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Thursday, December 7, 2017
MRC Demands Brian Ross (But Not Bret Baier) Be Fired For Mistake
Topic: Media Research Center

To nobody's surprise, the Media Research Center went all in on exploiting ABC reporter Brian Ross' error in a story on former national security adviser Michael Flynn for maximum partisan effect.

Curtis Houck touted the "embarrassing correction" that had to be made, which allegedly constituted "the latest epic fail by Ross." Houck was even more giddy when ABC announced Ross would be suspended for the error; under a headline that included the words "About Time," proclaiming it as "yet another reason why people dislike the media." And MRC apparatchik Dan Gainor wondered "how you can trust anything" from ABC.

(Last time we checked, Paul Begala and Erroll Southers are still waiting for their corrections and apologies from the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, for the false stories written about them.)

Also to nobody's surprise, this all culminated in an indignant column from the MRC's Tim Graham and Brent Bozell, in which they declare that Ross hasn't paid enough of a price and must be fired, huffing, "These supposed guardians against 'fake news' make it look like fact mangling isn't really a serious offense."

However, the MRC thinks some media errors are less deserving of punishment than others.

As we've documented, shortly before the 2016 election. the MRC went all in on relentlessly promoting a Fox News story citing anonymous sources to claim that an indictment of Hillary Clinton was imminent and that her email server was almost definitely hacked. So all-in was the MRC that Bozell declared, "We will report developments on this continuing cover-up every hour from here on out." Turns out that story was false, and Fox's Bret Baier had to retract it. For all those hours Bozell said his MRC would report on the story, none of them reported on the development that it was bogus.

The MRC never retracted or corrected all the promotion it gave to this false story. It never demanded that Baier be fired for reporting such egregiously false information. Bozell never dismissed Fox News as "fake news" over the story.

Heck, the MRC still hasn't corrected its false post from a couple weeks ago that confused Time Warner and Time Warner Cable.

The MRC needs to clean up its own house first if it ever wants to be taken seriously as a media critic instead of just being dismissed as partisan hacks.

UPDATE: As the Washington Post notes, ABC also reprimanded another employee of the news division -- Chris Vlasto, the head of the investigative unit for which Ross works -- for providing internal poll numbers to Donald Trump's presidential campaign. The MRC hasn't mentioned Vlasto at all. Wonder why...


Posted by Terry K. at 8:55 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, December 7, 2017 10:07 PM EST
Newsmax Touts O'Reilly's Views on Sexual Harassment Without Mentioning He Was Fired For It
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax's courting of Bill O'Reilly for its own little TV network is starting to turn into a full-fledged image rehab campaign, like it has done for other scandal-tarred conservatives. But in order to do so, Newsmax has to withhold certain information from readers.

Cathy Burke wrote of an O'Reilly appearance on Newsmax TV in a Dec. 1 article:

President Donald Trump will be the target of a "hellacious amount of accusations" by the "hate Trump media" if Congress passes a tax cut and the economy continues to grow, commentator and author Bill O'Reilly predicted Thursday.

In an interview with "Newsmax Now" host John Bachman on Newsmax TV, the best-selling author of "Killing England" said Trump "needs to prepare" for the attacks, especially if they "resurrect" allegations of sexual misconduct.

"The women thing is hot now," he said. "That's the big thing. They're going to resurrect that. They'll find more women. That's not hard to do in our society today. . . . So it's going to get very nasty, and I think President Trump himself needs to prepare for this."

Missing from Burke's article: the inconvenient fact that O'Reilly was fired from Fox News after he and it spent millions of dollars to settle allegations of sexual harassment against him. Indeed, at no point in the conversation between O'Reilly and Bachman does O'Reily's own history of sexual harassment get mentioned, beyond obliquely mentioning that Matt Lauer "was pretty tough on you when he interviewed you when 'Killing England' came out." Instead, Bachman proclaimed O'Reilly to be "the most successful cable-news anchor of all time" and plugged O'Reilly's latest book as "the perfect gift for Christmas." Not exactly a hard-hitting interview.

Burke did it again, and at length, in a Dec. 6 article:

O'Reilly said the growing sex harassment scandal in the nation has become, however, a "witch hunt."

"I think that you have to want one thing in all of these cases and that's justice, and each case is different," he said.

"We do have in this country now a witch hunt, no question about it," he said. "And the lawyers know it, so if somebody comes in and say 'I was abused' . . . lawyers know they can get a lot of headlines sympathetic to their client."

He added if someone is sexually abused and steps forward, "that takes an act of courage."

But, he said, "you can't say that everyone who lodges an accusation is a victim. That has to proven."

