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Wednesday, January 23, 2019
NEW ARTICLE: Fake News and Floundering
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily may have spent the past year trying to stay alive, but that didn't keep from publishing a lot of fake news -- one thing that likely led to its severe financial problems in the first place. Plus: Did WND know all along the Seth Rich conspiracy was fake? Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 9:17 AM EST
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
MRC Struggles To Shoot Down Report Facebook Is Consulting Right-Wing Groups
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has been struggling to keep on message as its narrataive that social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook are engaged in rampant discrimination against conservatives keeps getting overtaken by the reality that the outlets have been kowtowing to conservatives to tamp down the criticism. It happened again witn a Jan. 8 Wall Street Journal article detailing how Twitter, YouTube and Facebook have been seeking advice from "right-leaning groups" (as well as those on the left) for guidance on handling political speech on the platforms, as well as being "receptive to behind-the-scenes lobbing" on issues.

The MRC waited two days to attack the WSJ story, and then did so only very narrowly. A Jan. 10 post by Alexander Hall focused only on a single sentence in the article that "Facebook has privately sought advice from the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian public-policy group, and its president, Tony Perkins, according to people familiar with those meetings." Hall let Perkins respond by letting him uncritically claim that he was "a bit surprised that I was described as consultant with Facebook… Now if you have a phone conversation you are a consultant. I've had one conversation with Facebook."

In fact, the article did not describe Perkins as a "consultant," only that it "sought advice" from him and the FRC. It also indicates that Facebook talked to other people at the FRC besides Perkins, which both he and Hall never confirm or deny -- presumably to not interfere with Hall's claim that Facebook "exaggereated" and was telling "fibs" about its interaction with the FRC.

Hall also falsely framed his article to suggest that the only conservative groups Facebook sought advice from are the FRC and Americans for Tax Reform, while the only liberal-leaning group it's getting advice from is the Southern Poverty Law Center. That was likely so he could assert: "However, after Perkins claims that reports of his involvement are greatly exaggerated, it's reasonable to worry the SPLC holds greater sway." That's an assertion for which has no evidence whatsoever.

But Hall's goal is to restore the conservative narrative, and he spent the remainder of his post enlisting Perkins to do just that:

Facebook has been accused by both sides of making a show of consulting them for PR purposes. In this case Perkins noted that Facebook indeed has a censorship problem, citing the recent incident where Facebook censored iconic American pastor Franklin Graham for a post he wrote 2 years ago. 

He said the problem seems to be accelerating, “Either they are failing to use the technology that they are promoting or there is an intent here to squelch conservative ideas and free flow of information.”

Perkins praised the Media Research Center’s exhaustive study, which verified conservatives’ legitimate concerns about Big Tech censorship. The situation is so dire, he said, that social media has ceased to be a “battleground for ideas” so much as a “war against conservative ideas.”

“Look, whether it's the telephone or the social media monopolies, the choking off of ideas and the exchange of information is not good for America.

Hall and Perkins are so determined to stay on message that they ignore the inconcvenient truth that liberals also think social media platforms censor their views.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:23 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, January 22, 2019 8:23 PM EST
WND Cheers Anti-Muslim Discrimination At Gun Range
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An anonymously written Jan. 13 WorldNetDaily article states:

Does an American gun range have the right to exclude Muslims who are members of the Council on American-Islamic Relations because of the group’s ties to terrorism?

That question could soon have a legal answer as a Muslim has filed a discrimination suit against the owners of a gun range in Oklahoma.

A federal court dismissed the discrimination complaint by Raja’ee Fatihah against Chad and Nicole Neal, owners of Save Yourself Survival and Tactical Gun Range in Oktaha, Oklahoma. But the judge set a trial to resolve conflicting accusations.

Fatihah claims the range owners banned him because of his religion.

But the Neals claim he was banned from the range on Oct. 23, 2015, because after telling Nicole Neal he was Muslim, Fatihah “took a threatening stance, revealing his handgun to her, and recklessly created a controversy and disturbance.” WND quietly added that only later did the Neals discover that "Fatihah was a board member of CAIR’s Oklahoma affiliate."

