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Saturday, November 16, 2019
MRC Can't Quite Deal With Nicolle Wallace's Insult of Fox News Host
Topic: Media Research Center

MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace insulted a Fox News host, and the Media Research Center isn't quite sure how to handle it.

In an Oct. 29 post, Scott Whitlock wrote that Wallace "lashed out at Fox News host Laura Ingraham, calling her “chickenshit.” Weirdly, Whitlock did not explain exactly why Wallace hurled the insult at Ingraham, noting only that "Wallace played a clip of Ingraham talking about Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, who is testifying in front of the impeachment probe. The MSNBC host attacked Ingraham and her guests Alan Dershowitz and John Yoo for criticizing him." In fact -- according to the transcript of their words that Whitlock did not note anywhere else in his article -- Yoo suggested Vindman was committing "espionage" in his work as a U.S. national security official advising on Ukrainian matters, and Ingraham claimed that Vindman was working "against the President's interests," failing to note that Vindman was working to advance the country's interests.

Whitlock seemed to suggest Wallace had a point, stating that "Vindman has an inspirational life story and has devotedly served his country." But since it's not the MRC's job to agree that any criticism of Fox News is justified, Whitlock went on to attack Wallace by recounting past statements he didn't like: "Wallace is in no position to offer moral judgments. She had to apologize in August after falsely accusing Trump of 'talking about exterminating Latinos.' She has also joked about 'punching' the President and wondered if the Trump women are 'dead inside.'" He then provided a link to an earlier MRC "montage of Wallace’s bizarre, unhinged hate." 

Despite a brief bit of clarity on Whitlock's part, it's clear that the MRC will ignore that use Wallace's comment as another way to attack her. In a Nov. 14 post, Kristine Marsh wrote about an appearance by  Wallace on Stephen Colbert's late-night show. Showing the intolerance for conservatives who have left the fold that the MRC is known for, Marsh complained that Wallace "has been trying her hardest to prove her allegiance to Democrats by trashing the party she used to work for, at every opportunity she gets. Marsh further complained: "Colbert, who also used to pretend he was a Republican on TV, began by playing the clip of Wallace calling Ingraham and guest John Yoo, “chickensh**.” The audience cheered loudly at her crude quip, while Wallace grinned and put her hands in front of her face as if she was embarrassed by what she said. A pleased Colbert looked on approvingly, and asked if she came on the show to clear things up. Wallace admitted she was only sorry because she got caught swearing in front of her kids."

Of course, Marsh declined to provide the context of Wallace "chickenshit" remark -- probably so she similarly wouldn't have to concede that maybe she had a point.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:50 AM EST
WND Columnist Embraces A New Michael Flynn Conspiracy Theory
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Needless to say, WorldNetDaily was not afraid to embrace conspiracy theories about the perjury case of onetime national security adviser Michael Flynn, centered around him purportedly being railroaded into a conviction. Craige McMillan peddled a new one in his Nov. 1 WND column:

Gen. Michael Flynn was taken out by the intelligence agencies after he demanded a financial audit of each agency. Flynn wanted to know where the money was going.

It was a reasonable question, certainly for taxpayers. Yet as with so many questions, it raised others. One was not as obvious: What if an agency managed to spend more money than it was given? How do you explain that? Where does the extra money come from?

Maybe some of our intelligence agencies have little "off the books" sources of income. Maybe some of them aren't so little. Illegal drug trafficking, refugees and human sex trafficking, unauthorized weapon sales, quiet wars in faraway places. What if the intelligence agencies are not only advising American foreign policy – but are rather conducing American foreign policy?

The claim that Flynn was "taken out" in order to stop an audit of the intelligence community is curently being peddled by author Lee Smith as well as Flynn's current attorney, Sidney Powell, who has pushed all sorts of legally dubious craziness on behalf of her client.

Naturally, this feeds into another conspiracy theory McMillan is pushing, the one that insists the "deep state" is trying to take out Trump:

Now do you understand what impeachment is really about? Trump decided not to be a figurehead president. This brings up the question, what are the ties between those clamoring the loudest for impeachment and the intelligence agencies that have become the secret United States government?

The rot in our government likely goes very, very deep; perhaps deeper than most of us can imagine. A free people can never allow themselves to be governed by a secret, unaccountable bureaucracy. Eventually, freedom and the charade of FISA warrants and other phony "protections" will collide with the same reality every totalitarian government has experienced. Either the citizens die in an uprising, or the perpetrators die at the hands of Lady Justice's executioners.

