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Monday, January 7, 2019
Newsmax Touts Kudlow's Economic Predictions, Censors How His Old Ones Failed
Topic: Newsmax

David Patten enthusiastically writes in a Jan. 4 Newsmax article:

Larry Kudlow, director of President Trump’s National Economic Council, told Newsmax in an exclusive interview Friday that the economy’s addition of a whopping 312,000 jobs last month means “we’re in a boom” and there is no recession on the horizon.

“There’s way too much pessimism out there, probably because of the stock market correction,” Kudlow told Newsmax. “But sometimes stocks depart from the economy.”

He added: “We’re hitting on all cylinders. The Trump plan is working: Low tax rates for large and small businesses and individuals, the biggest regulatory rollback in decades, and sponsorship of American energy dominance.

“This is working. It has led to great confidence, particularly among small business owners.”

Patten, however, doesn't detail Kudlow's record on predicting non-recessions -- or anything, really:

“Despite all the doom and gloom from the economic pessimistas, the resilient U.S. economy continues moving ahead,” Kudlow wrote on Dec. 7, 2007, in National Review, predicting that gloomy forecasters would “wind up with egg on their faces.” Kudlow, who previously derided as “bubbleheads” those who warned about a housing bubble, now wrote that “very positive” news in housing should “cushion” falling home sales and prices.

“There’s no recession coming. The pessimistas were wrong. It’s not going to happen,” wrote Kudlow. “ . . . The Bush boom is alive and well. It’s finishing up its sixth consecutive year with more to come. Yes, it’s still the greatest story never told.”

[...]

When the economy didn’t rebound and housing continued its collapse, Kudlow pronounced, in a CNBC column on July 24, 2008, that he saw in the data “an awful lot of very good new news, which appear to be pointing to a bottom in the housing problem; in fact, maybe the tiniest beginnings of a recovery.” Stocks lost nearly half their value in the coming months.

Patten seems to have let his "exclusive interview" excitement overrule the idea of reporting the full story.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:22 PM EST
CNS Doesn't Correct WH Press Secretary's False Claim About Flynn
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com reporter Melanie Arter is a loyal stenographer to the Trump White House, dutifully transcribing without bothering with extraneous things like fact-checking. She was at it again in a Dec. 18 article, in which she uncritically relayed White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claiming that "the FBI 'broke standard protocol in the way that they came in an ambushed' former national security adviser Michael Flynn despite Flynn telling a federal judge Tuesday he knew it was illegal to lie to the FBI."

Later in the article, Arter embraced Sander's rhetoric in referencing "the day that the FBI ambushed Flynn."

In fact, as actual news organizations have pointed out, Flynn's own lawyers have stated that Flyn was not entrapped or "ambushed" in the FBI interview.

Regarding Sanders' claim that the FBI "broke standard protocol" in interviewing Flynn they way it did by contacting him directly instead of going through hthe White House counsel' office, which happened "because James Comey told us that" -- Arter let that bogus claim stand without correction as well. As another actual news organization reported, Comey never said it was a break in protocol or even required to go through the White House first, and that if any failure to use proper channels occured, it was by the White House, not the FBI.

Arter also uncritically repeated Sanders' assertion that "the FBI broke standard protocol in the way that they came in and ambushed General Flynn, and in the way that they questioned him, and in the way that they encouraged him not to have White House Counsel's Office present" -- neither of which Comey ever claimed happened.

Uncritically repeating demonstrable falsehoods doesn't enhance CNS' credibility as a news organization.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:59 PM EST
WND's Farah Freaks Out On A Fact-Checker
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah has long had a thin skin when it comes to criticism of himself or WND. (That's why he pretends we don't exist.) Farah extends that thinskinned petulance to a person who's merely trying to fact-check him in his Dec. 21 column.

Farah rants: "Some new self-appointed media gatekeeper arises from the know-it-all fever swamp of snowflake self-righteousness to judge my life’s work unworthy." Here, he'stargeting his rage at Kendrick McDonald of NewsGuard, a new organization that aims to provide a clearinghouse on the reliability on news operations. Farah played his usual manhood-measuring card, whinign that McDonald's "career as a professional factchecker has spanned two years," adding that "Before he was born, I was running daily newspapers in major metro markets, teaching journalism at UCLA and winning awards for reporting and editing in urban areas in 'progressive' California."

