ConWebBlog: The Weblog of ConWebWatch

your New Media watchdog

ConWebWatch: home | archive/search | about | primer | shop

Tuesday, September 26, 2017
No, MRC, Levin Isn't Vindicated on Spying Claims
Topic: Media Research Center

Craig Bannister harrumphed in a Sept. 19 CNSNews.com blog post:

In March, conservative pundit Mark Levin documented that the Obama Administration had wiretapped the Trump campaign. On Monday, CNN reported that, indeed, the FBI had wiretapped former Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort, both before and after the election.

But, while CNN’s claim is based on unnamed “sources,” Levin made his case by citing quotes from eight separate news reports [...] to make the case that the Obama Administration spied on Trump.

At the Media Research Center's NewsBusters, Tim Graham insisted that CNN's revelation about the FBI wiretapping Manafort "means there are some major-media reporters who should apologize to conservatives who asked questions about Trump-team surveillance. In March,ABC’s Brian Ross repeatedly denounced Mark Levin as a 'conspiracy-loving talk show host' (a la Alex Jones) over three days of newscasts." Graham added that HBO host John Oliver "should also get Levin on the phone and apologize."

Levin's claims reportedly inspired Trump's assertion that Trump wiretapped him. But the truth is not necessarily on Levin's (and the MRC's) side.

As the Washington Post points out, the target was Manafort, not Trump. He was being monitored as early as 2014, many months before Trump had even announced his presidential campaign, and he was apparently not monitored during the brief time he was the manager of the Trump campaign. There is, however, no evidence that Obama personally ordered it, as Levin has suggested.

Three's no need for anyone to apologize to Levin just yet. There is, however, a fairly urgent need for the MRC to explain the details of its business arrangement with him so that we know how much Levin is paying it to promote him.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:37 PM EDT
WND's Resident Artist Shocked To Discover Gays Appear In Art
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's resident purported art critic, Marisa Martin -- better known to the non-ConWeb world as April Kiessling -- is shocked, shocked we tell ya, to discover that gay-themed art exists and that it is being put on display in art museums. As betis someone who writes for WND, she thinks this is all a conspiracy:

Reinterpreting history via “queer theory” has been a major goal for universities, but it’s making a gaudy debut in museums this year. You can translate that as: It is virtually impossible to avoid drowning in homosexuality, if you venture into most art institutions.

Galleries and media enthusiastically pimp the gay lifestyle to all comers, but the regal state museums held themselves somewhat aloof for a spell. Repositories of a grand Christian history, they hold the relics of nations and kings. But Britain’s Tate Museum, the Prado in Spain, MOMA and the rest, are out sniffing the wind for fads, and waving cash like a mating signal.

Anyone with two connected brain cells knows the hoopla over homosexuality is merely promotion of a virtually unidentifiable minority. (In this this case, approximately 1.7 % of people self-identity as “gay,” according the U.S. 2010 census. Adding bisexuality, transwhatever, no-sex, temporary insanity, or “other” comes to a whopping 3.7 of the population.)

Forcing museum patrons into contorted “queer gazing” or “queer history” is a form of aggressive cultural imposition on the majority of a population. Other than gay propaganda, there is no discernable purpose. Slightly more of the art works center on homosexuality than the percentage of people viewing them, but that’s often from investments to push the lifestyle.

Of course, anyone with  two actually connected brain cells whould know that being gay isn't a "lifestyle." Nevertheless, "Martin" goes on to push the right-wing smear that homosexuality and pedophilia are no different:

Alt-sex propaganda in Western museums benefits only a small minority, and even that wouldn’t matter if it didn’t harm a substantial number of children. Pederasty was rampant in Roman and Greek culture, and it’s the foundation of the glorious gay movement now. There isn’t space to run the mountains of research proving relationships between gay rape in childhood and the inordinate numbers of abuse victims who insist they must be “born that way.” A few years back it was a mantra that child abusers were much more likely to end up abusing children if they didn’t get help. But this is long forgotten, because homosexuality is now decreed to be a gift – and how you got it doesn’t matter (much like the diseases that so often accompany the lifestyle).

Curators don’t attempt to hide their fixation on gayness, rather than any particular works of art. Images of (non-sexual) intimacy and friendship among the same sex are implied to reek of homoeroticism. Rooting out “hidden homoeroticism” is one of the biggest things going in going in art scholarship now, as gay desires are projected randomly and promiscuously.

The last time we checked, nobody was forcing "Martin" to go to a museum to see this. It's not propaganda if it's not coerced. Unless, of cousre, "Martin" thinks any opinion contrary to hers is "propaganda."


