Creeping WND-ization of The MRC Watch, CNS Edition Topic: CNSNews.com
Twice in December, we caught CNSNews.com apparently stealing story ideas from WorldNetDaily. The creeping WND-ization of CNS and its Media Research Center parent is continuing apace.
In a Feb. 8 article, Leo Hohmann wrote about how "A recently retired U.S. State Department veteran has published a whistleblower letter in the Chicago Tribune fingering the refugee resettlement program as fraught with 'fraud' and “abuses.'" Hohmann made no apparent effort to verify that the letter writer, Mary Doetsch, was who she said she was or that anything she wrote was true; instead, he crows that Doetsch's letter "affirms two-and-a-half years of reporting by WND, which has reported that the 'vetting' of refugees from broken countries such as Somalia, Syria and Sudan often consists largely of a personal interview with the refugee."
The next day, CNS' Andrew Eicher wrote about the same letter. Like Hohmann, Eicher also apparently failed to make an effort to verify Doetsch's identity or claims.
Of course, the possibility exists that CNS stole its idea from Fox News, where Doetsch's letter was reported on the same day Eicher's article came out.
Still, CNS is getting beat to the punch by WND. We don't mean that as a complement.
WND's Hohmann Still Upset That Media Don't Presume All Muslims To Be Terrorists Topic: WorldNetDaily
Muslim-hater Leo Hohmann used a Feb. 7 WorldNetDaily article to not only endorse President Trump's bogus claim that the media underreports incidents of terrorism, he spins it to better fit his Islmaophobic presumption that a person with a Muslim name who commits a crime should be presumed a terrorist before any police investigation of the crime has taken place:
But as many terrorism experts told WND, it’s not the amount of coverage given to a specific event that counts but rather the type of coverage.
A classic example of that can be found by comparing and contrasting the coverage that two news agencies – WND and the BBC – gave to a brutal machete attack at the Nazareth Mediterranean Restaurant one year ago in February 2016 that left four patrons wounded, one critically.
In the BBC story, there is no mention of the words Islam, jihad, Muslim, refugee or immigrant. Every one of those words applied to the attacker, Mohamed Barry, who was a Muslim immigrant from the West African country of Guinea, as pointed out in the WND story.
“Trump is absolutely correct. The point is not that they ignore the stories, but they deliberately conceal and/or misrepresent the aspects of them that make it clear that they’re Islamic jihad attacks,” said Robert Spencer, editor of Jihad Watch.
First, we would point out that Spencer is not a "terrorism expert" -- like most of the "terrorism experts" Hohmann and WND love to quote, they're actually anti-Muslim activists.
In fact, Islamic extremism has not been officially established as a motive in Barry's attack. While Barry had been on a watchlist for expressing extreme views, officials didn't use the words "terrorism" or "terrorist" following the attack.
One notorious example of this is the Orlando massacre, Spencer said.
“Mainstream news outlets claimed that he was a conflicted gay man lashing out at other gays,” he said. “This was outright disinformation: The FBI later announced that there was no evidence that he was gay, no gay apps on his phone, etc. Few outlets published his actual remarks, making it clear that he was killing for ISIS and Islam. The coverage of terrorist incidents in general in the establishment media deliberately misleads the public.”
Spencer is spreading disinformation of his own when he calls media reports raising questions about Orlando shooter Omar Mateen's sexuality "disinformation." The media simply reported what people were talking about. While investigators did say shortly after the shooting they found no substantiation that Mateen was secretly gay, the investigation was continuing, and even Mateen's ex-wife raised questions about his sexuality.
Hohmann went on to quote is WND buddy in Muslim-hating, Philip Haney, issuing a strange attack on the BBC's credibility:
“Let’s say that in terms of scope of coverage the BBC is actually correct that they were ahead of the others,” Haney told WND. “Even with the broader scope of coverage the BBC, as deficient as it is, it’s still better than the American journalistic coverage. During my time on the inside with DHS, it seemed like the Daily Mail, another British news outlet, would always come out with information within minutes if not hours, well ahead of American media, so why do we have to look into foreign media sources to find pieces of the story that you won’t find here?”
That would be the same Daily Mail that Wikipedia just banned from citations for being too unreliable. But then, facts aren't WND's main concern when reporting on Muslims; spreading hatred of them is.
