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Friday, August 9, 2019
Bad Timing: Before El Paso Massacre, MRC Dismissed White Supremacy As Liberal 'Strawman'
Topic: Media Research Center

Some right-wing attack pieces don't age well. For instance, a July 25 Media Research Center piece by Gabriel Hays attacking HBO's upcoming "Watchmen" series for focusing on white supremacy. Hays writes:

What’s one more woke comic book action series in the litany of woke comic book action series? HBO is set to premiere its new mainline superhero series based on the legendary Watchmen graphic novel in the fall, and guess what societal threat our crime fighters will be dealing with this time: White supremacy.

Good heavens, we get it.

The original Watchmen (written in 1986) was part crime-fighting action epic, part political commentary with its characters having to operate in a world dealing with the existential threat of nukes and Cold War politics. HBO’s new version of Watchmen is a reimagination of the crime fighting saga, set around the sociopolitical currents of modern America. Since this is the ever-woke entertainment industry, the main political struggles have to revolve around racism.

Hays then attacked Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose work apparently informed the writers for the series, as a "radical race author" and a "premier race-baiter" (and, for good measure, a "Trump-hater"). After the series' creator David Lindelof pointed out how the anti-black Tulsa race riots had been mostly suppressed from history, Hays huffed:

The power of being embarrassed by something he’d never done was so strong for Lindelof that he made sure the new iteration of Watchmen would be about the “formidable” power of white supremacy, a premise that makes older sci-fi/action villains look like kiddie material, apparently. Lindelof stated, “In a traditional superhero movie, the bad guys are fighting the aliens and when they beat the aliens, the aliens go back to their planet and everybody wins. There’s no defeating white supremacy. It’s not going anywhere, but it felt like it was a pretty formidable foe.”

How tense, how thrilling! White supremacy will never not be a viable strawman for these progressive showrunners. Their idea that “there’s no defeating it” allows for an eternity of depicting white men as brutal overlords.

Nine days after Hays dismissed the issue of white supremacy as a "strawman" invoked by "progressive showrunners," a man who cited white supremacist ideas murdered more than 20 people in El Paso, many of them Hispanics, for whom the killer declared his hatred.

Nope, this didn't age well at all.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:49 PM EDT
CNS Unemployment Coverage Distortion Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

The main story on July's employment numbers at CNSNews.com was done by editor in chief Terry Jeffrey instead of Susan Jones. Jeffrey kicked things off by cherry-picking numbers to make President Trump look as good as possible:

The number of people employed in the United States hit a record 157,288,000 in July, according to the employment report released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That was up 283,000 from the 157,005,000 employed in June.

The unemployment rate held steady in July at 3.7 percent, the same as it was in June.

Meanwhile, every other real news outlet reported a different number: 164,000 jobs created in July. That appears nowhere in Jeffrey's article, presumably because it didn't make Trump look good enough.

In addition to the new favorite sidebar about Hispanic employment by Craig Bannister -- which deviated from its usual pro-Trump rah-rah by admitting right in the headline that unemployment for Hispanics increased in July -- CNS brought back one it hadn't covered in a while: black unemployment. Managing editor Michael W. Chapman did the honors, touting how "the employment level for black Americans, age 16 and over, seasonally adjusted, was at a record level in July of 19,481,000 employed."

ONe thing Chapman didn't do was play up the fact that black unemployment is roughly twice that of white unemployment --  something he regularly did in covering black unemployment during the Obama years as a biased way to attack President Obama's handling of the economy, even though that gap has always existed as long as federal statistics have been kept. Chapman merely noted in passing in the final paragraph of his article that white unemployment was 3.3 percent -- a slightly narrower gap than usual but still in line with the historical numbers -- and he never pointed out how much higher black unemployment is by comparison.

CNS also added an unbylined article about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi praising the "encouraging news" in the jobs report -- then bizarrely illustrated it with a stock photo of Pelosi with now-disgraced actor Kevin Spacey (whose name CNS manages to misspell). And Bannister served up a little snark by contrasting Joe Biden's comment that the economy is "collapsing" under Trump with a pro-Trump bullet list taken from the above CNS articles.

Remember, bias is Job 1 at CNS.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:08 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, August 9, 2019 5:37 PM EDT
Thursday, August 8, 2019
MRC's Claim That CBS Lied Is A Lie
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is going off the deep end in its desperate campaign to protect President Trump and the gun lobby in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton massacres. So much so, in fact, it's actually spreading lies.

The MRC's Nicholas Fondacaro went on a tirade against CBS in an Aug. 5 post, attacking the CBS Evening News for featuring survivors of the Parkland massacre, then smearing the Parkland survivors as whiners for highlighting the lack of progress in "their efforts to push gun control."Fonbacaro's attack then devolved into outright falsehoods (extraneous bolding in original):

Diaz began by introducing the audience to Delaney Tarr, who she noted was a “Parkland survivor-turned social activist.” After Diaz reported that Tarr “helped start March for Our Lives, the national movement against gun violence that grew out of last year’s school massacre,” she erroneously declared that “566 mass shootings” have occurred since the group was founded.

