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Tuesday, October 29, 2019
MRC Working-The-Refs Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

We've been documenting the Media Research Center's narrative for attacking Democratic presidential debates: a pre-debate attack on the moderators, followed by post-debate posts making evidence-free claims about how supposedly biased the moderator's questions were. That was pretty much the pattern for October's debate.

The morning of the Oct. 15 debate, Geoffrey Dickens trotted out the required attack item on CNN's Anderson Cooper, serving up what he claimed was "a collection of Cooper’s liberalism at CNN" out of the MRC archives, "from trashing the 'treasonous' Trump to hailing Hillary Clinton as the 'Queen of Compromise.'" Dickens did attempt a backhanded complement: "While Cooper has in the past shown the capacity to ask tough debate questions, a look through the MRC archives suggests it’s more likely that if the AC360 host does ask any challenging questions, they’ll be from the left."

One of the things Dickens deemed to be "liberal" about Cooper was the accurate observation that former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders wasn't a fan of telling the truth. Dickens offered no evidence that Cooper was wrong.

Exactly 12 hours later, after the debate, Scott Whitlock took up the attack baton, ranting that Cooper "made sure to exonerate the Bidens, telling Joe Biden that your son has been “falsely accused” and there’s “no evidence” of any wrongdoing when it comes to Ukraine." Whitlock offered no evidence that Cooper was wrong.

A few days earlier, though, the MRC changed its focus on a CNN-hosted LGBQ town hall by adhering to its anti-gay roots and mocking the mere existence of it. Curtis Houck sneered:

After thinking that having a seven-hour-long town hall about climate change was a great idea, CNN returned Thursday night with a four-and-a-half hour town hall partnering with the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) about LGBTQ issues. 

Rampant protests calling attention to black trans women, Chris Cuomo joking about preferred pronouns, and flat-out abuse with transgender elementary-age children were just a few of the things that transpired.

In listing what he called "the craziest questions" from the forum, Houck added: "The following round-up does not include the absolutely ludicrous meltdown by transgender woman Blossom Brown during Beto O’Rourke’s portion." No, that was deemed worthy of its own post by Nicholas Fondacaro, who put "Raging Black Trans Woman" in his headline and worked to keep up the mockery: "The already bonkers LGBT town hall went wild Thursday night when a black trans woman named Blossom C. Brown rushed a questioner from the audience, stole the mic, accused CNN of erasing black trans women, demanded people 'Google' her, and almost climbed on stage."

We get the feeling that Fondacaro would have mocked the woman just as savagely even if she wasn't "raging."

By contrast, the MRC published nothing about an Oct, 24 town hall on Hispanic issues -- perhaps because it was put on by conservative outlet Newsmax.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:10 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, October 29, 2019 8:07 PM EDT
WND's Massie: Trump Is 'God's Anointed' (No, Really)
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily columnist Mychal Massie has traveled on the divine-Donald bandwagon before, in a July column asserting that "I believe God has given us a window of reprieve through President Trump." He takes that up to 11 (as he's wont to do for a lot tings) in an Oct. 14 column declaring that Trump is no less than "God's anointed":

Never in my nearly 50 years involved in the politic arena have I witnessed such a groundswell of support from so many voters of every persuasion and economic strata. Despite what you might hear from never-Trump groups such as ALIPAC and anti-Trump persons Bill Kristol, Mitt Romney, Karl Rove et al., along with the Trotskyites who man the bureaus of agitprop that are mislabeled journalism, President Trump enjoys an unflappable base of support that is growing exponentially.

For many years I have had people tell me that they are praying for our country. They've told me that they are praying and asking the God to save our country and/or to heal our country.

Well, my friends, it certainly appears to me that President Trump is God's answer to our prayers. He is God's man for such a time as this. That's something we who are Christians need to give serious consideration to.

There is only one reason the devil is leading such relentless attacks and falsehoods against President Trump. It's because his (presumably) two terms in office are nothing if not a spiritual battle on a much higher plain of good vs. evil than you and I see.

If I view President Trump as God's Jehu of the Old Testament, why would I be surprised that the darkest forces of hell have launched wave after wave of attack against him since the first hour that he announced his candidacy for president?

Why would I be surprised that despite the relentless satanic attacks against him, President Trump continues to succeed in the advancement of his agenda? He continues to keep his campaign promises to We the People, and the attacks that would have destroyed any other man seem to just make him stronger.

As a Christian minister, I say that is possible only because he is the anointed of God for this moment.

[...]

If President Trump were truly the evil person the ruling political oligarch and their minions label him, they would not be fighting against him with such manic hebephrenia.

We should stop wringing our hands and worrying about the fallacious accusations and unmitigated lies that are directed at President Trump night and day. It will do us well to remember that God heard the prayers of We the People and answered said prayers in the form of Donald J. Trump – we should stop worrying about what man can do to God's anointed.

What we should do is strengthen our resolve to not just vote President Trump back into office in 2020, but resolve to encourage others to vote for vote for him and resolve to see his enemies put out of office.

