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Sunday, December 1, 2019
Pro-Trump Talking Point Factory Once Again Accuses Media Of Pushing Pro-Impeachment Talking Points
Topic: Media Research Center

It's rather rich to see the Media Research Center -- a factory and echo chamber for conservative and pro-Trump talking points on the impeachment inquiry -- accuse others of repeating talking points. The MRC did that again in a Nov. 14 post by Nicholas Fondacaro:

At a Thursday press conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) essentially authorized the use of the word “bribery” to describe President Trump’s phone call with the president of Ukraine. The broadcast networks gushed about her use of the word and showed their approval by roundly noting that bribery was an impeachable offense explicitly laid out in the Constitution.

[...]

Perhaps “bribery” should be added to the list of shared talking points between the media and Democratic Party.

Of course, accusing "the media" of sharing Democratic talking points is a Republican talking point.

The next day, Kyle Drennen followed up with another body count article (bolding in original):

Following Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Thursday morning press conference in which she accused President Trump of “bribery,” the broadcast networks spent the next 24 hours featuring the term 43 times in evening and morning show coverage. All of it designed to boost the impeachment crusade against Trump.

After Thursday’s evening newscasts dutifully assaulted viewers with the “bribery” buzzword a whopping 19 times (four mentions on NBC Nightly News, six mentions on ABC’s World News Tonight, and nine mentions on CBS Evening News), Friday’s morning shows kept up the onslaught with another 18 mentions (six on NBC’s Today, seven on ABC’s GMA, five on CBS This Morning). In addition, special impeachment hearing coverage on NBC (two mentions) and CBS (four mentions) featured the word six more times.

The mentions included both carefully selected soundbites from Pelosi herself, as well as anchors and correspondents hyping the talking point as a new “stark” and “significant” claim from House Democrats.

Then, on Nov. 19, Bill D'Agostino actually accused the media of encouraging Democrats to use "bribery":

For the past several weeks, anxious journalists have coached Democratic politicians from the sidelines with unsolicited advice on how best to convince the majority of Americans to support impeaching President Trump.

The latest example: instructing the Democratic leadership to stop describing President Trump’s alleged conduct as a “quid pro quo,” and to stick with more sinister words such as “bribery” or “extortion.” On November 8, The Washington Post ran an op-ed titled “Enough with the Latin. What Trump did was bribery.” The New York Times and The Atlantic published similar pieces the following day.

PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor tried to assist the partisan impeachers on the November 10 edition of NBC’s Meet The Press: “Quid pro quo might be too complicated when you’re running to the supermarket or when you’re going somewhere, rather than saying ‘the President tried to bribe a foreign country.’”

Put another way, Americans are too simple-minded to understand that a quid-pro-quo is eminently impeachable, so let’s start saying “bribery” instead.

Of course, this is all mere obsession over a word. These MRC writers are simply attacking and offer no constructive advice other than to push MRC-favored talking points instead. D'Agostino, for instance, demanded that the media should be "reporting on the Democrats’ struggle with messaging," which is purportedly behind the uptick in "bribery" usage. And nowhere do any of these MRC writers argue that "bribery" is not an accurate word for what Trump is alleged to have done; instead, they complain that the word is being used (Drennen did huff "without any substantiation," but he didn't make a case for why it was inaccurate).

The MRC is simply trying to control the language around impeachment for the benefit of Trump. Politics is all that matters to them -- not the truth.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:25 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, December 1, 2019 6:28 PM EST
CNS Dutifully Repeats More GOP Anti-Impeachment Talking Points
Topic: CNSNews.com

The loyal Trump-bots at CNSNews.com have been slavishly repeating pro-Trump talking points in its "news" coverage of the impeachment hearings against President Trump. Here are a couple more examples.

CNS has dutifully regurgitated the claims of Republican congressmen, particularly Devin Nunes, trying to build a Ukranian conspiracy theory around a woman named Alexandra Chalupa:

  • Nov. 11: Susan Jones quoted Rep. Ron Johnson dropping Chalupa's name as an example of "connections between Democrats" and Ukraine.
  • Nov. 12: Jones cited as one witness Republicans would like to call at the hearings "Alexandra Chalupa, former Democratic National Committee staffer, who has admitted to providing anti-Trump dirt to the DNC and the Clinton campaign."
  • Nov. 13: Melanie Arter copied-and-pasted transcript of Nunes asking one witness about Chalupa, who he claimed "admitted to Politico that she worked with officials at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, D.C., to dig up dirt on the Trump campaign, which she passed on to the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign."
  • Nov. 15: Jones quoted Nunes ranting that "Democrats on this committee ignore Ukrainian election meddling, even though (DNC operative Alexandra) Chalupa publicly admitted to the Democrats' scheme."
  • Nov. 21: Jones served up another rant from Nunes huffing that Democrats "got caught covering up for Alexandra Chalupa, a Democratic National Committee operative who colluded with Ukrainian officials to smear the Trump Campaign by improperly redacting her name from deposition transcripts and refusing to let Americans hear her testimony as a witness in these proceedings."
  • Nov. 22: Jones repeated a letter by House Republicans requesting records on alleged Obama White House meetings with Demomcratic and Ukranian officials including "Alexandra Chalupa, a contractor for the DNC, who reportedly worked with Ukrainian government officials to undermine the Trump campaign."
In none of these articles, however, did Jones or Arter tell the full story of Chalupa -- presumably because that would expose the truth that anything Ukraine did regarding election interference was small potatoes compared to the systematic, large-scale interference conducted by Russia on behalf of Trump.