That statistic was an absolute lie. By no reliable and/or reasonable measure have there been that many mass shootings. It was a statistic cooked up by anti-gun special interest groups trying to scare people into banning guns. If that number were true, then CBS News would be failing to do their jobs because they’ve only reported on a fraction of a fraction of them.

Actually, the absolute liar here is Fondacaro. The number is not a lie -- and it is a reliable and reasonable measure. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel details:

As lawmakers mulled over how to prevent more gun violence after 17 students and teachers were killed in Parkland early last year, 566 more mass shootings have devastated the country since.

Two of the deadliest incidents traumatized El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, this weekend when 31 people were shot and killed in the two cities in less than 24 hours.

The horrifying attacks brought to 608 the number of people who have died from mass shootings across the country since the Feb. 14, 2018, Parkland shooting — equal to more than one per day, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that tracks gun-related incidents.

The data goes beyond the highly-publicized mass shootings at malls and schools, and includes accidental shootings, domestic disputes and gang violence. It defines a mass shooting as four or more people killed or injured. The casualty numbers include the shooter.

Since Fondacaro lied about the number, the rest of his screed discredits itself. It didn't have to be "cooked up," and the purported agenda is irrelevant -- indeed, contrary to Fondacaro's rant, the Gun Violence Archive says it "is not, by design, an advocacy group" and only seeks to provide "independent, verified data." Why does Fondacaro have a problem with such data?

Fondacaro's assertion that CBS failed to do its job by not reporting on every single one of those 566 mass shootings is a disingenuous, bad-faith attack. He might want to check down the hall with with the MRC's "news" division, which also didn't cover every single one of those shootings. Would he ever say out loud that CNS didn't do its job? Not if he wants to keep his.

Fondacaro is proving that the MRC has pretty much abandoned anything resembling "media research" and cares only about making partisan attacks and forwarding pro-Trump narratives.

UPDATE: In a Twitter exchange, Fondacaro defended his false attack, citing a lower number from another source that used a different formulation and failing to understand that this does not render the existence of the 566 number to be an "absolute lie."He then went on to demand that we issue a correction, even though we proved him wrong.

As of this writing, Fondacaro's false claim remains uncorrected.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:15 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, August 9, 2019 2:27 PM EDT
Newsmax Pushes Ex-Employee As New DNI DIrector
Topic: Newsmax

When President Trump was in search of a new director of national intelligence in mid July, Newsmax helpfully suggested a replacement, in the form of a July 15 column by Peter Pry:

President Trump, according to recent press reports, is thinking of firing Dan Coats as Director of National Intelligence (DNI), and replacing Coats with former National Security Council Chief of Staff — Fred Fleitz.

If it happens, and I pray it does, it will be a giant step toward making America’s Intelligence Community great again.

[...]

Fleitz has extensive national security experience with the executive and legislative branches of government. His work for the CIA included serving as a political analyst, military analyst, analyst of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and intelligence collection officer (spy).

[...]

Fred Fleitz appears frequently on TV and has the gift — crucial in a DNI — of being able to easily and eloquently explain complex strategic and technological concepts to policymakers and the American people.

Perhaps most importantly, having known Fred Fleitz for many years, he is the worst enemy of “political correctness,” utterly unafraid of facing facts, and a lion for truth.

What Pry didn't mention: Fleitz used to work for Newsmax.

As we've noted, Fleitz used to head something called LIGNET, Newsmax's attempt to create a "global intelligence and forecasting" operation to which Newsmax readers could subscribe for a fee. It didn't last long; according to Fleitz's Wikipedia profile, he ran it from 2011 to 2013, when he jumped ship to the Center for Security Policy, and LIGNET apparently didn't survive much longer beyond that.

Anyway, Trump ended up choosing someone else as DNI, Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe -- but that nomination collapsed in a few days amid concerns about his lack of intelligence experience and charges that he padded his resume.For Newsmax, that meant it could once again push Fleitz as the next DNI.

An Aug. 2 article by John Gizzi touted how "Fleitz’s resume, several supporters told Newsmax, presents a striking contrast to that of Ratcliffe" and that Fleitz "was increasingly heard on Capitol Hill and at the White House as the likely successor" to outgoing DNI Dan Coats.

The same day, Newsmax posted a column by C.R. Anderson gushing over Fleitz, calling him an "ethical professional" and adding, "It doesn’t take Fox News, National Review, or Lou Dobbs Show excerpts to glean Fred Fleitz has the depth in service to assume the role of Director and hit the ground running. He has no learning curve; policy catch-up isn’t required."

Then, Ken Timmerman -- a onetime Newsmax regular who dabbled in Obama birtherism -- weighed in with an Aug. 3 column aggressively touting Fleitz:

The president doesn’t need someone who will grow the DNI, or who will become its defender in the White House. He needs someone who will tell him the truth about the perils our nation faces.

After its horrible — and possibly, treasonous — behavior during the 2016 election, the intelligence community needs to earn the trust of this president.

Fred Fleitz is someone this president knows he can trust. He is the best man for the job — not just for the president, but for our intelligence professionals who through him will have a chance to rebuild their reputation.

