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Sunday, September 23, 2018
CNS Embraces Fake-News Strzok 'Media Leak Strategy' Narrative
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com's Susan Jones trumpet the right-wing pro-Trump media's latest narrative in a Sept. 11 article:

“For months, we’ve seen evidence suggesting FBI/DOJ leaked to the media for their own purposes. TODAY, we have a new text,” Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) tweeted Monday night.

Meadows said the newly released texts from former FBI Agent Peter Strzok to former FBI attorney Lisa Page suggest a “coordinated effort” by FBI and Justice Department officials to leak information potentially harmful to President Donald Trump’s administration.

In a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Monday, Meadows released the following April 2017 text exchanges, saying they would lead a “reasonable person” to question whether the FBI’s goal was to investigate wrongdoing – or to place derogatory information in the media to justify the ongoing Trump-Russia probe.

The accusation centers on a text from Strzok to Page referencing a "media leak strategy." But Meadows' interpretation, which Jones presents at length and effectively without challenge, is a bit on the bogus side.

As a real news outlet, the Washington Post, reported, Strzok's attorney pointed out that the "media leak strategy" reference was to an internal Department of Justice attempt to stop media leaks. the Post continued:

By itself, the text is difficult to interpret. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then-FBI Director James B. Comey had vowed to crack down on leaks, and investigating such disclosures if they contained classified information would have been a part of Strzok’s job as a counterintelligence agent. Aitan Goelman, Strzok’s attorney, says that is what Strzok was referring to.

“The term ‘media leak strategy’ in Mr. Strzok’s text refers to a Department-wide initiative to detect and stop leaks to the media,” Goelman said in a statement. “The President and his enablers are once again peddling unfounded conspiracy theories to mislead the American People.”

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, released other text messages from the same day, which seem to show Page and Strzok having a broad discussion about the Justice Department’s regulations on media leaks. The lawmakers accused Republicans in Congress of selectively publicizing messages “to fabricate conspiracy theories to protect President Trump.”

Because Jones' assigned job is to protect Trump and attack his perceived enemies, she gave that defense the shortest of shrifts: "Strzok's lawyer said Strzok and Page were discussing a strategy to stop media leaks, a response that drew scoffs from Trump defenders." Jones elaborated no further about what Strzok's lawyer (whom she couldn't even be bothered to name) said, nor did she detaial any of the "scoffs" she claimed took place.

The next day, CNS published a column by the Heritage Foundation Hans von Spakovsky reinforcing Meadows' conspiratorial narrative, with no mention at all of the context those memos appeared in or the rebuttal offered by Strzok's lawyer.

CNS has recently been sending out links on Twitter to its "news" articles with the statement, "Stay informed and on top of the news. Read the latest from CNS News." But if CNS is more interested in pushing right-wing conspiracy theories, it's not keeping its readers "informed."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:03 PM EDT
What Happened To Gina Loudon's WND Column Defending Teen Daughter's Relationship With Much Older Man?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Onetime WorldNetDaily columnist Gina Loudon popped up again in the media lately when she appeared on Fox News to declare that President Trump is "the most sound-minded person to ever occupy the White House," according to the "science and real data and true psychological theory" she uses in her new book.That wild claim prompted the Daily Beast to discover that despite the promotional copy on her book, Loudon does not hold a doctorate in psychology (it's in "human and organization systems").

You might remember Loudon making an armchair psychological diagnosis of another president: She used her WND platform to declare that President Obama is a "psychopath," citing as evidence that Obama took too much vacation, his "mysterious and shady past," and his purported "lack of substantive remorse" about the deaths of Americans in Benghazi. That, along with her history of spreading lies and smears, indicates that the psychopathy is on Loudon's side rather than Obama's.

The biggest evidence that something is amiss in Loudon's psyche is a July 2014 column about her then-teenage daughter's relationship with a 57-year-old actor. In this bizarre attempt at damage control and capitalizing on the sensational publicity, Loudon not only defended the relationship by insisting she believes her daughter when she says she "has remained (and remains) pure until marriage," she felt the need to illustrate the column with a decidedly sultry-looking photo of her and her daughter.