Farah then reproduced the questions that McDonald asked him. It's cldear that McDonald is simply asking basic questions about WND, like whether it has a corrections policy (the answer to that is no, unless the person or organization who was wronged threatens to sue -- hello, Chobani).

McDonald also asked Farah questions about specific stories WND has covered. It appears McDonald has been reading ConWebWatch, for he asked about the conspiracy theories it has promoted about Barack Obama's birth certificate, Seth Rich and Steve Stockman. He also notes Erik Rush's unhinged column positing that right-wing MAGAbomber Cesar Sayoc was some kind of secret "leftist operative." McDonald also included something we haven't written about:

In your Nov. 12 column, “Where did all these voters come from?” you state as fact that Democrats voted illegally in the 2018 midterm elections, which is the cause of high voter turnout statistics. You cite as evidence a video from Project Veritas. However, the Travis County Deputy Clerk has stated that there has been no evidence of illegal voting at that polling station or any others in Travis County. No other authorities have reported any evidence of voter fraud in the 2018 midterm election.

Before the list, Farah said that "I’d like you to consider what you see daily at MSNBC, the Huffington Post and the Daily Beast – not to mention the wall-to-wall conspiracy theorizing at CNN." After it, he made it extremely clear that anyone who questions WND's shaky editorial choices is beneath him:

I’m done engaging. I’m done suffering fools. I’m done persuading. I’m done defending myself against partisan hacks. And, yes, I’m done counting two things:
  • all the reasons I don’t believe Obama’s phony birth certificate; and
  • how many dead people the Clintons stumbled over.
Let’s just say “too many.”

As we have seen recently, Farah is aggressively refusing to learn the lessons of the past year and failing to see his own flaws even as he lashes out against the same flaws in others.He has made it clear that he blames everyone else but himself for WND's current life on the edge of extinction, even though his embrace of the above cbogus onspiracy theories are a key reason why nobody believes WND.

Self-reflection is clearly not something Farah is interested in -- he's so hostile to the idea that anyone who tries to get him to do it is a "fool" and a "partisan hack." (Farah, by the way, offered no evidence that McDonald and NewsGuard are "partisan hacks" beyond their asking him questions.) He doesn't seem to understand that asking for conspiracy theories to be justified with solid evidence is not the line of reasoning from a "partisan hack" -- it's what journalists do. 

Farah has apparently become so ossified in his conspiracy theories that he will brook no dissent from them. That means he has stopped being a journalist -- and, thus, there's even less of a reason to believe what WND reports.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:47 AM EST
Sunday, January 6, 2019
Alyssa Milano Derangement Syndrome
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center really, really hates actress Alyssa Milano for committing the offense of not being a right-winger. How else to explain the sneering, condescending, unprofessional tone of Gabriel Hays' Dec. 13 post under the humor-deficient headline "The Horror: Alyssa Milano to Peddle Lefty Books to Kids":

Unfortunately, actress Alyssa Milano is back in the news again … again, and this time her activism seems to have taken on a new more insidious form. Parents be warned, the #metoo champion and physical embodiment of Brett Kavanaugh hatred has just signed a deal for a new line of children’s books that promote a healthy dose of progressive activism.

On Thursday, Entertainment Weekly reportedv that “Milano has signed a major book deal with Scholastic to a series entitled Hope, with the first volume slated for an October 1, 2019 release.” The book, which is illustrated by Eric S. Keyes, follows the adventures of young female protagonist Hope, who “seeks to create social change in her community.”

Calling her new series “empowering” (Gosh we get it, already,) Milano stated that it’s important for the sake of kids discovering that their “voice matters.” “I’m so excited about my new character, Hope Roberts,” she said. “She believes in dreaming big. She’s brave and strong and confident in her abilities — but she’s also a girl just trying to survive middle school.”

Hope’s here to help youngsters understand that they can be all they can be, like top of their class, captain of the JV cheer squad, and still have time to go down to the Supreme Court for their annual exercise in liberal group scream therapy.

Hays goes on to rant that "it doesn’t seem that any sensible parent would want to open their kids up to lefty programming, especially from somebody who embodies the worst hysterics of the #metoo movement." Such juvenile hot takes may the the MRC clicks, but it doesn't help with the all-important quest of being seen as a serious media critic.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:36 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, January 6, 2019 9:39 PM EST
CNS Publishes Columnist's Advice to Trump on How To Obstruct Legal Probes
Topic: CNSNews.com

It's not often you see a media outlet giving a platform to tell someone how to obstruct a criminal investigation, but CNSNews.com does exactly that by publishing a Dec. 18 column by right-wing lawyer Mark Fitzgibbons.

