MRC's Bozell Trying to Make Political Hay Over Facebook's Fake-News Fight Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has long endeavored to make Facebook's fight against fake news a politically charged one, and is not interested at all in having an honest discussion about it.
So when Facebook announced it would be partnering with the Associated Press, Snopes, FactCheck.org, ABC News, and PolitiFact -- all signatories to Poynter’s International Fact Checking Code of Principles -- to target fake news, it worked to make that a partisan issue as well. MRC chief Brent Bozell's initial response to the Facebook announcement was relatively restrained, but he made his political point:
I have been in communication with Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook since he announced their new ‘fake news’ initiative. I expressed grave concern with this decision and the liberal 'fact-checking' organizations Facebook has chosen. Mr. Zuckerberg assured me that his express aim is to eliminate only patently false news stories from Facebook. He underscored he has instructed these organizations to focus only on truly fake news and nothing of a political nature. I will accept in good faith his commitment to address our concerns on this matter. It is my hope this will be the last we say about this issue.
No mention of course, of how Bozell and his group of right-wingers apparently intimidated Facebook so much earlier this year in trying to capitalize on claims that Facebook's trending-news feed was alleggedly biased that it was afraid to make fixes to its news feed during the election that would have curbed fake news on Facebook lest Bozell's brigade use them as a political pinata again.
In other words, Bozell helped create the current fake-news problem, and he has yet to own up to it.
Nevertheless, this is most certainly not the last Bozell has to say on the issue. On Dec. 18, MSNBC's Joy Reid accused Bozell and other conservatives of "essentially sort of conceding the fact that a lot of the things that are put out on the right aren't real, but he wants them to be prominent in people's feeds."
It's an overstated claim but not inaccurate, given Bozell's fervent desire to politicize the issue. Still, the MRC freaked out anyway. Brad Wilmouth huffed: "Reid did not mention concerns by conservatives that Politifact and other third-party groups that would assist Facebook in its fact-checking have a substantial liberal bias, raising doubts about whether they could be trusted to fact-check evenhandedly between right-wing and left-wing news sources."
Then Bozell predictably chimed in, adding a graguitous side shot at former CNN president Jonathan Klein, who was a panelist on Reid's show:
I didn't essentially sort of concede diddly. I expressed that while 'fake news' does exist, and is a problem, and should be stopped, it is also true that there are those on the left politicizing the issue for partisan political gain, and when liberal outlets are assigned fact-checking oversight, that in itself becomes a new problem. I cannot think of a better example than the blather by Joy Reid on Sunday. Her statement was completely false. Should I call it 'fake news'? As for Jon Klein, who cares what he thinks? You can't fall lower than having the title 'former CNN.'
By the way, despite all of their whining, neither Bozell nor the MRC has definitively proven that any of the websites Facebook is using in its fake-news initiative are "liberal outlets." That's simply an extension of its war on facts driven by the need to cover up for Trump's constant lies.
(As part of that, the MRC's Tim Graham on Dec. 16 touted an attack on PolitiFact by right-winger Mollie Hemingway, which is little more than pedantic hair-splitting over Planned Parenthood and mammograms.)
But here is the thing, fake news actually in reality it's not that big a deal. The site denverguardian.com, it actually did the best, ranked 92,000 in web traffic. In other words, people go to 91 other sites — 91,000 other sites before they go to this fake one. The Patriot News Agency, another one that’s fake, it ranks nearly 185,000 and has a total of 113 likes — a whopping 113 on Facebook...So real news sites, to keep it in perspective, a site FoxNews.com is in the top of one hundred. So, the point being really no one goes to these fake sites[.]
Look, fake news exists. It is the story of the Pope endorsing Donald Trump. These are these clickbait organizations, you click on there so they can sell you a product. That is fake news. That needs to be exposed and that needs to be flushed down the toilet, but that’s not a huge issue. If that's all we were talking about, fine, what they’re talking about is going after conservative organizations and conservative thought because it's quote, unquote, fake news.
The MRC cited as evidence an article from the Daily Caller, which got its traffic counts from Alexa -- considered to be a bit dubious -- and which apparently didn't factor traffic counts before the election and traffic referrals from Facebook.
Also, as we've noted, NewsBusters most certainly did push fake news during the election, in the form of the bogus Fox News story about Hillary Clinton's purportedly imminent indictment.
Bozell then invoked the dark specter of "ultra-liberal billionaire" George Soros and complained that it's the left, not him, that's politicizing the fake news issue:
You're already seeing reporters doing this. MSNBC tried it this morning on me. You now have left-wing organizations influencing the advertising community with some of these fact-checking organizations. They have put Breitbart on the list. They have put my organization — NewsBusters — on the list, so this is censorship. This is serious business and these left-wingers need to be exposed. I hate to say it, this goes all the way to President Obama who’s been using this language.
The MRC never issued a full correction or apology for promoting the bogus Fox News story. Unless Bozell can fully come to terms with his own organization's role in pushing fake news for the benefit of Trump, he has no moral high ground he can occupy on this issue.
