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Saturday, March 18, 2017
MRC's Blumer Still Doesn't Understand How AP Works
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Research Center blogger Tom Blumer is obsessed with bashing the Associated Press -- yet not so obsessed with it to bother to understand how the news cooperative works.

Blumer devoted a March 5 post to complaining that the AP ran the address of a private email account Vice President Mike Pence's wife used to conduct official business while Pence was Indiana governor. Pence's account was hacked.

Blumer is huffing that the AP didn't remove the email address from the original story after Pence told the AP the account was still active (instead agreeing not to publish it in future articles), self-righteously asserting he "won't link" to the story with the address but instead linking to a Google search with the story "as the current first item listed."

Well, there's your problem, Tom. The story is not at the AP website but, rather, at the Boston Globe. And, thus, we are compelled to explain to Blumer how the AP works. 

The AP is not a news organization per se but a news cooperative, sustained by the membership fees of subscribers like the Globe that run AP content in exchange for making their own original content available to the AP for distribution. AP members are generally free to do what they will with AP's content, such as adding their own localized content to an AP story.

AP stories on the websites of other subscribing news organizations are not on AP servers but, rather, servers run by those news organizations, so there's little the AP could do on its own to retroactively redact the offending email address in question because dozens, if not hundreds, of news organizations would have to individually make that change. In  other words, the AP could demand that the Globe redact the email address from its story, but it has little power to ensure that it actually did so. Meanwhile, the AP has no power whatsoever to stop those who copy the story without its authorization.

The AP's stance, then, is a prudent one that recognizes that the Internet is forever and it cannot purge every single instance of the address off the web.

While Blumer rants at the AP for taking a "Karen Pence's privacy be damned" approach to the issue, he gives a pass to Pence's wife for stupidly insisting on continuing to use an email account that was 1) hacked, or at least exposed in the hacking of her husband's account; 2) exposed as having been used for official business in contradiction of ethics if not the law (to which Blumer also gives a pass), and 3) published by a news organization and given wide dissemination.

And AP is the irresponsible one here? Only in Blumer's fevered brain.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:24 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, March 18, 2017 10:26 AM EDT
Genocide Watch Founder Confirms WND Columnist Misquoted Him
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The other day, we highlighted Barbara Simpson's WND March 12 column in which she claims to quote Genocide Watch founder Gregory Stanton saying things about the purported "white genocide" in South Africa that seem to diverge from his normal tone on the subject, particularly things like "For God’s sake, don’t disarm. Do not disarm."

We contacted Genocide Watch to find out if he really said those things. Stanton responded by email:

Thank you for bringing to my attention an article claiming to "quote" me on "white genocide in South Africa."

They are, as you suspected, a series of "quotes" put together in a way that completely mis-represents my views about the situation in South Africa.

I have made it clear that I do not believe that a "white genocide" is underway in South Africa.  See the attached, on our website at: http://media.wix.com/ugd/e5b74f_1ee7467f9e9c4ed5b22f182ed0621523.pdf

The figure quoted in the article that there have been 100,000 murders of whites in South Africa is a gross exaggeration. It is certainly not true since 1994. Indeed far more black South Africans are victims of crime than white South Africans.

Although I don't believe that police in South Africa provide adequate protection to any group, the danger from criminal gangs to farmers who give up their arms is acute. When the notorious "commandos" were disbanded and farmers gave up their arms, they were promised police protection to replace their self-defense. That has not been implemented. But the reason is largely from lack of adequate training, support, and supervision of police forces; not an intentional policy of neglect by the government. Until the crime rate falls, I advised farmers not to give up the arms they possess with permits for their self defense.  

I am grateful that you have brought this article to my attention. Please send a rejoinder to the publication that published it. You may quote me.

I just don't have time to respond to all of the mis-representations of the warnings by Genocide Watch about dangerous trends in South Africa and other countries.

Consider it done, Dr. Stanton. We're sending an email link to this post to Simpson's WND email address.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 AM EDT
Friday, March 17, 2017
MRC Writer Can't Stop Pushing 'Fungible' Canard About Planned Parenthood Funding
Topic: Media Research Center

Back in January, we shot down Media Research Center writer Katie Yoder's assertion that federal money given to Planned Parenthood is "fungible" -- an argument that conveniently ignores the fact that this federal money is provided for specific services and cannot be shifted elsewhere.

In keeping with the current MRC tradition of ignoring facts that counter its political agenda, Yoder keeps making the same false argument.

In a March 7 post, Yoder hammered on a certain false theme (bolding is ours):

These are the questions the networks refuse to fully address: If abortion is just three percent of Planned Parenthood’s “services,” why doesn’t it stop for the sake of federal funding? Or, if federal funding doesn't go towards abortion, why would the administration halt Planned Parenthood funding?

Answers: It isn’t only three percent and money is fungible.

[...]

While the Hyde Amendment, a legislative provision approved annually by Congress, bars federal funding (aka taxpayer funding) for abortion except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother, pro-life leaders argue that the government money is fungible.

But the networks won’t tell viewers that.

[...]

She failed to address the argument that money is fungible, or that Planned Parenthood could offset costs with public funds to free up other resources for abortion. Another point highlighted by pro-life groups.

