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Saturday, March 11, 2017
MRC Finds No Humor In Sitcom's "Thanks, Obama" Running Gag
Topic: Media Research Center

How utterly humorless are the folks at the Media Research Center? A recent episode of the CBS sitcom "Man With A Plan" featuring a "Thanks, Obama" running gag had Justin Ashford frowning:

President Barack Obama ruined so many things in America and CBS’s Man With a Plan hysterically takes this to the extreme by blaming him for every bad thing that happens, from potholes to bankrupt businesses to running out of juice.

On Monday’s episode, “Assisted Living,” Adam’s parents, Joe and Bev, visit the family in their RV. It's made apparent that Adam’s dad certainly did not approve of Obama’s administration, as he blames him for the potholes during their road trip, saying "Thanks, Obama." We also find out Joe thinks Andi “accidentally” voted for Obama. No surprise there as we’ve seen her liberal stance on same-sex couples.

Later, Obama gets blamed again when the company Bev uses for lard goes out of business.

[...]

Joe's antics get passed on to the youngest of Adam and Andi’s kids, Emme. She opens the fridge and slams the door, saying, “Thanks Obama!” because they’re out of juice. This doesn’t sit well with Andi, as she states, "He turned our little girl into Bill O'Reilly.”

Though it's said in jest, there are many terrible things we have Obama to "thank" for such as the rise of ISIS, rising health care costs, a crippling national debt, and being a more divided nation than ever before.

All together now: #THANKSOBAMA

Ashford seems to be unaware that the show is mocking humorless people like himself who blamed everything wrong with the country on Obama and are too committed to their right-wing ideology to admit that just maybe Obama was an actual human being who was not the manifestation of pure evil Ashford insists that he is.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:12 AM EST
WND Columnist Blames Christian Bookstore Chain's Demise on Selling 'Heretical' Things
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily columnist Jim Fletcher is normally a hype man for the books published by the same folks who publish his column -- he does this again most recently in a column touting Carl Gallup's new book while failing to mention it was issued by WND -- but he also likes to opine about Christian publishing in general.

He does this in a Feb. 24 column speculating on the failure of the Christian bookstore chain Family Christian Stores. Unfortunately, he decided to blame it on the chain selling things other than the Bible:

A powerful entity, Family was courted by publishers and their sales reps. The result was a multi-headed monster that gouged itself on heretical books and other materials.

The demise of Christian retail and, by extension in my view, the majority of the Evangelical church in this country, came about from a tightly coordinated effort. This ranged from celebrity pastors and ministry heads to publishers and, yes, Christian retail.

The irony is, while Family Christian Stores has imploded, the carcass will simply remain for a while on the highway of “Christian” resources, and the road is well traveled. If books are no longer sold by Family Stores, they will be sold by Amazon, or Saddleback Church, or North Point, or Willow Creek. Et cetera.

You see, a dirty secret of the Evangelical world is that if heretical books no longer have a home in bankrupt retail stores, they live and thrive in conferences, mega-churches, and media.

[...]

At the Family Christian Stores fire sale, one can find books by Jen Hatmaker (a Never-Trumper, socially progressive “evangelical”), Hillsong’s Brian Houston and William Paul Young, who wrote “The Shack.”

That’s just the tip of the iceberg that has rendered the Evangelical community just another glitzy, over-confident Titanic.

Family Christian Stores made a conscious decision years ago to make cash the only real priority. No vetting of books being peddled by publishers and salesmen who were, in some cases, more pagan than Baal. Anything labeling itself “Christian” was allowed in the door, more enthusiastically if the book sold like hotcakes as we used to say.

[...]

It is a sign of our times that when I tell audiences or readers that their best Christian resources are a Bible, pen and notebook, I hear laughter from the audience. It sounds funny, I guess. But it is also the truth. If the American Christian community would study the Bible, pray, and make real disciples, there would be a thriving Christian bookstore on every street corner.

How dare Family Christian try to sell Christian things to Christians to make money! Most people would call that the American way. Of course, in Fletcher's word, anything that doesn't follow a narrow, right-wing interpretation of Christianity is "heretical."

Needless to say, Fletcher's biased analysis overlooks the actual reasons the chain is going out of business. CBN points out that, like most book retailers, Amazon ate into their business and that other chains such as Lifeway and Mardel will likely fill the void; they presumably sell many of the same things Family Christian did.

Christianity Today adds that Family Christian has been in financial peril for years, filing for bankruptcy in 2015, a couple years after buying itself out of private equity ownership and turning itself into a nonprofit company that donated all profits to charity. In order to get out of bankruptcy, though, suppliers reluctantly agreed to write off $20 million of consigned goods to the chain, an act that itself bankrupted a couple of those suppliers.

Patheos blogger Hemant Mehta commented on Fletcher's narrow view of Christianity and Family Christian:

In Fletcher’s world, every Christian bookstore would focus on a single book, and only sell other products that point to how amazing that Bible is. No criticism. No questioning. No alternative perspectives.

If Family Christian Stores had just invested more in their KJV-coated bubble instead of trying to reach more people, they would totally be around right now. Economic forces be damned.

