Another Purportedly Non-Biased Group Gets Space At The MRC Topic: Media Research Center
NewsBusters published a Jan. 13 post by James D. Agresti that seems designed to fit the Media Research Center's media-bashing narrative:
NBC News reporter and political director Chuck Todd recently railed against “misinformation” and singled out President Trump and “the right” for having an “incentive structure” to spread it. Todd, who according to NBC, “is responsible for all aspects of the network’s political coverage,” also stated that Republicans criticize the media for “sport” and “the loudest chanters of fake news” are “the ones who, under a lie detector, would probably take our word over any word they’ve heard from the other side on whether something was poisonous or not.”
Speaking directly to those unsupported claims, a scientific survey commissioned by Just Facts shows that many people are indeed misinformed—but contrary to Todd—this is a bipartisan affair. In fact, the survey found that the most commonly believed misinformation accords with left-leaning narratives spread by the press, and Democrat voters are more likely to accept these falsehoods than Trump voters. Furthermore, sizable portions of Trump voters have swallowed some of these media-promoted liberal fictions, as well as some conservative ones.
A good number of the questions in the survey seem designed to push a conservative narrative, particularly regarding taxes and school choice and energy (though it does conceded that "the earth has become measurably warmer since the 1980s." Indeed, Just Facts' front page seems to reflect a conservative mindset; one article pushed the right-wing narrative that undocumented immigrants commit crimes at a higher rate than native Americans despite the data being questionable at best.
Despite that -- and the fact that this article is published at an indisputably conservative outlet, where Agresti has published previous items -- Just Facts insists on presenting itself as non-biased. Agresti has even written a lengthy attack on the Media Bias Fact Check website for daring to suggest that it has a conservative bias, attacking the website's reasoning as "flagrant and simplistic" and accusing it of being "either inept and/or dishonest."
It seems that, like another purportedly unbiased group the MRC has given space to, AllSides, Just Facts is a stealth conservative organization, cloaking its agenda in "science." Ask yourself this question: If they weren't, would the MRC be allowing them to write for it?
Art Moore complained in a Jan. 20 WorldNetDaily article:
At a black Baptist church Sunday commemorating Martin Luther King Jr., former Vice President Joe Biden repeated the false claim that President Trump referred to neo-Nazis as "very fine people" then linked the president to the Ku Klux Klan.
Biden repeated the claim that Trump had in mind neo-Nazis and white supremacists when he said there were "very fine people on both sides" of the debate. In fact, Trump immediately made it clear he was talking about people who wanted to maintain statues of Robert E. Lee and other Confederate figures, not "the neo-Nazis and white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally."
As we detailed when WND columnist Michael Brown similarly complained about the "Charlotteville Lie," the group that was protesting the removal of the Confederate statue and Robert E. Lee park renaming was a group calling itself American Warrior Revolution, which considers itself a militia and later effectively blaming liberal counterprotester Heather Heyer for her own death in getting mowed down by a car driven by white supremacist James Fields Jr. That means the folks protesting the removal of the statues were not "very fine people."
Like a lot of other conspiracy theories, the "Charlottesville lie" lie will not die at WND.
MRC's Graham Defends Trump Shutting Down Press Briefings Topic: Media Research Center
Media Research Center executive Tim Graham devoted a Jan. 12 post to complaining that CNN "Reliable Sources" host Brtian Stelter featured "a letter posted on CNN.com by 13 former press secretaries -- nine of them with Clinton or Obama, and three of them paid CNN analysts -- demanding regular briefings at the White House, State Department, and Pentagon." Because CNN derangement is an MRC go-to, Graham immediately sneered, "It felt like another CNN ploy to get some Jim Acosta screaming on the air." He then huffed:
[Former Obama spokesman John] Kirby tried to make this sound like reporters add a beautiful polish of coherence to public policy -- instead of screaming and yelling and throwing tantrums. "The American people have a right to know that the kind of decisions made by their elected leaders have been informed by context and deeper understanding."
