide the scaffolding for something he could build in the low minors next spring. What do the scouts think on that score?

“Awful,” said one AL scout.

“Stinks,” said one from the NL.

“Ugly,” said another executive. “In the field and at the plate, nothing looks natural.”

Yikes.

Executives quoted in that story, from the New York Post, are a bit more charitable. They note that he did improve with instruction and that he was “not an embarrassment.” One notes that he was, as expected, a good influence on his teammates.

Nope, Gwinn, Morris nor anyone else at the MRC won't be telling you all that bad stuff.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:46 PM EST
WND, Which Loved Likening Obama To Stalin, Is Mad Some Likening Trump to Stalin
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In a Nov. 16 article headlined "'Hitler' too tame, left characterizes Trump as Stalin," WorldNetDaily's Bob Unriuh com lained that the website Salon -- which is apparently "the left" now, since he cites no other example -- "called Trump’s routine changes of staff a 'Stalinesque purge.'" He also repeated a complaint that "the Washington Post repeatedly compared Trump to Hitler."

Just as WND's protestations of Trump-Hitler comparisons are absurd because it enthusuastically likened Barack Obama to Hitler and other assorted Nazis, its protest of a Trump-Stalin comparison is equally absurd because, yes, WND made that comparison with Obama as well.

WND columnist Robert Ringer wrote a 2012 column unambiguously titled "OBAMA AND STALIN: HOW THEY'RE ALIKE." For example:

While reading Walter Laqueur’s biography of Josef Stalin, I was struck by a couple of similarities between Stalin and Obama. Even though Stalin’s life and personality were for very different from Obama’s, there are a couple of important similarities between the two men. The most obvious one, which almost certainly laid the foundation for the hatred that was embedded in the souls of both leaders, was their extremely dysfunctional and unhappy childhoods.

A second similarity is their remarkable success in portraying themselves to be men of great character and morality, the exact opposite of who they really were/are. Stalin, much like Obama today, succeeded in carrying out a nonstop propaganda campaign in which he was portrayed to the public as the kindly “Uncle Joe,” notwithstanding his ruthless murdering of tens of millions of his own countrymen.

[...]

Many of us picked up on Obama’s lack of feeling and nonexistent humanity early on. In my article “Saul, Barack and me, Part 1,” back in 2009, I wrote, “After a good deal of study and observation, my take on him [Obama] is that he is a man without a soul. And, as a soulless individual, his actions are not hampered by trivial moral considerations.”

Thus, the one thing that I believe Obama definitely has in common with Josef Stalin is that he lacks compassion for others, be they rich or poor, while professing, like Stalin, to be the great defender of the working class.

Needless to say, Ringer offered no evidence that Obama was murdering Americans.

In 2011, WND cheered a gun manufacturer whose ad showed "side-by-side pictures of Obama with Hitler, Stalin and other dictators who committed atrocities across the world. A 2014 "news" article by Art Moore similarly touted how a California politician compared Obama "to some of the most reviled names in history," including Stalin, by claiming that he, like those "reviled names," supports "gun control" and not "gun rights." That was article was accompanied by a poll in which readers could choose "the most evil leader in the last 100 years." Obama won the poll, getting more votes than Hitler and Stalin combined.

Again: That's the readership of WND who thinks that, and WND caters to those readers.

More examples:

  • A 2008 column by Obama derangement-prone writer Erik Rush asked whether Obama was "Stalin in blackface."
  • A 2010 column by Craige McMillan called Obama "America's Stalin," declaring, "Stalin wasn’t much concerned with private property rights – and neither is Obama."
  • A 2012 "news" article uncritically regurgitated Michael Savage ranting that Obama is the "most evil" president in American history, at one point calling him "Joseph Stalin Obama."
  • In 2013, WND columnist Barry Farber warned against hurling around Obama-Stalin or Obama-Hitler comparisons because "you’re going to mess us up; not him" (though he somehow did not warn himself against asking, "If given a chance, how close would Obama come to the Hitler-Stalin style of totalitarian atrocity?). But the next year Farber was declaring that Obama's purported "purge" of military leaders was "just like Stalin's."

So, yeah, WND has proved itself yet again to be utterly craven and hypocritical.