"The media is certainly not looking for the truth, they're looking for the headline, the sensationalism. The media doesn't care really what happened unless they don't like you, then they want to put you out of business.

"So the American people, they need to be cautious when evaluating these things and it comes down a lot along party lines . . . But I think, to be fair, if you want justice, you have to step back and evaluate each situation differently."

O'Reilly also weighed in on the sexual misconduct scandal enveloping Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, predicting if the former judge gets elected Dec. 12, he will "walk right into" an ethics investigation in the upper chamber.

"In the meantime, he does vote Republican, which is why the [Republican National Committee] and President [Donald] Trump did what they did," he added. "They want the 52 Republican senators to stay intact. . . . But I do believe at this point it hurts the Republican Party in general to ally itself with Roy Moore."

Again, no mention was made of the fact that O'Reilly was fired for sexual harassment.

A clip on the segment featured an gushy introduction by Newsmax host Bill Tucker calling O'Reilly "the most successful cable-news anchor of all time, and you can catch Bill here once a week here on Newsmax TV, but you can catch him every day at billoreilly.com." At no point in the conversation between O'Reilly and host John Bachman does O'Reily's own history of sexual harassment get mentioned -- not even obliquely.

Yep, a total image rehab operation.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:22 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, December 7, 2017 3:24 PM EST
CNS Reporter Uses 'News' Article To Rush to Trump's Defense
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com doesn't just do stenography for Trump -- it runs to his defense and presents it as "news."

A Nov. 28 "news" article by Susan Jones begins with this lament

President Trump's many tweets criticizing "fake news" and the "dishonest" media are an exercise of his own free speech, but that's not the way his liberal critics see it.

Among those critics is James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence under President Obama, who told CNN Monday night that the president's "attack on the free press" is "dangerous and disturbing."

Jones offeres no evidence that Clapper is a "liberal" (being DNI under Obama is not evidence) or that every critic of Trump is a "liberal," as she appears to be suggesting.

After Clapper raised the specter of repressive regimes that suppress the media, Jones leaped into full defense mode: "Trump has never advocated suppressing acccess to the Internet. In fact, since he began his presidential campaign, Trump has used Twitter, an Internet platform, to get his message past liberal media filters."

Unmentioned by Jones: Trump has, in fact, advocated changing libel laws to make it easier to sue media organizations.

Jones uniroinically concludes her article by whining: "The nation's media outlets remain free, but objectivity has flown out the window in the Trump era." It's also flown away from CNS as a whole, and from Jones in particular, who uses a so-called "news" article -- traditionally the epitome of objectivity -- to attack the media and defend a politician she adores.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:19 AM EST
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
WND Lashes Out Against Not-Guilty Verdict in Kate Steinle Case
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Needless to say, the verdict that the undocumente immigrant charged with killing Kate Steinle didn't go over well in the anti-immigrant confines of WorldNetDaily.

WND reporter Leo Hohmann took a break from hating Muslims to vent his outrage in what was presented as a "news" article in a headline that included the words "Kate's blood cries out":

As shocking as it must have been for the family of Kate Steinle to hear the not-guilty verdict handed down for their daughter’s killer, the aftershocks could be even greater.

Steinle, 32, was fatally shot July 1, 2015, while walking with her father on Pier 14 in San Francisco, a notorious sanctuary city where known foreign criminals are shielded from deportation. She was shot accidentally, the jury decided, by Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, a man who had been deported five times, only to re-enter the country illegally for a sixth time, despite having been convicted of seven felonies.

The fact that a jury did not feel compelled to convict such a man on second-degree murder or even involuntary manslaughter charges could end up being a watershed moment for a nation divided on the issue of immigration.

Historians will look back and say tough lessons were learned, causing sanctuary cities to rethink their policies, or the sanctuary movement continued unchecked, leading to further crime waves that gradually overwhelmed cities in certain parts of an increasingly Balkanized America.

The fact that a jury did not feel compelled to convict "such a man" likely has more to do with the prosecution failing to provide evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that "such a man" did, in fact, murder Steinle, but Hohmann doesn't care about the actual evidence.

For his article, Hohmann interviewed only conservative and anti-immigrant activists (with a single tweet criticizing Trump's exploitation of the verdict serving as "balance"), including one activist demanding that Atorney Genreal Jeff Sessions ignore that whole double-jeopardy thing and "file new charges" against Garcia Zarate.

WND columnist Barbara Simpson also doesn't care about the evidence -- she blames "the liberal Bay Area" for the not-guilty verdict -- demanding a jury conviction apparenly based on what little she has read about the case and not the full complement of evidence the jury saw:

The jury found the accused not guilty of her death – he was found not guilty of any degree of homicide charges.