Posted by Terry K. at 5:17 PM EDT
MRC Seems OK With Violence Happening To Journalists Who Don't Like Trump Enough
Topic: Media Research Center

Last year, we argued that the Media Research Center's attacks on NBC reporter Katy Tur helped to prime the pump for Donald Trump's attacks on her during the campaign, which resulted in concerns about her safety as Trump supporters became increasingly hostile toward her and other journalists.

It seems that fear is the preferred state in which the MRC would journalists to remain.

In a Sept. 12 MRC post, Kyle Drennen wrote dismissively of Tur's legitimate fears of violence against her and other journalists:

Promoting her new book about covering Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign, on Tuesday’s NBC Today, correspondent Katy Tur told co-host Matt Lauer that the then-presidential candidate’s public criticism of her reporting was “jarring” and “scary.” Lauer shared her fear as he recalled the “intense feeling” he got at Trump rallies when the Republican nominee would attack the liberal media.  

[...]

Tur responded: “At first, he was very charming. And when he realized that his charm wasn’t going to change my reporting, he would go on the attack....What I did every day though...was go out and try and honestly report on what was happening and hold him accountable for the things that he said.”

Lauer continued to paint Tur as the victim: “You said you kept a diary. I would love to go back and read the entry in the diary on that day that he called you ‘little Katy Tur’ and you were ‘dishonest’ and things like that.” Tur melodramatically declared: “Well, that is in the book. And you can go back and read exactly what it felt like in that moment. It was jarring, it was scary, and it was one of those feelings that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to shake.”

The morning show host commiserated with her: “Yeah, I was at a few of his rallies when he would target the press. And although he never mentioned me by name, I do remember the entire room turning around and looking at the press pool....And it was a very intense feeling.”

Tur breathlessly explained: “We had to have armed security. And it wasn’t just NBC, it was the other networks as well. I think everyone except for Fox and CBS. The crowd would all – they would turn on us and they would yell. And he riled them up to do that.”

She clarified: “I’m not saying Donald Trump’s supporters were violent, angry people. Many of them were lovely and wonderful when you talked to them one-on-one.” However, Tur then warned: “The concern was what if there’s one person in that crowd who might take this too seriously? Who might feel like this is not just a show or part of the act and take it further.”

Earlier in the segment, the reporter laughably claimed that her lack of experience in political reporting before being assigned to cover Trump’s presidential run actually made her a fairer journalist:

[...]

In reality, throughout the campaign and in the first year of the Trump administration, Tur has consistently been on the attack. Back in February, she even suggested that the President’s criticism of the press went down a “dangerous path” that could lead to “suspicious deaths of journalists.”

That last link goes to a February MRC post in which Nicholas Fondacaro declares that her fears of violence against journalists are "vile," huffing that "It’s reporting like this that helps to create the circumstances for the violent rhetoric we’re seeing from the left, such as Madonna talking about blowing up the White House and Sarah Silverman calling for a military coup." Interesting that Fondacaro thinks reacting to the anti-media atmosphere Trump creates is "vile," but not the actual creation of it.

(We could find no reference to anyone at the MRC being similarly offended when a writer for Newsmax called for a military coup against Obama.)

Drennen followed up the next day by seemingly justifying threats of violence against Tur because she doesn't like Trump:

“The room goes wavy. My stomach churns. I can feel the bile in the back of my throat.” That reaction to Donald Trump winning the 2016 election didn’t come from Hillary Clinton’s new memoir, it came from the pages of NBC correspondent and MSNBC anchor Katy Tur’s book about covering the campaign.

The Hill’s Joe Concha read through a copy of Unbelievable, in which Tur bemoaned Trump’s victory: “I’ve heard him insult a war hero, brag about grabbing women by the pussy, denigrate the judicial system, demonize immigrants, fight with the pope, doubt the democratic process, advocate torture and war crimes, tout the size of his junk in a presidential debate, trash the media, and endanger my life.”

Appearing on Tuesday’s Today show to hawk the book, Tur similarly described how “jarring” and “scary” it was when Trump would criticize her biased coverage during campaign stump speeches. “We had to have armed security,” she hyped.

Beyond recalling her nausea, Tur also pushed her bizarre fear that Trump would become a lifetime dictator: "I have a vision of myself at sixty, Trump at a hundred, in some midwestern convention hall. The children of his 2016 supporters are spitting on me.”

After expressing her loathing of the President in such detail, does anyone really believe Tur can be an objective journalist?

So Tur should be grateful to Trump for endangering her life and maliciously belittling her profession? Is that the way Drennen would treat someone who did that to him?