The only evidence Yoder provides for this is an unsubstantiated assertion by Republican Sen. James Lankford that "The money is fungible," as well as her and fellow MRCer Sarah Stites' ridiculous analogy that "imagine giving your teen $20 to use specifically for gas. Although he can’t buy beer with that $20, he can now use his own $20 to purchase alcohol since the gas was covered by you."  

Someone forgot to tell Yoder and Stites that teens can't legally buy alcohol. And it still doesn't take into account the fact that federal money to Planned Parenthood isn't intermingled with other funds and Planned Parenthood must account to the feds their spending on the programs the money is designated toward.

But hey, the truth no longer matters at the MRC.

UPDATE: Yoder makes the assertion again in a March 17 post, though she tones down her certainty: "pro-life leaders and politicians argue money is fungible – or that Planned Parenthood could offset costs with federal funds to free up other resources for abortion." And "money is fungible" is again linked to her and Stites' dumb teen-buying-alcohol argument.

At least she sort of concedes that "money is fungible" is just something right-wingers "argue" and not actually based in fact.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:00 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, March 17, 2017 6:47 PM EDT
CNS' Jones Obsesses Over Calls to Release Trump's Taxes -- Then Ignores Actual Release
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com has been weirdly obsessed lately with media mentions of calls for Donald Trump to release his income taxes.

We noted that on March 2 and March 6, CNS' Susan Jones made a point of bringing up how Sen. Al Franken said that Trump should release his tax returns, even though the subject at hand was some other Trump-related controversy.

In another March 6 article, Jones quoted Sen. Susan Collins noting that any investigation of claims that members of the Trump campaign collaborated with Russia before the election or Trump's still-unsubstantiated claim that  President Obama wiretapped Trump campaign headquarters might require a look at Trump's tax returns.

On March 9, Jones devoted yet another article to it, this time based on comments by Nancy Pelosi and framed as Pelosi wanting to rummage through them for something that caused "personal embarrassment to the president." Jones huffed: "Democrats, including Pelosi, say Trump is the only president since Gerald Ford not to release his tax returns. There is no law saying he must do so."

Another March 9 article by Jones touched on it as well, which noted a proposed Democratic amendment to the Republican health care bill "that would allow the [House Ways and Means] committee to review Trump's tax returns in closed session." Again, Jones grumbled that "there is no law requiring Trump to release his tax returns."

Jones still wasn't done. She began a March 13 article this way:

As more and more Democrats angle to see Donald Trump’s tax returns, believing they may contain information that could be used against him, the ranking member of the House intelligence committee took a more measured approach on Sunday.

Jones didn't mention that Trump's abject refusal to release his tax returns like every other major presidential candidate in modern history invites this kind of speculation. As the saying goes, if you have nothing to hide, you hide nothing.

That six articles in 11 days on Democrats wanting to see Trump's taxes. A little obsessive, perhaps?

Here's the capper, though: When MSNBC's Rachel Maddow released a two-page summary of Trump's 2005 tax return on March 14 -- information that was confirmed by the White House -- Jones didn't see that as news, for she did no story on it.

It looks like Jones has once again exposed her bias for all the world to see.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:56 PM EDT
WND, Which Complained Feds Had Too Many Bullets, Now Complain They Don't Have Enough
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Now that President Obama is out of office and politically motivated complaints about federal aid going to Kenya no longer fit WorldNetDaily's political agenda, WND correspondent Steve Peacock has to write about something. So he writes in a March 12 WND article:

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says it possesses a “limited amount” of 9mm bullets for agents in the field as well as for training purposes, and it is rationing its ammunition based on internal requests until it can award a new contract.

It is one of several federal law-enforcement agencies that say they are reaching a “critical stage”: Their 9mm ammunition is being depleted and tens of thousands of service handguns are approaching the end of their life-cycle, too.

What Peacock doesn't tell you: A few years ago, WND was fearmongering that DHS and other agencies were buying too many bullets.

In January 2013, WND's Aaron Klein complained that "the federal government -- primarily the Department of Homeland Security -- possesses an ammunition surplus while local and state authorities face ammunition shortages and backlogs in purchasing more rounds." ICE is part of DHS.

In February 2013, WND editor Joseph Farah cited "the highly unusual stockpiling of firearms and ammo by Homeland Security" as evidence of his utterly false conspiracy theory that Obama was creating a "civilian national security force" that was actually a domestic army and the federal stockpile was being created because "Obama would like to deny [them] to ordinary citizens who are not members of his domestic army."

Farah's column was accompanied by a poll asking "Why is Homeland Security stockpiling big supplies of guns and ammo?" The top answer by far: "Obama is preparing to declare martial law."

WND also touted Sarah Palin's claim that the government is "stockpiling bullets in case of civil unrest," as well as right-wing radio host Mark Levin's assertion that the feds are "armed now for a 24-year Iraq war."

March 2013, though, was the peak of WND's ammo fearmongering. As one article put it:

When the numbers are put in perspective, the federal government’s extraordinary buildup of ammunition looks even more ominous than critics already have portrayed it.

An analysis by Forbes contributor Ralph Benko shows the 1.6 billion rounds of ammo that the government is acquiring would be enough for more than 100 years of training.

As WND previously reported, it also would be enough ammunition to fight a war for more than 20 years.

It would give the federal government enough ammunition to shoot every American more than five times.

