Mysterious MRC Sports Blogger Defends Trump, Backs Extremist Minister Over Super Bowl Topic: Media Research Center
Mysterious Media Research Center sports blogger Jay Maxson served up two unsurprising posts regarding the Super Bowl. First, he defended President Trump's substance-free remarks about the Super Bowl prior to the game by somehow blaming Obama:
Blame it on "Basketball Jones" sports junkie and former President Barack Obama for making sports analysis a presidential priority over world and domestic affairs. President Donald Trump passed on an opportunity to break down the Super Bowl match-up with the detail his predecessor did on NCAA Tournament brackets, and that makes the current occupant of the Oval Office ignorant about who's even playing in the NFL championship game.
Maxson then defended Trump's know-nothingness by portraying him as being so awesome doing other things and denying the mere idea that the president doesn't know anything about the game:
This president supposedly knows nothing about the Super Bowl, though his attention might be distracted by the coronavirus, "an impeachment trial being soggily conducted in the Senate," an economy to be kept running, recalcitrant countries with whom to diplomatize, and, generally, a whole-ass world to worry about."
Make that an unprecedented economy. Add restoring the nation's court system, creating jobs, eliminating terrorists and fighting off bogus impeachment attempts.
President Trump -- a man who previously tried to become an NFL owner, friend of Tom Brady and Jim Brown, the candidate for re-election who's running a Super Bowl ad -- doesn't know who's playing in the biggest sporting event of the year? Ludicrous.
Then, in a Feb. 9 post, Maxson echoed the freakout at MRC division CNSNews.com to the halftime show by Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, rushing to the defense of a far-right minister who attacked the show:
A former prep football coach in Ohio, now the host of a Christian ministry podcast, is under fire for threatening to sue the NFL over last week's raunchy Super Bowl halftime show. Dave Daubenmire says the performance by Jennifer Lopez and Shakira was pornographic and children watching at home should not be subjected to such. The Complex Sports blog and Right Wing Watch ripped Daubenmire for watching the program and then saying his eternal salvation had been put at risk.
Daubenmire said on the podcast he wants to sue the NFL "for $867 trillion," but later told Newsweek that figure was "a hyperbole." "I said it right off the top of my head, I just threw some big number out there. In my opinion, there's not a big enough number to sue them for.
But in benignly portraying Daubenmire and equating him with James Dobson in denouncing the "trash" show, Maxson failed to tell his readers just how racist and homophobic Daubenmire is. Maxson attacked Right Wing Watch without evidence as a "far Left hate group," but ithas documented how Daubenmire has blamed interracial marriage for weakening America and declared that Prince Harry's marriage to Meghan Markle has "poisoned" the royal bloodline. Daubenmire has also asserted that homosexuality must be re-stigmatized and referred to Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg as "Mayor Pete Buttplug." Further, Daubenmire has declared his "deep respect" for an anti-abortion extremist named John Brockhoeft, who spent years in prison for firebombing several women’s health clinics.
By endorsing Daubenmire, this is what Maxson is endorsing.
CNS Suddenly Realizes Trump Apointee Is Gay Topic: CNSNews.com
We've noted that one of the very few areas in which CNSNews.com dares to delve into the mildest criticism of President Trump is when he fails to hate gays enough by appointing an LGBT person to a government position such as judge. it's done it again, albeit belatedly so.
When Trump appointed Richard Grenell as ambassador to Germany, CNS was silent on the fact that he was gay, even though their Media Research Center colleague, Dan Gainor, helped get Grenell ousted from his position as a spokesman for Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign afterdeclaring that having a spokesman who's gay was "not conservative." It wasn't until Grenell was made the leader last year of a planned Trump administration effort to decriminalize homosexuality in other countries that CNS madenote of Grenell's sexuality, pointing out that he was "the highest profile openly gay person in the Trump administration."
On Feb. 19, Trump appointed Grenell to be acting director of national intelligence. CNS was largely quiet about his sexuality at first, with Susan Jones noting only that "Trump critics fumed that Grenell is a partisan operative, a political stooge, who knows nothing about national intelligence." But two weeks later, it seems that someone at CNS finally remembered that Grenell is gay; an anonymously written March 2 item carried the headline "Trump Makes Gay Man With Same-Sex Partner Acting Head of U.S. Intelligence Community" and complained:
President Donald Trump has put Richard Grenell, a gay man with a same-sex partner, in the position of acting Director of National Intelligence, the cabinet-level official who oversees the U.S. intelligence community.
On May 3, 2018, when Vice President Mike Pence swore-in Grenell as ambassador to Germany, he welcomed the presence of Grenell’s “partner,” Matt Lashey. Lashey held the Bible that Grenell put his hand on when he took the oath to God to uphold the Constitution and faithfully perform the duties of his office."
The article quoted a New York Times article noting that Grenell "abruptly resigned" Romney's campaign "after antigay elements in the party criticized his appointment" but did not note that one of those "antigay elements" was employed by the organization that operates CNS.
Three days later, another anonymously written article grumbled that Grenell invoked his Christian faith in expressing pride in his sexuality in an interview:
Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany whom President Donald Trump has now named the acting Director of National Intelligence, said in an interview on “The Rubin Report” that being gay makes him a better Christian.