Fletcher offers no evidence to back up his suggestion that his extremely narrow view of Christianity constitutes a viable retail model.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:23 AM EST
Friday, March 10, 2017
Michael Reagan Forgets Trump Is Also An Anti-Vaxxer
Topic: Newsmax

Michael Reagan complains in his March 4 Newsmax column:

It’s significant that the more the left’s cultural Marxism permeates the nation, the more superstition, ideology, and paranoia take precedence over science.

And President Trump’s recent appointment of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as chairman of a new commission on vaccines certainly doesn’t help matters. Kennedy is a believer in the repeatedly disproved superstition that vaccines cause autism.

This damaging assertion, combined with gullible members of the media and the public, has caused vaccination rates of schoolchildren to fall in many areas.

While Reagan is correct on the efficacy of vaccines, he gets a couple of things wrong.

First, his attempt to blame the anti-vaxxer movement on "the left’s cultural Marxism" is ridiculous. It's more prevalent on the right than it has ever been on the left, as anti-vaccine fearmongering by WorldNetDailly and the Media Research Center demonstrate.

Second, nowhere in his column does Reagan mention the highly relevant fact that Trump himself has pushed that very same repeatedly disproved superstition that vaccines cause autism.

We don't know if Reagan has ever criticized Trump for his anti-vaxxer stance -- we could find no example of such in a quick Google search. This column would have been an appropriate time to do so. but he didn't.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:39 PM EST
The MRC's 'Far-Left' Fascination
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Curtis Houck used a March 3 post to come to the defense of right-wing author Charles Murray, who was "chased ... from far-left Middlebury College by an angry mob" where he was planning to give a speech. He further complained that the Associated Press cited "the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center, touting their belief that Murray is a 'white nationalist' using 'racist pseudoscience and misleading statistics to argue that social inequality is caused by the genetic inferiority of the black and Latino communities, women and the poor.'"

Strangely, Houck didn't actually challenge the SPLC's description of Murray (other than that it was expressed), nor does he defend Murray's views let alone explain why they would be considered controversial enough to protest; he just benignly describes Murray as a "longtime conservative author, columnist, and think tank scholar." The full SPLC profile of Murray is here, since Houck couldn't be bothered to link to it.

But let's look at something else: Houck's overuse of the "far-left" descriptor. That's just cheap and lazy heat on Houck's part; neither the SPLC or the entirety of Middlebury College can plausibly be dismissed as "far left" by a neutral observer.

Indeed, attacking anything and everything as "far left" is something of an avocation at the MRC. Here are the things have attacked as "far left" so far in 2017 alone:

(And here's a bonus entry from late December: Walter Cronkite.)

Not all of these things are "far left." In fact, most of them aren't.  They only look "far left" if you're a right-winger like Houck and his MRC stablemates. It's as if the MRC doesn't understand that words mean things.

Except they do. In 2015, the MRC's Rich Noyes complained that the broadcast networks "have gone out of their way to relentlessly paint House Republicans, especially the Freedom Caucus, as ideologues who are outside the American political mainstream" by using labels such as "far right." Noyes went on to huff that "The media’s repeated labeling of conservatives as outside-the-mainstream is something that liberals don’t have to face."

Except from the right-wing ideologues at the MRC, who again refuse to hold themselves to the same behavior they demand from others.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:55 AM EST
WND Trump Messiah Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily, it seems, just can't stop portraying Donald Trump as sent from God.

We've noted that WND editor Joseph Farah has gotten more explicit about proclaiming divine intercession in Trump's election. In his Feb. 27 column, Farah invokes his favorite right-wing prophet, Jonathan Cahn:

The dizzying pace of Trump’s complete reversal of the very policies that seemed to be dragging America down into imminent judgment is, after all, remarkable. Who would have predicted it? Did it seem even in the realm of possibility in the near term – in 2017?

Even for me, someone who was deeply moved by Cahn’s message and who predicted Trump would win in a landslide mandate eight months before Election Day, I admit I didn’t imagine just how faithful the new president would be to his campaign promises. I didn’t see how moved he would be by the support of Bible-believing Christians. I didn’t see how radically different he would govern from his predecessors – especially his most recent.

But that’s just what he has done – and, always barring some unforeseen catastrophe, it bodes well for the immediate future of the country.

You may be surprised by what the Kingdom of God will be like! Find out in Joseph Farah’s “The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age,” what it will be like during the future Kingdom of Heaven on earth under the rule and reign of Jesus.

So that leads me to the inevitable question: Did enough of America’s believers, His people who are called by His name, humble themselves, seek His face and turn from their wicked ways? I know there was a shaking of God as a direct result of Jonathan Cahn’s teachings. I saw it. I heard it. I felt it. But I am not God.

Could it be that a spiritual earthquake took place between 2012 and 2016 just as so many of us had hoped and prayed for individually?

Could the Holy Spirit have used that profound and amazing teaching to shake American like Jonah shook Nineveh – thus buying us time?

Could it be we are reaping the practical political benefit of the individual prayers of millions touched by those teachings?

I don’t know. But I’m throwing it out there for you to consider.

In his March 1 column, Farah got his answer from his hero:

It started with a plea for a National Day of Prayer and Repentance on Sept. 11, 2013, an event that has continued annually since.

The annual Washington Man of Prayer event in the Capitol was inspired by Cahn’s message. Since then, regular prayer meetings in the Capitol have been instituted.

Many other prayer networks and chains have been taking place continually.