Klein even got Code Pink's Madea Benjamin to express concern about the ammo purchases, in an attempt to portray it as a bipartisan issue. And WND's Drew Zahn had a right-wing congressman suggest that the Obama administration was stonewalling over the issue- - even though he also reports that "the Department of Homeland Security has argued that it is buying in bulk to save money."

As recently as April 2015, WND was still complaining about feds having too much ammo, grumbling that "The Department of Justice is seeking to purchase 95,000 rounds of 9mm hollow-point bullets and has posted online a solicitation that requires bids to be submitted by April 30," adding that "the federal government’s bulk purchase of ammunition in recent years, including a proposal to buy 1.6 billion bullets, has raised concerns about the government’s need for such supplies."

A better reporter would have tried to explain how WND has moved from complaining that the government was buying too much ammo to complaining it doesn't have enough. Peacock is not that reporter.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:56 AM EDT
Thursday, March 16, 2017
MRC's Graham Thinks Right-Wing Reporters Aren't Biased
Topic: Media Research Center

Right-wing snob (and terrible media critic) Tim Graham is at his lame ways again, this time over the influx of right-wing media outlets in the White House briefing room.

In a March 11 Media Research Center post, attacked the Washington Post for highlighting that a right-wing partisan, Fred Lucas of the Heritaqge Foundation-operated Daily Signal, served as a pool reporter.

Graham then uses a March 13 post to rant about "the leftist snobs at The New Yorker" for noting the right-wing influx in "a snide piece full of anonymous whiners." Graham whined that the Post accurately referred to the DailySignal as a partisan outlet:

Let that sink in. The Washington Post, describing itself as somehow outside the “partisan press.” MSNBC, outside the “partisan press”? The New York Times, with the front-page essay on the need for “oppositional” media to defeat Trump and elect Hillary, outside the “partisan press”?

But the Times and the Post have walls between editorial and opinion. Can the Daily Signal say that? Can Graham say that about any right-wing outlet? Indeed, Graham merely regurgitates Daily signal editor Rob Bluey's unsubstantiated assertion that there's "a hard firewall" between Heritage's partisan operations and the Daily Signal.

Graham does eventually get around to a bit of relevant disclosure: "Fred Lucas is a friend and a veteran of MRC’s news outlet, CNSNews.com. So is Rob Bluey, who runs the Daily Signal."

Lucas (pictured above) was a highly biased reporter during his time at CNS, fearmongering about the alleged hazards of fluorescent light bulbs, peddling anti-Obama conspiracies and maliciously attacking Obama's family. Bluey, meanwhile, did misleading reporting on the anti-John Kerry Swift Boat Vets (that benefited the Swift Boaters) while at CNS.

With such biased people running the Daily Signal, let's not pretend there's any meaningful "firewall" between it and the rest of Heritage -- just as there is no meaningful fifewall between CNS and the rest of the MRC. If the jobs of Bluey and Lucas were not to push Heritage's agenda, they wouldn't be working there.

Of course, Graham's playing a zero-sum game here: He thinks any reporter who's not reliably right-wing is "liberal."

Graham seems to also take offense at the title of the New Yorker piece, "Is Trump Trolling The White House Press Corps?" But he's curiously silent about, nor does he excerpt, the part of the piece that answers the headline's question: a captured conversation between Jim Hoft, head of right-wing blog Gateway Pundit and the stupidest person on the internet, and his new White House reporter, Lucian Winritch, who said that a conservative-media friend told him "You were brought in to troll the press corps, and you’d better troll hard." Hoft himself is quoted saying of Winritch: "He's there to troll."

Graham, of course, is too busy smugly hurling insults like "'Smug Little Cartel' is an excellent summation of The New Yorker" to say anything intelliggent about this. Perhaps because he wants right-wing trolls in the White House press corps to be tossing softballs to Sean Spicer.

Need proof? Just six hours before Graham's rant was posted, an MRC post by Kyle Drennen touted one of those softball questions from a right-wing reporter:

Responding to a question from The Daily Caller’s Kaitlan Collins during Monday’s White House press briefing about slanted media coverage of ObamaCare, Sean Spicer accused journalists of ignoring the failures of the health care law and instead portraying it as “all rainbows and puppies.”

Collins wondered: “How is the press making ObamaCare look good?” Spicer began his response by observing: “Well, I think when you see some of these comparisons [between ObamaCare and the GOP replacement plan] that occur in they talk about who’s gonna win and who’s gonna lose, it misses a lot of the competition that's going to take place. It doesn't talk about the increased choice [in the GOP plan].”

That's exactly the kind of right-wing propaganda that Graham wants to hear.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:36 PM EDT
WND Pretends It Was A Responsible Birther
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily pretends to be the responsible birther it never actually was in a March 10 article by Bob Unruh:

It raised quite a stir when Barack Obama’s half-brother, Malik Obama, tweeted on Friday an image purporting to be the former president’s birth certificate – and supposedly revealing a Kenyan birth.

However, as WND demonstrated back in 2009, the alleged Kenyan birth certificate Malik Obama tweeted is the same fraudulent document that had been offered for sale by eBay seller Lucas Smith and which the seller had displayed on YouTube.

But, as WND’s investigation revealed at the time, it is not a valid document.