None of these writers disclosed that Fleitz used to work for Newsmax.

Perhaps not so coincidentally, Fleitz has also been popping up on Newsmax TV -- we counted three appearances in the past month.

Oh, and Fleitz also has one more quality that should make him an attractive candidate: he's a Trump sycophant. We've noted a January 2017 Newsmax column in which Fleitz effectively demanded that the intelligence community should be loyal to Trump over the good of the country.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:08 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, August 8, 2019 2:33 PM EDT
CNS' Inflammatory Headline Attacks Omar
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've documented how harshly CNSNews.com treated Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar over controversial comments she made while offering Republican Rep. Steve King a much more sympathetic treatment. Now it's giving Omar the bias-by-headline treatment it gives to other Democratic politicians.

A July 24 CNS article by Patrick Goodenough carried the headline "Rep. Omar Berates Questioner for Asking Her to Condemn Female Genital Mutilation." Conservatives love to attack Muslims for taking part in the practice even though most Muslims oppose it and is more of a cultural issue than a religious one. The headline suggests that Omar is defending the practice by being angry at the questioner.

In fact, the story itself shows the opposite. Goodenough eventually makes it clear that Omar is angry about the question because it's a stereotypical question that "as Muslim legislators we are constantly being asked to waste our time speaking to issues that other people are not asked to speak to, because the assumption exists that we somehow support" FGM. Goodenough did detail Omar's record on the issue, noting she has supported several anti-FGM measures as a member of Congress.

Goodenough noted that the questioner "drew attention to a Detroit judge’s ruling last November that a 22-year-old federal law making female genital mutilation (FGM) a crime was unconstitutional. As a result, charges against nine people accused of subjecting nine young girls to FGM were dismissed." But he didn't mention, as he had in his original article on the case, that the judge wh ooverturned the law stated that FGM is "'local criminal activity' which, in keeping with longstanding tradition and our federal system of government, is for the states to regulate, not Congress."  That's called federalism -- a longstanding conservative principle. (Goodenough's Media Research Center colleagues ignored that fact in attacking the decision.)

Putting a needlessly inflammatory headline on an otherwise relatively fair story harms CNS' credibility as the "news" source it claims to be.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:55 AM EDT
Wednesday, August 7, 2019
NEW ARTICLE: The MRC's Soccer Shenanigans
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center heaped scorn on women's soccer star Megan Rapinoe for the offense of being gay and criticizing Trump -- but it loves another soccer player for her anti-gay hate. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 2:56 PM EDT
WND Revives 'Clinton Body Count' Conspiracy Over Epstein
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has long embraced the "Clinton body count" -- a list of allegedly suspicious deaths of people even just tangentally related to the Clintons that can purportedly be blamed on the Clintons themselves -- even though it's been long discredited. Heck, WND even put Seth Rich on the "body count" list, darkly suggesting Hillary Clinton herself was complicit in his death. (She wasn't.)

Because a good -- or bad -- conspiracy theory never dies, WND is irresponsible to bring it up again in a June 25 article:

The news that someone who might have incriminating information against Bill Clinton was injured in jail lit up the internet.

Manhattan financier Jeffrey Epstein, who faces charges of molesting underage girls and sex trafficking, was found in his Manhattan jail cell Tuesday in a semi-conscious state with bruising on his neck. Authorities are trying to determine whether the injury was self-inflicted or the result of an assault.

Newsweek reported “tens of thousands of tweets,” mostly from “right-wing conspiracy theorists,” were “reigniting pernicious, false accusations that former President Bill Clinton and wife, one-time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have covered up dozens of murders made to look like suicides.”

At no point does WND act like the responsible news organization it should in order to avoid going out of business and report that the conspiracy theory is discredited. Instead, they fully embrace it:

WND has complied a list of 33 of the “most mysterious deaths.”

They include attorney Shawn Lucas, 38, who helped serve the DNC with a lawsuit claiming then-DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz “rigged the [2016] primary for Hillary Clinton” and days later was found dead in his bathroom. The cause of death wasn’t determined.

Another was former U.N. official John Ashe, founded dead in his New York home. Officials said it was a heart attack, but local police said his throat had been crushed by a barbell.

Another man, an MI6 spy who had illegally hacked secret data on Bill Clinton, was found dead, naked, padlocked and stuffed in a duffel bag in a London hotel bathtub.

Scotland Yard said it was a suicide.

If WND must continue to embrace a bogus conspiracy theory because of its institutional hatred for the Clintons rather than report the "real news" it falsely claims it does, then perhaps it doesn't deserve to live.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:55 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, August 7, 2019 9:13 AM EDT
Tuesday, August 6, 2019
MRC Goes On Unhinged Attack On CNN Over Upcoming Townhall On Massacres
Topic: Media Research Center

It wouldn't be the Media Research Center if it wasn't trying to exploit last weekend's massacre to push its anti-media agenda, and it lives down to that.