The hatred the MRC has for journalists, it seems, borders on the pathological.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:25 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 26, 2017 8:58 AM EDT
Monday, September 25, 2017
Fake News: WND Resurrects Zombie Lie About Obama
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Bob Unruh writes in a Sept. 19 WorldNetDaily article:

Instances of hostility to religion across America surged 133 percent during the last five years of the Obama administration, according to a new report that documents more than 1,400 incidents ranging from the Obamacare attacks on faithful Christians to various prison restrictions on Muslims and Sikhs.

Critics say it shouldn’t be a surprise, since the former president claimed that the United States never was a “Christian nation.”

Unruh is lying -- creating fake news, as it were. As we pointed out the last time Unruh peddled this lie, Obama never said the U.S. is not, or never was, a Christian nation; he said we are not just a Christian nation.

On a side note, it's ironic that Unruh admits that Muslims are facing hostility to their religion (though only the ones in prison, apparently), given that his employer is all about promulgating hostility to religion when it involves Muslims -- to the point that it attacks Muslims for using the same federal religious freedom law it praises Christians for using.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:57 PM EDT
MRC Blogger Doesn't Know Who John Legend Is
Topic: NewsBusters

Media Research Center blogger Jay Maxson already has a severe case of Colin Kaepernick Derangement Syndrome -- and it's getting worse.

Maxson went on a tirade in a Sept. 24 NewsBusters post against a post at Slate defending football players' kneeling protests, written by John Legend:

NFL protests have given the liberal media a newfound "appreciation" of patriotism and the Constitution. Media covering this movement suffer from selective amnesia about U.S. history, however. Slate's John Legend is a protest apologist and historical revisionist as well who strains credibility.

In his blog today, Legend argues "The NFL Protests are Patriotic." He writes, "The president of the United States loves to drape himself in the symbols of patriotism, but fails to respect the ideals at the core of our Constitution and national identity. Trump may love the flag, but he doesn’t love anything it’s supposed to stand for."

Legend then proceeds to launch into historical revisionism, if not downright fantasy.

[...]

The Slate progressive asks if there would have been a Civil Rights Act without the Birmingham protests when Bull Connor unleashed dogs and firehoses on Black children. Legend skips over the fact that Connor was a Democrat. Would the Act have passed without Republican support? No. Democrats Al Gore Sr. and Robert Byrd were among the 21 Democrats who voted against civil rights, but Legend gives credit for it anyway to President Kennedy and President Johnson.

Maxson seems to be unaware that Legend is not a staff writer at Slate. As the bio link to his name states: "John Legend is a 10-time Grammy Awards winner, an Academy and Tony awards winner, philanthropist, and founder of the FREEAMERICA campaign."

Also, in trying to hang Bull Connor and opposition to civil rights in the 1960s on the entire Democratic Party, Maxson conveniently fails to mention that this opposition was the last gasp of anti-integration southern Democrats in the party, and that Democrats who opposed the party's endorsement of civil rights eventually became Republican.

In other words, the Democratic Party of the 1960s is not the party of today. So who's engaging in historical revisionism again?

If Maxson can't figure out something as basic as who John Legend is, we can probably assume that the rest of his hateful ranting is just as ignorant.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:01 PM EDT
WND's Hohmann Has Another 'Mega-Mosque' Freakout
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Leo Hohmann, WorldNetDaily's chief Muslim-hater, uses a Sept. 14 article to not only go on another "mega-mosque" freakout, but also target a Virginia county board member for removal for approving it:

He’s accused of using abusive and intimidating tactics at a hearing that ultimately resulted in a permit being granted to a massive mosque in Nokesville, Virginia.

And now, after the contentious June hearing, a citizens group is determined to recall Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of County Supervisors.

Kay Herrera of Save our Prince William County announced a petition drive at the Sept. 12 Board of County Supervisors meeting to remove Stewart from office. In question is Stewart’s handling of the June 27 public hearing, which included more than eight hours of public comment and stretched into the wee hours of the next morning.

When it was all over, the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, or ADAMS, mosque was granted a special-use permit that will allow it to construct a sprawling 22,400-square-foot facility in Nokesville, Virginia, near Manassas.

In fact, the mosque is not "massive" or "sprawling" at all -- as we've noted, this mosque would be the approximate size of an Aldi grocery store, and actual megachurches that Hohmannn would presumably approve of are 10 times that size.

