CNS Still Publishing False Trump Admin Claims Without Fact-Checking Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com loves to uncriticallypresent false or misleading statements from the Trump White House as undisputed fact, refusing to subject them to even the most basic level of fact-checking. This happened again in a June 18 CNS article by Susan Jones.
Jones starts off by highlighting the "flurry of tweets" from President Trump in response to the "Monday-morning media hysteria about children being 'ripped' from their mothers or fathers when that parent crosses the border illegally," one of those claims being that it's the Democrats' fault that the Trump administration is separating families at the border due to some unspecified law, not Trump's.
In fact, as an actual news outlet that did an actual fact-check pointed out: "Immigrant families are being separated at the border not because of Democrats and not because some law forces this result, as Trump insists. They’re being separated because the Trump administration, under its zero-tolerance policy, is choosing to prosecute border-crossing adults for any offenses.
Jones also uncritically repeated Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen's assertion that, in Jones' words, "there is no policy of separating families at the border, as long as they are seeking asylum at ports of entry." In fact, as the above fact-check also noted, it is, in fact, a Trump policy because Trump is blaming the Democrats for it and Attorney General Jeff Sessions is defending it. Further, immigrants seeking asylum at ports of entry are routinely turned away because of the volume of people doing so.
Oddly, the same day as Jones' article appeared, an article by Melanie Arter reporting on other Nielsen statements referenced Trump's "zero-tolerance policy" as, you know, an actual policy. Even then, Arter gave Nielsen a pass on misleading rhetoric, uncritically repeating her claim that "the Obama administration, the Bush administration all separated families" at the border.
In fact, while some families were separated, the Bush and Obama administrations had no blanket policy mandating family separation, as the current Trump zero-tolerance policy does.
NEW ARTICLE: WND's Book Bargain Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily remains alive for the time being, but now it wants you to give it even more money to publish editor Joseph Farah's new book (though you can already buy it in digital form). Read more >>
MRC's Graham Whines About Liberal Advocacy News Operations, Forgets MRC Runs CNS Topic: Media Research Center
Smell Tim Graham's hypocrisy in this June 19 Media Research Center post:
Matthew Ingram at the left-wing Columbia Journalism Review is touting the hot new trend in “changing the landscape” of the liberal media: liberal advocacy groups developing their own reporting teams, often by recruiting people who wrote stories for the “mainstream” press.
Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and Greenpeace have created their own “news rooms” because “they’re looking for impact. That agenda may coincide with the news, and they may use traditional journalistic techniques to advance it, but in most cases the larger goal of this work is in service of some kind of policy change or other action, and not information or the public record per se.”
First: Graham offers no evidence whatsoever that the Columbia Journalism Review is "left-wing." Second: Graham seems to have missed that the trend of advocacy groups beginning their own "news" operations began on his side (i.e. the Heritage Foundation's Daily Signal).
In fact, all he has to do is look dodwn the hall at MRC headquarters to see a prime example of it: his organization's own CNSNews.com. It certainly has promotion of an agenda hs a much higher priority than reporting news. Graham cannot seriously claim otherwise.
Instead, Graham sneered that "Conservatives would say most major newspapers and TV networks are more interested in advancing an genda [sic] than putting 'information on the public record per se.'" Of course, Graham is paid to say such silly things -- and he would never say that (in public, anywawy) about right-wing advocacy "news" operations like CNS.
Another WND Columnist Tries His Hand At Promoting Manliness Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily columnists' quest for manliness continues with Larry Tomazak's June 13 column, in which he declares that "God is calling for men to rise up to fulfill our destinies as authentic men aligned with His master plan for true manliness" and goes on to assert:
Today families are in crisis. Fatherlessness is epidemic. Along with it is a parallel problem: a crisis of American manhood.
On college campuses we even have classes called “Rethink Masculinity” pushed by leftists and feminists to eradicate what they call “toxic masculinity.” Proponents don’t present a positive alternative of manly virtue focused on faith, family and female love and protection, but rather neuter men until real masculinity is air-brushed away! Gullible guys become men without chests, resembling the weird “Pat” character of by-gone “Saturday Night Live” comedy skits.
