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Friday, April 10, 2020
MRC Reprints An Old Obama Conspiracy Theory
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham likes to pretend that he is above right-wing conspiracy theories, despite the fact that his employer has allowed them to perpetuate, as we've pointed out. There's an even more recent example of that.

On March 19, the MRC's NewsBusters -- of which Graham is executive editor -- published a column by R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. in which he complains about a "dreadful" book titled "The Ones We've Been Waiting For," which he points out "takes its dreadful title from a dreadful speech given back in 2008 by presidential candidate Barack Obama."After a stretch of labored writing in which he treated a rhetorical point Obama had made as literal ("One cannot wait for the arrival of one's self. It is an impossibility"), Tyrrell wrote this:

Which brings me to the literary reputation of the former president. You will recall that when he arrived in the White House, people began murmuring about the precise authorship of his masterpieces, "Dreams From My Father," and "The Audacity of Hope." They said he did not write them. Rumors spread that he could not write. Now word has it that his memoirs have not turned up at his publisher's office. He is not months behind. He is years behind schedule. How can this be? Is it possible that he is not what the literary elites told us? He is not the author of the greatest presidential memoir ever, just the line, "We are the ones we have been waiting for"? If this is so, it is clearly another black mark for the elites.

Yes, Tyrrell is  trying to revive the old, never-proven conspiracy theory -- promoted most prominently by WorldNetDaily columnist Jack Cashill -- that Obama didn't write his books.Note that  Tyrrell cites no evidence to back up his claim, just "murmuring" from "people," which would seem to go against the MRC's (hypocritical) attacks on anonymous sources.He offers no proof at all for his claim that Obama's presidential memoir is "years behind."

Yet the MRC -- and, thus, Graham, who is ostenibly in charge of the publication where this was published -- is privileging Tyrrell's anonymous and possibly made-up claims.

This is how conspiracy theories perpetuate themselves: forming in the darkest reaches of the internet, then occasionally bubbling up to the mainstream where they are passed along uncritically. No wonder Graham was so incensed at Brian Stelter's doucmentary on such conspiracy theories.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:20 PM EDT
CNS Unemployment Coverage Distortion Watch, Coronavirus Edition
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've documented how CNSNews.com has been gushing over every monthly employment report under the Trump administration (as long as it was good). With the unemployment spike driven by the coronavirus, how was CNS going to play that in a Trump-friendly way?

First, it tried to make sure he wasn't to blame. AFter the first surge of 3.3 million new umemployment claims, Melanie Arter served up a shrug emoji of an article headlined "Trump on 3.3 Million Unemployment Claims: ‘It’s Nobody’s Fault’."

CNS then spent the following few days before the monthly employment numbers preparing readers for the worst (and, of course, shielding Trump from blame). An April 1 column by Allison Schrager of the right-wing Manhattan Institute claimed this was all goibng as planned, as summarized in the headline "High Unemployment Numbers Show the CARES Act Is Doing Its Job." That was followed by an article by Susan Jones noting that as bad as the March numbers will be when they come out, they only reflect the pay period that includes the 12th of the month, which was "was one day before President Trump declared a national coronavirus emergency; and three days before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that Americans avoid gatherings of 50 or more people, thus accelerating the economic squeeze." There was also a gloomy article by Michael W. Chapman with poll finding on how many people have seen their hours cut.

When the numbers did come out, Jones reverted to her old Obama-era obsession with the labor force participation rate -- not surprising, perhaps, since it "increased by 1,763,000 to a record 96,845,000 in March." She still worked in some pro-Trump rah-rah, stating that "After breaking 25 records under President Donald Trump--most recently in December 2019--the number of employed Americans dropped sharply in March, to 155,772,000."

The usual sidebars similarly stuck a little pro-Trump rah-rah in as well. Craig Bannister's article on Hispanic employment copy-and-pasted Jones' reference to the  "25 records under President Donald Trump," while Chapman's item on black unemployment (the first time in months that statistic has been referenced) spun hard by claiming that "the 6.7% unemployment rate for African Americans is still historically low ... In other words, the Black unemployment rate in America was higher than 6.8% for 46 years. Only editor in chief Terry Jeffrey's item on health care employment didn't mention or allude to Trump.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:03 AM EDT
Thursday, April 9, 2020
Newsmax TV White House Reporter Pushes Coronavirus Conspiracy Theory
Topic: Newsmax

In February, Newsmax TV hired Emerald Robinson as its White House correspondent. Her resume is scant, with her most recent job being White House correspondent for the even-farther-right-and-even-more-pro-Trump One America News Network. That OAN experience is showing, for Robinson has embraced a far-right coronavirus conspiracy theory.