(It seems Massie used "hebephrenia" because he couldn't work in his favorite thesaurus word, "Erebusic.")


Posted by Terry K. at 12:33 AM EDT
Monday, October 28, 2019
NewsBusters Blogger Touts Trump's 'Refreshing' Letter to Erdogan, Mad That Others Don't Feel The Same
Topic: NewsBusters

CNSNews.com isn't the only Media Research Center division looking to put a positive spin President Trump's withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, which effectively gave Turkey a green light to invade the region and attack Kurdish fighters who had helped the U.S. fight ISIS in Syria.

Mark Finkelstein served up this bit of spin in an Oct. 17 NewsBusters post:

New Day co-hosts John Berman and Alisyn Camerota on Thursday took turns reading out loud a letter that President Trump recently sent to Turkish President Recep Erdogan. The letter contained blunt language in which Trump urged Erdogan not to be a "tough guy" or a "fool."  

Berman then turned to Jim Acosta, CNN's White House correspondent, and Trump antagonist extraordinaire, and sneeringly said: "We have this letter with this language that isn't exactly at Ph.D. level."

Acosta took Berman's insult a step further, interrupting to say, "nothing unusual here." Agreed Berman, "Nothing unusual."

Question: Does CNN really care about the letter's language? Or is it just looking for any opportunity to mock President Trump, and by extension his supporters, who are likely to find his unvarnished approach refreshing?

As we've pointed out, Trump's letter has been almost universally panned as unprofessional and disrespectful and, thus, utterly ineffective as a tool of diplomacy (Erdogan himself threw the letter away). Further, Finkelsteain seems to be unaware that the intent of diplomacy is to do what needs to be done in the appropriate language and tone to achieve the desired objective -- not play to your political supporters back home. Finkelstein also failed to acknowledge that Trump's "refreshing" and "unvarnished approach" was a complete failure here.

But then, he's one of those supporters back home who cares more about Trump playing the part of a tough guy than his actual achievements.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:47 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, October 28, 2019 9:48 PM EDT
CNS Suddenly Loves Dem Tulsi Gabbard Now That She Supports Trump, Hates Hillary
Topic: CNSNews.com

It wasn't that long ago that CNSNews.com treated Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard with the same right-wing disdain it has applied to all Democratic presidential candidates. For instance, Craig Bannister highlighted how Gabbard "boasted that she has forsaken the values instilled in her by her parents," while Michael Morris gave a platform to its favorite right-wing radio host, Mark Levin, to bash her as a "clown," "crackpot" and "moron" whose "propaganda on behalf of Syria & Iran is disgraceful."

But supporting President Trump is Job 1 at CNS like it is at the rest of the Media Research Center, followed closely behind by Clinton derangement, and when Gabbard started sounded more like Trump -- then got into a spat with Hillary Clinton -- she was suddenly treated as a sane and credible candidate.

A Sept. 26 blog post by Bannister promoted Gabbard's opposition to Democratic impeachment efforts against Trump, adding that "Gabbard then cautioned that impeachment may well backfire on Democrats."

When Gabbard echoed Trump's call to remove U.S. troops from Syria during a debate, an Oct. 16 article by Melanie Arter touted how Gabbard claimed "The New York Times and CNN smeared" her for wanting to end "regime change war" -- never mind that only a month earlier CNS was letting Levin declare her support for Syria as "disgraceful."

Shortly thereafter, Hillary Clinton suggested that the Russians were grooming Gabbard to make a third-party presidential run, CNS rushed to Gabbard's defense. Managing editor Michael W. Chapman touted Gabbard's response that Clinton is the "queen of warmongers" and the "personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long." This was followed by an item by Susan Jones about another Democratic presidential candidate being asked about Gabbard.

Chapman returned to boost Gabbard's "new video response to Hillary Clinton's charge that she is being groomed by the Russians to be a third-party candidate," in which she ranted that if you "stand up against Hillary" and the "war machine," they will try to "destroy you."

The same day, Chapman complained that "On the very day Democratic presidential contender Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) said that The New York Times and CNN were smearing veterans like herself because she opposes the "regime change" war in Syria, CNN analyst Bakari Sellers told a panel of CNN reporters "there is no question that Tulsi Gabbard ... is a puppet for the Russian government." He added, "Clinton, like CNN and Bakari Sellers, presented no evidence to support her claim," then weirdly moved to suggest Clinton is discredited because of the Mueller report:

From late 2016 and through 2017, 2018, and part of 2019, Hillary Clinton and most of the liberal media either claimed or strongly suggested that President Donald Trump had colluded with Russia to win the presidential election.

The report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded, “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

That's just Chapman repeating  the CNS/MRC pro-Trump corporate line.