McMillan's column concludes: "Fighting against God's will for humanity is the biggest fool's errand in the universe. Give that some thought this weekend." Which suggests the whole divine-Donald thing that WND loves to claim.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:57 AM EST
Friday, November 15, 2019
MRC's Graham Cuts Out The Middleman In Pushing Pro-Trump Propaganda
Topic: Media Research Center

We've noted how the Media Research Center is a leader is promoting pro-Trump talking points on the impeachment process, even as it (rather lamely and hypocritically) attacks the "liberal media" for allegedly promoting Democratic talking points on impeachment (a complaint that its itself a pro-Trump talking point). It seems the MRC is looking to cut out the middleman of laundering those talking points in its house style and just resorting to pushing them directly.

MRC execultive Tim Graham wrote in a Nov. 3 post:

Democrat presidential front-runner Joe Biden granted an interview to PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff for Friday night's program. The Trump campaign sent around an e-mail decrying "Two Big Lies" in the interview. 

Let's not be optimistic that the "independent fact-checkers" like PolitiFact will evaluate these. PolitiFact just gave Biden a "Mostly True" for stating he was one of the poorest senators and poorest vice presidents (that's a comparison of high-income people). PolitiFact acknowledged the Bidens reported making $15 million in 2017-2018.

Graham did try to frame thing as a fact-check he claims other fact-checking orgs don't do, but at no point does Graham closely examing the Trump propganda he's repeating.

One of the things  Graham says the Trump campaign apparently claimed was a "big lie" (Graham doesn't supply the email in question, so it's unclear what the exact claim is) was when Biden said he "didn't know" his son Hunter was on the board of the Ukranian company Burisma:

Biden confirmed on CBS's 60 Minutes that he told his son Hunter "I sure hope to hell you know what you’re doing" after learning he'd joined Burisma, and said "What I meant by that is, I hope you've thought this through." Biden claiming that he never discussed business with family members is very hard to believe, especially because foreign companies would hire Biden's relatives as a way of gaining influence with Biden.

So Graham is simply speculating that Joe Biden is lying when he said he"never discussed business with family membersm," saying only that it's "very hard to believe" without providing any evidence it's true.

Graham used to complain about "stenographers" in the media -- now he is one.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:24 PM EST
CNS Promotes Dubious Claim From Even More Dubious Pro-Trump Book
Topic: CNSNews.com

Sure, we know CNSNews.com is slavishly pro-Trump, but managing editor Michael W. Chapman took it to an other level in an Oct. 25 blog post that's essentially a press release for a new pro-Trump book:

In best selling author Doug Wead's forthcoming book, Inside Trump's White House: The Real Story of His Presidency, it is revealed that President Donald Trump has been a devoted viewer of Christian television, and evangelical preachers, since the 1980s.

President Trump's good friend Paula White told Wead, "He had watched hours of Christian television [since the 1980s]. And not just watched it, but really listened to the messages. He had retained what he had heard. He could bring it back and repeat it to me. He would say what it meant to him.”

"Trump had watched the Billy Graham telecasts as a boy and had later watched Jimmy Swaggart in the 1980’s," states Wead in the book. "But he especially loved the positive preacher, Norman Vincent Peale. Trump found televangelist Paula White while channel surfing on a Sunday morning in Trump Tower."

"Political writers were always puzzled by his connection to evangelical supporters but it had actually begun early," said Wead. 

There is apparently no corroboration for White's claim, since Chapman doesn't mention any. Certainly, there's no evidence that Trump has acted since the 1980s like he believed anything those TV preachers had to say.

There's also more to this story that Chapman apparently didn't feel the need to check into, given that he was writing a press release and not a "news" article. A few days after Chapman's article was published, it was announced that White had joined the Trump administration in an outreach job.

White is an evangelist that promotes the "prosperity gospel," and former George W. Bush administration ethics lawyer Richard Painter has pointed out that White has appealed to her followers to send their first paychecks of the year to her ministry with the vague promise they would be repaid in divine blessing, which he portrayed as a Ponzi scheme. And White's recent book portrays Trump's election as part of a divine plan. (CNS has embraced the divine-Donald narrative.)

But back to Chapman, who clearly has a book to sell so badly he's copy-and-pasting PR copy into his post:

According to the page on Amazon.com, Inside Trump's White House offers a sweeping, eloquent history of President Donald J. Trump's first years in office, covering everything from election night to the news of today. The book will include never-before-reported stories and scoops, including how President Trump turned around the American economy, how he 'never complains and never explains,' and how his actions sometimes lead to misunderstandings with the media and the public.

"It also includes exclusive interviews with the Trump family about the Mueller report, and narrates their reactions when the report was finally released."

Wead's book also contains one massive screw-up (not that Chapman will tell you about that). A Fox News article previewing the book highlighted Wead's claim that the Obama White House held "nonstop PC meetings," which Wead decided meant "political correctness," for intelligence officials. In fact, "PC" meant "Principals Committee," which is the name of the group of top intelligence officials. Wead was forced to walk back the claim and his publisher said it will correct it in the next printing of the book.

