Newsmax's Hirsen Runs to Devin Nunes' Defense Topic: Newsmax
James Hirsen is ostenibly Newsmax's "media analyst," but he's also a pretty tight Trump toady. And he's upset when others are portrayed as such.
In his March 27 column, Hirsen complains about how Democrats are allegedly trying to "systematically disparaging, discrediting, and sometimes seeking to destroy, in a political sense" Republican Rep. Devin Nunes for his highly politicized handing on the House investigation of allegedly links between Russia and the Trump campaign. Hirsen parrots the right-wing spin that "officials in the Obama administration had wrongfully revealed and disseminated the identities of U.S. citizens" but doesn't actually prove it.
Hirsen then runs to Nunes' defense of perhaps the most indefensible thing Nunes has done, briefing President Trump on the investigation before even members of his own committee:
The critique of Nunes by the Democrats and their mainstream media allies focuses on the following:
1. Nuness disclosure having been made without first notifying committee Democrats.
2. Nuness having briefed the White House on the newly exposed evidence.
The House Intelligence Committee Chairman apologized to Democratic committee members for the apparent break with protocol of not notifying Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee (and his fellow committee members) before going public.
Nunes did not, however, apologize for providing the newly revealed evidence to the White House, nor was he obliged to do so.
Nunes said that the "unmasking" of names of individuals in the reports was a development "significant" enough to warrant his briefing the president as soon as possible.
The chairman told Fox News that he believed he had a "duty and obligation" to inform President Trump.
The headline on Hirsen's column, by the way, is "Nunes Briefed Trump Out of a Sense of Duty Only." Hirsen does not know that; he only knows what Nunes has claimed about it.
You'd think a media analyst would be smart enough not to solely take someone's word for something.
WND's Farah Doesn't Understand Why Trump-Russia Is A Story. No, Really. Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah writes in his April 2 WorldNetDaily column:
I don’t understand it.
I don’t comprehend it.
I don’t get why so many people take this Russian influence business seriously.
I don’t see any evidence for it.
I certainly don’t see any evidence it was effective at tipping the scales on the election.
So why are the media, Democrats and even some Republicans and members of the Trump administration taking it seriously?
That's right: the man who spent eight years promoting conspiracy theories about Barack Obama's birth certificate -- and the man whose website just claimed that CoverGirl hiring a Muslim spokesmodel makes it a "proxy for jihad" -- somehow doesn't see any significance whatsoever in the Trump team's Russian connections.
We suspect he'd see this as a story if Trump was a Democrat, though. And his WND wouldn't be spinning so hard to pretend there is nothing to see here regarding those Trump-Russia links.
Farah also repeats the falsehood that "Barack Obama used U.S. taxpayer money openly to influence the election of its best ally in the Middle East, Israel." As we pointed out the last time Farah told this lie -- which refers to an Israeli group that received State Department funding for a separate project that later used the project's infrastructure to run a campaign against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- no laws were violated, the organization did not violate any conditions of its deal with State, and no State Department money went toward funding the anti-Netanyahu campaign.
(Note that Farah doesn't refer to Obama as "President Obama." Farah apparently still refuses to acknowledge that Obama was ever president.)
In case you missed in our full-length article last week on CNSNews.com's continued fawning coverage of fossil-fuel interests, CNS reporter Penny Starr -- the site's leading fossil-fuel stenographer -- has flown the coop, leaving in March to take a new job at Breitbart.
Indeed, a skim through her archive shows that Starr is doing pretty much the same thing at Breitbart she did at CNS, though for a larger audience and (presumably) a bigger salary -- heavy on single-source items designed to promote a right-wing, pro-Trump agenda.
Of course, as a Breitbart employee, she's now a part of the "state-owned media" of the kind her former employer, the Media Research Center, loved to rail against when the president was a Democrat.
WND Again Attacks Muslims Who Invoke Law It Praised Christians For Using Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has predictably served up another example of attacking Muslims for using the very same religious-freedom law it has praised Christians for invoking.
Bob Unruh writes in a March 31 article about "a case brought by Mohammed Ali Chaudry and the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge against Bernards Township, [New Jersey]," which is trying to build a mosque, a case that in part involves "the apparent intervention of the Obama administration against the local government, even while the public hearings over the project were ongoing."
