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Tuesday, August 15, 2017
WND: Don't Mock Our Attempts to Hijack The Eclipse, Or God'll Get Ya
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An anonymously written Aug. 5 WorldNetDaily article gives WND author Mark Biltz a platform to politicize the eclipse and pre-emptively bash anyone who says differently:

The discoverer of the “Blood Moons” phenomenon says God is sending a message to the church – and all people need to do to see it is look skyward.

The Boston Globe recently reported the path of the upcoming total solar eclipse which will cross the United States on August 21 will overwhelmingly move over counties won by Donald Trump in the recent presidential election.

The paper was mocked on social media for suggesting heavenly events have some connection to earthly politics.

But Pastor Mark Biltz, the man who discovered the “Blood Moons” phenomenon, argues people should be cautious before resorting to snark.

He points out Genesis 1:14, which says astronomical phenomena were partially intended “for signs.” And as Biltz believes the solar eclipse itself is a sign and a warning to the United States, he suggests there may also be meaning in the solar eclipse’s path.

“I would not mock those who do or do not believe there is significance in this eclipse’s path,” the pastor told WND. “The path of totality is showing where it is the darkest and the path of judgment unless there is repentance. At the same time, though, judgment always begins with God’s people first. This is a call for the church to repent and become more like Abraham rather than Lot and to intercede. The church needs to wake up and repent if we are to save this nation and not be mocking the unrighteous. We need a different tone in America.”

[...]

Ultimately, Biltz argued, America is entering a troubling time because of the collapse of the Christian faith in the United States and rising political and social divisions as the culture breaks down. Biltz suggests God is giving America a chance to turn back to Him. But this requires taking the signs of the times seriously.

“Americans have become too divisive and polarized,” mourned the pastor. “The atmosphere is corrosive and as the Bible says, ‘the love of many will wax cold.’ Interestingly, the Bible says when Lot spoke to his son-in-laws he was as one who mocked. We have become a nation of mockers.”

Biltz returned to scold the mockers anew in an anonymously written Aug. 10 WND article:

The “mockers” are coming out of the woodwork, but one pastor says their time is coming.

The total solar eclipse that will traverse the continental United States on Aug. 21 is fascinating much of the world. But it’s also drawing scoffing and snark from those for whom astronomical events of this kind have no significance.

A sheriff in Oconee County, Georgia, posted a joking message on his Facebook page, saying he expected “each of you to begin panicking today.” Humorously predicting “vast hordes” descending on grocery stores, he further sarcastically advised “pregnant woman should smoke and drink liquor during the eclipse.”

On the other hand, one conspiracy theorist, David Meade, is claiming the eclipse heralds the arrival of “Nibiru,” or “Planet X.” The planet, he predicts, will crash into the Earth on Sept. 23, 2017, leading to massive death and destruction. His prophecy is partially based on what Meade calls the “33 Convergence,” a string of coincidences surrounding the event that all include the number 33.

Mark Biltz, the man who discovered the “Blood Moons” phenomenon, shies away from specific predictions of this kind. But he argues it is similarly misguided to simply laugh off extraordinary signs in the heavens as having no meaning.

“As far as how I respond to those who are ‘laughing’ at the idea the eclipse could mean something, it depends on who is doing the laughing or mocking,” Biltz told WND.

“I expect people who do not believe in the God of Israel to mock. Look where that got them in Noah’s day. To those who do believe and still mock, look at Lot’s family with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. His was a completely different situation than Abraham’s family.”

[...]

“The total lunar eclipses in 2014/2015 on Passover and Sukkot were signs Messiah is at the door. The solar eclipse this August is a sign as well as the sign in the stars at the end of September. So yes, we have been in the last of the last days since 1897. Where does that put us now? Well, I would say it is about time to look up, for our redemption is drawing nigh.”

Biltz suggests Americans should “enjoy” the eclipse, “as it has been 100 years since the last one.”

In his view, it is not a cause for panic or worry. But he does say God is communicating with the faithful, warning them to repent. They ignore this warning, Pastor Biltz said, at their peril.

If Biltz and WND didn't have a record of interpreting such things to conveniently fit their personal right-wing evangelical agendas, we'd be a little more concerned about the whole mocking thing.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:12 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: CNS' Managing Editor of Gay-Bashing
Topic: CNSNews.com
Michael W. Chapman uses his Media Research Center-provided platform to push the idea that gays and lesbians are literally the spawn of Satan. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 7:47 PM EDT
Fake News: WND Blames Mosques for France Tearing Down Churches
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Alicia Powe writes in an Aug. 8 WorldNetDaily article:

Many Muslim immigrants express a sentiment of entitlement, believing they one day will replace the natives and the land in which they are strangers will come under the authority of Islamic law.