WND goes on to quote the gun range's attorneys from the right-wing American Freedom Law Center -- whose press release WND basically rewrites -- who laughably put the burden on the Muslim to prove he isn't a terrorist, despite the fact that Fatihah is an Army reservist and, presumably, has already been cleared of such suspicions: "Had Fatihah’s motives been pure, he would have reached out to the Neals to alert them and to schedule a time to have a civil conversation about Islam, if that were truly his goal, as he claims in this case. Rather, what Fatihah did here was reckless. And that recklessness alone is enough to ban him from the range.

WND bizarrely devotes the last half of its article to a list of "individuals linked to CAIR who have been charged with terror-related crimes." WND does provide evidence that any of these people have any direct link to Fatihah.

WND's and the AFLC's invoking Fatihah's relationship to CAIR is an after-the-fact attempt to justify the gun range's no-Muslims rule, which is blatantly illegal under longstanding federal non-discrimination laws like thte Civil Rights Act of 1964.AFLC never explains why the burden should be on the Muslim to prove he['s not a threat; after all, blacks do not have to prove they're not a threat to use a commercial establishment.

Further, it appears the gun range's stated policy is "no Muslims," not "no terrorists," which the AFLC is apparently failing to concede. AFLC provides no evidence that the gun range has similarly investigated the backgrounds of its white and Christian customers the way it investigated Fatihah, or that it has ever barred use of the range by a non-Mulsim customer due to terrorist links, however tenuous.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:57 PM EST
CNS Offers Tepid Coverage of Steve King's 'White Nationalist' Remarks
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've detailed how CNSNews.com obsessed over a comment by a  Democratic member of Congress that it deemed offensive -- so much that it inserted the comment in the headlines of articles that had nothing to do with the comment. But when a Republican member of Congress made an offensive comment, CNS' response was, shall we say, decidedly less hyperbolic.

When comments by Republican Rep. Steve King stating that he didn't understand how terms like "white nationalist" and "white supremacist" became offensive went public on Jan. 10, CNS initially said nothing. It took a full four days for CNS to notice -- and that was only when House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced that he would take action against King over the remarks.

Compared with CNS' response to Rep. Rashida Tlaib -- which cranked out five articles in four days referencing her profanity-laced call to impeach President Trump -- its take on King was very subdued. The headline on Melanie Arter's Jan. 14 piece read "Kevin McCarthy: ‘Action Will Be Taken’ Against Steve King," not explaining who McCarthy is or the reason he intended to take action against King. Surprisingly, the story itself was filled with criticism of King, and Arter's lead paragraph did describe what King said.

Of course, none of that appeared on CNS' front page, only the bland headline did. And the photo accompanying the front-page promotion was of McCarthy, not King -- as if the response, not the original offense, was the newsworthy part.

That take, of course, couldn't be the dominant tone of coverage. Enter Susan Jones, who penned an article the next day under the similarly bland headline, "Stripped of Committee Assignments, Rep. King Blames ‘Political Decision That Ignores the Truth’" -- which, again, failed to mention King's exact offense -- that gave King a platform to defend himself and blame liberals for being outraged over his remarks:

As expected, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) stripped Rep. Steve King, one of the most conservative Members of Congress, from his committee assignments on Monday for "defending racism," as one liberal media outlet described it.

In response, the Iowa Republican said, “Leader McCarthy’s decision to remove me from committees is a political decision that ignores the truth.”

[...]

King said his remarks, as quoted in a Jan. 10 New York Times story, have been “completely mischaracterized.” In a tweeted explanation, King offered the “context” that “accurately reflects my statement.”

King said he was talking about “Western civilization,” not white nationalism or white supremacy, when he questioned, “How did that language become offensive?”

Being a loyal right-winger spouting the anti-media narrative of her employer, the Media Research Center, Jones made sure to also inject some opinion into the "news" piece: "It should be noted that the Jan. 10 New York Times report used Rep. King as a way to slam Republicans in general and President Trump in particular." She then cited a paragraph that stated how "Mr. King’s ideology and his language maligning undocumented residents helped shape the Republican message in 2016 and 2018 and define Mr. Trump’s agenda and prospects for re-election," Jones did not dispute the accuracy of that statement.

CNS has published no more articles devoted to King's remarks. But in a Jan. 18 article, Jones complained that in a TV appearance, Democratic Rep. Ihlan Omar was asked about "Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), whose quote in the New York Times made it look like he was defending 'white supremacy.' King said he was talking about 'Western Civilization.'" She then devoted four paragraphs to King's defense despite the fact he was not the subject of this story.

