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Wednesday, December 20, 2017
WND Forgets How Money Talked With Clinton's Accusers
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An anonymous WorldNetDaily reporter writes in a Dec. 15 WND article:

Amid a flood of claims of inappropriate sexual behavior against men in Hollywood, sports, the media and politics, allegations about President Trump have resurfaced.

And now a new report suggests some of Trump’s accusers were “compensated.”

The details come from The Hill, which reported it reviewed relevant documents and interviewed some of the principals.

The Hill reported Lisa Bloom, a “well-known women’s rights lawyer,” sought “to arrange compensation from donors and tabloid media outlets for women who made or considered making sexual allegations against Donald Trump.”

This all happened during the 2016 presidential race, the report said.

Bloom’s mother is celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, who represented one of the women who made sexual-misconduct allegations against Roy Moore when he was running for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The report said Bloom’s efforts “included offering to sell alleged victims’ stories to TV outlets in return for a commission for herself, arranging a donor to pay off one Trump accuser’s mortgage and attempting to secure a six-figure payment for another woman who ultimately declined to come forward after being offered as much as $750,000.”

The anonymous WND writer seems to have forgotten there's precedent for women who accuse powerful men of sexual harassment of getting compensation for it or at least trying to.

Gennifer Flowers, for example, cashed in handsomely after accusing Bill Clinton of having an affair with her. Not only was she paid $150,000 by a tabloid newspaper to tell her story, Republicans in Arkansas paid her another $50,000 and she was paid an additional $250,000 by Penthouse magazine for an interview and nude photo shoot. Kathleen Willey was at one time trying to shop her story of Clinton harassment to New York literary agents in order to get a book deal (they refused to bite). Paula Jones ultimately got an $850,000 payday in the form of an out-of-court settlement from Clinton, though her lawyers got most of it and ended up having nude photos published in Penthouse in order to pay the bills, her Clinton-hating conservative promoters having abandoned her after she ceased being useful to them.

Indeed, WND has no problem with cashing in on those very same accusers, having published a book on the subject (and we suspect little of that money ever made its way back to the accusers).

WND might want to make an accounting of all the money it made of Clinton's accusers -- and remember how the accusers themselves tried to cashh in -- before it lectures about Trump's accusers.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:37 PM EST
Old News: MRC Ramps Up Ancient Attacks on Anita Hill
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center, it seems, just can't stop obsessing over Anita Hill, whom it has spent the past 25 years smearing and bashing for making sexual harassment allegations against conservative icon Clarence Thomas. If anything, the attacks are ramping up.

MRC executives Tim Graham and Brent Bozell took a minor potshot at her in their Dec. 8 column: "Anita Hill had no photograph of Thomas grabbing her; she never claimed that he did. He was accused of talking dirty, and for that alone, the Democrats wanted him voted down."

News that Hill has been named by a group of entertainment executives to lead a commission tasked to address sexual harassment and inequality in the entertainment and news industries, however, really cranked up the MRC's wrath.

Kyle Drennen denounced Hill as "discredited" and having "credibility problems" who made "disputed accusations." The only evidence Drennen provides for these claims is a less-than-objective blog post at MRC "news" division CNSNews.com that, as we've noted, has as its chief source an attack website started by a personal friend of Thomas who was a lawyer for the team assembled by George H.W. Bush to push Thomas' nomination through the Senate.

Graham, meanwhile, continues to despise Hill so much that he needed two posts to vent his rage. In the first, he actually calls Hill's allegations "fake news" then spins his own version of the Hill-Thomas controversy, in which he once again pushed his unproven conspiracy theory that Hill came forward because she was chasing a book deal and a cushy law-school job:

After months of trying to defeat Thomas, the Democrats were about to lose the confirmation fight. So at the last minute, NPR and Newsday introduced Anita Hill and her unproven story. Hill testified, and Clarence Thomas strongly rebutted her allegations. When the weekend of hearings were over, a New York Times poll found the American people strongly believed Thomas over Hill, even women:

[...]

Politically, that’s a fiasco for Hill. But all of the mythical treatments of Saint Anita ignored what the American people concluded. The liberal elites have spent the last 25 years trying to revise history and reverse public opinion.