You know, I think being gay makes me a better Christian--to be honest,” Grenell said in the interview.
When Grenell was sworn by Vice President Mike Pence, his partner Matt Lashey held the Bible.
“I was made this way, right, and the Bible says everyone is fearfully and wonderfully made,” said Grenell.
“I was made this way. I was born gay,” he said. “So, the fact of the matter is I fully embrace that I was made this way in the image of God and you can be gay and be a Christian. And there’s no problem with it.”
Grenell said in the interview that the “translation” of the Bible from the 1950s “somehow takes the word homosexuality and puts in into a different context.”
“You really have to go back to the original language, the original Greek, and really understand what the words were when the translation in the 1950s somehow takes the word homosexuality and puts it into a different context,” he said.
Somehow, the self-procalimed Christian scholars at CNS restrained themselves from lecturing Grenell on correct Bible interpretation.
Weirdly, though those two articles officially state they were written by "CNSNews.com Staff," a search for them through the CNS archive reveals they were apparently entered under the account of editor in chief Terry Jeffrey. Doesn't Jeffrey want to publicly admit he hates gays as much as his lieutenant, managing editor Michael W. Chapman?
MRC Finally Gives Graham Sole Credit For The Column He Writes Topic: Media Research Center
Back in 2014, it was revealed that Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell didn't actually write his twice-weekly syndicated column -- director of media analysis Tim Graham did. While both Bozell and Graham refused to comment publicly on the controversy (and an MRC spokesperson ludicrously insisted the situation was no different from President Obama having speechwriters), the syndicator gave Graham a co-byline, though neither it nor the MRC archives applied his byline retroactively to the years of columns Bozell "wrote."
Interestingly, six years almost to the day that Bozell's deception was revealed, his byline mysteriously fell off his column, leaving Graham as the sole credited author. Graham's first solo column was Feb. 19, a rant about long-forgotten (except at the MRC) lawyer Michael Avenatti. The tone of the column didn't change, of course -- Graham has been writing it all along.
Oddly, the MRC didn't see fit to mark this occasion publicly, or explain why Bozell decided to take his name off the column -- though it seems some sort of agreement may have been reached to fully credit Graham after six years, given the precise timing of this move. It's almost as though it was a little ashamed of this whole episode and didn't want to remind people of Bozell's selfish deception.
In that interim period, we gave Graham top billing for his column ahead of Bozell, so we congratulate Graham for finally getting sole credit for his work. Too bad your boss has been such a jerk about this and won't even give you the common courtesy of a public handoff.
WND's Cashill Concerned Blacks Aren't Being Treated As The Criminals They Are Topic: WorldNetDaily
You knew Jack Cashill's Feb. 26 WorldNetDaily column -- headlined "Will someone speak honestly about race and crime?" -- wasn't going to go well when he started by attacking a Democratic presidential debate as pandering to black people and adding, "Every Democratic Party convention since 1964 could be described as a festival of pandering to black voter[s]."
Cashill then lamented that Mike Bloomberg apologized for the stop-and-frisk policy while New York City mayor, claiming that he was "apologizing for saving more black lives during his 12 years as mayor of New York City than even the doctors in the city's hospitals." He invoked race-obsessed conservative Heather Mac Donald to push the inherently crimninal nature of black people:
Whites and Hispanics are rarely the ones responsible for black murders. "That black death-by-homicide rate is a function of the black crime rate," wrote Mac Donald. "The national rate of homicides committed by blacks is eight times that of whites and Hispanics combined."
Eight times higher? Were the Democratic candidates unaware of that information or were they suppressing it? Someone should have explained those numbers to the frighteningly pious Mayor Pete.
"None of us," said the pronoun-challenged Buttigieg, "have the experience, the lived experience, of, for example, of walking down the street or in a mall and feeling eyes on us regarding us as dangerous without knowing the first thing about us, just 'cause of the color of their skin."
As Mac Donald pointed out, "Black males between the ages of 14 and 17 commit homicide at 10 times the rate of white and Hispanic male teens combined."
People walking down the street would be imprudent not to look at black teens suspiciously. Black people look at young black men suspiciously.
Ah, but Cashill wasn't done:
To those on stage, "racism" explains the fact that blacks are disproportionally represented in all phases of the criminal justice system.
But there is nothing arbitrary about murder. All homicides are investigated. The truth is, though, that homicides of black victims are solved less frequently than those of white victims.
There are many reasons why this is true. For instance, you are not likely to see "Snitches get stitches" spray painted on a wall in a white neighborhood.
Democrats see the low clearance rate for black victims as further proof of racism in the system. They fail to acknowledge the flip side of the argument, namely that the perpetrator, who is almost always black, is less likely to be apprehended than a non-black for murder, for any crime for that matter.
Remember that Cashill engaged in similar racial fearmongering before, devoting an entire book to smearing Trayvon Martin as an aspiring thug and lionizing his killer, George Zimmerman, as a civil-rights martyr. He also got mad at us for pointing out that he may have inspired mass killer Dylann Roof with such thinking.