When we tried to open the column at the WND website, it now returns a "Error 404 -- Page Not Found" message, which means it was deleted -- presumably at Loudon's request as she raises her public profile as a rabidly pro-Trump surrogate.It has also disappeared from her WND column archive, which jumps from her July 20, 2014, column to her Aug. 3 one and omitting the column that was published on July 27.

Fortunately, the Internet Archive forgets nothing, and it shows that the column was live at WND as recently as September 2017.

Meanwhile, Accuracy in Media's Brian McNicoll devoted an article to insisting that Loudon really is a doctor, insisting that the school that granted her doctorate is fully accredited and that "The chair of her dissertation committee was Marie Farrell, Ed.D., MPH, RN, FAAN, ACC, an adjunct professor at Harvard for 16 years who has worked extensively with distance learning students."


Posted by Terry K. at 5:52 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 23, 2018 7:46 PM EDT
Saturday, September 22, 2018
MRC Was Much Harder On CBS Chief's Sexual Harassment Than Fox News Chief's
Topic: Media Research Center

How did the Media Research Center cover the sexual harassment allegations that ultimately forced Les Moonves from his position CEO of CBS? In short, with glee:

  • Kyle Drennen claimed the network was in "damage control" and asserted that one reporter "tout[ed] the company line that the accusations may just be a case of 'corporate hardball' as CBS fights off an attempt to re-merge with its former parent company Viacom."
  • Scott Whitlock sneered that CBS host John Dickerson showed "no self awareness as to the people he’s worked with" when he talked about how "one test of a person’s character is if they do the right thing when they don't think anybody is looking," claiming that "The network that, for years, employed alleged sexual harassers Charlie Rose and CEO Les Moonves decided to lecture Americans."
  • Whitlock cheered that "CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King on Tuesday launched a preemptive strike against her own network. She attacked top officials for not showing transparency in an investigation of ex-CEO Les Moonves, a man now accused of sexual harassment and assault.
  • When CBS "60 Minutes" exective producer Jeff Fager was ousted amid similar allegations though, apparently, ultimately because of a not-so-veiled threat he made to a CBS correspondent covering the allegations, Nicholas Fondacaro praised how the correspondent did "her due diligence as a journalist" and how "CBS Evening Newsanchor Jeff Glor delivered a heartfelt message to his colleague" after reporting the story on his show.
  • Tim Graham and Brent Bozell wrote a column bashing Moonves as a "shameless hypocrite, claiming that "Moonves seems similar to Bill Clinton, who struck women as very warm and charming... until he made unwanted advances – to say the least! – and wasn’t getting what he wanted." They went on to grumble: "Over the years, CBS has championed a commitment to expose sexual harassment, even as inside its studios, it was doing the opposite. They wanted to punish Republicans from Donald Trump to Clarence Thomas, whether the accusations were true or not. All along their executives were harassing and assaulting dozens of staff. This wasn’t a casting couch. It was an entire living-room set."

Let's recall how Bozell, Graham and the rest of the MRC provided a much different tone of coverage regarding allegations of sexual harassment against the head of its favorite news channel, Roger Ailes, its top anchor, Bill O'Reilly, and other Fox News hosts and executives, shall we?