Tomczak the denounces the "Macho Man," the "Marshmallow Man" ("a passive wimp ... a renegade having reneged on his duty to be a man’s man reflecting the image of Christ") and the "Mixed-up Man" ("a sad specimen ... embodying feminine and masculine traits. He may be a homosexual or projects a 'metrosexual' image") before declaring Jesus to be the embodiment of perfect manhood, complete with bullet points:
Imagine what 20 years of carpentry work did for His muscular development.
He walked miles in the grueling sun and then ministered to crowds of thousands, addressing them without amplification.
Visualize Jesus grabbing a whip, overturned tables and driving out money changers from the Temple.
Picture those “boys on the dock,” burly fishermen dropping their nets to follow Him.
Use your sanctified imagination to ponder His horrific flogging and enduring the infamous crucifixion depicted vividly in Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ.”
You might recall that Tomczak had a massive freakout over a Taylor Swift video -- effectively arguing that women should wear burqas -- and despised the film "Love, Simon" for committing the offense of treating gays like regular people.
CNS' Jones In Full Suck-Up Mode for Trump Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com reporter Susan Jones has long been a pro-Trump sycophant. She took that sycophancy to a new level in a June 12 article, in which she marveled at Trump's civility in a press conference. Under the headline "No 'Fake News': Trump Holds Calm, Courteous News Conference in Singapore," Jones gushed:
"I haven't slept in 25 hours," President Trump told a 4 a.m. EDT news conference in Singapore following his historic summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
Nevertheless, the president spoke to reporters for more than an hour, never using the term "fake news," although he did admit he was apprehensive about taking their questions.
"So it is an honor to be with everybody today, the media -- it's a big gathering of media, I will say -- makes me feel very uncomfortable, but it is what it is. People understand that this is something very important to all of us, including yourselves and your families, so thank you very much for being here."
Amazingly, at the end of the news conference, the president was applauded as he walked off the stage.
Several reporters prefaced their questions by congratulating the president on his historic summit with Kim. Trump thanked them.
Jones emphasized the applause for Trump at the end of her article, in which she transcribed Trump's final statement, following by the line "(Applause.)"
That sycophancy is embarassing, even for a right-wing journalists. Then again, CNS paid her to write it and published it as is.
Joseph Farah devoted his June 17 WorldNetDaily column to a lengthy refutation of the idea that the Caananites were wiped out by the Israelites, as the Bible claims (Farah asserts that the Bible states otherwise). We're not going to get into that, since our Bible history is a little shaky.
We will, however, highlight the final two paragraphs of Farah's column, in which he writes:
I guess the lesson is if you want lots of publicity for your fake, phony, fraudulent pseudo-scientific study, don’t say it confirms the Bible, say itrefutesit. And that’s just how this hoax got started.
And the fake news machine was only too eager to play along – mostly without correction and certainly not with repentance.
Of course, WND has long been a fakenewsmachine -- even as it was sliding towards a near-death experience -- and it is not big on publishing corrections, doing it seemingly only when threatened with legal action.
As far as repentence goes, Farah has steadfastly refused to do so for the fake news WND has published over the years, even when he tried to start a politically motivated "day of prayer and fasting" on Sept. 11.
CNS' Double Standard on Forgotten Meetings In The Trump-Russia Probe Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com editor in chief Terry Jeffrey wrote disdainfully and at length in a June 18 article about how "then-FBI Deputy Director Andy McCabe said he did “not recall” whether he was at an August 2016 meeting allegedly held in his own office--that included his then-counsel Lisa Page and then-FBI Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok--in which Page, according to a text message by Strzok, argued “there’s no way he [Trump] gets elected.”
Jeffrey followed that up two days later with a column with even more lengthy disdain: "The report on the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton's email scandal that the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Justice released last week makes one thing clear: Top FBI officials involved in both that investigation and the Russian collusion investigation have bad memories."