Few remember troubling details that made Hill's account less credible. For example, she followed Clarence Thomas around from job to job in the federal government, from the Education Department to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which doesn't exactly sound like someone seeking a less hostile working environment. Hill denied she was making the charges for her own personal benefit, but liberals raised an endowment to get her a job at the University of Oklahoma. After five years, she gained a prestigious professorship at Brandeis University. In 1993, she signed a two-book deal estimated to be "well over $1 million."

In his second rant, Graham rails against Hill over her 1998 comments regarding allegations against Bill Clinton, in which she reacted the same way that some conservatives have regarding the similar accusations against Donald Trump: it was known before the election, and the voters elected him anyway. Graham didn't mention that parallel of course; instead, he huffed, "If you are a true fighter against any and all sexual harassment, why would one refuse to acknowledge the women accusing Clinton as experiencing sexual harassment?"

(Of course, Graham himself is not a true fighter against any and all sexual harassment, given that he and the rest of the MRC have a certain Fox News-shaped blind spot on the issue.)

Graham also whined that Hill "also poured a bucket of disdain on the Paula Jones lawsuit," but the reason why she did so is why Graham has been attacking Hill's claims: there's no evidence, and her backers are politically motivated. Graham's ranting obscures that relevant point.

Graham concludes by delcaring that Hollywood looks "desperate and preposterous" by appointing Hill to this effort. But is that more or less desperate and preposterous than Graham and the rest of the MRC look in their quarter-century Hill-trashing obsession?

Graham, of course, won't answer that question.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:05 PM EST
Updated: Friday, December 22, 2017 12:33 AM EST
WND Editor's Daughter Is The Vice President's Press Secretary
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In September, it was reported that Alyssa Farah, an adviser to the hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus, had been named press secretary to Vice President Mike Pence.

What most reports of the promotion didn't note: Farah's father is Joseph Farah, founder and editor of WorldNetDaily, the right-wing website notorious for its conspiracy theories, most famously forwarding the notion that President Obama wasn't born in the United States and has no valid birth certificate.

Curiously, the elder Farah has never publicly touted this great achievement by his daughter -- something you'd think he would be proud to tout. (He is, however, currently running a campaign encouraging Americans to thank Pence's boss, President Trump, for his "tireless efforts to change America for the better.")

Alyssa Farah's career path did not follow that of her conspiratorial father, though it was in many ways just as right-wing. She first served as communications director for the College Republicans National Committee and Young Americans for Liberty -- which grew out of Ron Paul's 2008 presidential campaign -- before becoming communications director for Republican Rep. Mark Meadows; her House Freedom Caucus gig was added onto that.

She's a graduate of Patrick Henry College, a conservative Christian school in Virginia outside Washington, D.C., that caters to homeschoolers. It was founded by Michael Farris, who earlier this year became the president and CEO of the anti-gay legal group Alliance Defending Freedom. Patrick Henry had a crisis a few years back involving how the school treated students who were victims of sexual assault (a story WND ignored, by the way).

Alyssa Farah wrote some articles for her dad at WND during her college years and for a couple years after, and they weren't exactly stellar by most journalistic standards (though quite acceptable by WND's lower standards):

  • An April 2008 article creatively reinterpreted a debate over Internet content filters on public-access computers as being solely about pornography.
  • A February 2010 article falsely claimed that a New York Times article on a controversial speaker at the conservative confab CPAC said that the speech "turned racist"; in fact, the Times reported that the speech used "racial stereotypes."
  • A June 2010 article repeated misleading right-wing attacks on Elena Kagan after her nomination as a Supreme Court justice.
  • A March 2013 article went the anti-vaxxer route, as Farah -- billed at this point as a "special Washington correspondent for WND" -- fearmongered about the "thousands of adverse reactions" and "serious side effects" of the human papillomavirus vaccine Gardasil. She also understated the effectiveness of the vaccine.

Alyssa Farah has undeniable right-wing credentials, a family connection to politics that are even further to the right, plus a little experience generating fake news -- which would seem to make her the perfect person to be Mike Pence's press secretary.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, December 20, 2017 12:30 AM EST
Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Brent Bozell's Fox News-Shaped Blind Spot on Sexual Harassment
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Brent Bozell blusters again in a Dec. 18 statement:

It is evident NBC has been breeding a culture of deviancy for decades and doing everything in its power to cover it up along the way. Two major on-air personalities and a top executive have already been fired from the network for sexual misconduct and now a fourth is being accused of the same. While at this time we do not know the full story behind these allegations against Chris Matthews, NBC’s history of covering for deviants creates suspicion.