(Oh, and before WND starts complaining that someone is likening Trump to fascists like Mussolini, it should remember that WND editor Joseph Farah already did that with Obama.)


Posted by Terry K. at 12:40 AM EST
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Leader of Website That Championed Trump's Candidacy Cheers His Victory
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy begins his Nov. 21 column this way:

It is not every day the president-elect of the United States calls me. Last Tuesday, it was Donald Trump on the line. He thanked me for Newsmax's early and fair coverage of his presidential quest.

I congratulated our nation's soon to be 45th president.

Of course. Ruddy's Newsmax has been an integral part of legitimizing the itea of Trump as a presidential candidate. Taht "early and fair" coverage of Trump largely consisted of Trump sycophant Ronald Kessler slobbering all over the guy prior to the 2012 presidential campaign. Newsmax also attempted to team with Trump to host a Republican presidential debate in the 2012 cycle, but it collapsed when most of the candidates bailed out amid rumots that Trump was considering a third-party candidacy.

Ruddy was similarly in slobber mode during this year's election. While he worried about how Trump's campaign might affect the Republican Party's outreach to Latino voters, he also ran to Trump's defense over the latter's vile misogyny revealed in the "Access Hollywood" tape, insisting that Trump "should never have apologized" because the tape was off the record he he shouldn't be held to politican standards for things he said when he wasn't a politician. Ruddy toasted Trump's victory, proclaiming, "For many years I would tell the president-elect that he had already won the 'triple crown' of American life. No other American could say that they were at the pinnacle of the business, entertainment, and political worlds. No one else."

This is echoed in his current column:

I have known the president-elect for almost 20 years. This election victory clearly came as a surprise to him, only sensing victory the last three days of the campaign. We have talked frequently through the years. I have seen him up close and personal as few other journalists have.

This call was different.

He was remarkably relaxed and focused, as if his moment had arrived. Our private conversation lasted about 10 minutes, the details I cannot share here.

Suffice to say, I recently wrote in my blog this new president, as the first truly "citizen president," has a unique opportunity to re-shape the country and the world.

Ruddy concluded with one last bit of slobbering: "There is no question President-elect Trump is on a learning curve. But he has handled new and different challenges before. Just look how he well did as a presidential candidate."


Posted by Terry K. at 4:24 PM EST
WND Censors Full Story of Mom's Lawsuit Against Transgender Teen
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Whenever WorldNetDaily reports on a legal case promoted by one of its favorite right-wing legal organizations, the question one should always ask is: What is WND hiding about this story that undermines the case?

Bob Unruh writes in a Nov. 16 WND article:

Can a team of advocates for transsexuality, from a school district and a medical services organization to county social workers, simply decide that a 17-year-old minor is “emancipated” from his parents and go ahead with male-to-female sex-change treatments with no further permission?

That’s the question being asked in a lawsuit against St. Louis County in Minnesota, its public health chief Linnea Mirsch, Fairview Health Services, Park Nicollet Health Services, St. Louis County School District, Cherry School Principal Michael Johnson and others.

“This is an outrageous abuse of power by multiple agencies,” said Tom Brejcha, chief counsel of the Thomas More Society, which is working with local attorney Erick Kaardal of Mohrman, Kaardal and Erickson of Minneapolis on the case.

“To treat a minor child without either parental consent or a court order of emancipation is a violation of the trust placed upon the human service sector and its governmental oversight agencies. To give a parent no recourse to intervene in this situation is an egregious violation of constitutional rights,” Brejcha said.

[...]

But the complaint, posted online, argued the defendants have worked together to provide the minor, identified only as JDK, with funds for living, health consultations, legal consultations, medical treatments and more – all without any legal adjudication that JDK is emancipated.

That means, the lawsuit contends, JDK’s biological mother and custodial parent, Anmarie Calgaro, has suffered a multitude of violations of her constitutional parental rights.

[...]