Despite Her Extremism, MRC Defends Conservative Answer to Thunberg Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Alexander Hall came to the defense of a newly minted conservative answer to Greta Thunberg -- whom the MRC loves to bash for her purported "radical" and "extreme" views on climate change -- in a Feb. 25 post:
A 19-year-old German woman is being hailed as the conservative response to climate change activist Greta Thunberg. She has condemned climate alarmism as a “despicably anti-human ideology,” and liberal journos are heated about it.
Naomi Seibt encourages rationality in the face of climate alarmism and is seen as the conservative answer to climate change activists like Greta Thunberg. She is currently being supported by libertarian think tank The Heartland Institute, and was reportedly hired as the figurehead of its campaign to question the scientific consensus about climate change. “If imitation is the highest form of flattery, Heartland’s tactics amount to an acknowledgment that Greta has touched a nerve, especially among teens and young adults” The Washington Post wrote in its Feb. 23 coverage.
The outlet went on to describe Seibt as the “anti-Greta.” Liberal commentators were shocked, ranging from slurring the German teenager as a “NAZI” to theorizing the apocalyptic conspiracy that she is “paid to speak nonsense to convince people to continue business as usual and poison us all.”
Aside from Seibt’s arguments against climate alarmism, journalists have specifically come after her for associating in any capacity with the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. The AfD was described in the article as “the biggest opposition party in parliament.” The Post quoted one former AfD leader Alexander Gauland, when he vowed they are fighting “an invasion of foreigners.
Unfortunately for Hall, the "Nazi" attack is not as far off the mark as he would like you to think it is. The BBC has documented just how far-right the AfD party is, and it's not just an anti-immigration party:
The party's leader in the eastern state of Thuringia, Björn Höcke, once described Berlin's Holocaust memorial as a "monument of shame" and called for a "180-degree turnaround" in Germany's handling of its Nazi past. Picking up the same theme, Alexander Gauland trivialised the Nazi era as "just a speck of bird's muck in more than 1,000 years of successful Germany history".
The AfD has managed to attract voters from the centre right and even the centre left but in the words of Verena Hartmann, a moderate MP who left the party in January 2020 because it was becoming to extreme: "Those who resist this extreme right-wing movement are mercilessly pushed out of the party."
In the words of Matthias Quent, a German expert on the far right based in Thuringia: "Not everyone in the AfD is ideologically far right, but anyone in the party or even voting for the party is supporting a party that has a far-right objective."
Alexander Gauland, a 78-year old lawyer, has been with AfD from its Eurosceptic start and his political career began decades earlier with the centre right.
As AfD moved to the right so did he, making a number of remarks condemned as racist. In 2016 he talked about footballer Jérôme Boateng, who was born in Berlin to a Ghanaian father. "[Germans] like him as a football player. But they don't want to have a Boateng as their neighbour."
Alexander Gauland drew criticism for declaring that Germans should be "proud" of their soldiers in both world wars. While SS units were notorious for German atrocities in World War Two, the regular armed forces also committed many war crimes.
[Former leader] Frauke Petry once tried to end the taboo on the Nazi-era term völkisch, which comes from the German word for people but was hijacked by the Nazis to define those they saw as belonging to the German race.
Additionally, Seibt has cited as an "inspiration" Stefan Molyneux, an advocate of white nationalism, eugenics and "scientific racism." At CPAC a week ago, Seibt said she still considers herself a "fan" of Molyneux. The MRC's NewsBusters and CNSNews.com both published a 2018 column by Michelle Malkin whitewashing, as it were, Molyneux as an "author and philiosopher."
Seibt also got caught complaining that Jews are "at the top" of groups seen as being oppressed, while "ordinary Germans" are at the bottom. (Seibt claims the remark was taken out of context.)
Hall also failed to mention that his fellow conservatives are critical of the Heartland Institute using Seibt. Brad Polumbo of the conservative Washington Examiner wrote: "Groups such as Heartland are free to question the science of climate change. But if they want to avoid looking like massive hypocrites, let alone convince anyone, they ought to present arguments and evidence, not hide behind teenage YouTube trolls looking for five minutes in the spotlight."
But narratives are more important than facts at the MRC, so the full truth about Seibt must stay hidden -- even after months of attacking Thunberg as an "extreme" "radical."
CNS Spins For Trump On Coronavirus Topic: CNSNews.com
Given that the mission of CNSNews.com these days is less about reporting news and more about shilling for the Trump administration, it comes as no surprise that CNS' coverage of the Trump administration's response to the growing coronavirus outbreak is first and foremost to protect Trump.
The first article CNS did on it was a Feb. 25 piece by Susan Jones giving space to Trump to mock Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer for his criticism of Trump for not asking for more money from Congress to respond to the outbreak. "The headline: Trump Takes Flak After Requesting $2.5B to Deal With Coronavirus." That was joined, in an unusual bit of balance for CNS, by twoarticles by Melanie Arter featuring criticism of Trump from other Democrats.
From then on, it was deflection time in an attempt to downplay the severity of the outbreak:
(That last article, by Patrick Goodenough, was preceded by an editor's note effectively debunking the article's premise, pointing out that the current lethality rate for COVID-19 aroudn which the article was built "is based on known and confirmed cases only, and doesn’t take into account many cases not known or not reported.")