By contrast, when the memory lapse was on the side of those whose ideology Jeffrey and CNS shares, they're much more sympathetic. Note the substantial change in town in this article by Susan Jones, which appeared on the same day as Jeffrey's article about McCabe:
The Washington Post on Sunday published a story about longtime Trump associate Roger Stone recalling a May 2016 meeting with a man calling himself Henry Greenberg -- a man with a heavy Russian accent who offered Stone money in exchange for political dirt on Hillary Clinton.
Stone, appearing on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" on Sunday, said he didn't remember the 20-minute exchange "because it was so ridiculous," but he now believes it was an FBI sting operation:
Stone said he didn't remember the meeting until the Office of Special Counsel raised the issue with [Trump campaign official Michael] Caputo, and Caputo then reminded him.
Stone said Greenberg showed up "wearing a MAGA hat and a Trump t-shirt. He makes this offer, I decline, nothing inappropriate happened here, and I have now refreshed my memory and informed the committee."
Meanwhile, an actual news outlet reported that Stone and Caputo had repeatedly denied any such meeting in the past, making their sudden refreshed memory -- which Jones uncritically portrays as undisputed fact -- rather suspect. (Jones didn't mention Stone's previous denials nor his sleaziness.) Jeffrey, meanwhile, put the worst possible spin on unrecalled meetings based on pure speculation.
Funny how a sleaze like Stone gets the benefit of the doubt from CNS, while a top FBI official is presumed guilty in order to fit the pro-Trump editorial agenda.
WND Returns To The Birther Cesspool, Declines Taking Credit For Creating It Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily remains a group of diehard birthers, to the detriment of trying to portray itself as a legitimate news organization after its near-death experience. WND touches on this again in a June 18 article by Bob Unruh.
Unruh writes about a new Pew Research poll finding that "the ability to distinguish fact from opinion is influenced by political knowledge and comfort with the digital world," stating:
Take, for example, the long-argued issue of whether Obama was a natural-born citizen. The dozens of court cases died down toward the end of his first term only after he produced a printed copy of a computer image of what he said was his Hawaiian birth certificate.
Pew used the statement “President Barack Obama was born in the United States” as part of its effort to assess individuals’ ability to decide whether or not the statement was “factual.” That is, could it be tested and determined to be true or not.
Pew determined it was a factual statement, but only six in 10 Republicans agreed. The rest decided it was a matter of opinion.
Even 10 percent of Democrats said the same thing.
Unruh somehow managed to restrain himself from arguing that in WND's world, the statement "President Barack Obama was born in the United States" is a lie.As we'vedocumented, WND has repeatedly hyped dubious -- if not fraudulent -- claims that Obama's birth certificate is a forgery, while studiously refusing to publish evidence showing the opposite.
Unruh also managed to avoid taking credit for the fact that it's beause of right-wing fake-news websites like WND that birther conspiracy theories have as much currency as they do. C'mon, Bob, at least own being a birther!
MRC Whitewashes Roseanne Barr's Nazi Lie About Soros As Merely An 'Anti-Soros Tweet' Topic: Media Research Center
Like WorldNetDaily, the Media Research Center had a chance to correct a lie regularly spread in right-wing media circles. Like WND, it chose not to.
The MRC's Julia Seymour used a June 12 post to follow in WND's footsteps by summarizing a Washington Post interview with George Soros. Because the Post let Soros speak for himself rather than follow the reflexive Soros-bashingagenda the MRC does, Seymour huffed that "the article was flattering to Soros," adding:
The only Soros critics Kranish included were either promoting conspiracy theories about Soros, already controversial or downright reviled — for example, he mentioned a recent anti-Soros tweet by Roseanne Barr, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s complaint that Soros is a “threat to the fundamentals of the constitutional system.”
But Barr's tweet was not merely "anti-Soros" -- it repeated the malicious lie that Soros collaborated with the Nazis during World War II when, in fact, he was a teenage Jew trying to avoid detection by the Nazis. The Post article specifically stated that about the Barr tweet, yet Seymour felt the need to whitewash it as merely "anti-Soros."