When CNN announced it would host a townhall later this week like it did after the Parkland massacre in 2017, the MRC's Nicholas Fondacaro went unhinged -- after all, a big part of the MRC's anti-media narrative is to attack CNN at every possible opportunity. "CNN Announces New Anti-Gun Show Trial, Hosted By Antifa Backer," he sneered in the headline of an Aug. 5 piece. He whined:

The victims of the El Paso and Dayton mass shootings were set to become the next soapbox for CNN to stand on and shout at Second Amendment supporting Americans. On Monday, CNN announced they will host yet another anti-gun town hall on Wednesday to emotionally exploit grieving families. If that wasn’t slimy enough, the town hall was going to be moderated by Prime Time host and Antifa supporter Chris Cuomo.

[...]

The last time CNN hosted one of these town halls, for the school shooting Parkland, Florida, it immediately degenerated into a show trial with “moderator” Jake Tapper sitting back while loudmouth students assailed Republican Senator Marco Rubio (FL) and then-NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch.

Really, Fondacaro was just mad that pro-gun activists like Loesch were in the unusual position of being criticized to their faces. In his post on that townhall, Fondacaro attacked Parkland survivor Cameron Kasky with pejoratives, claiming he "smeared" and "spat" and "browbeat" and "chided" -- seemingly obliviious to the fact that he had just survived a massacre and arguably earned the right to be a tad upset. Fondacaro huffed at the end of his post: "This is CNN. No objectivity. Just a naked ratings grab and gun ban push."

But Fondacaro wasn't done pre-ranting about the upcoming townhall. He then aimed his venom at the moderator, Chris Cuomo:

The other disgusting thing about CNN hosting this new town hall was the fact that the “moderator” was going to be Chris Cuomo. He’s the same CNN host that insisted last year that the left-wing terrorist group known as Antifa was “morally” superior. He also equated the terrorists with the soldiers who stormed the beaches at Normandy in WWII.

“There's a lot of about what-aboutism and spin going on. And it's kind of sickening to me,” Cuomo argued, “But I argue to you tonight, all punches are not equal morally." He would go on to suggest that there was no "moral equivalent" between Antifa and those they were targeting. "And in a clash between hate and those who oppose it, those who oppose it are on the side of right," he proclaimed.

Fondacaro is deliberately taking Cuomo's words out of context to suggest that Cuomo supports recent violent events involving Antifa, which Cuomo has not said he supported (something Fondacaro undoubtedly knows). As the link supplied by Fondacaro shows, Cuomo was speaking about Antifa activists at an alt-right "Unite the Right" rally last year who, the MRC gleefully reported, attacked an NBC reporter covering it. (Funny how the MRC cares only about a journalist's safety when non-conservatives are inciting violence against them.) Weirdly, Fondacaro offered no condemnation at all of the alt-right neo-Nazis who created the rally that Antifa was protesting in the first place -- you know, kind of like the person who perpetrated the El Paso massacre. Does his silence equal approval? You be the judge.

Needless to say, Fondacaro's boss, Brent Bozell, is fully on board with this unhinged hate, puling his own publicity stunt to call the townhall "a partisan political ratings stunt" that will "politicize this tragedy for ratings." As if Bozell isn't going to be all over right-wing media in the next 24 hours screeching these attacks and bashing the townhall afterwards no matter what actually happened during it.

To paraphrase Fondacaro: This is the MRC -- not letting a couple dozen murders get in the way of getting on Fox News to push its anti-media narrative.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:17 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, August 22, 2019 9:20 PM EDT
CNS Portrays Mueller As Bumbling, Touts GOP Attacks On Him
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com -- as it usually is when someone serves up testimony that might make conservatives or President Trump look bad -- went on the attack when special counsel Robert Mueller testifed before Congress. CNS had already put a pro-Trump spin following the release of his report investigating various Trump-related activities and Mueller's subsequent statement, and it would crank up the bias even higher here.

In the week before Mueller's testimony, CNS gave space to Republican Rep. Devin Nunes twice -- first to promote his never-proven conspiracy theory that Mueller was "back-channeling" with Democrats before the hearings, then later to complain that he will "expect the worst" and repeat the less-than-true claim that the Mueller report showed there was "no collusion" and "no obstruction" on Trump's part and was just "an obstruction of justice trap." (Pro-Trump CNS reporter Susan Jones wrote both of these articles, so fact-checking of Nunes was never going to happen.) Jones also dialed up another Republican congressman to prebut the hearing as "another round of what we already know."

In what passes for balance at CNS, Jones also wrote a preview article on Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler's views on thte hearling -- but she inserted her own attacks and bias, grousing that "Democrats, concerned that Americans have not read the report, believe that having Mueller tell the story on television may galvanize opposition to the president" and weirdly complaining that the hearing came "at the height of summer vacation time." She also uncritically repeated rage from Trump and other Republicans complaining that Mueller would be joined by his chief of staff on the Trump probe.

When it came to the hearling itself, CNS operated on two tracks of bias. The first was portraying Mueller as bumbling or inept -- or, failing that, absolutely clearing Trump -- in these articles:

CNS also elevated grandstanding Republicans who attacked Mueller in their questioning:

How biased was the coverage? CNS did not name any Democratic members of Congress in headlines regarding their questions.