As that 2017 Politico article explained, Chalupa played a key role in helping to expose Trump adviser and campaign manager Paul Manafort's work in Ukraine. She stopped working for the DNC in mid-2016, but continued to pass along information about Manafort to other journalists. Chalupa has since said that the Ukranian government did not engage in a Russian-like interference campaign, and that efforts to attack her like the Republicans are doing originally began with Russia.

Given that Manafort was later convicted and sent to prison for bank and tax fraud regarding the millions of dollars he was paid for his work in Ukraine, Chalupa's work could hardly be called "anti-Trump dirt" -- no, more like in-depth reporting. CNS won't tell its readers that, of course, since keeping the allegations vague makes her sound more sinister than she is.

Jones uncritically repeated another GOP talking point in a Nov. 14 article, this time copying-and-pasting testimony from Republican Rep. John Radcliffe emphasizing that Ukranian president Volodymyr Zelensky (whose first name Jones once again failed to use in her article) has denied feeling pressure in that notorious phone call with Trump:

I think everyone knows that House Democrats have made up their mind to impeach one president. The question that we've just learned is, whether or not they're prepared to impeach two.

Because to be clear, if House Democrats impeach President Trump for a quid pro quo involving military aid, they have to call President Zelensky a liar. If they impeach him for abusing his power or pressuring or making threats or demands, they have to call President Zelensky a liar to do it. If they impeach President Trump for blackmail or extortion or making threats or demands, they have to call President Trump (he meant President Zelensky) a liar to do it.

But as an actual journalist reported, Zelensky's words are more nuanced than CNS and the GOP are portraying:

Zelensky ran for the presidency on an anti-corruption platform, and won in a landslide. Admitting to giving in to pressure — or admitting to pressuring independent members of his government to conduct investigations — would mean not only losing bipartisan support from the U.S. Congress but also destroying his credibility among Ukrainians.

After the Sept. 25 meeting with Trump, Zelensky met with Ukrainian journalists, who immediately asked him for clarification. He said that for him, it was simple: He didn’t want his words to be interpreted to mean that Ukraine would interfere in another country’s elections. Still speaking Ukrainian, he added: “That’s why I said, ‘No one canpressure me. And no one will pressure me.’ ”

In both colloquial Ukrainian and in colloquial Russian, “he pressured me” does not mean merely “I felt pressured.” Instead, it implies you’ve actually been compelled to do something. In Ukrainian politics, “pressure” (tysk) means not just applying pressure; it usually means that the person being pressured cooperated. In Zelensky’s statement to Ukrainian journalists that “no one can pressure me,” he was not commenting on Trump’s action; he was clarifying his own response.

If Zelensky had wanted to convey that there truly was no pressure involved, he could have said, “No one tried to pressure me.”

But CNS won't tell you that either, because it undermines the pro-Trump agenda its impeachment coverage is centered around.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:31 AM EST
Saturday, November 30, 2019
MRC Kaepernick Derangement Syndrome Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

Colin Kaepernick popped up in the news earlier this month, and you know what that means: Mysterious Media Research Center blogger Jay Maxson came down with yet another case of Kaepernick Derangement Syndrome.

Maxson broke the news in a Nov. 13 post: "There's been a major thaw in the cold war between the NFL and former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The league has arranged a private workout and interview for the cop-hating NFL cast-off this Saturday, and all 32 teams are invited to attend."Maxson further huffed that the "media have never stopped whining about him being 'blackballed' for his national anthem protests"; Maxson doesn't disprove the argument.

The next day, Maxson whined that there was "plenty of Kaepernick Kool-Aid" on ESPN programs talking about the tryout for "the radical former pro quarterback/anthem kneeler." Maxson was so in derangement mode tha the wrote a second post about Kaepernick that day, huffing that "the groupthink media parrots had their talking points down pat: the NFL's Saturday workout and interview with the famous anthem foe is a sham and a PR stunt" -- as if Maxson wasn't peddling right-wing groupthink -- further whining that "The NFL is creating a stage for the three-year free agent that no veteran player has ever had."

Maxson rested from Kaepernick-related derangement for a day before returning with a Nov. 16 post denouncing the NFL workout for him as "unprecedented' and "privileged" and attacking media folks as being "fully in the tank for Kaepernick." Maxson further huffed: "Kaepernick has a losing career record of 28-30 as a starting NFL quarterback. That's just an inconvenient, seldom-mentioned truth to his media apologists, who are fixated on his social justice "exploits". They have fuzzy memories of past greatness and fuzzy visions of Kaepernick turning his new team into a Super Bowl contender."

Kaepernick also played in a Super Bowl, which we can safely assume is more than the mysterious Maxson has done.

Maxson wasn't the only one reveling in hate, though. A Nov. 14 post by Gabriel Hays had a meltdown over "U.S. women’s World Cup champion, feminist activist and angry lesbian Megan Rapinoe dedicating her Glamour 'Women of the Year Award' to disgraced, race-baiting former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick." Reminding us that the MRC hates Rapinoe too, Hays sneered that she is merely "famous for playing soccer, for being a lesbian, and for having the right politics."