While we could find no instance of the MRC spreading this lie, it would have been the responsible thing for Seymour to point out that Barr's tweet was, in fact, a lie instead of whitewashing it. But then, that might have interfered with the demonization campaign the MRC has waged against Soros for years, which at one point denigrated Soros as "the godfather of the left" and used the vaguely anti-Semitic "puppet master" graphic shown above.
Newsmax Image Rehab Project Bolling Gets A New Job Topic: Newsmax
The heavy lifting for Newsmax for the Eric Bolling image rehab project is apparently over, as the credibly accused sexual harasser scored a new show at right-wing CRTV, with his regular appearances on Newsmax TV drying up around the time his new job started. But that doesn't mean Newsmax won't have him around on occasion -- after all, its image rehab for Bolling is arguably a success.
A June 8 article by Todd Beamon touted Bolling's recent Newsmax TV appearance, in which he dubiously advocated that President Trump "should break all existing multi-lateral trade agreements and negotiate new accords with individual nations." Beamon weirdly described Bolling only as an "author" -- not "a credibly accused sexual harasser who left Fox News in disgrace" or even a host on a competing right-wing media outlet.
Then, a June 19 article promoting Newsmax's "Troopathon" fundraiser listed Bolling among the "amazing array of guests" taking part. The list also included Bill O'Reilly -- another Newsmax image rehab project -- and a host of other right-wingers ... and fake-news purveyor Jack Posobiec.
It's difficult for Newsmax to present itself as credible when it's trying to whitewash credibly accused sexual harassers and associating with right-wing nutjobs.
CNS Lets Another Trump White House Lie Stand Uncorrected Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com reporter Melanie Arter has a bad habit of repeating Trump White House falsehoods and misinformation without correcting them. She does it again in a June 14 article:
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to reports Tuesday that she was planning to leave her White House post at the end of the year, asking if CBS News knows something she doesn’t know about her plans and her future.
“Does @CBSNews know something I don’t about my plans and my future? I was at my daughter’s year-end Kindergarten event and they ran a story about my ‘plans to leave the WH’ without even talking to me. I love my job and am honored to work for @POTUS,” Sanders tweeted Wednesday.
But Arter failed to highlight the fact that Sanders is lying. She even includes a quote from the CBS article (to which she curiously failed to link) explicitly nothing that Sanders failed to respond to "repeated requests for comment before this story was published." Which means that contrary to Sanders' claim, CBS did try to talk to Sanders; she simply refused to respond to the request, then dishonestly complained that CBS ran its story without talking to her.
As the Washington Post points out, the Trump White House regularly uses this tactic as a way to discredit media outlets.
It would be nice if Arter reported facts instead of taking dictation from the Trump White House.
In a June 15 email to the WorldNetDailiy mailing list carrying the headline "Satan evidently doesn't want you to read this email," Farah wrote:
I'm not joking when I say Satan doesn't want you to read this email.
I’ve been sending emails to our hundreds of thousands of subscribers for more than 20 years, but I’ve never had such a tough time getting one delivered as I have with this one.
It must be as important as I believe it is.
So, here’s my third try …
Farah went on to write that "We are far short of our goal of $400,000 with time running out" to "print the massive quantities of this book the marketplace is demanding." But as always, Farah does not demonstrate where exactly that demand is, or why he can't leverage that alleged demand to publish a smaller initial print run then use the profits from that to finance additional print runs.
On June 21, Farah dropped the ambiguity, affirmatively declaring in the headline that "Satan doesn't want you to read this email." He went on to write: "I don’t make this claim lightly: Satan is pulling out all the stops in subverting plans for the release of the most important book I have ever written. ... But the opposition comes in all forms – health challenges, financial crises, technology issues, you name it!"
Farah is so invested in this particular bit of victimhood that he rehashed in his June 21 WND column -- headlined "Satan doesn't want you to read this column" -- in which he sorta likens himself to Jesus in the process of shilling for money:
But, of course, who was it that opposed Jesus – who tempted Him in the wilderness? Who is it that hates the Gospel more than anyone?