Jones also wrote an article on a congressman identified in the headline only as "Democrat on Judiciary Committee" pushed for concise questions. Jones added: 'Unlike many congressional hearings, where members use their questions to grandstand and show off, Democrats want the focus today to be on Mueller." Of course, CNS rewards such grandstanding when Republicans do it.

After the hearing, CNS devoted three articles to pushing Republican spin about it:

By contrast, CNS published only one article on what Democrats had to say.

And Craig Bannister played clean-up by gushing over how Trump "tweeted a video montage of 'The Media’s Mueller Meltdown'" taken from Fox News.

That's the way CNS' right-wing, pro-Trump bias works.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, August 6, 2019 4:55 PM EDT
Monday, August 5, 2019
AIM Mad That Strip Club's Event At Trump-Owned Golf Club Was Exposed
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Stephen Colbert postulated that "reality has a well-known liberal bias." Accuracy in Media's Brian McNicoll seems to be offering up a corollary: If the facts make your side look bad, it's a hit job.

"Strip Club Rents Doral, Setting the Stage For Another Fahrenthold Hit Job" was the headline on McNicoll's July 10 piece. His complaint: The Washington Post's Blake Farenthold wrote a story about a strip club hosting an ostensible charity golf tournament at a Trump-owned course in Florida. McNicoll cited no factual errors in Farenthold's story; instead, he complained that "Fahrenthold stuck to the Trump-bashing angle and seemed not to notice a more troubling aspect of the story."

The "more troubling aspect" is apparently not, according to McNicoll, that a strip club is involved, or even that "the Trump organization has stooped to holding such events because of financial reasons." It's that the beneficiary of the event was to be a youth basketball club, which apparently wasn't all that bothered by the strip-club involvement.

McNicoll didn't bother to update his story to note that the basketball club pulled out of the event and the Trump club subsequently canceled it.

No "hit job" here -- just solid, factual reporting that had consequences. Not that McNicoll will ever admit that fact, of course.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:55 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, August 5, 2019 7:56 PM EDT
MRC Doesn't Understand Anime
Topic: Media Research Center

What happens when someone writes abgout something they clearly know nothing about? You get a July 10 NewsBusters post by Matt Norcross:

Most Japanese animation, or “anime,” that comes out is weird, but it can be very fun to watch. Other movies and shows made in this technique, however, may make you want to take a shower once you’re finished watching. The Netflix re-release of the influential 1995 series Neon Genesis Evangelion on June 21 started off as the former, but then turned out to be the latter in one of the most nihilistic shows I've ever seen.

The show focuses on three teenagers struggling with mental illness, Shinji Ikari (Casey Mongillo) with daddy issues, Asuka Langley Soryu (Stephanie McKeon) with depression and mommy issues, and Rei Ayanami (Ryan Bartley) who realizes she’s a God-like being. All three have been tasked by a division of the United Nations (of course the UN is made a hero) called NERV to save the world from monsters (called Angels) with giant robots known as the Evangelion.

It starts off as your standard giant robot cartoon, only with the robots bleeding. But after episode 18 it all goes downhill in terms of content by getting darker and more cynical as it progresses. It’s no wonder many reviewers have compared it to the graphic novel, Watchmen. Episode 19, titled Introjection, actually begins with Shinji threatening to kill everyone at NERV after his estranged father forced him to injure his friend.

But the 26-episode series is nothing compared to the confusing and trippy theatrical movie which serves as the show’s conclusion, The End of Evangelion. That movie has body dismemberments, blood splatter, sexual content (the film actually begins with the young teenage main character masturbating), brief showings of drawings of body dismemberments done by abused children, and ends with Shinji destroying the world by wishing everyone would die.

We at ConWebWatch are anime nerds, and at the risk of sounding like obsessive fanboys (though we are not huge fans of this show), Norcross has completely missed the entire point of "Evangelion." It's a messed-up show in many ways, just not in the way Norcross thinks it is.

The reason there's a lot of "bleeding" is that the Evas are biological in origin, not the giant robots we are led to believe they are at the beginning of the series. Also, Rei is not a "God-like being"; she's the reincarnation of Shinji's mother whose soul is transferred to a different body (several clone bodies are kept in a vat) every time she dies. And while NERV is nominally a U.N. agency, it faces much more influence from a separate organization called SEELE, which has a separate agenda. Reducing Shinji and Asuka to their respective "daddy issues" and "mommy issues" also misses the point; it's in part about the show's creator working thorough his own depression, and in part about what happens when kids with such issues are forced to save the world.

But understanding the story isn't why Norcross hate-watched "Evangelion"; it's to attacking anyone who praises the show. but he has to go far afield to find that, bashing an anime fan magazine for "gushing over the show’s love for the UN and misuse of Christianity." Of course, given that Christianity is a small minority in a Japan that's dominated by Shinto Buddhism, it's misused in anime in general. But Norcross overlooked another line in that same fan magazine article that counters his view of the show:

Still, it’s too easy to read Evangelion as pure nihilism. Yes, Anno created Evangelion while battling depression, and Shinji’s self-hatred, timidity, and frequent refusal to “just pilot the robot” will feel all too familiar to anyone who’s experienced depression. But in the end, all of the robots and the monsters and the allusions to Christianity exist to guide Shinji out of his spiral of self-hatred. In one scene Shinji’s father is described as being “not adept at living,” and it’s a concept that rings out throughout the series. Ultimately, Evangelion is about learning to live, even when things seem utterly bleak. Even at the end of the world.