None of these articles, by the way, not King's long history of racially inflammatory remarks. That's because CNS has previously touted King's remarks that more closely adhere to its right-wing agenda. For instance:

That's the kind of right-wing rhetoric that earns you a pass from CNS when you spout racist stuff.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:05 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, January 22, 2019 9:29 AM EST
Monday, January 21, 2019
WND Still On Its Anti-Vaxxer Conspiracy Crusade
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily remains on its anti-vaxxer kick. An anonymously written Jan. 11 article tries to further it:

Vaccines have been controversial for years, and the sudden death of a prominent British doctor from apparent total organ failure shortly after getting a yellow fever vaccination won’t make the concerns go away.

The Times of London reported Martin Gore, 67, a pioneer in cancer treatment, died suddenly after “a routine inoculation for yellow fever.”

“His death highlights the increased risks associated with the vaccine for the growing number of older travelers visiting exotic destinations,” the report said.

Unlike with previous cases WND has touted, this has been verified and reported on by actual news outlets. WND even cited a BBC article in which an immunology expert is quoted as saying that "people aged over 60 have a three to four-fold increased risk of experiencing these serious effects compared with younger people." But WND omitted the part in which the BBC reported that adverse effects from the yellow fever vaccine are exceedingly rare and that catastrophic effects like the doctor suffered are even more so:

The NHS says there are some very rare side effects that can occur, including an allergic reaction and problems affecting the brain or organs.

"These occur less than 10 times for every million doses of vaccine given."

Prof Peter Openshaw, past president of the British Society for Immunology, said the overall risk of serious side-effects from the vaccination remains very low, at about one in every 100,000 of vaccine recipients.

From there, WND descends into its usual anti-vaxxer clapcrap, including misinformation-prone anti-vaxxer doctor Jane Orient's bogus claim that nobody's researching links between vaccines and autism (they are, and there isn't any).


Posted by Terry K. at 7:25 PM EST
MRC Rushes to Judgment on TV Station's Retracted Attack on CNN
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Kristine Marsh huffed in a Jan. 11 post:

The clearest sign of the liberal media’s bias comes when they purposefully choose to exclude information that doesn’t affirm their agenda. That apparently happened yet again this week, after CNN scrapped an interview with a border city's news station, after they had reported that the wall was effective at deterring illegal immigration. After this story received attention, CNN put out a statement Friday denying that there was any anything nefarious about what they did.

KUSI News in San Diego, California, shared last night on their evening news and on Twitter, that the major network had requested a segment with one of their reporters for a local perspective on the effectiveness of the border wall. However, the network quickly retreated from that request after, the station believes CNN discovered his past reports showing a barrier actually works.

But a day after Marsh's post, The Hill reported that a KUSI executive said he didn't actually know why CNN did not interview its reporter -- effectively negating the station's MRC-embraced narrative. (Cohen later insisted that this somehow didn't mean the station was "backing away" from its original claim even while admitting the reporting on Cohen's revised claim was "factual.")

Marsh thus far has failed to update her post to reflect these critical developments -- perhaps because it blows up her post entirely. Still, MRC columnist Jeffrey Lord dutifully cribbed from her post to baselessly assert that CNN ignored "a factual story that the wall works."

Marsh gave short shrift to CNN's defense -- in which the network's Brian Stelter pointed out that it routinely ends up not booking people it inquires about -- before immediately pronouncing  CNN guilty as charged: "Much like the network has done with the government shutdown interviewing furloughed employees and contractors, it seems CNN is more committed to showcasing only one side of a story than they are to telling the truth."

And Marsh is similarly more committed to showcasing only one side of a story than they are to telling the truth. Her "media research" rings hollow because she is so imbued with the MRC's anti-media narrative that she has severely prejudged CNN to the extent that it's clear no evidence CNN could provide would prevent her from declaring the network anything but guilty, guilty, guilty.

In other words, Marsh isn't acting any better than she accuses CNN of acting. This is the MRC.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:22 PM EST
WND Insists On Calling Women In TV News 'Gals'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An anonymously written Jan. 9 WorldNetDaily article is basically a sop to columnist and terrible lawyer Larry Klayman, detailing how a woman Klayman is representing, former Fox News executive, Laurie Luhn, "is suing Showtime for portraying her in a coming mini-series about Roger Ailes as an enabler of the late network CEO’s alleged sexual harassment of women." The article weirdly doesn't ask why Luhn is not suing Ailes for the things she alleges he did to her (Luhn did previously receive $3.15 million in a severance agreement).