With all this in mind, I recently posed the question of whether what is happening right now in Washington, with a new administration, is in direct response to what Cahn started with his book and his unique message and ministry and what grew from it.

So I asked Cahn.

It turns out, he has humbly been asking the same question.

“The main thing I’m convicted of is that God has heard and has given a reprieve,” he told me. “Right now the culture is still falling away. It has to be reversed. If not, the template of ‘The Harbinger’ continues. And if we don’t reach the younger generation, the future then remains unchanged. It may be that God’s people prayed in part – the faithful – and God answered in part. Now is the window. There must be revival.”

Cahn characterizes what happened with the presidential election in November and thereafter “a miraculous reprieve, an opening for national revival.” But, he adds, without that revival, the progression will continue. “We must pray.”

There's also a WND column by Sean Harshey headlined "TRUMP ON A MISSION FROM GOD?" He writes:

Remember liberals’ claims during the primaries that they prayed for Trump to be the nominee? Whether they actually prayed, who they prayed to or if their claims were merely mocking in nature, they got what they claimed they wanted. Like everything else, it turned out to be the opposite of what they planned.

It is more apparent every day that there is a supernatural element to the Trump presidency. The mocking and scornful media and political class have not only been steamrolled by a political novice, but their best efforts to destroy him have backfired. “On a mission”, indeed.

Indeed. It appears WND is on a mission as well -- to give a thrice-married adulterer a patina of respect by cloaking him in a religion he has shown no evidence of ever following.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:08 AM EST
Thursday, March 9, 2017
MRC Hate-Watches Miniseries On Gay-Rights Movement
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has been attacking "When We Rise," an ABC miniseries on the history of the gay-rights movement, since it was first announced.

In a December 2015 post, Sarah Stites huffed that "It’s no secret that ABC pushes the gay agenda," adding that the miniseries was written by "openly gay screenwriter Dustin Lance Black," who is "not new to activism through media," and that "His new 8-hour miniseries is likely to be similarly acclaimed by the major media."

Stites also claimed that "The ABC network has also promoted its bias more subtly through support of LGBT events," desperately citing "the 2015 DC Pride Parade. WJLA channel 7, ABC’s local news station, was listed under the Capital Pride Alliance’s Rainbow sponsorship level." But WJLA is not owned by ABC; at the time of the 2015 parade, it had just been purchased by right-wing TV station owner Sinclair Broadcast Group -- something the MRC failed to mention in its original post on that subject. (By the way, WJLA and its sister station, News Channel 8, remains a Capital Pride Alliance sponsor, somsething the MRC is unlikely to bring up lest it offend its fellow conservatives at Sinclair.)

The MRC ramped up the hate as the miniseries' airdate neared. A Feb. 14 post by Matt Norcross repeated a claim from the right-wing, Rupert Murdoch-controlled blog Heat Street that the miniseries "glorifies violence against police officers,"based apparently on nothing other than a cursory view of the "When We Rise" trailer. Norcross went on to denounce the series as "potential propaganda" and argues that "perhaps it’ss time for Disney to let go of ABC and sell it to another party."

Norcross also complains that the miniseries "stereotypes Americans in Republican-controlled states as homophobic" -- again, based on only the trailer. Of course, Norcross doesn't admit that's hardly an out-of-the-mainstream viewpoint.

When it came time to hate-watch the show proper, Alexa Moutevelis Coombs was given the task. Her post on part 1 lived up to the hate by immediately declaring it "ABC's eight hour gay propaganda event," further ranting that the series "immediately gets into the leftist activism with a montage bashing Republicans and comparing gay rights to the fight against Nazism and the Civil Rights movement -- and it all goes down hill from there." She took particular exception to "all the gay characters kissing and hooking up in various states of undress within the first 10 minutes" and whined, "There are so many leftist tropes checked off in the first two hours, I can only imagine what’s coming in the next six."

Coombs then wrote: "LGBT sacred martyr Matthew Shepard is referenced, 'Those who truly hate us…are trying young men to fences in Wyoming and cracking their skulls open.' Of course, we now know that Shepard’s murder, horrific as it was, was not a hate crime." Coombs is clinging to right-wing revisionist history that insists that we take the word of Shepard's killer now that it was merely a drug deal gone bad and igore the fact that he mounted a gay-panic defense during his trial.

Coombs' review of part 2 again calls the show a "gay propaganda miniseries," expressing anger that President Reagan was depicted as insenstive to the burgeoning AIDS crisis during his presidency. Coombs rushed to his defense by citing something that didn't happen during his presidency: how Reagan "took a risk by publicly opposing" a 1978 California initiative that would legalize firing any gay teacher or support staff in California public schools. She then grumbled, "I suppose it was too much to ask that this series give a little credit where credit is due to a conservative legend."

For part 3, Coombs is joined in her hate-watching by Karen Townsend, and they complain that "The slander of President Ronald Reagan’s legacy by liberal gay activists continues," insisting that Reagan really did care enough about AIDS to fund research into it.

Townsend took over completely for the final installment -- apparently, Coombs ran out of hate to hurl -- and she complained that Christians are now becoming the victims of gays:

I wonder if the show’s creator, Dustin Lance Black, understands that people of faith also feel under attack for not falling in line with the gay agenda pushed in today’s entertainment world and that Christians are being persecuted for their religious beliefs. The left fails to understand that it is not because of hate that people of faith oppose same sex marriage – it is because of their belief in religious principles. Christian bakers, photographers, and function hall owners are being forced to choose between violating their conscience or losing their livelihood.