Screen shot of whole document from Lucas Smith’s video
As WND reported in 2009, administrators at Coast Provincial Hospital in Mombasa, the hospital named as President Obama’s supposed birth hospital in the document, refused to authenticate the record when contacted by WND sources in Kenya.

What Unruh doesn't tell you: WND spent nearly two months touting Smith's certificate before the "investigation" it allegedly conducted debunking it.

WND first wrote about the certificate Smith tried to sell in a June 27, 2009, article by Unruh breathlessly presenting it as real:

With dozens of lawsuits filed over access to Barack Obama’s certified long-form birth certificate, many more lawyers working on his behalf to keep it secret and the validity of the U.S. Constitution hanging in the balance, guess where a “certified copy” of the original Mombasa “document” has been found?

On eBay.

Item No. 160344928067, at least as of today, is described as “a certified copy of President Barack Obama’s Kenyan Birth Certificate.”

[...]

The suspicion that Coast Provincial is, in fact, Obama’s birth hospital is not new, with the subject having been discussed on both Internet blogs and forums already.

But the seller, who according to the eBay rankings has completed dozens of transactions on the behemoth auction site without difficulties, said this is the real deal.

The seller, who did not respond to a WND request for an interview, said online he was traveling in Kenya and repeatedly heard stories that Obama actually was born in Kenya.

The next day, WND framed an article onthe certificate by asking "How much would a genuine copy of President Obama’s birth certificate – from a hospital in Mombasa, Kenya – be worth on the open market?" But it also quoted Jerome Corsi exhibiting some skepticism about the  certificate, stating that "Corsi wouldn’t rule out the possibility that the eBay seller may have somehow obtained a genuine document, but stated only that his efforts in Kenya proved fruitless" then adding, "WND has continued to attempt to contact the seller through several channels."

On June 30, WND complained that "A notice from eBay administrators is now warning people who have contacted the seller of an allegedly genuine copy of Barack Obama’s birth certificate – from Mombasa, Kenya – not to contact the seller again" and that "the sale page offering a dissertation on “the truth” about Obama’s birth – with bids reported by WND readers to have exceeded $1 million – has been pulled from the auction website for the fifth time." It repeated the Corsi skepticism.

On July 1, Unruh touted how "The eBay auction seller who has tried multiple times to sell an allegedly genuine copy of Barack Obama’s “Kenyan birth certificate” now is offering for sale a photograph of individuals who reportedly contributed to the strategy through which the still-unproven document was obtained." Unruh quoted the selling stating that "After the YouTube video I will be heading over to WorldNetDaily to talk with Joseph Farah. I will disclose everything to them," adding, "Contact between the seller and WND has so far been limited to an exchange of e-mails."

The next day, Unruh reported that a sixth eBay listing for the certificate was "scrubbed" by eBay and that "doubts have begun to flourish as a promised YouTube video about the issue also failed to appear."

Around this time, we reported that a blogger had identified the poster of the eBay certificate as Lucas Smith.

It was not until Aug. 25 -- nearly two months after WND first started reporting on the Smith certificate -- that Corsi declared it to be "not a valid document."

Yet a couple weeks later, on Sept. 11, WND touted how Smith "filed court papers insisting – under threat of perjury – that the Obama birth certificate in his possession is the genuine article," curiously failing to mention Corsi's declaration.The article did link to another WND article about a separate purported Kenyan birth certificate that was not the one Smith was peddling. (That one was also fake.)

So, no, WND has not been a responsible birther -- it debunked the Smith certificate only after it had gotten all the publicity mileage out if it that it could.

And funny how WND can talk about birther stuff again after Donald Trump's election, after suppressing it during the presidential campaign. Ant it certainly hasn't told its readers about all the other birther stuff that has been discredited.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:23 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE -- Out There, Exhibit 66: Against History
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center spent a good part of the Obama years complaining that the media described historic events as "historic." Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:05 PM EDT
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
WND Is Concerned About Whites In South Africa Again
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has long had an affinity for the white part of South Africa, from Anthony LoBaido's hanging out with pro-apartheid militant groups to former columnist Ilana Mercer pining for the days of apartheid. Charlreston shooter and white supremacist Dylann Roof, who was also concerned, may have even read about some of that at WND.

Now WND is cranking up its concern for South African whites again.

Alex Newman -- who likes to whitewash apartheid and the militancy of some white South Africans claiming to be victims --  wrote a Feb. 25 WND column about the Suidlanders, "Western-minded Christians" who are "preparing for the worst"; It takes a few paragraphs before Newman admits that these are whites fearing persecution by the black majority. Despite Newman's portrayal of the group as primarily a "Christian organization," it appears that the Suidlanders are just right-wing preppers heavily into fearmongering.

Newman once again whitewashes apartheid to portray the current situation as much worse: "During the apartheid era, there were fewer than 20 race-based laws. Today, more than 100 race-based laws discriminating against whites have been created under the guise of 'empowering' blacks."

Newman then writes:

The result has been hundreds of thousands of whites excluded from the labor market, living in squatter camps that have recently been garnering international media attention.

Estimates suggest as much as 10 percent of the white population is now living in squatter camps, with one analyst classing it an “economic genocide.”

There are approximately 4.5 million whites in South Africa, which would mean that, according to Newman, there are more than 400,000 whites living in squatter camps. In fact, according to the nonpartisan Africa Check, less than 8,000 white households in the country are living in "shacks, informal settlements, caravans or tents."