In a series of tweets on April 6, Robinson ranted that Bill Gates "basically controls global health policy' and that his "plan" is "Using vaccines to track people" using a "quantum dot-tattoo." The goal, Robinson insists, is to "leverage immunization as an opportunity to establish digital identity worldwide," declaring: "He just bought off relevant orgs & did it. It’s not just incompatible with democracy. It’s the end of it."

This claim comes from right-wing fever swamps, which extrapolated Gates' claim to want to create trackable data for who has received a possible future coronavirus vaccine as a means to control its spread into a full-blown sinister conspiracy.

Robinson, meanwhile, can't handle criticism of her conspiracy theory. In a response to a commenter who rightly criticized her, Robinson huffed: "Why was Jeffery Epstein donating Gates's cash to MIT anonymously?" In another response to a different critic -- in this case, Atlantic writer Conor Friersdorg -- Robinson sneered: "You've never written a single thing of the slightest interest. You're unable to get 12 people to like any of your posts on Twitter and you write for the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. So, who cares what you think?"

Hiring a conspiracy-mongering reporter from an outlet known for both pro-Trump sycophancy and conspirach-mongering is not a good look for Newsmax if it's seeking to build credibility for its TV operation -- which, by the way, just got rid of Wayne Allyn Root for his shady coronavirus shenanigans.

Screenshots of Robinson's tweets are below.







Posted by Terry K. at 6:34 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, April 9, 2020 6:40 PM EDT
MRC Won't Tell Readers Why 'Censored' Federalist Coronavirus Article Is Dangerous
Topic: Media Research Center

In a March 26 post, the Media Research Center's Corinne Weaver attacked Twitter for "censor[ing]" right-wing opinion site the Federalist for a coronavirus-related article it published that violated Twitter's rules against promoting potentially harmful misinformation, shutting down its account until a tweet promoting the article was deleted.

Weaver first played whataboutism: "That's not how Twitter treated state-sponsored disinformation from China. The platform also ignored tweets that potentially violated its rules, if they came from liberal outlets." Then it was on to obscuring the facts about why the Federalist article was so dangerous:

The piece from The Federalist was introduced on Twitter with the caption “time to think outside the box.” It did not disagree with the current method of avoiding the virus but offered a third potential strategy: “controlled voluntary infection” (CVI).

Perednia wrote, “CVI involves allowing people at low risk for severe complications to deliberately contract COVID-19 in a socially and medically responsible way so they become immune to the disease. People who are immune cannot pass on the disease to others.”

Weaver described Perednia as a "dermatologist," which is deceitful in two ways: the Federalist actually described him as a physician in Portland, Oregon"; while he has worked as a dermatologist, he is not currently licensed to practice in Oregon.

Strangely (or not), Weaver refused to tell her readers exactly why Perednia's advice is considered dangerous: because coronavirus kills people, it's impossible to know how it can affect people, and it's not even known at this point whether catching coronavirus confers immunity, which would make the whole "coronavirus party" thing moot. (One such party did not go well.)

Weaver also failed to tell her readers the reason Perednia advocated his approach: to get the economy going and "save the day for millions of Americans, jobs, and future generations who will bear much of the cost of this disease."

Weaver clearly does not disagree with this approach. The MRC has previously given tacit support to the idea of letting people die of coronavirus in order to save the economy (and, thus, boosting President Trump's re-election chances).


Posted by Terry K. at 2:12 PM EDT
Hypocrisy: CNS Attacks Pelosi For Holding Up Coronavirus Relief Bill -- Then Criticizes Bill After It Passed
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com has long had a schizophrenic approach to federal deficits: attacking them and blaming President Obama by name for them during his presidency, but criticizing them much more gently under President Trump while not calling him out by name and seeking to hangh part of the blame on Nancy Pelosi even though she controls only one-half of one branch of government. This approach was made even more stark when it came to the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill.