[...]

Lauer’s lecherous behavior was well-known throughout the NBC hierarchy and went unchecked for years before they were forced to fire him. I can only speculate the same applies to others. If NBC wants to redeem any semblance of credibility they should be transparent and launch an independent investigation into their issues with sexual misconduct in the workplace.

If you substitute Matt Lauer for Roger Ailes or Bill O'Reilly (or Eric Bolling or Charles Payne), you can easily be talking about Fox News, which has also fired two on-air personalities and a top executive and has had a "culture of deviancy for decades." Their behavior was certainly known throughout the Fox News hierarchy and went unchecked for years before the company were forced to fire them.

Yet Bozell never called for Fox News to "launch an independent investigation into their issues with sexual misconduct in the workplace" as he is currently demanding from NBC.

How come? Perhaps because Fox News is the go-to TV outlet for Bozell and other MRC talking heads when they need a little TV exposure. Bozell and Co. don't dare put that free publicity in jeopardy. That's why they have virtually ignored the entire sexual harassment crisis at Fox News.

It's just another Fox News-shaped blind spot at the MRC.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:30 PM EST
WND's Farah Brings Up His Old Obsession With (Female) Teachers Having Affairs With Students
Topic: WorldNetDaily

You might remember that WorldNetDaily has had a longstanding, prurient obession with teachers who have sexual encounters with their students -- but only the female teachers. Male teachers who have sex with students received nowhere near the same scrutiny. WND even considers this creepy obsession part of its "path to greatness." Yet to this day, WND has never explained the purpose of keep such an extensively detailed list of such narrowly focused incidents.

In the midst of pondering the idea of sexual harassment in his Dec. 8 column, WND editor Joseph Farah brings it up again:

Is the only kind of wrongful sexual harassment when a man is the villain and a woman is the victim?

I ask this in all seriousness.

I would wholeheartedly agree that this kind of victimization represents the majority of cases – maybe even the overwhelming majority. But is it the only kind?

For instance, has a powerful woman ever sexually harassed a less powerful, perhaps younger, man? If so, why don’t we ever hear of such cases? After all, since it’s obviously more rare than the other way around, wouldn’t this be what we call in the news business a man-bites-dog story? By definition, doesn’t that make it more newsworthy and more interesting?

On that front, there has been a rising epidemic of women teachers sexually victimizing their students. However, the only news service I know of that has chronicled this trend is WND.com. No others seem interested.

Those cases are taking place in school, where there should be high standards and extra accountability. I think it’s wrong for older men and older women to take advantage of children. Don’t you?

As with WND obsession with "black mob violence," a series of random, isolated anecdotes do not an "epidemic" make. Farah, it seems, is merely engaging in titillation disguised as prudishness.

But Farah wasn't done pondering, moving on to LGBT sexual harassment:

We also hear a lot about homosexuality these days – mostly how wonderful and cool and even heroic it is. It would seem there is a rising number of homosexuals, bisexuals, lesbians, transgenderism and so on as more and more people seem willing to come out of the closet and into the light. My question is: Is there any sexual harassment and victimization going on within these communities? If so, why don’t we hear about it?

After all, from my own experience, Hollywood, the media, government and politics has more than its fair share of such LGBT activity. Does any of it result in sexual victimization? It strains credulity to say it doesn’t. Do you really think Kevin Spacey is the only person in Hollywood or Washington victimizing men and boys? Do any lesbian women ever use their power to sexually harass young or less powerful women or girls?

I’m just asking because I hear so often that as much as 10 percent of the population is LGBT. Do none of them ever use coercion to seek sexual gratification?

If so, where is the attention? Where are the whistleblowers? Where is the #MeToo crowd? Will it take a generation to hear from them?

That's some really dumb pondering on Farah's part. Same-sex inappropriate behavior is being called as well, as director Bryan Singer is learning.

Farah concludes his column by pondering "the legal age of consent for consensual sex," adding: "shouldn’t we be calling the victimization of young girls what we once called it – statutory rape?" Farah might want to have a chat with his buddy Roy Moore about that.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:22 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, December 19, 2017 5:28 PM EST
MRC Fearmongers About Birth Control Cancer Risk
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Katie Yoder began her Dec. 8 post by complaining, "Network health experts reported on a finding that contraception was associated with a 20% increased risk of breast cancer – by reassuring women that they needn’t stop their birth control." Yoder went on to highlight how "The study found a 20% “increased risk of breast cancer” with current and recent use of contraceptives, according to the Associated Press/USA TODAY. That number increased to 38% for women taking such contraception for more than 10 years."