  • Graham made light of the accusations against Ailes by quipping that "If these claims of sexual harassment are true, Ailes seems more like Bob Packwood than J. Edgar Hoover."
  • One NewsBusters blogger insisted that Ailes shouldn't be blamed for the pervasive culture of sexual harassment at Fox News, and another claimed it was "liberal bias" for anyone to even discuss Ailes' sexual harassment issues.
  • Whwen Ailes died a year after his sexual harassment was exposed, Bozell gushed that "The good Roger did for America is immeasurable" while completely ignoring the harassment claims. Meanwhile, his MRC attacked every media outlet who referenced thte sexual harassment while reporting on Ailes' death.
  • Graham and Bozell issued a perfunctory denunciation of O'Reilly ("If all the charges of sexual harassment are true, his case is indefensible"), then spent the rest of their column attacking O'Reilly's critics as guilty of "rank hypocrisy," dismissing the allegations as old news and portraying O'Reilly as the victim of a hypocritical "liberal media."
  • The MRC touted O'Reilly's appearance on NBC in which he denied any harassment without offering any evidence to back him up and insisted he was the victim of a "hit job, a political and financial hit job."
  • Bozell touted in an intervew how Fox News viewers would ignore the accusations and that “They’re not going to stop watching Hannity because of Roger Ailes. ... I don’t think they connect the two of them at all.”
  • Graham attacked one of Ailes' accusers, Gretchen Carlson, suggesting she made the accusations only to get a big out-of-court settlement and to promote her book. Graham also insisted that ex-Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly was making too much money in her new gig at NBC to complain about harassment from her former employer.
  • No MRC item has ever mentioned sexual harassment allegations against Fox News hosts Eric Bolling and Charles Payne.

Given their double standard-laden record, perhaps Bozell, Graham and the rest of the MRC should refrain from acting so high and mighty the next time an employee of a channel they loathe faces sexual harassment charges.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:52 AM EDT
Friday, September 21, 2018
CNS Cheers Conservative Comedian's Mocking of Kavanaugh Accuser
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com blogger Craig Bannister wrote disdainfully of a Democratic congressman for mocking Republican Sen. Susan Collins' claim that she's receiving threats related to the battle over confirming Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court justice by claiming she has Secret Service protection as a senator and that she didn't mention that the woman who has accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in high school has also received death threats. After the congressman apologized, Bannister typed that up too, adding that the congressman "deleted his offensive tweet."

But a few days earlier, Bannister was cheering those who mock -- when the target is Kavanaugh's accuser. Bannister approvingly writes in a Sept. 17 post:

“You can talk to me,” comedian Terrence K. Williams jokes in a video mocking Christine Blasey Ford’s last-minute allegations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

In a video posted on social media Monday, the comedian, actor and conservative commentator chides Ford for waiting decades to make her claim, since Kavanaugh has “been a judge for almost half his life:

“Girl, so you gonna wait 30 years to speak up? Huh? And, not only that, y’all were in high school. And, you claim he assaulted you at a high school party, and you just now speaking up now, 30 years later?

“And, I find it quite funny that you speaking up now that he is a Supreme Court nominee. But, this man been a judge almost half his life. Well, he’s been a lawyer, a judge…why you didn’t say nothing 10 years ago, 15 years ago?”

Williams jokes that someone in the anti-Trump media or Democrat Party must have put Ford up to making the accusation and that – if she just tells him who it was – she can trust him to keep it just between them:

“Who paying you? Is it CNN? I won’t tell nobody. Is it the New York Times? Who paying you? Is it Hillary? Obama? I won’t tell nobody. You can talk to me.”

Forgive us if we think that Bannister's outrage over Collins being mocked is more than a tad hypocritical.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:36 PM EDT
WND's Zumwalt Pretends That Flynn Pleaded Guilty To Something He Didn't Do
Topic: WorldNetDaily

James Zumwalt makes a valiant effort in his Sept. 12 WorldNetDaily column to paint Michael Flynn as an innocent victim of the Robert Mueller prosecution machine:

Probably next to be sentenced will be an American hero – Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn – who briefly served as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser before getting caught up in Mueller’s witch hunt. Mueller’s team manipulated Flynn in hopes he would become a lynchpin into proving collusion. His team was wrong. Charged with lying to the FBI, Flynn, ironically, was basically forced to lie about having lied as investigators simply would not accept the truth.

Flynn’s prosecution or, more appropriately, his persecution, was reminiscent of that suffered by French military officer Alfred Dreyfus over a century ago. Wrongly convicted of treason – largely due to his Jewish heritage – he was sentenced to life in prison in 1894. It was a sad outcome for an honorable patriot who found himself caught up in the political influences of the day. While Dreyfus had truth on his side, it mattered little for those for whom truth was immaterial.

While a noticeable difference between Dreyfus and Flynn is that the former always asserted his innocence and the latter admitted guilt, numerous pressures plagued Flynn. These were pressures he could only escape by lying about lying.