Stelter yelled at [deputy press secretary] Gidley instead of considering the argument that the press can sound more like hecklers than the forces of "context and deeper understanding."
Needless to say, Graham is being utterly hypocritical. He and the MRC had no problem with reporters heckling the president when that president was a Democrat and the reporter was a partisan conservative named NeilMunro.
Graham also seems to not have noticed that his fit of Acosta Derangement Sydrome can be turned on its head: The White House is afraid to give Acosta (or any other legitimate reporter) a platform to ask questions of the White House lest they make Trump and Co. look bad.
That's the problem with Graham's commentaries, since they are steeped in partisan politics and devoid of journalistic knowledge: They can always be turned around on him, and he'll alwayd look like a hypocrite in making them.
CNS Hides The Fact That Defense Secretary Saw No Imminent Threat From Iran Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com likes to selectively report on interviews by President Trump's allies, writing around inconvenient revelations or criticism to focus on the Repubican talking point du jour. This happened again in a Jan. 13 CNS article that begins this way:
Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Sunday defended President Trump's targeted strike on Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.
"We are safer today than we were just a few weeks ago. Why? Because we took out the world's foremost terrorist leader, Qassem Soleimani, who had the blood of hundreds of American dead service members on his hands," Esper told CBS's "Face the Nation."
"Secondly, we restored deterrence with Iran without any United States casualties. And, third, we reassured our partners -- partners and allies in the region that we will stand up and defend our interests."
Jones and CNS dedicated no other article to Esper's interview. Which means that Jones was writing around its big revelation, that Esper admitted he didn't see any evidence of what Trump portray as an imminent threat from Soleimani to attack as many as four U.S. embassies.
But CNS couldn't ignore that important information, though. So it was buried in other articles:
Another article by Jones waited until the 18th paragraph to note that "Even Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Sunday he didn't see evidence of a specific threat against four U.S. embassies."
An article by Patrick Goodenough waited until the 12th paragraph to report that "Defense Secretary Mark Esper made headlines Sunday when he told CBS’s 'Face the Nation' that he had not seen specific evidence 'with regard to four embassies' being under threat of attack, as Trump stated on Friday."
This is bad journalism. If a mainstream media outlet did this sort of distortion, selective reporting and burying the lead, CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, would be going on the attack.
An MRC Tweet Asks A Very Dumb Question Topic: Media Research Center
Brent Bozell's penchant for really dumb tweets seems to have trickled down into his Media Research Center at large. On Jan. 15, the MRC's NewsBusters account tweeted: "If 'impeachment lasts forever,' why did it oh so very rarely come up when the Clintons were running for president in 2016?" with an animated GIF of Bill and Hillary Clinton?
As numerous commenters pointed out, Hillary Clinton was running for president, not Bill. Hillary wasn't impeached, and despite what the MRC seems to thin, Bill's impeachment did not magically transfer to her.
Further, the MRC's argument that impeachment should last forever collides with a narrative pushed by another MRC division: A Jan. 22 CNSNews.com article favorably quoted Alan Dershowitz declaring that if the Senate votes to acquit President Trump, his impeachment will "disappear."
Surprisingly, this tweet is still live as of this writing -- the MRC is apparently not embarassed by the post's utter failure of logic to delete it.
The towel Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn, wears on her head is apparently tied so tight that it's causing a variant form of torsion, in which the oxygen is being shut off to her brain – thus restricting her already severely limited capacity to function on even a marginal level.
For those inclined to disagree with me, let me point out that it doesn't take above average mental ability to hate Jews, marry a family member (in her case repeated reports indicate she married her brother) and sleeping around with married men, destroying their families. Someone with the mental capacity of a pork chop understands that publicly displaying the morals of an alley cat brings shame on their children especially when questions are raised about their real father.
How bad for Omar that unlike Muslims, true Christians in America view life as sacred regardless of the color of skin. She only values life if it is Muslim, and it is even more to be valued if it's an Islamic terrorist who dies like the pig he was when he was alive.