They had the man who held the gun that fired the bullet that killed her.

He admitted to the media, just after the shooting, that he indeed had held the gun that fired the fatal shot.

He said he had found the gun, wrapped in a T-shirt, under a bench. He used it, he said, to shoot at sea lions in the bay. That was just before it just fired, on its own, and the bullets hit Kate and killed her. And then he threw the gun into the bay.

The only thing he was found guilty of was being a felon in possession of a firearm, possibly facing three years in prison. But with credit for time served, he’ll probably serve no time for that at all.

Simpson then complained that the jury was "kept in the dark" about Garcia Zarate's as an undocumented immigrant. That's because his legal status was irrelevant to the crime he was accused of -- it doesn't make him any more or less guilty.

Finally, Simpson made a racial attack on Garcia Zarate, calling him "a homeless, unemployed illegal-alien felon. And until Kate Steinle was killed, he was someone who could have mixed into the huge illegal population of California. There are so many, no one even notices anymore, but if you do, you’re regarded as a racist."

Well, when you put it that way, Barb, it kinda is.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:09 PM EST
NEW ARTICLE: Letting A Pervy Politician Slide
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center can't quite bring itself to issue an unequivocal condemnation of Roy Moore's alleged history of perving on teenage girls. And the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, did its best to bury the Moore story. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 2:05 PM EST
Man Who Runs Website That Likened Obama to Antichrist Offended By Trump-Manson Comparison
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily continues to be blind to its own history when it comes to comparisons of presidents to unfavorable historic figures. WND editor Joseph Farah writes in a Dec. 2 column:

On the heels of comparing President Trump to cult murderer Charles Manson two weeks ago, the latest edition characterizes him in a headline as “basically a hate group all by himself under FBI definition.”

While the Manson comparison was dropped by the magazine days later, the following editor’s note explained why: “An earlier version of this story did not meet Newsweek’s editorial standards and has been revised accordingly.”

But, only two editions later, that didn’t stop the once highly regarded news weekly from committing another explosively dangerous smear of the president of the United States – one for which a Secret Service investigation is warranted.

Has Farah forgotten all of the explosively dangerous smears of the president of the United States his website published over the past eight years? You know, likening President Obama to Hitler and the Antichrist? Didn't Farah think those were exposively dangerous?

Farah is once again denouncing behavior his own website has engaged in. WND did its best to tar Obama as the leader of a hate group. For instance, a 2011 article by Aaron Klein promoted a photo that purported to show "President Obama appearing and marching with members of the New Black Panther Party as he campaigned for president in Selma, Ala., in March 2007. That's not what actually happened, of course; he was at a civil rights march in Selma, Ala, that included several thousand people, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Obama happened to be in the large crowd somewhat near to the New Black Panthers.

And, yes, WND did try to link Obama with Manson, in an August 2013 column by Robert Ringer:

With the racial conflict that has become increasingly prevalent since Barack Obama first took office in 2009, one is tempted to wonder if Charles Manson, the most famous mass murderer of the last half century, might have been onto something when he predicted the inevitability of an all-out race war between blacks and whites.

While Farah whines about the Newsweek criticism of Trump that "violated Newsweek's standards," it's clear that his own website has no such standards to violate -- all of these smears of Obama remain proudly available to this day at WND.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:28 AM EST
Tuesday, December 5, 2017
MRC Teams With Trump To Try And Discredit CBO Estimates
Topic: Media Research Center

One notable part of Trump administration strategy is to attack the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office as inaccurate as a way to short-circuit any criticism of its policies over cost estimates. The Media Research Center, a loyal supporter of Trump, has joined in the paratisan CBO-bashing.

In a Nov. 28 MRC post, Aly Nielsen pushed back on CNN host Wolf Blitzer's claim that the CBO has a good track record, insisting that "In reality, the CBO’s track record isn’t “pretty good.” and adding:

Past predictions from the CBO -- especially concerning Obamacare enrollment -- have also dramatically missed the mark, according to Forbes and Reason. The conservative American Enterprise Institute repeatedly condemned the CBO for vastly overestimating Obamacare enrollment.

Prior to Obamacare’s passage, the CBO estimated 23 million people would sign up through the health care exchanges by 2017. Enrollment was less than half that — just over 9 million enrolled in that time period — AEI visiting fellow Ramesh Ponnuru revealed in March 2017.

While Nielsen concedes that that AEI as conservatvie, she doesn't ad that the rest are too -- the Forbes piece was written by anti-Obamacare activist Grace-Marie Turner -- and if the MRC has taught us anything, it's that media outlets with a point of view shouldn't be trusted.