Fitzgibbons is having a fit over incoming New York Attorney General Letitia Bell's intent to investigate President Trump's business interests, declaring her a "Democrat [sic] political activist" who is "out to destroy Donald Trump and anyone qround him." He complains that "New York law gives its Attorney General broad powers to conduct arbitrary investigations, broader even than those of the federal government. These powers are open to abuse by politically driven zealots, and are dangerous." But he then adds: "The good news is that they are also ripe for constitutional challenges." Fitzgibbons then outlines the strategies he thinks Trump shoulduse to obstruct any Bell-led investigation, no matter how legitimate:

There nevertheless is leverage Trump can bring against James, and expose the lawlessness and unconstitutionality about what she has threatened. The following include observations from my recent continuing legal education paper and presentation, “Civil Investigative Demands: Fourth Amendment Enigmas and Strategies to Respond,” and are not to be construed as legal advice.

First, Mr. Trump needs to treat Ms. James as a legal existential threat. He should assemble a “dream team” of lawyers, ones who do not have regular business before the New York Attorney General so they are not tempted to compromise Trump’s interests. Trump should put on this team what I call warrior lawyers. Warriors have the mentality that he or she might get hurt, but assuredly their opponent will get hurt. Trump’s legal team needs to send a strong signal that there will be a tremendous downside for Ms. James.

Trump’s team should make a constitutional challenge against the Attorney General’s arbitrary power to search. For this Trump should hire Professor Philip Hamburger, whose scholarship on the constitutional problems with the administrative state is not only unmatched, but positions him as among the best lawyers who grasp the true danger of the judgeless searches James will employ.

[...]

There are other legal tactics Trump may use. One is that his legal team and all the lawyers for his business empire, family, and associates enter into what are called “common interest agreements.” These agreements allow the lawyers to share information while being protected by the legal privilege of confidentiality.

When responding to James’ judgeless, arbitrary search writs, Trump’s team should smother James with objections. And even when complying with the civil investigative demands, Trump’s team should preserve trade secret and constitutional objections.

Since civil investigative demand enforcement proceedings almost always preclude discovery, Trump should use Freedom of Information Act requests to expose patterns of lawbreaking within James’ office. State attorneys general have a history of failing to respect FOIA laws. Acting lawlessly like that plays to one of Trump’s strengths, which is to name names and humiliate government lawbreakers. Especially with elected state attorneys general, showing they have exposure of a pattern of violating the law can be a hot potato.

That's a lot of legal advice for something that is supposedly "not to be construed as legal advice."


Posted by Terry K. at 3:48 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, January 6, 2019 6:04 PM EST
Saturday, January 5, 2019
MRC Columnist: If You Criticize Fox News' Hate, You Criticize A 'Free Press'
Topic: Media Research Center

Jeffrey Lord writes in his Dec. 22 Media Research Center column:

Remember this? This statement issued by Fox News when CNN’s White House correspondent Jim Acosta was in the middle of his battle with the Trump administration to regain his White House pass, which was revoked? Thus barring Acosta - although not CNN - from doing his job of covering the White House. The statement, with bold print supplied, read: 

“FOX News supports CNN in its legal effort to regain its White House reporter’s press credential. We intend to file an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court. Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized. While we don’t condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the President and the press at recent media avails, we do support a free press, access and open exchanges for the American people.”

Which is to say, when Fox’s competitor in cable news was seen as having its basic free press rights threatened, Fox stood up for its rival, CNN. Fox stood up for a free press.

Talk about a one-way highway.

Now the free press rights of Fox are on the line. Specifically the latest anti-free press target of far-Left special interest groups who have made it their business to shut down a free press is Fox host Tucker Carlson.  As with previous anti-free press jihads against other Fox hosts - Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Bill O’Reilly, Lou Dobbs and others (not to mention conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh and others) - CNN turns a blind eye to the free press rights of Fox.

First, the situations are not remotely analogous -- access to covering the White House is not the same thing as being held accountable for on-air content. What would have been analogous was a situation in which the Obama State Department sought phone records related to then-Fox News correspondent James Rosen in a leak investigation. As even the MRC conceded, CNN denounced the action.