MRC Is Shocked Impeachment Warrants News Coverage Topic: Media Research Center
President Trump is facing impeachment. Must be time for anotherbogus Media Research Center Trump coverage "study," in which it pretends to be shocked that impeaching a president is considered newsworthy! Take it away, Rich Noyes and Bill D'Agostino:
In the first 100 days since House Democrats began their impeachment push on September 24, ABC, CBS and NBC have aggressively aided the effort. A Media Research Center analysis finds the Big Three evening newscasts have battered the President with 93% negative coverage and promoted impeachment at the expense of nearly all other Trump news.
At the same time, the broadcast networks donated at least 124 hours of wall-to-wall live coverage as they pre-empted regular programming in favor of House Democrat-led impeachment activities. On the other hand, the networks’ frenzy over impeachment has meant the Democratic presidential candidates have been barely visible on the evening newscasts, even though voting is due to begin in just three weeks.
The MRC's usual dishonesty applies: 1) The "study" focuses only on a tiny sliver of news -- the evening newscasts on the three networks -- and baselessly suggests it's indicative of all media (and conveniently shielding Fox News from scrutiny); 2) it pretends there is no neutral coverage of Trump by rejecting all neutral coverage in favor of dishonestly tallying only "explicitly evaluative statements"; 3) it fails to take into account the stories themselves and whether negative coverage is deserved or to admit that negative coverage is the most accurate way to cover the story; and 4) it fails to provide the raw data or the actual statements it evaluated so its conclusions could be reviewed by others.
Also note the MRC's framing of impeachment coverage as being "donated" to Democrats. That happens in the collective MRC mind when reality has a liberal bias -- and the MRC exists to donate positive coverage to Trump and Republicans.
And, yes Noyes and D'Agostino really are surprised to learn that impeachment is considered a legitimate news story:
In the first 100 days since Pelosi announced the start of the House impeachment inquiry on September 24 (through January 1), ABC, CBS and NBC have generated a combined 849 minutes of evening news coverage about the subject.
For comparison, after Special Counsel Robert Mueller was named back on May 17, 2017, it took those same newscasts more than twice as long (until December 29 of that year, or 226 days) to register the same amount of airtime for the Russia investigation. In other words, the networks are spending more than twice as much airtime on the Ukraine probe as they did on the Russia probe.
Noyes and D'Agostino advance another right-wing narrative, that Trump can't possibly be guilty because not enough people are watching the proceedings on TV, as if justice was linked to popularity: "Such unusual coverage aims to build up the significance of the event in the viewer’s mind — suggesting an historic moment on par with the Kennedy assassination or 9/11, not a futile partisan exercise. But Nielsen ratings showed the public didn’t seem interested with the hearings conducted by the House Intelligence Committee."
By contrast, the MRC has an audience of one: the man in the White House. And he must be pleased no matter what.
Terry Jeffrey Trump Deficit Blame Avoidance Watch Topic: CNSNews.com
The last time we checked in with CNSNews.com editor in chief Terry Jeffrey's obsession with documenting federal budget deficits and refusal to call out President Trump for his role in creating them over the past few years, we noted that Jeffrey had yet to write an article about $1.4 trillion spending bill that was approved by a Republican-controlled Senate and signed by Trump.
Well, it's been over a month now, and Jeffrey still hasn't written a story on the budget deal. He has, however, written two more articles about federal deficits. The first, on Dec. 31, asserted:
The federal debt increased by a record $10,796,419,662,320 in the decade that is coming to a close today, according to data published by the U.S. Treasury.
This was the first decade in the history of the nation when increases in the federal debt averaged more than $1 trillion per year.
As usual, Jeffrey did not mention Trump's name, though he also did not mention President Obama's or that the large amound of deficit spending under his presidency was done to help pull the country out of a serious recession. He did, however, accompany his story with a picture of both Trump and Obama.
Jeffrey followed up in usual form in a Jan. 14 article:
The federal government spent a record $1,163,090,000,000 in the first three months of fiscal 2020 (October through December), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released Monday afternoon.