CNS said little about the bill's contents before byond complaining that the Kennedy Center would receive $25 million under it. It devoted much more energy to accusing Democrats in general and Pelosi in particular of standing in the way of the bill's passage with a couple articles quoting Republican politicians attacking her.

When the bill did finally afvance to the Senate, Susan Jones unsurprisingly gave Mitch McConnell the credit.

It was only after the bill passed the Senate and was assured of passage in the House and, thus, Trump's signature that CNS raised questions about its provisions. An anonymously written article complained that public broadcasting would receive $%75 million for coronavirus mitigation -- as we noted, that's a fraction of 1 percent of the total stimulus cost, and it launched a cynical attempt by CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, to try and get public broadcasting completely defunded, as if there wasn't a pandemic going on. Managing editor Michael W. Chapman contributed an article on "self-described democratic socialist" (and frequent target) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticizing the bill as a corporate bailout that gives little to working Americans; Chapman did concede that the bill "has a fair amount of federal pork barrel spending thrown in."

And in stark contrast to its treatment of Pelosi, when Republican Rep. Thomas Massie tried to delay passage of the bill in the House by forcing an on-the-record vote, blowing up an earlier agreement for a simple voice vote -- something even Trump attacked him for -- CNS lionized him in a March 27 article by Melanie Arter letting him rant conspiratorially about a cover-up:

“They’re trying to cover-up their votes. They had enough people there to pass the bill, but they still refused to have a recorded vote, and they told me they were trying to protect members,” he said.

“They’re trying to protect the members who are there from political ramifications,” the congressman said.

Massie intended to call for a recorded vote, which requires at least half of all sitting House members to participate, despite warnings against doing so by both Republican and Democratic leaders and the White House.

“Like I said in there, I came here this week to make sure our republic doesn’t die in an empty chamber by unanimous consent. These people need to do their jobs. If they’re telling people to drive a truck, if they’re telling people to bag groceries and grow their food, then by golly, they can be in there, and they can vote, and that’s what we did this week,” Massie said.

Arter did note Trump's criticism of Massie, but not until after she gave Massie a soapbox.

CNS later cited a Republican senator criticizing "spending porn" in the relief bill and rolled out its buddy Mark Levin to whine about "real stupidity" in the bill and complain that "fiscal conservatism is dead" -- but also touted Franklin Graham attacking Pelosi for delaying the bill's passage, and Jones bashed her for talking about another relief bill "even before the full $2.2 trillion in bipartisan relief funding is out the door."

CNS' attitude was seemingly encapsulated in a March 31 blog post by Craig Bannister noting a Rasmussen poll finding that "while U.S. likely voters overwhelmingly support the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package passed by Congress, they also suspect it’s packed with costly, irrelevant pork-barrel items." It's willing to overlook the pork to hand Trump a political victory, then criticize it when it has no relevant impact.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:14 AM EDT
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
NEW ARTICLE: The MRC Needs To Calm Down
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center feels it needs to attack Taylor Swift for committing the offense of being an entertainer who expresses opinions that differ from those of the MRC. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 10:10 PM EDT
WND's Kupelian Promotes 'Real News,' Forgets We Know Its History
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily continues to be on life support -- an apparent de facto division of the Floyd Brown-operated fake-news outlet the Western Journal -- and Joseph Farah remains out of commission. Meanwhile, managing editor David Kupelian continues to send out email letters to WND's mailing llist that thinks we've forgotten about WND's journalistic non-legacy.

In a March 11 letter, Kupelian serves up a WND-standard anti-media rant:

When radical left media bullies talk about "Freedom of the Press," they're not talking about the vision of the Founding Fathers who understood the crucial, life-and-death role a free and independent press plays in keeping our democratic republic healthy and strong.

[...]

I had the honor of spending a year working closely with the highest-ranking Soviet bloc intel official ever to defect to the West during the entire Cold War, former communist spymaster Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, on his groundbreaking book, "Disinformation."

That's why I know disinformation when I see it — and that is precisely what so much of today's "news" amounts to.

This disinformation is designed to brainwash the American people with regard to what is going on in our country, scare people with "crisis stories" or fake "bombshell reports" attacking our president, and leave people with the mistaken belief that there is nothing they can do to fight back.