Hohmann also gives the leader of the recall petition space to deny that it was motivated by the results of the vote that approved the mosque, but this rings hollow -- a Muslim-basher like Hohmann wouldn't have latched onto this story if it was merely about parliamentarian procedure.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:39 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, September 25, 2017 4:16 PM EDT
Sunday, September 24, 2017
MRC Wants Jimmy Kimmel to Shut Up
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's first reaction to ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel calling out the Graham-Cassidy plan to dismantle the Affordable Care Act for, among other things, making it permissible for states to eliminate coverage for pre-existing conditions was to send Nicholas Fondacaro to pen a lengthy tirade attacking the "tirade" he claimed Kimmel made and declaring that Kimmel was "politicizing his son’s medical condition to push for socialized medicine." He also took Kimmel's self-deprecation of himself as only an expert on eating pizza and tried to turn it into an insult.

In the process, Fondacaro selectively edited out much Kimmel said about the Graham-Cassidy plan opening the door to elimination of pre-existing condition coverage, and Sen. Bill Cassidy's promise to him that any health care plan he backs would not do that.

Fondacaro also stuck to regurgitating Republican talking points about the plan, insisting that the millions who would lose coverage under it would be "primarily driven by people CHOOSING not to purchase healthcare."Fondacaro went on to rant (boldface his):

In a cry of desperation for socialized medicine, he championed the health care systems of other countries: “It’s unbelievable. Somehow Japan, England, and Canada, and Germany, France, they all figured healthcare out. And don’t say they have terrible healthcare because it’s just not true.

But the pizza eating expert was 100 percent wrong on what good health care looked like around the world. All one has to do was look at the case of newborn Charlie Gard. Because of healthcare rationing, a British court put him on a long path to death because they didn’t want to waste their resources on him or allow the family to take him to America for treatment.

We're still waiting to see if Kimmel agrees with that aspect of socialized medicine if that were his son.

Fondacaro didn't mention that Gard suffered from an extremely rare genetic disease for which there is no known cure; Kimmel's son suffers from a much less rare heart defect that can be repaired through open-heart surgery.

The clear intent of Fondacaro and the MRC here was to shut up Kimmel before his attacks on Graham-Cassidy gained any traction, but it was soon reduced to whining about the attention it got:

  • Curtis Houck whined that CNN's Chris Cillizza, who wrote about Kimmel, failed to "fact-check" him.
  • Fondacaro once again huffed that Kimmel went on an "anti-GOP tirade" and "was willing [sic] politicizing his son’s medical condition."
  • Curtis Houck wrote a piece with the blaring headline "Ben Shapiro Eviscerates Jimmy Kimmel’s Health Care Tirades; ‘Egregious’ to Exploit His Son," complaining that Kimmel went on an "emotion-driven push to socialize health care."
  • When Graham-Cassidy failed after key Republicans failed to support it, Kyle Drennen attacked anyone who credited Kimmel for it.

Finally, Tim Graham whined that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumerwas among those who helped Kimmel respond to Graham-Cassidy: "ABC is being used for Democrat propaganda, and then wonders: why won't people see us as fair and balanced? Why do people call us 'fake news'?" Not only does Graham fail to identify anything Kimmel said that was "fake" or "propaganda," he apparently thinks that a late-night talk show is "news."


Posted by Terry K. at 11:31 PM EDT
Saturday, September 23, 2017
MRC Obsesses Over Dem Mayor Accused of Abuse, Silent on Conservative Cradle-Robber
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has taken an unusual interest in Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and the resurfacing of decades-old allegations of sexual abuse:

In April, Tom Blumer grumbled that the "establishment press" was insufficiently labeling Murray as a Democrat, purportedly because "Ed Murray is not just any Democrat, he's a progressive Democrat, and a "face of resistance" to Donald Trump." Blumer went on to accuse the Seattle Times of deliberately burying the allegations despite lacking evidence to back them up.

The next month, Blumer ranted that the Seattle media "didn't do its job to expose the accusations against Murray ... apparently giving him cover because he is a 'progressive' Democrat," adding: "If the Murray situation ends up going in the direction it appears to be headed, seeing how the Seattle Timesand the city's leftists try to explain away the fact that their permissive, 'gay-friendly' culture allowed a child molester to serve as their mayor for over three years, and as a state senator for the six years before that, should be quite a spectacle."

Blumer returned in July to once again grumble about Murray being insufficiently labeled as a Democrat as new accusations surfaced, cheering how Murray apparently now "fit the stereotype" of a child-molesting homosexual.

Following Murray's resignation earlier this month after more allegation surfaced, a self-satisfied Blumer declared that "Much of the press still insists on protecting the Democratic Party from its decades-long association with Murray." A companion post by Scott Whitlock similarly complained that the media was insufficiently identifying the party of the "liberal Democrat mayor."