It’s already happening in France, according to a report published by the Gatestone Institute by Giuliu Meotti, cultural editor for Il Folgio.

He says, in the last 30 years, more mosques and Muslim prayer centers “have been built in France than all the Catholic churches built in the last century.”

At the same time, Christian churches are being bulldozed.

Let's unpack this. The opening paragraph is opinion from Powe -- she presents no evidence to support her claim -- and has no business in an article claiming to be "news."

The report Powe is writing about, from the right-wing, anti-Muslim Gatestone Institute -- whose ideology Powe does not identify, and about which Powe makes no effort to find a contradictory view -- is rather bogus. The The headline claim -- that more mosques and Muslim prayer centers "have been built in France than all the Catholic churches built in the last century" -- is both misleading and outright false.

It's misleading because it omits the fact that there were already 90,000 Catholic churches in France at the beginning of the 20th century, so Catholicism had quite the head start on Islam.

Powe uncritically quotes the Gatestone report as claiming that there are "nearly 2,400 mosques" in France. In fact, according to Haaretz, "There are 2,449 registered Muslim prayer rooms in France, only a small number of which are officially defined as mosques. Prayer rooms can exist in any form but a mosque is a free-standing structure that costs millions of euros to build." Haaretz also reports that "45,000 new churches" have been built in the past century-plus in France. That seems to put the lie to Gatestone's assertion.

Why is that 100-year length of time such a big deal? Because as Powe admits, "France is able to demolish old churches because the government appropriated all church property and the cost of maintaining them in 1907." Which means there's no link whatsoever between closing churches and opening mosques.

While Powe uncritically quotes the Gatestone report as portraying an attempt in France to systematically replace churches with mosques, she cites only one example of a church being turned into a mosque.Which is pretty close to the rea-life rate: Haaretz states that since 1905, only five churches have been turned into mosques.

To sum up: Powe basically wrote a press release about a bogus report from a right-wing anti-Muslim group, and she couldn't be bothered to do even the most basic journlaism to verify anything.

Just another instance of WND fake news.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:50 PM EDT
Monday, August 14, 2017
MRC's Bozell Hypocritically Criticizes Jeffrey Lord's Firing By CNN
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has been surprisingly quiet on its official front about CNN's firing of pro-Trump sycophant (and NewsBusters columnist) Jeffrey Lord for tweeting "Sieg Heil!" at Media Matters president Angelo Carusone -- perhaps because of the MRC's own recent success in getting someone else fired from CNN, Reza Aslan. It was mentioned only once in passing at NewsBusters and had not been mentioned at at all at MRCTV and CNSNews.com immediately afterwards.

One had to go to MRC chief Brent Bozell's Twitter feed for a quick response. Bozell first complained: "'s firing of falsely smears him as a Nazi. In fact he was criticizing Nazi-like tactics from the left. Slander?" He then huffed: "If objects to their commentators making Nazi comparisons, several liberals at the network should lose their jobs. What hypocrites!"

Bozell then ran to another media outlet -- not Fox News this time, but to Larry O'Connor, a former Breitbart editor who's now a right-wing radio host in Washington, D.C. Aeter admitting he had just been chatting with Lord before his radio hit, Bozell laughably echoed Lord's attack on Media Matters as "fascists" who "are using intimidation and smears and -- i'll say it right now -- flat-out lies to get conservatives thrown off the airwaves because they don't want conservative voices on the airwaves."

Bozell, of course, didn't mention his own campaign of intimidation and smears to get Aslan thrown off the air for the offense of criticizing Trump. No difference, really, though Bozell would never call himself or his organization fascists.

Bozell then went into revisionist history in recalling Rush Limbaugh's calling soldiers who opposed the Iraq War "phony soldiers": "All you have to do is listen to the transcripts and that's not what he was saying. He was talking about people playing phony soldiers and trying to get medical benefits out of it." In fact, the transcript proves quite the opposite: There was nearly two minutes between Limbaugh's reference to "phony soldiers" and his reference to a specific case of fraud.

After O'Connor brought up Aslan's firing, Bozell responded by not discussing similarity in tactics, but instead complaining that CNN took too long to fire him while it took "only four hours" for Lord to get fired.

Finally, on Aug. 14, Bozell brought his whining about Lord to his own website. He repeated the same arguments he made on the radio, including the misleading defense of Limbaugh -- almost as if they had been written out for him as talking points and he was just testing them out on the air first before committing them to an MRC site -- and tries to coin the term "smear-fired." Again he references Aslan only in passing, complaining it too so long to fire him but not about the pressure tactics he put on CNN to do so. He smears Media Matters as "leftist censors" without admitting he's a right-wing censor.