Hohmann concluded his article with the Trump White House's list of terrorist attacks it falsely claimed were underreported; weirdly, Hohmann has edited the list to remove the targets and names of attackers that were on the original list. Hohmann provided no explanation for the omissions.
MRC Writer Forgets His Employer Is No Better Than The 'Mainstream Media' He Bashes Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Curtis Houck writes in a Feb. 8 post:
In another hilarious case of irony, The 11th Hour host and serial liar Brian Williams teed up guest Charlie Sykes on Tuesday to lambaste conservative media (like the one you’re reading) for being why no one trusts mainstream media in the age of Trump and alternative facts.
Sykes and Williams offered no arguments or examples of how the establishment media have torpedoed their own credibility with false stories and a decidedly liberal slant. Instead, it was an exclusive attack on conservatives for supposedly enabling President Trump to offer misstatements without consequences.
Sykes cited “the Breitbarts of the world, the Drudges of the world, the Rush Limbaugh of the world” because each would give Trump “air cover” whenever he’s criticized for controversial statements or lies.
Overall, the former conservative host stated that his “concern is not just that's [Trump’s] lying” but “[i]t's an attack on the concept of the truth itself — of credibility and my main concern is that you'll have millions of voters at some point who will basically say, ‘what is truth?’”
Houck doesn't disclose that he's the employee of an organization whose entire mission it is to foment distrust of the "mainstream media" -- something for which it spends millions of dollars a year doing -- or that the MRC helped lead the right-wing attack on the concept of the truth itself by attacking any fact-checker who pointed out Trump's voluminous lies.
Instead, Houck insists that conservatives are just "simply pointing out the faults of the mainstream media" -- again ignoring the massive money machine behind him. And why isn't Houck concerned about Trump's lies? Is it because he's getting paid not to be?
Rather than take Sykes seriously as a former conservative who's grown disenchanted with how the conservative movement abandoned its principles to follow Trump, Houck sneers that he has "joined an echo-chamber in which Manhattan elites sit around reading The New York Times and The New Yorker while watching The Daily Show." As if dismissing all critics of conservatives as part of an East Coast liberal elite isn't echo-chamber thinking.
Houck went into full double-standard mode, complaining that "The media has done plenty to undermine their cause. Aside from their boy who cried wolf fears about past Republican candidates, their false stories, slanted analyses, and failed predictions stand out." He doesn't admit that the right-wing media does the exact same thing. And he has to go back decades to find examples of bad mainstream-media behavior:
Whether it’s ABC deceptively editing Ari Fleischer, 20/20 skewering Food Lion, Dateline: NBC rigging a pick-up truck with explosives, or spreading hysteria that the Russians hacked a Vermont power grid, the voluminous examples span over decades.
Houck forgets that we can play that same game with his employer, who has engaged in deceptiveediting and creation and promotion of fake news. There's also the undeniable fact that his boss, Brent Bozell, spent well over a decade issuing a syndicated column under his name that was, in fact, written by his underling Tim Graham.
In short, the MRC is no better behaved than the "liberal media" it has a multimillion-dollar budget to attack. It would do well to follow the same standard it imposes on others.
And Houck would do well to understand that he -- and the MRC -- would have more credibility if they based their media criticisms in journalism rather than politics.
WND Author Denounces People Not Employed By WND Calling The President A Nazi Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily admits it in a Feb. 6 article: According to author Scott Greer, likening the president to a Nazi is a way for critics to "dehumanize their ideological opponents, adding: "If you say that they’re Nazis, you don’t just say, 'I disagree with their point of view,' you turn them into these menacing dangers, these total monsters that don’t deserve free speech; they don’t deserve the rights to protection from the law. ... You can punch them, you need to assault them, you need to riot when they speak."
Greer went on to say that merely saying you don't a person's ideology is "boring." Using dehumanizing labels, however, "spices it up; it’s like, ‘This person is a Nazi.’ It’s almost kind of a marketing tactic to say this person has a horrific ideology rather than just saying, ‘Oh well, he’s a conservative who just believes in immigration restriction.’ Yawn. They’re not going to pay attention to that. They just have to put it in these more hysterical terms.”
Greer adds of critics who hurl the Nazi smear: "They use this argument, and there’s a lot of moral legitimacy – they get moral legitimacy by just claiming he’s threatening their physical security, and, unfortunately, this is how they’re going to justify riots and further violence."