Kaardal explained: “Ms. Calgaro as a Minnesota parent is entitled to notice and hearing when parental rights regarding a minor child are terminated. Regarding emancipation, the courts recognize a common law right for a teenager to petition for emancipation; but, the courts do not recognize a corresponding common law right for a parent to petition to de-emancipate a teenager. Thus, Minnesota statutes constitutionally err by allowing a medical service provider to treat a teenager as emancipated without a court order and without providing parents a post-deprivation process to challenge the medical service provider’s determination of emancipation. Similarly, the county’s and school district’s determinations of the teenager’s emancipation without a court order violate the parent’s right to notice and a hearing; but, unlike the medical service providers, the county and the school district do not have a statute to pin their unconstitutional conduct on.”

As is typical for Unruh and WND, no effort is made to tell the full story -- he's just doing stenography for the Thomas More Society. But there is another side of this story that goes beyond WND's stenography. The Washington Post, an actual news organization, reports:

What complicates the case is Calgaro’s relationship with her daughter, which was described as estranged in a letter attached to the complaint. The letter, from Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, declared the teenager legally emancipated under state law in June 2015 due to “conduct by the parent in giving up control and custody of the minor.”

At that time, the teenager told Legal Aid she had been living separately from Calgaro for at least six months and was working two jobs to financially support herself while enrolled in high school and college courses. Calgaro, the teen claimed, knew where her daughter was staying but “made no attempts” to bring her home, contact her or report her as a runaway to authorities.

That, Legal Aid determined, made the teen “legally emancipated,” even though there was no court order. The designation would automatically qualify the teen for health care through social service programs, allowing her to make medical decisions — even elective ones — without parental consent.

The teen decided to begin transitioning from male to female.

Also, while Unruh hand-waves non-agency parties being sued by the Thomas More Society as "others," the Post points out that one other target of the lawsuit is Calgaro's son-turned-daughter. In other words, she's suing her own child.

Further, the Thomas More Society's complaint admits that "Minnesota common law allows for the emancipation of minor children" without a defined legal process. But as NBC notes, Minnesota law does not use the term "emancipation," but state law does provide for minors to make their own medical decisions -- which raises the concern that the Thomas More Society may be using this lawsuit as a stealth attack on state abortion law because the statute that allows minors to make their own medical decisions is echoed in the state's parental notification law regarding abortion.

Once again, WND has skewed a story around its pet issues of parental rights and hating transgenders.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:46 AM EST
Monday, November 21, 2016
Yes, NewsBusters And the MRC Have Dabbled In Pushing Fake News
Topic: Media Research Center

CNN's Brian Stelter mentioned NewsBusters in a segement on right-wing faker news -- actually, didn't even mention it; he just used a screenshot of a couple of NewsBusters items in passing -- and the Media Research Center got the vapors. Brad Wilmouth wrote:

In a pre-recorded piece aired on New Day Saturday, CNN's Brian Stelter included images of two NewsBusters articles (here and here) as he complained that many people were fooled by "BS" and "fake news," sharing such material with others through social media during the 2016 presidential election.

As the CNN media analyst fretted that Donald Trump's campaign had benefited from "fake news" articles, Stelter did not take the time to inform viewers of what he found to be "fake" about the NewsBusters articles that were that were authored by our Matt Philbin and contributing writer Christian Toto.

[...]

As articles from several websites appeared on screen, two NB articles were among the group -- "Hypocrisy: Net Frets About Bannon; Gave Catholic-Hating Podesta a Pass" and "Amy Schumer: Trump Voters Weak, Clueless KKK Members." As Stelter did not specify his problem with either article, a similar article regarding Amy Schumer, albeit with a different title, had appeared at the Huffington Post.

After recalling that "Even President Obama is raising the alarm," Stelter recalled an article from one of the other websites which falsely claimed a protester was paid to disrupt Trump rallies.

[...]

There was still no explanation for why either NewsBusters piece was included among "fake news" articles as of this post's publication. 

Wilmouth went on to state that "NewsBusters executive editor Tim Graham demanded that Stelter issue a correction and emphasized that all of us at NewsBusters take issues of accuracy seriously (despite what Stelter may consciously or erroneously think and opine to viewers)," adding links to Graham tweeting that "If you can't explain where we FAKED it, @BrianStelter we at NewsBusters want a correction" and "Anyone who reads @newsbusters -- if you find something "Pants on Fire" or "Fake" on NB, we will take it seriously. No flies in our soup!"