Bozell goes on to declare that "Jeffrey Lord is one of the nicest men you’ll ever meet" and that CNN, in dumping Lord while he was on his way to an appearance on the channel, "had his limo driver turn around in mid-journey from Pennsylvania to New York and take him home." Lord has a limo driiver? Real man of the people.

Bozell is essentially claiming the tactics he used to get Aslan fired by CNN shouldn't be used by anyone else to get a friend of Bozell's fired. What rank hypocrisy.

(Disclosure: I used to work for Media Matters.) 


Posted by Terry K. at 7:52 PM EDT
WND Puts Words In Trump's Mouth After Charlottesville
Topic: WorldNetDaily

When President Trump issued a vaguely worded statement following the white supremacist and neo-Nazi-linked violence in Charlottesville, Va., WorldNetDaily hdd to leap into action to put words in Trump's mouth that he hadn't actually said.

Cue an anonymous WND writer in an  Aug. 13 article:

President Trump unequivocally condemned the ugly rally by neo-Nazis, Klan members and other white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, that turned violent when a man rammed his car into a group of counter-protesters.

“The president said very strongly in his statement yesterday that he condemns all forms of violence, bigotry, and hatred, and of course that includes white supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi, and all extremist groups,” the White House reported in an official release Sunday. “He called for national unity and bringing all Americans together.”

Virginia police have not yet provided a motive for a man plowing a car into a crowd of people objecting to the white nationalists, but U.S. attorneys and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have opened a civil-rights investigation into the crash, an FBI field office said.

[...]

While Trump’s denunciation of the rally was unambiguous, much of the media reporting is attempting to link him to the racists and by claiming he didn’t blame only white supremacists.

Of course, Trump's denunciation was anything but "unambiguous" and unequivocal, given that he vaguely denounced only "many sides" and no group by name. 

WND never gave the same pass to President Obama, who was repeatedly attacked for not using the term "Islamic terrorism" even though Obama unequivocally and unambiguously denounced extremist terror.

Similarly ironic is WND averring on speculation about James Fields' motive in allegedly driving his car "into a crowd of people objecting to the white nationalists," since WND routinely freaks out every time authorities want to wait until an investigation is conducted before calling an act of violence and not jumping to conclusions about alleged Islamist jihidism.

Speaking of freakouts, Joseph Farah served up one in defending Trump's non-specificity in his Aug. 13 column:

I guess unless you say you despise, detest, reject and hate white supremacists, racists, fascists, the Klan, neo-Nazis and other scum, you bear responsibility for the carnage and violence in Charlottesville.

That’s the distinct impression I’m getting from media coverage of this national tragedy.

[...]

I thought it was a pretty good statement – unequivocal, unambiguous, absolute, categorical, unmistakable.

I was wrong, because some people hate Donald Trump more than they hate racism. This is especially true of people who work in what we euphemistically still refer to as “the mainstream media.” There’s nothing “mainstream” about it. And their coverage of this showdown between two extremist groups – vicious, hate-filled white supremacists and the so-called “Antifa” brown-shirt creatures on the other side – leaves no room to denounce both, as Trump did.

Now we have three dead – two law enforcement personnel killed in a helicopter crash and one woman run down by a driver who injured 19 others – because of the inevitable toxic explosion of hate in Charlottesville.

And, I predict, this is far from over.

It could be the beginning of a new civil war – not just between two groups of nutty extremists – but a long national propaganda siege to condemn only one form of tyrannical, blind hatred.

There are common denominators that bind the two sides: Neither has any love in their hearts. Neither respects the precious right of free expression. And neither knows a thing about Robert E. Lee, who was nota racist, not a slaveholder and, yet, was the focal point – the excuse – of this ugly skirmish.

Actually, Lee did in fact own slaves, but you be you, Joe.

Farah also rants: "There will be no reasoning with anyone. There will be no possibility for rational dialogue. There will be no room for condemnation of both sides. Nevertheless, I will do it anyway. Because I’m tired of the guilt-by-association with racists and other reprobates by the fascist left."

Oh, we rather doubt that Farah is interested in "rational dialogue," given his website's history of engaging in the exact opposite. Does anyone believe that a website that repeatedly likened President Obama not only to Hitler but to the Antichrist is interested in rationality and reason?

Further, Farah's portrayal of himself as not a racist belies WND's history of anti-black race-baiting by giving a platform (and a book deal) to Colin Flaherty.