And that’s the kind of opposition I am experiencing. It’s palpable. It’s not like anything I have ever before witnessed in my own life.
Why am I baring my soul like this publicly? Because I know I am talking to the widest audience of friends I can reach. I desperately covet your prayers to strengthen me for this challenge.
After all, that is the greatest weapon Jesus has given us. It is what He Himself relied upon during His earthly ministry.
What I will not do is go into many specifics about the opposition I am experiencing – the kind that affects everyone around me. It comes in many forms – from financial crisis to health challenges to technology breakdowns to a multitude of distractions.
Well, you know, if you're claiming that Satan is at the root of your troubles -- particularly those that require other poeple to give you money to get out of -- perhaps you should provide some details so readers can judge if that is indeed the case.
Farah concluded: "Thank you. And please act quickly! I am besieged." He didn't mention that he brought no small part of this besiegement upon himself by publishing fake news and bogus conspiracy theories.
MRC's Double Standard on Exploiting A Parent's Grief Topic: Media Research Center
An anonymously written post credited only to "MRC Latino Staff" states:
Once again, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos proves that no argument is off limits so long as it advances the network’s gun control agenda, not even a conspiracy theory with no basis in fact.
A recent edition of Sunday political affairs talker Al Punto featured an interview with Manuel Oliver, father of Joaquín, who perished in the horrific school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Watch as Ramos goads Oliver into indicting the National Rifle Association as a conspirator in the Parkland shooting, as aired on Univision's Al Punto on Sunday, May 13, 2018:
To be crystal clear: we have no issue whatsoever with Mr. Oliver, who has an absolute right to process his grief as he and his family see fit as they continue to process this tragedy. To suddenly and senselessly lose a child under those circumstances is a parent’s absolute worst nightmare. The parents of those lost to school shootings our fullest measure of love, empathy, and understanding. To that end, Mr. Oliver has nothing but our prayerful support.
We do take exception, however, with the manner in which Ramos chooses to publicly exploit this grief in furtherance of a long-standing gun control agenda.
But when Republicans and Donald Trump exploited the grief of Pat Smith, whose son was killed in the attack on Benghazi, in the furtherance of an agenda by having her spew her raw hatred at the 2016 Republican National convention, the MRC took exception to said exploitation being called out. Curtis Houck ranted:
From the moment that Pat Smith concluded her Monday night speech at the Republican National Convention (RNC) about how her son was murdered in the 2012 Benghazi terror attack, MSNBC had their marching orders to annihilate, demean, and smear Smith for her attacks on Hillary Clinton that left the assembled cast of liberals confused at the “gross accusation” that’s “ruined” the entire night.
"Annihilate, demean, and smear"? How is that different from what Smith did during her speech?
The MRC then whined that the media wouldn't play along with Smith's exploitation, then exploited her grief some more by giving her space to hate even further.
The MRC should stop its own exploitation of people's grief for political purposes before criticizing others for it.
WND Columnist Cites Fake-News Site To Push Idea of 'Deep State' Coup Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily columnist James Zumwalt has a definitelove for fake news. He demostrates that once again in his June 13 column, in which he responds to former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens' idea the the Second Amendment is a relic of another time. Zumwalt argues that there are times when citizens may need to lead a coup against the government, speculating on two recent examples. The first was the Watergate scandal, in which "the abuse of power during Watergate could well have led to a coup." He then writes:
The second incident during Stevens’ lifetime involves an actual attempted coup, evidence of which we see unfolding today. It is clear, 19 months after the 2016 presidential election, that high-level U.S. government players worked to manipulate events to secure the election of Hillary Clinton and, failing to do so, manipulate the ouster of President Donald Trump. The dust has yet to settle from all the activity involved, but when it does the American public will be shocked to learn how a coup attempt may well have been imposed upon it by the Deep State. Had it succeeded, it may have been an armed citizenry left to restore liberty.