What Yoder didn't tell her readers: According to the very article she cited, the overall increased risk was small, and that some forms of contraception actually lower the risk of some cancers, creating a "net cancer benefit."

Yoder also linked to a New York Times article that, unlike Yoder, also explained just how low the actual risk is: "The new paper estimated that for every 100,000 women, hormone contraceptive use causes an additional 13 breast cancer cases a year. That is, for every 100,000 women using hormonal birth control, there are 68 cases of breast cancer annually, compared with 55 cases a year among nonusers," adding: "Even if the relative risk increases 20 percent, it remains less than one-tenth of 1 percent."

The Times also pointed out (again, unlike Yoder) that the study is not comprehensive because it didn't account for "factors like physical activity, breast feeding and alcohol consumption, which may also influence breast cancer risk."

Yoder is not trying to inform here -- she's trying to fearmonger, and she's mad that the media stuck to the facts and didn't follow her lead. Then again, Yoder has a history of putting agenda before facts, falsely suggesting that federal money to Planned Parenthood pays for abortion, even though it's federally prohibited from doing so, by making the unproven claim that the group's money is "fungible." She also falsely portrayed the PBS Kids channel airing a "sex-ed" program when, in fact, a PBS news program had merely aired a segment on sex education for children in the Netherlands.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:40 AM EST
Monday, December 18, 2017
State Media: WND Pushes Trump Spin on Flynn Arrest
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've documented how CNSNews.com, as a loyal Trump stenographer, made sure to regurgitate the administration's spin on the arrest of Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI that it had nothing to do with any other controversy facing Trump, such as the investigation by Robert Mueller into allegations of Russian collusion.

The pro-Trump state-media outlet that is WorldNetDaily also hewed to the Trump spin on Flynn's arrest in an article by Art Moore, who called in another pro-Trump spinmeister to help him do the deed:

It’s significant that Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, pleaded guilty Friday to the “process crime” of lying to FBI agents rather than to a conspiracy of collusion, contends a former assistant U.S. attorney.

Flynn’s plea in federal court centered on his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. in December 2016, during the presidential transition period. ABC News reported Flynn plans to testify that Trump himself directed him to reach out to Russians.

But Andrew McCarthy, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, argues Special Counsel Robert Mueller would not permit Flynn to settle the case with a single count of lying to FBI agents if his conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak had provided evidence that the Trump administration would ease or eliminate sanctions on Russia as a payback for Russia’s cyber-espionage against the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party.

He pointed out that the only major case Mueller previously has brought was against former Trump-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and an associate, which had nothing to do with the 2016 election.

Moore also made sure to report that "Donald Trump lawyer Ty Cobb contended Friday that Flynn’s guilty plea hasn’t implicated the president in any wrongdoing. ... 'everybody knows there was no collusion’ between his campaign and the Kremlin.'"

The dedicated Trump stenographers in the ConWeb sure know how to stay on message.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:05 PM EST
CNS Tries, Fails To Blame 'Sanctuary Cities' For Homeless Crisis
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com reporter Susan Jones' attempt to be a stenographer for the Trump administration goes a little awry in a Dec. 7 article:

On a single night in January 2017, more than half a million people -- 553,742 of them -- were homeless, based on the the government's national estimate.

That's an increase of 0.7 percent from January 2016, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development says the increase is largely attributed to the jump in unsheltered homeless people in larger cities in the West Coast (some of them sanctuary cities, by the way).

Jones' reference to "sanctuary cities" is apropos of nothing. The HUD press release from which Jones takes her article makes no reference to "sanctuary cities"-- let alone to immigration -- and Jones offers no proof to support her claim that immigration and "sanctuary cities" are contributing to the homeless problem in America.

(Jones loves to make snarky, snide parenthetical asides in her purported "news" articles.)