But as the Washington Post detailed, the CBO's estimate of Obamacare enrollment was inaccurate in part because it expected all states to expand their Medicaid coverage, when many did not because the Supreme Court ruled that Medicaid expansion was optional. The CBO also thought Obamacare's package of incentives for enrollment and penalties for not enrolling would cause more people to enroll than actually have done so.

Remember, Nielsen's post is done in the service of the Trump agenda. The CBO estimated that the tax-cut plan Trump is championing will add $1.4 trillion to the deficit, and Nielsen quotes Republican Sen. James Lankford bashing the CBO because it "assume[s] if you cut taxes, nothing happens in the economy" and, in Nielsen's words, "tax cuts have historically lead [sic] to economic growth." To back this up, Nielsen cites another article from the conservative AEI, which says nothing about the current situation.

In the real world, PolitiFact tried -- and failed -- to find experts who could demonstrate that a tax cut fully paid for itself in increased revenue, and that the available evidence showed that tax cuts can hurt revenue.

But then, Nielsen isn't being paid by the MRC to do full and impartial research -- she's there to support Trump.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:35 PM EST
WND's Peterson: Thank God For 'Great White Hope' Trump!
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Jesse Lee Peterson is at it again in his Nov. 26 WorldNetDaily column, going way over the top in his effusive praise of Donald Trump, who he once more calls the "great white hope":

Too many people get caught up with material things, and they don’t take time to reflect on the difficult times that God has brought them through because of his grace.

As I reflect on the season, I’m thankful for President Trump – the great white hope – who is putting America first. Despite the lies and attacks from the left-wing media, liberal Democrats and Never Trumpers, Trump is enduring his challenges with class and grace. He’s a glaring contrast to the Fallen Messiah Barack Obama, who spent eight years exploiting identity politics and dividing the country.

In less than a year, Trump has achieved more meaningful accomplishments than any other administration in recent memory.

He is putting our national security first by moving forward with his promise to build a big, beautiful wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. He is allowing our military to do what it was designed for: to fight and kill bad guys.

Trump is rebuilding our armed forces and dismantling liberal policies piece by piece. He is allowing the generals and commanding officers to lead the troops. As a result, ISIS and other radical Islamists are on the run and are being decimated.

Trump appointed Judge Neil Gorsuch – a true conservative – to the United States Supreme Court. He is also quickly filling federal court vacancies, outdoing Obama and George W. Bush during the first 200 days in office in circuit and district court appointments. These appointments will have a huge impact on our laws and culture for many years to come.

Trump has the economy booming again. He is bringing manufacturing back and making trade fair again. All this has resulted in some 1.7 million jobs being created sine he was elected. That’s amazing!

Needless to say, Peterson offers no evidence that Trump has actually done anything to "bring manufacturing jobs back." Indeed, gains in manufacturing jobs under Trump are a continuation of trends that started under President Obama, as are the increases in employment. Peterson is giving Trump credit for something Obama got started.

And it seems Peterson still doesn't know that the original "great white hope" sought to destroy blacks, not help them, so it's actually an insult for Peterson to call Trump that.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:43 PM EST
CNS Dutifully Regurgitates the Trump White House's Line On Flynn
Topic: CNSNews.com

As a dedicated Trump stenographer, CNSNews.com has a primary mission to spin news events to a pro-Trump orientation and unritically report anything that comes out of the Trump administration. And so it goes with the guilty plea by former national security adviser Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI.

In her Dec. 1 article on Flynn's plea, Susan Jones frames it as narrowly as possible to reflect the way the Trump administration wanted it reported -- that Flynn's plea had nothing to do with any other controversy the Trump White House is facing:

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was fired last February for giving “incomplete information” to Vice President Mike Pence about his phone calls with the Russian ambassador, and on Friday, he pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of lying to the FBI about those same phone calls.

Lest there was any doubt about whether CNS was doing Trump's bidding in playing up that angle, a story by Melanie Arter later that day quoted a Trump attorney saying basically the same thing, albeit with more words:

President Donald Trump’s attorney Ty Cobb issued a statement Friday in response to news that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in the Russia probe.

In his statement, Cobb downplayed Flynn’s involvement with the Trump administration, saying he’d only been working for Trump for 25 days and referring to him as “a former Obama administration official.”

“Today, Michael Flynn, a former National Security Advisor at the White House for 25 days during the Trump Administration, and a former Obama administration official, entered a guilty plea to a single count of making a false statement to the FBI,” Cobb said in a statement.