These stories about White and Wead are much more interesting and newsworthy than the one Chapman thought you should know about.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:27 AM EST
Thursday, November 14, 2019
MRC Plays Victim On Twitter's Political Ad Ban
Topic: Media Research Center

With the conservative war against Facebook failing, it was time for the Media Research Center to redirect its social-media-hates-conservatives narrative to a different company.

In an Oct. 30 post, Alexander Hall attacked Twitter for discontinuing all political advertising on its platform, claiming it kowtowed to a "media crusade to try and push all social media platforms to censor political advertisement in a blatant media attack on President Donald Trump," adding that "The timing of this policy change comes amidst the backlash against  Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg from liberals like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and the liberal media for the free speech decision on political ads and allowing outlets like Breitbart to be among Facebook’s curated news sources."

The next day, MRC chief Brent Bozell bizarrely -- though not unexpectedly, since the narrative must be perpetuated -- claimed that the real victims of the Twitter ad ban are, yes, conservatives:

To pretend Twitter is taking the moral high ground in banning political ads is laughable. Twitter sees the backlash Facebook has received for embracing free speech in advertising and with this ban, hopes to force their hand into doing the same.

A key reason organizations and individuals buy ads is to promote an issue that they cannot get covered by conventional means. We have seen how the social media giants have used their content policies to suppress conservative speech. Because of this, liberal messaging dominates Twitter and by restricting ads, Twitter can further limit the ability of conservatives to get their message heard. 

By including ‘issue ads’ in this ban, Twitter has given itself the power to draw the lines on what is and is not ‘political.’ Make no mistake, this is not an easily defined space and with Twitter’s history of liberal activism, conservatives should be very concerned.

We missed the part where Twitter said only conservative political ads would be banned. Liberal views would presumably also be affected as well.

So did Jeffrey Lord, who echoed Bozell in a Nov. 2 post by insisting that the ad ban "isn’t about anything other than silencing conservatives," adding, "What [Twitter CEO Jack] Dorsey is really about is silencing conservatives, so that the liberal media — social media and all the rest —  can put out their modern day equivalents of that old LBJ 'Daisy' commercial out there and, in Dorsey’s own phrase again, “influence votes to affect the lives of millions.” With the liberal media, as was done in 1964, doing the Democrats work for them."

Bozell and Tim Graham used their Nov. 5 column to rail against the ad ban, at first graciously agreeing to "stipulate from the outset that Twitter should have that right to do so, as should CBS, Comedy Central and the Disney Channel" but then playing the victim card, ranting that "we have seen how the social media giants have used their content policies to suppress conservative speech. By restricting ads, Twitter can further limit the ability of conservatives to get their message heard." The two then conjured up anti-conservative conspiracies: "And with Twitter's history of liberal activism, conservatives should be very concerned. Candidate X will be automatically banned, but what leftist groups will wiggle into that paid space as a nonpartisan "public interest group"?

Graham and Bozell then do the un-conservative thing of pushing for more government regulation of media by contradicting their opening statement that Twitter had a right to ban ads:

Broadcast television networks must, as a matter of law, carry federal candidates' ads. As a matter of policy, we think this regulation is obnoxious and should be removed. Twitter has an even greater reach — and, we believe, influence — than TV. So if the feds force broadcasters to carry candidates, why not apply the same rules to Twitter? They should drop the antiquated broadcast requirements.

Again: The narrative must be perpetuated, even if it means trampling conservative principles to do so.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:36 PM EST
CNS Slavishly Repeats GOP Spin On Impeachment Testimony
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com has already been putting a pro-Trump spin on President Trump's Ukraine scandal and subsequent impeachment inquiry. But rarely do you see CNS do a spot-on recitation of Republican talking points as we recently saw.

TPM summed up a Nov. 6 CNN report on remarks by Republican Rep. Jim Jordan:

Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-OH) reactions to the revised testimony of EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland and the testimony of special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker are night and day.

According to CNN Wednesday, Jordan dismissed the EU ambassador’s revised testimony by saying that “it is Sondland’s opinion.” The three new pages of Sondland’s sworn testimony released Tuesday confirmed that congressionally approved military aid hinged on the Ukrainian government’s public support of an investigation into the gas company that former Vice President Joe Biden’s son sat on the board of and the origins of the Russia probe.

Jordan specifically railed against the section of Sondland’s revised testimony that states that he’d “presumed that the aid suspension had become linked to the proposed anti-corruption statement.” Earlier Wednesday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway took aim at the same section of Sondland’s testimony.