Greer is a WND-published writer, after all -- he won't bite the hand the feeds, and he's got a book to plug. It's called "No Campus for White Men."
With a title like that, you'd expect Greer -- an editor at the right-wing Daily Caller -- to be a tad sensitive about discussions of white nationalism, and you'd be right. He's upset that "they claim" Trump aides Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, senior White House adviser for policy, "are closely associated with white nationalists."
Greer doesn't deny the charge; he merely complains that throwing the label around is "menacing" to conservatives. Instead, Greer complains that the admissions process for colleges "is often filled with affirmative action for non-whites."
Greer also defends "conservative provocateur" Milo Yiannopoulos, who "felt the sting of left-wing hysteria" from protests at University of California-Berkeley. The article states that Greer "pointed out it becomes easier for the left to justify the suppression of speech when they vilify and dehumanize those with whom they disagree.
Curiously, the article didn't mention that Yiannopoulos wrote the foreword to Greer's book.
Wasn't WND trying to get away from all the white-nationalist stuff it dabbled in a while back, with its jettisoning of writers like Colin Flaherty and Ilana Mercer? Its publication and promotion of Greer's book seems to suggest otherwise.
CNS Blogger Inaccurately Lashes Out at Planned Parenthood Topic: Media Research Center
Craig Bannister devoted a Feb. 13 CNSNews.com blog post to bashing singer Katy Perry for wearing a Planned Parenthood lapel pin during her appearance at the Grammy Awards. In his brief three-paragraph post, Bannister somehow managed to call Planned Parenthood an "abortion provider" twice and an "abortion mill" once.
In fact, a relatively small percentage of Planned Parenthood's services involve abortion -- somewhere between 12 and 37 percent, depending on how the numbers are being counted.
Bannister is not just being misleading, he's pushing an inaccurate right-wing agenda by labeling Planned Parenthood as only as an abortion provider -- and, pejoratively, as an "abortion mill."
MRC Intern Complains Trump Not Getting Credit For Improving Economy Though His 'Rhetoric' Topic: Media Research Center
Media Research Center intern James Powers complains in a Feb. 8 post:
CNN Money tried to have it both ways on “Trumponomics,” blaming bad currency news on the new president the same day it refused to credit him for any positive impact on the jobs report.
On Feb. 3, CNN Money blamed President Donald Trump’s rhetoric for a weaker dollar, but ignored the possibility his rhetoric positively impacted jobs in January. Maybe, that’s why Trump and others have dubbed CNN “fake news.” Both stories were labeled “Trumponomics.”
Staff writer Matt Egan argued that Trump’s talk was causing the dollar’s recent downturn. However, CNN reporter Matt Gillespie’s story about the January jobs report ignored that Trump’s rhetoric on job creation, lower taxes, and stimulus could have helped boost the better than expected job numbers.
Gillespie said that the U.S. added 227,000 jobs which was well above expectations of 157,000. On Feb. 3, American Enterprise Institute’s Director of Research for Domestic Policy Kevin Hassett appeared on CNBC’s Squawk Box and touted Trump’s effect on the jobs numbers.
“We got a friendly business climate. People want to come back and start operating their businesses here, and you're starting to see that in the data,” Hassett said.
But Gillespie’s article excluded the theory that Trump’s economic rhetoric had helped job creation. That perspective was nowhere in his article.
Actually, it seems Powers is the one trying to have it both ways. CNN Money's Egan gave concrete examples of how Trump's rhetoric is driving down the dollar's value and that devaluing the dollar is a key part of Trump's economic policy:
So what's going on? One factor is that Trump and his team have talked the U.S. dollar down. Clearly, they realize a super-strong greenback makes it harder to deliver on promises to boost American exports and create manufacturing jobs. The Trump team has been accusing several countries of manipulating their currencies.
For instance, the U.S. dollar tumbled on Tuesday after a Trump adviser accused Germany of using a "grossly undervalued" euro to hurt the American economy.
Germany "continues to exploit other countries in the EU as well as the U.S. with an 'implicit Deutsche Mark' that is grossly undervalued," Peter Navarro, who heads Trump's National Trade Council, told the Financial Times.
Trump himself weighed in on the same day. During a meeting with pharma CEOs, Trump said other countries' strategy of devaluing their currencies have caused drug companies to ship jobs overseas. And just before taking office, Trump told The Wall Street Journal that U.S. companies can't compete with China because "our currency is too strong."
