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Sunday, August 11, 2019
MRC Mad Media Won't Embrace Fox News' Favorite Mueller Conspiracy Theories
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Rich Noyes complains in a July 23 post:

Weeks before he was even subpoenaed, Special Counsel Robert Mueller signaled his testimony before two House committees would not go beyond the conclusions of his already-released report. If true, it will disappoint liberal journalists still hoping for smoking-gun testimony that might rejuvenate the faltering cause of impeaching President Trump.

But there’s at least one way this nationally-televised forum can make news, and that’s by a highly public airing of controversies that aren’t even addressed in the Mueller Report, namely, the lingering questions of bias regarding how the probe began in 2016 and how Mueller’s team subsequently handled the investigation.

Noyes goes on to serve up one of his extremely narrowly tailored "studies," complaining that the nightly network newscasts "have barely mentioned some of the crucial unresolved questions surrounding the investigation’s bias." These include "the Strzok-Page text messages," "the Democratic-funded dossier," and "allegedly misleading the FISA court." Noyes also cited "other accusations of bias," such as President Trump's complaint that "the investigation was the result of bias within the Obama Justice Department and FBI."

But Noyes is simply repeating Fox News-inspired right-wing conspiracy theories (whiich may be one reason why he didn't include Fox News in his "media reserarch"). Media Matters summarizes this very well:

But Fox’s counternarrative is based on falsehood and fantasy. It claims a dossier assembled by a former British intelligence officer and funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee kicked off the probe (it didn’t), cites a FISA warrant against a former Trump campaign aide as evidence of an anti-Trump conspiracy (it isn’t), misreads text messages between FBI officials to suggest they show an all-out effort to stop Trump’s election (they don’t), and smears Mueller and members of his team as having conflicts of interest (they don’t).

The MRC, however, isn't moved by the facts, only by the determination to prop up right-wing narratives. For instance, a post by Kristine Marsh after Mueller's testimony linked back to Noyes' post in whining that the media "kept ludicrously characterizing Mueller as an apolitical player, ignoring all the anti-Trump controversies attached to his investigation.

Marsh wrote another post bashing NBC's Andrea Mitchell for highlighting how Republicans are trying to attack Mueller's nonpartisan investigation as a partisan exercise: "Mitchell didn’t come up with this line of attack on her own. ABC and CNN journalists also employed the same tactic in their post-hearing analysis of deflect, deflect, deflect from the Mueller team’s partisan controversies to slam Republicans as the partisan ones."

To coin a phrase: Marsh didn't come up with that line of attack on her own.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:40 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, August 11, 2019 6:54 PM EDT
CNS Publishes Malkin's Dishonest Defense of White Nationalist VDARE
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com has many flaws, but it -- along with its Media Research Center parent -- have largely stayed out of white nationalist territory (Tom Blumer notwithstanding). Which makes it curious why CNS would choose to publish a column defending a white nationalist website.

Michelle Malkin's July 31 column does exactly that. In it, she complains that an "educational nonprofit" saw its planned conference in Colorado Springs get canceled after local residents complained:

In spring 2017, award-winning journalist and former Hoover Institution media fellow Peter Brimelow and his educational nonprofit VDARE reserved the Cheyenne Mountain Resort for a conference on immigration and sovereignty issues. A local far-left gadfly who bragged about wearing her "pink pussy hat while driving (her) Prius" launched an online petition condemning Brimelow's organization as a "hate group." The petition threatened both the resort and the mayor, bellowing that "the residents of Colorado Springs will not support businesses that profit from hate groups and will not re-elect politicians hospitable to those hate groups!"

What exactly is "hateful" about VDARE's work? You can visit VDARE.com and read their wide variety of news and opinions yourself. My syndicated column, published in the Colorado Springs Gazette and hundreds of other mainstream newspapers over the past 25 years, is also published by VDARE. So is Ann Coulter's and Pat Buchanan's. VDARE hosts a vital and honest discussion of an "America First" immigration policy, long considered third rail by the establishments in both parties before President Donald Trump embraced it and won the White House. Of course, I don't agree with everything published on the site; neither do I agree with everything published on every op-ed page that has published my column. VDARE has never advocated violence or any illegal activity. The group counts foreign nationals, immigrants and members of racial and ethnic minorities among its strongest supporters, donors and contributors.

But Malkin is hiding the truth: VDARE, at its core, is a white nationalist website.

Brimelow is very much a racist and white nationalist -- he has claimed that "Hispanics do specialize in rape, particularly of chidren" and asserted that "the U.S. is a white nation" -- "and according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, VDARE publishes artilces by academic racists and hosts white nationalists like Jared Taylor and Richard Spencer who, in Brimelow's words, "aim to defend the interests of American whites." The racism is right in the name: VDARE is named for Virginia Dare, the first white child born in America.