What Lord is ranting about is the current targeting of Carlson over his anti-immigrant crusade. He complains that Carlson's words are being "deceptively edited" and that he's a victim of, yes, that "anti-free press lynch mob." He then whines that insurance company Pacific Life pulled its ads from Carlson's show, citing six donations to Democrats in the current election cycle to prove that the company's PAC has given "beaucoup bucks" to "the Open Border crowd," allegedly demonstrating that this show it's being "completely dishonest on what it is doing in removing its ads from the Fox show."

Actually, it's Lord who is being completely dishonest here. In fact, according to Open Secrets, Pacific Life's PAC donated to more than 130 House and Senate candidates during the 2018 election cycle -- and 62 percent of the money went to Republicans. Lord has hidden the Republican-leaning bias of Pacific Life to push a false argument.

Finally, Lord  seems not to understand how the First Amendment works. Yes, there is freedom of the press, but there is no shielding from the consequences of the words said. Carlson is simply being held accountable for his words, and targeting advertisers who sponsnor those words is just one part of that. Funny, we don't recall Lord objecting when the organization that publishes his column attacked CNN host Reza Aslan for saying something it didn't like.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:51 AM EST
LeBron Derangement Syndrome, WND Edition
Topic: WorldNetDaily

LeBron James has it too good. If he’s ever pulled over by cops, chances are they’ll ask him for his autograph, not his ID. If he believes NFL team owners are comparable to slave masters, that would make the players slaves. If that’s the case, someone please tell me where to go to change my name to Kunta Kinte.

LeBron James is either a racist or he’s an elitist who feels so guilty he’s amassed so much wealth and fame that he needs to invent ways to relate to average black people. Personally, I suspect it’s the latter.

[...]

What makes an icon like LeBron James act like a victim and use the race card so readily? Can you imagine the positive impact he’d have on race relations in America if he used his platform to unite us on issues? There was no need to criticize NFL team owners by implying they’re slave masters. The NFL operates like any other business. Besides, there are plenty of white men in the NFL that don’t get guaranteed contracts and are given minimum contracts, too. Is that racism? Of course not!

The truth is LeBron has been blinded by his social justice warrior glasses to the point he can’t see straight. As I mentioned earlier, America has been so good to LeBron James that he has to find reasons to be mad at white America in a feeble attempt to relate to poor blacks. The problem is, he’ll never relate to most blacks because of his God-given ability to play basketball better than most that ever played the game … not to mention he’s so rich that he’s isolated from the struggles that average people go through. And that’s OK.

-- Carl Jackson, Dec. 26 WorldNetDaily column


Posted by Terry K. at 12:24 AM EST
Friday, January 4, 2019
CNS' Jeffrey Still Trying To Blame Dems for Federal Debt Run Up By Trump and Republicans
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com managing editor Terry Jeffrey is continuing his dishonest pattern of bemoaning the size of the federal debt while refusing to lay blame at the feet of President Trump and Republicans for its growth.

Jeffrey complained in a Dec. 24 article:

The federal government has added another $1,370,760,684,441.54 to the debt since last December 25, according to numbers published by the U.S. Treasury.

On Dec. 25, 2017, the federal debt was 20,492,874,492,282.58, according to the Treasury.

According to the latest numbers published by the Treasury, which show where the debt stood on Dec. 20, 2018, the federal debt was $21,863,635,176,724.12.

Neddless to say, the word "Trump" does not appear in Jeffrey's article, even though the key reason why the government has added so much debt in the past year is a tax cut endorsed by congressional Republicans and signed by Trump. Instead, Jeffrey suggested that blame for the increase is bipartisan by including a group of both Republican and Democratic congresspeople with his article.

By contrast, a January 2017 article by Jeffrey on the increasing federal debt made sure to assign blame by detailing how much had had gone up "during President Barack Obama’s time in office." This time around, Jeffrey featured a picture of Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and then-House Speaker Paul Ryan (though, weirdly, no caption identifying them). Going back even further, a December 2011 article by Jeffrey on the federal debt featured a picture of Obama.

Jeffrey has also not been above blaming individual (Democratic) congresmen for the debt under their watch. He used a March 2015 article to claim that "The debt of the federal government has grown $16,955,289,814,977.42 during the 32 years that current Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada has served in the United States Congress. That equals an increase of about $145,131 for every household in the country." Jeffrey did actually invoke a little fairness on this count, though; a December 2017 article stated that "Since Mitch McConnell became the Senate majority leader in January 2015, the Congress has overseen $10,904,736,000,000 in federal spending" while "the total federal debt ... has climbed by $2,466,352,412,626,57."