Posted by Terry K. at 10:32 AM EST
WND -- Which Portrayed Obama As A Manchurian Candidate -- Frets Over Trump Being Portrayed The Same Way
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Back in 2008, WorldNetDaily was throwing every smear it could think of at Barack Obama to keep him from getting elected president. Managing editor David Kupelian straight-up called Obama a "Manchurian candidate" -- richly ironic because WND just a few years before was smearing Obama's opponent, John McCain, as a Manchurian candidate.

Well, someone has cranked up the richness level on the irony meter, becuase David Harsanyi devoted his Nov. 15 syndicated column, published at WND, to fret that some were pushing the idea that Donald Trump is a Manchurian candidate:

One of the most durable conspiracy theories of our times finds Vladimir Putin recruiting a billionaire media personality named Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency. In some iterations of the tale, Trump is willingly serving his Kremlin comrades; in others, he is merely the victim of kompromat, or "compromising material." In every version, he is an asset of a hostile government.

Putin, who is apparently blessed with seer-like abilities, knew in the late 1970s that Trump, whose political positions would wildly fluctuate over 40 years, was presidential material. And that now, after decades of patiently waiting, the duo's nefarious plan to cut taxes and place originalists onto the federal bench has finally come to fruition.

In a sprawling July 2018 New York magazine piece headlined "Will Trump Be Meeting with His Counterpart – Or His Handler? A plausible theory of mind-boggling collusion," Jonathan Chait offered a fully realized rendering of Trump's potential sedition. Cobbling together every interaction the real estate developer ever had with Russians, Chait posits that Trump might have become a Kremlin asset in 1987 when he visited Moscow.

Recently CNBC's John Harwood resuscitated this conspiracy, claiming that while "conservative media dismissed as ridiculous the idea that Russia might have cultivated Trump for decades, Fiona Hill, a leading US govt Russia expert, now makes clear it's not ridiculous in the slightest."

Adding to the irony factor, Harsanyi concluded his column by taking an implicit shot at WND, though he may not even know his column appears there:

Then again, the Manchurian Candidate conspiracy theory is much like birtherism. Too many conservatives rationalized their anger over politics by convincing themselves that Obama wasn't only a dangerous ideological adversary but a seditious and illegitimate one as well. (One of the people rightly pilloried for doing this was Donald Trump.) The only difference is that Democrats have mainstreamed this kind of destructive paranoia.

Not only did WND go full-in on the birther conspiracy, it worked behind the scenes to feed birther talking points to Trump.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:26 AM EST
Friday, November 29, 2019
MRC Complains About Labeling Of Trump Jr.'s Hecklers
Topic: Media Research Center

It's bizarrely entertaining to see the Media Research Center -- which loves to label things and people as "far left" in a way that ignores degrees of liberalism because that's an attack label that plays well with its right-wing base -- have a fit over how people on its side of the political spectrum are labeled.

Curtis Houck used a Nov. 12 post to lecture CNN about its labeling of hecklers who drove Donald Trump Jr. off a stage:

On CNN Right Now, host Brianna Keilar had three teases boasting of these protesters. The first tease had the chyron “Campus Chaos; Far Right Crowd Heckles Trump Jr Off Stage” and the others read:“Campus Chaos; Trump Jr Leaves Stage After Protests by Far Right Crowd.”

In the segment, Keilar claimed that the protesters were “right-wing activists.” Ah, yes. So the same people that have turned their ire to attacking the Daily Wire and editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro with anti-Semitic tropes? 

Further, such individuals would be classified as alt-right, so more akin to neo-Nazis (which, after all, are National Socialists) than the ideals of Russell Kirk, William F. Buckley, and Ronald Reagan. But sure, CNN. Tell us more about what’s conservative and what’s not.

Houck praised CNN's Brian Stelter for being "correct" in labeling the hecklers as "far right wing," then complained that "Just over seven hours later, AC360 host Anderson Cooper hyped that “it was conservatives” who protested the event.

If Houck wants to address the issue of sloppy political labeling, perhaps he should start with the MRC's NewsBusters operation, for which he serves as managing editor. Over the past month or so, here are the people and things the MRC has labeled as "far left":

Houck cannot plausibly, objectively or accurately claim that all, or even most, of these people and things are "far left" -- again, this is just meaningless clickbait for MRC readers.

If Houck wants the "liberal media" to learn the difference between conservative, right-wing, far-right and alt right, he and his co-workers should make the effort to learn the difference between liberal, progressive, left-wing and far left -- and make sure the MRC's writers and bloggers use that labeling consistently. If right-leaning political labels mean things, then left-leaning ones do as well.

Houck apparently has yet to learn that nobody will treat his "media criticism" seriously as long as he continues to act in an unserious, unprofessional manner.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:42 PM EST
CNS Trump-Defending Piece Undercut By CNS Story The Day Before
Topic: CNSNews.com

Susan Jones devoted a Nov. 13 CNSNews.com article to pushing a pro-Trump talking point as impeachment hearings were about to begin:

According to witnesses quoted in the Mueller report, even before he was elected president, Donald Trump was leery about the United States getting too involved with Ukraine.

During platform committee meetings in July 2016, before the Republican National Convention, a proposed amendment endorsing "lethal assistance" to Ukraine was watered down to read "appropriate assistance."

According to the Mueller report, J.D. Gordon, a senior Trump campaign advisor on policy and national security, diluted the proposed amendment. Instead of supporting "lethal" assistance to Ukraine in response to Russian aggression, Gordon requested that the platform committee revise the proposed amendment to state that only "appropriate" assistance be provided to Ukraine.

Gordon said he sought the change because he believed the proposed "lethal" language was inconsistent with Trump's position on Ukraine.