Posted by Terry K. at 6:29 PM EST
NEW ARTICLE: Protecting The Perv -- And The Revenue
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily goes all-in on defending Roy Moore without telling readers that, as the publisher of his autobiography, it has a vested financial interest in doing so. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 8:50 AM EST
Sunday, December 17, 2017
Tim Graham Pretends The MRC's Millions Don't Influence Media-Bias Debate
Topic: Media Research Center

A Dec. 5 Media Research Center post by Tim Graham highlights a new poll showing that Republicans and Trump supporters hold extremely negative views of the media, which survey leader Brendan Nyhan of Dartmouth University interprets as "reflecting a recognition of the role of the media in holding an opposition president accountable, especially when his party controls both chambers of Congress." Graham sneers in response:

Nice “interpretation,” professor. It can also be interpreted as the Democrats recognize the importance of the media in promoting the success of the Democratic Party in a Republican-majority government. Is it impossible to deduce that increasingly polarized opinions about the media might naturally flow from increasingly polarized reporting that reflects fear and loathing of President Trump?

From Brian Williams to Brian Ross, conservatives and Republicans have witnessed some of the least fair and accurate coverage emerging from the media's liberal biases. Having a daily knowledge of media content leads to informed (and polarized) opinion.

Graham doesn't mention this, but it can also be interpreted as the result of a concerted, partisan Republican and conservative effort in which organizations like Graham's employer spend millions of dollars every year to push the message that the media has a liberal bias. Indeed, Graham makes a nice six-figure salary from the MRC to spread that very message, so it's no surprise that he's staying on point -- which involves pretending that criticism of the "liberal media" is completely organic and not motivated at all by people like the MRC's biggest funders, the Mercers.

Of course, Graham and the MRC only care about certain types of media bias; Fox News is free from their partisan scorn, if only because such scorn could jeopardize the the frequency of appearances by MRC talking heads on the channel.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:47 PM EST
WND Had Link to Pastor Accused of Molesting Teen
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Dan Johnson, the Kentucky state legislator who committed suicide after being accused of sexually molesting a teen girl, has a WorldNetDaily link.

Blogger Richard Bartholomew details how a 2011 WND article by Bob Unruh uncritically repeats Johnson's tale of having set up a morgue near Ground Zero on 9/11 and performed last rites as part of a legal action by WND columnist and terrible lawyer Larry Klayman for clergy to be represented 9/11 memorials in the city. Johnson also spoke at a 2013 anti-Obama rally headed by Klayman and at which WND editor Joseph Farah also spoke.

(Johnson's story about ministering at Ground Zero on 9/11 appears to be bogus, like a lot of things he has claimed to have done.)

Despite that connection to WND, Bartholomew noted, the only coverage Johnson's scandal and suicide got from WND was a copy-and-paste story stolen from a Kentucky TV station, Klayman's latest WND column, published on Dec. 15, didn't mention Johnson at all despite having a relatively close relationship.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:59 PM EST
Saturday, December 16, 2017
MRC Portrays Telling The Truth About Trump As An 'Attack' On Him
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Rsearch Center's Kyle Drennen writes in a Dec. 4 post:

In its desperation to avoid any discussion of a potential major legislative win for the Trump administration and congressional Republicans, Monday’s NBC Today devoted an astonishing 15 times more coverage to the morning show’s fired co-host Billy Bush attacking President Trump in a New York Times op/ed than to the GOP tax bill working its way through Congress.  

“Now on to that scathing on op/ed from Billy Bush in this morning’s New York Times. In it, he takes the President to task over their notorious exchange during a taping for Access Hollywood,” co-host Hoda Kotb hailed as she introduced 4 minutes 49 seconds of coverage on the rehashing of the year-old controversy (Another full minute of coverage came at the top of the 8 a.m. ET hour, making the show total 5 minutes 49 seconds).

Correspondent Kristen Welker followed by eagerly reminding viewers: "Everyone remembers that now-infamous Access Hollywood tape that nearly cost then-candidate Trump the election.” Noting anonymous sources claiming that “in recent weeks, Mr. Trump has reportedly been questioning the authenticity of the tape,” Welker touted how “Billy Bush, who lost his job over the controversy, is speaking out.” She proclaimed: “His message, the tape is real and the President’s denials have hit a raw nerve.”

Wait -- how was Bush "attacking" Trump? He was simply pointing out that, contrary to Trump's recent suggestions otherwise, that is indeed him on the "Access Hollywood" tape. From Bush's Times op-ed:

He said it. “Grab ’em by the pussy.”

Of course he said it. And we laughed along, without a single doubt that this was hypothetical hot air from America’s highest-rated bloviator. Along with Donald Trump and me, there were seven other guys present on the bus at the time, and every single one of us assumed we were listening to a crass standup act. He was performing. Surely, we thought, none of this was real.