WND Repeats Botched Attacks on Media Matters Topic: WorldNetDaily
Let's see how much Bob Unruh gets wrong in just the first two paragraphs of his Dec. 6 WorldNetDaily article, shall we?
Media Matters, the far-left organization that monitors media, was caught a few years ago promoting as fact the disputed claim that the White House talking points on the Benghazi attack were edited to preserve a criminal investigation.
Then it was caught fabricating quotes to smear a Hillary Clinton critic, and later founder David Brock admitted his nonprofit organization defended Clinton from political attack, apparently in defiance of federal requirements that nonprofits avoid taking sides.
The first paragraph links as evidence to a 2013 WND article by Aaron Klein, who was attacking a Media Matters e-book debunking myths about Benghazi. Klein did indeed dispute theclaim that the talking points were "edited to preserve a criminal investigation," he does not prove it wrong -- he offered only contradictory speculation. Media Matters pointed that out again in an article critiquing Klein's own Benghazi book published in 2014.
Unruh's claim that Media Matters was "caught fabricating quotes to smear a Hillary Clinton critic" is itself a falsehood. He linked to a 2014 WND article noting a separate Media Matters critique of Klein's Benghazi book, taking issue with a statement that Klein "suggested that [former CIA deputy director Michael] Morell was ‘given’ his new job at the consulting firm Beacon Global Strategies (co-founded by Philippe Reines, a Clinton adviser), ‘in exchange for his silence in the talking points scandal.'” WND huffed in response: "Klein’s book never states Morell was 'given' his job, nor does the quote 'in exchange for his silence in the talking points scandal' appear anywhere in the book."
In fact, as we documented at the time, the following line appears on page 177 of Klein's "The Real Benghazi Story": "Morell later reemerged as a counselor to Beacon Global Strategies, a consult group particularly close to Hillary Clinton. Was Morell given this job in exchange for his silence in the talking points scandal?" Apparently WND didn't read the book it published.
The claim that Brock said Media Matters "admitted his nonprofit organization defended Clinton from political attack" is simply bad reporting. Unruh links to a June 2015 article by Cheryl Chumley making the claim.
But Chumley quotes Brock discussing how "our organizations ... have led the way in exposing the fraudulence of the Benghazi investigation itself." As he hinted at -- and which Chumley apparently didn't understand because she didn't look into the statement -- Brock runs a number of organizations, one of which is Correct the Record, whose pro-Hillary bent has been pronounced. It's also run separately from Media Matters and has a different tax status that permits increased political advocacy.
(We'd also add that Media Matters is "far-left" only in the eyes of far-righters like Unruh.)
After these two paragraphs of fake news, Unruh uniroinically complains that Media Matters is changing its focus to more closely examine fake news, going on to whine: "Media Matters’ idea of 'fake news,' however, is more along the lines of the Drudge Report; WND, the online news pioneer that is approaching its 20th anniversary; Breitbart; and other Internet media outlets that compete successfully with America’s establishment media."
Well, yes, because WND publishes so much of it. Remember when WND columnist Jack Cashill published a badly Photoshopped picture to back up his utterly false claim that a picture of a young Barack Obama and his grandparents was itself badly Photoshopped (except that the photo he claimed wasn't Photoshopped somehow contained Obama's knee)? Good times.
CNS' Mel Gibson Fanboy Strikes Again Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com blogger Mark Judge has proven himself to be a serious Mel Gibson fanboy, promoting his new and planned film projects while remaining utterly silent about his ugly personal history of anti-Semitism and viciousness toward an ex-girlfriend.
Judge performs this feat again in a Dec. 12 CNS blog post touting how Gibson's new film "Hacksaw Ridge" was nominated for three Golden Globe awards. Judge obsequiously added: "Gibson won the Golden Globe for best director in 1995 for “Braveheart,” then went on that year to win the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director."
What he doesn't mention, of course, is that ugly past, even though "Hacksaw Ridge" is considered to be something of a comeback film for Gibson from all of that.
WND's Farah Complains Trump Critics Are Behaving Like He Did Against Obama Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah rants in his Dec. 16 WorldNetDaily column:
Let’s be honest and realistic about what is taking place in America today – about one month before the new duly elected president is to be sworn into office.
We’re in the throes of a coup, a junta, an effort to derail the constitutional election process by hook or crook, a dishonest, by-any-means-necessary, banana-republic-style power play, unlike anything we’ve seen in the traditions of American politics in 240 years.
Do I have it about right?
Would you agree?
There’s an unprecedented, active political campaign to turn Electoral College representatives sworn to Trump away from him. Why? Not because the vote was rigged, not because the election system was hacked, not because he won the votes fraudulently, but simply because they don’t really like him. Is this kind of behavior in the spirit of America’s proud tradition of peaceful transitions of power? Of course not.
Unprecedented? Has Farah forgotten his big lobbying effort in 2008 to try to get the Electoral College not to vote for Barack Obama, in which WND coordinated thte sending of more than 3,600 letters to electors begging them to excercise their "sworn duty" to find out whether Obama was born in the U.S.?