This talking point might have been more effective if CNS hadn't undercut it the day before by touting Trump surrogates bragging about Trump giving that "lethal assistance" to Ukraine. Patrick Goodenough wrote in a Nov. 12 article:

The fact that President Trump – unlike his predecessor – sent lethal military aid to Ukraine in the face of Russia’s aggression is “the real story that’s been lost in all this,” National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said Sunday, in reference to Democrats’ drive to impeach the president.

Appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” O’Brien recalled visiting Ukraine as an election monitor in 2014 and being asked by Ukrainians why “the arsenal of democracy” would not provide their country with military aid.

[...]

O’Brien said “the Obama-Biden administration” had provided “no military aid” to Ukraine, but “when President Trump got into office, he sent military aid.”

“So I think what people ought to be focusing on is the president has been helping the Ukrainians defend themselves by sending them lethal – lethal military aid to stand up to the Russians,” he said. “That’s the real story that’s been lost in all this.”

At the center of the impeachment push are allegations that Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine, in an attempt to pressure President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden.

“President Trump is the first president to send lethal military aid to Ukraine,” O’Brien reiterated. “I think it’s very important. And I think that’s something that’s been lost in – in all the hullabaloo about the – about the telephone call [between Trump and Zelensky on July 25].”

Jones did reference Goodenough's article in the final paragraph of her article -- even highlighting the O'Brien "hullabaloo" statement excerpted above -- but she did not address the fact that his surrogates promoting the aid Trump gave to Ukraine undercuts her talking point about Trump being "skeptical" of foreign aid. And it doesn't make for a suitable excuse for Trump putting a hold on that aid when it's become increasingly clear that he did so over his scheme to force Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:40 AM EST
Thursday, November 28, 2019
MRC's Bozell, Trump Jr. Use Facebook Live to Bash Facebook
Topic: Media Research Center

The Facebook-hating Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell got to have his Nov. 12 chat with Donald Trump Jr. on, yes, Facebook Live. The only segment that the MRC highlighted to promote the chat was about a segment in which the two bashed Facebook.

Corinne Weaver wrote in a Nov. 13 NewsBusters post:

Donald Trump Jr. warned of the large liberal influence that Big Tech companies such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have on elections in an exclusive interview with Media Research Center president and founder, L. Brent Bozell.

Trump Jr. hammered Big Tech. He said that the companiesy should be “reined in” before 2020 becomes a “dry run for suppression” of free speech on social media platforms. Bozell said, “When you have got a social media industry world” that is “shutting down the pro-life movement,” and “the NRA and the pro-gun movement, systematically, that is a real threat.” Trump Jr. agreed, and added that Silicon Valley’s “leftist” problem was the real issue behind the tech companies.

“In the case of Mark Zuckerberg,” explained Bozell, the Facebook CEO believed that “we have to be the market of free ideas. But at a secondary level, they could care less about what happens to our company.” Trump Jr. asserted, “I don’t think Mark Zuckerberg is a conservative ... but I don’t believe he’s got full control of that ship.” He went on to say that “tens of thousands of employees” all believe the Silicon Valley “leftist” think.

He’s not alone in that view. Facebook engineer Brian Amerige said that tech employees “attack anyone who presents a view that appears to be in opposition to left-leaning ideology.”

Weaver didn't mention that Amerige has said that Republicans and conservatives interpreted his message all wrong, as Wired reported:

Amerige says his biggest fear and annoyance was the fact that his comments “were going to be used as a weapon for legislating or regulating the company." "I left the company because I think this is such an important issue, and they're headed in the wrong direction," he says, "but I would defend Facebook’s right to screw this up until the very end."

Weaver also omitted one crucial fact from her post: The Trump Jr.-Bozell chat took place without issue on Facebook Live. Once more, the MRC's failing narrative that Facebook discriminates against conservatives has been undercut.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:07 AM EST
CNS' Jones Still Leaning On Trump-Zelensky Transcript
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've already highlighted how CNSnews.com writer Susan Jones has leaned heavily on the infamous July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky inserting excerpts of the released transcript of the conversation into several CNS articles in an attempt to defend Trump.

Jones used a Nov. 13 CNS article to lecture Rep. Adam Schiff for trying to keep the impeachment hearings focused on Trump's actions and not Republican obsessions over the Bidens:

Schiff, by shutting down questions about the Bidens and Ukraine’s alleged interference in the 2016 U. S. election, is refusing to allow Republicans to explore what Trump apparently believed when he spoke with Zelensky on July 25.

Certainly Trump’s personal attorney and close friend Rudy Giuliani believed Ukraine corruption impacted his client.

Giuliani has told various media outlets he spent months investigating "corruption at the highest levels of the Obama administration, which included illegal impact from Ukraine on the 2016 election. I was investigating this as an attorney to vindicate my client," Giuliani tweeted on Oct. 1. "It began and was largely done before Biden announced his run for President."

Giuliani alleges that Joe Biden "obstructed an investigation of Dem 2016 election interference" by forcing the firing of a former Ukraine prosecutor general.

Jones then spent several paragraphs once again summarizing the Trump-Zelensky call (as she did before, Jones once again omitted Zelensky's first name). She did, however, add a minor correction; after stating that Trump asked Zelensky to look into "a supposed Ukrainian link to the hacking of the DNC server," she parenthetically added, "The U.S. intelligence community blamed Russia, not Ukraine, for the hacking."