We now know better.

[...]

President Trump is currently indulging in some revisionist history, reportedly telling allies, including at least one United States senator, that the voice on the tape is not his. This has hit a raw nerve in me.

I can only imagine how it has reopened the wounds of the women who came forward with their stories about him, and did not receive enough attention. This country is currently trying to reconcile itself to years of power abuse and sexual misconduct. Its leader is wantonly poking the bear.

That's not an attack -- that's pointing out that Trump is lying. That's telling the truth. If Trump wasn't engaging in revisionist history and trying to tell a blatant lie, this wouldn't be a story, but Drennen didn't concede that point.

Only in the world of the MRC -- where facts not favorable to its right-wing agenda or that make Trump look bad must be deflected and denounced -- is it an "attack."


Posted by Terry K. at 10:15 AM EST
WND Managing Editor Pretends He Doesn't Publish Fake News, Or Have An Agenda
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The monthly appeal from WorldNetDaily managing editor David Kupelian to try and get WND readers to send him money for free content carries the headline "1 simple way to kill fake news and drain the swamp." In it, he makes this claim:

Do you remember hearing recently about a Washington, D.C.-based alternative news organization that had actually been the original funder of Fusion GPS, the notorious “oppo-research” outfit that later produced the infamously fraudulent, Democrat-funded “Trump dossier”? Or, what do you suppose happens (another actual example) when a journalism organization’s billionaire funder is overall a good, solid Republican – except he has a gay son who “married” his homosexual partner, and now the father is intensely focused on getting the Republican Party to embrace the entire LGBT agenda? Do you think a news organization funded by him, however conservative and reasonable and right-thinking it might otherwise be, will spend much time exposing the LGBT juggernaut that is currently turning American society, culture and law upside-down?

This is what can and does happen when you are basically a good news organization with good people, but funded by a billionaire with an agenda.

WND founder and Editor Joseph Farah puts it this way: “Even much of the alternative media has an agenda beyond the truth. And since most of it is controlled by the views of its billionaire owners, literally, there are problems with it. The one notable exception is WND. We’re not controlled by a billionaire, a group of billionaires or even millionaires. From the beginning, we simply operate from an independent truth-seeking drive with a God-centered worldview. We don’t make any apologies for it. But it keeps us independent of everything except our one bias – that we serve a Creator God who revealed His love for us through the Bible.”

This independence is one of the biggest factors that distinguishes WND from all of our journalistic colleagues both in the Big Media and the alternative media: We don’t rely on a billionaire funder whose agenda controls us.

We rely on you.

The first example Kupelian cites, the Fusion GPS funder, is the Washington Free Beacon. The second example is apparently a reference to Peter Singer, who is a major funder of the Free Beacon.

But is the Free Beacon's paying Fusion GPS for oppo research any different from WND's claimed hiring of private investigators to dig up dirt on Hillary Clinton, or using its lawyers to draft an affidavit to bolster its Obama birther conspiracy theories? Not really.

Interestingly, Kupelian inserts a bit of fake news here by claiming the "Trump dossier is "infamously fraudulent." In fact, a lot of it has been corroborated elsewhere. That doesn't bode well for Kupelian's quoting of Farah's instenc that WND is on "an independent truth-seeking drive with a God-centered worldview."

Of course, WND's lengthy history of publishing fake news puts the lie to its claim that it's "truth-seeking" (just ask Clark Jones). And what "God-centered worldview" caused Kupelian to sell out his sense of morality to back an thrice-married adulterer and misogynist as his preferred presidential candidate? Indeed, Kupelian uses his column to tout "the stunning election of Donald Trump, sparing [Americans] the unthinkable horrors of a Hillary Clinton presidency."

If Kupelian is really looking for "1 simple way to kill fake news," he might want to try not publishing so much of it.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:35 AM EST
Friday, December 15, 2017
Time For Another Bogus MRC 'Study' of Trump Coverage
Topic: Media Research Center

It's another month, so it's time for yet another bogus Media Research Center "study" of media coverage of President Trump. Manufacture some outrage, Rich Noyes:

But as the Media Research Center has been documenting all year, the media have approached the Trump presidency with unrelenting hostility. Our latest numbers show that coverage of Trump on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts in September, October and November was more than 90 percent negative (our methodology counts only explicitly evaluative statements from reporters or non-partisan sources).