It should be kept in mind the pressures to which Flynn was subjected were applied by those to whom truth, even as a matter of law, need not be considered. Few people realize what a special counsel’s investigative powers allow. He enjoys tremendous flexibility in charging a witness with lying during an investigation. Where two people tell two different stories, making it difficult to determine which version is true, this poses no dilemma to a special counsel, who can choose whom to charge and whom not to. The obvious tendency here is to select the bigger fish to so charge in hopes of manipulating a witness in furtherance of the investigation’s main focus. Thus, the power is exercised as part of a ploy to obtain leverage over a party powerless to stop an investigator’s steamroller.

It was this trap that ensnared Flynn. Having found someone telling a story contrary to Flynn’s, Mueller could accuse the general of lying. We need then to understand the pressures Flynn was under.

Zumwalt's revisionism is endemic among right-wingers who are seizing on claims that some investigators didn't think Flynn lied intentionally. But Zumwalt ignores that Flynn was being investigated on other charges of making false statements, particulaly regarding his lobbying for Turkey. In his plea agreement, Flynn pleged to cooperate with Mueller in exchange for the rest of the charges against him being dropped.

Nevertheless, Zumwalt continued to insist that Flynn "was forced to lie about having told the truth" and rant further about the "slash-and-burn" tactics of the Muller investigation "destroying the careers of honorable men, like Flynn."


Posted by Terry K. at 1:11 AM EDT
Thursday, September 20, 2018
MRC's Yoder Again Repeats The 'Fungible' Lie About Federal Funding to Planned Parenthood
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Katie Yoder is a repeat offender in spreading the never-proven myth that federal funding to Planned Parenthood is "fungible" and, thus, somehow pays for abortion in violation of federal law. Yoder does it again in a Sept. 13 post attacking new Planned Parenthood leader Lena Wen:

Wen again insisted Planned Parenthood was right: “There are no federal taxpayer dollars that go towards abortions.”

That’s incorrect. The Hyde Amendment, a legislative provision approved annually by Congress, bars federal funding (aka taxpayer funding) for abortion, but not in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. Wen also refused to address the argument that that money is fungible, or that Planned Parenthood could offset costs with public funds to free up other resources for abortion. Another point highlighted by pro-life groups.

But once again, Yoder never proves that it's "incorrect" to claim that federal funding to Planned Parenthood is "fungible." On the words "money is fungible," Yoder simply links to an old post of hers making the stupid and irrelavant analogy in which we are told to "imagine giving your teen $20 to use specifically for gas. Although he can’t buy beer with that $20, he can now use his own $20 to purchase alcohol since the gas was covered by you." As we pointed out at the time, that's not how federal funding works, and the teen can't legally buy alcohol.

For the rest, Yoder uses weasel words like "could offset costs" and "highlighted by pro-life groups" -- there are no definitive statements of fact.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:22 PM EDT
WND's Farah Regurgitates An Attack On A Fact-Checker
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah's Sept. 11 column is a lengthy tirade against fact-checker Snopes. It reads a lot like a December 2016 WND article on Snopes; both are based on a UK Daily Mail article and obsess over lurid details of the private lives of Snopes' founders and some of its employees, which have nothing to do with its veracity in fact-checking. Nevertheless, Farah tries to link this to "the question of whether Snopes can be trusted to be fair, balanced and unbiased."

That's rich, since the last thing anyone expects from Farah and WND is fairness, balance and a lack of bias.

Farah then regurgitated a post from an obscure blog attacking Snopes for purported double standards and whining that Snopes found thatthe Clintons did not "steal" thousands of dollars of furniture, china and art when they left the White House because intent could not be determined, huffing that "If taking things that do not belong to you is not 'stealing,' then we need a new definition of the word." Strangely, Farah didn't link to that blog post or to any of the Snopes articles it attacked.

Farah concluded:

Ultimately, bias is in the eye of the beholder, but even David Mikkelson admits most often it is conservatives and Republicans who detect bias in Snopes reports.

Is that surprising after learning the history of this enterprise?