Jordan then argued that Volker’s testimony is a “definitive account.” Volker’s testimony, in which he claims that he wasn’t aware of any quid pro quo, gave an inside account of how Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani pressured the Ukrainian government to help Trump dig up false allegations on his political rivals.

The same day, a CNS blog post by Craig Bannister on remarks by Republican Rep. Lindsey Graham echoed Jordan's talking point that Sondland offered an "opinion" taht differed from the Trump narrative Trmp-conforming while Volker spoke factually:

Sen. Graham also rebuked journalists for ignoring key testimony in favor of anti-Trump opinions – such as reporting that U.S. Ambassador Gordon Sondland changed his testimony to say he now “presumed” that Trump was offering a quid pro quo to the president of Ukraine during a phone call, while ignoring the fact that U.S. Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker testified that Trump did not[.]

Of course, Sondland is not "anti-Trump"  --  he donated $1 million to Trump's inauguration committee, which presumably earned him his current post as U.S. ambassador to the European Union.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:14 AM EST
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
MRC Tries to Portray GOP Sit-In Stunt As Something Other Than A Stunt
Topic: Media Research Center

When Republican members of Congress barged into a closed hearing room with the goal of disrputing a Democratic-led closed-door impeachment inquiry, the Media Research Center was quick to cheer it -- and to defend it against charges it was nothing more than a stunt.

Nicholas Fondacaro framed criticism of the stunt as "an attempt to force House Democrats to hold public hearings for their impeachment investigation" and that those in the "liberal media" who criticized it "were appalled by the idea of transparency for Democrats." Fondacaro also played whataboutism, complaining that "The networks used to be all for dramatic sit-ins that disrupted the business of Congress. But in those days it was to support the Democrats." He linked to a 2016 post of his about a House Democrat sit-in to protest the Republican stalling of gun-control legisation, about which he huffed, "Many are calling their actions a publicity stunt, and they seem to be right." Fondacaro did not cite an example of the "many" who allegedly said that.

Fondacaro rehashed his particular narrative in another post:

Calling for transparency in the impeachment investigation of President Trump, several House Republicans stormed the conference room being used for the hearing and staged an old-fashion sit-in. Transparency was apparently something only demanded of Republicans because the liberal media spent Wednesday decrying the GOP tactic. 

[...]

It’s interesting what CNN was willing to denounce as a publicity stunt because they fell in love with congressional sit-ins when Democrats were obstructing business for gun control.

It's also interesting that Fondacaro is so desperate to reframe this is something other than a publicity stunt, but he can sure throw around that word when Democrats do it.

In a separate post, Fondacaro expressed his support for the stunt as a way to protest "the shady way House Democrats were conducting their partisan impeachment crusade," the complaing that networks "ignored and minimized their efforts."

Other MRC writers served up something similar:

  • Kristine Marsh wondered why a commentator who argued that the Republicans should be "criminally investigated" -- not out of line, since the GOP stunt did violate House rules, at the very least -- "didn’t recommend the same harsh punishment for Democrats, who’ve done similar 'stunts.'"
  • Brad Wilmouth decided that to point out this was a stunt was to be "negative."
  • Tim Graham took particular offense to one commentator who said "This looked like a Klan group assembled outside a jail trying to get the sheriff to let them in so they could deliver justice to somebody who was inside," fretting that the comment was "mudslinging sleaze." Somebody tell Graham that his boss once likened President Obama to a "skinny ghetto crackhead."

Nobody at the MRC is actually denying this was a stunt; they just don't want it called that.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:50 PM EST
WND's Zumwalt Mad That Some Won't Credit Trump for Al-Baghdadi's Death -- But He Denied Obama Credit for Bin Laden's Death
Topic: WorldNetDaily

James Zumwalt used his Oct. 30 WorldNetDaily column to complain that President Trump wasn't being given enough credit for thte death of ISIS leader al-Baghdadi:

While Democrats and the media rejoiced over the news Osama bin Laden had been killed, giving high praise to then-President Barack Obama, there has been no similar response over the news of Baghdadi's death. The House Democrats forming "The Squad" have refused to give Trump any credit. The media softened headlines, describing Baghdadi not as the mass killer he was but rather an "austere religious scholar"! It is incredible a media source like Newsweek would compare Trump to Hitler while we see no similar comparison made to Baghdadi.

As Kellyanne Conway noted in the wake of media comments putting Baghdadi in a more favorable light than Trump, "The media is angry at the president of the United States for getting rid of the world's worst terrorist. It's like, who is he to interfere while we're trying to impeach him?" Clearly, the media refuse to give Trump a "win" on the Baghdadi raid. Nowhere was this more evident than one pundit arguing it was inappropriate for Trump to call Baghdadi a "coward" since the Muslim madman chose to blow himself up – along with three children. Even the most minor of issues are flagged by the media, which even give space to a claim by Obama's White House photographer the Trump Situation Room photograph was staged. Meanwhile, some Hollywood stars have jumped onboard the anti-Trump bandwagon.