When We Rise doesn't seem to recognize - or care - when others fall.

Townsend forgets that anti-discrimination law forbids denial of service to anyone by those who offer their services to the public.

When the ratings for "When We Rise" didn't go well, the MRC called in a longtime professional hater, Matt Philbin, to gloat over the alleged failure:

The truth is, When We Rise was as self-absorbed and entitled as the LGBT movement it chronicled – utterly lacking empathy for anyone who’s convictions don’t allow them to fall in line with the agenda. Thus, gay marriage wasn’t enough, they had to make Christians bake the cakes for those weddings. Rather than persuade, Black et al used the opportunity of When We Rise to slander Middle Americans as benighted cretins brimming with hate for gays.

The truth is, Dustin, we’re benighted cretins who just aren’t that into you – one way or the other. 

Hey, at least Philbin admits he's a cretin. Of course, if the MRC really didn't care "one way or the other" about "When We Rise," it wouldn't have sent three writers to make sure every night of it got hate-watched.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:56 PM EST
AIM Helps Sebastian Gorka Overcompensate
Topic: Accuracy in Media

In a Washington Post piece, Daniel Drezner pretty much obliterates Sebastian Gorka, the right-wing Muslim-hater who somehow ascended to being an terrorism adviser to the Trump White House. It seems Gorka cold-called a critic and actual terrorism expert and whined about the "incessant berating of my professional acumen." In telling Gorka to grow a pair, Drezner also pointed out Gorka's laughable insistence on touting his doctorate at every opportunity despite the fact that his doctoral thesis (from a Hungarian university) would have a hard time getting respect as an undergraduate thesis at a decent American college. "It’s a surefire sign that you’re overcompensating," Drezner wrote.

Accuracy in Media, for one, has been among the right-wing groups helping Gorka overcompensate and evade criticism of his work.

In a May 2012 column, AIM's Cliff Kincaid introduced "Dr. Sebastian L. v. Gorka," who claimed that "the Obama Administration is rapidly revising federal counter-terrorism training materials in order to eliminate references to Jihad and Islam." Kincaid made no mention of any actual evidence Gorka had of this beyond a Wired magazine expose on how FBI connterterrorism training had a bad habit of characterizing all Muslims as prone to violence or terrorism. Kincaid added that Gorka "recently became an American citizen."

A September 2016 AIM article by Alex Nitzberg touted how "Dr. Sebastian Gorka" said that political correctness is harming U.S. "war efforts" because it fails "to recognize the link between Islam and terrorism." Gorka peddled other right-wing orthodoxy as well:

While he identified “the global jihadi movement” as the primary threat currently facing America, he also said, “…I think if the nation looks at itself in the mirror, the other truly horrific enemy we face is ourselves. If you look at the debt that both politicians of left and right have accumulated for this nation and for generations to come…Capitol Hill is acting like a bunch of drunken sailors that will create a bankrupt nation if we don’t get a grip.”

Questioned about the potential ramifications of a Hillary Clinton presidency, Dr. Gorka said that “…a Hillary Clinton administration would be catastrophic for this nation.” Describing Clinton as “…a person who’s completely beholden to the highest bidder and has no regard for the interests of the republic,” he asserted that “…she would be bad for America, her allies, and the interests of the nation in the long run.” While not a member of the Trump campaign, Dr. Gorka has previously advised the Republican candidate on national security.

If Gorka is a two-bit ideologue who Peter Principled his way into the Trump White House -- and it certainly appears he is -- AIM certainly helped create him.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:12 PM EST
A Potpourri of Trump Stenography at CNS
Topic: CNSNews.com

Last week, CNS was in damage control mode over news that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had not been completely forthcoming over his contacts with the Russian ambassador. Over the weekend -- as if directed by the Trump White House, as a lot of CNS' coverage appears to be -- CNS pushed right-wing narratives on Sessions:

Trump's distracting, unsubstantiated tweet that President Obama bugged Trump Tower during the election also got the full CNS treatment:

CNS did more Trump stenography on his revised anti-Muslim travel ban:

And CNS is still pushing the Trump line on Russian interference in the election:

And amid all this Trump stenography, CNS' Susan Jones found time to write a second article in less than a week maliciously portraying Sen. Al Franken as obsessed with Trump's tax returns (here's the first one), despite the fact that it was not even the primary focus of the remarks Jones reported.

All that Trump stenography is sure keeping CNS busy.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:55 AM EST
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
WND's 'Shack' Attack Is Back
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Over the past several years, WorldNetDaily spent a lot of time denouncing the best-selling spiritual book "The Shack" and even published a book attacking it as "blasphemous" and filled with "counterfeit Christianity," not to mention "more than 15 heresies."

A film of the book has just been released, so WND's knives are drawn again.

A Feb. 12 WND article trots out James De Young, who wrote WND's anti-"Shack" book. He claims the book's idea of "universal reconciliation" is heretical and asserts the book is "beyond disturbing for its thoroughly anti-biblical portrayal of God." He also claims that "The Shack" author Paul YOung "takes on the mantle of a terrorist, anarchist and subverter of the home and marriage" when God as portrayed in the book says that marriage, the church and the government are man-made institutions, not God-ordained, ranting further that Young "is anti-church, anti-marriage and the home, and anti-American."