Finally, Melanie Arter served up her usual stenography work by uncritically passing along President Trump's mocking that Clinton "is accusing everyone of being a Russian asset, but her recent accusation against Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) probably helped the congresswoman like it ended up helping the Trump administration."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:13 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, November 5, 2019 12:19 AM EST
Sunday, October 27, 2019
MRC's Double Standard On Promoting Stories That Turn Out To Be Fake
Topic: Media Research Center

In a Sept. 29 item, the Media Research Center's Brad Wilmouth complained that "several shows on CNN, CBS, and NBC took the time to highlight a bullying case in which three white boys allegedly held down a black classmate and forcibly cut her long hair after a history of taunting her," expressing particular ire that "several shows made a point of noting that Vice President Mike Pence's wife, Karen, teaches at the same school." the next day, Wilmouth rushed to tout a major development in the story:

As previously documented by NewsBusters, a number of shows on the major networks late last week ran with reports of a racist bullying incident at Springfield, Virginia's Immanuel Christian School that, by late Monday morning, was revealed to be a hoax. The family of 12-year-old Amari Allen admitted that their daughter made up her story, accusing three white classmates of forcibly cutting her long hair.

When the story first came out, the flagship morning and evening shows on ABC, CBS, and NBC combined with CNN and MSNBC for nine minutes and 53 seconds engaging in a frenzy, pushing Allen's fable as a slamdunk fact as yet another incident of how supposedly racist America is and continues to be in the Trump era.

What Wilmouth won't tell you: We've caught the MRC numerous times promoting stories that later turn out not to be true, and only rarely does the MRC update the story or issue corrections for its readers. There's the 2016 false story that Hillary Clinton was to be imminently indicted, about which which MRC chief Brent Bozell vowed to "report developments on this continuing cover-up every hour" (though none of those hours were devoted to telling readers the story was bogus); there was the MRC's embrace of the claim by a Parkland massacre survivor that CNN was scripting questions for him at a televised forum (CNN released emails with the student and his family proving the claim wrong which the MRC never acknowledged); and there was the hying of the death of a Border Patrol agent purportedly at the hands of illegal border-crossers (actually, he died in an accidental fall).

When the MRC gets around to correcting the record on its own bogus stories, we'll take it seriously when it demands the same from others.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:37 PM EDT
Saturday, October 26, 2019
WND Loves MRC's Drag Queen-Bashing Rant
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Media Research Center writer Elise Erhard went on a drag queen-bashing tirade in an Oct. 9 post, in response to a health insurance company commercial that was "uplifting" until it showed "a drag queen reading and dancing for laughing children":

For decades, the left has successfully promoted the increased sexualization of children by portraying opponents as somehow mean or intolerant. In this latest volley, those who see problems with a sexualized man dressed as a woman reading to children are once again criticized as just disliking people who are different or "too much." A drag queen reading to children is the same as an elderly woman who dresses her best or a male healthcare worker showing a softer side, in a new commercial by health insurance provider Kaiser Permanente.

[...]

With the help of the American Library Association, drag queen story hours have been invading local communities, often against the communities' wishes. Children at these story hours have been exposed to convicted pedophiles, taught twerking, and placed in sexually suggestive positions with drag queens for photo-ops. One drag queen who participated in a story hour even admitted in front of his local city council that it was a form of “grooming.”

This is corporate advertising once again soft-pedaling a radical left-wing sexual agenda by integrating it into what seem to be benign, everyday advertisements. Kaiser Permanente has a long history of contributing to liberal causes, like GLAAD, Human Rights Campaign, Planned Parenthood, and National Urban League.

To all those parents and taxpayers who are fighting this latest insidious form of child sexualization, Kaiser Permanente literally says, “Too bad.” Apparently, the health insurance company thinks sexually grooming children is just another way for adults to “thrive.”

Erhard's "grooming" claim falsely suggests that drag queens are preparing children to be sexually exploited. In fact, that comment is taken out of context; the man who performs as a drag queen said at a Louisiana city council meeting in 2018 that he's "not there to push any kind of agenda":

I was told at the library council meeting last night that I am pushing the trans agenda, I am pushing an overly sexualized agenda, and that is furthest from the truth. I am just as talented as a singer or a dancer or anyone that has aspecial talent. It's just mine is dressing as a woman and entertaining a crowd.

Now, everywhere you can go, you can see that people can change their views for certain audiences. Just as much as someone can be an actor for an rated-R movie and they can go around and be in a G-rated movie, I can entertain adults in a club but also entertain a group of students and young children. I'm able to do that because I'm an adult and I know how to filter myself.

And I just think that it is implorable [sic] some of the opinions I've seen and some of the looks I've received here tonight. The eyes people give you whenever they think that you are the one that's in support of this event is truly disgusting. And I am not here to obviously change anyone's views about me, but I'm here to let you know that this event is something that's going to be very beautiful and for the children and people who support it are going to realize that this is going to be the grooming of the next generation. We are trying to groom the next generation not to see the way that they just did.

And just because I said that, you heard the little ploor [sic] of people behind me. It's disgusting. We're trying to teach people to be tolerable, to be patient, to be loving. And the fact of the matter is that I'm standing right here and there's probably 50 people behind me looking at me with daggers probably wishing I would probably die in a car wreck whenever I leave here. It's truly implorable [sic].