There is something wrong with Democrats and a media refusing to see the fact Baghdadi no longer breathes the same air the rest of us do as a win for Trump in making the world safer. Perhaps a more accurate Genesius headline about Russia investigating whether "any Democrats have ties to the United States" would have been to add in the media as well.

Zumwalt won't tell you that he refused to give President Obama credit for the death of Osama bin Laden. In a May 2018 column, Zumwalt groused that Obama was taking too much credit:

This week marks the seventh anniversary of the raid that killed mass murderer Osama bin Laden. On the evening of May 2, 2011, President Barack Obama announced the Islamic terrorist had been located in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and a U.S. Navy SEAL team sent there had killed him. In what was to be a capture or kill operation, a SEAL opted for the latter when bin Laden resisted, "bravely" using his wife as a shield as he reached for a weapon. The SEALs disposed of bin Laden's body at sea to deny his supporters a land-based memorial to worship.

During his announcement, Obama gave some credit to our special operations forces but seemed to give much more to himself. When he finished, one was left with the impression, based on the extensive number of first-person references made, Obama had been an army of one, obtaining intelligence on bin Laden, locating him, painstakingly organizing the raid and ordering its execution. One was surprised to hear Obama actually did not accompany the SEALs on the operation!

Zumwalt went even further in a January 2017 column, whining that Obama "takes credit for the bin Laden kill, simply for being in the right place at the right time," adding, "While the bin Laden raid provided Obama with a great photo opportunity to look decisive, he has done little to actually be decisive in making the world safer from Islamic terrorism."

If it's somehow un-American to give Trump credit for the death of al-Baghdadi, why isn't Zumwalt un-American for denying credit for bin Laden's death?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:57 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, November 13, 2019 1:01 AM EST
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
NEW ARTICLE -- The MRC's War Against Facebook: Still Failing
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center still insists that Facebook is uniquely discriminating against conservatives -- even as Mark Zuckerberg is having secret off-the-record dinners with Brent Bozell and others who push that right-wing narrative. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 7:17 PM EST
CNS Columnist Pretends To Be Something He's Not
Topic: CNSNews.com

Kenneth Kopf began his Oct. 25 CNSNews.com column by declaring:

I rarely venture into the tangled reeds of the Washington swamp, nor do I desire to read the  pompous writings of those who dwell there because I, and the tens of millions of people like me, actually prefer to read, think and interpret events for ourselves. 

We do not need “columnists” to tell us what today’s facts mean, portend, or which facts are ‘true’ or not.  God thankfully gave us all the intellect and common sense to understand the truth when we are presented with actual facts. 

That is the starting point of the problem.  We poor “folk” (as one president was condescendingly fond of referencing) are consistently presented with what the media want us to believe are facts.  But the actual naked “facts” are almost always spun, biasedly interpreted, laden with opinionated adjectives and adverbs with an all too often seen-through (sometimes comical) intent to justify the presenter’s slant, or to inoculate the unsuspecting reader, like me, to change what I intuitively thought I already knew. 

This is all doubly ironic, because Kopf is trying to pass himself off as something he's not. Despite suggesting he's just "folk," he's very much a member of the elite -- his CNS bio points out that he's "an attorney that has been practicing international law for over 30 years" -- and railing against the "swamp" while actually not being very far above it (the bio also states he "served as a Russian linguist within the U.S. intelligence service" and was once a congressional candidate).

Kopf also wrote that "We do not need 'columnists' to tell us what today’s facts mean, portend, or which facts are ‘true’ or not" ... in a column that aims to tell us what today's facts mean.

And he does exactly that in castigating another conservative columnist, Peggy Noonan, for committing the offense of criticizing President Trump and believing he committed impeachable offenses. He ranted:

Noonan’s article appears, to a Trump supporter like me, to be written mainly in an attempt to direct or influence thinking and action in support of impeachment.  However, should her article be intended to educate the “untouchables” in the “fly over” lands, she does not grasp, or chooses to ignore, the true mindset and frustration of the Trump supporter.

Yes, we support President Trump.  We may even be split on his use of certain “tweets” and content but given the naked (and many times downright “ugly”) political messages and harmful intent of the mainstream media, we clearly understand and agree with his need to do so. 

But we have no division regarding his intent to restore what we believe to be the founding principles of this Republic which have been under attack from without and within over the past few decades.

Yes, this may be only our opinion and not that of the “left,” but our opinions are just as valid and worthy of expression and acceptance and civil debate as those of the “left.”