De Young returns again in a Feb. 15 article to rant some more about the book's "universalist" language, taking particular offense to the book's version of Jesus saying that he doesn’t desire to make anyone a Christian.

“So first, Paul Young doesn’t want to be known as a Christian,” De Young laments. “Second, Jesus warned of those who would profess to be his followers but are inwardly deceiving, ravenous wolves heading for spiritual destruction because they do not bear good fruit and do what he says, as cited in Matthew 7:13-27. Jesus and the Apostles teach what a follower of Jesus must believe about God, Jesus, judgment, and eternal destiny.”

De Young believes “The Shack” and its author do not follow these beliefs. Therefore, he says boldly, “The Shack” cannot be called a Christian book, nor can its author.

“If a person rejects all of these truths or redefines them in ways that contradict what Jesus and the Apostles say, as ‘The Shack’ teaches, then that person’s claim to be a follower of the Lord Jesus is false – so Jesus said in Matthew 7:23,” stated De Young.

The "Shack" attack goes seriously off the rails in a March 5 article, with "blogger and pastor Tim Challies attacking it for a "visual representation of God:

“To watch ‘The Shack’ is to watch human actors play the roles of Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” he said. “I take this to be a clear, serious violation of the second commandment: ‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.’ (Exodus 20:4-6).”

Challies believes human representations of God the Father and God the Holy Spirit distort and diminish the understanding of anyone who views them.

“To portray the Spirit is to vastly misrepresent the Spirit; to portray the Spirit is to blaspheme the Spirit,” he wrote. “The same is true, of course, of the Father.”

De Young echoes the idolatry attack byc laiming the film "reaching new depths of blasphemy" by visually depicting God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

In his March 7 WND column, Jerry Newcombe dismissed the film: "I felt the movie was too New Age for my tastes. If Oprah Winfrey were to make a 'Christian' movie, 'The Shack' would be it. I felt it took too many liberties with the Person of God. God commands us to not to make any graven images."


Posted by Terry K. at 6:28 PM EST
WND Didn't Cover Pro-Trump Marches It Promoted, Or Even The One WND's Farah Spoke At
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Last week, we detailed how WorldNetDaily was heavily hyping a series of planned pro-Trump rallies across the country this past weekend, as well as the fact that WND editor Joseph Farah would be speaking at one of them.

Well, those rallies came and went ... and WND didn't cover them. No "news" article on the rallies was ever posted at WND.

Why? Right Wing Watch's Brian Tashman went to the Washington, D.C., rally across from the White House and found the answer: "While several speakers addressed the crowd as if the day would be treated as a watershed moment in American political history, the Lafayette Square gathering only attracted a few dozen people." Tashman also summarized Farah's speech:

The next speaker, WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah, similarly declared that prayer and divine intervention were directly involved in Trump’s electoral victory, saying that Democrats “should not be investigating Russia’s influence on the outcome—they should be investigating God’s influence on the outcome!”

Trump, he said, is “the deliverer we’ve been given by God almighty,” calling his presidency a “window of mercy” and “an answer to our heartfelt prayers.”

“God has given us a miracle” with Trump’s election, according to Farah, along with a holy “reprieve” and a “second chance” for a “political and spiritual revival.” If Trump hadn’t won, Farah said, America would have had a future of “socialism, corruption, decay, tyranny, perversion, immorality [and] lawlessness.”

Farah said that “the ‘fake news’ cartel has cast a spell over America for the last 30 years, at least,” claiming that conservatives are blacklisted from the media.

The first acknowledgement at WND that these rallies actually took place is Farah's March 7 column, which reproduces his speech at the sparsely attended rally. He made even more references to the purported divine intervention that resulted in Trump's election, at one point saying, "If the Democrats and the media want to investigate the 2016 election, I’ve got some news for them: They should not be investigating Russia’s influence on the outcome! They should be investigating God’s influence on the outcome." He continued:

Do you believe God has opened a window of mercy and grace for America?

Do you believe He’s giving us an opportunity to seize this moment?

Do you believe what we’re witnessing in Washington today is the answer to our heartfelt prayers for the future of our country?

Do you believe the fate of this political and spiritual revolution is every bit as much in your prayerful hands as it is in the determination of this deliverer we’ve been given by God Almighty?

Then let’s agree – right here and now – to make this rally the first of many that grow ever larger, always beginning and ending in fervent appeals and petitions to the Creator of the Universe to straighten our individual and collective paths.

Tellingly, Farah doesn't link to any WND stories about the rally (since there aren't any) or even of a video of his speech; the column embed a long-shot image, apparently taken from the back of the sparse crowd, of someone who is described as Farah giving the speech (since you certainly can't tell from the image itself).

The column, however, does include an editor's note: "To learn more about future such rallies around the country, sign up for free notices from WND." That hasn't exactly worked out so far, has it?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:55 AM EST
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Another Bogus MRC Coverage Study
Topic: Media Research Center

A March 2 post by Rich Noyes and Mike Ciandella describes the Media Research Center's latest so-called media research:

A new American President is always a big story, but TV news is obsessed with the Trump administration — and not in a good way.