That was up $48,008,200,000 from the $1,115,081,800,000 (in constant December 2019 dollars) that the federal government spent in the first three months of fiscal 2019.
While spending a record amount of money in the first quarter of fiscal 2020, total federal tax collections were only the third highest in the nation’s history.
With the record spending in the October-through-December period exceeding the third-highest tax collections in history, the federal government ran a deficit of $356,578,000,000 during the period.
Again, Jeffrey failed to mention under whose presidency all this record spending and mounting deficits are taking place. And, as usual, he used a picture of Trump and Nancy Pelosi to illustrate it, as if the two are equally responsible. But Trump's head is facing backwards so you can't see his face, while Pelosi is easily recognizable, falsely suggesting that Pelosi is mostly to blame.
MRC's Graham Defends False Insult As A Mere 'Rhetorical Flourish' Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Tim Graham writes in a Jan. 12 post:
One of the routine ways the "independent fact checkers" demonstrate a liberal bias is by leaping to attack conservatives for making a rhetorical flourish on cable news. On Tuesday, PolitiFact threw a Pants On Fire" verdict at former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley for saying no government is protesting the killing of Iranian terrorist mastermind Qasem Soleimani, only Democrats are "mourning the loss of Soleimani."
One of the routine ways Graham conducts his war on fact-checking is to nit-pick the claims in order to present them as unfair to conservatives. Here, he pretends that words don't mean things and insists without evidence that Haley's accusation of "mourning" was not meant to be taken literally though Haley never indicated otherwise -- and then goes Godwin:
PolitiFact's Louis Jacobson and Amy Sherman then dutifully listed top Democrat leaders sayingSoleimani was a bad guy, but. It's true that the Democrats didn't wear black and go into mourning. But they intensely criticized the military action.
It's also not strictly factual for Democrats to say Trump is Hitler. Or Putin's puppet. But those kinds of statements are very rarely noticed by the PolitiFact squad.
Conveniently, Graham never cites anyone of similar stature to Haley claiming that "Trump is Hitler." And there is certainly enough evidence to show that the idea of Trump being Putin's puppet is, at the very least, notinaccurate.
Graham then goes into his old whataboutism schtick: "A review of PolitiFact 'Truth-o-Meter' rulings shows that no Democrats have been tagged for making wild or false statements on the subject of the Soleimani strike."
That's the kind of rhetorical dishonesty Graham has to resort to in order to keep his silly right-wing narrative alive.
CNS Offer More Same-Day Service On Recycling Pro-Trump Talking Points Topic: CNSNews.com
Blanketing its website with the Republican talking point du jour acrossmultiplearticles is apparently CNSNews.com's raison d'etre these days. it did that again on Jan. 8.
First, under the headline "Trump: 'Iran Went on a Terror Spree Funded by the Money From the Deal' With Obama," Susan Jones uncritically transcribed how President Trump "recounted some of Iran's bad behavior, noting that its "hostilities substantially increased after the foolish Iran nuclear deal was signed in 2013, and they were given $150 billion -- not to mention $1.8 billion in cash," quoting Trump as claiming that "Iran went on a terror spree funded by the money from the deal and created hell in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration."
The same day, under the headline "Sen. Cruz: Obama Administration Paid for the Missiles Fired at U.S. Bases Tuesday Night," Jones also uncritically transcribed Republican Sen. Ted Cruz saying that "In a very real sense, the missiles that we saw fired on U.S. servicemen and women tonight (Tuesday night in Iraq) were paid for by the billions that the Obama administration flooded the ayatollah with. And if history teaches anything, it's don't give billions of dollars to people who hate you and want to kill you."
But as we documented, that talking point lacks substantiation at best and is false at worst. There's no way to know if those missiles were paid for by money returned to Iran under the nuclear deal, and even if there was, it's not likely the money was used for that purpose because Iran had a missile program for years before the nuclear deal was signed.
But then, reporting facts isn't exactly CNS' prime directive these days; promoting pro-Trump talking points is.