But she also wrote:

In 2018, Biden bragged that as the sitting vice president, he threatened to hold up a U.S. loan guarantee to Ukraine unless that country's prosecutor-general was fired. Biden and other witnesses have said Biden was carrying out U.S. and international efforts to get rid of a corrupt prosecutor.

But at the time, Biden's son Hunter was earning big money by sitting on the board of Burisma, a Ukraine energy company owned by an allegedly corrupt oligarch whom the Ukraine prosecutors had been investigating.

That is false. In fact, the corrupt prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, was not investigating Burisma or much other corruption in the country, which is why the U.S. and the international community wanted him gone. Not only that, the prosecutor had actually been shielding the head of Burisma by refusing to hand over documents in a British probe of the company.

That seems like important information for Jones to tell her readers. But defending Trump is her first priority, not reporting all relevant facts.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:22 AM EST
Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Tim Graham's Meltdown Over Impeachment Hearing Coverage Ignores Technology Leaps
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is weirdly obsessed with how the Trump impeachment hearings are being covered. the MRC's Tim Graham tried a pre-emptive attack on the coverage in a Nov. 13 post:

The networks are planning live coverage of the House Democrats attempting to impeach President Trump over a phone call to the president of Ukraine. This is a very partisan exercise, but the very partisan networks always paint these as momentous turning points of history that are somehow nonpartisan.

One of the most obvious ways our television “news” divisions demonstrate their bias is by deciding which news events deserve live coverage, canceling out their regular programming. At least, it’s obvious on the days when it happens. But it’s sneaky when you try to compare it to how they covered other breaking-news events that don’t line up with the Democrat agenda.

Five years ago, the networks skipped any live coverage of the first hearings into the government failure to protect the consulate in Benghazi.

Graham seems not to have noticed that the Benghazi hearings weren't impeachment hearings.

This was followed by a rant showing his bizarre hatred for PBS:

Watergate analogies abound. So it’s not surprising that longtime PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers took out an ad in The New York Times insisting that for “the sake of the nation,” PBS replay the impeachment hearings in prime time, just as PBS did in 1973. “Disrupting its programming for a few weeks is a small price to pay for helping preserve the republic.”

The fate of democracy and the fate of the Democrats are synonymous.

PBS – funded in part by the involuntary contributions of taxpayers, including conservatives – is supposed to “preserve the Republic”... when Republicans are in the White House. It ran Watergate day and night, it ran Iran-Contra live in 1987. But at this point in 1998, Moyers was silent. As the commercial networks all aired the President's videotaped perjury about Monica Lewinsky before the grand jury, PBS ran its kiddie shows. PBS took the same hands-off approach with Congress held hearings in the summer of 1997 into the Clinton-Gore campaign accepting a pile of contributions from foreign donors for their re-election campaign. That kind of foreign interference in our elections was positively sleep-inducing.

But now, PBS will air this Adam Schiff impeachment crusade live, alongside everyone else. Moyers thinks it’s insufficient that PBS World, a digital channel carried by 157 public television stations representing about 64 percent of U.S. TV households, will replay the testimony in prime time. They won’t go Full Watergate.

Graham seems not to have noticed something else: The advent of cable TV between Nixon and Clinton -- particularly public affairs channel  C-SPAN -- meant that PBS didn't have to broadcast the Clinton hearings live. The cable news networks and C-SPAN aired the hearings live, while the broadcast networks would show live coverage of any votes.

Graham also ignores the technological leap between the Clinton hearings and now, spcifically the switch to digital television. Most public TV broadcast stations have a number of digital subchannels (like PBS World, which Graham referenced) that can be used to air impeachment hearings, and PBS appears not to have mandated that the hearings run on a public TV station's main channel, since its announcement of live coverage was also accompanied by a note to "check local listings for coverage in your area."

Graham concluded by huffing:

The one thing that’s guaranteed about these live impeachment hearings is that the incessant network-news drumbeat against Donald Trump will continue to be more than 90 percent negative, as it has been for years. If that hasn’t made a dent in Trump’s standing with his backers up until now, it’s hard to see how all this live coverage is going make much of a difference.

[...]

It wasn’t, because the Left never stops trying to end this presidency prematurely. Even if at this point, it seems more designed as a strategy to end it the usual way, at election time. 

As we've documented, the MRC's methodology for determining "negative" coverage is a bogus, highly biased mess. We also don't remember Graham being concerned about nefarious forces trying to "prematurely" end a presidency when that president was Clinton.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:59 PM EST
WND Columnist: Roger Stone Was 'Convicted of Bragging'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Rachel Alexander is the WorldNetDaily columnist who's pushing the conspiracy theory that corrupt Republican ex-Rep. Steve Stockman is the victim of the "deep state" and not, you know, his corruption. Now she's trying to whitewash the crimes of another right-winger, claiming in her Nov. 18 column that sleazy Republican operative Roger Stone was merely "convicted of bragging":

Stone was initially investigated for allegedly colluding with Russia to influence the election. But Robert Mueller's investigation found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. So why is Stone facing time in prison? Why did Mueller get him indicted? Stone could face as many as 50 years of incarceration, a life sentence for someone his age, in his late 60s.