In the first 30 days (January 20 to February 18), our analysts determined that the President and his team were the subject of 16 hours of coverage on just the Big Three evening newscasts. This equates to more than half (54%) of all of the news coverage during this period.

While most new presidents enjoy a media honeymoon, the tone of Trump’s coverage was nearly as hostile (88% negative) as we found during last year's presidential campaign (91% negative).

Our measure of media tone excludes soundbites from identified partisans, focusing instead on tallying the evaluative statements made by reporters and the non-partisan talking heads (experts and average citizens) included in their stories. In their coverage of Trump’s first month, the networks crowded their stories with quotes from citizens angry about many of his policies, while providing relatively little airtime to Trump supporters.

That last paragraph is the only described methodology used, and no further detail about the results are provided -- which are big warning signs that this study is bogus.

Another sign: the binary nature of the provided choices. "Negative" and "positive" are inherently subjective descriptions, and it defies logic that the coverage the MRC covered could only be described as one or the other. There's a high likelihood that Noyes and Ciandella are portraying negative news reported neutrally as "negative," which skews their study.

Actual media researchers Stephen Farnsworth, S. Robert Lichter and Roland Schatz pointed out that Trump news coverage has skewed negative even from the Trumpophiles at Fox News. Their study also conceded that the majority of Trump coverage was neutral -- again, a category the MRC failed to include.The MRC, of course, would never conduct such "research" on Fox News because 1) it would prove the channel's right-wing bias, and 2) doing so would likely jeopardize MRC employees' regular appearances on it and sister channel Fox Business.

The researchers also note tha Trump's attacks on the media as the "enemy of the American people" also contributes to the negative coverage as well: "This puts journalists in a difficult position. If they challenge Trump at every turn, they may appear to be the opposition he claims they are. But if they conduct business as usual, this could simply let Trump be Trump at their expense."

Media Matters' Eric Boehlert adds that most experts agree that the first month of Trump's presidency has been unusually chaotic, an environment that leads to news that the MRC is predisposed to describe as "negative." In other words, a significant amount of that "negative" coverage was created by Trump himself -- something else for which the MRC fails to account.

Instead, Noyes and Ciandella engage in the MRC's rote media-bashing, whining about the supposed "anti-Trump editorial tone" after CBS anchor Scott Pelley accurately reported that Trump made "statements divorced from reality."

In sum: This is more unscientific partisan-motivated bogus "research" from an organization sadly known for it.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:27 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 8:28 PM EST
WND Still Promoting Dubious Claims by Discredited Historian David Barton
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily is such a fan of discredited right-wing historian David Barton that not only did it continue selling Barton's book on Thomas Jefferson long after its original publisher pulled it from the marketplace over its inaccuracies, it republished the book under its own WND Books imprint and attacked Barton's critics rather than do much fixing of the book.

An anonymous writer uses a Feb. 23 WND article to give Barton a platform to peddle more dubious history about Jefferson:

A recent report by the Washington Post states baldly Hemings “was owned by Jefferson and had a long-term relationship with him.”

This, said Barton, is a lie.

“For over two centuries, Jefferson-haters accused him of a sexual liaison with his slaves, especially Sally Hemings,” Barton said.

“In 1998, those rumors were seemingly verified when national headlines announced that DNA now proved that Jefferson fathered Hemings’ children. But some six weeks later, the storyline changed – but the public was not told about it.

“It turns out that the DNA definitely did not prove that Jefferson fathered her children. In fact, Thomas Jefferson’s DNA was not even used in the test! So how could he have been proven to be the father?”

Barton deconstructs the case against Jefferson in his book, pointing out the sensational media coverage of the 1998 report was simply not supported by the evidence. Indeed, later investigations only further discredited the idea Jefferson fathered children with a slave.

“A blue-ribbon commission of 13 leading scholars was assembled to examine the Jefferson paternity issue,” Barton explained. “Those scholars were all PhDs from prestigious schools such as Harvard, the University of Virginia, the University of North Carolina, the University of Kentucky, Indiana University and others. Several of them believed Jefferson had fathered Hemings’s children, but after a year of study, they changed their opinion.

“Monticello chooses to go against historic and even scientific evidence in order to take a politically correct position against Jefferson.”

Actually, as Monticello points out, the commission that concluded Thomas Jefferson was not the father of Hemings' children -- formed by the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society -- looked at essentially the same evidence but came to different conclusions. Monticello also admits that "Questions remain about the nature of the relationship that existed between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings."

So it's really just a matter differing viewpoints, not the cut-and-dried denial that Barton serves up. Proclaiming certainty about something that has not been, and perhaps cannot be, definitively proven is just another reason why Barton isn't taken seriously as a historian.

Interestingly, WND's headline on this article is "Thomas Jefferson smeared at his own home," as if reporting what history suggests to be the truth about Jefferson could be considered a "smear."


Posted by Terry K. at 2:48 PM EST
MRC Mad At Hispanic Journalist's 'Nationalistic' Message
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has no problem with Donald Trump's nationalist rhetoric or that of other conservatives (it's when it's described as "white nationalist" that the MRC has issues). For instance, the MRC's Tim Graham huffed that "liberal journalists have smelled racist or xenophobic airs whenever a conservative politician says 'let's take our country back.'"