In pretending that there's nothing "hateful" about VDARE, Malkin is dishonestly playing dumb about VDARE's unambiguous white nationalism -- indeed, she further's the whitewashing (heh) by purging the term "white nationalist" from her column. Of course, Malkin herself has been sliding further right over the years; her speech at this year's CPAC was an anti-immigrant screed that also defended the violent anti-Semite Gavin McInnes and vicious Islamophobe Laura Loomer as being on the "front lines for liberty," then afterwards had a softball interview with white nationalist Faith Goldy.

VDARE publishes Malkin's column as well, though it's unclear how long that arrangement will last if Malkin ever stops hating immigrants so much and VDARE's readers remember that she's not white.

Meanwhile, other branches of the MRC understood what Malkin's column was really about. NewsBusters publshes her column as well -- but the VDARE-defending column is notably absent from the archive. Apparently CNS has more tolerance for racism and dishonesty than the rest of the MRC.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:17 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, August 11, 2019 12:22 PM EDT
Saturday, August 10, 2019
MRC's Graham Has A Sad That Covington Kids' Dubious Lawsuit Got Thrown Out Of Court
Topic: Media Research Center

We've documented how the Media Research Center served as the unpaid (we think) PR agent for the lawyers for the Covington teens in their overheated, greedy $250 million defamation lawsuit against the Washington Post, despite said lawsuit being more of a right-wing manifesto than a credible legal action.

Well, that lawsuit got unceremoniously tossed out of court last month -- and, of course, the MRC whined about the purported injustice.

In a July 27 post headlined "Freedom of Smear," Tim Graham was unhappy that the First Amendment protects opinion: "This is standard First Amendment stuff: the Post is free to report false things to please their liberal readers, and claim that they're the truth."

You know who else has the freedom to smear people? The Media Research Center. And it does that all the time -- most notoriously when Graham's boss, Brent Bozell, called President Obama a "skinny ghetto crackhead." Does Graham think Obama should have sued Bozell over that bit of defamation? Unlikely. Does Graham think the MRC should be sued because one of its writers told a delliberate falsehood about CBS it refuses to correct? Even more unlikely.

Graham then moved quickly to whining:

But the Post's statement after the victory was obnoxious.  "From our first story on this incident to our last, we sought to report fairly and accurately the facts that could be established from available evidence, the perspectives of all of the participants, and the comments of the responsible church and school officials." 

This is not true in the slightest. We gave the Post a grade of "Ugly" for its reporting:

The MRC is hardly an objective arbiter of others' reporting, and it has shown an unambigous hatred for everything Post-related.Indeed, one of the purportedly "ugly" things the MRC claims the Post did was that it "published a nasty blog post on 'The Catholic Church’s shameful history of Native American abuses.'" The MRC did not disprove the accuracy of that post, only complain that someone wrote it.

The MRC revels in that "freedom of smear" that Graham purportedly decries -- but only as long as nobody holds it accountable for doing so, even as it demands that others be sanctioned.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:59 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, August 11, 2019 12:53 PM EDT
WND Gay-Basher Bashes Neflix For Being Too Gay
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Michael Brown -- who likes to pretend he has sympathy for the LGBT community but engages in rampant bashing of them anyway -- served up another entry in that genre with his July 26 column. It starts off by noting that Netflix sent a cease-and-desist order to the organizers of the straight-pride parade that used its logo to falsely portray it as a sponsor. That quickly led to Brown ranting about how there are too many non-heterosexuals on Netflix:

Personally, I have no interest in the Straight Pride parade, and none of my pro-family colleagues are involved with it.

That being said, it is clear that Netflix is the bully here. And it is even clearer that Netflix is proudly queer.

[...]

But it’s not just the Netflix legal team which is openly queer. The company as a whole has been blazing an openly queer path for years.

There is not only a plethora of gay-themed movies on Netflix, but a 2018 article pointed to “30 Netflix original shows with LGBT characters.”

Yes, “ Netflix has quite the history with LGBT representation, with two of their earliest shows (‘House of Cards’ and ‘Orange Is the New Black’) featuring queer leads. The company hasn’t shied away from these characters since, with LGBT characters appearing in the main casts of shows like ‘Sense8’ and ‘One Day at a Time,’ to name a few. Dramas, comedies, thrillers – whatever the genre, Netflix has featured an LGBT character in it.”

In keeping with this emphasis, now that “The Designated Survivor” is a Netflix production, it not only introduced the F- word to the show. But by the third episode, it focused on “transgender rights.”

And last year, Netflix released “Super Drags,” an “adult animated series” in which “three gay co-workers lead double lives as drag queen superheroes, saving the LGBTQ community from evil nemeses.” How delightful.

So Netflix, yes, we hear you loud and clear. You are here and you are queer. Quite so.

(Christian families looking for a very wholesome alternative might want to consider Pure Flix.)

That kind of gay-bashing is about par for the course from Brown.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 AM EDT
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: Tuesday, August 6, 2019 8:18 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

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