The crux of the prosecution's case was that Stone colluded with Wikileaks and the Russians to obtain Clinton crony John Podesta's emails. What actually happened was Stone exaggerated the significance of some tips he had gotten about getting the emails. He didn't lie about his dealings with Wikileaks because he wasn't in direct contact with the news source. Regardless, it has never been proven that the Russians stole Podesta's emails, so there's no proof of Russian involvement. And ultimately, Stone never was able to produce anything from Wikileaks to give to the Trump campaign. He was a grandstander, and anyone who knows anything about him would know that's his character.

Actually, it's been very much proven that the Russians stole the emails of Podesta and other Democratic officials. Also, Stone was not convicted for "bragging" but, rather, for lying to Congress and witness intimidation. Alexander downplayed that last charge too

Alexander concluded by complaining:

Stone will be sentenced Feb. 6. If the sentence is for more than a year, it will be drastically unfair. This isn't a guy who has committed murder or rape. Six months would be more than enough to send a message.

The lesson learned is if you are a high-level Trump supporter, adviser, etc., you can expect the Deep State to come after you. The left is sending a message to Trump supporters to beware of helping him in 2020. Six Trump associates have now been convicted. And it's easier to get a guilty verdict against a Trump associate in heavily Democratic D.C., where only 36% of voters chose Trump in 2016.

A second lesson is if you are going to be an associate of Trump, you need to lie low. The left goes after his more visible supporters. Rudy Giuliani, watch your back. They are already coming for you, and we know their success rate.

Apparently, not lying to Congress is not a lesson Alexander thinks should be learned here.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:38 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, November 27, 2019 8:57 AM EST
Tuesday, November 26, 2019
MRC Writer Gets Triggered By Drag Queen At Impeachment Hearing
Topic: Media Research Center

Last month, we detailed how a Media Research Center writer had such a freakout over a drag queen that the LGBT-haters at WorldNetDaily approvingly repeated it. It's a new month, so it must be time for another drag queen freakout.

Doing the honors this time is Gabriel Hays, last seen here getting triggered about an actor expressing a political opinion he didn't like. Hays devoted an entire Nov. 13 post to being unhappy that a drag queen was in the audience at an impeachment hearing:

If you want a concise distillation of how serious the left’s impeachment attempts are on this first official day of hearings, look at the Drag Queen journalists on the ground at Capitol Hill. Just try to tell yourself — without wincing — that this is a “sad” and oh-so-serious day for democracy, as Nancy Pelosi puts it.

It sure says a lot about the Democratic party when drag queens have become their shock troopers.

Pissi Myles, as he likes to call himself (please Lord, we hope that doesn’t mean what we think it means), apparently fancies himself a journalist with a valid interest in covering impeachment politics. It’s a nice reminder of just how much of a circus the Dems’ attempt at removing Trump is, with freaks like Pissi Myles being the enthusiastic rent-a-clowns.

As much as Hays is desperate to like Myles to the Democrats to further his employer's narrative that the impeachment hearings are not serious, he offers no evidence that Myles has any connection whatsoever to the Democratic Party that would have given him special permission to attend the hearing.

But Hays was truly horrified by Myles' mere presence, apparently unclear on the concept of what a drag queen is:

The accompanying images were about as horrifying as one could imagine. Pissi, a clearly overweight male, was wearing an offensively red, way-too-short dress, sparkly red heels, and a curly blonde wig so ostentatious that Honey Boo Boo would have fainted on sight.

The most outlandish part of it all was that Miss Myles had her reporting rig all set up and ready to go. She was holding her phone with an extension arm, had her headphones in, and was giving viewers an up close and personal account of the morning’s proceedings.

Hays concluded by sneering: "It’s a shame to even say it, but If [Adam] Schiff and his drag queen soldiers beat Trump, then maybe he doesn’t deserve to win." Again, Hays offered no evidence that Schiff or any other Democrat had anything to do with Myles' presence.

Some might call Hays' narrative fake news. Also, anti-LGBT hate, which Hays is also prone to.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:42 PM EST
NEW ARTICLE: Spinning for Trump on Syria
Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com's main job when President Trump abruptly pulled U.S. troops out of Syria, allowing Turkey to attack U.S. allies in the region, was to portray Trump as correct and downplay criticism. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 12:19 AM EST
Monday, November 25, 2019
AIM Misleadingly Attacks Wash. Post Article
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Brian McNicoll wrote in a Nov. 15 Accuracy in Media post:

With the release of the report from Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz on the origins of the 2016 election now “imminent,” in the words of Attorney General William Barr, mainstream media has stepped forth to discredit it in advance of what are expected to be devastating findings and possibly even criminal referrals of Democrats.

The Washington Post claimed the Justice Department was not allowing witnesses to submit written feedback to the report, only to backtrack hours later and blame the confusion on Justice Department spokespeople.

[...]

The Post’s claim was refuted within hours by the Justice Department, and a later story revealed the Post had relied on anonymous sources for its claim that witnesses would not be allowed to submit written responses but could respond verbally.

McNicoll is trying to frame the Post's story as relying on allegedly unreliable anonymous sources whom the Justice Department had to "refute." Actually, the Post article detailed that the Justice Department reversed its earlier instructions to witnesses and allowed written feedback per department policy after intially declining to comment when the story first appeared:

The Post had reported hours earlier that — as is the case in most inspector general probes — witnesses were being invited to review draft sections of the report and offer comments and corrections. But — unlike most cases — they were told those comments must be conveyed only verbally, people familiar with the matter said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the political and legal sensitivity of the matter.

It remains unclear why witnesses were given that instruction initially.

[...]