Meanwhile, over at the MRC's "news" division CNSNews.com, managing editor Michael W. Chapman made sure to put "Gay Democratic Mayor" in the headline of his article about Murray's resignation. Chapman went on a scare-quote binge in noting that Murray is "married" and has a "husband," and he also touted previous articles on Murray that also put "Gay Democratic Mayor" in the headline.

Meanwhile, both CNS and the rest of the MRC have been silent so far on serial untoward, if not predatory, behavior by one of its favorite conservative icons.

Earlier this month, conservative actor James Woods made the mistake of complaining on his voluable Twitter account about an upcoming film about a gay relationship between a 24-year-old and a 17-year-old.One of the film's actors, Armie Hammer, responded by tweeting at Woods, "Didn't you date a 19 year old when you were 60.......?"(Actually, she was 20 and he was 66.) Then actress Amber Tamblyn reminded Woods that he tried to pick her and a friend up when she was a teenage unknown: "He wanted to take us to Vegas. 'I'm 16' I said. 'Even better' he said."

Woods accused Tamblyn of lying, but Tamblyn went on to pen an open letter detailing the story and asking, "Are you and your history with women and girls a part of the problem, Mr. Woods?" This was followed by a New York Times op-ed by Tamblyn in which she takes umbrage at Woods calling her a liar: "What would I get out of accusing this person of such an action, almost 20 years after the fact? Notoriety, power or respect? I am more than confident with my quota of all three. Even then, why would I choose the guy from 'Scary Movie 2' to help my stature when I’m already married to the other guy from 'Scary Movie 2'?"

Despite the fact that the various MRC divisions love to write about him and fawaningly quote his conservative-friendly Twitter rants -- sample headline: "James Woods Puts Traitor 'Brad' Manning In His/Her Place" -- no MRC website has breathed a word about Woods' serial cradle-robbing. While not the illegal offense Murray was accused of (albeit well outside the statute of limitations), it's increasingly creepy and unseemly as he apparently continues to like them barely legal even as he grows older.

This is just the latest example of the MRC turning refusing to hold its own side to the behavior it expects from the people it attacks.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:30 AM EDT
WND 'Muslim Mafia' Lawsuit Grinds Forward
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In May, WorldNetDaily's Art Moore penned an article -- updated for unclear reasons on Sept. 14 -- touting the apparently upcoming trial over the WND-published book "Muslim Mafia." Needless to say, it's a puff piece for WND's side of the case.

To recap: Anti-Muslim activist David Gaubatz -- who has admitted that most anti-Muslim groups are in it for the money -- recruited his son, Chris Gaubatz, to get a job as an intern at the Council on American-Islamic Relations office in Washington, D.C., where he stole in Moore's words, "some 12,000 pages of documents that were headed for a shredder," the contents of which were turned into "Muslim Mafia" (co-written by discredited reporter Paul Sperry). CAIR sued the Gaubatzes as well as the Center for Security Policy, which helped the Gaubatzes with their little sting, accusing theft and other claims.

Moore rants of CAIR: "Lacking any grounds to rebut the overwhelming evidence that it actually is a Muslim Brotherhood front, the group amends it complaint then prolongs the case through frivolous motions until finally, after eight years, a trial is set to be scheduled." But Moore provides no evidence that CAIR did such a thing -- indeed, WND provides no links at all to any legal document from the case.

Meanwhile, the American Freedom Law Center, which is representing the CSP, sheds a little more light on the subject than WND does; as of 2014, it was trying to obtain a summary judgment against CAIR, which was mostly denied in 2015. Dragging that out doesn't seem to be CAIR's fault.

Now, we've been writing about this case since 2009, and one sticking point remains that WND is still not eager to definitively answer. CAIR has claimed that Chris Gaubatz signed a confidentiality agreement upon his employment there -- something that, to our knowledge, Gaubatz has never explicitly denied.

Moore's article indicates this denial still doesn't exist in running down the defenses Gaubatz's legal team plans to use: CAIR doesn't legally exist, and the First Amendment trumps any privacy agreement.

Now, the last time a lawsuit involving WND dragged on this long, it was when a Tennessee car dealer sued WND for falsely portryaing him as a drug dealer. WND abruptly settled it shortly before it was to go to trial  with a secret settlement that included a public apology to the car dealer for falsely defaming him.