In September, there were just 31 pro-Trump statements on the Big Three vs. 359 negative. In October, the number of positive statements grew to 41, while the negative statements swelled to 435.

In November, there was somewhat less coverage of the President, as political journalists raced to cover the allegations against Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore, but the ratio remained essentially unchanged: 33 positive statements vs. 320 negative statements.

Add it all up, and coverage of Trump has been 91 percent negative during the past three months. Our study of news in June, July and August found an identical rate of 91% negative, which means TV news is unchanged in its hostility toward the President.

As we have before, let's rehash the ways in which this study is bogus:

  1. It focuses only on a tiny sliver of news -- the evening newscasts on the three networks -- and suggests it's indicative of all media.
  2. It pretends there was never any neutral coverage of Trump. Indeed, the study explicitly rejects neutral coverage -- even though that's arguable the bulk of news coverage -- dishonestly counting "only explicitly evaluative statements."
  3. It fails to take into account the stories themselves and whether negative coverage is deserved or admit that negative coverage is the most accurate way to cover a given story.
  4. It fails to provide the raw data or the actual statements it evaluated so its work could be evaluated by others. If the MRC's work was genuine and rigorous, wouldn't it be happy to provide the data to back it up?

But who cares about crappy methodology that wouldn't pass muster among genuine research analysts when the bogus stuff gets so much coverage? The MRC was tickled to death that White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders cited the study's headline number, and the MRC's "news" division CNSNews.com published an op-ed by right-wing activist Tony Perkins that promotes the study.

That self-promotion tells us that actual research isn't the point of the MRC's work -- and that supplying a number to its fellow right-wing activists to tout on friendly media outlets, however bogus and ridiculous, is.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:07 PM EST
Dubious WND Doc Does Armchair Exams of Politicians
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Dubious WorldNetDaily doc Elizabeth Lee Vliet devoted a Nov. 6 column to concern-trolling over the health of politicians she doesn't like:

As Democrats parade the opinions of various psychiatric and psychological TV “experts,” claiming that President Trump is “mentally ill” and unfit for office, I was recently asked: “Should Congress and political candidates release medical records to run for or hold political office?” And “Is it even ethical for psychiatrists and psychologists to be on TV claiming the president is mentally ill, or has a personality disorder, if they have not examined the patient?”

These questions became even more relevant with the recent revelation that Grubbs Pharmacy on Capitol Hill delivers prescriptions almost daily to members of Congress and their staff, some of which are medicines for serious illnesses like Alzheimer’s dementia. In fact, the pharmacist who handles these prescriptions for Congress and the elite on Capitol Hill is quoted in the article saying he finds it “troubling” that the public does not know who is suffering from such diseases that affect brain function, memory, judgment, and ability to think and analyze complex information.

In several recent media interviews, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi demonstrated facial tics, long pauses as she searched for words, stumbling over the pronunciation of simple words and difficulty remembering basic information, dates, names and even who is president.

Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton displayed facial tics, speech pauses, difficulty standing and difficulty recalling words during the 2016 campaign. Yet the public was only told she had “pneumonia.” These observations are not typical of pneumonia and suggest a more serious neurological problem.

Sen. John McCain disclosed he has a serious brain cancer, but has remained in office, casting critical votes that affect all Americans, although this type of cancer can impair thinking and judgment and cause behavior changes.

Vliet's armchair doctoring does have a blind spot, though, for politicians she does like:

President Trump has not exhibited any of the behaviors described above to suggest a medical or mental problem affecting performance. His speech is fluid, articulate and does not show the pauses and loss of common words that are easily observable with Pelosi, Clinton, or McCain.

Vliet wrote this was a few weeks before Trump was, in fact, caught slurring his words.

Vliet went on to demand that politicians make "proper medical disclosures" and she "suggests requiring all politicians holding or running for office to release their medical records and disclose any medical or mental conditions for which they are being treated with prescription medications." That's not necessarily a bad idea, but it's an ironic one coming from her because her idol Trump has made no such disclosures about his own health.

Trump's doctor issued a hastily written statement before the election declaring that "If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency." Vliet certainly understands that's not an informative or even helpful statement for a physician to make.

Right?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:46 AM EST
Updated: Friday, December 15, 2017 12:47 AM EST

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