Witnesses, the people said, were being asked to review their sections in a secure area, after signing nondisclosure agreements, according to people familiar with the matter. The witnesses have also been told they will not be allowed to remove any notes they make about the document, the people said.

The initial directives left some witnesses concerned that their objections might not be recorded precisely and incorporated into the inspector general’s findings, the people said. The witnesses, they said, were also concerned that the process gave the inspector general complete control in characterizing any comments witnesses make — and left witnesses with limited ability to create a paper trail that might help them show their words were captured inaccurately.

At no point did the Justice Department ever deny that witnesses were told they couldn't leave written feedback. Thedepartment was also given a chance to comment before the article first appeared but it refused. Those are important details that McNicoll didn't tell his readers.

Instead, McNicoll complained that "the media" was trying to "dirty up" the report and hype its alleged contents, gushing that "Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), said the findings would be 'stunning' and 'damning' and indicative of a “system being off the rails,” and most suspect he is on the mark." "Most suspect"? Wasn't McNicoll just ranting about anonymous sources making dubious claims?

In reality, it appears the opposite is true: The report has apparently found that investigations into the 2016 presidential election had a proper legal and factual basis, and the only apparent serious offense involved a low-level FBI lawyer caught altering a document and fired afterwards.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:12 PM EST
MRC Tries To Delegitimize Impeachment By Claiming It Has Low Ratings (Compared To The O.J. Trial)
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has a new way of downplaying the impeachment hearings against President Trump: highlight their allegedly low ratings.

In a Nov. 14 post, Kristine Marsh touted how an appearance by Donald Trump on ABC's "The View" got better ratings than ABC's coverage of the impeachment hearings:

If ratings are any indicator of Americans’ interest in impeachment, Democrats are in big trouble. Viewership for yesterday’s impeachment hearings are out, and reveal that between the three major broadcast networks, ABC led ratings, with just 2 million total viewers (Fox News Channel was the most viewed network, with 2.9 million watching.)

But just 6 days before on came to political talk show, The View.

Deadline reported his interview on November 7th was the highest rated for the show in over six months:

[...]

While taking shots at Trump, even the liberal entertainment source had to admit, “The showdown went viral, and now it seems even old-school viewers were watching en masse.”

Marsh then sneered: "To get some perspective, the ratings ABC got Wednesday, were lower than the lowest rated daytime soap opera on television, Days of Our Lives, averaged on NBC. Those numbers were so concerning for the network they fired the entire cast and put the show on an indefinite hiatus this past week." Actually, the article to which Marsh linked stated that production of the show is so far ahead of schedule that the normal holiday hiatus came earlier this year; the soap hasn't been canceled and episodes are still airing.

Rich Noyes then picked up the talking point, huffing on Nov. 18 that the impeachment hearings must suck because (we're not making this up) O.J. Simpson's trial got much higher ratings:

Americans aren’t exactly obsessed with the Democrats’ impeachment hearings, it seems. Friday’s second day of live, wall-to-wall coverage drew an average of 12.7 million viewers on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC and the Fox News Channel combined.

That’s down from a relatively tepid 13.1 million for Day 1 of testimony on Wednesday.

In comparison, an actual news event that definitely captured Americans’ imagination — the verdict in the O.J. Simpson trial — drew 150 million viewers (nearly twelve times as many) back in 1995.

[...]

That suggests 95 percent (about 241.3 million) were doing something else on Friday besides watching these hearings.

And I’ll bet most of them were having more fun.

Noyes isn't going to tell you that the hearings still got more viewers than pretty much every prime-time network TV show that isn't a football game.

Noyes followed two days later with another ratings update:

The TV ratings took another dive on Tuesday morning for Day 3 of the Democrats’ impeachment hearings, with only 11.4 million tuning in to ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC and the Fox News Channel for the testimony of Lt. Col. Alex Vindman and an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, Jennifer Williams.

But according to early Nielsen Media Research, the combined audience for those networks grew to 13 million for the afternoon/early evening session featuring the first two witnesses sought by the Republican minority, former U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker and ex-NSC aide Tim Morrison.

Last Wednesday, 13.1 million watched the first day of testimony, while 12.7 million tuned in for Day 2 on Friday.

[...]

Of course, with an estimated 254 million adults living in the United States, nearly everyone was doing something else on Tuesday besides watching these hearings.

Noyes didn't mention that many of those adults have jobs they must be at during the day that prevent them from watching daytime hearings. It's also likely millions more Americans watched the hearings online, which wouldn't have been measured in the TV ratings Noyes and Marsh focused on.

Tim Graham and Brent Bozell piled on as well with, yes, another ancient O.J. ratings comparison:

Rep. Adam Schiff's Democratic impeachment hearings are under way — airing live all over the dial — and the liberals are quite upset that America couldn't care less.

NBC News spurred rage on Twitter for daring to admit online that the first two witnesses "lacked the pizzazz necessary to capture public attention."

[...]

In June 1994, 95 million people were transfixed by a low-speed police chase of O.J. Simpson in his white Ford Bronco through the streets and freeways of Los Angeles. "An estimated 150 million viewers watched Simpson's 1995 acquittal after standing trial for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman," reports the Los Angeles Times. A full 92% of Americans ignored this impeachment spectacle.