As is WND's biased standard, Unruh quotes only opponents of the mosque, as is to be expected given that he's merely rewriting a press release from the right-wing Thomas More Law Center, which is representing mosque opponents who apparently don't want to be held accountable for their words. Unruh also quotes Karen Lugo, whom hedescribes only as "a specialist on constitutional law and zoning issues" (a turn of phrase straight from the Thomas More press release), not mentioning that she's an anti-Muslim activsts whose real expertise is manipulating local zoning laws to stop mosques from being built.
That's what seems to be the case here, in which the township required that the mosque have more than twice as many parking spaces than it requires for a similarly sized church. Unruh does acknowledge this, but also complained that the Department of Justice, "under an agenda imposed by Obama, sued Bernards Township" over the planned mosque.
What Unruh doesn't mention, however, is that the "agenda" the DOJ is using is the federal Religious Land Use and Institutional Persons Act, and as a real news outlet reported, a federal judge found Bernards Township guilty of violating it by demanding an excessive number of parking spaces in denying zoning for the mosque after a four-year battle. WND has repeatedly praised Christian organizations who invoked RLUIPA against alleged municipal discrimination.
Unruh says nothing about RLUIPA being the basis for the legal action, even though the Thomas More press release did -- just like Unruh's WND colleague Leo Hohmann failed to do in writing about a similar legal action regarding a proposed Michigan mosque.
The headline on Unruh's article calls the legal action "mosque lawfare." We're pretty sure WND used the term "church lawfare" to describe any Christian organization that invoked RLUIPA.
More Pro-Trump Spin: CNS Touts How 'GOP Protects Trumps Tax-Return Privacy' Topic: CNSNews.com
We've noted how CNS' chief Trump stenographer, Susan Jones, has obsessed over (and defended against) calls for Donald Trump to release his taxes ... but was curiously silent when MSNBC's Rachel Maddow actually did release details of one year's return.
Well, she's at it again, in a March 29 article under the spin-heavy headline "GOP Protects Trump’s Tax-Return Privacy: ‘No Single Individual Has Ever Been Targeted in Such a Manner’." In it, Jones simply blockquotes one Trump defender while his critics get the normal "news" treatment, and she once again makes sure to point out that "there is no law requiring" Trump to release his taxes.
WND Ludicrously Calls Makeup Company A 'Proxy for Jihad' Topic: WorldNetDaily
It seems that at WorldNetDaily, Muslims are the new communists. Just like right-wingers found reds under the bed, WND is finding "jihadists" under seemingly every rock it turns over. Like in makeup.
No, really. From an anonymously written March 29 WND article headlined "Muslim expert warns of new proxy for jihad: CoverGirl":
An expert on Islam is warning that jihadis have a new proxy to fight for their rigid, uncompromising and all-controlling way of life: CoverGirl, a new report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin reveals.
“Beauty and fashion industries in particular offer a mold in which intellectual discourse and cultural commentary is cast aside for opinion. That opinion is then shaped, packaged and pushed as a product onto a population group already pliable to messaging,” wrote the expert, Shireen Qudosi, director of Muslim Matters at America Matters.
“With CoverGirl’s newest ‘brand ambassador,’ Nura Afia, the message echoes the mantra of hardline Islamist groups who have, since the presidential election, lost much of their political ground. Lost ground is now regained in new spheres through personalities such as Afia, without any association with political parties.”
“Islamist influence is now using Western culture to solidify Islamist values in society’s more coveted circles: fashion and beauty,” she said, explaining that Melanie Elturk, the chief of Haute Hijab, is boasting that “fashion is one of the outlets in which we can start that cultural shift in today’s society to normalize the hijab in America.”
It was CoverGirl, she said, that picked Muslim beauty blogger Nura Afia as a new brand ambassador.
“She now stands with celebrities such as CoverGirl’s first male makeup model, James Charles; ‘Modern Family’ star Sofia Vergara and pop singer Katy Perry in a campaign that highlights brands of makeup targeted at customers who applaud surface ‘diversity’ and ‘equality,'” she wrote.
Needless to say, WND did not quote an actual "expert on Islam" who, by contrast to Qudosi, does not hate Muslims to rebut her nonsense.
The only surprise about this article is that chief WND Islamophobe Leo Hohmann didn't write this piece (or, heck, maybe he did since there's no byline).
CNS' Top Tebow-Touter Takes Another Swing Topic: CNSNews.com
We'vedocumented how CNSNews.com writer Michael Morris was lavishing praise on Tim Tebow's nascent baseball career while ignoring the fact that he's not exactly major-league material at this point.