Farah unironically continues:
The Big Media that were in the tank for Hillary Clinton throughout the campaign is not giving up, either. Instead, they are whipping up hysteria about unproven, unsubstantiated, sourceless, “fake news” stories about a fantasy conspiracy by Russia, and now specifically Vladimir Putin, to hack the Democratic National Committee and release embarrassing emails through WikiLeaks.
"Unproven, unsubstantiated, sourceless"? There's more proof of Russian meddling into the election process than there was that Obama's birth certificate is a forgery. (which, by the way, is even more "unproven, unsubstantiated, sourceless" because the Cold Case Posse is refusing to make all of its so-called evidence public.)
Undaunted, Farah keeps writing:
The disappointed supporters of Hillary Clinton and the strong opponents of Donald Trump continue to be whipped up into a frenzy that is profoundly dangerous to the peaceful transition of power. The goal seems to be continuing unrest, chaos, civil strife, permanent disenchantment – all supported by a tacit Hillary Clinton and an active Democratic Party political establishment characterizing the Russian hacking fantasy as “bigger than Watergate, bigger than 9/11.” Excuse me? If this is not conspiracy mongering and “fake news,” what truly is? Where is the evidence? What laws were broken? Who has been indicted? And why the Democrats’ sudden outrage about alleged foreign involvement in an election when, in the past, they have courted such involvement and pushed U.S. policies to involve the government in the elections of other nations?
But isn't whipping up the opposition, trying to interfere with the peaceful transition of power and manufacturing "fake news" in the form of the birther conspiracy exactly what Farah and WND were trying to do this time eight years ago?
Farah concludes, again unironically:
They will never give up. They will never relent. They will never accept Donald Trump as president. They will never admit they were beaten fair and square.
Because their standard is the very un-American notion that the ends justify the means.
Substitute Trump's name for Obama's, and Farah is talking about himself and his operation. Farah is on record as saying, "Obama has never been my president. I have steadfastly refused to acknowledge him as such. He is undeserving of the honorific. To this day, I am unconvinced he is even eligible for office."
And the end -- getting Obama out of office by hook or crook, by any means necessary -- has always justified the means for Farah and WND, which included likening him to Hitler and the Antichrist, telliing lie after lie about the president, and every other smear they could dream up, no matter that it destroyed what credibility WND had in the process.
Farah is effectively complaining that Trump's critics are acting like he does toward Obama. Such hypocrisy.
The MRC's Terminology Issues Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Brad Wilmouth has issues with terminology in the media.
In a Dec. 10 post, he complains that anti-abortion activists were accurately described as "anti-abortion":
On Saturday's New Day on CNN, during a seven-and-a-half-minute segment dealing with Ohio's "Heartbeat Bill" that seeks to ban abortion after a heartbeat can be detected, partisan phraseology associated with the liberal side of the issue were repeatedly used by the various on-air CNN personalities who commented on the issue, while the only couple of times when the word choice preferred by conservatives could be heard was in a soundbite from a pro-life activist when the word "pro-life" was used.
The phrase "right to choose" was heard five times, the word "anti-abortion" was heard twice, and the word "pro-choice" once. None of the CNN staff used the term "pro-life" at all, and the only utterance of a word choice not in line with the liberal point of view by any of the CNN staff was a labeling of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy as being "pro-abortion rights."
Wilmouth doesn't explain why "anti-abortion" isn't an accurate description of activists who oppose abortion. He also doesn't explain why "pro-life" should be used in the media instead, even though it's a vague, fuzzy term that doesn't have that harsh "anti" phrase in it and is designed to make anti-abortion activists appear less strident
Two days later, Wilmouth was ranting about a different terminology issue:
Long-term followers of American politics will recall that about a decade ago, the left began pushing the phrases "global warming denier" and "climate change denier" into the public conversation as a way of discrediting those who are skeptical of the preferred liberal take on global warming theory. The expression was reminiscent of the term "Holocaust denier" and was meant to suggest that those who have doubts about global warming are as marginal in their thinking as Holocaust denier conspiracy theorists.
CNN's tendency to use this preferred liberal terminology that was founded as a pejorative against conservatives is just another example of how the left influences such big media outfits that claim to put out a balanced and unbiased news product. Since the announcement late last Wednesday that Oklahoma Attorney General CEO Scott Pruitt will be President-elect Donald Trump's choice to head the EPA, CNN has repeatedly tagged him as a "climate change denier" as if this were a neutral or proper terminology.
About half of the allegedly unbiased -- but in reality closeted liberal -- CNN news anchors and several correspondents have tagged Pruitt -- a skeptic of global warming theory -- as being a "denier," and usually without even qualifying their choice of words as a liberal take on his views.
But if Pruitt is denying the scientific consensus that climate change is real -- he co-wrote at National Review that the "debate is far from settled" -- doesn't that make him, in fact, a denier?
Also, Wilmouth provides no support for his claim that "denier" is a "liberal" invented term.