And that is what we're trying to do with drag queen story time. We're trying to raise people to be loving and caring individuals, and I really hope that this event is going to do that for not only just the children at this event but children in the future.

So, quite a bit different. The Daily Wire article to which Erhard links also takes the "grooming" comment out of context.

Meanwhile, the content-desperate folks at WorldNetDaily loved Erhard's drag qeen-bashing so much, the MRC item served as a basis for its own article, right down to adapting her "sexualized man dressed as a woman" phrase to the headline and repeating the out-of-context "grooming" line.

If these kinds of articles are so homophobic that WND thinks this highly of them, the MRC might have a problem. It already has one in echoing WND the other way.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:42 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, October 27, 2019 4:45 PM EDT
Friday, October 25, 2019
MRC's Graham Serves Up More Right-Wing Ranting Passed Off As 'Media Research'
Topic: Media Research Center

Why is the Media Research Center's Tim Graham a terrible media critic? Here's another reason. This is Graham in an Oct. 6 post (bolding in original):

Why would Republican appear on the "mainstream" Sunday shows? You could wonder after Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) was disgusted by moderator Chuck Todd's "very biased opening" segment on Meet the Press, and Todd openly fought with him and wouldn't let him finish a point as Johnson tried to tell him what he should ask John Brennan later in the show. Brennan received gooey sympathy. 

Todd moaned and groaned and then said “I have no idea why Fox News conspiracy propaganda stuff is popping up on here. I have no idea why we’re going here." When Johnson said this is why people hate the media, "This is not about the media! Senator Johnson, please!!” As in "please stop criticizing the heroic press."

Johnson began: "your setup piece was --you know, typically, very unbiased [sarcasm]....Before I started answering all the detailed questions, let me just talk about why I'm pretty sympathetic with what President Trump has gone through. You know, I'm 64 years old. I have never in my lifetime seen a president, after being elected, not having some measure of well wishes from his opponents. I've never seen a president’s administration be sabotaged from the day after election. I -- I've never seen -- no-- no measure of honeymoon whatsoever."

And then he started talking about FBI lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page texting about how they keep Trump from being elected. The networks have barely touched Strzok and Page. 

Todd unleashed the Fox News dig, and angrily insisted "Can we please answer the question that I asked you instead of trying to make Donald Trump feel better here that you're not criticizing him." Johnson said "I'm trying to lay the groundwork...of your very biased opening."

Todd also said "I understand that a way to avoid answering a question is to attack us in the press. I'm well aware of that...And that doesn't work." Johnson said "You set this thing up totally biased. I could never really get into the full narrative. "

[...]

Then Todd turned to liberal Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy, who's used to softball interviews. Murphy was allowed to uncork long 180-word answers without Todd interjecting. Then Todd complained to Murphy, like they were teammates: "We have a major problem here. I mean, the-- the comfort level that the senator had to character assassinate the show and us-- in this-- in this bizarre, personal way I think shows you where we're headed. What do we do?"

So what went wrong here?

1) Graham never proves Johnson's assertion that Todd's opening was "biased" because he never quotes the opening.

2) Heputs words in Todd's mouth by claiming he really meant to say "please stop criticizing the heroic press." Can Graham read Todd's mind? Is there an ESP division at the MRC?

3) Graham praises Johnson for "talking about FBI lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page texting about how they keep Trump from being elected," but he didn't mention that, as others have pointed out, it had nothing to do with Todd's question: "Again, what Todd is asking here is for Johnson to further explain his own quote about 'wincing' at the suggestion that military aid might be linked to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's willingness to investigate Joe Biden. This isn't some sort of "gotcha" question. Johnson said it! And recently!"

4) Graham engages in more purported mind-reading by claiming without evidence that Todd's "we" was in reference to "teammates" Murphy and himself. Apparently, Graham has never heard of the "editorial we" or any other common use of the word.

Of course, Graham is not being paid to be a good media critic -- just one continually on the attack.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:49 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, October 25, 2019 2:49 PM EDT
How Is CNS' Managing Editor Being More Catholic Than The Pope Now?
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've documented how CNSNews.com managing editor Michael W. Chapman is such a right-wing Catholic that he thinks he can lecture the Pope Francis (who's too liberal for him) about Catholicism. Here's how Chapman has been acting more Catholic than the pope over the past couple months.

Sept. 4: Chapman touted how one Catholic school removed the Harry Potter book series from the school library because "they misrepresent magic as 'both good and evil, which is not true,' he said, and because some of the curses and spells are 'actual curses and spells.'"

Setp. 9: In a crossover with his gay-hating tendencies, Chapman huffed that the "gay media" praised a new Catholic cardinal, citing a right-wing Catholic website to claim that he was from a diocese that is "a hotbed of leftist politics and LGBT activism."