Morris takes another swing at it in a March 20 blog post, touting New York Mets manager Terry Collins' noncommittal assessment that Tebow is "getting better."
Morris did make a passing reference to "minor league spring training," but he ignored one notable bit of news that occurred the same day his article was published: Tebow was sent to play for a Mets affiliate in Class A ball, the lowest rung of Major League Baseball.
Morris hasn't written about Tebow since. Of course, minor-league baseball isn't that exciting, even when Tebow is playing it.
WND's Right-Wing Doctor Still Lying About Planned Parenthood Topic: WorldNetDaily
A couple years back, we caught Elizabeth Lee Vliet -- WorldNetDaily columnist, affiliate of the right-wing Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, and fearmongerer -- spreading lies about Planned Parenthood.
In her March 29 WND column, Vliet went back to that well, asserting "If one goal of 'health-care reform' is to eliminate 'disparities,' eliminating tax funding to Planned Parenthood would help save lives of minorities. Approximately 80 percent of abortions in the U.S. are done for two minority groups: African American and Hispanics."
Vliet's support for this claim? That lie-filled 2015 WND column. As we pointed out then, 55 percent of abortions are among whites.
Vliet also asserted:
Taxpayers should also pressure Congress to eliminate the $500 million (half a billion) tax dollars going to Planned Parenthood, whose primary business is abortion in their estimated 400 U.S. clinics. Low-income women already have access to health services in several thousand federally qualified health clinics across the country. This taxpayer funding for women’s health would be preserved in block grants of federal Medicaid dollars to the states.
In fact, according to Washington Post fact-checkers, it's unclear whether community health centers can fill the void left by denying federal funding to Planned Parenthood (none of which, by the way, goes to pay for abortion, a little fact that Vliet elides), and the Congressional Budget Office found that pulling Medicaid funding from Planned Parenthood would reduce the use of contraceptives and increase the cost of births to the federal government. Further, rural health clinics are not required to provide family planning services and do not have to serve low-income patients.
Vliet concluded by ranting, "Obamacare cannot survive. It is in a death spiral as many on both sides of the political spectrum have painfully realized." Um, no, it's not.
MRC Hides Conflict of Interest in Promoting Right-Wing Columnist's Crusade Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has apparently signed onto a crusade by right-wing columnist Michelle Malkin to free Daniel Holtzclaw, an Oklahoma police officer convicted on multiple counts of rape and other sexual offenses.
A March 2 MRC post by Matt Philbin touted Malkin's investigation and how Rick Newcombe, head of Creators Syndicate, which syndicates Malkin's column, is calling for ABC's "20/20," which did a report on the Holtzclaw case last year, to do another report based on Malkin's investigation aimed at clearing Holtzclaw. The MRC's NewsBusters site also published Malkin columns on her investigation, including a March 22 column smearing the attorney for several of Holtzclaw's accusers, Benjamin Crump, as "the new Al Sharpton on steroids."
That nastiness is a red flag that Malkin is hardly a objective reporter and has an agenda to push.
The MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, has joined the bandwagon as well, publishing a March 27 column by Newcombe promoting the work of "firebrand conservative columnist" Malkin on the case, which also quotes from Philbin's MRC post and includes family photos of Holtzclaw and a shot of Malkin with Holtzclaw family members (another sign that Malkin is not objective here).CNS also published Malkin's smear column on Crump, as well as Malkin's weekly column, in which she has promoted her investigation of the Holtzclaw case.
Which brings us to the question of conflict of interest.
The MRC has a business arrangement with Newcombe and Creators Syndicate, and not just paying him for the privilege of running Malkin's column. Creators also syndicates the twice-weekly column by MRC bigwigs Brent Bozell and Tim Graham -- a fact not mentioned by Philbin or in CNS' publication of Newcombe's column.
Further, as we documented, when it was revealed in 2014 that Bozell's columns (for which he was receiving sole credit) were actually ghostwritten by Graham, Newcombe ran to Bozell's defense insisting that "it is absolutely false to say that Brent Bozell does not write his column," adding that "I remember years ago when Brent suggested that he share the byline for his column with Tim, and I said it would be better for us to promote a single individual." After that imbroglio -- about which neither Bozell nor Graham has spoken publicly -- Graham got to share a byline with Bozell, but he was never given retroactive credit for the decade-plus of columns he wrote before that.
This suggests that the MRC has latched onto the Holtzclaw case less because of news value and more as a favor to a company it's doing business with.