Cobb added that the “false statements” that Flynn gave the FBI “mirror the false statements” that led to his departure from the Trump administration. Flynn was fired for giving “incomplete information” to Vice President Mike Pence about his calls to the Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

“The false statements involved mirror the false statements to White House officials which resulted in his resignation in February of this year,” Cobb said.

“Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn. The conclusion of this phase of the Special Counsel’s work demonstrates again that the Special Counsel is moving with all deliberate speed and clears the way for a prompt and reasonable conclusion,” Cobb added.

Jones didn't really need to do her story, since Arter's stenography of Trump's lawyer was all the pro-Trump spin CNS was really obligated to do.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:50 AM EST
Monday, December 4, 2017
We Want The Perv, Part 3: More Roy Moore Defenders At WND
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've already filled two posts with WorldNetDaily writers defending Roy Moore against credible accusations he perved on teenage girls while a thirtysomething man. And the hits just keep on coming!

WND editor Joseph Farah -- who has skin in the game, having published Moore's autobiography, sales of which presumably plummeted since the scandal broke -- once again shows he's on Team Roy by setting conditions for his accusers that he never applied to people accusing a Clinton or an Obama of wrongdoing:

Not one of the charges against Moore offers any real proof. There are no photographs. They’re all ancient allegations made 40 or more years ago. There were no charges made at the time. In fact, not only is there no proof, there’s no real evidence.

But, on the basis of obviously politically motivated allegations, none of which could ever be adjudicated before the vote in Alabama, Moore is facing possible defeat, the loss of support from his own party, which never liked him anyway, a deeply tarnished character, even a refusal by the Senate to seat him should he win.

[...]

If enough so-called victims make allegations, little or no evidence is necessary to ruin people.

Scott Morefield suemmed it all up with the headline of his column, "I'd vote for alleged ax murderer over a bloody Dem." Still, he elaborates:

To the headline of this column, Moore is no alleged ax murderer. Not even close. But his faults, whatever they may be, pale in comparison to the damage Democrats would do to the country if they seize power, and a Jones victory would put them one crucial step closer to doing just that.

Jane Chastain offered a full-throated defense of Moore, pronouncing the (credibly accused) perv to have a "moral life" and slut-shaing his accusers:

Whether or not you agree with everything he has done in his political career, you must agree that he is a man of principle. He was twice removed from his elected office as as chief justice of the Supreme Court of the state of Alabama for refusing to abide by an order he considered unconstitutional.

Despite press reports to the contrary, Moore has only been accused of wrongdoing by three – not nine – women, and only one of the three passes the smell test. For the record, dating teenage girls is not against the law, and by all accounts from the teens who dated Moore, he was a gentleman.

So let’s examine the one serious accusation that looks somewhat credible, the case of then 14-year-old Leigh Corfman. Ms. Corfman was a troubled teen whose parents were divorced. Moore is said to have offered to watch the young girl (he doesn’t remember it) while her mother went to court to transfer custody to her father because (according to court documents) she was too difficult to handle. Apparently, Corfman bragged to friends that she was seeing an older man, Moore, after that. Then, according to her story, she broke it off after he took her to his home and tried to seduce her.

Washington Post reporters went snooping for dirt, anything, on Moore, and supposedly one of these friends led them to Corfman. Is it possible that this troubled teen had a crush on Moore who was a respected young man in a very small town and made up the story to impress them? Is it possible that this woman, who continued to have problems, actually began to believe it?

Moore has led a moral life. Corfman not so much. At the very least, Moore deserves his day in court. He does not deserve to be roundly excoriated by by members of his own party, absent any proof, and asked to drop out of his Senate race at the 11th hour.

Purple-prose Moore defender Alan Keyes strikes again, this time taking a biblical approach:

With the example of the passion and crucifixion of the innocent Christ continually refreshed by their observant remembrance of His suffering, I marvel at the ease with which some Christians abandon their trust in those whom they have, by their good fruits, adjudged to be fellow members of the living body of Christ. I’m thinking of Judge Roy Moore, of course. During the solemn observance of Christ’s sacrifice, we who profess to represent his presence in our time remember that he was falsely accused and falsely condemned. Some of the people who did so acted unwittingly, carried away by their zeal. They did not recognize in Christ the authority of God, though God’s command of love was the very reason Jesus Christ was born, the ultimate motive for every word he spoke and every miracle he performed, as well as his patient endurance of every insult, defamation and tribulation inflicted upon him.

Even dubious doc Jane Orient, of the far-right Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, felt the need to defend Moore, because hitting on teen girls used to be a good thing:

Moore, after all, has been accused of being a “child molester,” surely the most heinous of crimes. And what does this mean, in his case?