Sept. 13: Chapman was upset that the Catholic church in Switzerland would bless same-sex marriages in a special ceremony (but not actually marry them), ebven though "the Catholic Church teaches that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered" and cannot be approved under any circumstances."

Sept. 16: Chapman promoted a right-wing Catholic priest whining about Pope Francis' criticism of "rigid priests" and his lament that "I must honestly and painfully say that I am wearied from being scorned and demonized by you" despite not offering any evidence that the Pope actually knows who this priest is.

Sept. 17: Chapman gave an article to one of his favorite right-wing Catholics, the Francis-hating Carlo Vigano, to assert that the pope is provoking a schism over his support for something called the Amazon Synod. In August, Chapman touted right-wing attacks on the synod calling it an "apostasy" because it would discuss "ecology, economy and politics."

Sept. 19: Chapman gave space to another right-wing attack , this time on liberal priest James Martin because he advocates the view that people are born gay and generally doesn't hate the LGBT community to their (and Chapman's) satisfaction.

Sept. 26: Chapman featured a former bishop of Hong Kong complaining that "Rome no longer dares to criticize the Chinese government."

Ot. 7: Chapman dialed up another "apostasy" attack on the Amazon Synod from his other favorite right-wing Catholic, Cardinal Raymond Burke.

Oct. 9: Chapman pushed a claim from "Pope Francis' longtime atheist friend and interviewer, Eugenio Scalfari," who "claims that the Pope told him that once Jesus Christ became incarnate, he was a man, a "man of exceptional virtues" but "not at all a God." Chapman had to update the article to add a Vatican statement that the claim "cannot be considered as a faithful account of what was effectively said, but represent more a personal free interpretation of that which he [Scalfari] heard."

Oct. 17: It's another attack on the Amazon synod, a tangental one featuring one bishop accusing it of being funded with "blood money" because "money used to fund some of the groups participating in the Vatican's Amazonian synod came from the pro-abortion Ford Foundation -- whose Board members include former Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards."

You'd think Chapman would have enough to do running his "news" organization than to obsess over right-wing Catholic politics.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:29 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, October 25, 2019 4:12 PM EDT
Thursday, October 24, 2019
MRC Plays Whistleblower Whataboutism ... With Linda Tripp?
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has done a lot of whining about the whistleblower that got the ball rolling on President Trump's impeachment inquiry. It also went the whataboutism route via a hoary old Clinton Equivocation -- something the MRC did a lot of in 2016 to deflect from Trump's sleazy behavior. Rich Noyes wrote in an Oct. 2 item (boldface in original):

The anonymous whistleblower who complained about President Trump’s July phone conversation with the leader of Ukraine is being touted and toasted across the liberal media, but it was a far different story 21 years ago when a Pentagon employee named Linda Tripp helped bring Bill Clinton’s perjury and obstruction of justice to the attention of Independent Counsel Ken Starr.

For daring to undermine a Democratic President, the media had nothing but contempt for Tripp, who journalists disdained as a “pathetic, self-destroying older loser,” a “treacherous, back-stabbing, good-for-nothing enemy of the truth.” Time’s Margaret Carlson said Tripp “lost membership in the family of man” by recording her phone conversations with Clinton’s paramour, Monica Lewinsky. CNBC’s Geraldo Rivera said Tripp was a “betrayer on the order of Benedict Arnold,” while Newsweek tagged her a “friend-betraying Cruella de Vil.”

In an online poll, ABCNews.com put Tripp in the same league as mass butchers Slobodan Milosevic, Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Even after impeachment, journalists felt comfortable using Tripp’s name as an epithet, as when NBC’s Katie Couric scolded George Stephanopoulos as “kinda creepy... a Linda-Tripp type,” because his memoir included too much personal information about Bill Clinton: “You’re airing all the dirty laundry, and some people just think that’s sorta gross.”

Noyes is whitewashing what Tripp did. She didn't reveal Clinton's "perjury and obstruction of justice"; she secretly recorded phone conversations with Lewinsky and falsely pretended to be her friend, and the only thing her tapes did is show that Lewinsky and Clinton had an affair. Tripp did, in fact, betray Lewinsky. Further, the Trump whistleblower exposing the president trying to link foreign aid to another country in exchange for dirt on a political opponent exposes a much more severe offense than Tripp exposing that Clinton had an affair.

Noyes would never admit that, of course.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:28 PM EDT
Cleanup Mode, Part 2: CNS Tries To Retcon Mulvaney's Quid Pro Quo Admission
Topic: CNSNews.com

Part of being a pro-Trump stenographer at CNSNews.com is having to clean up after President Trump or a surrogate when they screw up. We've caught them doing that already as the impeachment inquiry has progressed, and now they've done it again.

The big news from last week's press conference by acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney is that he effectively admitted that Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine because Trump wanted the country to investigate conspiracy theories that involved the 2016 election and Joe Biden's son -- then tried to walk back the claim shortly thereafter. But, of course, that's not the way CNS framed it.