Posted by Terry K. at 2:51 PM EST
WND's Cashill: Weekly Standard Died Because It Wouldn't Embrace My Conspiracy Theories
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Jack Cashill dedicated his Dec. 19 WorldNetDaily column to dancing on the grave of the Weekly Standard, which he dismisses first as being representative of "Vichy conservatives" and then for blowing off his conspiracy theories.

Cashill first complained that the Standard wouldn't touch his theory that the 1996 crash of TWA 800 was intentionally caused and then covered up, though he was "actually hopeful that its editors would see the political potential in a still fresh Clinton scandal."

Cashill then slid into Obama derangement once more as he groused that the Standard ignored his never-rpoven claim that Bill Ayers ghost-wrote Barack Obama's book "Dreams From My Father":

In 2008, I tried [then-managing editor Claudia] Anderson again. In September of that year, I stumbled on the very real possibility that Bill Ayers helped the man with the “perfectly creased pant” write his acclaimed memoir, “Dreams from My Father.”

In the fall of 2008, it mattered that Obama maintained an intimate working relationship with a self-described communist whose acts of violence made him a pariah beyond Chicago’s left-wing circles. This revelation would have shown Obama to be liar and literary fraud of epic proportion.

TWA 800, I understood, could intimidate those not prepared to spend countless hours poring through evidence they did not understand. My authorship thesis, however, involved no eyewitnesses or radar data or ballistics tests.

No one would have to leave his or her D.C. desk. All the evidence lay between the covers of a half-dozen or so books, two ostensibly by Obama and the rest by Ayers. I was not asking the Weekly Standard to buy my thesis sight unseen but to kick the tires and take it for a test drive.

With the best literary department of any conservative publication, the Weekly Standard had the chance to expose a literary scandal even more politically significant than JFK’s bogus Pulitzer for “Profiles In Courage.”

To prove my thesis, I needed space, at least 3,500 words. Anderson referred me to the magazine’s literary editor, Philip Terzian.

Replied Terzian: “An interesting piece, but I’m rather oversubscribed at the moment, the length is considerable, and cutting would not do it justice. (Also, we had a long, rather critical, piece on Obama’s oeuvre not too long ago.) So permit me to decline with thanks for allowing me take a look.”

Oeuvre?

A cover story that read, “Who Wrote ‘Dreams From My Father’?” in a major publication like the Weekly Standard could have shaken up the election, maybe even turned it. Dang those space limitations!

To be fair, other than the National Review’s Andy McCarthy, not a single conservative writer in the Bos-Wash corridor dared to comment on my thesis before the election.

Cashill also complained that after the TWA 800 gambit failed, "In Washington, at least, I had crossed the line from responsible journalist to conspiracy theorist, evidence be damned." Ya think? Of course, Cashill's evidence was always more crazy than compellingly correct, and he's been wrong a lot.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:15 AM EST
Thursday, January 3, 2019
MRC Can't Disprove Studies on Conservative Media and Russian Influence, So It Insults Them
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Corinne Weaver rants in a Dec. 17 post:

A new study has claimed Russia’s online interference tried to aid the conservative movement and Donald Trump. There’s a big problem with that assessment. It comes from a left-wing operation that previously classified more than 11 different conservative outlets as “junk news.” And two of those authors were also involved in this report.

The study was released by the Oxford University Computational Propaganda Project and Graphika. It argued that fake accounts, ads, and tweets “all clearly sought to benefit the Republican Party -- and specifically Donald Trump”[.]

At no point in her post, however, does Weaver counter or contradict any of the conclusions the study reached. (Aren't you employed by an organization that purports to do "media research," Corinne?) And her evidence that the research groups conducting the study are "left-wing" is not much more substantive.

Weaver claimed that one researcher "has posted that he is against the Second Amendment" -- but the evidence she provides is a link to a single Twitter post in which the researcher states, "guns easily available in the US, so violent death rate is high in the US." Weaver does not explain how she read the researcher's mind to determine that guns lead to gun violence equals being "against the Second Amendment."

Weaver went on to write this about the researchers' previous study:

The Oxford University Computational Propaganda Project had attacked several conservative outlets as “junk news” in previous studies. Those targeted outlets include Drudge Report, NewsBusters, CNSNews, MRCTV, Breitbart, the Daily Caller, Free Beacon, LifeNews, National Review, the Federalist, and the Red State. (Three of those are operated by the Media Research Center, which runs NewsBusters.)