As expected from WND, the article gets it wrong. Neither she nor Klayman have any idea how the miniseries will potray her; as an actual news outlet reported, Klayman is threatening the lawsuit as leverage in trying to get Showtime to hire Luhn as a consultant on the series to make sure she's portrayed the way she demands.

But any hint at progressivism WND suggests by actually being critical of the man who created its favorite "news" channel is undermined by the headline: "Ex-Fox News gal sues Showtime over Roger Ailes story."

Yes, WND calld Luhn a "gal."

This sort of sexism is, unfortunately, a pattern at WND. An Jan. 14 article by Joe Kovacs was on a much more serious and less self-serving subject: a TV  reporter who was "viciously attacked during a live broadcast." WND's headline? "TV newsgal viciously attacked live on camera."

This is nothing new for WND: A 2013 article, for instance, referred to a "CNN newsgal," and a 2008 article highlighted a "TV newsgal-wannabe."

Perhaps WND should rethink its policy of archaic casual sexism since that is likely one more reason it's having trouble staying alive.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:19 AM EST
Updated: Monday, January 21, 2019 9:24 AM EST
Sunday, January 20, 2019
Levin Rewards CNS' Promotion of Him By Having Bozell As A Guest
Topic: CNSNews.com

As we documented, CNSNews.com is right-wing radio host Mark Levin's best friend, having published more than 135 articles last year on the pearls of wisdom coming from the mouths of him and his radio and TV guests. As an apparent reward for all that (possibly paid) publicity, Levin had CNS' publisher, Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell, as a guest on his Jan. 6 Fox News show.

The appearance was promoted on MRC websites with a banner designed to promote the appearance as a legitimate interview instead of the logrolling it actually was.

Needless to say, the interview -- he was the sole guest on the hourlong show -- was a cushy one for Bozell. Levin was not about to ask him any hard questions about the MRC's terrible, biased "media research" or any cross-promotion deal he has with the MRC -- or even Bozell's huge flip-flop on Trump (even as they spent several minutes bashing Mitt Romney for being an opportunistic chameleon). Instead, the interview was loaded with softballs that let Bozell spout his right-wing anti-media bias unchallenged. Indeed, Levin gushed that "I rely on you guys a whole lot" and "what your organization does, in my view, is crucially important." Bozell got his usual tired potshots in, snarking that "I'm convinced when Jesus talked about turning the other cheek, he didn't know about CNN." And he gushed as well, saying of Levin: "Your show is so extraordinary becuase it's an hourlong discussion about a serious issue, going in depth with your guest. We must have more of that in the public conversation."

Also needless to say, CNS was keen to collect those softballs, under blog posts headlined "Brent Bozell with Mark Levin: If Media ‘Were Doing Their Job,’ They ‘Would Be Blasting Democrats’ on Gov’t Shutdown" and "Bozell: 'CNN Is There to Do Nothing But Anti-Trumpism'" (as the post's URL indicates, that headline originally began, "Levin, Bozell Agree").

When Levin gives a similar hourlong softball interview to the head of Media Matters, we'll believe that his show is "so extraordinary."

 


Posted by Terry K. at 9:49 PM EST
MRC Uses Dubious Study To Deny Illegal Immigrants Commit Crime At Lower Rates
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Brad Wilmouth is best known here as the guy who keeps insisting that Republican Rep. Steve Scalise never spoke to a David Duke-led white nationalist group despite the fact that Scalise apologized for doing so, and for claiming that Donald Trump never called for the Central Park Five to receive the death penalty for their alleged involvement in a rape (a claim for which they were later exonerated) despite the fact that Trump effectively did so.

Now, Wilmouth is obsessing over the quesiton of how often illegal immigrants commit crimes -- and attacking anyone who says they do it a lower rate.

Back in June, Wilmouth complained:

Over the past week, as the dominant media have been fixated on President Donald Trump's push to more aggressively prosecute those who cross the border illegally, there have again been questionable claims that illegal immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than the native-born population.