Susan Jones' first article started by framing Mulvaney's remarks the way he wanted them framed -- by uncritically quotinghim saying there was no issue with Trump holding up aid to Ukraine because "President Trump is not a big fan of foreign aid, never has been, still isn't." The quid pro quo admission is buried far down and not highlighted. Sometime after the article was published, a note was added to the top of the article stating that "Mulvaney issued a statement pushing back on reports that he admitted to a quid pro quo involving Ukraine, i.e., U.S. military aid in exchange for Ukraine's cooperation with the ongoing 2016 election-corruption investigation"; it's not explained that those reports he's "pushing back" on are accurate and that he's now saying something different than his original claim.

Jones' next article tried to reframe things by criticizing the way Mulvaney was asked questions and parsing his answers to leave out the whole quid pro quo stuff:

Listen to these two questions asked of Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on Thursday:

(1) "Can you describe the role that you played in pressuring Ukraine to investigate the Bidens?" and (2) "Can you walk us through the meeting that President Trump was dangling over Vladimir Zelensky to have him right here at the White House? What were the preconditions of that meeting and was investigating Burisma one of them?"

Both questions assume guilt on the part of the Trump administration, but Mulvaney answered them.

The answer to the first question is "none," Mulvaney said. "I didn't have any--any--what was your question? What did I do to Ukraine or something? Nothing."

[...]

The reporter repeated: "The second question is about the meeting that was supposed to happen here at the White House between the two presidents. Could you walk us through the discussions for that meeting? What was on the table for a precondition, and was the investigation of Burisma ever brought up as a condition to meet with President Trump?"

"No," Mulvaney said. "Not to me and not to anybody I know of. I was never in a conversation that--that had the word Burisma in it...or the Bidens. That never happened with me in there.

Jones was pretty much the only person trying to make that argument -- even among her fellow right-wingers.

Melanie Arter gave it another shot in an Oct. 21 article, uncritically recounting Muvaney's "Fox News Sunday" appearance in which he continued to reverse himself on the quid pro-quo admission. It's straight, boring, badly formatted stenography that again buries the fact that Mulvaney is contradicting himself.

CNS is doing its readers a disservice by refusing to accurately and honestly report the news, instead serving as an extension of the White House press office. It hardly inspires trust in CNS' work.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:30 AM EDT
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
MRC Went All In On Promoting Right-Wing Smear of Warren
Topic: Media Research Center

When conservative writers spearheaded an attack on Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, the MRC couldn't wait to jump on it with its usual why-won't-the-liberal-media push our narrative spin. From an Oct. 7 post by Kristine Marsh:

Just like in 2016, the networks have done their best to ignore Democrat presidential candidate scandals and lies while harping on everything surrounding Donald Trump. After capitalizing on her grossly exaggerated Native American ancestry, frontrunner Elizabeth Warren has been caught in another lie, by her own words from twelve years ago. However, you wouldn’t know this if you only watched ABC, NBC and CBS.

In the last several months, Warren has been rehashing a story about how she was fired by a principal ending her first year of teaching, because she was “visibly pregnant,” several times. She told this story half a dozen times (it even made her autobiography), but most recently this past Wednesday.

[...]

But you wouldn't hear a peep about this story from the networks. The story has gained a lot of traction in conservative media circles this weekend, but so far the networks have been out to lunch.

The gist of this spin was that Warren is somehow lying about her past either now or in 2007 when she stated that she left her teaching job to go to law school -- school districts at the time typically fired or otherwise let go teachers who were pregnant. But Marsh would never admit that those "conservative media circles" are biased by failing to tell the full story. Indeed, she gleefully ads that "Only Fox News has been covering the story, so far"without acknowledging Fox's unambiguous bias.

The next day, professional liar Nicholas Fondacaro ramped things up by screaming that Warren "LIES" in his headline,  touting how "The Washington Free Beacon caught her in another apparent lie. This time it was about allegedly being fired from a teaching gig for being 'visibly pregnant.'" Pushing the biased-media narrative, Fondacaro huffed that "Instead of reporting on Warren, ABC and NBC touted polls that showed a majority of Americans supported the impeachment inquiry into President Trump" but happiliy touted that "The only evening news program to cover Warren’s dubious claims was the Fox News Channel’s Special Report," pretending to be oblivious to Fox News' own bias.

Tim Graham similarly screamed "LIES" in his headline, declaring that "she's been lying about this tale -- repeatedly." Scott Whitlock -- perhaps understanding where his colleagues don't that no lie has been proven -- instead focused on "contradictory facts" and expressing pleasure that one report highlighted previous "scrutiny over her claims of Native American ancestry."

Clay Waters, meanwhile, got mad when the New York Times pointed out that it was a right wing-generated smear, complaining that "The paper aided her in changing the subject to a more general phenomenon of the time, when women lost jobs for becoming pregnant," ultimately whining without evidence: "It was actually a Socialist magazine, Jacobin, that first challenged Warren’s account, but the Times probably knows its liberal fanbase would have a reliably Pavlov-type reaction on Twitter when baited with the phrase 'conservative news site.'"