WND's Cashill Signs On for Wingnut Welfare Topic: WorldNetDaily
Looks like WorldNetDaily columnist Jack Cashill is going the wingnut welfare route.
Cashill has signed on as editor and president of the Sentinel, a website operated by the Kansas Policy Institute that claims it will hold "government and mainstream media accountable for providing complete, accurate and unbiased information so that citizens can make their own informed decisions on matters of public policy.
The Kansas Policy Institute is part of the State Policy Network, a group of right-wing state-level policy group that is heavily funded by the Koch brothers. This setup will presumably pay Cashill more than he was making as a WND columnist.
In a video, KPI president Dave Trabert identified Cashill as among the "dream team of investigative journalists" hired for the venture, gushily claiming that Cashill has "debunked false claims and conspiracies at the FBI and the CIA, and he can't wait to hold government and media accountable right here in Kansas and Missouri."
Fact: The administration of President Barack Obama surveilled the campaign associates of the President’s political opponent, Donald Trump. Then the classified information gained was leaked to the press - repeatedly. All of which furthered a liberal narrative that Trump colluded with the Russians to steal the 2016 election from Hillary Clinton.
How do we know? Because the New York Times says so.
Of course, the New York Times didn't actually say that. As the Times itself explains, the focus of the federal government's surveillance was Russian contacts, not Trump.
But in addition to that, Lord is also lying about how much words matter to him. A couple days later, Lord put in another appearance on CNN as its resident Trump sycohphant, where he was even more sycophantic than ever. Lord actually insisted that Trump wasn't lying when he claimed without evidence that Obama was wiretapping him. Wwe'll let the Washington Post take it from here:
Trump, he said, was speaking “Americanese” when he tweeted that Obama had orchestrated a “Nixon/Watergate” plot against him. The president’s supporters knew what he meant, but Washington insiders didn’t and blew it out of proportion.
Cooper and other guests seemed baffled.
“What you’re arguing then is the FBI and the Justice Department are mistaken for taking the president literally because they don’t speak Americanese?” Cooper asked.
Other guests continued to press the issue.
“The whole world had a chance to watch this unfold, and it was a direct test of his credibility. And the whole world now knows he lied about it,” former White House aide David Gergen said of Trump.
“We’ve seen it again and again,” Gergen continued. “When we have a president who is a congenital liar, it really matters.”
Lord tried to jump back in with an attack on Obama, but Cooper cut him off.
“Do you believe this president of the United States is a congenital liar,” the host asked.
“No,” Lord replied.
At that point, tensions boiled over, with the obviously frustrated guests gesticulating and talking over each other.
Again shifting gears, Lord brought up a tweet from Trump’s White House Twitter account saying the FBI and the National Security Agency had found Russia “did not influence electoral process.” Asked about the tweet, Comey said it didn’t reflect his congressional testimony. The Washington Post rated the tweet false.
Not a lie, Lord responded. The tweet, like his wiretapping allegations, had been misinterpreted.
“You’re smarter than that,” an exasperated Cooper told Lord as others chimed in. “Oh, come on Jeffrey.”
If Lord is spinning Trump's lies as "Americanese," that means words don't mean a damn thing to him.
WND Gives A Platform to More Anti-Gay Activists Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily apparently wants to remind us that it can be just as anti-gay as the Media Research Center. So it gave a March 17 column to wildly anti-gay "researcher" Paul Cameron and his son Kirk (no, not that Kirk Cameron).
In their column, the Camerons freak out that "Homosexuality is exploding among youth, citing an increase in those identifying as "either homosexual or heading in that direction!" they rant:
The strategy is working, especially among girls. Gallup reports that the majority of homosexuals 20 years ago were men – 55 percent now are women. By painting gays as “victims” under the “civil rights” umbrella, these efforts have many girls “feeling sorry for” lesbians in the same manner they use to rescue wayward guys. And the feminist anti-male attitude and proliferation of female sports teams (along with many lesbian coaches) are added motivations to go gay as well.
President Trump is NOT going to be able to make America great again with increasing numbers of our younger citizens ensnared in the problems of homosexuality. They need instead to be participating in the joys (and problems) of getting married and having kids. Our birthrate is falling – it’s already below the 2.1 children-per-woman needed for a stable society.
Teenagers are acquiring homosexual experience and interests at a rapid rate. Young adult homosexuality is growing as well. What our grandparent’s generation tried to protect kids from is now being taught as a “civil right” and an “obligation to support and join with sexual minorities.” Our youth are obeying.