"It's killing us," Trump said.
By contrast, Powers cited only generalities and a conservative-leaning think tank that has a vested interest in making Trump look good to back up his claim that Trump's rhetoric helped job numbers. He cited no actual example of any business owner choosing to hire anyone specifically because Trump was elected.
Further, it seems Powers is so biased that he will not give former President Obama any credit at all for the positive employment numbers even though he was president through two-thirds of January (and the previous eight years). He mentions Obama nowhere in his post.
Powers also complains that CNN's story on the weaker dollar "employed a picture of Trump with a negative red background and downsloping arrows." Given that the story substantiated its claim that Trump wants a weaker dollar, that seems appropriate.
WND's Jihad: Trump Critics Must Be Destroyed! Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily loves to rant about the various forms of jihad by Muslims against the U.S. -- for instance, WND reporter Leo Hohmann has invented the term "resettlement jihad" to attack Muslim refugees -- which means that WND is projecting. It clearly admires the destruction of enemies that it imagines "jihad" to be, because it's now wishing bad things to happen to anyone who dares to criticize Donald Trump.
In his Feb. 8 column, WND editor Joseph Farah wants to destroy the career of any federal employee who criticizes Trump, thus placing loyalty to a politician over the good of the country:
I’m so glad that Rex Tillerson is on the job as the new secretary of state because there are 900 officials in his department who are asking to be fired.
Those would be the 900 who signed an internal dissent memo protesting President Trump’s travel moratorium on seven countries characterized by two things – terrorism and lawlessness.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer saw it just like I did, saying, they need to “get with the program or they can go.”
But maybe they need a little push.
Let the enemies within identify themselves so they can be removed from power and influence.
And let’s get the new team in place so we can give Trump’s ideas a chance to be tested.
Go nuclear on confirmations.
Make every appointment count.
Hire only the most loyal foot soldiers[.]
And don’t worry about breaking a few eggs along the way.
A good place to start the housecleaning is with the State Department’s 900 self-identified dissenters.
The same day, WND columnist Erik Rush devoted his column to ranting againsdt his definition of "progressives," finally huffing that "progressives must be ruthlessly crushed, regardless of party affiliation."
The next day, Farah advanced another idea for trying to ruin a Trump critic's life. Citing Trump's "willingness to take the fight to the opposition," he argued that Trump should revoke George Soros' U.S. citizenship, claiming without evidence that Soros' dual citizenship is "fraudulent" and adding: "If the new credo is going to be America First, we should really consider kicking this guy right out of the country. It should be as high a priority as keeping terrorists out."
In a Feb. 10 "news" article, Bob Unruh approvingly quoted right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh saying of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals judges who rejected the Trump administration's immigration ban: "You know, I long for the days of Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln; just arrest the judges and put them in jail when they violate your constitutional authority."
Gina Loudon, in her Feb. 12 WND column, made the case that, as the headline screamed, "NORDSTROM MUST PAY" for making the business decision to drop Ivanka Trump's clothing line:
The large majority of productive, hard-working Americans are conservative. These are the people who have money to spend at places like Nordstrom. Money is power, and conservatives must wield that power wisely.
Make these companies earn your money by either staying out of politics, or, even better, making pro-American business decisions.
Every patriotic American should use their pocketbooks to counter the attacks of the left. Send a message to the left that their attempts to hurt candidates and their families will not work and will be punished.
Loudonseemed to endorse the idea ofnoblesse oblige regarding the Trumps, continuing her embarrassing Trump-fluffing:
Kings have always set the fashion.
In America, our presidents provide the closest approximation to the royal standard. Their wives have often created a fashion craze without even trying. Consider the Jackie Kennedy simple silver clutch, the Nancy Reagan pill box hat or Barbara Bush pearls. Now consider that the current president has a fashion model wife and a clothing designer daughter. Imagine how fashion will improve during this administration! In the Trumps, not only, do we have a new “royal” family, we have a first family who literally brought their own fashion line.
Come to think of it, using the power of the state to destroy one's political opponents (Loudon technically isn't endorsing that, but she's no doubt happy Trump is using his presidential bully pulpit to attack Nordstrom) is much worse than jihad -- and far worse than a Muslim refugee moving to the U.S.