Wilmouth also rehashed his abortion terminology complaint from earlier, and he made it clear that his goal is not neutral terminology but terminology that skews to his side of the ledger:
This use of wording more likely to be used by the left is reminiscent of similar practices by CNN on the abortion issue as terms like "anti-abortion," "pro-choice," and "woman's right to choose" are often used as if they were the proper terminology, without using terms like "pro-life" or "pro-abortion" that are the preferred word choices on the right.
In fact, "pro-abortion" is an inaccurate phrase because people who support abortion do not demand that every woman have one; they simply want to make the option available. Meanwhile, the ultimate goal of many "pro-life" activists is to outlaw abortion as much as possible, if not completely, which makes "anti-abortion" a very accurate term.
No, WND, Arpaio-Zullo Presser Did Not Vindicate Birthers Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily teased the Dec. 15 press conference by Joe Arpaio and Mike Zullo by rehashing a lot of the old, discredited birther hits. We got more of the same from the press conference itself -- not that WND will tell you that, of course.
Instead, Bob Unruh breathlessly wrote in a Dec. 15 WND article:
A years-long forensics investigation into the computer image of the long-form Hawaiian birth certificate image that Barack Obama released during a White House news conference during his first term and presented to the American people as an official government document concluded it is “fake.”
The probe also confirms that those who were subjected to the derogatory “birther” label from many media outlets and Democrats were right – at least regarding the document used to establish Obama’s eligibility to be president.
Jerome Corsi, Ph.D., WND senior staff writer and author of “Where’s the Birth Certificate?” was credited by sheriff’s officials with contributing to the investigation.
Corsi said Mike Zullo, head of the Cold Case Posse, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio “have done the United States a heroic service demonstrating by forensic analysis that the long form birth certificate produced in a White House news conference on April 27, 2011, as Barack Obama’s authentic birth certificate is a forgery.”
“The nine points of forgery between the Johanna Ah’nee birth certificate and Obama’s [long-form birth certificate] prove convincingly that the Ah’nee birth certificate was the source document from which the Obama LFBC was created.”
Corsi said Arpaio’s five-year effort “vindicates the extensive research WND conducted over years to bring this issue to the attention of the American public.”
“The inescapable conclusion is that the Hawaii Department of Health has not shown the American public the original 1961 birth records for Barack Obama, if they actually exist,” he said.
“That President Obama’s birth certificate is fake, as proven now by a legitimate law enforcement examination raises serious questions that high crimes and misdemeanors have been committed at the highest level of government. The clear conclusion is that the Obama presidency may have been illegitimate, having violated Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution. Impeachment procedures may be required, even if those procedures are conducted after Obama leaves office.”
The sheriff’s video said there were nine images on the Obama birth certificate that appear to be identical to, and copied from, another birth certificate issued in Hawaii just days after his birth.
That certificate belongs to Johanna Ah’nee.
Get a commemorative “Where’s the Birth Certificate?” T-shirt – sure to be a collector’s item.
The copied items include the word “Honolulu,” “Oahu” twice, three different Xs. Their identical nature raised serious questions since they would have been applied to original documents by moving a typewriter carriage and roller at the time, a left date stamp and a right date stamp.
Well, no. As birther myth-buster Dr. Conspiracy explains:
In several instances, Zullo misrepresents the facts to make things sound suspicious, and as he has done in previous presentations, he carefully words things that technically say one thing, but leave the impression of something else. He says something extremely suspicious: that the Italian forensic laboratory claimed that if they had a larger sample size, the probability that Obama’s document is a forgery would increase, but of course that would only be true if there were consistency in the sample and variation from the Obama certificate, which one wouldn’t know without looking at the sample.
When all of the rhetoric a[nd] conspiracist language is stripped away, all that actually remains is a couple of date stamps being at the same angle, and a box with an X in it is the same. It’s not much.
Dr. Conspiracy points out that Arpaio and Zullo have so far refused to make any of its supporting evidence for its current birther claim public beyond the video -- specifically, the analyses from Reed Hayes (who, as we've noted, is a handwriting expert, not a digital document expert) and the Italian forensic laboratory Forlabs. If Arpaio and Zullo are so certain their evidence is solid, why not make it public? Unruh doesn't bother to answer the question, nor did he note that Arpaio refused to take questions during the press conference.
Unruh also completely ignored how Zullo botched one key part of his evidence. We've noted that the purported anomalies in the PDF of the Obama birth certificate that Zullo, Corsi and others have pounced on are easily replicated by scanning the image into a Xerox Workcentre 7655 multifunction printer -- something WND has never told its readers about. Dr. Conspiracy notes that Zullo touched on that in his presentation: "Zullo goes to some lengths to emphasize that the Xerox machine which he admits replicates 'some' of the characteristics of the Obama PDF is irrelevant to this new analysis, but he fails to acknowledge that in previous presentations, he claimed that those same characteristics, now known as normal, were marks of forgery."
Zullo also doesn't explain how Obama's nefarious forces could have gotten Johanna Ah’nee's birth certificate to crib images from since, as Dr. Conspiracy notes, Ah'nee's certificate came to the posse through Corsi.