But the studies cited either do not make a distinction between legal and illegal immigrants, or do not look at whether those who sneak across the border illegally have a higher crime rate than those who simply overstay visas. The media also continued to ignore other studies which suggest illegal immigrants do, in fact, exhibit a higher crime rate.

He was particularly incensed at a Cato institute study showing that illegal immigrants had a lower crime rate than native population. He insisted that "the study has a giant gap that may, in fact, lead one to logically conclude that those who sneak into the country illegally have an unusually high crime rate":

Recent reports suggest that about half of all illegal immigrants are visas overstays, so, if this substantial portion of the illegal immigrant population has a homicide rate comparable to those who are still legal, the conflation of both groups of illegals could be masking a substantially higher homicide rate perpetrated by those who sneaked across the border.

If one makes the educated guess that half of Texas illegals originally entered legally on a visa, and that this group's homicide rate is only about 0.51, one can deduce that the homicide rate of the other half of illegals (those who crossed the border illegally) could plausibly be as high as 5.3 -- substantially higher than the 3.88 rate of the native population. The CATO study does not address this logical possibility.

Wilmouth even updated his post two months later after Cato revised its numbers, claiming that his "plausible" homicide rate by illiegal immigrants would now be "as high as 4.2."

Wilmouth then asserted that "there have been a couple of studies that have found the opposite on the subject of illegal immigrants and crime. A Governmant Accountability Office report in 2011 suggested that illegal immigrants made up somewhere around 20-30 percent of the prison population, and a study by John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center this year also suggested a higher crime rate by illegals."

But as we pointed out when Wilmouth promoted Lott's study when it came out in February 2018, Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute -- who, it turns out, wrote the above study that Wilmouth attacked -- found significant flaws in Lott's work that raise questions about its findings, which are considered an outlier to actual, peer-reviewed research. Additionally, Lott's research track record, which usually produces right-wing-friendly findings about guns, is questionable at best.

We could find no post by Wilmouth or anyone else at the MRC that told its readers about those questions about Lott and his work, despite his efforts to raise questions about the Cato study that had results that contradicted his right-wing agenda.

Nevertheless, Wilmouth has been clinging to his dubious narrative ever since.

In September, he complained that CNN guests "have repeated the questionable claims that illegal immigrants have a lower rate of committing crimes than native-born U.S. citizens," again attacking the Cato study because "it did not make a distinction between illegal immigrants who sneak across the border and those who overstay visas" and vaguely insisting that "Illegal border crossers probably have a higher crime rate than visas overstays, which is still an argument in favor of more effective border security." He then referenced "studies like that of crime researcher John Lott which found a significantly higher crime rate by illegal immigrants as compared to U.S. citizens."

In November, Wilmouth attacked the Cato study again, adding: "CNN has had a history of repeatedly claiming that illegal immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than U.S. citizens without acknowledging the existence of studies by right-leaning researchers like John Lott and Peter Kirsanow that conclude the opposite." But Kirsanow did not conduct a "study" per se; he write a blog post for National Review cherry-picking statistics on the number of "criminal aliens" in state prisons. Cato's Nowrasteh detailed how thost stats were misleading. (At least Wilmouth admitted that Lott and Kirsanow are "right-leaning," so that's something.)

And Wilmouth did it again on Jan. 9, huffing that "Between Monday evening and Wednesday morning, a significant number of journalists and regular commentators across CNN, MSNBC, and even Fox News have cited claims from a handful of flawed studies claiming that illegal immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than do American citizens." He then added: "One bright spote [sic] this week occurred when FNC host Laura Ingraham cited a study by right-leaning crime analyst John Lott finding that illegals in Arizona are incarcerated at a higher rate." But he didn't mention the fact that Lott's study is flawed too.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:36 PM EST
Saturday, January 19, 2019
MRC's West Can't Get His Quotes Straight
Topic: CNSNews.com

Allen West spends his Jan. 7 CNSNews.com column waxing on "the future of liberty in America." It's mostly about taking potshots at "socialism" and those he thinks promote it. He writes: "After all, one progressive socialist famously quipped in 2012, 'if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.' He was a sitting President who would be reelected after making such a damning assertion."

That statement from President Obama -- whom West has apparently decided is "he who must not be named" --  have long been taken out of context by West's employer, the Media Research Center, and other conservatives. In full context, Obama was simply pointing out that business owners got help along the way from everyone from mentors to a government that built roads and that collective action supplements individual initiative.