MRC Hypocritically Complains A Conservative Is Suggested To Be Drunk Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Nicholas Fondacaro huffed in a Feb. 9 post:
Things got very twisted on MSNBC’s The Last Word Monday night, as two giggly journalists smeared Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for invoking Rule 19 against his colleague from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren. CBS's Nancy Giles described McConnell as on a power trip, “I mean, it's like I think they are drunk with power. It's not ‘like,’ they are. They’ve got the House and they’ve got the Senate.”
The Daily Beast’s Erin Gloria Ryan took it a step farther and joked that Senate Republicans really were drunk Tuesday night. “They're acting kind of drunk. This is a drunk thing to do,” she said excitedly playing off Giles.
Fondacaro might have a point if his MRC co-workers didn't also like portraying people they don't agree with as being drunk.
His boss, Tim Graham, did this last October to conservative John Ziegler for pointing out the inconvenient truth that the MRC "fundraises off of bad media coverage and wouldn’t exist if the problem ever really got solved." Graham repeatedly made "Breathalyzer" references, meaning that he thought Ziegler was drunk.
And on Feb. 14, P.J. Gladnick did it to conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks for saying of the current Trump White House chaos: "I don’t think we’re at a Bonhoeffer moment or a [St.] Benedict moment. I think we’re approaching a Ford moment." Gladnick sneered in response that "it seems that David Brooks has entered his Benedictine liqueur moment. Much too much of it," adding: "A 'Ford moment?' This makes me think Brooks is back in his Benedictine liqueur moment."
If the MRC didn't have double standards, would it have any standards at all?
WND's Farah Still in Denial About Publishing Fake News Topic: WorldNetDaily
It's indisputable that WorldNetDaily publishes fake news -- we've found a few recent examples ourselves -- but WND editor Joseph Farah (who creates nosmallamount of fake news on his own) will never admit it, and it continues to be in denial about it. Yet he's also very sensitive to the charge.
In his Feb. 10 column, Farah lashed out at a website called "FakeNewsChecker.com" that listed WND has a purveyor of it. "You won’t find out on the website who’s behind it. It’s been around since Nov. 17. And, irony of ironies, it makes stuff up. In other words, it’s a 'fake fake news checker.'"
Farah took great exception to the website's claim that WND "received donations from the Donald Trump superPac Great America PAC," huffing that it was completely false, though "It’s possible that such a PAC has advertised on WND – many have."
Farah actually has a point here. FakeNewsChecker is a strangely organized site, its claim that WND "received donations" from Great America PAC is not quite true -- though Farah should know, since he's also WND's CEO, that the PAC rented out WND's mailing list twice by our count -- and the fact that we could not figure out who's behind it is a red flag.
That said, note the cheap rhetorical trick Farah is pulling -- citing a shoddy criticism of WND as representative of all criticism of WND. Farah would never say the same thing about ConWebWatch, which is not only on record as to who we are, we can also cite chapter and verse of the fake news WND has published and can come up with specific examples of "anti scientific fact," in the words of FakeNewsChecker, that WND has run, as well as examples of exactly how it is "conspiratorial" and "inciteful."
Indeed, all you need to know aobut WND's editorial agenda is that it considers promoting the conspiracy theory that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was murdered to be a "milestone" on its "path to greatness." No, really -- it's in the promo for this Feb. 15 "today in WND history" article (as well as in the headline for the article itself):
But Farah will never call out ConWebWatch because we respond and can back up what we say, as he found out in 2008.
Instead, Farah does some manhood-measuring and dishonestly defends his website:
How do I plead? Well, I would like to point out that I may be the one and only founder of an online news agency that spent more than 20 years in what we euphemistically call “the mainstream media,” running daily newspapers in major markets. WND was also the very first independent online news agency founded 20 years ago. That adds up to more than 40 years of experience directing large news agencies. I should also point out that I taught journalism at UCLA and have received countless awards for my work in the so-called “mainstream” news media long before founding WND. I served as an expert witness on journalistic standards and practices in some of the largest media lawsuits in history.
And the team of WND’s journalism professionals – editors and reporters – have collectively hundreds of years of experience doing similar things in the news media.
Notice WND reports openly and honestly, listing publicly who’s who, sourcing its reports, attributing its claims and operating under the highest standards of traditional American journalism, while very often its worst detractors hide in the shadows like cowards while slinging the most reprehensible unfounded and unsupportable charges.
At the end of the day, I’ll leave it to you to determine for yourself who has more integrity and credibility.