The study on “junk news” drew on “a list of sources that consistently publish political news and information that is extremist, sensationalist, conspiratorial, masked commentary, fake news, and other forms of junk news.”

But Weaver doesn't counter the results of that study either. Even in a MRC post she wrote last February, in which she attacked it by huffing, "Liberal media will go a long way to portray conservatives as liars -- all the way to England," she does not disupte its results.It seems that Weaver is more angry that her employer was called out.

Ad hominem insults aren't "media research," though Weaver apparently thinks they are. Which tells you all you need to know about the MRC.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:30 PM EST
WND Attacks News That Was True When It Was Reported As 'Fake News'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joe Kovacs writes in a Dec. 26 WorldNetDaily article:

President Trump has become well-known for blasting the “fake news” media as the “enemy of the people.”

Now, the commander in chief has yet another piece of ammunition to back up his claim.

Both NBC News and Newsweek ran stories claiming Trump was the first president in many years not to visit U.S. troops during the Christmas holiday period.

NBC’s headline read: “Trump becomes first president since 2002 not to visit troops at Christmastime.”

Newsweek blared: “Trump is first president in 15 years to not visit troops during Christmas period.”

But President Trump did, in fact, leave the White House on Christmas night to make a surprise visit on Wednesday, Dec. 26, to U.S. troops in Iraq.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sander tweeted: “President Trump and the First Lady traveled to Iraq late on Christmas night to visit with our troops and Senior Military leadership to thank them for their service, their success, and their sacrifice and to wish them a Merry Christmas.”

The mistake by NBC and Newsweek did not go unnoticed.

But those stories weren't "fake news" or mistakes -- they were true at the time they were reported, since they were posted several hours before Trump's trip to Iraq was made public.

Kovacs waits until later in his article to admit that both NBC and Newsweek updated their articles to note Trump's trip to Iraq -- but then writes that "Many commenters on social media have been flaying both NBC and Newsweek for their errors." Again, the stories weren't wrong when originally published.

In portraying accurate early reports of Trump not visiting troops as "fake news," Kovacs himself has created fake news. That's what helped drive WND to the brink of extinction last year. It seems Kovacs has not learned anything from the experience.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:39 AM EST
Wednesday, January 2, 2019
CNS Shores Up Trump on Syria Withdrawal
Topic: CNSNews.com

When President Trump announced he planned to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, CNSNews.com did what it does: trying to reframe the near-universal criticism of the move in order to provide support for it.

A Dec. 20 article by Patrick Goodenough did acknowledge "blistering reaction from some senior Republican lawmakers," but he used only five paragraphs near the end of his of his 27-paragraph article to detail that criticism, and his article is given the one-sided headline "Invoking Fallen Soldiers, Trump Says it’s Time For US Troops in Syria ‘to Come Home’."

That was followed shortly thereafter by an article from Susan Jones repeating claims from an anonymous senior administration official defending Trump's decision. She uncritically relayed the idea that President Obama's withdrawal of troops from Iraq "led to the re-emergence of Sunni radicals (ISIS), forcing a U.S.-led coalition to return to Iraq to fight"; in fact, after U.S. troops left Iraq following failure to reach agreement with the Iraqi government, the Iraqi military became complacent and corrupt, rendering them incapable of succeeding against ISIS.

Jones returned a few hours later with an article that began: "As a general rule of thumb, if Trump's for it, the liberals are against it, and so it is with the president's just-announced U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria. But this time, a chorus of angry Republicans are joining the liberal naysayers." Even though the article was heavy on criticism, its headline was pro-Trump: "Trump Asks: 'Does the USA Want to Be the Policeman of the Middle East?'"

Jones then took Republican Sen. Rand Paul's support of the withdrawal-- which she had referenced in an earlier article -- and expanded it into an article of its own.

Then, an anonymously written Dec. 24 article proclaimed that "The Lead Inspector General for Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S. military campaign against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, said in his latest report, released Nov. 5, that the Islamic State had lost all of the territory it had once held in Iraq and 99 percent of the territory it once held in Syria." The fact that the report also said that "ISIS continued to move underground and solidify as an insurgency in Iraq and Syria" and "kept some of its bureaucratic structures in place and continued to raise funds" didn't get highlighted, remaining buried in a copied-and-pasted section of the report.