Apparently, when he was a 30-year-old bachelor, he dated younger women. Back in my day, jealous women might have called him a “cradle-robber” because they felt they deserved him more. And maybe on occasion he kissed his date too passionately.

The worst accusation is that he engaged in “inappropriate” behavior (we would’ve called it “heavy petting”) with an underage “child.” The woman was 14, not 16, the Alabama age of consent, and not 12, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s suggested age of consent. Women used to marry much younger; my great-great grandmother was about 13, and she had a happy, long and fruitful life.

What he allegedly did sounds icky to me, and not very smart. Guys, if a 14-year-old girl (“jail bait”) gives you her phone number, invites you to call her on her bedroom phone and offers to sneak out to meet you, you should run, run, run!

But is it credible? I don’t think so. It sounds very fishy to me. How many women did the Washington Post have to stalk to find a few accusers from 40 years ago who have held their peace through other campaigns until now?

(No, Ms. Orient, Ginsburg did not advocate lowering the age of consent to 12.)

Surprisingly -- though, perhaps, mostly to keep its bogus claim of airing a diversity of views viable -- WND did publish a dissenting voice, with a column by Larry Elder claiming that "By supporting Roy Moore, Republicans, on the issue of sexual misconduct, risk turning into the my-guy-wrong-or-wrong hypocrites from across the aisle." Needless to say, if the comments are any indication, Elder's column did not go over well with WND's more vocal readers.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:07 PM EST
MRC Confuses Companies In Trying to Justify Blocking Time Warner Deal
Topic: Media Research Center

In a Nov. 21 post, the Media Research Center's Kyle Drennen complained that "all three network morning shows fretted over the Justice Department filing a lawsuit to block a planned merger between telecommunications giants AT&T and Time Warner Cable. Hosts and correspondents warned of 'politics' being 'at play' in the decision and touted how critics were “raising concerns about the motive behind the government’s legal challenge.'" In attacking people on NBC for raising questions about how the Justice Department wants to block the merger, Drennen added:

The NBC journalists conveniently failed to mention that the last company that attempted to purchase Time Warner Cable was their parent company, Comcast. In 2014, the news network actually pushed that proposed merger with several positive reports on the business plan. Ultimately the deal collapsed when the Obama Justice Department came out in opposition to it on the same antitrust grounds now being cited by the Trump administration.

Apparently everyone at NBC came down with a case of memory loss on Tuesday as they skipped over that important background information.

Drennen's problem here is that he doesn't know there's a difference between Time Warner -- the company that actually is trying to merge with AT&T -- and Time Warner Cable, which operated cable TV franchises and was not involved with CNN or other cable TV channels operated by Time Warner. Time Warner spun off Time Warner Cable in 2008, and was a completely separate company from Time Warner at the time Comcast attempted to buy it. Time Warner Cable was ultimately purchased in 2015 by Charter Communications, a cable provider smaller than Comcast so the same antitrust questions were raised.

As such, it doesn't exist anymore. But Drennen seems to think it still does.

Further, counter to Drennen's claim, the proposed Time Warner-AT&T merger raises none of the same antitrust concerns that the Time Warner Cable-Comcast merger proposal did. A Time Warner Cable-Comcast merger would have created a cable TV behemoth; by contrast, the merged Charter-Time Warner Cable (along with a third company that merged with Charter at the same time) is the same size as Comcast's current cable operations. By contrast, AT&T is mostly a landline and phone company that also owns satellite TV provider DirecTV, while Time Warner owns a movie studio and TV networks and productions (the titular magazine division was just sold).

In short, it's not that much different from the current Comcast, which merged with NBC Universal and now has movie and TV production and TV networks along with its cable offerings. 

Nevertheless, Drennen insisted that the Trump Justice Department was engaging in "routine government oversight -- something the liberal media usually champion." Of course, a president hadn't regularly attacked and disparaged a component of the Comcast-NBC merger. Nor did we have the spectacle of the head of the Justice Department's antitrust division scramble to walk back an earlier claim that he saw no major antitrust problem with the merger, as we're seeing regarding the Time Warner-AT&T proposal.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:46 PM EST
WND's Unruh Still Obscuring Inconvenient Facts In Praying Case
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A year ago, we detailed how WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh hid inconvenient facts about a case pushed by a right-wing legal group in which a woman, Mary Anne Sause, is suing a Kansas police department for purportedly arresting her for praying. Well, there's a new appeal in the case, and Unruh is back to write another press release for the woman's lawyers at the First Liberty Institute.