Kopf adds, apparently oblivious to the fact that Noonan is not of the "left":

No one reading Noonan’s article can walk away not understanding that she is for impeachment, thinks President Trump is corrupt (she said it, not even inferred it), and that anyone who doesn’t’ agree doesn’t “get it.” 

While Noonan’s article does present credible facts to support her three reasons why she believes the situation is “fluid,” she nevertheless still resorts to words such as “corrupt,” “malfeasance,” and “criminal” without further explanation, support or qualification.

Kopf doesn't explain why he thinks Trump's pretty obvious corruption and malfeasance in office isn't an established fact, even as he potrays Trump as the victim of "those hell-bent on reversing the 2016 election" without explanation or supporting evidence.

Kopf concluded his column by portraying himself as a "poor country lawyer" despite, again, working in international law and working for U.S. intelligence services and living in a large city in North Carolina.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:23 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, November 12, 2019 12:27 AM EST
Monday, November 11, 2019
AIM Tries To Keep Crowdstrike Conspiracy Alive
Topic: Accuracy in Media

We've documented how WorldNetDaily and the Media Research Center have completely bought into the Trtump-promoted conspiracy theory that a company called CrowdStrike is somehow involved in the Ukraine scandal because because of the 2016 hacking of Democratic emails. Now Accuracy in Media wants in on that sweet conspiracy action.

Brian McNicoll spent an Oct. 29 AIM post attacking a Washington Post fact-check by reporter Salvador Rizzo debunking Trump's claim about Crowdstrike and the Democratic server. McNicoll huffs, while also endorsing Seth Rich conspiracy theories as well:

Rizzo is wrong on virtually every count. Trump is not “fixated on the idea that Ukrainians might have hacked” the DNC. Trump is among many who suggest the murder of Seth Rich, a former Democratic National Committee aide who was killed on a Washington street on July 10, 2016, is related to the hack. DC police have called Rich’s murder a botched robbery, even though he was found with his wallet and jewelry.

The Mueller report backs the Russia theory, but its finding is based on CrowdStrike’s report, and its investigators also never examined the servers. Nor have U.S. intelligence services, which means their conclusions also are based on CrowdStrike’s report. The theory is not debunked in any way, and Trump’s advisers have not told him this.

Moreover, Rizzo goes on to contend, citing the Mueller report, that the Russians ‘stole thousands of documents from the DCCC and DNC networks …” as well as “internal strategy documents, fundraising data … opposition research into candidate Trump and … thousands of emails and attachments, which were later released by WikiLeaks in July 2016.”

The Russians and Wikileaks head Julian Assange both vehemently denied that Russia gave the information to Wikileaks, and Mueller’s team refused to interview Assange.

McNicoll doesn't mention the fact that because CrowdStrike turned over complete forensic copies of the DNC servers to the FBI, there is no need for the FBI or any other agency to examine the physical servers -- which, in fact, are not physical dedicated servers sitting in DNC headquarters but cloud-based machines located in numerous locations (and, if Trump is to be believed, Ukraine). 

McNicoll refuses to admit the possibility that "Russians and Wikileaks head Julian Assange both vehemently denied that Russia gave the information to Wikileaks" because they're lying and spread conspiracies about Rich to cover for the fact that Assange was working with the Russians. The Mueller report did, in fact, find that the Russians -- not Seth Rich -- leaked the DNC emails to WiklLeaks, and Russians and hackers were visiting Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy and passing suspicious materials to him in the days before the hack was made public in July 2016.

It looks like McNicoll is trying to take AIM back to the conspiracy-mongering days it was mostly known for up until a few years ago when Cliff Kincaid departed the company.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:01 PM EST
Updated: Monday, November 11, 2019 8:03 PM EST
MRC Fails In Lame Attack on Google Journalism Projects
Topic: Media Research Center

It's a sign of the weakness of the conservative -- and, by extension, the Media Research Center's -- case against "liberal media" that we have this Oct. 29 item by Corinne Weaver. The headline reads "Google Funds 29 US Journalism Projects That Decidedly Swing Left" -- but assumes a couple editorials equals "liberal bias" and Weaver never actually details the projects. She writes:

The same day Facebook launched its “News” tab, Google quietly poured money into news projects around the world. But many of these projects are aimed in one political direction.

The new project, the Google News Initiative North American Innovation Challenge, announced 34 news projects to be funded on Oct. 25. Twenty-nine of these projects were located in the states, while the other four were in Canada. One of the projects was unlisted. The first name on the list for the U.S., The Dallas Morning News, ran editorials announcing its endorsement of Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Beto O’Rourke for Senate in 2018.

[...]