Finally, a Dec. 25 article by Goodenough did admit some reality by acknowledging that a U.S.-led coalition was continuing airstrikes  against ISIS is both Syria and Iraq, under the realist headline "After Trump’s Syria Decision US-Led Coalition Continues Airstrikes, Says ISIS ‘Presents a Very Real Threat’."

That took much longer than it should have -- if CNS wasn't more interested in advancing Trump's political agenda than reporting the news.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:39 PM EST
WND Columnist Offers Fawning Prayer to Trump
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily columnist Michael Brown occasionally agonizes over the immorality of President Trump, but he has ultimately decided he doesn't care because Trump as long as Trump keeps delivering the right-wing goods. Brown's Dec. 19 column starts with a goopy tribute to Trump's alleged toughness:

Whether you love President Trump or loathe him, if you call yourself a Christian, this appeal is for you. All of us, regardless of our background or voting preference, are called to pray for those in authority (see 1 Timothy 2:1-4). Now is the perfect time to pray.

We all know that the president is a very strong man, whether you call him stubborn or courageous, bullheaded or brave. Either way, he is as tough as they come.

How many others could take on the media the way he does, day and night?

Again, this is true regardless of whose side you’re on, regardless of whether you think it’s fake news or true news. Either way, the man is bombarded virtually 24/7.

Some of us get discouraged when one person unfriends us on Facebook or a stranger posts an unkind word about us on Instagram. How would we handle the kind of pressure Trump is under?

How many others could stand up to constant attacks the way he does, only to fight back with more intensity the next time around?

How many others could face down powerful world leaders on a regular basis like Trump? (To say it again, this holds true whether or not you like his style, his approach, his message, or his goals. I’m just speaking of his toughness.)

The man is a fighter like few others, and if anyone has a forehead of steel, it is Donald Trump, for better or for worse.

Brown then cites a "prophetic word" from an "evangelical friend" that "Trump would enter the White House as a non-praying man but would become a praying man in the White House." He then issues a call to prayer for Trump, speculkating without evidence that Trump is a Christian and regularly prays:

So, how should we pray for the president? We can certainly pray that God will not let anything happen to him until he finishes his course, however long that course is. We could pray that for any president in office, asking the Lord for His best plan for their presidency.

But along with that, we can pray that God would give the president a heart to seek Him, a heart to lean on Him, a heart to pray.

He may be doing this already (I certainly hope so). He may be on his knees this very moment with a Christian friend or counselor or Cabinet member.

But at times like this, times that can crush and destroy us, we need to learn to take refuge in the Lord, and we do that best through prayer.

Since President Trump considers himself to be a Christian and since he certainly appreciates people praying for him, let’s pray this simple prayer. (I would welcome it for myself and have only the most positive, supportive intentions in posting this.). Let’s pray these words: “God, we pray that you would make Donald Trump a praying man!”

We don't recall Brown offering such a fawning prayer for the safety and work or President Obama.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:18 PM EST
Tuesday, January 1, 2019
MRC's Graham & Bozell Still Can't Admit Roger Ailes Perpetrated Sexual Harassment
Topic: Media Research Center

Observe the thought pattern the Media Research Center's Tim Graham and Brent Bozell use in their Dec. 14 column regarding new films in development by beloved (by Graham and Bozell) Fox News founder Roger Ailes:

Talk-radio host and friend Chris Plante recently made an excellent point about Hollywood. As horrible new revelations of sexual misbehavior surface about former Les Moonves, it's highly unlikely anyone's going to make a movie about him, or about Matt Lauer, or Charlie Rose and so on. But there are two fictional projects (and a new documentary) supposedly based on the late Fox News boss Roger Ailes.

Early pictures have emerged of actress Nicole Kidman dressed up to look like former Fox News morning host Gretchen Carlson, who played a major role in exposing a culture of sexual harassment of women at Fox. For her part, Carlson isn't a fan of the pictures or the movie, tweeting: "This looks nothing like me and the script I've seen makes other people out to be heroes unjustifiably. Hard to see your own story faked. Unfortunately — proves Trump's claim of #FakeNews."

Carlson can't really complain about Kidman's resemblance when Ailes is being played by ... John Lithgow, who looks absolutely nothing like him.

Hollywood often makes "fake news" when it comes to political movies.