Will this lawsuit end the same way? We shall see.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:43 AM EDT
Friday, September 22, 2017
MRC Writer Castigates Dem Obstruction of Nominees, Forgets That GOP Controls Congress
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Nicholas Fondacaro complained in a Sept. 18 post:

With President Trump set to address the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, NBC Nightly News spent a portion of Monday night’s broadcast slamming Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and spreading rumors of his removal. Their gripe was over the fact that key positions inside his department had yet to be filled. The network’s Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell whined about it while neglecting to mention the unprecedented obstruction by Senate Democrats with confirmations.

[...]

What Mitchell failed to mention was the unprecedented obstruction by Senate Democrats with their confirmations. As proof of this: Two of the ambassadorships she whined about, Afghanistan and India both had nominees but they’re still waiting for the process to proceed. And as reported by The Washington Post, only 22 of the State Department nominees had been confirmed with another 39 awaiting confirmation. Many of those are ambassadorships.

And it’s not just Trump’s State Department feeling the pain. The Post also noted that out of Trump’s 345 total nominations, less than half (140) have been confirmed. That leaves another 196 nominees held-up by Senate Democrats, while 9 nominations had failed.

The nominees were also facing the longest confirmation process of any recent administration at 56 days for each one, the maximum time allowed.

But at no point does Fondacaro prove that any State Department nominee is being obstructed by Democrats.

Fondacaro also neglects the relevant fact that Republicans are majority party in Congress, so there's only so much obstructing Democrats can do. CNN has noted that "Democrats say the White House's failure to submit the full documentation for nominees -- along with necessary background checks and ethics paperwork -- is what's really holding up the nominations," adding that "it's still ultimately Republicans who control the calendar and committee process in the Senate."

But Fondacaro is too busy trying to score a partisan political point to actually do research on the issue he's writing about.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:05 PM EDT
WND Thinks It's 'Bonkers' For SPLC To Demand Right-Wing Media Get Its Facts Right
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Bob Unruh writes in a Sept. 11 WorldNetDaily article, under the headline "Left's 'attack dog' goes bonkers on Fox News":

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which has unleashed damaging and unsubstantiated claims about conservative organizations as a standard business practice for years, and in fact has been named in at least two lawsuits recently over its alleged defamation of conservatives, now has delivered a letter to Fox News, claiming its reporting defamed the far-left organization.

The SPLC routinely attacks conservatives, such as its labeling the staunchly American values-based Alliance Defending Freedom and Liberty Counsel, and the family promoting Family Research Council as “hate” groups because of their religious beliefs.

SPLC, which has been linked to domestic terrorism and attempted mass murder, claims now that Fox News’ reporting on its activities was “inaccurate, defamatory, and irresponsible.”

The letter from SPLC spokesman James Knoepp to Fox complained that a report on “The Five” incorrectly stated that the organization, with assets in the hundreds of millions of dollars, “provided just $61,000 in ‘legal assistance.'”

SPLC claimed that was its “internal legal services” and that it actually “spent more than $1.8 million on out-of-pocket case costs for litigation brought on behalf of its clients.”

The organization said it worked on a case advocating for better treatment for prisoners and on behalf of vicitims of bail bond companies in Orleans Parish, Louisiana, among others.

“The show also implied there was something nefarious about the fact that the SPLC uses investment vehicles incorporated outside of the United States, going so far as to claim it constituted a money laundering operation,” SPLC said. “As Fox News surely knows, it is common for universities, foundations and other nonprofit organizations to have a portion of their endowments invested in off-shore funds.”

So, according to Unruh and WND, it's "bonkers" for the SPLC to expect a news organization to not tell falsehoods about it. That's to be expected given WND's irresponsible penchant for spreading fake news. WND's mocking also makes editor Joseph Farah's petulant demand that an obscure blogger correct things that are undeniably true even more hypocritical. Unlike Farah, the SPLC has documented facts to back up its claims.

The point of Unruh's article, though, is to argue that the SPLC deserves to be lied about because it purportedly was wrong to label anti-gay groups as "hate groups." As usual, Unruh never disproves the claim.

From there, Unruh's article descends into the usual anti-SPLC boilerplate. He also touted how "conservative leaders sent an open letter to members of the media calling on them to stop using data from the 'discredited Southern Poverty Law Center'" without mentioning that one of the signatories was his boss, Farah. That's an undisclosed conflict of interest, making Unruh's article even more of an instrument of revenge and even less an act of journalism.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:53 PM EDT
Hillary Derangement Syndrome, MRC Media Coverage Edition
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center remains in the throes of Hillary Derangement Syndrome. There's no better illustration of that than its predictable freakout any time someone suggests that media was unfair to her during the 2016 presidential election.