Some of the other projects did not seem to have a political bent (or hadn’t been started yet.) But those that were more established, like The Salt Lake Tribune, were definitely tinged with blue. The Tribune endorsed President Obama back in 2012, and in 2017 called for Republican Senator Orrin Hatch to retire.

Typically, the projects were city daily papers or newsletters that promoted Democrats over Republicans.

Maine Today Media, a conglomerate of local Maine newspapers, has a policy of not endorsing candidates, but the editorials still embrace left-wing views on climate change, immigration, and abortion.

That's the laziest form of right-wing "media research" -- assuming that an editorial is accurately indicative of what happens on the news side (or, more specifically, that every "news" organization is run with no wall between news and editorial like the MRC runs CNSNews.com).

Further, Weaver seems to be confusing media outlets with the projects being funded -- which tend to have little to do  with promulgating media bias. The project at the Dallas Morning News, for example, will fund "a comprehensive, searchable guide to pre-K through 12 education in North Texas," while the money for the Salt Lake Tribune will help it become "the first US legacy newspaper to transition to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization," and the Maine Today Media project is to "create a customer data management solution will combine the open source technologies Wordpress and the Apache Unomi CDP."

Yeah, so much bias there in data management.

Weaver went on to complain that "the Vermont Journalism Trust had an entire section dedicated to Democratic candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)" -- as if it was a bad thing that a Vermont-based news outlet covered what the state's most prominent politican was doing. She got even more desperate, playing the guilt-by-association game in claiming that "Detour Media LLCwas not overtly political, but it was founded by Ashley C. Woods, a former Huffington Post Editor." Not only does Weaver not identify anything biased Woods has ever done, either for HuffPost or at any other point in her journalism career, she ignores Woods' journalism career as a whole, which involved working for other Michigan-based media outlets before creating Detour.

Weaver delved into more lazy media-bashing in noting that "The Washington Post, owned by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, is one of the biggest left-wing media outlets." And the Post isn't even a recipient of Google grant money; its offense is that it's "partnerred" with the Lensfest Institute of Journalism, which Weaver admitted is using its grant money for "delivering more newsletters to people in Philadelphia" -- the only project she comes close to identifying.

In sum, this is just a sad, lazy piece that exists to rather tepidly further a narrative, not to report accurate and relevant information.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:29 PM EST
WND Treats Joke That Hillary Killed Jeffrey Epstein Very Seriously
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've documented how WorldNetDaily fell into its own conspiracy-mongering tendencies by pushing the idea that Jeffrey Epstein was murdered in prison, perhaps on the orders of the Clintons. That tendency continued in an anonymously writtern Nov. 1 article that deliberately decided to treat an obvious joke very seriously:

Seizing on a famed pathologist's insistence this week that accused child predator Jeffrey Epstein might have been murdered, Comedy Central host Trevor Noah jokingly asked Hillary Clinton in an interview Thursday how she did it.

"I have to ask you a question that has been plaguing me for a while: How did you kill Jeffrey Epstein?" Noah asked Clinton, who appeared with her daughter, Chelsea, to promote their new book.

Clinton burst out laughing.

Noah, saying she's been a "boogeyman" for the right, kept up the irony.

Somehow, he said to Clinton, "you're not in power but you have all the power" to do something like kill wealthy financier, who is known to have hosted her husband on his infamous "Lolita Express" private jet.

"I really need to understand how you do what you do, because you seem to be behind everything nefarious, and yet you do not use it to become president," he said.

Clinton replied she's "constantly" surprised at the conspiracies about her and her husband.

"The things they say, and now, of course, it’s on steroids with being online, are so ridiculous, beyond any imagination that I could have," she said. "And yet they are so persistent in putting forth these crazy ideas and theories. Honestly, I don’t know what I ever did to get them to upset. ... I've gotten kind of used to it."

WND didn't mention that it is one of the leading promoters of conspiracy theories about the Clintons, including the utterly bogus claim that Hillary was involved in the murder of Seth Rich.

WND also repeated the claim that "Pathologist Dr. Michael Baden said in an interview Wednesday on 'Fox & Friends' that the autopsy of Epstein after he was found dead in his prison cell was more consistent with homicide than suicide," but didn't mention the relevant fact that Baden is working for Epstein's family, and is therefore being paid to advance a certain point of view.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:52 AM EST
Updated: Monday, November 11, 2019 12:53 AM EST
Sunday, November 10, 2019
MRC Gives A Pass to Revenge Porn to Own The Libs
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center practically salivated over the sex scandal of Democratic Rep. Katie Hill, accused of having a sexual relationship with a member of her staff. The fact that revenge porn -- on the form of conservative websites publishing photos of a nude Hill, allegely supplied by her estranged husband? The MRC didn't want to explore that aspect very much, despite its long history of complaining about the mere existence of LGBT people on TV.