In quick succession over four paragraphs, Graham and Bozell 1) play the equivocation card regarding allegations of sexual misconduct by raising that of others in order to downplay that of Ailes; 2) mock casting choices in one planned Ailes film project; and 3) play the "fake news" card to suggest that  there was never a culture of sexual harassment that Ailes perpetrated at Fox News.

The two weren't done mocking; they dismiss Russell Crowe, will is set to star as Ailes in a separate production, as "a good actor who can't stop gaining weight and whose box-office appeal must be plummeting." (No admissiion that the whole weight thing makes him look more like Ailes than Lithgow, though.)

But nowhere in this column -- which also includes diversions into whining about how Hollywood treatment of conservative politicians and how a right-wing polemic about rogue abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell got ignored by pretty much everyone except anti-abortion activists (and the MRC) -- do Graham and Bozell explicitly admit that there was a culture of sexual harassment at Fox News and that Ailes presided over it.

That's in line with the MRC's lack of outrage over Ailes for doing things it has castigated others in the "liberal media" for doing. As we've documented, the MRC downplayed the accusations against Ailes when forced to admit they existed,and Bozell gushed upon Ailes' death that "The good Roger did for America is immeasurable" without mentioning whether sexual harassment fell under that.

Graham and Bozell whines about fictionalized versions of Ailes' life being filmed, but they're perpetrating their own fiction in refusing to admit he did nothing wrong.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:49 PM EST
WND's Farah and 'Contempt Prior to Examination'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah continues to complain about others allegedly engaging in deplorable journalistic behavior he himself has engaged in in his Dec. 26 column, which is based around the quote "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all argument, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance. This principle is, contempt prior to examination." Farah went on to whine:

In 2016, Donald Trump ran for president. After defeating more than 17 Republican candidates in primaries, he ran against Hillary Clinton. The media and the “smart money” gave little chance for victory to Trump. Nevertheless, he won – fair and square.

But the dominant institutions, including what we have come to know as the “Deep State,” refused to accept the verdict of the American electoral process. The intelligence community, including rogue elements of the FBI, CIA and NSA, began making allegations the election had been compromised through a conspiracy between Donald Trump and a foreign power.

Investigations were ordered of a spurious memo concocted and paid for by the Clinton campaign and leaked to the media without verification. Despite these investigations, over the last two years, no credible evidence has yet been found to link Trump to this alleged “Russian collusion.”

That’s the way I and perhaps half of America see it. The other half, which never liked the winner of the election, still believe that with enough time and resources, proof will be found that their “self-evident” conspiracy theory is true, has always been true and will always be true.

To ensure that is the case, however, influential dissenters in this narrative need to be dealt with. They need to be purged from polite company by any means necessary – defamation of character, boycott of advertisers, biased algorithms in search engines and social media, attacks on credibility, harassment and threats of violence.

I suggest that this is not how free societies can long endure.

Yet, here we are after two years – no end in sight. Visceral hatred of Donald Trump, his manner and his ideas are tearing America apart, destroying our social fabric, rendering justice and self-government impossible.

Of course, both sides are strident in their perceptions, conclusions and beliefs. Yet what should concern us most about this crisis is not just the war against Trump, but the violence it does to our highest ideals – free speech, free press, free expression and the future of free elections.

By the way, this is not the only example of how and why the principle of “contempt prior to examination” is important to understand for Americans. Remember, I played the Trump card as an example. But consider the entire quote in context.

What are the consequences of the principle?

  • It’s a proof against all argument.
  • It cannot fail to keep man in everlasting ignorance.

No matter what you might believe about Donald Trump, is it inarguably true that “contempt prior to examination” is foolishness, error, absurdity, craziness?

Needless to say, Farah will never admit that this thing he's now railing against is the very thing he and his website practiced during the Obama years.

Farah never accepted that Barack Obama won the presidency fair and square. He thought that with enough etime and resources, all his "self-evident" conspiracy theories about Obama -- most prominently, birtherism -- would come true. They didn't, but Farah thinks they have always been true and will always be true.

Farah doesn't -- or refuses to -- understand that his visceral hatred of Obama is no different than the "visceral hatred" of Trump. He wanted the same outcome: "destroying our social fabric, rendering justice and self-government impossible."

If Farah thinks “contempt prior to examination” is an important principle to understand for Americans, he should show it by admitting it's his and WND's guiding principle -- and that the "foolishness, error, absurdity, craziness" behind it, causing WND's complete loss of credibility, is why Farah has spent the past year trying to keep WND from going out of business.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:53 AM EST

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