Also, the fact that Farah sees no moral distinction between neo-Nazis and liberal critics of Trump, whom he's painting as "so-called 'Antifa' brown-shirt creatures," says all we need to know about his brand of "rational dialogue."

When Trump finally issued an updated statement that specifically denounced white supremacists, WND trumpeted it in an Aug. 14 article by Garth Kant helpfully headlined "Trump specifically condemns white nationalists." Kant followed his boss in equivocating white supremacists with "the radical-leftist Antifa."

 


Posted by Terry K. at 4:16 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, August 14, 2017 5:38 PM EDT
Sunday, August 13, 2017
MRC's Graham Lamely Deflects From Trump's Lame Statement on Charlottesville Neo-Nazi Violence
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is little more than the Donald Trump Defense Center these days. Tim Graham exemplifies this in an Aug. 12 post.

Trying to deflect from Trump's non-specific criticism of neo-Nazi-linked death and violence during a protest in Charlottesville, Va., Graham bashed a CNN anchor who claimed that "people are emboldened right now to have a rally like this," huffing: "CNN would not suggest after a Muslim act of domestic terrorism that Obama 'emboldened' the violent act."

Of course, Graham is all too eager to suggest exactly that. Strangely, he offers no evidence Obama has ever done so. By contrast, there are numerous examples of Trump explicitly encouraging violence.

And that's how the MRC's Clinton Exception is slowly becoming the Obama Exception.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:26 PM EDT
WND Has A Very Brief Discussion About Diversity
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah loves to lie about how his website offers a broad spectrum of opinion when, in fact, its opinion lineup is almost entirely tilted to the right. Recently, though WND very briefly sorta had that broad spectrum of ideas being exchanged on its commentary page.

In a July 26 column, Lindy Daniel went on an anti-diversity tirade:

Day in and day out we are told that diversity is the best thing that ever happened to us – our greatest strength. What a load of hogwash. There is no evidence at all to support this delusion; that’s why you never hear any more than just the short, dogmatic catchphrases praising almighty diversity. But if brainwashing works, then who cares about reality, right? Well, reality does.

Diversity is not a strength in this country. In fact, it is difficult to find diversity as a strength anywhere. Let’s get real. Diversity is a weakness. Anywhere you find war, anywhere you find conflict, anywhere you find division, you are very likely to find diversity at the root of it. Racial diversity, ethnic diversity, religious diversity, political diversity – diversity is a weakness. Homogeneity is a strength. Sameness is a strength. Unity is a strength, and unity comes from similarity, not from diversity. Diversity requires great sacrifice. To have it, we must give up our unity.

[...]

The benefits and value of diversity are vague, arguable and subjective and don’t hold much water compared to the benefits and value of homogeneity or similarity. Compelling a community, a people or a nation to welcome growing diversity in their midst or across their border is pushing a both risky and arbitrary value on people who may have a different opinion on the intrinsic value of diversity. If homogeneity is not a flaw, then why is it treated as a problem that needs to be fixed? If diversity is a weakness, then why is it so worshiped? Why is it so pushed?

The next day, WND columnist Laura Hollis opined that multiculturalism is "destructive" and that "what’s behind the current flavor of multiculturalism for some hardcore leftists is hatred of Judeo-Christianity and rejection of its God."

That was followed by WND columnist Alan Keyes directly responded to Daniel by dismantling her anti-diversity huffing, albeit to push his own vision of government:

But unless one be distinguished from another, unity cannot be self-consciously perceived. Unless one be contrasted with another, sameness cannot be self-consciously apprehended. Unless one be related to another, homogeneity has no meaning in human terms. But if unity, sameness and homogeneity were imperceptible and meaningless in human terms, how would they be seen as sources of strength by human communities?

That question impels us to look at the relationship of mutual dependence between diversity and unity, a relationship enforced by the logic that makes human perception and reasoning possible. Except for the word homogeneity, which I take from Lindy Daniels, the second paragraph above is written in simple words. It is, however, “heavy with philosophy.” But some philosophy is needed to reveal the dilemma of rational thought that invalidates Lindy Daniel’s rejection of diversity.

[...]

E pluribus, Unum, is thus not a celebration of homogeneity, but a summary of the constant purpose of human self-government. That purpose is to understand and maintain the distinctive quality of our species. On account of that quality, we are apprised of the infinite diversity of Creation, even as we reflect upon the reason that pervades it all, and that in unison proclaims the glory of God’s presence, all in all. So, though we are free to choose, our liberty is to choose what’s right, as we are endowed by God to see it. Our common will to exercise that liberty is what may unite us as a nation, as we strive, by God, to do right, according to His will and testament – no matter how diverse we appear to be in other respects.