NEW ARTICLE -- Slanties 2020: Once Upon A Time In ... Slantie-Land Topic: The ConWeb
It's awards season, so it's time to honor, as it were, the worst ConWeb reporting and craziest ConWeb opinions of the year. Read more >>
MRC Still Touting Media-Bashing From Discredited Reporter Lara Logan Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Curtis Houck gushed in a Jan. 8 post:
On Wednesday, our friends at the Daily Caller flagged a blistering appearance by former CBS News journalist host Lara Logan on Tuesday’s display of infatuation with the Iranian government and hatred for President Trump.
An exasperated host Laura Ingraham teed Logan up by stating how, in 2020, “[t]he liberal media [are] acting more like state-run TV at times than, you know, David Brinkley or any of the greats, like Peter Jennings” by “carrying the water for the Iranian regime” against Trump.
Now a Fox Nation host, Logan replied that “it’s kind of depressing” to hear how her colleagues have behaved “because that's not in my experience — I've been a journalist for more than 30 years, and I've honestly never seen anything like it.”
Interesting that Houck tells that Logan is a "former CBS News journalist" before he mentioned how she moved downmarket to being a "Fox Nation host." But it's not surprising that Houck doesn't tell his readers why Logan is a "former CBS News journalist."
As we documented when Logan resurfaced last year as an explicitly conservative commentator, Logan headed up a 2013 "60 Minutes" story on a security contractor hiding behind a pseudonym who had written a book claiming that he had witnessed the attack on U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans. After the story aired, other journalists discovered that the contractor was nowhere near the Benghazi facility at the time of the attack and that a told a different account to the FBI.On top of that failure of reporting, Logan also failed even though the MRC despises CBS as a member of the so-called "liberal media," it entirely ignored the controversy -- perhaps because it knew all along that she was an ideological fellow traveler. To this day, the MRC's original post promoting Logan's segment remains live and uncorrected, and it never told readers the story was found to be false.
Now that Logan no longer has to pretend to be an objective journalist, the MRC loves her conservative anti-media rants even more though her credibility has been destroyed.
WND's Farah Returns For More Trump Sycophancy Topic: WorldNetDaily
Still in apparent recovery from his stroke, WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah is starting to ease back into column-writing. But as we noted the last time he popped up, he's even more a of Trump sycophant than before.
In a Jan. 13 column, Farah devoted a lot of space to accusing people who issued provocative tweets following President Trump's ordered killing of Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani as suffering from "Trump Derangement Syndrome." He even highlighted one writer "from the right" (actually, the libertarian Reason magazine), adding, "Trump Derangement Syndrome – it comes from every angle."
Farah, of course, will not tell you how he has suffered from Obama Derangement Syndrome since 2008, with the low point being his aggressive promotion of birther conspiracy theories and simply straight-up lying about the president. He is essentially what he is complaining about, albeit from a different ideological viewpoint.
This kind of Trump sycophancy is an easy layup for Farah, even as he continues to recover from a severe medical event. But that's all it is.
MRC Keeps Its 'Fact-Checks' Partisan And Factually Deficient Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's war on fact-checking doesn't extend to its own alleged fact-checking, perhaps because it's so terrible. In a Jan. 8 post, Nicholas Fondacaro issued the familiar complaint that President Trump was once again fact-checked, this time after his claim that, in Fondacaro's telling, "the Obama administration handed over roughly $1.7 billion to Iran as a ransom for American hostages and said it helped Iran fund the attack" on a U.S. military base in Iraq after Trump directed the killing of Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani:
In a fact-check, CNN dinged Trump for exaggerating the money amount by saying Obama’s nuclear deal freed up $150 billion in frozen, overseas Iranian assets. But even they admitted Obama once used the same figure and noted the real amount was reportedly between $50-60 billion. That’s a lot of money entering a cash-strapped country that’s known to fund terrorist organizations around the region.
CNN also did not attempt to fact-check how Iran spent the unfrozen funds. The fact is, Iran doesn’t do domestic spending. The Iranian regime puts much of its funding towards developing its ballistic missile and other weapons technologies, the Revolutionary Guard, and terrorist group activities.