The historic church alerted that the Bible warned societies against letting homosexuals take over – that there would be hell to pay if they did. Well, here we are, the takeover is moving along briskly, and our kids and young adults are getting swamped. All we have to do is be silent just a little more, and the absence of children will assure our cares will be with us only a little while. At least we’ll have the satisfaction of knowing we will have died with more really great stuff than any other civilization.
This being WND, nobody was given space to respond to the Camerons' hate-hurling.
CNS' Jones Declares Obamacare To Be 'Failing' Topic: CNSNews.com
Chief Trump stenographer at CNSNews.com Susan Jones is stenographying again -- and going beyond established facts as well.
In a March 14 article mostly devoted to lengthy block-quotes of President Trump opining on how great the Republican health insurance plan was, Jones adds: "Trump was meeting at the White House with people who have suffered under the failing Obamacare law."
Except, well, it's not, according to people who have actually researched it and not just planted an unsubstantiated opinion in a "news" article.
NBC, for example, reports that while there are issues with the Affordable Care Act, they're not serious in and of themselves to create the "death spiral" conservatives claim is happening. NPR adds that "The law has its problems — but it is far from 'exploding,' using any reasonable definition of the word."
And Vox points out that even the Congressional Budget Office does not see the ACA as failing, and that the recent wave of premium hikes and insurers dropping out of state markets will likely fix itself if Trump does nothing.
So, no, Obamacare is not "failing." Jones is just doing more stenography.
WND Tries to Cash In on Nunes' Notoriety Topic: WorldNetDaily
WND anonymously and lovingly writes in a March 27 article:
You’ve seen Rep. Devin Nunes all over the news lately.
The California Republican who chairs the House Intelligence Committee has been on camera revealing that members of the intelligence community “incidentally” collected communications from Trump’s transition team.
That would have been while Barack Obama still was in the Oval Office, and the disclosure left Democrats scrambling to reclaim their narrative that Trump had no evidence to back his claim that Obama “wiretapped” Trump Tower.
You’ve also seen Nunes, badgered by a combative establishment media, defending his decision to tell President Trump about the surveillance.
You’ve also seen him repeatedly explaining that he has not seen any evidence of communication between Russia and Trump’s transition team.
But who is Devin Nunes, and what does he believe? What are the principles for which he has been fighting in Congress since 2003? What type of future does he want for America?
The answer, as it just so happens, is in a book published by WND in 2010 -- a book Nunes wrote himself (or at least caused to be written), "Restoring the Republic," which WND is more than happy to sell you for "the reduced price of $12.99."
But that's not the only link WND has with Nunes: He was a scheduled speaker at the WND-hosted "Taking America Back" conference in 2010. (It's unclear whether he actually did show up.)
In other words: Nunes is very much in league with the WND mindset, which may explain some of his current behavior in trying to cover for the Trump administration in its alleged contacts with the Russians.
Sorry, MRC, Whoopi's Right: Fox News Did Promote Birtherism Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Brad Wilmouth complained in a March 29 post:
On Monday's The View on ABC, as the group discussed Ted Koppel's recent interview with Sean Hannity in which he accused the conservative FNC host of being bad for the country, liberal co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg, Sunny Hostin, and Joy Behar all wrongly accused Fox News of promoting birtherism conspiracy theories against President Barack Obama. Right-leaning co-host and former FNC contributor Jedediah Bila was alone in defending her former employer as she shared the stage with four liberals.
Ironically, a Nexis search reveals many examples of FNC anchors over the years disputing the conspiracy theories that Obama was born in Kenya, as they repeatedly made known their belief that he was born in Hawaii and that those who claimed otherwise were misguided. In fact, the news network's most high-profile host, Bill O'Reilly, debated Trump on the subject in March 2011, and on a number of other occasions derided birtherism, using such words as "nonsense," "nutty," "dopey," "bogus," and "patently absurd."
In fact, Whoopi's right. Media Matters counted 52 segments in which Fox News promoted birther claims, and in most of them, Fox News hosts either espoused birther conspiracies or failed to challenge or correct false claims about Obama's birth. Fox News was also Donald Trump's preferred outlet for spouting his WorldNetDaily-enhanced birther conspiracies.
And if we remember correctly, Fox News puts only transcripts from its prime-time shows into Nexis, not Fox & Friends or its other daytime shows, so Wilmouth's research was woefully incomplete.
Even by MRC standards, this is a shoddy "research" job.