Lest anyone think WND learned a lesson abaout balance and that Keyes' column is anything but an one-time aberration from its hard-right editorial stance, WND published an Aug. 7 column by Oliver Melnick headlined "Where failed multiculturalism leads." His answer: to an Islamic "theocratic dictatorship."


Posted by Terry K. at 5:32 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, August 13, 2017 8:38 PM EDT
Saturday, August 12, 2017
MRC Pushes Discredited Falsehoods About Planned Parenthood
Topic: Media Research Center

An Aug. 3 Media Research Center post by Jorge Bonilla takes exception to an interview frequent MRC target Jorge Ramos did with Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards (boldface his):

Richards was framed as a heroic "women's health" advocate fighting the 'evil Republicans'. Planned Parenthood talking points were presented as unassailable truth - for example, the data featured above, that abortion accounts for only 3% of Planned Parenthood's services. Entirely unmentioned, however, was the fact that abortion accounts for 86% of Planned Parenthood's revenues.

If only the thing Bonilla insisted on putting in boldface was actually true. PunditFact explains why it's not, after another right-winger made the same assertion:

The top line is for non-government health services revenue, $305.3 million (which would include abortions, as well as STD testing, pregnancy tests, etc.). Of course, there are more sources of revenue than that. The lines below describe $528.4 million in federal reimbursements for services from low-income patients on Medicaid, as well as $257.4 million raised in private contributions and bequests.

The only possible way to get to 86 percent is to ignore those other sources of revenues, which account for more than 70 percent of everything Planned Parenthood takes in.

[...]

At a U.S. House hearing, Richards said abortions are expensive compared to other health services offered by Planned Parenthood. But we found no evidence of her saying, or conceding, that 86 percent of revenue is from abortion. At one point in the same meeting, she said an even lower estimate for abortion revenues was "too high."

Bonilla also defended the anti-abortion activists at the Center for Medical Progress over the unambiguous fact that their anti-Planned Parenthood videos were heavily edited: "Ramos, of all people, should know that videos are quite often edited for time considerations...right? To suggest that CMP committed some sort of malfeasance isn't only specious, it is cowardly considering that Ramos' newscast mostly ignored those videos, precisely when they were going viral."

But what "time considerations" 'were CMP editing their videos for? They were released to the Internet, which has no such time considerations. Yet they were deceptively edited anyway, with the edited versions being debunked by the full video released well after the edited versions.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:19 AM EDT
WND Is Still Flogging The Trump-Prophecy Horse
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDailiy takes its campaign to portray the election of Donald Trump as divinely ordained or otherwise prophesized to a new level in an anoymously written Aug. 7 article:

A 19th century American novelist’s work is attracting more notice in 2017 than it did in his day because of striking similarities to current events.

Ingersoll Lockwood, an attorney and political writer, wrote several books, including children’s stories featuring the name “Baron Trump.”

Trump, an aristocratically wealthy young man living in Castle Trump, is the protagonist of Lockwood’s first two fictional novels, “The Travels and Adventures of Little Baron Trump” and “His Wonderful Dog Bulgar and Baron Trump’s Marvelous Underground Journey.” The little boy, who has an unending imagination and “a very active brain,” is bored with his luxurious lifestyle, so he visits Russia to embark on an extraordinary adventure with “the master of all masters,” a man named Don. President Donald Trump’s youngest son’s name is “Barron.”

Before leaving for Russia, Baron Trump is told his family’s motto is: “The pathway to glory is strewn with pitfalls and dangers.” In Russia, he is in search of the entrance to a pathway into alternative dimensions.

Ironically, Lockwood’s final novel arrived in 1896, titled “The Last President.”

Meanwhile, around this time in Barack Obama's presidency, WND was maliciously portraying him as the Antichrist. How times change.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:24 AM EDT
Friday, August 11, 2017
MRC Offers Only Conservative Talking Points To Counter 'Democratic Talking Points'
Topic: Media Research Center

Alex Xenos huffs in an Aug. 3 MRC NewsBusters post:

The Democratic Party can always count on CNN New Day co-host Chris Cuomo to push their talking points for them. On Wednesday, Cuomo spewed nonsense about President Trump's support for reforming Dodd-Frank and the "Consumer Protection Agency":

He's also attempting to roll back parts of the Dodd-Frank bill, passed in the wake of the financial crisis, effectively making it easier for those on Wall Street to once again gamble recklessly. He's also hobbling the Consumer Protection Agency.