When CNN's Brian Stelter dared to make the point that in the internet age, young people watch online while old people watch TV, Graham and Bozell decided to mock instead of offering a cogent response:

All this left CNN's Brian Stelter sputtering that the dismal ratings are a "woefully incomplete" picture of the viewership. The vast majority of those who watched the impeachment hearings on television were over the age of 55. But Stelter tried to argue that younger viewers "were more likely to stream it and/or soak up the info like sponges." Or maybe the millennials were too busy playing "Pokemon" or texting in the middle of busy streets while motorists debated the ethics of running them over.

The two concluded by writing that "the liberals were actually interested in democracy, they would let the elected president finish his term, and try to defeat him at the polls, instead of trying to ruin him before there's any chance for reelection." Funny, we don't remember the folks at the MRC being concerned about whether President Clinton would finish his term as they agitated from his impeachment.

P.S. None of these MRC writers explained why these purportedly low ratings for the impeachment hearings means, as they are suggesting, that the evidence being presented is somehow illegitimate. Would they support Trump's impeachment if the ratings were higher?


Posted by Terry K. at 7:47 PM EST
Updated: Monday, November 25, 2019 8:00 PM EST
Will WND Apologize For Attacking Omar's Claim That Trump Official Is A 'White Nationalist'? (No.)
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Back in April, WorldNetDaily's Joe Kovacs was quick to take offense at Rep. Ilhan Omar's claim that Trump White House adviser Stephen Miller is a "white nationalist," complaining that "the Minnesota Democrat added to her personal tempest" by doing so, then filling out his article with mostly anonymous attacks on her copied from social media:

"He's Jewish," responded the Daily Caller in a tweet of its own in response to Omar.

[...]

Social-media users are verbally scorching the congresswoman online, with remarks including:

  • "How do you know that that is the case? I highly doubt it. Please stop the name calling. U do not like it when people call you antisemitic or extreme or link you to stoning, genital mutilation etc. so why do it to some one else."
  • "A Jewish white nationalist? Do those exist? I am confused?"
  • "Yes, and she hates the Jews. She's substituting 'white nationalist' for 'Jew' here ... hmmm."
[...]
  • "She's right behind AOC in skull density."

WND columnist Lowell Ponte was similarly offended, citing her having "attacked Mr. Trump's White House adviser Stephen Miller, who is Jewish, as a "white nationalist" as an example of her "extremist words" that have "elicited rage.," going on to rant that "Rep. Omar makes no secret of her hatred of the United States."

But it turns out that Omar appears to be right. Earlier this month, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported on leaked emails showing that Miller "promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof’s murderous rampage," and in those emails the group "was unable to find any examples of Miller writing sympathetically or even in neutral tones about any person who is nonwhite or foreign-born."

If you thought WND would be moved to apologize to Omar for falsely attacking her over a claim that has since been proven correct, you don't know WND. But WND is editorially decimated enough that its response has been farmed out to other outlets, mainly to the right-wing clickbait site Western Journal, into which WND is apparently in the process of being slowly subsumed into.

A Nov. 16 Western Journal article by Jack Davis at WND lamented that "Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York is demanding the resignation of White House aide Stephen Miller on the strength of a report that claims Miller is a "white nationalist" based on emails from 2015 and 2016," repeating a tweet by Omar stating that "As I said earlier this year: Stephen Miller is a white nationalist. And now we have the emails to prove it" but not otherwise acknowledging previous WND attacks on her over the statement. David uncritically repeated White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham's attack line that the SPLC "an utterly-discredited, long-debunked far-left smear organization" but did not deny the accuracy of the emails.

After another SPLC report came out detailing how Miller "frequently gave editorial instructions to Breitbart News," WND published a harsher attack by Davis on those criticizing Miller over his white nationalist sympathies:

After last week's shrill calls for the removal of White House aide Stephen Miller accomplished nothing, Hillary Clinton tried to step up the pressure on Miller on Tuesday.

"Every day Stephen Miller remains in the White House is an emergency," Clinton tweeted, citing a letter from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights that demanded Miller's removal.

[...]

In its reporting on the leaked emails published by the SPLC, NBC sought to portray Miller as having "more editorial influence over the right-wing news website Breitbart during the 2016 presidential campaign than previously known and attempted to push articles attacking then-presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla."

NBC did publish a Breitbart statement in response that noted it is “not exactly a newsflash that political staffers pitch stories to journalists — sometimes those pitches are successful, sometimes not.”

Hogan Gidley, a spokesman for the White House said that attacks on Miller reflect anti-Semitism.

Miller is Jewish.

Again, Davis did not dispute the accuracy of the supporting emails.

WND also published a syndicated column by white nationalist-leaning Michelle Malkin complaining: "The New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, CNN, PBS and MSNBC have all regurgitated SPLC's release of leaked emails between senior White House adviser Stephen Miller and a former editor for the conservative Breitbart website. Miller, who is Jewish, has been attacked repeatedly as a "white nationalist" for recommending immigration restrictionist books and websites that the powers that be don't want anyone to read. Miller's frank discussions of 'demographic Armageddon' wrought by mass, uncontrolled migration have been deemed beyond the pale."

WND has tried to defend Miller against the now-proven-accurate white nationalist allegation before. A February 2017 article by Paul Bremmer complained that "the left" was claiming Miller was "closely associated with white nationalists,"and an anonymously written April 2017 article repeated the claim. Both articles were in service of promoting the WND-published book "No Campus for White Men" by Scott Greer -- who, it was later revealed, wrote white nationalist and anti-Semitic articles under a pseudonym for the white supremacist Radix Journal.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:04 AM EST
Updated: Monday, November 25, 2019 12:08 AM EST

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