West goes on to write:

Perhaps we should ask, have the American people lost their spirit, drive, and determination? Have the American people become so lazy and complacent that they just sit back and wait for largesse to be spread amongst them? Scottish political philosopher, Alexander Fraser Tytler stated,

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.”

Except that Tytler didn't actually say that. As we've documented, there's no evidence Tytler ever wrote such a thing, and the quote apparently dates back only to the 1940s and not the 18th century of Tytler.

Then again, West has never been interested in getting facts right in his work as an MRC "senior fellow."


Posted by Terry K. at 10:21 AM EST
WND Says Farah's Book Is Back In Print (Though It Never Really Was Out Of Print)
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has the glorious announcement in a Jan. 13 article:

While some suggest its time for Christians to dump the Old Testament, a best-selling new book finds the gospel of salvation, restoration, mercy and grace “everywhere you look,” says the author.

“The Gospel in Every Book of the Old Testament” by Joseph Farah is back in print after selling out nationwide before Christmas at the very moment at least one mega-pastor is calling for Christians to disengage from the Hebrew Scriptures – including even the Ten Commandments.

But as we pointed out when WND announced in November that the book was "SOLD OUT,"  it was still readily available at the outlets we checked, including Amazon and WND's own store (and of course, it's impossible for the Kindle version to be "sold out). It appears that WND -- following the apparent failure of its plan to raise as much as $400,000 to finance a massive first printing of the book despite not providing any evidence that the demand for Farah's book was that massive -- flipped the strategy (and acted financially responsible) by starting with a small print run it could afford and then print more as revenue from sales permitted.

There doesn't seem to be that much demand for the book in the first place -- certainly none that necessitated the 100,000-copy initial print run Farah and WND were originally planning. As of this writing, Amazon says the book is ranked No. 49,774, though it's ranked higher in very specific subcategories.

WND didn't explain the nearly two-month gap -- including the Christmas shopping season -- between the "SOLD OUT" announcement and the "back in print" announcement. Either there was never a shortage of the book in the first place, or the financial situation at WND is quite dire.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:18 AM EST
Friday, January 18, 2019
MRC Rebrands Racism and Anti-Muslim Hate As 'Free Speech'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Alexander Hall complains in a Jan. 9 post:

Even when entrepreneurs build their own platforms and use alternate forms of money, companies can still shut off their cash flow.

Coinbase has just banned the accounts of free speech platform Gab as well as its CEO Andrew Torba. Gab has been both famous and infamous for its absolutist stance on free speech. As a result Gab had to find unconventional ways to raise money. Gab used Bitcoin, which can be exchanged for all manner of goods online. However, Bitcoins depend on exchange platforms like Coinbase to be converted back into real money and vise versa. Traditional payment processors like PayPal and Mastercard have denied services to controversial figures and been accused of censorship, and newer platforms like Coinbase and Cash App are following suit.

But as the MRC has done before, Hall refuses to note the specific content that keeps getting Gab deplatformed -- in this instance, its reputation as the place to go "when right-wing trolls and outright racists get kicked off of Twitter."

If the MRC really believed that Gab was all about "free speech," as Hall insists, it would quit Twitter and move that branch of its social-media operation there (and it would quit YouTube and move its video operations to BitChute). But it's not -- because it's cynically denouncing the deplatforming to perpetuate its narrative that social media platforms discriminate against conservatives when it would never permit the content that got those operations deplatform on the MRC's own websites. (Remember, Tom Blumer got fired from NewsBusters for including white-nationalists links in his posts.)

Gab is not the only beneficiary of Hall's attempt to rebrand right-wing hate as "free speech." Hall wrote in a Jan. 17 post that "Two free speech YouTubers from the UK have been demonetized for unclear reasons." Hall seriously soft-pedals the first, Tommy Robinson:

The video that Robinson was punished for was titled “TOMMY ROBINSON: GOODBYE 2018, BRING ON 2019!” He summarized his ongoing fight against grooming gangs in England, as well as successful fundraising he had organized for English communities.Grooming gangs became famous with the  Rotherham Scandal, when it was exposed that UK politicians and police had ignored 10 years of largely Pakistani gangs sexually exploiting English girls.

He also spoke about his harrowing imprisonment for broadcasting on his phone outside a courthouse where a trial about grooming gangs was taking place.