Two days later, Waters returned to rage at the Times again, this time for having "hurled the “sexism” card at the GOP for daring to show Warren in a lie about the circumstances of her leaving a teaching position in 1971," adding more fact-free speculation: "The press may be fighting her corner so fiercely on this because the contradiction lies across an ideological faultline, with Warren’s new story about a pregnancy-motivated firing more amenable to the Democratic feminist view of the world than her original story, in which she shouldered the responsibility."

Graham similarly wasn't done whining, returning to complain that a Washington Post columnist "took great exception to conservative news sources saying Warren 'lied' -- the opposite of how liberals insist the L-word needs to be used against Trump as often as possible." Graham, by the way, is an apologist on behalf of Trump's voluminous falsehoods.

But neither Graham nor anyone else at the MRC or the right-wing media has proven a "lie" on Warren's part, and you'll never hear Graham admit that inconvenient fact.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:30 PM EDT
WND's Kupelian Serves Up More Factually Dubious Liberal-Bashing
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily managing editor David Kupelian's Oct. 9 column -- part of the sparsely read Whistleblower magazine's latest theme issue "The Lawless Ones," in which Trump is of course portrayed as the victim of purported lawlessness instead of the perpetrator -- is filled with ranting about "the left" and how its alleged "full-on assault on the very laws – moral, legal, economic and scientific – that govern and protect every aspect of our lives is transforming America right before our eyes."

Kupelian engages in the usual right-wing claptrap, complaining that President Trump is facing an "attempted coup d'etat with the 'Trump-Ukraine collusion hoax.'" Of course, Kupelian would never concede that if impeachment is a "coup d'etat," the impeachment of President Clinton was by definition also a coup attempt. He also wrote:

Democrats violate the laws of economics continuously, scheming to spend not just more money than America has, but more than the world has. The Green New Deal proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, which every Democratic presidential candidate has signed on to, could cost as much as $93 trillion – about $600,000 per American household – says a study co-authored by the former director of the Congressional Budget Office.

In fact, as we've documented, that very former CBO director has admitted the $93 trillion number is bogus and based on assumptions that have nothing to do with the costs of transitioning to carbon-free electricity and transportation. Kupelian then plays his usual game of protraying people like himself to be morally superior to anyone whose views disagree with his own:

Clearly the left, including pretty much the entirety of the Democratic Party's national leadership and its presidential candidates, is now in outright rebellion against the laws of life itself – legal, moral, economic, religious and scientific.

Why?

Laws created by man – good laws, anyway – are based on largely self-evident moral law, God's law. Thus we make laws against stealing because it's wrong to steal, and we have laws against murder because murder is wrong, immoral, predatory and against God's law. And so on.

[...]

Violating and disregarding the law is not just something the left blindly does, as though it were stumbling into it. Rather, the left's very identity is tied up in ignoring the law – natural law, God's law, constitutional law, biological law, sound economics, and all the hard-won lessons of history. The law represents a higher standard than oneself and thus represents restraint. But the left doesn't acknowledge any higher standard than itself, nor does it tolerate any restraint, borders, limitations or prohibitions on itself – only on you. Lawlessness and rebellion, then, is the core identity of the radical left, which is obsessed with recreating the world in its own divine image and thus, in effect, rewriting the laws of life.

In short, the left is hell-bent on playing God.

Never mind that Kupelian's idea of morality is to use WND to spread lies and fake news about President Obama and bogus conspiracy theories about Seth Rich (which Kupelian and Co. still won't admit are bogus). And he wants you to think that he's a better person than you for doing so.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:16 AM EDT
Tuesday, October 22, 2019
NEW ARTICLE: The MRC vs. Google
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center is going after the search-engine giant with some less-than-convincing weapons: "whistleblowers" with far-right sympathies and a Google-hating researcher using dubious data. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 7:45 PM EDT
Cleanup Mode: CNS Tries To Fix Trump Claim On China And The Bidens
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com writer Melanie Arter served up another one of her Trump stenography specials in an Oct. 3 article:

China and Ukraine should investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, President Donald Trump said Thursday.

Speaking to reporters prior to heading to Florida, the president was asked what he hoped Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would do about the Bidens after his phone call with Ukraine.

“Well, I would think if they were honest about it, they'd start a major investigation into the Bidens. It's a very simple answer. They should investigate the Bidens, because how does a company that's newly formed, and all these companies – and by the way, likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine,” Trump said.

This invitation by Trump to a foreign government to investigate a political opponent didn't go over well, especially since the impeachment inquiry is centered on his attempt to get a different foreign government to investigate the same political opponent. So, a couple days later, CNS went into cleanup mode by suggesting  that Trump was merely joking (though Arter didn't indicate he was doing so).