So Zullo still doesn't know what he's talking about -- which, as before, puts a cloud over his purported fundings. But Unruh is willing to overlook such things to keep the birther conspiracy alive (after months of silence for fear of hurting Donald Trump's presidential campaign).
As a bonus, WND is laughably promoting Corsi's "Where's the Birth Certificate" as being "vindicated" by Arpaio and Zullo (see image above). In fact, Corsi's book was written well before, and released about three weeks after, Obama released his long-form birth certificate that was the subject of the Arpaio-Zullo investigation; it contains no information about the long-form certificate. Thus, the findings -- even if they were legitimate -- cannot possibly vindicate anything in Corsi's book.
The image also insists that Corsi's book was a "No. 1 Bestseller," even though Obama's release of his birth certificate decimated sales of the book. WND does not explain when, and on what planet, Corsi's book was ever a "No. 1 Bestseller."
MRC Rehashes Bogus 2012 Defense of Romney Donor Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's resident (and rather lame) New York Times-bashing attack dog, Clay Waters, strikes again in a Dec. 9 post, complaining that the Times treated Chuck Jones -- the head of the union at the Carrier plant in Indiana where Donald Trump is claiming he stopped jobs from being sent to Mexico -- too sympathetically after Trump unleashed a Twitter attack on Jones after he pointed out that Trump overstated the number of jobs he supposedly saved:
Threats and harassing calls to Jones followed, which are obviously vile and to be condemned. But its rather hypocritical by the Times (and unions) to condemn Trump’s tweet on the front page, setting it up as a powerful person’s bullying of an innocent private citizen, while letting intimidation by Obama, while serving as actual sitting president, go unremarked.
Ask Frank VanderSloot. During the 2012 campaign, the Obama campaign accused the chief executive of being “litigious, combative and a bitter foe of the gay rights movement,” one of eight Romney donors smeared by the president. Obama taped a fat public target on his back, and his businesses were the subject of angry phone calls, and Obama’s liberal media lapdogs hunted him down.
In fact, VanderSloot wasn't just a "private citizen" who had simply donated to Romney -- he was a national finance co-chairman for Romney's campaign. As far as VanderSloot being combative and litigious, Waters can ask Mother Jones about that; and at the time the statement was made, VanderSloot was known as an opponent of gay rights (though his views have apparently changed since, and he's being combative and ligitious toward anyone who claims he's anti-gay).
Also, the "litigious, combative and a bitter foe of the gay rights movement" quote comes from BuzzFeed, not the Obama campaign. So, no, Waters hasn't improved his research skills over the years.
This was not the first time Obama has been brazenly cavalier in his open disdain for the citizens of the country that has provided him and his family everything they have.
In April 2008, as a snot-nosed senator from Illinois, of questionable lineage, whose claim to fame was that he had been a community extortionist (albeit he called it community activist), Obama was only marginally less insulting to the American people.
Obama’s commitment to deconstruct and abolish the traditions America was founded upon plus his wife’s “ghetto fabulous” abuse of usufruct have offended and insulted the citizenry the whole of his time in office. The “just get over it” attitude for an act of war committed on American soil deepens the disrespect for him and his family.
No one in his family paid for the price of freedom with their life or with physical and emotional injuries. His mother, if we are to believe the words in his books, was given to capricious displays of wanton commonality, drugs and a Communist ideology, and abandoned her children. Obama’s grandfather literally handed him over to be “mentored” by a known pedophile and rabid Communist.
Still it was America, the nation he treats with raw contempt that provided him the opportunity to make something of himself. When has he said black hatemongers need to “get over” slavery “because they [should] recognize how important this moment [would be] for the United States”?
CNSNews.com has made its journalistic stand clear: It will be a lapdog and stenographer for Donald Trump and his administration. Here's the latest examples of CNS' stenography for Trump and his supporters and spokespeople, where its reporters uncritically transcribe what they say and call it "news" or present their view as the only reasonable one:
CNS' Trump boosterism isn't limited to stenography. Barbara Hollingsworth managed to find the "Democrat Leader of Alabama Senate" who will vouch for attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions' lack of racism and conducted a lengthy interview with him.
So, yes, CNS is totally on the Trump bandwagon -- a position that works if CNS wants to portray itself as the inverted-pyramid division of a right-wing activist organization it actually is, but not as the independent journalisitic organization it wants people to think it is.
WND's Farah Still Sucking Up to Breitbart Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily is trying to make itself relevant again by clinging to the coattails of Breitbart, which has the right-wing website mojo WND abandoned years ago. WND editor Joseph Farah has already obsequiously defended Breitbart and publisher Steve Bannon over its inflammatory content.
Farah tries to glom onto Breitbart again in his Dec. 6 column about Kellogg's pulling its advertising from Breitbart:
As for me and WND, we stand with our “competitor,” Breitbart.com – the target of Kellogg and a growing number of other establishment corporations as they try to kill a voice of independence and liberty.