First of all, Dodd-Frank is a complete disaster that doesn't protect anybody. Instead, it hinders small banks and puts a massive regulatory burden on the economy that does not prevent abuses. It was also unnecessary considering one of the main causes of the economic crash was the government essentially forcing banks to give out subprime loans. Meaning, no, it wasn't just a bunch a greedy Wall Street executives running wild. Many of them were taking their orders from Washington.

But Xenos is offering only right-wing talking points in response. His evidence that "Dodd-Frank is a complete disaster" comes from the conservative National Review, hardly an objective source.

Further, Xenos' claim that the 2008 financial crisis was caused by "the government essentially forcing banks to give out subprime loans" is false; in fact, as we've noted, most of the mortgage compainies pushing subprime loans before the financial crisis were made by companies not subject to the terms of the Community Reinvestment Act, which right-wingers have long falsely blamed for the crisis.

Xenos also has more partisan sources lined up to attack Cuomo, responding to Cuomo's complaint that the Trump administraiton is repealing EPA water regulations b yciting the conservative Heritage Foundation and an op-ed written by attorneys with the right-wing Pacific Legal Foundation.

Xenos cited nothing to back him up, however, in another Cuomo-bashing rant:

Now, when it comes to the "Consumer Protection Agency," Cuomo probably does not have the slightest clue what he is referencing. In fact, I know he doesn't because there is no such thing as the "Consumer Protection Agency." What he means is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which is also a disaster. It is a bureau that is accountable to no one, yet wields serious power in its ability to enforce regulatory laws on banks including small ones and there is nothing Congress or the president can do about it. They are an agency of harassment that answers to no one. The Trump administration is arguing in court that it is unconstitutional for the head of the agency to be unfireable. But Chris would know none of this because he gets his information spoon fed to him from the Democrats.

Says a guy who gets his information spoon-fed to him by conservatives.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:54 PM EDT
Is WND Working With Trump White House to Push Seth Rich Conspiracies?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The lawsuit Rod Wheeler filed against benefactor Ed Butowsky regarding a discredited Fox News story on the death of Seth Rich is a bombshell, but as we've documented, you wouldn't know that from WorldNetDaily's treatment of it in misleading about and burying the story.

A key allegation in Wheeler's lawsuit is that Butowsky worked with the Trump White House to get that story out -- an angle WND has heavily downplayed. That treatment, though, seems to beg the question: Did WND also work with the Trump White House to push the story?

Remember, there's an existing relationhip between WND and Trump. In 2012, WND editor Joseph Farah and then-reporter Jerome Crosi were advising Trump behind the scenes in pushing Obama birther conspiracy theories. Thereis no reason not to believe that WND has continued to maintain a relationship with Trump, and that the Trump White House sees WND as a valuable (and compliant) outlet to promote such fringe conspiracy-mongering. Indeed, as a loyal Trump supporter, WND would have the same alleged motivation as Trump and Fox News in pushing the story: as a distration from stories about alleged collusion between Trump and Russia during the 2016 election.

WND has been conspicuously silent about whether it has contacts within the Trump camp to push the Rich story -- which tells us that it's likely trying to hide something.

It's the elephant in the room, and WND is desperately trying to step around it. Rather, it's still trying to push the conspracy: An Aug. 8 article by Alicia Powe stays on the fringe by pushing a demand by politically motivated lawyer Jack Burkman (whom Powe allows without challenged to claim is leading an "independent, nonpartisan" investigation into Rich's death) for special counsel Robert Mueller to look into Rich's death because of the "confidential, verifiable information" he purports to have (and which Powe doesn't bother pressing Burkman on).

Powe references Wheeler's lawsuit and lamens that "Family spokesman Brad Bauman and the Rich family declined to respond to WND’s requests for comment on the lawsuit." Shouldn't she be asking her boss about the lawsuit and its implications for WND instead?


Posted by Terry K. at 1:44 AM EDT
Thursday, August 10, 2017
CNS Misleads, Cherry-Picks on Detroit Unemployment
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com editor in chief Terry Jeffrey cheerfully writes in an Aug. 2 article:

The unemployment rate plummeted in the Detroit metropolitan area over the past year, dropping more in the period from June 2016 to June 2017 than in any other large metropolitan area in the United States, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Last June, the Detroit metro area had an unemployment rate of 5.7 percent, according to BLS. This June, it was 3.7 percent--even as the local labor force increased.

As a consequence, the Detroit metropolitan area now has a lower unemployment rate than the Los Angeles, New York and Boston metropolitan areas.

The implication here, of course, is that President Trump is somehow responsible for all of this. Jeffrey, however, is cherry-picking his data.