IN between, CNS served up coronavirus articles framed around its usual editorial agenda that aren't explicitly Trump-related. Bashing Democrats as wasteful because they want to "open the spending spigot" to fight coronavirus? Check. A Mark Levin rant? Check. Bashing a Democratic presidential candidate (in this case, Joe Biden) for statements he has made on the subject? Check.
And there was plent of covering up for Trump as well. A March 4 article by Arter played up NIH official Anthony Fauci's claim that testing of a coronavirus vaccine could begin in a few months, while burying Trump's misinterpretation of Fauci to suggest that the U.S. is "three months away from treating people who already have coronavirus" in the 13th paragraph.
CNS, needless to say, is not going to tell its readers that Trump has been spreadingmisinformation about coronavirus and his administration's response to it, or that he had to be corrected after arguing that the flu vaccine could be used to fight coronavirus.
MRC Works The Democratic Debate Refs Again Topic: Media Research Center
Last fall, we documented how the Media Research Center loved to work the refs by engaging in pre-emptive attacks on the purported liberalilsm of the moderators for Democratic presidential debates. As primary season kicked off, the MRC renewed its attacks.
Geoffrey Dickens asked in the overheated headline of his Feb. 18 item: "Will Chuck Todd MUCK UP Another Debate With His POMPOUS Liberalism?" He then trashed Todd's performance at a debate last wummer:
Chuck Todd’s performance at last summer’s Democratic primary debate was so irritating that even fellow liberals like comedian Stephen Colbert panned the NBC Meet the Press host for being a “complete ass” and “a guy who really likes the sound of his own voice.”
But it wasn’t just Todd’s moderating style that was hard to take, it was his obnoxious questions from the left that he posed to the liberal candidates on stage.
Dickens was echoing a post from last summer in which Scott Whitlock huffed that Todd and "far-left host Rachel Maddow" had "catered to the party's far-left base."(The MRC loves to label everyone and everything "far left.") Dickens then listed "just a few examples of Todd’s most liberal moments since Trump announced his candidacy in 2015, as culled from the MRC’s archives."
Prior to a CBS-hosted debate, Dickens groused on Feb. 25:
Meet tonight’s Democratic debate moderators: One is a Democratic donor and the other one might as well be.
CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King has a long history of supporting Democrats. According to Open Secrets, she’s donated to Barack Obama, the DNC, and Harold Ford Jr and is “good friends” with New Jersey Democratic Senator Cory Booker. Even while at CBS, she donated to Obama and attended his birthday party. Most recently, she vacationed with the Obamas.
CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell has a long career of donating to liberals in the form of softball questions and praise of Democratic lawmakers while attacking Republicans and conservatives. She referred to current presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden as “Uncle” Joe but once openly questioned if current President Donald Trump was “dangerous to democracy” and should be “removed from office.”
Yes, Dickens was mad that O'Donnell had a relatively affectionate name for Biden that, um, Fox News has also used.
Curtis Houck did a post-debate attack: "Along with the fact that they lost complete and total control of Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate, co-moderators Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell joined the seven candidates by peddling a far-left narrative about gun control, fretting about a 'gun crisis.'" (There's that overused "far left" label again!) Whitlock, however, did throw the hosts a bone, praising co-host Margaret Brennan for advancing a conservative narrative by asking "the question that millions of Americans are concerned about. Bernie Sanders’s embrace of dictators."
NEW ARTICLE -- Out There, Exhibit 75: Your One-Stop Pro-Trump Talking Points Shop Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com loves to publish multiple articles pushing the same exact talking point du jour -- sometimes on the same day. Read more >>
Trump-O-Philia Watch, Wayne Allyn Root Division Topic: Newsmax
It was Trump's moment in time. Long ago, before Trump even won the presidency, I called him "the new Ronald Reagan." Just like Reagan, I knew he'd turn around the country, straighten out the mess left by a Democrat president and make the economy roar.
And I knew Trump’s energy and bigger-than-life personality would re-energize my beloved GOP.
Tuesday night, Trump officially became Reagan.
Trump's State of the Union was a combination of a Reagan-like celebration of the greatness of America and a joy ride through Trump's economic mega success, his achievements for the American people, and specifically, his achievements for black and Hispanic Americans.
Instead of partisan vitriol, Trump showcased guests who represented America’s greatness. Trump showcased stories that made us cheer and cry.
Trump is now playing on the Democrats' home turf. Trump has now secured all 63 million Trump voters from 2016. He's secured the entire white middle class. Now, he's going after Democrat voters. Now he's going after black, Hispanic and female voters. Now he's playing on the Democrats' home field.
Trump is Reagan. He’s aiming for a Reagan/Mondale-like landslide.
I hope you all had a fantastic Valentine's Day. This year, Valentine's Day had a different vibe. Did you feel it?
There was a political and patriotic twist to Valentine's Day. Because President Trump is making us all fall in love with America again.
Sure, President Trump has made America great again. The economy is booming. Jobs are plentiful. Wages are way up. The stock market is perhaps the best of all time. But it's more than that.
For Valentine’s Day 2020, President Trump made it fashionable to love America again. It's hip to be American. It's cool to celebrate America’s greatness. It's politically correct to put America first. We're encouraged to stand for the national anthem and to chant, "USA, USA."