In fact, we've noted that more and more WND articles lately have no bylines at all, which counters Farah's claim that it's "listing publicly who’s who." And the claim that WND is "sourcing its reports, attributing its claims" glosses over the fact that it won't report when those attributed sources are wrong when doing so would undermine WND's right-wing agenda; otherwise, its readers would have known years ago that WND's birther conspiracy was discredited.
We've amply demonstrated that WND lacks integrity and credibility. It's a demonstration of Farah's own lack of integrity and credibility that he can't admit we're right -- or even have a civil conversation with us about it.
CNS Spinning for Trump on Flynn Scandal Topic: CNSNews.com
As you'd expect from the "news" operation that defended Donald Trump -- and, thus, Russia and Vladimir Putin -- over allegations of Russian meddling in the presidential election, CNSNews.com is largely following Trump marching orders in the aftermath of Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn over his conversations with Russian officials about sanctions issued by President Obama before he officially joined the Trump administration.
CNS -- unusual for an operation that pays the Associated Press no small amount of money for use of its content but barely promotes it -- actually ran an AP story or two about Flynn's departure on its front page. But most of its original content the day after Flynn left was, as usual, mostly written by chief stenographer Susan Jones and dedicated to spinning for Trump and even saying nice things about Flynn, like these:
CNS's so-called reporting quickly coalesced around the Trump-approved talking point that the real problem wasn't Flynn by that the offense that got him fired was leaked to the media, which feeds nicely into the tired old talking point that the media is out to get Trump:
The least biased article CNS ran was one in which Jones admitted that Republican members of Congress would also like Flynn brought before the House Intelligence Committee.
So: Lots of bias, with the occasional window-dressing of actual journalism to perpetuate the illusion of being an actual news operation. That's pretty much how CNS is run under Terry Jeffrey and Michael W. Chapman.
UPDATE: CNS has added a couple more articles: One by Jones on Republicans calling for an investigation of how intelligence was handled (but not of Flynn's behavior), and another quoting Sean Hannity complaining that the media is trying to "make anything into the next Watergate" in an effort to impeach Trump.
WND Promotes Fake News-ish List of 72 Alleged Terrrorists Topic: WorldNetDaily
An anonymous WorldNetDaily reporter was in high dudgeon in a Feb. 11 article:
As WND reported more than a week ago, the federal judge from Seattle who issued a halt to President Trump’s executive order temporarily barring entry to the U.S. by travelers from seven nations because of concerns over potential terror threats erred badly when he said there had been no arrest of foreign nationals from those countries since 9/11.
A new report shows that at least 72 such individuals have indeed been convicted of terrorism-related offenses.
Meanwhile, the new report, compiled by a Senate committee in 2016 reveals that at least 72 individuals from the seven countries covered in President Trump’s vetting executive order have been convicted in terror cases since the 9/11 attacks.
Well, that's not quite true. The Washington Post looked into this and found that numerous people on this list were not directly linked to terrorist acts and the list is padded with cases as old as 40-plus years:
But it’s important to note that being convicted of material support is not always evidence that the person was planning a terrorist attack or terrorism-related activities.
Some cases involved individuals who were convicted of charges unrelated to terrorism activities, but who prosecutors charged were related to terrorist groups abroad. For example, three Rochester businessmen (Mohamed al-Huraibi, Yehia Ali Ahmed Alomari and Saleh Mohamed Taher Saeed) were convicted of money-laundering charges in 2009. Federal prosecutors charged that the men sent $200,000 overseas knowing the money could benefit Hezbollah.
But according to the Associated Press, “authorities stressed that the men had no links to any terrorist groups and have not been charged with any terrorism crimes.” A federal prosecutor said at the time: “This is simply a money laundering case. There are no charges claiming that they were giving money or aiding any terrorist organizations.”
Some of the people on this list had entered the United States decades before they were charged with any of the crimes — as early as 1972. This list included people who were naturalized citizens, legal permanent residents, refugees, people whose citizenship statuses were unknown, and a Canadian citizen and a Dutch citizen born in Iraq.
Moreover, the list also includes about two dozen cases that are related to charges of fraudulent visas, passport forgery or making false statements. In some cases, the people were specifically found not to have any known ties to terrorism operations.