WND and Breitbart don’t share the same mission. We don’t follow exactly the same standards and practices, and we have many differences in what we cover and how we cover the news. But, we both believe in freedom and a vibrant press, and we share a common conviction that the first duty of real journalists is to serve as a watchdog on government fraud, waste, abuse and corruption.
So we put aside any differences we have, including rivalries over the market share of a handful of independent, alternative, online media outlets, to support our beleaguered friends and colleagues at Breitbart. We do so by fighting fire with fire. If Kellogg wants to attack Breitbart’s bottom line, then we will do everything in our power to hurt Kellogg’s bottom line.
If Kellogg won’t allow any advertising at Breitbart, we won’t accept any Kellogg advertising at WND. Period. End of story. The day Kellogg changes its decision, WND will change its decision.
I stand with Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alexander Marlow who said the following in response to the attack by Kellogg: “We are fearless advocates for traditional American values, perhaps most important among them is freedom of speech, or our motto ‘more voices, not less.’ For Kellogg’s, an American brand, to blacklist Breitbart News in order to placate left-wing totalitarians is a disgraceful act of cowardice. … Boycotting Breitbart News for presenting mainstream American ideas is an act of discrimination and intense prejudice. If you serve Kellogg’s products to your family, you are serving up bigotry at your breakfast table.”
Boycott Kellogg, not Breitbart.
Farah provides no evidence Kellogg's has ever advertised on WND, so he's giving up no advertising revenue by making his declaration. A good thing, since WND's finances are apparently in such dire straits that Farah had to beg for money from readers earlier this year.
Farah's column, though, seems to have resulted in what he was seeking: a favorable mention on Breitbart, which touts Farah's "generous endorsement of Breitbart’s #DumpKelloggs boycott." Nothing like free publicity, eh, Joe?
CNS Writer Keeps Up His Tim Tebow Obsession Topic: CNSNews.com
The Media Research Center has a bit of a thing for largely failed pro athlete Tim Tebow (because he's overtly Christian, doncha know), touting his accomplishments however minor (His first at-bat in the minor leagues was a homer!) and making sure to keep mum about the fact that as a pro athlete, he's less than stellar (.194 batting average in the Arizona Fall League).
But since there's little going on in Tebow's present to write about these days, Michael Morris, the chief Tebow-touter at CNSNews.com, has decided to dip into a little Tebow nostalgia, reliving the one shining moment of Tebow's NFL career:
In an interview with Harry Connick Jr. on HarryTV, Tim Tebow explained the amazing 316 stat-line “coincidence” that occurred during his playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers exactly three years after wearing “3:16” in his Florida Gators National Championship game saying, “A lot of people will say it’s coincidence – I say, big God.”
“And during the game 90 million people had already Googled John 3:16,” said Tim Tebow. “It was the number one trending thing on Facebook and Twitter. And a lot of people will say it’s coincidence – I say, big God.”
The fact that Morris had to go to the web adjunt of a syndicated daytime talk show hosted by Harry Connick Jr. for this tidbit shows just how obsessed he is with Tebow.
WND Freaking Out Over Lobbying of Presidential Electors (Like WND Did in 2008) Topic: WorldNetDaily
Bob Unruh intoned in a Dec. 12 WorldNetDaily article: "The resounding 306 electoral votes Donald Trump earned on Election Day and Hillary Clinton’s concession speech seem a distant memory now as the Democratic Party nominee, President Obama and others employ various measures to keep Trump out of the Oval Office or at least delegitimize his presidency." Among those "measures" is lobbying of the Electoral College to get Trump electors to change their votes.
Unruh doesn't mention that WND attempted to do that very thing in 2008 -- employing various measures to keep Obama out of the Oval Office or at least delegitimize his presidency. As we've documented, key among those was a "FedEx letter drive directed at individual electors" to get them to change their pro-Obama votes over birtherism. WND touted how it "was able to track down addresses for all 538 electors" so readers could pay WND money to spam them with bulk letters demanding that they change their vote.
WND editor Joseph Farah asserted in promoting this letter campaign (which grossed WND a tidy sum, which made it just as much a business venture as political statemenet) that "never before has there been serious concern about the eligibility of the winning candidate" and "If there is any doubt, electors have a sworn duty to find out."
Farah will never say such a thing now, of course. Unruh's article notes that 29 electors want to learn more "information on the allegations that Russia was working on behalf of Donald Trump."But instead of praising the electors' "sworn duty to find out" if the charges are true, he denounced electors who "reject the voters’ wishes" and repeated earlier attacks on the CIA findings.
Unruh even tried to blame the Democratic Party for reported death threats to electors, writing that "The Democratic campaign to refuse to recognize the 2016 election will of America has included threats to the electors." The WND article to which Unruh links to back up the charges does not claim that any Democrat, prominent or otherwise, issued a death threat or encouraged anyone else to do so.
WND's Garth Kant followed up by going into full freak-out mode in an article tagged "Hillary Junta" and headline "SHOCKING SCHEME TO STEAL THE PRESIDENCY":
The plan is to prevent Donald Trump from becoming president by denying him a victory in the Electoral College, possibly throwing the election into the House of Representatives.