Zumwalt's source for the "attempted coup" claim is a pro-Russia conspiracy website called WhatDoesItMean.com. It a notorious fake-news promoter that's been busted repeatedly. The website even admits that a significant portion of its content is fake: "Some events depicted in certain articles on this website are fictitious and any similarity to any person living or dead is merely coincidental. Some other articles may be based on actual events but which in certain cases incidents, characters and timelines have been changed for dramatic purposes. Certain characters may be composites, or entirely fictitious."
In addition to the conspiratorial ranting, the WhatDoesItMean.com article to which Zumwalt links contains a blatant bit of fake news, by including a graphic claiming that CNN used pictures of "the same girl in 3 different Refugee Crisis pictures being saved by 3 different men." In fact, all the images are from a single incident, and there's no evidence CNN ever portrayed them as representing anything else.
CNS Gives Platform to Heritage Columnist to Cheer Authoritarian Hungarian Leader Topic: CNSNews.com
We've previously noted CNSNews.com's love for right-wing authoritarian Hungarian leader Viktor Orban, painting him as merely a Trump-esque "populist" while whitewashing his racist and xenophobic traits. The whitewashing continued in a May 23 CNS column by the Heritage Foundation's Mike Gonzalez:
Hungary’s maverick prime minister, Viktor Orban, is once again stirring the pot of goulash.
Four years ago, Orban gave his critics ammunition when he said he was constructing an “illiberal democracy.” This month he doubled down, declaring liberal democracy dead and urging other European leaders to stop trying to revive the corpse.
Instead, Orban exhorted them to get busy invoking a new democracy based on Christian principles.
For many reasons, Orban deserves our attention when he says his ambition—“now we want to hunt really big game” is precisely how he put it—is to change the course of Europe.
He is flushed with an electoral victory in which his party last month captured more votes than all of the opposition combined. He has defeated German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the important philosophical debate over immigration (Orban says it should be lowered). And he has vanquished the leftist billionaire George Soros, who just announced his NGO is leaving Hungary.
Most importantly, the question of values is the fundamental issue confronting the continent. Unlike the United States, modern European states are not founded upon creedal documents that lay out the constituting character and culture of the nation, and how to preserve them.
Gonzalez waits until the 12th paragraph to concede that Orban is perhaps not an American ideal, though he whitewashes Orban's ultra-nationalism in the process:
But first it is important to note obvious downsides. Orban is no Thomas Jefferson, and his emphasis on ethnicity, not civic nationalism contained within borders, is sui generis.
If you believe that all men are created equal, are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that governments are instituted “to secure these rights” and “the blessings of liberty,” then the type of state that Orban wants to build is likely not your bag.
Most important, securing individuals’ liberties is most assuredly not the central purpose of the state he is busy creating. As he said, again, in the 2014 speech:
“The new state that we are constructing in Hungary is an illiberal state, a non-liberal state. It does not reject the fundamental principles of liberalism such as freedom, and I could list a few more, but it does not make this ideology the central element of state organization, but instead includes a different, special, national approach.” (Emphasis added.)
There is good reason why ethnic, rather than civic, nationalism gives us pause. Though ethnic nationalism is unassailable from a natural rights perspective, it does de-emphasize the individual’s agency by making citizenship (belonging) non-volitional.
Still, Gonzalez is not terribly bothered by all this, declaring that "this is less of an indictment of Orban than one would think" because "he’s building a state for Hungarians, not Americans—and we must remember that even though safeguarding freedom must be our central animating spirit, to do that, we too, must preserve America’s unique culture."
And Gonzalez concludes with a more full-throated endorsement of the authoritarian: "By attempting to reintroduce the Judeo-Christian ethic into a secularized Europe, Orban arguably is giving Europe a chance to do just that. Even if the ethnic model he and his electorate may be pursuing is irreplicable in America or most of Western Europe, the values model could have a lot to offer."
Gonzalez -- and, thus, CNS -- has to overlook a clear history of authoritarianism and anti-Semitism to reach this gushy conclusion.