The Post stated that "this is pretty thin gruel on which to make sweeping claims about the alleged threat posed to the United States by these seven countries, especially because the allegations often did not concern alleged terrorist acts in the United States," adding that the list is a "questionable" tactic to justify Trump's immigration order because "some people on this list entered the United States — many of them naturalized — decades before they were charged with any of the crimes."
Our anonymous WND writer concedes some of this -- but not until later in his article, and during an attempt to spin criticism of the list:
Some opponents of the travel suspension have tried to claim that the Senate report was flawed because it included individuals who were not necessarily terrorists because they were convicted of crimes such as identity fraud and false statements. About a dozen individuals in the group from the seven terror-associated countries are in this category. Some are individuals who were arrested and convicted in the months following 9/11 for involvement in a fraudulent hazardous materials and commercial driver’s license scheme that was extremely worrisome to law enforcement and counter-terrorism agencies, although a direct link to the 9/11 plot was never claimed.
The anonymous writer went on to quote Muslim-hating WND reporter and author Leo Hohmann as having "pointed out that it’s not only terrorism that has been a problem with regard to the resettlement of Third World refugees. The number of sexual assaults is also mounting."
So this has everything to do with fearmongering and nothing to do with facts.
CNS Devotes 3 Articles to Trump Aide, Censors His Lies Topic: CNSNews.com
When it came time to document Trump policy adviser Stephen Miller's Sunday-morning talk-show marathon, CNSNews.com reporter Susan Jones knew it was time to get into stenography mode. So she cranked out three articles' worth of stenography:
The first touted how Miller "said President Trump's authority to suspend the entry of aliens into this country is 'beyond question,' both in law and according to the Constitution" and complained that "a district judge, a district judge in Seattle, cannot make immigration law for the United States."
The second promoted Miller saying that ""The crackdown on illegal immigrants is merely the keeping of my campaign promise."
The third featured a back-and-forth between Miller and "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace and waited until the ninth pagaraph to note Miller's assertion that "the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned."
Curiously, Jones made no mention of Miller's appearance on that other Sunday show, ABC's "This Week." Why? It's where Miller told a bunch of demonstrable lies -- most prominently, his utterly unsubstaniated and discredited assertion that "thousands of illegal voters were bused from Massachusetts to New Hampshire" to vote -- and Jones isn't being paid to call out a member of the Trump administration as a liar.
Jones can only be bothered to trot out something approaching acutal journalism when it can be used to serve her (and the Media Research Center's) right-wing agenda. That makes her a propagandist, not a reporter.
Trump Buddy Ruddy Walks Back His Criticism of Priebus Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy appeared on the Feb. 12 edition of CNN's "Reliable Sources" mostly to shill for his buddy Donald Trump and to tamp down suggestions that the president doesn't know what he's doing. Cathy Burke's Newsmax article on her boss' appearance sums his words up in its lead paragraph: "President Donald Trump's first weeks in office are showing him to be 'a stable, sensible world leader,' who trusts the American people will judge him on the 'results' of both his foreign and domestic policies."
The big news, however ,was Ruddy throwing Trump's chief of staff, Reince Priebus, under the bus, apparently based on a conversation he had with Trump a couple days earlier:
I think there's a lot of weakness coming out of the chief of staff. I think Reince Priebus -- good guy, well intentioned, but he clearly doesn't know how the federal agencies work. He doesn't have a really good system -- hedoesn't know how the communications flow.
It’s my view that Reince is the problem. I think on paper Reince looked good as the chief of staff — and Donald trusted him — but it’s pretty clear the guy is in way over his head. He’s not knowledgeable of how federal agencies work, how the communications operations work. He botched this whole immigration rollout. This should’ve been a win for Donald, not two or three weeks of negative publicity.
That apparently didn't go over well. Ruddy's walkback began quickly, with a tweet declaring: "Reince just briefed me on new WH plans. Impressive! CNN today my personal view. Told him I have 'open mind' based on his results." At Newsmax, Ruddy's walkback is bizarrely framed as a scoop in an unbylined article:
Senior White House sources have told Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy that President Trump has full confidence in Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and the job he is doing.
"I’m hearing from a number of senior people today that President Trump very much likes the job Reince Priebus is doing and has no intention of replacing him," Ruddy told Newsmax.
Ruddy's comments come after a CNN appearance Sunday on Brian Stelter's "Reliable Sources" when he defended the Trump administration from media attacks, but chided Priebus for White House messaging fumbles during the opening days of the administration.