The BLS data from which he he cherry-picked shows that the Detroit metro area's employment numbers are highly variable. While Jeffrey compares numbers fromJune 2016 and June 2017, which shows the most dramatic change, he conveniently omits the numbers from May 2017 -- when unemployment was slightly lower (3.6 percent) and the labor force was slightly bigger than in June.

Jeffrey also evades any mention of long-term employment trends in Detroit. An actual news organization reported that only about half of adults in the city are part of the active work force, the lowest of any big city in the U.S. Further, according to another actual news organization: "The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a free-market-oriented research group in Midland, has said federal data also show that about two-thirds of the jobless drop in Detroit can be attributed to a smaller labor force -- that is, fewer Detroiters looking for jobs."

Further, Jeffrey's implicit praise for Trump for an unemployment drop over one year ignores that President Obama arguably deserves the same implicit credit for reducing Detroit's unemployment from well over 25 percent in 2009.

Jeffrey would never do that, of course, given his website's history of playing up negative jobless numbers throughout Obama's presidency.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:10 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, August 10, 2017 11:47 PM EDT
WND's Hohmann Suggests Mosque Deserved To Be Bombed
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In an Aug. 6 article, WorldNetDaily is upset that authorities aren't jumping to conclusions after a crime by making declarations without conducting an investigation first: "A Mauritanian-born French citizen brandished a knife at an Eiffel Tower security checkpoint and shouted 'Allahu akbar,' but police are investigating the incident as a non-terrorist attack, just a common crime."

Just a day later, WND was complaining the exact opposite. WND's resident Muslim-hater Leo Hohmann not only complains that the bombing of a Minnesota mosque is being investigated as a hate crime, he seems to justify the bombing by calling the mosque "notorious":

One day after someone threw an explosive device into the window of a mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota, the state’s vast array of Muslim advocacy groups joined its governor in condemning the bombing as an “act of terrorism,” and they are demanding the FBI investigate it as a hate crime.

“It’s an act of terrorism, a criminal act of terrorism,” said Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton on Sunday during a visit to the mosque, Dar Al Farooq. “I hope and pray the perpetrator will be caught and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

[...]

Before any suspects have been named or factual evidence presented by authorities, Dayton joined a chorus of Muslim advocates including Muslim Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim-American Society in condemning Saturday’s attack as motivated by anti-Muslim bigotry.

The blast early Saturday morning targeted the notorious Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center, headed by imam Walid Idrus al-Maneesey, who has preached hatred against Jews, quoting from the sayings of Muhammad as recorded in the hadiths.As WND has previously reported, at least six Somali refugees known to have engaged in terrorist-related activities have attended Dar al-Farooq at one time or another.

In April 2016, the Investigative Project on Terrorism described the mosque as “a hotbed of extremism.”

Asad Zaman, the executive director of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, called the attack an “unprovoked hate crime” during the news conference with the governor Sunday. He thanked elected officials and police for responding quickly to “repudiate” the attack.

While the claims of a hate crime against the mosque may yet turn out to be accurate, attorneys, activists and law enforcement experts contacted by WND say there’s a 50-50 chance that the blast may not have been a hate crime at all.

It could have been someone who attended the mosque, or it could have been someone from another mosque who had an issue with the imam. The device landed in the imam’s office, causing minor damage. Nobody was present in the office at the time, and nobody was injured.

It wouldn’t be the first time a Muslim attacked a mosque. It happens all the time in the Middle East.

Hohmann even called on disgraced, discredited philanderer John Guandolo for his opinion on the issue, which was largely limited to spewing that  whatever the governor "utters about this is sure to be cow dung."

Hohmann also huffed that "The mosque is already seeking to capitalize financially on the explosion by launching a GoFundMe campaign." Does that mean WND's failing crowdfunding campaign to perpetuate Seth Rich conspiracy theories is a similar attempt to "capitalize financially"? Not that Hohmann would say so, of course.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:44 AM EDT
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Kill the Messenger: MRC's Graham Bashes NY Times For Reporting Facts He Doesn't Like About Pence
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media ResearchCenter demonstrates just how reflexively pro-Trump it is with an Aug. 7 post by Tim Graham, who uncritically treats Vice President Mike Pence's denial of political activity to position himself in case Donald Trump does not run for re-election in 2020 for whatever reason as trustworthy and uses it to launch another lame attack on on the New York Times for running a story to that effect:

If a conservative news outlet in 1993 had trotted out the idea that after an uncertain first six months for Bill Clinton, Vice President Gore was “acting like” he wanted to run for president in 1996, the liberal media elite would have denounced it as  crackpot conspiracy-theory material. But since Trump is guilty of what the Times calls “sheer disarray” in the wake of all the liberal media's Russia-may-have-colluded coverage, this Times exercise is treated as “news” reporting.