The plan is actually the brainchild of Democrats who call themselves “The Hamilton Electors.”
With the Electoral College vote looming on Monday, the pressing question is: How plausible is the plan?
Most experts commenting in the media say it is unlikely, but there is at least one bit of news that suggests the plan’s plausibility may be increasing rapidly before the Monday deadline.
Like his WND co-worker, Kant also failed to mention that his employer engaged in a similar scheme to steal the presidency in 2008. Still he uniroincally huffs:
Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring their electors to cast ballots for the winner of the popular vote.
Having apparently lost in the court of law, the movement to block Trump appears to be focusing efforts on the court of public opinion.
And targeting electors directly.
You know, like WND did in 2008.
Kant followed up with an article cheering an "informal survey of voters in the Electoral College" showing they're unlikely to change votes. But wierdly, Kant doesn't mention the Russian hacking that may have gotten Trump elected -- the main concern electors have expressed.
Like Unruh, Kant claims without evidence that Democrats are "threatening" electors. And, again, he doesn't mention that his employer lobbied the Electoral College in 2008.
Newsmax Opposes Time Warner-AT&T Merger Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax will oppose the proposed merger of Time Warner and AT&T. It broke that news in the strangest way -- not by reporting it directly but by quoting Fox Business quoting Newsmax's Christophery Ruddy talking about it. From a Dec. 7 Newsmax article by Greg Richter:
The proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner would be bad for competition and would "promote liberal CNN," Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy said.
Fox Business Network's Charles Gasparino reported on his network Wednesday that Ruddy is opposed to the deal and is willing to join with a growing group of conservative and liberal critics who oppose the plan.
Michael Reagan, son of the late president and a conservative commentator, wrote an op-ed Wednesday opposing the $85 billion deal as Senate judiciary hearings were set to begin.
The deal would mean that AT&T, as the acquiring company in the proposal, would control around 25 percent of all cable and satellite traffic across the United States (AT&T also owns DirecTV).
At the same time, AT&T would own several powerful content channels like CNN and HBO.
That combination will give the new merged AT&T powerful leverage over the market and competitions, something Ruddy and other critics are worried about.
"Conservative media outlet Newsmax plans to oppose this," Gasparino reported. "Newsmax's CEO Chris Ruddy … he's planning to use all the leverage he has, from his network, his website, and possibly his lobbying effort.
"He says that this deal will stifle competition and promote liberal CNN."
Richter (and Gasparino) also made sure to include Ruddy's connections to President-elect Donald Trump:
Gasparino noted that President-elect Donald Trump is opposed to the deal, and said Ruddy "has close ties with Trump. He was at Mar-a-Lago during Thanksgiving. He was asked by Donald Trump who he should pick for secretary of state
"This guy has Trump's ear, so he is going use that ear to try to kill this deal."
As befits a media mogul trying to stop a deal regarding one of his alleged competitors and with the president-elect's ear, Newsmax has been cranking out op-eds and articles attacking the deal:
But there's also a Dec. 12 Newsmax article that lists "several issues on which Democrats and Trump agree," one of which is "Preventing the merger of AT&T and Time Warner."
That means Ruddy and Newsmax are once again putting its conservative credentials in danger (as if being a buddy of Bill Clinton wasn't enough).
UPDATE: But then, this appears to be a play to get better and increased carriage of Newsmax TV. Earlier this year, Newsmax was embroiled in a dispute with Dish Network over placement of the channel there (which mainly came down to Newsmax wanting to stop paying Dish Network to air it). Newsmax promoted negative news about Dish Network during the dispute.
AT&T-owned DirecTV also dropped Newsmax TV in August -- which somehow didn't get mention in the above articles opposing the merger -- presumably because of a similar dispute over paying for carriage. It has since published negative news about DirecTV too.
WND Defends Trump -- And Russia -- Over Hacking Allegations Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has taken a shine to Russia's Vladimir Putin in recent years. One WND columnist defended Putin's prosecution of the punk band Pussy Riot and insisted that Putln is "simply a Russian nationalist, doing his best to strengthen his own country’s interests." And WND editor Joseph Farah effectively cheered Putin's aggressive military actions in Ukraine against Hillary clinton's criticism of it: "And is it wrong for a leader of a modern state to seek to restore greatness to his own country? ... Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if Hillary’s party took such an attitude toward their own country?"
So it seems WND's fealty toward Russia is based in part on reflexive liking of whatever Hillary criticizes. Which means it's not really a surprise that WND is taking Donald Trump's -- and Russia's -- side over allegations by the CIA and other intelligence experts that Russians meddled in the U.S. presidential election for the apparent purpose of helping Trump win.
WND kicked off defense mode with an article highlighting the Trump transition team "disputing the truthfulness" of the CIA report. Farah then throws the intelligence community under the bus -- despite the fact that he presumably relies on parts of that same intelligence community to feed him stuff for his G2 Bulletin (the front page of which currently says nothingabout the alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election system).