The Nov. 20 article is about First Liberty's seemingly doomed, grandstanding attempt to the Supreme Court to overturn a federal appeals court rejecting an earlier appeal of a court ruling against the woman. As usual, Unruh is long on uncritically repeating every claim about the case First Liberty makes and short on direct quotes from the court ruling being appealed.

Tellingly, the only direct quote from the ruling that portrays Sause's case as "plausible." Why? Because, as we noted, there are questions about whether the woman is telling the truth, and earlier courts have called Sause's claims implausible. But the appeals court made it clear it wasn't ruling on the facts of the case; it was assuming they were true for the purposes of examining the claim Sause has standing to sue for the purported violation of her constitutional rights.

The appeals court upheld a lower court's ruling that even if Sause's rights regarding freedom of religion were violated, the police officers involved have qualified immunity from being sued.

Because Unruh is too busy writing a press release for the First Lilberty Institute instead of being the "news" reporter he purportedly is, his readers get stenography instead of a full and accurate recounting of the case.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:38 AM EST
Sunday, December 3, 2017
CNS Portrays Trump's Scarborough Conspiracy Theory As Plausible
Topic: CNSNews.com

The problem with CNSNews.com's pro-Trump stenography is that it just lets anything Trump and/or his administration says go by without fact-checking -- you know, like an actual news organization would.

For instance, in a Nov. 29 CNS article, Susan Jones lets this go by:

In a later tweet, Trump took aim at MSNBC's "Morning Joe," which daily attacks the president as incompetent and "not well."

"So now that Matt Lauer is gone when will the Fake News practitioners at NBC be terminating the contract of Phil Griffin? And will they terminate low ratings Joe Scarborough based on the “unsolved mystery” that took place in Florida years ago? Investigate!"

Scarborough is a former congressman from Florida.  Trump apparently was referring to the death of Lori Klausutis, a 28-year-old intern who was found dead in Scarborough’s district office in Okaloosa County, Fla., in July 2001, two months after Scarborough announced that he would resign from Congress.

(Scarborough tweeted later on Wednesday, "Looks like I picked a good day to stop responding to Trump's bizarre tweets. He is not well.")

Had Jones bothered to go beyond stenography to, you know, do even the slightest bit of basic research like a real news organization would, she would have told her readers that there is no mystery about Klausutis' death: Authorities investigated it at the time and concluded the woman's death was caused by hitting her headwhile collapsing from an abnormal heart rhythm.

Jones was still treating Trump's conspiracy theory as plausible the next day, instead attacking Scarborough for engaging in another "anti-Trump diatribe":

Declaring President Trump to be mentally unfit for office and in the early stages of dementia, the hosts of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Thursday said it is time for Trump's Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment, which allows for the president to be removed from office when “he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

The anti-Trump diatribe -- not too much different from those that occur daily on "Morning Joe" -- follows President Trump's tweet on Wednesday aimed at NBC executives and "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough:

Trump tweeted: "So now that Matt Lauer is gone when will the Fake News practitioners at NBC be terminating the contract of Phil Griffin? And will they terminate low ratings Joe Scarborough based on the 'unsolved mystery' that took place in Florida years ago? Investigate!"

A 28-year-old intern was found dead, reportedly of natural causes, in Scarborough's Florida district office in 2001, two months after Scarborough announced his retirement from the U.S. Congress.

Jones does not acknowledge that Trump's conspiracy theory is bogus; instead, she feeds it by suggesting it was never investigated and Klausutis merely "reportedly" died of natural causes. That's important context to this story and, arguably, a key explanation to why Scarborough criticized Trump so harshly and why it was not, as Jones insisted, "not too much different" from other criticism of Trump.

Jones is treating Trump as accurate and authoritative despite the fact that the truth is not on his side, and she's treating the person Trump lied about as a deranged partisan for calling out Trump's lie. That's the textbook definition of media bias -- but it's apparently what CNS is paying Jones to do.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:06 PM EST
WND Still Obsessing Over Arch, Still Won't Say It's Glad ISIS Destroyed It
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've documented WorldNetDaily's obsession with a reproduction of the entrance arch to the Temple of Palmyra (which it insists on calling the Temple of Baal), while downplaying the fact that the reason it exists is that the terrorists of ISIS destroyed the original -- making it seem that WND and its favorite messianic rabbi, Jonathan Cahn, are endorsing ISIS' handiwork here.