In complaining that the media was "censor[ing] news of the scandal in an Oct. 24 post, Nicholas Fondacaro was clearly reveling in the salcaciousness -- she has a "Nazi-era tattoo"! -- when he made sure to link to an article about it at the conservative Daily Mail with the note, "Use caution when visiting that link. There’s adult content."

A post the next day by Ryan Foley similarly complaining over lack of coverage drooled over the salaciousness -- "The scandal, to say the least, is weird. It involves threesomes (or 'throuples') and an alleged Nazi-era tattoo" -- but let a reference to revenge porn in the transcript go without comment.

An Oct. 28 post by Kyle Drennen complained that one TV discussion of Hill's resignation from her House seat over the scandal "portrayed the liberal lawmaker as the victim of a 'double standard' and even a 'crime,'" which wold be the revenge-porn stuff. Kristine Marsh complained that one commentator "gushed sympathetically" about Hill's career being ruined by revenge porn (no, really, that's what she wrote).

Corinne Weaver whined that Twitter was blocking links to the Daily Mail story on Hill because of the salacious pictures. She then tried to dismiss revenge-porn concerns as something only "the left" cares about, with a bit of added whataboutism:

Sharing graphic photos of undressed people against their will is bad. However, the Katie Hill story is not just about “ revenge porn,” as the left alleges. Rather, this is about a relationship between a congresswoman and one of her staffers, that if Hill had not left office, would have reportedly resulted in an “ethics investigation,” according to NPR.

Outlets on Twitter have run stories on the platform before that displayed or linked to private information. Liberal outlet Splinter ran a story that gave out senior policy advisor Stephen Miller’s private cell phone number. The outlet was told to take the story down, and was reportedly suspended for a tweet with the private number, not the story itself.

Weaver appears to be unaware that a phone number and nude photos are not the same thing.

Foley returned to complain that MSNBC's Chris Hayes called out the Daily Mail and RedState for possibly "committing a crime" and "technological domestic violence" in publishing the revenge-porn photos of Hill.He didn't respond to Hayes directly; instead, he concluded his item by apparently arguing that conservative outlets publishing revenge porn was justified: "As for the idea that the media have ruthlessly gone after Hill, that’s preposterous. It took the resignation of Hill for MSNBC to even begin reporting on the complex sex scandal surrounding Hill in the first place."

Clay Waters summed up the MRC's new narrative in an Oct. 30 post: Highlighting revenge porn was juyst a liberal talking point no different than complaining that Hill was being treated more harshly than male congessmen caught in similar scandals, adding that it was "muddy[ing] the waters" to point out that  the websites that published the explicit photos are conservative.

Fondacaro tried the whataboutism card again, complaining that "the liberal media once celebrated the resignation of former Congressman Chris Lee when photos of him were leaked." But those photos -- shirtless mirror selfies -- weren't pornographic.

Foley lashed out at Samantha Bee for calling out conservative website for publishing the revenge porn, grousing that "It seems unlikely that Bee would give the same lecture about the horrors of revenge porn if intimate recordings or pictures of the President she despises ever emerged."

Waters came back with about attempt to not talk about revenge porn by making it a talking point: "the Times used the same term 'revenge porn' as Hill's 'supporters.' Apparently the Times counts itself among “her supporters” as well." Waters added whataboutism as well: "By contrast, Joe Barton, a former conservative Republican congressman from Texas, didn’t get nearly this kind of backing. There were no laments about 'revenge porn.'" But it wasn't clear how the nude picture of Barton got on social media, and he was merely allowed to serve out his term and not run for re-election rather than Hill's forced resignation -- and we don't recall conservative websites (or any other mainstream news operation) posting the photo.

Finally, Tim Graham and Brent Bozell got in one last bit of whataboutism, asserting that talking about revenge porn in the Hill case "completely sidestepped the ethical issues of sex with subordinates" -- never mind that nobody was defending Hill doing that -- and whining that "this kind of creepiness happens to both parties."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:25 PM EST
CNS-Mark Levin Stenography Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

As we've documented, CNSNews.com is essentially the unpaid (or are they?) public-relations agents for right-wing radio host Mark Levin, treating everything he says as unchalleged truth. Its 2019 pace of Levin promotion over the past two months surprisingly slowed a bit, particularly in October. Let's review, shall we?

September

October

With the unexplained October slowdown -- typically, CNS runs 8 to 10 Levin items a month -- that's just 10 items over the past two months. Still, that makes a total of 91 so far in 2019, and it's still likely the total will go past 100 for at least the third year in a row.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:39 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, November 10, 2019 10:48 AM EST

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