An Aug. 30 column by the MRC's Tim Graham and Brent Bozell lashes out at a Harvard University study pointing out that media coverage of Clinton "was focused on scandals, while [Donald] Trump's coverage focused on his core issues." They ranted: "No one could plausibly argue that the media was nicer to Trump than they were to Hillary Clinton, or that they treated his policy proposals with more respect. They dubbed Trump's comments on immigration and Islam as horribly scandalous, while they dismissed Clinton's scandals like the private email server as a 'stupid issue' (as John Dickerson of CBS said)."

But Graham and Bozell were really incensed that the Harvard study's examination of media was much broader than the MRC's usual exceedingly (and strategically) narrow narrow definition of a half-hour of evening news on three channels:

When most people hear the term "the press," they think of the traditional press, the so-called objective media outlets. But this Harvard study defined the press as including a bunch of "hyperpartisan" sites, from Breitbart on the right to the Daily Kos on the left. It evaluated social media, studying the most shared stories of the campaign. That might be interesting, but it's not a study of press coverage as most people understand it.

Just because the study's definition of media doesn't conform to the one the MRC constructed for maximum ideological explitation doesn't mean it's invalild. In fact, it's much more accurate. Let's not pretend that a significant number of Americans don't get a significant amount of their political news from "hyperpartisan" operations.

Bozell and Graham then returned to rant mode to attack the study's methodology:

But here's where we scream "Buyer beware" on these studies of campaign bias. Did the Harvard researchers actually read the contents of each story? No. They offered "content analysis using automated tools."

They had Media Cloud software scan sentences ... because their sample was literally millions of stories. This is as nebulous as counting the number of Google mentions of a topic to say whether it was overcovered or undercovered. At least another Harvard outfit, the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, issues studies "conducted by trained full-time employees who visually evaluate the content."

As if this is somehow less rigorous than the MRC's so-called "methodology" of assigning entirely subjective "negative" or "positive" values to news coverage that deliberately fails to consider the factual accuracy of said coverage.It doesn't matter if the contents were read if that reader is so biased (remember, the ability to push a right-wing agenda is a prerequisite for employment at the MRC) that no reasonable person would consider his or her judgments to be objective.

Graham and Bozell concluded by huffing: "Clinton can't blame the liberal media for her defeat."

When Clinton embarked on a media to promote her campaign memoir, "What Happened," in which she blamed her loss in part on the media, the MRC went into freakout mode again, this time in a Sept. 15 post by Rich Noyes with the shouty headline "FACT: The News Media Did NOT Tip the Election to Trump." but all Noyes does is serve up it previous narrowly tailored studies that focus only on that half-hour of evening news on three channels.

For the first time, though -- perhaps annoyed by us pointing out just how strategically narrowly tailored its focus is -- Noyes  offers a justification for focusing only on that tiny sliver of time: reviewing only CBS, ABC and NBC is "the best proxy for a manageable examination of all campaign news from important national sources."

Well, no. Cable news channels are not important sources of news? Political websites aren't? 

The MRC has a multimillion-dollar budget, funded in no small part by Mercer money, and can easily afford to do more comprehensive research. But that would involve having to examine Fox News, whose bias the MRC simply refuses to acknowledge because it's the same bias the MRC wants all media to have.

Noyes' "facts" are preconceived, and the MRC sculpts its so-called evidence to reinforce those preconceived notions -- hence the focus only on network evening news shows to the exclusion of everything else.

Nevertheless, Noyes offers up his own final-paragraph huffing: "Hillary Clinton was not the media darling that Barack Obama was in 2008, but no reasonable person could suggest that political reporters created a landscape more favorable to Donald Trump than to her. And it’s just silly of her to say the news media, which detests Trump, was one of the causes of her defeat." And Noyes detests Clinton enough to insist this is true.

Hillary's book tour brought Graham and Bozell back out to rehash its column from a month earlier, insisting that the Harvard study it bashed last time around was "embarrassingly terrible" because it "included blogs and tweets and was judged by a computer, not actual humans." they went on to cite the MRC's own study, avoiding the fact that its exceedingly narrow focus on "the network evening news broadcasts" is even more embarassingly terrible.

Graham and Bozell let out another end-of-column whine: "All this demonstrates that the media display no self-respect when it's suggested they were all Trump lackeys without a conscience for the country. Where's the fight? Where's the rebuttal? Where's the disgust with such a shameless falsehood? The chin stroking just underlines that they were in Clinton's pantsuit pocket then and they remain there today."