Farah's Dec. 12 column is a list of "11 reasons not to trust Obama's CIA," all of which are personal attacks on CIA director John Brennan and none of which have anything to do witih what the CIA reported about Russia. One of those attacks is that "One of the FBI’s former top experts on Islam says Brennan converted to Islam years ago in Saudi Arabia." That ex-FBI guy is John Guandolo, who -- as we noted when WND first touted this claim in 2013 -- is a serial philanderer and adulterer who jeopardized a federal investigation by having sex with a witness and trying to get her to donate money to a right-wing "anti-terrorism" organization.Farah, of course, doesn't mention that Guandolo has no credibility, and Snopes points out the claim has never been substantiated.
Nevertheless, Farah rants about Brennan: "He’s a partisan. He’s either a clueless nutcase or just a very dangerous person to have leading agencies like Homeland Security and the CIA. Best case scenario: He’s a partisan hack. Worst case scenario: He’s an anti-American kook who has spilled more security secrets than Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen combined – maybe throw Julius and Ethel Rosenberg into the mix, too."
Farah followed up the next day with another list column, this one on "9 facts you should know about these 'Russian hacks'." This time Farah is mostly either making excuses for the Russians ("No one is alleging that the Russians hacked into election computers to change votes"; "America hacks other nations for its own purposes. ... All nations do") and actively praising them for their hacks ("this would be exposing the truth of something the Democrats were trying to hide"). He concludes by complaining, "Do you see why this whole imbroglio over Russian hacks is of less concern to me than what the hacks in the Democratic Party and establishment U.S. media are doing with it?"
In other words, Farah's OK with foreign interference in the U.S. election system because it benefited his candidate.
WND's Greg Corombos called on ostensible hawk Frank Gaffney to comment, and he suddenly stopped being a hawk because, as with Farah, the Russian hacks benefited his candidate:
“It’s fragmentary at best. At worst it’s a lot of hearsay,” Gaffney told WND and Radio America.
“What the public knows is very limited. It really comes down to some press accounts based on unnamed sources in the CIA, people talking about briefings they had from CIA or FBI or others,” Gaffney said.
Gaffney labels Trump’s approach to Russia as “benign” but notes the Obama administration also did its best to make nice with Russian President Vladimir Putin – especially in the early years of this presidency.
“These are the very who in the outgoing administration of Barack Obama have done much to appease and pander to Vladimir Putin. It’s a confused situation, to say the least,” he said.
Unlike Farah, though, Gaffney did concede that the situation needed to be investigated and admitted that "Putin is a dangerous adversary, not a man we can safely do business with."
WND columnist Michael Brown cheered the idea that people seem top trust Trump more than the CIA, declaring that "it’s easy to think that the information linked from unnamed CIA sources is unreliable." He added, "We also should bear in mind that the source for the Russian hacking claims is the liberal, mainstream media, which has also taken a big credibility hit in recent months."
Meanwhile, WND's whitewashing of the incident continued apace:
Bob Unruh touted how "the FBI previously said it couldn’t back the CIA’s conclusion that the Russians hacked the accounts of the Democratic National Committee and party leaders," burying the fact that the FBI disputes only intent, not that Russian hacking occurred.
WND uncritically quoted right-wing radio host Laura Ingraham complaining about "selective moral outrage" regarding Russian hacking.
Another article by Unruh asserted that "claims that the Kremlin hacked the U.S. election to hand the Oval Office to Trump are falling apart," complaining that "It’s getting more complicated than a Robert Ludlum thriller novel."
Yep -- it's clear the Russkies have a good friend in Joseph Farah and his WND.
NewsBusters Scrubs Post's Suggestion That Multiracialism Is A 'Liberal Wish' Topic: NewsBusters
A Dec. 15 NewsBusters post by Karen Townsend complains about the new TV series "Star," asserting that"this show is checking off all the boxes in liberal fantasyland" because it has gay characters and another character who's "active with Black Lives Matter."
But that's not the post that was originally made live at NewsBusters.
The current headline reads, "LGBT Stylists, BLM Activist: Fox’s ‘Star’ Grants Every Liberal Wish." But as the post's URL shows -- as does the NewsBusters feed at CNSNews.com, the headline originally read "LGBT Stylists, BLM Activist, Multi-Racial Girl Group: Fox’s ‘Star’ Grants Every Liberal Wish."
Further, as this website's reposting of the NewsBusters post suggests, the original author's name on the post was Alexa Moutevelis Coombs, not Townsend.
We haven't been able to decipher yet if any content was changed, but if there was a reference to the "multi-racial girl group" in the post itself, it's gone now, beyond a plot reference that "Carlotta brought in Star, a white girl, to work in the black women’s salon."
It seems that after posting, someone at the Media Research Center, which runs NewsBusters, realized that it might not be a good thing for a right-wing site to portray being multiracial as a liberal fantasy. Despite the fact thatthe MRC regularly complains about news organizations updating or correcting articles without disclosing it, there is no notice on the post that it has been changed from its original posting.
We contacted Townsend by Twitter to ask some of these questions, but the post in which tweeted out the original headline has mysteriously disappeared.
So what's the deal here? Somebody's clearly trying to hide something.