And what does it tell you about the worldview of Snopes’ new partner – Facebook?

The fact that Farah and WND have a right-wing Christian worldview has not stopped them from publishing fake news and highly biased journalism -- which makes Farah a bad messenger for the idea that Snopes' "worldview" somehow makes it unreliable as a fact-checker.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:26 PM EDT
CNS' Marching Orders On Catholic Sex Abuse: Blame The Gays!
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've detailed how CNSNews.com refused to report for three days on a grand jury report detailing sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in Pennsylvania -- and that its first mention was a column by right-wing Catholic activist Bill Donohue of the Catholic League dismissing the report and blaming it all the abuse on gays. That has been the narrative CNS has mostly stuck with since.

CNS managing editor Michael W. Chapman used an Aug. 30 article to tout a bishop "prais[ing] the integrity of Vatican whistleblower Archbishop Carlo Vigano -- who has called for the resignation of Pope Francis and other bishops for allegedly covering up Archbishop Theodore McCarrick's reported homosexual abuse of a young boy and seminarians," going on to repeat other conservative Catholic clerics supporting Vigano's accusations. That was followed the next day with Chapman quoting more right-wing Catholic clerics to play up the gay angle:

Commenting on the recent revelations of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, specifically those of predator Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and the cases detailed in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report, several bishops and lay leaders have blamed a "homosexual subculture" in the hierachy of the Church and called for the removal of the priests, bishops, and cardinals involved in that subculture.

Bishop Robert Morlino, head of the diocese of Madison, Wisc., in an Aug. 18 letter, stressed that the Church must stop excusing sin "in the name of a mistaken notion of mercy" and must express more "hatred" toward sin. "What the Church needs now is more hatred!" he said. "It is an act of love to hate sin and to call others to turn away from sin."

"There must be no room left, no refuge for sin — either within our own lives, or within the lives of our communities," said the bishop.  "To be a refuge for sinners (which we should be), the Church must be a place where sinners can turn to be reconciled. In this I speak of all sin. But to be clear, in the specific situations at hand, we are talking about deviant sexual — almost exclusively homosexual — acts by clerics."

Chapman went on to repeat Donohue's deliberate misreading of the John Jay report on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church that because most victims were post-pubescent males "homosexuality -- not heterosexuality or pedophilia -- was in play." In fact, as we've reported, the authors of the John Jay report specifically stated that no connection was found between homosexual identity and an increased likelihood of sexual abuseand that one does not have to have a homosexual identity to commit homosexual acts.

Chapman also touted one anti-gay Catholic activist who called for a "complete and thorough removal of all homosexual clergymen from the Church."

An anonymously written Aug. 31 piece took took a bizarre shot at McCarrick, complaining that he "gave a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on June 8, 2001, when he was the archbishop of Washington, in which he noted the 'sense of humanity' found in 'all the holy books,' including 'the Koran.'" The anonymous writer (who we're guessing is Chapman) did not dispute McCarrick's claim, nor did he/she explain what it is relevant to anything that's happening now.

Chapman also reported on a Catholic laymen's group withholding a donation to the church over the sexual abuse scandal. And while Chapman couldn't be bothered to report on the Pennsylvania abuse report until Donohue told him how to frame it, he quickly jumped on a appropriately lurid (for his agenda, anyway) report about "two priests performing oral sex in a parked car."

Chapman went into full lecture mode in a Sept. 10 article, declaring "Contrary to the spin by the liberal media, the overwhelming majority of sexual abusers in the Catholic Church are homosexual priests, said Catholic Bishop Marian Eleganti in a recent statement." But Chapman never quotes Eleganti, a bishop in Swizerland, referencing the "liberal media" -- or even referencing the media at all. Nevertheless, Chapman concluded his post by huffing: "That the homosexual subculture in the Catholic Church is the fundamental source of the abuse problems is well documented. Numerous bishops and lay person have commented on this fact but it is a politically incorrect phenomenon that the leftist media and the homosexuals in the Church do not want to discuss."