And the result of all of this is that Americans who actually love America are happy again. We're feeling the most satisfied of our lives. We are free to be ourselves. We don’t have to be silent anymore. We're no longer frustrated and angry. It's our turn to come out of the closet.
We're no longer "the Silent Majority." Now we're the ones who are loud and proud.
To paraphrase James Carville, "It's all about the happiness, stupid." Trump is making us happy again. We feel good about ourselves again. Love is in the air.
This Valentine's Day was special. Because we are all in love with America again.
MRC Lashes Out At Story That Debunks Its Anti-Facebook Narrative Topic: Media Research Center
For years, the Media Research Center has pushed the narrative that Facebook as biased against conservatives -- even as that keeps getting provenwrong, to the extent that MRC chief Brent Bozell is having secret off-the-record dinners with Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg. It's still fighting to keep that bogus narrative alive.
On Feb. 20, the Washington Post published an article detailing how conservatives wield influence inside Facebook, fighting against the platform removing fake news becasuse it will disproportionally affect conseratrives and other policies showing it "has tilted rightward to deliver policies, hiring decisions and public gestures sought by Republicans" and to curry favor with the Trump administration.
This undermined the MRC's anti-Facebook narrative even further and, needless to say, it wasn't happy about it. Corinne Weaver spun in a Feb. 24 post with a boatload of whataboutism that never challenged any of the article's facts:
The liberal media sees working with President Donald Trump or Republicans as a black mark on one’s reputation. For The Washington Post, having a handful of Republican employees means that Facebook fears Trump and the GOP.
The result was a 4,107 word story that was more a whine about Facebook not being left-wing enough.
Timberg stated that Facebook was described by unnamed critics as having “a willingness to accede to political demands in an era when Republicans control most levers of power in Washington.” In fact, one former unnamed Facebook employee was quoted as saying, “This is what [Facebook] know[s] about Republicans: Tell them ‘yes’ or they will hurt us.”
However, Facebook seems to have had no trouble getting along with Democrats and liberals either, not that The Post cared. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has worked with Democratic candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg. The Post even brought up the fact that Facebook employees donated $5,171 to Trump in 2016, but gave Clinton $1.1 million in that same timespan.
More than that, Facebook has allowed Democrats and liberals to help shape its community standards. In 2018, Sandberg wrote that Facebook had a “civil rights audit” which was led by the former director of the American Civil Liberties Union, Laura Murphy. Over 90 civil rights organizations were consulted. Murphy wrote that she “rejected the false dichotomy of choosing free speech at the expense of other rights.” Sandberg wrote that the audit was “one of my top priorities for 2019.”
That endorsement was far stronger than anything the company said about its audit of the right.
The decision to avoid fact-checking political ads was described as “yet another effort by Facebook to steer clear of Republican wrath.” Ignored was the quiet update from Facebook made in late 2019 that banned the denial of transgender people’s existence.
Weaver didn't explain how "the denial of transgender people’s existence" is a key tenet of conservatism.
The story was such a threat to the MRC's narrative that apparatchik Dan Gainor issued a press release devoted to attacking it -- again, using lots of whataboutism and failing to challenge any of the facts in the article:
“The Washington Postarticle, “How conservatives learned to wield power inside Facebook” was either ignorant of basic facts or deliberate propaganda. The real complaint was that Facebook hasn’t been as left-wing as other major social media outlets.
“Instead of depicting a company dominated by the left but trying to land closer to the middle, the paper manufactured a rightward shift because the firm wouldn’t do the bidding of liberal executives, employees and politicians.
“The future of Big Tech must be tied to keeping people free online. That freedom requires everyone being treated fairly, but since when has the Post wanted conservatives treated in a fair way. This is why theFree Speech Alliance of more than 60 conservative organizationsurges: ‘Tech giants should afford their users nothing less than the free speech and free exercise of religion embodied in the First Amendment.’”
The press release added: "While the 4,107 word story detailed every moment Facebook has worked with the right, it ignored the millions Facebook staff have donated to liberal causes and candidates and, most importantly, the influence leftist groups had in shaping Facebook’s content policies and community standards.
Neither Weaver nor Gainor mentioned the fact that their boss had a secret dinner with Zuckerberg.
The MRC is so sensitive abouts it bogus narrative being challenged that Tim Graham was compelled to devote the Feb. 26 edition of his newly solo column to attacking the Post piece. Graham, like his subordinates, knows he can't dispute the article's fact, so his column is one long fit of whataboutism, deflecting from Facebook's kowtowing to conservatives by claiming "that's not what conservatives are finding," then launched into a long diatribe about how "Tom Elliott of Grabien posted a video on Facebook of Sen. Bernie Sanders at a rally" (he did not identify Elliott as a conservative activist) that was flagged for false information because of a misleading, biased headline.
And, no, Graham did not mention the fact that the guy with whom he used to share a column byline had a secret dinner with Zuckerberg. Maybe Graham and Co. should 1) admit that Bozell had that dinner with Zuckerberg, and 2) disclose its contents to MRC readers.