Wilmouth and Graham have a point -- to a certain extent. Of the two NewsBusters posts that got blink-and-you'll-miss-them appearances in the CNN segment, one is as run-of-the-mill right-wing rant by Christian Toto overstating what comedian Amy Schumer said about Trump voters; while she mocked them by questioning if they could read her Instagram post "through the holes in your sheets," the headline of Toto's post claims she called them "Clueless KKK Members." The post did contain an added editor's note asserting that Hillary Clinton's emails, which  Schumer said caontined "nothing incriminating," actually contained "Classified information very likely hacked by foreign agents."

The second post was one by Matt Philbin, and as we noted, it complained that the media was examining the white-nationalist ties of Steve Bannon instead of Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, who Philbin smeared as an "anti-Catholic bigot."  In fact, Podesta is a Catholic himself, and he merely complained about conservative Catholics, not attacked the entire religion.

In the MRC's defense, these types of items are not the fake news that has people concerned -- this sort of hyperbolic ranting is par for the course at NewsBusters.That's not to say the MRC hasn't been promoting fake news, however.

As we've documented, the MRC went all in in relentlessly promoting the Fox News story that  an indictment of Hillary Clinton was imminent and that her email server was almost definitely hacked, with MRC chief Brent Bozell vowing to report "every hour" on the issue. But none of those hours were devoted to a post that told readers Fox News effectively retracted both claims -- in other words, fake news.

That not only undercuts Wilmouth's claim that "all of us at NewsBusters take issues of accuracy seriously" and Graham's assertion that "if you find something "Pants on Fire" or "Fake" on NB, we will take it seriously," it proves that the editor's note in Toto's post on schumer was fake as well. So maybe Stelter wasn't that much out of line.

There are also things like NewsBusters blogger Tom Blumer deceptively trying to blame all birtherism on Hillary Clinton (which, to the very limited extent her campaign was associated with the issue, ended around the time her 2008 campaign did) as a ploy to get Trump off the hook for pushing the issue for five years. NewsBusters also has a blogger hiding behind the fake name of "Bruce Bookter"and hired aggressively pro-Trump partisan Jeffrey Lord to blog there as well, who has his own history of fake news.

The fake news the MRC puts out isn't the crude clickbait eesigned to make money; it's things like dubious studies so narrowly defined and unscientifically conducted they're meaningless as anything except a partisan cudgel.

On Nov. 20, the MRC went after Stelter again; this time, Nicholas Fondacaro complained that, in repeating the claims of a fake-news writer reported by the Washingtion Post, he "taking the opinion and the insults of a fake news publisher as fact. On top of ranting that "Stelter tried to smear the Media Research Center by including images of two NewsBusters articles during his shtick about fake news," he offered his own pass-the-buck take on the fake-news controversy:

The public is smarter than they are given credit for, and are very perceptive. So, the fear that fake news is what drove a Trump victory over Clinton is powered by a distrust with the intelligence the public. If Stelter and the media want their credibility back, then they need to show some trust in the public and not just demand that the public trust them. 

Of course, neither of these two posts noted that Facebook reportely refused to implement standards that would weed out fake news in order to avoid provoking another attack from right-wingers -- like Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell -- over claims of bias and censorship, such has what happened earlier in the year.

If the MRC was really as interested in accuracy as Graham and other employees claim it is, it would address that claim in its discussions of the fake-news controversy.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:35 PM EST
Fake-News Outlet WND Upset To Find Itself on List of Fake-News Outlets
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Chelsea Schilling complains in a Nov. 17 WorldNetDaily article:

The mainstream media are going wild circulating a viral list of so-called “fake news” websites – and the list includes established news sites like WND, Breitbart, Red State, the Daily Wire and Project Veritas – but WND has found a leftist, Trump-bashing assistant professor in Massachusetts who specialized in “fat studies” is behind the effort to target and discredit legitimate news organizations.

[...]

[Melissa] Zimdars published and circulated a list of “fake, false, or regularly misleading websites that are shared on Facebook and social media.” She said she began writing the list because she didn’t approve of the sources her students were citing.

The problem?