CNS also gave more space to Donohue in full deflection mode, int he form of a Sept. 12 open letter to state attorneys general thinking of looking into Catholic Church abuses, demanding that "If you want to pursue molesters, you should begin by launching a grand jury probe of the public schools." Of course, Donohue can't point to any systematic, decades-long cover-up of abuse in public schools of the kind that existed in the Catholic Church.

Meanwhile, the Catholics at CNS have no problem exploiting their religion to make political attacks. An anonymously written Sept. 17 article groused that House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said that "she is a 'practicing Catholic' and that Catholics understand the church to be 'the body of Christ.'" After sneering that Pelosi "(contrary to Catholic teaching) supports abortion on demand and same-sex marriage," the anonymous writer effectively concedes that Pelosi got it right by quoting directly from the Catholic Catechism stating that "The Church is the Body of Christ." Not that CNS would ever forthrightly admit that Pelosi is right on a key matter of Catholic faith.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:55 AM EDT
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
WND's Peterson Hates That His White-Spremacist Schtick Was Called Out
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Earlier this month, Media Matters (disclosure: I used to work there) called out Jesse Lee Peterson for the "torrent of anti-Black, anti-gay, and misogynistic hate" that emanates from him on his various media platforms, including his WorldNetDaily column. We, of course, have repeatedly documented his use of white supremacist language, which he gets away with by being a black right-winger.

Needless to say, Peterson didn't take that well, and he spent his Sept. 9 WND column lashing out at Media Matters:

Far left website Media Matters did another hit piece on me. This time they’re calling me a “racist” and “white supremacist” (of all things!).

They’ve gone after Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, men who love America and tell the truth. More than anyone else of their prominence in media, these hosts stand up for black people. They decry the crime, violence and lies that hurt the black community.

But Media Matters hates black people. Media Matters wants to keep blacks as slaves on the plantation of the Democratic Party – angry, brainwashed and miserable.

This anti-conservative site calls themselves “Media Matters for America,” but they’re against America. They pretend to correct “conservative misinformation,” but only push the lie of leftism.

So they attack me as a black man with a rising profile on Newsmax TV and YouTube. They can’t allow one man to go free, think for myself, love America and white people – because I might awaken others, as I am doing. Media Matters hates anyone, black or white, who is independent and unafraid to speak the truth – because they are children of the lie. Their father is Satan.

Media Matters makes phony complaints about “Trump’s war on the press,” but they’re truly free and independent press. That’s why they’ve gone after Alex Jones and InfoWars – and now me.

Of course, Media Matters is not the one who's using the racist "Great White Hope" insult to praise President Trump -- Peterson is. Media Matters is not the one who is embracing the idea of a "White History Month" (as if every month isn't already that) -- Peterson is.

Peterson also attacked the co-author of the Media Matters piece as "an angry pro-abortion feminist who hates men and hates God," and called both writers "evil people," then whined that "I’m not allowed to express my appreciation for the white people who made America great."

In the midst of all this hate-spewing, Peterson has the nerve to claim: "Every day on my show, I tell people to let go of anger, which is hate. Anger is evil. It’s of your father the Devil." But the only angry, hateful person we see is Peterson, who apparently has no intention of following his own advice.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:45 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE -- The MRC's War on Journalists, Part 2: Jim Acosta
Topic: Media Research Center
Endless insults and cheering on hecklers at Trump rallies: That's how the Media Research Center conducts "media research" on CNN's White House correspondent. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 3:18 PM EDT
WND Touts Fake-News Claim of Muslims 'Proselytizing' In School
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily still can't wean itself off pushing fake news.

An anonymously written Sept. 9 WND article is in large part a rewritten press release from the right-wing Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund  accusing Muslim groups -- including the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which right-wingers hate -- to "proselytize" to students in a California school district in the wake of reports of discrimination and bullying against a Muslim student. The FCDF has no evidence that any "proselytizing" ever took place; it just wants to go on a fishing expedition through the school district's emails.

WND made no attempt to contact the school district in question for a response -- that would require work that takes away from rewriting a press release -- though it did soften FCDF's wording to state the district is "suspected of proselytizing." Still, WND is reporting fake news because there's no evidence to back up the claim. It appears the FCDF is merely reacting to an article in a local newspaper on the bullied student and apparently not from any firsthand knowledge of what the groups said at the school, since none is cited in the FCDF press release announcing the email fishing expedition.