Conspiracy Theory: WND Suggests Its Muslim-Hating Author's Death Wasn't Suicide Topic: WorldNetDaily
Philip Haney was a former employee of the Department of Homeland Security who spent his retirement years in anti-Muslim activism, accusing the Obama adiministration of downplaying the Islamic threat to the U.S. This earned him the attention of WorldNetDaily, where he co-wrote a book with WND news editor Art Moore, "See something, Say Nothing," on the subject and saw his anti-Muslim rantings regularlypromoted. Haney also appeared to the person who fed Glenn Beck the never-proven story he promoted on his radio and TV shows that a Saudi Arabian student was an Al Qaeda "control agent" and "money man" for the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. (The student sued Beck for defamation and slander, and they later reached an undisclosed settlement.)
Haney died Feb. 21; his body was found next to his car on the side of a California road with a single gunshot wound that appeared to be self-inflicted.WND, meanwhile, has gone into conspiracy-theory mode to suggest that Haney was murdered.
WND's initial, anonymously written Feb. 22 article on Haney's death admitted initial suspicions that his death was a suicide but added that "many of Haney's friends who had spoken to him in the past week say he was happy and looking forward to getting married." WND did not name any of these "friends" or directly quote them saying that, instead rehashing his anti-Muslim activism.
Two days later, another anonymously written article featuring how the county corner "issued a correction Monday afternoon, saying he has not determined that the Department of Homeland Security whistleblower's gunshot wound was self-inflicted." It again repeated the claim that "many of Haney's friends who had spoken to him in the past week say he was happy and looking forward to getting married" without offering further details or on-the-record sourcing.
A Feb. 27 WND article touted how "In an emotional speech on the House floor, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, praised his friend Philip Haney, the Department of Homeland Security whistleblower whose death is under investigation by the FBI and local authorities in Northern California." The article highlighted the coroner's walkback, adding that "Haney's colleagues, friends and family have vowed to make sure everything is done to find out what happened." Once again, none of these "friends and family" are named or quoted.
A March 2 column by Barbara Simpson, though, went full conspiracy theory:
On Feb. 22, the sheriff's office in California's Amador County reported that a dead body was found next to the man's truck, in its jurisdiction 40 miles from Sacramento, the state capital. Their first report was that the man died from a single, self-inflicted shot to the chest. A gun was found near the body.
The body was found in an open area, adjacent to State Highway 16 – about 3 miles from the R.V. park where Haney lived.
That conclusion about the death of the 66-year-old garnered a mountain of objections from the man's friends and family – that it could not have been a suicide. He was about to publish a new book and was planning a marriage in the next month.
They said it was not suicide – but foul play. Murder. They called it an "assassination."
There was so much commotion about the case that the sheriff has issued further reports and is investigating further the cause and manner of death. Also, the sheriff's office has backtracked on the "suicide" claim.
As quoted in Breitbart, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said Haney "didn't kill himself." He said Haney "was a target because of all he knew of Islamic terrorist cover-ups. He insured his life by archiving data that incriminated the highest levels of the Obama administration."
My local paper has printed not a word about the incident – the body, the man, the cause of death. I checked the paper daily and found nothing, yet editors found it important to print more than 200 column inches, front-page stories and color pictures last week about a local couple who was lost and found in good shape by rescuers.
It'll be interesting to find out the results of the sheriff's investigation into the death. People usually do not shoot themselves in the chest to commit suicide – just as they don't shoot themselves in the back of the head. Think Vince Foster.
If I ever – or you ever – needed an example of a massive cover-up by the "political establishment," this is it – and I have no doubt the truth is more than ugly. That our "free press " would be party to the cover-up is more than reprehensible.
Expect to hear more about this at WND, since conspiracy theories are kind of its jam.
The MRC's Latest 'Moderate' Meltdown Topic: Media Research Center
For some reason -- perhaps to fulfill a mandated right-wing narrative -- the Media Research Center has spent months obsessing over the idea that some Democratic presidential candidates cold be considered "moderate." As the primary process heated up, the MRC's obsession renewed.
MRC officials Tim Graham and Brent Bozell kicked things off in January by invoking a conservative measure of politics:
The American Conservative Union ratings system has been widely accepted as the voting compass from the perspective of the right. According to the ACU, a centrist would look like Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who has a lifetime ACU score of 44.8%. Reporters could call her a "liberal Republican," and they should, except that term simply doesn't exist. (Don't believe us? Check it out.)
Or take Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who is considered a "conservative Democrat," but that animal doesn't exist in the Senate. His lifetime ACU rating is 26.7%, putting him in lockstep with the left almost three-quarters of the time.
Where this all gets ridiculous is the presidential field.
With extreme socialists like Sen. Bernie Sanders in the race, anyone who isn't endorsing a socialist position — like redistributing wealth, abolishing private health insurance and shredding the fossil fuel industry — is categorized as a centrist. Defending the leftist lurch that was Obamacare is now the centrist position in this daffy media dictionary.
The problem here is that the ACU rating is not an objective one -- as even Graham and Bozell admit, it vews things "from the perspective of the right." But however inaccrate and skewed, the MRC now had a narrative to peddle.