Ruddy made clear to CNN and other press outlets his views were his own and were not based on any conversation with the president.
The Post's Chris Cillizza questions this: "Those quotes — on the record no less! — come 48 hours after Ruddy had drinks with Trump at Mar-a-Lago. It's sort of hard to imagine Ruddy didn't (a) run Priebus down even more in private and (b) let Trump know he was going to tell people about it."
Cillizza goes on to note that Trump's treatment of his senior staff -- an atmosphere in which his chief of staff is thrown under the bus by a Trump friend on TV -- is highly unusual.
Then again, the elevation of his friend to the presidency has made Ruddy something of a power broker. Another Post article touts the "newfound access" conservative outlets are getting in the Trump White House, with the chief example being Newsmax Washington bureau chief John Gizzi: "press secretary Sean Spicer has picked him out several times from among the jostling mob of journalists seeking to question the administration." The Post didn't note that Gizzi's boss is a friend of the president, which might also account for that newfound access.
Ruddy seems to be playing his cards in a way to ride Trump's coattails to becoming a more mainstream media player. It's clear, however, that Ruddy has no interest in being critical of his friend -- yet.
WND's Loudon Skipped Right-Wing Indoctrination Class, Can't Name A 'Christian' Country Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily columnist GinaLoudon is so devoted to being a Donald Trump disciple, it seems, that she's losing touch with right-wing orthodoxy.
In her Jan. 29 column, Loudon makes this odd attack on critics of Trump's immigration order:
They claim this act is anti-Muslim, because it “bans immigration from Muslim countries.” What is a “Muslim” country? Can you define that? I doubt it. Name a “Christian” country. You get the point.
Loudon seems to have forgotten the conservatively correct answer to the question "Name a 'Christian' country" is the United States, full stop. Doesn't Loudon know that it's an articleoffaith among conservative Christians that America was founded as a Christian nation? Or that right-wingers spent the past eight years attackingPresidentObama for his apparently heretical suggestion that because the idea of America transcends religion it is no longer just a Christian nation -- which was then repeatedly misquoted and taken out of context to attack him?
Ah, but Loudon has her own smears to peddle. She maliciously labels critics of Trump's order -- which been fighting a losing battle in court -- as "pro-terrorist radicals," as if anything Trump proposes is the only possible solution and that being concerned about basic human rights makes one "pro-terrrorist."
She then baselessly says of anti-Trump protesters: "Many in the ranks are paid by George Soros," later sneering about "paid Soros “protesters” (a.k.a. lackeys/sheeple) on the streets outside starving for their five seconds of fame." Loudon offers no evidence that any protester, let alone "many" of them, are being paid directly by Soros.
It's quite hilarious to hear a woman who tried to capitalize on the publicity surrounding her teenage daughter's affair with a 57-year-old man whine about others "starving for their five seconds of fame."
Fake News: MRC Wonders Why Media Isn't Reporting a Discredited Story Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Julia A. Seymour was in full climate-denier froth in a Feb. 7 post:
A federal agency discredited a common argument of climate skeptics in 2015, but now a whistleblower has accused the agency of misleading the public and playing politics. Not that anyone watching the network news would know it.
For several years, climate skeptics argued there had been a “pause” or hiatus in global warming beginning in 1998. Then, in June 2015, a paper from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration erased it. Many news outlets reported that NOAA study and accepted its claims, but on Feb. 5 or 6, the network evening news shows said nothing about the new whistleblower’s evidence against it.
Data scientist Dr. John Bates blew the whistle on NOAA claiming the paper that erased the pause was based on misleading and “unverified” data and never analyzed in accordance with NOAA’s full process, The Daily Mail reported. That prompted many to draw comparisons to the Climategate scandal of 2009.
Just one problem: the Daily Mail story is bogus, which seems like a pretty good reason for actual news sources to ignore it.
Media Matters points out that NOAA's data debunking a "pause" in global warming has been independently verified by other non-NOAA data collection methods. Further, the whistleblower was reportedly not involved in any aspect of the report being attacked as manipulated, and the Daily Mail reporter has a lengthy record of misleading claims on climate science.
Ironically, a few days after Seymour's post was written, Wikipedia declared the Daily Mail to be too unreliable to be used as a reference on the website.
Doubly ironically, Seymour is right that the Daily Mail story is like Climategate -- both have been debunked.
In summary, Seymour is promoting fake news -- which her employer has done in the past.