What FCDF (and WND) are effectivley arguing is the lie that letting Musilm groups explain to students that Muslims are not the evil peopleright-wingers portray them as is the same thing as trying to convert students. We doubt the FCDF would similarly claim that a Christian group going to a school to counter anti-Christian discrimination had the goal of converting students.

It's this sort of fake news promotion, lazy press-release journalism and baseless anti-Muslim  fearmongering that shows WND is not serious about fixing the editorial problems that are leading it to its grave.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:00 AM EDT
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
CNS Obsesses Over Abortion In Its Kavanaugh Hearing Coverage
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com spent the first few days of the Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh obsessing about its favorite subject, abortion.

A Sept. 5 article by Susan Jones seemed to be upset that Kavanaugh said that Roe v. Wade is "an important precedent of the Supreme Court that's been reaffirmed many times."

An anonymously written article the same day -- credited only to "CNSNews.com Staff" grumbled that Kavanaugh called outgoing Justice Anthony Kennedy "a mentor, a friend and a hero," disdainfully adding that "Kennedy co-authored the court’s opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey—which upheld Roe v. Wade’s declaration that abortion is a constitutionally protected right" and that "In 2015, Kennedy wrote the court’s opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, declaring same-sex marriage a constitutional right."

Another anonymously written article huffed that "Lisa Blatt, a pro-abortion attorney who backed Barack Obama and then Hillary Clinton for president and who says she wished Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had '“all nine votes” on the Supreme Court, introduced Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Judiciary Committee.' The headline on the article called Blatt a "pro-abort" -- a derogatory slang term within the anti-abortion movement, of which CNS is a part.

A Sept. 6 article, also anonymously written, focused on Kavanaugh's role in a case earlier this year in which a federal appeals court on which Kavanaugh sits allowed an underage "illegal alien" to obtain an abortion. CNS complained that Kavanaugh "accepted the conclusion that Planned Parenthood v. Casey did apply to the detained illegal alien’s case" and that "Kavanaugh did not contest that she had a right to an abortion in the United States. He argued that she did not have a right to get the abortion 'immediately,' only 'expeditiously.'"

Meanwhile, CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey spent half of his Sept. 5 column on abortion, grousing that Kavanaugh quoted Kennedy, who wrote the Casey decision that upheld the right to abortion, saying that "Justice Kennedy established a legacy of liberty for ourselves and our posterity," to which Jeffrey sneered, "Unless your posterity happens to be unborn." Jeffrey also declared that the appeals court judge who opined that the "illegal alien" teenager who sought an abortion did not have a right to one "answered it correctly."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:47 PM EDT
WND Flips, Now Admits Burmese Attacks on Rohingya Is A 'Genocide'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Last year around this time, WorldNetDaily reporter Leo Hohmann was seething that the media had become part of the "Rohingya propaganda machine" by telling "heart-wrenching stories of Burma’s persecuted Rohingya Muslims." Hohmann went on to justify the Burma Army's persecution-bordering-on-genocide of the Rohingya, purportedly based on revenge for a single incident in 2012 and because "The Burmese government consider the Rohingya to be illegal aliens from Bangladesh," and he was adamant that the U.S. not take in Rohingya refugees.

What a difference a year makes. WND is now conceding what is happening to the Rohingya is a "genocide" -- albeit to apparently attack Myanmar leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi for letting it and attacks on other minorities (particularly Christians) continue. From a Sept. 8 article by Art Moore:

Burma has been under the leadership of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi for more than two years, but the Burma Army continues its seven-decade war with the nation’s ethnic groups.

While global attention is focused on the persecution of Burma’s Rohingya Muslims, the campaign against majority Christian ethnic groups hasn’t stopped, despite cease-fires, with at least 100,000 displaced in the jungle during the current monsoon season.