Further, as CNN notes, unemployment among whtes remains the lowest of all ethnic groups in South Africa.

Newman's column was followed by an anonymously written March 11 WND article that called on "international journalist Alex Newman" to complain about how "scandal-plagued South African president Jacob Zuma recently called for the unity of black parties to allow the expropriation, literally theft, of white-owned land without compensation." Newman doesn't explain that doing so would require a change in the South African constitution, so it's not as easy as he suggests.

We don't dispute that Zuma may very well be a bad, corrupt leader -- heck, "Daily Show" host Trevor Noah admits as much. But Noah also notes that Donald Trump has indicated a Zuma-esque approach to running America, something Newman and WND probably won't want to discuss.

Then, on March 12, Barbara Simpson devoted her WND column to ranting about "white genocide" in South Africa. She concludes with this:

Dr. Gregory Stanton, with Genocide Watch, speaks openly about genocide, what leads to it and how to determine when it’s actually taking place

He said it’s difficult to convince countries outside of South Africa because of our emotional attachment to Nelson Mandela and a resistance to speak openly about what’s really happening in that country – a world record murder rate, more than 100,000 white murders, torture deaths of white farmers, 95 percent black-on-white murder rate and the world’s highest rape rate.

That’s not in your local news.

Dr. Stanton was specific about the terror among South African whites and that they can’t depend on police or government protection.

He spoke of the line of defense against such racial violence, saying “it’s local – the local courts, the political system. Do everything you can legally to draw attention to it.”

And then he said: “For God’s sake, don’t disarm. Do not disarm.”

He spoke of the Second Amendment in our Constitution and that “the founders recognized that the final defense against tyranny is self-defense.”

“Despite any laws passed – do not disarm.”

He said, “No matter what the government ignores … you (the people) must fight back to stop this kind of apartheid.”

It's unclear where Simpson got her "100,000 white murders" claim from, but Africa Check reports that it may have originated by a South African musician, Steve Hofmeyr, who claimed that the number of white South Africans killed by blacks would fill a soccer stadium -- and is wrong. Africa Check points out that while South Africa does have a crime problem, whites are still much less likely to be murdered than other ethnicities. The number of whites murdered in South Africa between 1994 and 2012 may be as low as 6,498, and the rate of black-on-white murder is far lower than the "95 percent" Simpson claims.

One more thing: While Genocide Watch's Stanton has expressed concern about events in South Africa, he has explicitly stated that "white genocide" is not happening there now. The quotes Simpson attributes to Stanton seem unusually strident for him compared with other things he has written about South Africa, and a Google search turned up no original source for them.

We've contacted Genocide Watch to see if they will verify these quotes. We'll let you know if they respond.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:26 PM EDT
MRC Researcher Puts Rants Ahead of Facts
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Research Center research Nicholas Fondcaro is channeling his inner Brent Bozell andgoing well beyond the "research" that's supposed to be his job and into lecturing and insulting ahead of facts.

For instance, Fondacaro huffed in a Feb. 23 post: "President Donald Trump sent ABC and CBS off the rails Thursday when he made public statements about the efficiency of this deportation operations. Trump described the program as running like a 'military operation,' which any normal person would understand was a figure of speech." Fondacaro is simply channeling White House press secretary, who laughably insisted Trump was using "military" as a "adjective," and both are ignoring that "military operation" means a very set thing to "any normal person."

Fondacaro also has a hypocritical thing about anonymous sources. On Feb. 26, Fondacaro cheered over Republican Rep. Tom Cotton so-called "schooling" of NBC's Chuck Todd about how "the claims of anonymous sources should be taken with a grain of salt," adding: "Todd seemed befuddled as Cotton continued to caution about relying on such sources, 'You cannot credit stories that are based on anonymous sources. You should look into them especially if you're in a position of responsibility, but you can't simply credit them.'" Funny, the MRC showed no reservation when it demanded coverage of a Fox News story before the indictment claiming the imminent indictment of Hillary Clinton that was based on anonymous sources --a false story the MRC has yet to correct.

On Feb. 28, Fondacaro grumbled that CBS "hyped anonymous sources that suggested President Donald Trump was playing up the threat from the Middle East" and that it "turned a blind eye to similar accusations that were levied against President Obama." He then cited a 2015 New York Times report about an investigation into allegedly "skewed intelligence assessments about the United States-led campaign in Iraq against the Islamic State" based on -- wait for it -- anonymous sources. So apparently anonymous sources are OK when used against Democrats but not against Trump.

Fondacaro did this again on March 5, touting how White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders "chastised" ABC's Martha Raddatz over citing of anonymous sources, once more forgetting the hypocrisy of himself and his employer.

Fondacaro has also been quick to serve as a pro-Trump shill regarding allegations of Russian links to the Trump campaign and Russian meddling in the election. In that March 5 post, he insisted that there has been "no evidence of collusion," ignoring that there has been no official congressional investigation of it.

Fondacaro tried to spin things further in another March 5 post complaining that NBC's Todd brought up the issue:

Give that the FBI’s months-long investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and the Russian government has yielded no fruit at all, it’s very premature for NBC and Todd to dedicate a whole show to the idea that it’s true. So far, all the information we have about these alleged connections seems to have been coming from those with close ties to the investigation. And those leaks has even said that they have found no connections. It just exposes who the media is cherry-picking what facts they want to chase.