Also, CNN’s fact-check did lie to readers in that it falsely claimed the $1.7 billion was “to settle a decades-old dispute over a purchase of never-delivered US military goods Iran made…” That’s where the money came from but not why it was delivered.
Fondacaro offered nothing to back up his "fact" that Iran "much of its funding towards" military activities -- perhaps because that isn't actually true. As actual fact-checkers have pointed out, the money was Iran's in the first place, intended to buy military equipment from the U.S. in the 1970s but canceled after Iran's Islamic revolution; the U.S. held onto Iran's $400 million, which accrued interest over the next few decades.
Not only is there no way to know whether Iran used the money the U.S. returned to it to specifically pay for the missiles fired on the Iraqi bases, it's unlikely that those missiles were paid for by Iran deal money. Former national sexurity adviser Susan Rice has pointed out that Iran had a ballistic missile program for several years before the nuclear deal was signed.
Instead, Foncacaro went on a tirade against Susan Rice over a separate TV appearance, calling her an "Obama-era liar" and ranting that she "lied to the American people about a YouTube video causing the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya." As usual, Fondacaro never proves Rice "lied"; in fact, she was simply repeating talking points supplied to her by the CIA.
Fondacaro even summarized the CNN fact-check wrong. Trump didn't say the Iran deal "freed up $150 billion in frozen, overseas Iranian assets" as Fondacaro claimed; he said that Iran was "given $150 billion." And that figure (which was indeed somewhere around $60 billion) was for unfrozen assets around the globe, not U.S. money given to Iran.
Fondacaro wasn't the only MRC writer to fall into derangement mode over Rice's reappearance. The same day, Tim Graham huffed that Rice "lied on five different network talk shows in 2012," then repeated Trump's falsehood in complaining that she was allowed to fact-chedk "the 150 billion dollars Obama gave to Iraq, declaring that "There is no doubt that Obama gave that money. Liberals are merely claiming we were giving the Iranians back their own seized assets from 1979."
Graham is clearly never going to admit that the "liberals" are being factually accurate.
CNS Still Promoting Dershowitz Without Mentioning His Epstein Ties Topic: CNSNews.com
We've noted how, like its Media Research Center parent, CNSNews.com likes to quote Trump defender Alan Dershowitz without noting the fact that he's a former lawyer for convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and has been accused of having sex with one of Epstein's underage victims. CNS has continued its promotion of Dershowitz's arguments -- and stayed silent about his sleazy side gig.
On Dec. 9, managing editor Michael W. Chapman promoted how "Famed defense lawyer, constitutional scholar, and best selling author Alan Dershowitz said that through the impeachment inquiry House Democrats are acting like the KGB under Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Evidence does not matter to them, he said, and like KGB henchman Laverntiy Beria, all they declare is 'show me the man,' President Trump, and we'll 'find you the crime.'" Ten days later, Craig Bannister transcribed Dershowitz's rant that "If House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) withholds articles of impeachment from the Senate as a negotiating tactic, it would be both unconstitutional and destructive." (It's not, and it wasn't.)
When Dershowitz was named to Trump's defense teeam for the Senate impeachment trial, Bannister gushed on Jan. 17 that he was an "iconic liberal civil and human rights defense attorney" and highlighting that Dershowitz said that "even though he voted for Hillary Clinton for president, he is non-partisan regarding the Constitution."
The promotion baton was then handed to Susan Jones, who touted on Jan. 20 how Dershowitz "made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows to discuss his upcoming role in the Senate impeachment trial" and that his "mandate is to determine what is a constitutionally authorized criteria for impeachment."
None of these articles mention Dershowitz's ties to Epstein. By contrast, CNS has obsessed over minor, possibly unflattering details involving people it doesn't like, such as suddenly caring about what Pete Buttigieg's husband has to say and mentioning in two articles the utterly irrelevant fact that the two met on a dating app.
So, CNS clearly has an eye for detail -- except when that detail interferes with its pro-Trump agenda.