But let a non-conservative say such things, and the MRC gets mad. And that outrage grows exponentially when the person is a Hispanic journalist.

So when Univision anchor Jorge Ramos -- whom the MRC tried to get fired for being critical of Trump --  said during an Univision awards show that "This is also our country. Let me repeat this: OUR country, not theirs. It is our country," the MRC's Jorge Bonilla was there to fire up the outrage machine:

Ramos' speech is amazingly strident, with an "us against them" tone that one would not expect from someone who incessantly promotes diversity from the other side of his mouth. When Ramos told the audience that "there are many who do not want us to be here", he erases any distinction between legal and illegal immigration, and irresponsibly casts immigration as an exclusively Latino issue. This is not the first time Ramos has drawn on both deceptive and discredited rhetorical devices such as these.

What is astounding, though, is Ramos' ferociously nationalistic rhetoric. On this score, Ramos would have been in the clear had he stopped at "this is also our country". Such a statement hints at inclusion, patriotism, and a pro-forma desire to assimilate and function as an integral part of the nation as a whole. However, Ramos crossed a bright line when he decreed the United States to be "OUR country, not theirs". One does not expect to hear such nationalistic rhetoric from a hardened critic of Donald Trump and Steve Bannon, and yet this isn't the first time that a Univision anchor lets loose with a nationalist rant. 

[...]

Finally, Ramos' statement begs the question: Who is this "our" that he speaks of? Is it U.S. Latinos regardless of birthplace? Legal immigrants? Illegal immigrants? Supporters of comprehensive immigration reform? Is it the multiracial and multicultural "rising American mainstream"? That much isn't clear. What IS clear is that "Our", within the context of Ramos' statement, suggests a separate nationality to which U.S. Hispanics owe some sort of allegiance. Ramos, of all people, should know better than to approach the lines of racial and cultural supremacism - even if it is in furtherance of an amnesty cause that is near and dear to him.

He STILL doesn't represent me.

After his post went pretty much ignored, Bonilla followed up a few days later demanding that Ramos answer questions about his statement and accused Univision of "softening up" Ramos' words in translating them to English:

As of yet, no effort has been made on Univision's part to correct the error, which begs the question: was this simply another bad translation? Or was it a willful, deceptive mistranslation intended to diminish the stridency of Jorge Ramos' remarks before English-speaking audiences? Ultimately, no one can answer these questions except for Jorge Ramos himself.

Did Ramos just botch his speech, intending to say the more inclusive "our country also" the second time? Then he should clarify his remarks, and disavow the translation currently making its way through social media. Or did Ramos actually intend to say the clearly divisive "our country, not theirs" all along? If that is the case, he should apologize for making such a brazenly divisive statement - which only serves to hurt, not help, bring about the U.S. immigration law reforms for which he so ceaselessly advocates.

Finally, if Ramos did indeed deliberately intend to say "our country, not theirs", then the record will reflect that Univision must also join Ramos in apologizing for the willful and blatant dissemination of verifiably fake news in a manner that starkly reflects unconscionable arrogance, recklessness and a wanton disregard for the intelligence of viewers.

So Ramos is being "brazenly divisive" in making a "nationalistic" statement -- and is also being arrogant and reckless in doing so -- but Trump is not when he says pretty much the same thing? Interesting.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:28 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 12:47 AM EST
Monday, March 6, 2017
WND's Hohmann Fearmongers About (Small) 'Mega-Mosque' In Michigan
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've noted that WorldNetDaily loves it when Christians make use of religious freedom laws, but absolutely hates it when Muslims make use of the very same laws. Well, it's at it again.

Last August, WND's resident Muslim-hater, Leo Hohmann, touted how the city of sterling Heights, Mich., rejected a planned "mega-mosque" i nthe city. Just how big was this "mega-mosque" to be? Actually, just 21,000 square feet, slightly bigger than an Aldi grocery store.

By further contrast, actual megachurches are much larger. One in Illinois, for instance, spans a whopping 193,000 square feet.

Hohmann went on to express disdain that "the Muslims" who wanted to build it were calling for a federal investigation under the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act -- which WND has repeatedly praised Christian groups for invoking when their church buildings are denied by local officials.

Hohmann does his usual anti-Muslim fearmongering, claiming that "Most of the Muslims moving into Sterling Heights, Madison Heights, Troy and the surrounding area have been imported by the federal government’s refugee resettlement program, which pays Catholic Charities and Lutheran Social Services to settle them in apartments and affordable housing" -- then, unironically, in the very next paragraph complains that the lawsuit over the denial of the mosque "attributes the backlash to simple racism."

In February, when Sterling Heights officials neared an settlement agreement that would allow construction of the mosque, Hohmann went into freakout mode. Under the headline "Mega-mosque being forced on Christian refugee community," Hohmann intoned in a Feb. 20 article using violent imagery (highlighted in bold):

A city of 130,000 people in southeastern Michigan is under the gun of Islamic pressure following its denial of a mega-mosque in a residential neighborhood populated largely by Christian refugees who fled Islamic persecution in Iraq.

Hohmann, as we've detailed, wants you to presume that all Muslims should be presumed terrorists. And, again, that's the same "mega-mosque" the size of a small grocery store.