Clay Waters complained that the New York Times described Pete Buttigieg as a "moderate." Two days later, Scott Whitlock grumbled that "During the 2020 Democratic primaries, CBS This Morning journalists have repeatedly spun several of the candidates as 'moderates,'" to which he retorted by referencing the ACU sores, though he never explained how they are a reliable indicator of anything. He added as purported evidence of Amy Klobuchar's lack of moderation: "Klobuchar is radically pro abortion, promising to 'reverse Trump abortion policies in the first 100 days.' She supports extensive gun control restrictions and is 'open' to expanding and packing the 'Supreme Court.'" (No explanation of why Whitlock put "Supreme Court" in scare quotes.) Whitlock also used his headline to call CBS "deluded."
Kyle Drennen groused that one interviewer called Buttigieg a "moderate Democrat" but failed to "grill Buttigieg on some of his own radical views on abortion or packing the Supreme Court," adding without evidence: "Bernie Sanders is so extreme that the media are working to paint the rest of the left-wing Democratic field as 'moderate' by comparison."
Graham and Bozell returned to declare that "the Democratic field toes an extreme line": and that "lazy journalists often stick to this false 'moderate' terminology on the campaign trail. This again ignores the fact that they're seeing things from right-wing viewpoint that's not reflective of objective reality.
Geoffrey Dickens declared in a headline, "Don’t Believe the Media Spin: Buttigieg and Klobuchar Are No ‘Moderates’," adding; "During their coverage of the New Hampshire Democratic primary contest, cable and network journalists INCESSANTLY hyped Klobuchar and Buttigieg as 'moderates,' but a cursory look at their public stances reveal that either one of them would be the most liberal Democratic candidate ever nominated to be President." Like the rest of his MRC compadres, Dickens won't admit that this "cursory look" is too biased to be taken seriously.
Waters returned as well: "In its quest to find moderates or even 'centrists'among the Democratic field of presidential candidates to pit against the avowed leftists, The New York Times must ignore several of the candidates’ actual voting records and public policy stands."
Under the sneering headline "They Think You Are Dumb," Whitlock huffed: "The journalists at CBS This Morning on Monday waved goodbye to Pete Buttigieg’s 2020 campaign with one last disingenuous claim that the liberal Democrat is a 'moderate.' This weekend, all three networks cheered mysterious “moderate” alternatives to Bernie Sanders. Apparently, all you have to do to be a centrist is simply not take a vacation to the Soviet Union like Bernie Sanders."
Of course, Whitlock and the rest of the MRC think you're dumb if you believe their definition of "moderate" is not skewed by their right-wing worldview and agenda.
CNS Praises Right-Wing Authoritarians In Russia For Hating Gays Topic: CNSNews.com
For the past week or so, CNSNews.com has been bashing Bernie Sanders for noting that communist regimes in Cuba and China for having done positive things like encouraging literacy or reducing poverty (while burying the fact that Sanders did criticize the authoritarian nature of those regimes). But CNS loves right-wing authoritarian regimes that share the same views it does, especially on the subject of homosexuality. For instance, we caught CNS last year touting right-wing Brazilian leader Jair Bolsonaro's hatred of gay people.
That happened again in a Feb. 18 article, with managing editor Michael W. Chapman, CNS' chief gay-basher, doing the honors:
During a meeting about amending the Russian Constitution last week, President Vladimir Putin said, "as long as I'm president" there will be no "gay marriage" in Russia. "there will be dad and mum," he added.
Putin made his remarks on Feb. 13 during the meeting in the Kremlin, in Moscow. Putin made clear, according to Reuters, that there would not be a "parent number 1" and "parent number 2" on birth certificates or related official documents.
"As far as 'parent number 1' and 'parent number 2' goes, I've already spoken publicly about this and I'll repeat it again," he said, "as long as I am president this will not happen."
"There will be dad and mum," said the Russian president.
Unsurprisingly, Chapman made no mention of Putin's authoritarian tendencies -- which include a communist-style command economy, cronyism, increasing state control over media and the crushing of political opposition -- or the fact that Putin-directed agents meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Instead, Chapman went on to cheer how "So-called gay marriage ... is not allowed" in Russia and that "In 2013, Russia enacted a law that prohibits the promotion of homosexual propaganda to minor youth and children, through print, radio, television and the Internet."
Chapman didn't explain why he's allowed to praise aspects of otherwise unsavory regimes and Sanders isn't.
AIM Lamely Defends Limbaugh After Receiving Presidential Medal Topic: Accuracy in Media
It appears that both Brian McNicoll and Carrie Sheffield have departed Accuracy in Media, which at this point leaves just Spencer Irvine to crank out the bulk of AIM's content, and his main qualification for the job is that he's the son of publisher Don Irvine and grandson of AIM founder Reed Irvine.
So we get lame pieces like Spencer's Feb. 6 item attempting to bash ABC for its coverage of Rush Limbaugh's receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Trump. Irvine complained that ABC "exclusively focused on Limbaugh’s critics" and "failed to find and quote a single source in defense of Limbaugh’s past comments and political views."Of course, given that Irvine himself failed to offer a defense of Limbaugh, it may very well be that there is no good defense of him. Irvine further complained:
The news outlet cited multiple critics on social media without sourcing these critics or their arguments, which alleged that “Limbaugh has made numerous derogatory comments about minority groups as well as offensive comments about AIDS and the LGBTQ community, suicide and many other sensitive topics and marginalized communities.”