(This may be the first time that the MRC has painted an anime fan magazine as a purveyor of "liberal bias.")

Again, Norcross has no interest in understanding "Evangelion," concluding his piece by glibly dismissing it as "an ultraviolent Japanese animated cartoon with mentally ill teenagers as heroes" and huffing: "Overall, if you don’t like confusing content, flashing lights (there are a LOT of them throughout the show), bizarre imagery, ultraviolence, glorification of mental illness, and getting depressed, this is definitely not the series for you."

Nor is the series for you if, like Norcross, you have absolutely no interest in spending time understanding why its story is the way it is, or you refuse to break out of your right-wing media bubble to understand even the basics of anime.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:32 PM EDT
WND Repeats False Attack on Omar
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WND appears to have brought back its "WND Staff" byline -- those articles are still anonymously written, but now there's an official anonymous byline for them. It doesn't stop WND's record of fake news, of course. A July 25 "WND Staff" article states:

A clip from an Al Jazeera television interview last year has been unearthed showing Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., claiming America should be afraid of “white men” rather than Islamic jihadis.

Because, after all, it’s white men who are causing most of “the deaths,” said the Muslim freshman congresswoman.

Al Jazeera asked her about fear of Muslim terror attacks such as those at Fort Hood and San Bernardino.

“I would say, uh, uh, our country should be more fearful, um, of, of, white men across our country because they are actually causing most of the deaths within this country,” Omar said. “We should be profiling, monitoring, um, and, uh, and, and, creating policies to fight the radicalization of white men.”

But as an actual news outlet documented, the video WND based its attack article on was didshonestly edited, removing Omar's statement qualifying her statement about being fearful of white men, saying that it applied "if fear was the driving force of policies to keep America safe, Americans safe inside of this country."

The anonymous WND article went on to attack Omar over the essentially accurate statement that white men do commit more terrorist attacks in the U.S. than Muslim extremists (since 9/11, anyway), citing anti-Muslim activist Robert Spencer to spin that the tally "ignored the many, many foiled jihad plots, and the fact that jihadis are part of an international movement that has killed many thousands of people, while right-wingers and white supremacists are not," and that some deaths attributed to white nationalists "were perpetrated by people who were obviously deranged psychopaths devoid of any ideology."


Posted by Terry K. at 1:14 AM EDT
Sunday, August 4, 2019
MRC Complains That Trump Social Media Summit Coverage Noted Extremists In Attendance
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center had high hopes for the "social media summit" at the White House -- after all, the MRC took part in it. Alexander Hall gushingly previewed the summit in a July 10 post, while also hitting the MRC's narrative that social media discriminates against conservatives:

The Thursday Social Media Summit at the White House will rally supporters of free speech. 

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who plans to attend the summit, has commented that he is “concerned there are people who work at the major technology platforms who want to put their thumb on the scale.” 

“All we want is a fair fight,” said Gaetz. “I guess in a sense if highlighting experiences and instances of bias will result in fewer moderations that present as bias, all the better.”

Hall ignored the fact that social media outlets routinely suck up to conservatives to counter the narrative, which, strangely, doesn't stop the narrative.

Hall weirdly added at the end of his article: "According to The Wall Street Journal, attendees will include high profile free speech advocates like the Media Research Center’s Brent Bozell, Prager U, the Claremont Institute, and more." Hall had to cite a news article to confirm that his own boss was attending? Didn't he know that already?

Meanwhile, the summit itself had little impact. The MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, didn't even bother to cover it, despite its employees taking part in it. doing only a preview article featuring President Trump touting how "Fake News is not as important, or as powerful, as Social Media." How important could the summit have been if its own "news" division didn't consider it to be news? Even the MRC's video site, MRCTV, offered nothing but clips of a couple of speeches at the summit (only one of which disclosed that the MRC took part in it).

Having offered up no coverage of its own, the MRC was left to attack the coverage others did. Alex Christy served up defensiveness about the extreme views of some of the invitees, combined with whataboutism:

On Thursday's MSNBC Live host Ali Velshi was joined by NBC reporter Ben Collins and Syracuse Professor Jennifer Grygiel to talk about the social media summit President Trump had at the White House. Just like conversations on the news media, the liberals insist there is no bias against conservatives in social media. Collins denounced the summit as a a gathering of "disinformation peddlers writ large" and " This isn’t about censorship. This is about building a coalition of dirty tricksters on the internet to get ready for 2020."

The Media Research Center was among the groups invited to the summit, since our TechWatch project exposes bias and censorship in social media. Smearing everyone in the room as a disinformer is....disinformation.