Fondacaro cannot know that the FBI investigation "has yielded no fruit at all," let alone that there is indeed an FBI investigation at all, given that FBI director James Comey has not publicly admitted that one exists.

When "Daily Show" host Trevor Noah said he didn't know what an "extreme liberal" was, Fondacaro went on an extended rant about it in a March 9 post:

For as educated and intellectual as Noah likes to portray himself as his claims of the far left being tame are ignorant.

An “extreme liberal” is someone who takes the stage at a woman’s rally and declares that the President’s daughter is his “favorite sex symbol.” It’s when a famous liberal singer gets on that very same stage and announces her fantasy about “blowing up the White House.” It’s those who firebomb the election headquarters of their Republican opposition.

It’s the radical college students who rioted during the inauguration, injuring police officers and setting fire to Muslim’s limousine. It’s similar college students who use physical violence to shut down free speech to force conformity of thought on their campuses, and actually have a serious discussion on how ethical it is to punch the face of someone they disagree with. It’s those same students who proudly adorn themselves with the face of a mass murderer on their shirts because they believe in the same radical leftist ideology.

Those are just some of the people Jones is cautious of and doesn’t want in charge. Noah’s assertion that “extreme liberals” just want to give people free stuff is just ridiculous. To use Noah’s own words: that’s what “extreme liberals” have “shown us that they're capable of repeatedly.” Noah’s comments only drive more division and hurt the mission of the show he was a guest on. 

No, Nick, Madonna did not say she was planning to blow up the White House. And whatever "sex symbol" remark Ashley Judd said about Ivanka Trump pales in comparison to what her father has said about her (not to mention other women, which certainly has not terribly bothered Fondacaro or any other MRC employee).

Unmentioned by Fondacaro, of course, was how he and his employer recklessly throw around labels like "far left" at anything they don't like -- for instance, a sports blog -- to the point that the MRC continually loses credibility for putting partisanship before "research."

And research, remember, is the thing Fondacaro was supposedly hired to do.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:23 PM EDT
WND's Kinchlow Falls For Another Bogus Right-Wing Meme
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Ben Kinchlow -- who is unusually prone to devoting columns to discredited right-wing memes and bogus chain emails -- does it again in his March 12 WorldNetDaily column:

Here are 12 steps to facilitate the “New American Way of Life.” A guy has a girlfriend with two kids:

  1. He doesn’t marry her and always uses his mom’s address to get mail.
  2. The guy buys a house.
  3. He rents out the house to his girlfriend and kids.
  4. Section 8 pays $900 a month for a three-bedroom home.
  5. Girlfriend signs up for Obamacare, so guy doesn’t have to pay for family insurance.
  6. Girlfriend gets to go to college free for being a single mother.
  7. Girlfriend gets $600 a month for food stamps.
  8. Girlfriend gets a free cell phone.
  9. Girlfriend gets free utilities.
  10. Guy moves into home, but continues to use mom’s address for his mail.
  11. Girlfriend claims one kid and the guy claims the other on their separate tax forms. Now both get to claim head of household at a $1,800 credit.
  12. Girlfriend gets $1,800 a month disability for being “crazy” or having a “bad back” and never has to work again.

Bottom line total: An unmarried couple with a stay-at-home mom on disability nets $21,600; $10,800 free housing; $6,000 free Obamacare; $6,000 free food, $4,800 free utilities; $6,000 Pell Grant money plus $12,000 a year in college tuition free; $8,800 tax benefit for being a single mother. Grand total for single motherhood: $75,000 per year in benefits. Benefits to legally married mother $0.”

(Mr. John Tabb has been credited with the preceding information. While every single item may not be exactly precise and totally accurate, the fact remains that something, somewhere, somehow is stirring the storm.)

Kinchlow's evidence to back this up is a link to a thread at Quora that discusses Tabb's column. But if he had bothered to scroll down a little bit, he would have found a link to Snopes that explains -- and discredits -- Tabb's column.

Snopes points out that Tabb's column is based on something that had been circulating online at least several months before, adding: "As is often the case with e-mail polemics focused on purported welfare abuse and taxpayer outrage, the 'New American Way of Life' offers an implausible, far-fetched scenario to condemn those who use public assistance to make ends meet."

Afater going through each item in detail, Snopes summarizes:

As the excerpt above concludes, the figures bandied about in the e-mail encompass virtually all programs available to low-income Americans and extrapolates the fictional family described routinely accesses all of them. Some of the benefits described (such as free college for single mothers or free utility programs) don’t seem to exist, and several of forms of assistance (such as Section 8 or disability) are not administered in the simplistic manner suggested by this item.

Furthermore, while this item asserts that the complex welfare hustling plan described here is “perfectly legal,” several aspects of it involve defrauding the system in an expressly prohibited (and largely criminal) fashion. Were any family to hide assets or lie about household income on application forms, they would be subject to severe penalties and prosecution should their perfidy be unraveled. The scheme also rests upon the (fallacious) notion that access to assistance programs is easy to both maintain and retain.

Finally, the causes of the national debt are fairly complex. However, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, and Defense broadly account for most government spending.