The Times knows that Trump doesn’t like disloyalty or anyone stealing his spotlight, so they are making trouble for Pence, plain and simple. “Chaos” and “disarray” and Republican in-fighting is exactly what they want as badly disguised Democrats.

Graham presents no evidence that 1) the early Clinton White House was as chaotic as Trump's is, or 2) Gore ever did the same things Pence has been documented as doing. Further, though huffing that the Times calls (italics his) the Trump White House is "sheer disarray," he doesn't disprove the claim.

While Graham accuses the Times of engaging in "unintential knee-slappers" in its article, Graham has one of his own. His response to the Times article's statement that it's based on "interviews with more than 75 Republicans at every level of the party" was to claim, "The Times reporters insist that the sheer volume of their phone calls makes their guesswork 'news.'" Of course, that number is at least 75 more people than Graham talked to to fill out his ill-informed screed.

But as the Washington Post's Erik Wemple points out, Pence (and, thus, Graham) never denies the salient facts of the article: "the Pence people cannot deny that the Republican Party is riven with concern about the president’s viability; they cannot deny the on-the-record quote from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the New York Times story: 'They see weakness in this president. Look, it’s not a nice business we’re in'; they cannot deny the concerted fundraising activities of the vice president."

The Post's Jennifer Rubin hammers home the point further:

The problem, however, is that Pence has been meeting with donors, has been creating an independent power base (as the Times reported), has hired a politically combatant chief of staff and has been the main channel of communication between Trump and Republicans on the Hill. The only real question is whether he is doing these things on behalf of Trump — or his own political ambition. (Very likely, it is some combination of the two.)

Graham is basically asking the question: Who are you going to believe, the political official who denies something is happening or the literally dozens of other informed people who are pretty sure it is but can't go on the record for fear of displeasing their on-the-record boss?

Because Graham can't prove any of this wrong, he's simply trying to destroy the messenger.

Graham's partisan hackery is made even more ridiculous by the fact that the "Editor's Picks" of the MRC's NewsBusters blog -- of which Graham is executive editor -- has an article from the pro-Trump Washington Examiner claiming "CNN insiders" are saying CNN correspondent Jim Acosta's "antics" as White House correspondent are a bid to get his own CNN show.

How many of those Acosta-bashers are on the record? None.

If Graham is really so upset about the use of anonymous sources, why does he give it a pass when the results please him? Hypocrisy at its worst. (Plus, he's a terrible media critic.)


Posted by Terry K. at 11:58 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, August 9, 2017 12:03 PM EDT
WND Stays Silent on 'Nicole Minsey' Fiasco While Farah Insists WND Is Trustworthy
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah spends his Aug. 8 column complaining about a poll purportedly dominated by "ultra-liberals" that "put most of their trust in “news agencies” supported by big government – public television, the BBC, NPR and PBS, four of the six highest rated for credibility." He went on to sneer that "I guess that’s what one should expect when a graduate school of journalism does the research, with a professor in charge."

Farah then implied his own website was more trustworthy than any of them because it's allegedly popular: "Wouldn’t it make sense that the real standard of “most trusted” news sources would have something to do with traffic? Do people general go to news sources they don’t trust? And how do they know what they don’t trust if they don’t go there?"

The irony here, of course, is not only that WND has published reams of fake news, it's remained silent about its latest fake-news scandal.

As we documented, WND's Bob Unruh conducted a purported interview in May with "Nicole Minsey," who claimed to be an Obama Democrat-turned-Trump Republican who opened a website selling pro-Trump merchandise. It's become increasingly clear that "Minsey" doesn't exist at all and appears to be either a stolen or made-up identity to promote the store (which apparently didn't even fulfill its orders).

Unruh either got fooled badly by taking "Minsey" at her word and not even bothering to verify her identity because her story was too good to fact-check, or he and WND did the article as a promotion for the (bogus) store in some sort of monetary exchange -- a payment up front or a cut of the revenue generated by the article.

Wouldn't a trustworthy news operation move quickly to clear the air over this issue and admit any mistakes it made? Instead, WND has gone totally silent, and Unruh's bogus article remains live and unaltered.

Farah concluded his column by making his usual self-aggrandizing claim that WND is "seeking truth no matter what the cost." That's never been true, of course, and it gets even less true each day Farah, Unruh and WND let their "Minsey" fiasco fester.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:02 AM EDT

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