In fact, Robinson is an anti-Muslim activist who violated British law that places strict rules about what can be reported during an ongoing trial that apply to all trials, not just the trial in question. Robinson was jailed because the offense violated terms of a previous suspended sentence, not for the act itself. In fact, Robinson's violation almost derailed the trials he was reporting on, which could have allowed the suspects to go free.

Hall also notes that Robinson is the head of the English Defence League without mentioning that the EDL is a far-right anti-Muslim group.

Hall did, however, hint at why the other person, who goes by the name of "Count Dankula," was deplatformed: he's a "Scottish Brexit-supporting internet comedian who made headlines when he was arrested for 'grossly offensive' hate speech. His offense was uploading a video where he taught his pet pug how to raise its paw in the 'Heil!' gesture to annoy his liberal girlfriend."

Hall bizarrely passed no judgment on this offensive act; instead, he gushed that it made him "a free speech icon online with a successful YouTube channel."


Posted by Terry K. at 3:47 PM EST
Updated: Friday, January 18, 2019 3:51 PM EST
Too Good To Fact-Check: WND Repeats Prank Story
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An anonymously written Jan. 8 WorldNetDaily article repeated a Wall Street Journal story claiming that Muslim interest groups -- specifically the Council on Arab-Islamic Relations -- lobbied Twitter to ban far-right anti-Muslim stunt provoacteur Laura Loomer (whom WND benignly and laughably describes only as a "conservative Jewish activist"). Since WND merely rewrote the Journal article, it couldn't be bothered to do its own fact-checking.

Bad move -- it appears the claim was the result of a prank.

Right Wing Watch reports that Loomer "was duped by internet pranksters into believing that her suspension occurred due to alleged lobbying by" CAIR. Loomer apparently took the fake info to the Journal, which dubiously represented standard complaints from CAIR employees "as evidence of the group’s influence over Twitter executives when they decided to shut down Loomer’s account." CAIR said it did nothing out of the ordinary in reporting Loomer's offensive work to Twitter.

Prankster Nathan Bernard reported numerous contacts with Loomer, which escalated into fabricating an appointment calendar showing that CAIR was scheduled to meet with Twitter chief Jack Dorsey. (Twitter has since confirmed that it never met with CAIR representatives.) An accomplice of Bernard noted that Loomer made no attempt to verify the identity of those who were feeding her this (bogus) information; meanwhile, the Journal apparently mistook CAIR's admission that it complained to Twitter about Loomer through the standard reporting channels Twitter provides to every user as an admission that it "privately lobbied" Twitter.

WND was far from alone in getting duped; numerous other right-wing websites also ran with the story, Right Wing Watch documents. Needless to say, WND hid the extent of Loomer's anti-Muslim extremism, which got her banned from Uber and Lyft for racist tweets ranting that too many of their drivers were Muslims and/or immigrants.

Also needless to say, WND has shown no interest so far in correcting the record (it usually doesn't unless someone threatens to sue). Its original story remains live and uncorrected, and a Jan. 15 article on another Loomer stunt did not mention the prank incident at all, let alone admit it was a prank.

Letting fake news stand after it's been proven fake is not helping WND's quest for credibility (or solvency).


Posted by Terry K. at 1:25 AM EST
Thursday, January 17, 2019
CNS Obsesses Some More Over Athletes Who Praise God
Topic: CNSNews.com

One of CNSNews.com's biased peculiarities is obsessing over sports figures who copiously praise God and/or Jesus in the wake of their victories or other achievements. Well, the athletes-praising-God beat has been pretty busy lately.

Michael Morris wrote a Jan. 8 post highlighing how Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, following his team's victory in the College Football Playoff championship, "said, 'All the credit, all the glory, goes to the Good Lord' and noted that he finds joy in 'focusing on Jesus.'" A few days later, he touted how "In the NFL Playoffs Divisional round matchup between the New Orleans Saints and the Philadelphia Eagles, Saints Tight End Benjamin Watson, Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, and numerous other players from both squads, knelt, linked arms and prayed together on the field," adding mostly redundantly, "Saints TE Watson and Eagles backup QB Foles are both outspoken Christians."

CNS invoked Swinney's praise of God once more on Jan. 16 under the very meta headline "Republican Sen. Tim Scott Honors Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney for Honoring Jesus Christ."