Hohmann again complains that the Religion Land Use and Institutional Persons Act is" being used to coerce cities into approving mosques, even when the mosque is in a residential neighborhood." He said nothing about the same law being used to "coerce cities' into approving churches.

Hohmann also claimed: "As WND has reported, the Obama administration used this law increasingly against communities denying mosques and less against those denying the construction of churches." But that's not exactly true. Hohmann claimed in h is August article that "The percentage of federal DOJ investigations involving mosques or Islamic schools has risen from 15 percent in the 2000 to August 2010 period to 38 percent during the September 2010 to present period, according to the DOJ," citing a DOJ report on RLUIPA. 

Hohmann seems to forget that Christian churches have much less trouble getting built because America is a majority Christian country.

Hohmann goes on to quote Ramsay Dass, president of the American Middle East Christian Congress, as saying, "RELUIPA, the way it is written, you cannot win, and the cities don’t have enough funds to hire the lawyers to fight this. It depends on whichever minority has the favored status of the government at any time, you go against that and they’re now going to lose, period." We're pretty sure WND will never quote Dass saying this in an article about a Christian church invoking RLUIPA.

On Feb. 22, after Sterling Heights approved the deal, Hohmann ramped up the melodrama in an article headlined "Frightened Christians lose battle over U.S. mega-mosque":

In the end, the Iraqi Christians of Sterling Heights, Michigan, say they felt abandoned and left vulnerable by their government.

It didn’t matter that they had escaped genocide in the Middle East.

It didn’t matter they had 180 people at the City Council meeting Tuesday to voice their concerns about a large mosque being proposed in the middle of their neighborhood.

It didn’t matter, they say, that Donald Trump is their new president or that Jeff Sessions is the new attorney general.

They lost. The Muslims won.

The city on Tuesday night agreed to a settlement with a Muslim group that wants to build a mega-mosque on 15 Mile at Mound Road, in the heart of a residential area filled with Christians who escaped Muslim persecution in Iraq.

Yes, Hohmann is still calling this small building a "mega-mosque." And he's still complaining that RLUIPA "was increasingly used under the Obama administration to bully local governments into accepting controversial mosque projects."

Showing his anti-Muslim bias even more, Hohmann quoted almost exclusively critics of the mosque and the settlement deal. Yet at no point did Hohmann present any evidence that the Muslims who would attend this mosque posed a direct violent threat, or ever directly threatened with violence, anyone in that neighborhood -- he simply assumes that all Muslims are violent.

A reporter who engages in such vicious stereotypes cannot be trusted. Nor can the "news" outlet that publishes him.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:04 PM EST
Trump Buddy Ruddy Plays Up The Palsy-Walsy
Topic: Newsmax

If the head of a news organization was longtime friends with the president to the point where he's regularly hanging out with him and visiting the Oval Office, the right-wing media would be screaming bloody murder -- that is, if the president was a Democrat.

It is, however, perfectly fine with conservatives if one of their own media people has  a cozy relationship with the president. Which brings us to Christopher Ruddy.

Ruddy and his Newsmax played a big role in creating the idea of Donald Trump as presidential timber. Since Trump's election, Ruddy has been leveraging that to boost himself and Newsmax.

That's taken to the next level in a March 1 Newsmax article, which announced that "President Trump met with former ambassador Nancy Brinker and Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy at the Oval Office Wednesday afternoon," where they claimed to have discussed "initiatives for cancer research to find a cure for the disease." As it just so happens, according to the article's final paragraph, "Brinker also hosts a Newsmax TV interview program."

(The rest of us might know Brinker as the founder of breast cancer research fund-raising group Susan G. Komen for the Cure; she left the organization following a massive backlash against Komen's attempt to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood.)

Over the weekend, following Trump's tweets making unsubstantiated allegations that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the election, Ruddy opined on the issue in a March 5 column by effectively touting the access he has to Trump:

When I woke up Sunday, I thought the morning news shows would all be talking about the unusual, perhaps dangerous, decision of the Obama administration to wiretap the offices of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.

I’ve been watching Chuck Todd’s “Meet the Press” as I write this. There is actually little talk about this unprecedented wire-tapping and even less worry over it.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, usually thoughtful, just told Chuck Todd he found it is “shocking” that Trump disclosed the wiretapping claim on Twitter.

But Friedman offered no shock that such a wiretap might have taken place!

I spoke with the President twice yesterday about the wiretap story. I haven’t seen him this pissed off in a long time. When I mentioned Obama “denials” about the wiretaps, he shot back: “This will be investigated, it will all come out. I will be proven right.”

The Washington Post reported that Ruddy's contacts with Trump occurred "on the golf course and later at dinner Saturday."

Ruddy then invoked a schizophrenic pro-Trump talking point: The Russians "outrageously interfered in the U.S. election," which is something "I take very seriously," but it "did not change the election result," and "the media is continually trying to create" the narrative that it did.

Ruddy huffed: "This week, President Trump gave a bold and inclusive speech to Congress. It won wide praise. The Democrats don’t want Trump to succeed. Hence, all the smokescreens." He apparently forgot that his organization spent the past eight years fueling smokescreens with the goal of keeping Obama from succeeding.

If a "liberal media" executive was touting the same kind of access to a Democratic president that Ruddy is with Trump, right-wingers would not be silent. Instead, he gets a pass.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:58 PM EST

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