Moore does eventually concede that the military, not Suu Kyi, runs the country and there's not a lot she can do. Gut contrary to Hohmann's quoting of an anti-Muslim activist justifying the Rohingya crackdown by asking "Should we be surprised that the Buddhists want Burma to be a Buddhist country?" Moore goes into detail on the persecution of various ethnic groups by the Burma Army.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:54 PM EDT
The MRC's Thomas the Tank Engine Freakout
Topic: Media Research Center

A beloved children's TV show decided it wanted to expand its audience, and the Media Research Center was not having it. From a Sept. 5 post by Melissa Mullins, who argued that "whining SJW’s" somehow bullied the franchise into it:

The beloved British children’s television show Thomas The Tank Engine has jumped on the PC culture bandwagon by incorporating more gender-balanced characters with a multi-cultural flavor.

After being accused by whining SJW’s of sexism, classism and racism for years, the show is hoping a “major strategic brand refresh” with the addition of three new female characters as well as the introduction of 14 new friends from countries such as Brazil, China, India and Mexico. They hope this will help give the show a more updated and “inclusive” look and feel.

[...]

But remember, you can’t please everyone. Some are worried of the cultural stereotyping the show portrays, such as a “feisty, strong and agile” train from Brazil named Raul, or a “proud” Mexican train named Carlos who always smiles and sports bushy eyebrows that seem inspired by Frida Kahlo. 

Others take a more traditional stance on the revamped show, arguing its original identity will be lost; say goodbye to the sleepy and scenic town of Sodor and the much loved Thomas music tune, and say hello to a more “energized” theme song, international travel and trains of various cultural backgrounds.

[...]

Actually, if you put all that aside and look a little further, you will find that toy manufacturer Mattel is behind the big brand refresh. The toy giant purchased the Thomas & Friends production company in 2012 and already brings in over $500 million in revenue per year, the most of any toy range, but they want to expand their Thomas empire and make it more appealing to the rest of the world. Not that the current success of the show or sales are worth any measure of success (note sarcasm), making it seem the brand refresh is more about the bottom line than inclusivity and equality.

As much of a freakout as this is, it comes off as relatively reasonable compared with the take offered by Dana Loesch of the National Rifle Association's news division, who for some reason felt the need to superimpose Ku Klux Klan hoods on the engines to protest the idea of the franchise trying to appeal to more people.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 AM EDT
Monday, September 17, 2018
Newsmax Plugs Kerik Novel (Which It Published)
Topic: Newsmax

Bill Hoffman gushes in a Sept. 4 Newsmax article:

Bernard Kerik has lived an extraordinary life by any standard. Abandoned at age 2 by his alcoholic mother, he dropped out of high school, became a military policeman and martial arts specialist, then rose through law enforcement from patrolman to become a highly-decorated undercover narcotics officer in New York and then the city’s top cop before it was attacked by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001.

Drawing on these incredible experiences, the 63-year-old former commissioner has just penned an explosive new thriller, "The Grave Above the Grave."

"I’ve spent 30 years in policing and security, 10 of which was in the Middle East, and people constantly ask me what are my fears, and whether I believe we could suffer another 9/11 attack," Kerik tells Newsmax. "Writing this book gave me the opportunity to educate people in a fictional way what rolls around in my head daily."

In "The Grave Above the Grave," published this month by Humanix Books, Kerik tells the story of NYPD Commissioner Rick Raymond who, while battling a cop killer with Islamic terror ties, uncovers a plot to launch another devastating attack on the city. As he races against the clock, Raymond also must juggle the pressures of a grandstanding mayor, a disreputable reporter and a secret love — who just happens to be the district attorney.

What Hoffman doesn't mention: Humanix Books is a division of Newsmax -- which makes his article an in-house promotion, not "news."

Hoffman dismissed Kerik's criminal record in a single paragraph as nothing more than book fodder: "Kerik has had his share of scandals, including a stint in federal prison for tax fraud. That became the basis for his 2015 nonfiction best-seller, 'From Jailer to Jailed.'" Then he quickly returned to the business of plugging Kerik's new book and touting his pro-Trump, right-wing views, which presumably would help sell his book to Newsmax's core audience.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:00 PM EDT

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