CNS is also highlighting how athletes are invoking God when they get hurt or if they screw up. A Jan. 7 post by Craig Bannister carried the headline "Bears' Kicker Turns to God after Missing Last-Second Field Goal, Losing Game" and stated:

Chicago Bears kicker Cody Parkey missed a heartbreaking 43-yard field goal with 10 seconds left in his team’s NFL playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles, resulting in a 16-15 loss that eliminated his team. But, that didn’t stop Parkey from joining players from both teams in prayer at midfield immediately after the game.

Parkey’s kick had hit the left upright of the goalpost, then hit the crossbar, before falling just short. As his teammates consoled him, Parkey pointed to the heavens as he left the field - only to return after the game to pray at midfield with other Bears and Eagles players[.]

And Morris used a Jan. 10 post to highlight a college player invoking God following a grisly leg injury:

UCF Knights junior quarterback McKenzie Milton (#10) “went from almost losing” his right leg after suffering a “terrible injury”during a scramble in the second quarter of play against in-state rival USF on November 23, 2018, but Milton is now on the road to recovery, the QB saying, “God is definitely at work.”

“Thanking God for the miracles I see everyday in my life,” wrote McKenzie Milton in an Instagram post. “Went from almost losing my leg to leg pressing 40lbs in a little over a month. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. God is definitely at work..it’s gonna be a long process but it’ll be one hell of a story.”

We're not mocking athletes who invoke God regarding their achievements (or lack thereof) -- just CNS' insistence that this is "news."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:51 PM EST
Judith Reisman's Bogus Trump-Fluffing Numbers
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Judith Reisman, the factually challenged Kinsey-hating obsessive, used her Jan. 12 WorldNetDaily column to tout "the success President Trump has had in fighting human trafficking compared to his predecessor, Barack Obama, as seen in the chart above." She added:

The first 18 months of the Trump presidency saw a 743 percent increase in arrests of traffickers over the first two years of Barack Obama’s first term.

Under Trump’s helm, 9,200 individuals were arrested on suspicion of human trafficking in 18 months. Under Obama, 1,238 were arrested for trafficking during his first two years. During eight years in office, Obama’s administration made only 42 more arrests for human trafficking than Trump’s administration made in his first 18 months! How many precious lives were saved by those 9,200 arrests!

Just one little problem: The numbers for Trump are more than a little dubious. Here's the chart Reisman is referring to:

Note the sources listed for the numbers. The first, from the Washington Examiner, covers the Obama years and come directly from the federal government. The second is an anonymous list of arrests allegedly made under Trump that offers no verification whatsoever, let alone any credibly sourcing. 

An actual news outlet told the story of how these never-verified statistics -- in this case, originating with a group of conspiracy theorists -- spread on the right:

On July 7, Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA and frequent Fox News contributor, published a tweet that contained startling but inaccurately sourced statistics about the alleged growth of human trafficking arrests under the Trump administration. It stated there were 1,952 human trafficking arrests through all of 2016, but in the first half of 2018 authorities had already made an astounding 5,987 human trafficking arrests. Kirk’s tweet falsely claimed these figures came from the Justice Department.

Kirk deleted the tweet shortly after the true source of its figures was revealed: the notorious imageboard 8chan, home of the QAnon conspiracy “researchers” of the /qresearch/ board. The board’s “research,” which consisted of sloppily compiling information from nationwide news reports about human trafficking and child pornography arrests and charges, seeks to support a core belief of the QAnon conspiracy theory — that Trump is secretly battling a corrupt deep state and an evil cabal of pedophile Satan-worshiping elites. QAnon believers think if they can show that more human traffickers are being arrested, it will support the baseless notion that Trump is finally putting an end to long-protected trafficking rings used by these elites.

Though Kirk may not have realized it at first, he had bought into the collective fantasy of some of the Internet’s most outré Trump fans.

Reisman never explains where, exactly, that chart in her article came from, but it's unlikely that she made it -- it likely emerged from the same far-right fever swamp that generated the bogus statistics.But as another, more responsible writer points out, "the image failed to note that the two sources relied on two completely different methods of data gathering. The inconsistency means it can’t be used to accurately conclude that human trafficking arrests have increased nationwide."

WND  obviously never bothered to fact-check Reisman's column and, thus, is once again guilty of publishing fake news. Will they ever learn?


Posted by Terry K. at 2:09 AM EST

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