Kinchlow ironically concludes his column: "Today, the number of blacks on welfare has skyrocketed, and more than 75 percent of black children are born out of wedlock. Could the above stats be a contributing factor? As President John Adams said, 'Facts are stubborn things.'"

Yes, they are, Ben; you might want to try that fact-checking thing out the next time you feel compelled to copy-and-paste a right-wing chain email into your column.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:43 AM EDT
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
MRC's Bozell & Graham Try to Dance On Grave of Gay-Rights Miniseries
Topic: Media Research Center

Hate-watching the ABC miniseries "When We Rise," about the gay-rights movement, was apparently not enough for the Media Research Center. The MRC's Brent Bozell and Tim Graham devoted an entire March 10 column to cheering that the show got bad ratings:

They say network television is a profit-oriented business, but that's obviously not the case when it clashes with Hollywood's sexual politics. Last week, ABC tried to lecture America with a four-part miniseries on the radical gay left called "When We Rise," and it tanked in ratings despite heavy promotion throughout the Academy Awards broadcast the night before the premiere.

Nightly ratings were cracking just below three million viewers. The cable network FX drew far larger numbers for its O.J. Simpson miniseries last year. The History Channel drew almost two million viewers recently for its miniseries "SIX" about Navy SEAL Team Six. Those are obscure cable channels next to ABC.

Of course, lack of popularity does not necessarily equal lack of quality, and these two are indulging in a fallacy to suggest otherwise.

Bozell and Graham also complain:

Then there's just the corrosive hatred. On the first night, the main character Cleve Jones tells one of his lovers: "I say we just get rid of all the heterosexuals. They're so boring."

Can you imagine the outcry if a straight character were to say, "Let's get rid of all the homosexuals"?

That phraseology sounds strangely familiar. Here's the MRC's Alexa Moutevelis Coombs from her hate-watch of the series:

Cleve tells one of his lovers, “I say we just get rid of all the heterosexuals. They're so boring.” Can you imagine if a straight character said, "Let's get rid of all the homosexuals?"

Aside from ripping the quote out of context -- in neither post is it stated what the motivation is for this character to say this, presumably all the better to manufacture anti-gay outrage -- it seems Bozell and Graham are just lazily copying-and-pasting from their own employees.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:27 PM EDT
WND's Farah Decides: Trump Sent By God
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The WorldNetDaily-generated chorus claiming that Donald Trump's election was divine intervention keeps growing (at WND).

In a March 7 article, WND's Bob Unruh cites religious-right fave James Dobson has weigh in in the affirmative:

Now Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, Family Talk radio and an adviser to presidents, says he believes Trump is a “reprieve” for America.

Find out the ultimate “Restitution of All Things” in Joseph Farah’s exploration of the coming Kingdom of God on Earth.

In an interview with Todd Starnes at the National Religious Broadcasters Association convention in Orlando, Florida, Dobson said: “I’m convinced Donald Trump is God’s man for this hour. He is not a perfect man. He’s what I would call a flawed vessel. But so am I, and so are you, and so are all of us.”

He cautioned that President Trump “very well may disappoint us.”

“He may not live up to the standards we expect. But I believe he’s there on purpose.”

The 2016 presidential election, in which Barack Obama’s progressive, pro-homosexual, pro-abortion, anti-American agenda, embodied in candidate Hillary Clinton, was soundly rejected by voters, had America on the edge of a cliff, he said.

“I don’t think we would have ever recovered from it, and I thank the Lord for giving us a reprieve,” he said.

Actually, Clinton defeated Trump by nearly 3 million votes, so that's a funny definition of Clinton being "soundly rejected."

WND editor cited Dobson, as well as his earlier interactions with Obama-hating rabbi and WND cash machine Jonathan Cahn, in his  March 12 column, declaring that "I now believe with all my heart" that Cahn's book "The Harbinger" and the movie Farah and WND made from that book "turned the hearts of Christians in America to humility, prayer, to seeking God’s face and repentance, just as II Chronicles 7:14 commands in times of national backsliding." (How convenient that a WND-made product and Farah's close friend caused this to happen.)

Farah continued:

If I am right and we are experiencing a partial “restoration” in 2017, what better time to explore with me what the full, complete, seldom explored, prophetic story of the ultimate restoration will look like?

Peter said it is what all the prophets from Creation onward were talking about and pointing toward with the greatest of hope.

Don’t get me wrong. We live in a time of conflict, turbulence, maybe even a little chaos. But, don’t you feel a little more hope today than you did last year at this time? Don’t you think we might be getting just a glimpse of the possibility of a national “reprieve” in which God smiles upon His people?

I’m convinced.

It’s why there’s a little strut in my step. It’s why despite a lot of bad news, I feel like I can see a glimmer of hope. It’s why I am so sure things are getting better, rather than worse.

But it’s time to recognize what’s happening and why. It’s not time to cease the humbling of ourselves and the fervent, heart-felt prayers, the seeking of His face and the turning away from sin. It’s time to recognize that it really does work – and pour it on!

Are you with me? Let me know.