In addition to some satirical and bogus sites, her list attacks the credibility of well-established news organizations such as Breitbart, BizPac Review, Red State, the Blaze, the Independent Journal Review, Twitchy, the Daily Wire, WND and James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas. In many cases (such as with her WND listing), she offers no explanation for why the news organizations were included on the list.

WND's complaining about appearing on that list might be a bit more believable if it didn't have a lengthy history of doing what the list claims it did -- publish fake news.

The most obvious example of this is WND's multiyear birther crusade, which Joseph Farah and Co. pursued for the sole purpose of waging a war of personal destrution against Barack Obama --if WND was genuinely concerned about constitutional eligibility for the presidency, it would have pursued the eligibility case against Ted Cruz with the same vigor, which it didn't. Or when any of the numerous allegations it promoted regarding Obama's eligibility were discredited, which it never did. WND turned its birther crusade into fake news, and that alone earns its inclusion on the list.

Also of note is perhaps the most notorious spasm of fake news WND perpetrated, if only because it actually suffered legal consequences for it. Before the 2000 election, WND published a series of articles attacking Al Gore, several of which made thet claim that a Tennessee car dealer was involved in drug dealing. The car dealer sued WND and related people and entities for defamation; the lawsuit dragged on for years, with Farah asserting that "this lawsuit would be dropped in a flat second if Al Gore wanted it to be dropped," until just before the case was to go to trial seven years later, when WND abrtuptly settled the suit out of court for terms that still haven't been disclosed. As part of the settlement, though, WND admitted that what it published about the car dealer was not true and that "the sources named in the publications have stated under oath that statements attributed to them in the articles were either not made by them, were misquoted by the authors, were misconstrued, or the statements were taken out of context."

While WND appended the settlement statement to several articles in the series, all of those articles are still live on the WND website despite no apparent effort by WND to fact-check the other claims made in the articles. But if one significant part of the series has been found to be a lie and its reporters exposed as engaging in sloppy reporting, there's no reason to believe the rest of what was written (though WND's lies arguably had their intended effect of keeping Gore from getting elected).

Let's not forget that Farah is weirdly proud of the fact that WND publishes "misinformation" (read: lies) and that his own record of writing is strewn with falsehoods. Heck, even Schilling's own body of work at WND is similarly falsehood-laden.

And justlast week, WND republished an article from another right-wing website  about anti-Trump protesters that is totally false -- and the article is still live and uncorrected at WND.

Schilling's record of mendacious reporting continues in this article. She found the most unflattering photos of Zimdars she could find to accompany her article and attacked her academic record, emphaasizing that she has done research in "fat studies," published a paper on "fat acceptance TV" and she "enthusiastically declares that she’s 'less self-conscious of my own rear end than I used to be.'"

The fact that WND uses its "news" pages to carry out personal vendettas against its critics is just another reason nobody believes it -- and another reason it indisputably earned its place on that fake-news list.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:03 AM EST
Updated: Monday, November 21, 2016 1:04 AM EST
Sunday, November 20, 2016
MRC Actually Blames 'Liberal Bias' For Alt-Right Fake News
Topic: Media Research Center

We've noted that one key reason why pro-Trump fake news proliferated during the presidential election is that, according to Gizmodo sources, Facebook refused to implement standards that would weed out fake news in order to avoid provoking attacks from right-wingers -- like Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell -- over claims of bias and censorship.

The MRC has finally noticed the debate -- and is eager to do anything but discuss its own role in helping create it. Like blaming the so-called "liberal media" for it.

IN a Nov. 18 MRC post, Kyle Drennen writes of "network coverage hyping liberal fears that fake news stories shared on Facebook and across social media fueled Donald Trump’s election victory and actually came to this conclusion: "Perhaps if journalists were more concerned with policing their own liberal bias, the public would be less inclined to seek out alternative news sources."

Yep, that's what he wrote.

Kyle complained that "That question was never broached in any of the coverage" of the issue -- but Drennen never broached the question of the Bozell-led intimidation of Facebook allegedly being a factor in Facebook refusing to do anything about fake news before the election.

So the "liberal media" is somehow to blame for fake right-wing news. That's the way logic works at the MRC these days. And about all one can do in response is facepalm.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:06 PM EST

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