Of course, Graham, Bozell and the rest of the MRC are Trump lackeys fully in his pocket, and they lack any self-respect in insisting their bogus studies have any value beyond advancing a right-wing anti-media agenda.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:24 AM EDT
Thursday, September 21, 2017
Newsmax Columnist Regurgitates Right-Wing Talking Points on Regnery-NYT Spat
Topic: Newsmax

Mark Tapson dutifully does the work right-wing publisher Regnery was hoping to see in devoting a Sept. 13 Newsmax column (also published at the right-leaning website Acculturated) to Regnery's hollow attack on the New YOrk Times bestseller list:

A Times spokesman insisted that the “political views of authors have no bearing on our rankings, and the notion that we would manipulate the lists to exclude books for political reasons is simply ludicrous.”

Ludicrous? The Times says its list is based on “surveys” of “a wide range of retailers who provide us with specific and confidential context of their sales each week. These standards are applied consistently, across the board in order to provide Times readers our best assessment of what books are the most broadly popular at that time.”

Confidential context? Best assessment? Broadly popular? This sounds suspiciously unscientific and non-transparent, and does not address the evidence of the sales figures themselves. The once highly-regarded “newspaper of record” is notoriously leftist and D’Souza is a lightning rod for Progressive animosity, so the idea that there might be some manipulation of the list is not only not ludicrous, it’s likely.

In response, Marji Ross, president of D’Souza’s conservative publisher Regnery, said in a letter to colleagues, “Increasingly, it appears that The Times has gathered book sale data in a manner which prioritizes liberal themed books over conservative books and authors.”

As we've pointed out, the underlying issue ignored by Tapson, as well as by most of the ConWeb, is bulk sales -- Regnery depends on bulk sales to conservative book clubs (it owns one or two of them) and political organizations to juice sales, and the Times apparently doesn't count them.

Tapson goes on to rant about how the right must wage a "culture insurgency" against the left. He doesn't realize that a good start to doing that would be not to reflexively regurgitate right-wing talking points.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:08 PM EDT
Stenography: CNS Does 4 Articles on Trump's U.N. Speech
Topic: CNSNews.com

How eager is CNSNews.com to serve as President Trump's stenographer? It assigned at least three writer to do four -- count 'em, four -- articles on Trump's speech to the United Nations.

First up was Susan Jones, who touted how "President Trump lumped Iran with North Korea, saying both countries are led by 'reckless' regimes," complete with lengthy, copy-and-pasted speech excerpt. She was followed a few minutes later by Mlanie Arter cheering how "President Donald Trump said that if North Korea forces the United States to defend itself or its allies, the U.S. will 'totally destroy' it."

Then, an anonymous CNS writer, in an article credited only to "CNSNews.com Staff," gushed over how Trump "highlighted the fact that although there are 193 nations in the U.N., the U.S. pays 22 percent of the organizations budget." The next day, another anonymously written article featured how Trump made a shout-out to "the almighty God who made us all."

On top of that, prior to Trump's speech, Arter did another fawning article, touting how "In his first appearance at the United Nations, President Donald Trump said bureaucracy and mismanagement are reasons why the world body has not reached its full potential."

There's no journalistic reason to send at least three writers to pen four articles on a Trump speech that could be easily summed up in one. CNS simply cherry-picked the portions of the speech it thought helped further its right-wing agenda, then put them in separate articles to pad out its story count and give the illusion that CNS is a legitmate and prolific "news" organization.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:38 PM EDT
Fake News: WND Baselessly Blames 'Leftists' For Nasty Comments About Bolling's Son
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Chelsea Schilling writes in a Sept. 11 WorldNetDaily article:

In the wake of the death of Eric Chase Bolling Jr., the son of former Fox News star Eric Bolling, leftists are celebrating the tragedy on Twitter, saying it’s “karma” and “justice” for the TV host who lost his job after allegations of sexual harassment.

[...]

When news of Bolling Jr.’s death surfaced, leftists took to Twitter to celebrate the tragic loss, calling it “karma” and “justice” for the alleged actions reported by the Huffington Post.

But at no point does Schilling prove that any of the comments she cites were made by "leftists." Making nasty comments on Twitter is not the exclusive domain of "leftists," even if the target of the nastiness is a right-wing TV host recently fired following allegations of sexual harrassment.

Since Schilling is making a claim she fails to support, that makes this yet another example of fake news at WND.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:48 AM EDT

Newer | Latest | Older

Bookmark and Share

Get the WorldNetDaily Lies sticker!

Find more neat stuff at the ConWebWatch store!

Read my blog on Kindle

Support This Site

« September 2017 »
S M T W T F S
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Bloggers' Rights at EFF
Support Bloggers' Rights!

News Media Blog Network

Add to Technorati Favorites

Add to Google

Subscribe in Bloglines

Add to My AOL