Collins began by stating that nobody at the summit has actually been banned from social media -- which is only true if it means a permanent ban. It doesn't count censorship like Prager U has experienced where they're put in a "restricted" backwater, or count temporary account takedowns (which has happened to people at MRC). He condemned the White House for inviting people such as Jim Hoft to the summit because Hoft is a spreader of false information. Collins declared that "This is the kind of thing that they are trying to protect at the White House going to 2020. This allows them to create innuendo against specific candidates they don’t like, against parties they don't like."

[...]

Trump should not have invited conspiracy peddlers to the White House, but it would be nice if NBC held itself to similar standards on disinformation. MSNBC has employed racial hoaxster Al Sharpton for eight years now. 

Christy then surprisingly admitted that there's no actual evidence conservatives are being systematically discriminated against, then spun this lack of evidence as not being "the point":

Velshi later asked Collins if conservatives have any proof of social media bias. Collins declared that, "No. They don't have data and they will say this." Here Collins misses the point. It is not detailed spreadsheets that are proof of social media bias, but the rules that govern their terms of service that again bring up the age-old problem of what constitutes"hate speech." In a day where everyone that disagrees with the left is deemed this-ist or that-phobic, the rules of the game are inherently slanted against people who diverge from left-wing orthodoxy.

In other words, the narrative is set, it must be adhered to, and the MRC isn't going to let a little thing like lack of evidence get in the way.

Aiden Jackson, meanwhile, was slavishly devoted to the narrative. A Jimmy Kimmel joke about the extremism of the attendees was deemed a "vicious attack" and "nasty rhetoric" against "the silencing of ideas that dissent from social media companies’ liberal worldviews." When Kimmel pointed out that no representatives from social media companies were invited, Jackson huffed: "The truth of the matter is the liberal media are only too happy to censor conservative speech while freely promoting a left-wing agenda and coarsening the public discourse."

Jackson did not, however, mention his colleague's admission that there's no actual evidence to back up the narrative, nor did he disclose that the MRC took part in it.

Hall, meanwhile, returned to claim that the accurate claim that summit participants included conspiracy-obsessed extremists like Hoft was itself a "narrative," effectively denying that anyone there was extreme. Hall praised the work of anonymous troll CarpeDonktum, gushing that "CarpeDonktum has been retweeted by the president multiple times for his cartoonish meme videos which often lionize Trump and or make the media look foolish," and that criticism of him was merely the media's "spiteful way of showing they are still salty over being hilariously parodied." Hall did disclose that "The Media Research Center also attended the summit, as the organization's purpose has been to expose biases among liberally dominated platforms and media."

Ryan Foley whined:

MSNBC host Chris Hayes devoted a two minute-long monologue to trashing President Trump’s social media summit on Thursday’s edition of All In. According to Hayes, “instead of social media companies like Twitter and Facebook, they invited a pack of Trump-supporting, race-baiting conspiracy theorists.” Hayes also described the event as an “ice cream social for trolls.”

For the record, attendees at the event included Lila Rose of the pro-life group Live Action, Senator Marsha Blackburn, Congressman Matt Gaetz; all well-established voices in the conservative movement.

For the full record -- which Foley does not want to acknowledge -- the attendees also included Hoft, notorious hoaxer James O'Keefe (who even the MRC has denounced), extremist Bill Mitchell. Far-right cartoonist Ben Garrison had also been invited to the summit, but was disinvited after someone realized that someone who trafficked in anti-Semitic tropes wouldn't help things -- something unmentioned in any of the MRC's defense of the summit's participants.

Foley also repeated Rose's suggestion that Pinterest shut down Live Action's account because it shared "pro-llife content"; in fact, it was because Live Action used the account to push health misinformation.

It also included the MRC's Christian Robey and Ed Molchany -- which, curiously, no MRC post on the summit identified as attending. In other words, Hall cited fake news in his preview post, which he could have easily corrected by asking around the office.

The MRC's resident New York Times basher, Clay Waters, complained about the Times' story on the summit because it accurately described many of the attendees as "right-wing trolls," which Waters euphemistically insisted were just "conservative social media activists." Waters also whined that the reporter failed to adhere to the right-wing narrative because he "didn’t question whether conservative accounts are being banned, suppressed, or otherwise treated unfairly by the liberal-dominated social media platforms."

P.J. Gladnick went full whataboutism in a post that responded to Vox pointing out that the summit disproved itself by getting a lot of social coverage by ... devoting half his post to attacking Vox writer Carlos Maza for prompting YouTube's "demonetizing not only Steven Crowder's YouTube channel but many other conservative-oriented channels as well." Gladnick didn't mention Crowder's homophobic attacks on Maza, which forced Maza to take action. (Remember, the MRC thinks Crowder's nasty attacks on Maza are totally cool because he's allegedly a comedian.)

Even chief MRC partisan snarker Tim Graham weighed in with an Aug. 4 post cheering that Playboy reporter Brian Karem had his White House press pass suspended for "his behavior at Trump's social media summit on July 11, where he verbally attacked Trump's conservative guests:"This is a group of people that are eager for demonic possession." He snarkily added: "Two executives of the Media Research Center attended, and neither needed an exorcism." Weirdly, Graham didn't identify who those "executives" were so we could judge the state of their souls for ourselves.