A Nov. 20 WND article by Bob Unruh is ostensibly about a Burning Man-esque event on the National Mall called Catharsis that featured "representations of 'Lord Shiva Natarja,' a Hindu god, a massive seven-headed dragon representing Satan" -- curiously, WND doesn't turn to any American source for this; it cites Breaking Israel News, a biased pro-Israel outlet that hosts conferences on prophecy -- but a significant chunk of it is devoted to the Palymra temple reproduction. This time, though, Unruh finally states in a straightforward manner the fate of the original amid all the hand-wringing:

WND has reported recently on the repeated appearances of a reproduction of the historic Temple of Baal.

The arch has risen in London and New York City, the latter only a few steps away from Ground Zero. It was placed outside a global summit in Dubai. More recently, it was even constructed for the G7 Summit in Florence, Italy. 

It’s a replica of a Roman triumphal arch originally built in Palmyra, Syria. Destroyed by the terrorist group ISIS during the current Syrian civil war, the Institute for Digital Archaeology used 3-D printing to rebuild the arch. Since then, the arch has been on a world tour, appearing near global summits and in important cities.

But the arch isn’t just a Roman ruin. It was originally an arch for the Temple of Baal, a pagan god repeatedly mentioned in the Old Testament. The rites of Baal were marked by child sacrifice and ritual prostitution. And many Christians find it strange that such a god keeps being honored or invoked repeatedly at global summits.

Jonathan Cahn, who rocked American Christianity with his New York Times bestseller “The Harbinger” and produced a revolutionary new kind of devotional with “The Book of Mysteries,” told WND he finds the developments ominous.

“When looking at this phenomenon, we have to understand the nature of the god involved,” he explained. “Baal was the god that Israel turned to after it turned away from the God of Scripture. He was the substitute god, the replacement god, the anti-God god – the god of their turning away, their fall. Baal was the god of the apostasy.”

Or, you know, people who care about world history don't like to see terrorists destroy ancient ruins for their own extremist religious purposes.

Cahn clearly approves of ISIS destroying the temple -- for its serves his religious purposes too -- but he and WND know they can't say that out loud.

Also, Unruh began his article by noting that the Burning Man-esque  event came "only 20 years after more than 1 million Christian men gathered at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for the “Stand in the Gap: A Sacred Assembly of Men” event organized by the Denver-based group Promise Keepers." Actually, best estimates were that the 1997 Promise Keepers event drew between 600,000 and 800,000, not a million-plus.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:03 PM EST
Saturday, December 2, 2017
Newsmax's Gizzi Takes Roy Moore's Side, Bashes Opponent
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax "political columnist and chief Washington correspondent" John Gizzi has made it clear whose side he's on in the Alabama Senate race.

After the Washington Post reported on allegations of Moore perving on teenage girls as a thirtysomething man, Gizzi pussyfooted around at first with a Nov. 10 column that highlighted how "almost to a person, Republican leaders in Alabama who spoke to Newsmax rallied behind their already-controversial nominee and denounced both his accusers and the Post." A Nov. 14 column noted concerns from other Republican senators about Moore but added that "keeping Moore out of the Senate would be difficult to imagine" because the procedure has been done so rarely.

Gizzi made his bias crystal clear, though, in a Nov. 20 column dedicated to attacking Moore's Democratic opponent, Doug Jones, for the purportedly "radical" positions of opposing Obamacare repeal and trusting in science:

Jones, 69, has showed no sign of distancing himself from his party’s national platform — an inarguably radical, Bernie Sanders-influenced document that calls for raising the minimum wage to $15, a tough pro-climate change stance, a surtax on millionaires, and abortion-on-demand.

Jones strongly opposes any effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

Jones strongly disagrees with the administration’s position on climate change (“because I actually believe in science”) and has sharp differences on immigration with opponent Moore.

Gizzi then branded as "outrageous" the idea that the American judiciary should look more like America:

At times, Jones’ comments to the press as a private attorney border on the outrageous. In a feature by the Associated Press entitled “Experts Say Alabama Needs More Black Federal Judges," Birmingham attorney Jones endorsed the view that “the federal bench is identified with discrimination laws [and] It would seem the minority population has to be well-represented.”

Gizzi didn't explain why that view is so "outrageous."

Finally, Gizzi found it outrageous that Democrats in Alabama should have any sort of voice in government:

Perhaps Doug Jones’ most telling comment came earlier this year. Noting that he felt the election of 2016 was “very disturbing,” he acknowledged that Alabama voted “overwhelming” for Donald Trump. But, he quickly added, “there were about 37 percent of the people who did not, and they need a voice too.”

Based on his comments on many issues and political associations, it is clear Jones wants to be that voice — and with a very left-of-center tone.

Gizzi doesn't seem equally offended at the related idea that Moore wouldn't be a senator who would represent all Alabamans.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:27 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, December 3, 2017 7:03 PM EST

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