It also listed multiple reasons to discredit Limbaugh and his award, such as Limbaugh’s comments that abortion activist Sandra Fluke was a “slut” for her abortion views. ABC News acknowledged Limbaugh apologized for insulting Fluke.
ABC News’s article highlighting Limbaugh’s critics lacked fair treatment and neutrality and neglected to present the opinions and views of his radio show listeners.
Irvine didn't mention the fact that Limbaugh's so-called apology to Fluke was half-hearted at best, apologizing only for "word choices" and defending himself by insisting that he was merely "illustrat[ing] the absurd with absurdity."
The next day, Irvine bashed NowThis News, AIM's odd new target, for doing much the same thing, grumbling that "NowThis News said Limbaugh is 'a right-wing radio host known for having sexist and racist views'and said that Limbaugh is 'unapologetic for his racist and sexist views.' It listed several examples, such as calling abortion advocate Sandra Fluke a 'slut.' The website failed to tell its readers that Limbaugh has since apologized for insulting Fluke. Again, He complained that NowThis "did not offer any other defense or counter-argument to its claims that Limbaugh was a racist and a sexist" but, again, Irvine failed to offer one himself.
Irvine concluded by huffing: "Journalists should back up their claims with evidence or quotes from both sides of the political aisle or issue, but in this case, NowThis News failed to offer a fair defense of Limbaugh’s words or his legacy. Instead, its audience read a biased article that portrayed Limbaugh in a negative light." Irvine seems to have forgotten he works for AIM, which has a legacy of unfair, biased, and outright false attacks against those it deemed its political enemies, particularly Barack Obama and the LGBT community.
MRC Is Sad Fringe-Right Blog's Conspiracy Theory Got 'Censored' Topic: Media Research Center
For some reason, the Media Research Center really hates it when right-wing websites get caught pushing fake news and conspiracy theories. Alexander Hall complained in a Feb. 18 post:
The origin of the coronavirus is still being debated, but Twitter has responded to one skeptic outlet by censoring it.
The ZeroHedge founder reportedly, under the pseudonym Tyler Durden, asked “Is This The Man Behind The Global Coronavirus Pandemic?” and theorized about the coronavirus’ true origins. ZeroHedge was then suspended from Twitter. Forbes claimed that a spokesperson from Twitter indicated that “ZeroHedge was removed for violating its platform manipulation policy, which the social media giant describes as ‘using Twitter to engage in bulk, aggressive or deceptive activity that misleads others and/or disrupts their experience.’” However, The Daily Mail cited a resurfaced research paper from the South China University of Technology, which appears may lend some credence to ZeroHedge’s initial reporting.
ZeroHedge founder "Durden" said that he was suspended from Twitter after Buzzfeed claimed that his blog had doxed a Chinese scientist whom Durden argues was a “public figure.”
Note that Hall doesn't portray ZeroHedge as pushing bogus conspiracy theories -- it's just a "skeptic outlet."
Perhaps that's because Hall really wants to believe ZeroHedge's conspiracy theory. After acknowledging that credible outlets like the Washington Post and New York Times point out that ZeroHedge's conspiracy theory is "debunked" and "fringe," Hall went all in:
Durden purportedly showed a “help wanted” notice from the lab itself, which, translated from Chinese using Google translate, called for new hires who will use “bats to research the molecular mechanism that allows Ebola and SARS-associated coronaviruses to lie dormant for a long time without causing diseases."
In addition, sources such as The Daily Mail have cited a research paper: "The possible origins of 2019-nCoV coronavirus," by scholars Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao. The research paper appears to have been scrubbed from ResearchGate, but MRC TechWatch was able to view using the Wayback Machine to see ResearchGate’s cached information.
The paper’s abstract observed that “The 2019-nCoV has caused an epidemic of 28,060 laboratory-confirmed infections in human including 564 deaths,” and how “the genome sequences from patients were almost identical to the Bat CoV ZC45 coronavirus.”
In other words, these “scholars” from South China University of Technology suggest that “the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan.”
In fact, the research paper being cited has not been peer reviewed and offers no evidence of a direct connection between the laboratory and coronavirus, beyond a map noting the distance between the laboratory and the Wuhan seafood market linked to the spread of cornonaviarus, nor does it offer any proof that the coronavirus originated at the laboratory.
Meanwhile, Hall himself is censoring certain inconvenient facts -- namely, the dubious track record of both websites he cites. ZeroHedge is a pro-Trump blog that has long pushed fake news and conspiracy theories, and Hall remains weirdly unbothered by the pseudonymous "Tyler Durden" despite the fact that his employer has long (and hypocritically) railed against anonymous sources in the media. The Daily Mail, meanwhile, is so unreliable that even Microsoft and Wikipedia warn against trusting it.
This isn't the first time the MRC has defended ZeroHedge after it got caught pushing fake news. In November, Corinne Weaver complained that Twitter "censored" an acount that had repeated a false story from ZeroHedge claiming that Ukrainian officials had drawn up an indictment against Hunter Biden. She complained that an NBC report "suggested the blog that ZeroHedge “first disseminated” on the allegation was 'misconstrued,' it did not cast doubt on the original Interfax-Ukrainian piece." In fact, as the NBC report pointed out, the Interfax-Ukraine report did not mention an indictment.