Yet for all these complaints about the coverage of others, the MRC offered up none of its own to hold up as a "fair and balanced" view of it. Which, arguably, gave it little basis on which to complain.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:16 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, August 4, 2019 6:11 PM EDT
CNS Flips, Bashes Slave-Owning Jefferson To Own The Libs
Topic: CNSNews.com

An anonymously written July 16 CNSNews.com article reads:

The resolution that has been proposed in the House of Representatives to condemn President Donald Trump for racism holds up two slave-owning Founding Fathers as philosophical role models whose understanding of America should be emulated.

The first paragraph of the resolution states:

“Whereas the Founders conceived America as a haven of refuge for people fleeing from religious and political persecution, and Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison all emphasized that the Nation gained as it attracted new people in search of freedom and livelihood for their families;

[...]

As reported by the Encyclopedia Britannica, both Madison and Jefferson owned slaves while Hamilton did not.

A report on “Slaveholding Presidents” by Gleaves Whitney for the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies indicates that Jefferson owned “about 200” slaves and Madison owned “more than 100.”

That's a curious attack, given that CNS in the past has sought to deflect from criticism of Jefferson's slaveholding.

For instance, CNS published a July 2017 syndicated column by Walter E. Williams criticizing attempts to "rewrit[e] American history" by taking a more critical view of slavery: Slavery is an undeniable fact of our history. The costly war fought to end it is also a part of the nation's history. Neither will go away through cultural cleansing. ... Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, and there's a monument that bears his name — the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. George Washington also owned slaves, and there's a monument to him, as well — the Washington Monument in Washington. Will the people who call for removal of statues in New Orleans and Richmond also call for the removal of the Washington, D.C., monuments honoring slaveholders Jefferson and Washington?"

Williams similarly complained in an October 2017 column published by CNS, calling attacks on Jefferson an evil liberal plot: "What goes unappreciated is just why America's leftists' movement attacks the Founders. If they can delegitimize the Founders themselves, it goes a long way toward their agenda of delegitimizing the founding principles of our nation. If the leftists can convince the nation that men such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were good-for-nothing slave-owning racists, then their ideas can be more easily trashed. We find the greatest assaults on our founding documents on the nation's college campuses."

A June 2017 column by the Heritage Foundation's Jarrett Stepman complained about the "savage attacks" against Jefferson over his slaveholding "show how little distinction is made between various politically incorrect historical targets out of step with the milieu of the time." And in August 2017, CNS eagerly touted the views of close personal friend and right-wing radio host Mark Levin that removing statues of Jefferson over slavery would cause the country to "be divided in ways that I’ve never even contemplated."

But because a Democratic-led resolution invokes Jefferson, CNS must now suddenly reject its previous rhetoric and denounce Jefferson as a slaveholder. Way to own the libs, CNS!


Posted by Terry K. at 11:27 AM EDT
Saturday, August 3, 2019
Newsbusters Sports Blogger: If Rapinoe Did Feel Bulling By Trump, He Couldn't Have Been Trying To Bully Her
Topic: Media Research Center

Jay Maxson, the Media Research Center's mysterious sports blogger, absolutely hates the U.S. women's soccer team in general, and star player Megan Rapinoe in particular, for being too gay -- which is to say being gay at all, not a surprise given Maxson's anti-gay activism. Now he's serving up perhaps the most bizarre attack on Rapinoe he could conjure. In a July 29 post, Maxson complains that because Rapinoe says she didn't fell bullied by President Trump's tweets attacking her, Trump thus could not have been trying to bully her:

The truth is coming out. Soccer firebrand Megan Rapinoe is not the poor little victim of presidential bullying that her media enablers have been making her out to be. In a Vox Recode interview with Kara Swisher (in photo) she goes to the extreme of claiming membership in the "Squad" as a victim of President Trump's bullying. Trying to have it both ways, Rapinoe tells Swisher that Trump's tweets made her famous and spurred Team USA onto World Cup victory.

Rapinoe is a Colin Kaepernick-inspired social justice warrior who said this spring she refuses to honor America during the playing of the national anthem as a ''big F-you" to President Donald Trump. During the World Cup, she told a reporter she would not go to the "fucking White House" if the U.S. won the championship. Trump responded on Twitter that she should win first before talking White House, then invited the team win or lose. To many in the media, Trump was the villain, Rapinoe the damsel in distress.

Of course, whether Rapinoe ultimnately felt bullied is irrelevant to the apparent intentions of Trump in attacking her.

Obsessing again over Rapinoe's sexuality and triggered by Colin Kaepernick Derangement Sydrome, Maxson went on to huff that  "Rapinoe the role model indicates her inspirations are Kaepernick and wine. And her significant other, WNBA player Sue Bird, whose virtues were extolled by CNN's commie Van Jones," adding further freakout-level annoyance at a writer who noted that "This power couple has surpassed Ellen DeGeneres and her partner."

Anti-gay freakouts, sadly, are very much on-brand for Maxson and the MRC.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:54 AM EDT

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