We've never seen any evidence that Farah has ever humbled himself before the Lord or anyone else, as his column's plugging of not only Cahn's work (on sale at WND) but his own new book (WND-published, natch) in which he claims to examine "the ultimate restoration of all things that comes with the return of Jesus the Messiah to rule and reign over the whole earth from His throne in Jerusalem." Farah never publicly repented for running a dishonest website and pursuing an agenda of personal destruction against Barack Obama, and there's no reason to think he'll make an about-face and humble himself anytime soon.

There's also no evidence that Farah has considered the possibility that Obama was actually the blessing from God and that Trump is the curse. He's too blinded by his right-wing ideology to ever consider that.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:24 PM EDT
MRC Demands Coverage of Meaningless Climate Denier Petition
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Aly Nielsen complains in a March 1 post:

The liberal media love to report on climate change so long as the story affirms an alarmist, man-caused climate change narrative. When scientists question that, the media fall silent.

More than 300 scientists, engineers and meteorologists, led by MIT Meteorology professor Dr. Richard Lindzen, signed a petition asking President Trump to “withdraw from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)” on Feb. 23, 2017. But ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news shows never once mentioned the letter between Feb. 23 and March 1.

Nielsen glosses over the fact that it seems a small minority of those 300-plus signatories to the petition have any expertise in climatology -- hence her adding "scientists" and "engineers" to the list -- which would seem to show that the list is made up of activists who put politics ahead of science.

Indeed, the very first signature on the petition is Habibullo Abdussamatov, whose climate-denier work has been discredited. Also on the list for some reason is Ted Baehr, who's much better known as a professional prude for the film-review site Movieguide and who apparently hasn't done any environmental research work in decades.

Another signatory is denier and birther dead-ender Christopher Monckton.

The premise behind this petition is the same as one circulated for years by climate denier, questionable homeschool curriculum creator and friend of WorldNetDaily Art Robinson. It's been pointed out that well over 10 million college graduates with science degrees have been churned out by universities in the past 40 or so years. Add engineering graduates to that, as Nielsen wants to do, and there are millions more.

Putting the petition's 300 signatories in that perspective exposes what a fringe effort this is. That, and not the old "liberal bias" boogeyman, is why the media isn't covering the petition.

Nielsen also goes on to note the outlets that gave the petition favorable -- "The Washington Times, The Hill, Climate Depot, Fox Nation, The Free Beacon, and climate blog Watts Up With That" -- but she failed to identify them as conservative or denier. By contrast, the sole outlet she cited as critical of the petition, DeSmogBlog, she makes sure to label as "liberal."

DeSmogBlog, by the way, also helps makes our point about the lack of relevant expertise among the petition's signataories: "There are medical doctors, mystery men, coal executives, petroleum engineers, economists, and think tank members. Only a small handful could be considered even remotely 'qualified' or 'eminent' — but not in the field of climate science."


Posted by Terry K. at 1:19 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, March 14, 2017 8:53 AM EDT
Monday, March 13, 2017
WND Clinton Derangement Watch, Spinach Pancake Edition
Topic: WorldNetDaily

For a website founded in no small part to attack the Clinton administration, it's no surprise to see that Clinton derangement is strong at WorldNetDaily. And it has continued well after Hillary Clinton lost the presidential race.

Just check out this snotty March 8 WND article by Chelsea Schilling:

Can Chelsea Clinton do anything right?

The former first daughter’s new book, “Governing Global Health,” is such a flop, Chelsea won’t even discuss it. Upon reading it, one reviewer remarked, “Holy hell, that was horrible.”

Despite her eye-popping $600,000 salary from NBC, her short journalism career was such a disaster, the Washington Post dubbed her “one of the most boring people of her era.”

And now Chelsea is apparently trying her hand at liquefied spinach pancakes – and her new “Soylent Green”-style food experiment has Twitter followers ready to lose their collective lunches.

On March 7, also known as National Pancake Day, Chelsea tweeted a photo of her pea-green spinach pancakes with the message: “Spinach pancakes for #NationalPancakeDay (we won’t eat them all tonight although Charlotte would if we let her)!”

Schilling devotes most of the rest of her article to reprinting insults of how those pancakes looked.

That's right -- WND thought Chelsea Clinton making pancakes that weren't aesthetically pleasing was worth devoting an article to.

But that's not all. An anonmyously written WND article the same day starts off with similarly snice shots at Chelsea's mother:

This latest poll isn’t good news for Hillary Clinton.

Not on the day she scheduled her reemergence on the public stage with a speech at the Kennedy Center in Washington … not on the feminist-sponsored National Day Without Women … not on the day ADP, a global human-resources and payroll firm, reported U.S. companies adding 298,000 new jobs in President Trump’s first full month in office – 100,000 more than economists expected … not on the day Ivanka Trump’s clothing line is reporting record sales despite calls for boycotts by Trump critics … and certainly not the day following another poll showing a majority of likely New York voters not wanting Clinton to run for mayor.

The new poll by Suffolk University shows just 35 percent of registered voters continue to have a favorable view of Clinton, with 55 percent having an unfavorable opinion.

The article went on to claim that "In a gender-swapping experiment conducted in January by two self-identified 'liberal' professors at New York University, where actors of the opposite sex played the roles of the two candidates citing lines and copying body language and intonation, the professors and their primarily liberal audience were shocked with how hard the male version of Clinton was to admire while the female Trump 'shined' in moments they recalled as the real Trump 'flailing or lashing out.'"


Posted by Terry K. at 6:17 PM EDT

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