Thus, in a Oct. 7 article, Arter quoted a chief Trump defending trying to retcon and spin away Trump's remarks:

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopolous” on Sunday that he doesn’t think President Donald Trump was serious about China investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

When asked whether he thinks it’s appropriate for Trump to ask China and Ukraine to investigate Biden, Jordan said, “George, you really think he was serious about thinking that China’s going to investigate the Biden family?”

“He said it right there in public,” Stephanopolous said.

Jordan said Trump has been tougher on China than any other president, and the president wants to make sure China quits stealing America’s intellectual property and starts abiding by international trade norms.

Jordan said he wished there was the same outrage from the media when the DNC hired a foreigner who worked with the Russians to dig up dirt on the Trump.

The same day, Arter penned a different article by a different Trump defender pushing the same just-kidding talking point:

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that he doubts that President Donald Trump was serious when he called on China last week to investigate the Bidens.

“I doubt if the China comment was serious to tell you the truth,” Blunt said, adding that he hadn’t talked to Trump about his comments and doesn’t know what the president was thinking, “but I do know he loves to bait the press.”

Blunt said he baits the press “almost every day” to see what they will talk about.

Two days later, on Oct. 9, Arter eventually wrote about Biden's response to Trump's demand. Unlike with her original bit of Trump stenography, she allowed another side of the story to be told in the form of Trump tweeting in response to Biden.

It wasn't until a nearly week later, on Oct. 14 -- 11 days after the original story broke -- that Arter got around to quoting a Republicanb who disagreed with Trump's call for China to investigate the Bidens:

Asked whether it is appropriate for President Donald Trump to say that China should investigate the Bidens, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said, “Of course not.”

In an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Cruz said, “Of course, not. Elections in the U.S. should be by Americans, and it's not the business of foreign countries, any foreign countries, to be interfering in our elections.”

[...]

“Listen, foreign countries should stay out of American elections. That's true for Russia. That's true for Ukraine. That's true for China. That's true for all of them. It should be the American people deciding elections. I don't know what Rudy's been saying. I do know, though, that we should decide our elections. It should be the American people making those decisions,” Cruz said.

That's life as a pro-Trump stenographer at CNS. And even then, she wasn't so dedicated to the job that she could be moved to figure out how to spell George Stephanopoulos' name correctly.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:51 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, October 22, 2019 12:53 AM EDT
Monday, October 21, 2019
Newsmax Co-Hosts Democratic Debate In Iowa
Topic: Newsmax

Back in 2011, Newsmax tried to host a Republican presidential debate that would have been moderated by ... Donald Trump (whom Newsmax had been building up as a possible presidential candidate). Even with a former CNN executive producing the debate and a motley group of conservatives endorsing it (Steve King, anyone?), doubts about whether Trump would keep his word to endorse the Republican nominee and not run as a third-party candidate kept candidates away (only two committed to taking part) and the debate was canceled.

Now, Newsmax is putting together something a little smaller in scale: a town hall in Iowa this week for Democratic presidential candidates co-sponsored by a libera-leaning Hispanic group.

An Oct. 18 Newsmax by Bill Hoffman article proclaimed:

On Thursday, October 24th, Newsmax TV and League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) will co-host a two-hour Presidential Town Hall meeting featuring top Democratic candidates vying for the party’s nomination.

The LULAC-Newsmax Town Hall will include candidates Bernie Sanders, Beto O’Rourke, Tulsi Gabbard and Julian Castro. The program will air live from the Des Moines Events Center in Iowa.

The Town Hall will begin at 8 p.m. ET, and Newsmax will air a pre-Town Hall starting at 7 p.m. ET. The program will open with a message from Domingo Garcia, LULAC’s national president. The co-moderators for the Town Hall will be Newsmax TV’s John Bachman and Spectrum News 1’s Annette Garcia.

This Presidential Town Hall will focus on issues of importance to all Americans and the impact policies will have for Hispanic voters in Iowa and across the nation.

The event is expected to draw more than 800 people, and will be attended by more than 500 eligible and registered Latino voters from the Des Moines area. Iowa is the home to an estimated 73,000 Latino voters.

Because none of the questions directed to the candidates are known in advance, the Presidential Town Hall promises to be lively and unpredictable, and a potential game-changer in the Democrats’ quest for their nominee.

Hoffman also did a follow-up interview with LULAC president Domingo Garcia playing up how the town hall "will show Americans that the Latino vote is truly up for grabs."

The stakes are a bit lower this time -- it's earlier in the primary process than its 2011 attempt, and it has a partner different enough from Newsmax to at least plausibly claim some bipartisan motive. (Fun fact: LULAC's Iowa chapter called for King's resignation over his "many years of hateful, divisive and racist statements.") Still, only four candidates, all of whom (with the possible exception of Sanders) are considered lower-tier, have signed on.And Newsmax TV is not exactly a broadcasting powerhouse, though perhaps a better choice than its 2011 broadcast partner, the sparsely watched ION Television.

But low stakes come with low expectations, and this might just be the best way for Newsmax to learn how to do one of these things.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:03 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, October 21, 2019 9:20 PM EDT

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