Funny, we figured Kupelian knew disinformation when he saw it because he published so much of it at WND -- which is what the website's obsession with Obama birtherism and Seth Rich conspiracy theories were. And we remember when WND falsely smeared a Tennessee car dealer as a drug dealer -- despite years of denial, WND was forced to quietly settle the man's defamation case against it before it went to trial. (How much did WND have to pay the man, David? Why are you keeping that secret after all these years?)

WND did not care about the truth before, and there's no reason to beleive Kupelian now when he claims that WND cares about "real news stories about important issues free of bias and selective reporting" and "isn't politically motivated." Honestly -- has WND ever been like that? Not in our 20 years of monitoring it.

On March 29, Kupelian sent out another letter, this time rehasing most of the typical right-wing talking points about the coronavirus pandemic, including the obsession with chloroquine, claimingn without evidence that "many physicians in America who are currently treating COVID-19 patients are taking the drug themselves right now, prophylactically." That led to more bogus posturing:

We are living in an exceedingly dangerous time – and I don’t mean just from a dangerous and highly contagious virus. I also mean from the dangerous virus of leftism that has infected both the Democratic Party and the elite news media. It’s very contagious.

But we’ve got the cure!

The cure for lies is truth. The cure for confusion, obfuscation and doubletalk is truth. The cure for hysteria, demonization and exploitation of crises “to restructure things to fit our vision” is truth.

WND has been publishing real news nonstop for almost 23 years, since long before Google, Facebook, social media – or for that matter, most of the rest of the online news media – even existed. We are experienced, professional journalists dedicated to our craft. But we are also Christians who above all honor God, America, the U.S. Constitution, liberty, and our nation’s Judeo-Christian culture, which of course is the glue that holds everything good about America together. That is our anchor, the rock we stand on, and we will be here for the duration, like a lighthouse, to help illuminate the way forward for good Americans to navigate through these troubled and turbulent times.

If Kupelian wants us to believe  he publishes "real news" by "experienced, professional journalists," he should start apologizing for and retracting all the fake news WND has published through the years. 

Both letters end with a plea for donations. Again, not until it repents for its decades of reprehensible behavior.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:40 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, April 8, 2020 2:28 AM EDT
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Following Orders, MRC Slavishly Pushed Trump's 'Chinese Virus' Narrative
Topic: Media Research Center

Like its "news" division CNSNews.com, the Media Research Center proper latched on to President Trump's insistence (for about a week) on labeling the coronavirus the "Chinese virus." And like a local Trump apparatchik, the MRC declared Trump to be perfect in his assessment and attacked or mocking anyone who dared questioned dear leader -- and issued blanket denials that anyone was inspired to commit violence against Asian Americans because of it.

  • And faster than you can say “identity politics,” CNN abruptly began to toe the Chinese Communist party line. One CNNer after another began saying that, yes indeed, the phrase “Wuhan Virus” or “Chinese Virus” is….racist.- - Jeffrey Lord, March 14
  • [Mark Levin and Michael Pillsbury] discussed how China is intimidating American media outlets, using their loathing of President Trump to now insist that talk of a "Wuhan virus" or a "Chinese virus" is racist. American media outlets want access to China, but China won't allow critical reporters to enter China, or stay if they grow critical. -- Tim Graham, March 16
  • We've all witnessed the shocking scenes of racists attacking Asian-Americans, accusing them of responsibility for the coronavirus! Oh, wait: we've seen no such thing. But that didn't stop MSNBC political analyst Karine Jean-Pierre of MoveOn.org from spouting off late Monday afternoon that talking about the coronavirus as "Chinese virus" (as President Trump has) was not only racist, but places Asian-American "lives at risk" for having spoken as such. The horror! -- Mark Finkelstein, March 17
  • Trump’s insistence on calling the coronavirus a “Chinese virus” -- which again, it is -- triggered vast swaths of the lefty community, particularly in Hollywood. Remember, saying “Chinese virus” might rub Chinese folks the wrong way. It’s not politically correct and that’s what matters in a global emergency. -- Gabriel Hays, March 18
  • During Wednesday’s coronavirus press conference at the White House, ABC’s Cecilia Vega and PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor worked together to claim that President Trump’s use of the term “Chinese virus” was “racist” and “puts Asian Americans at risk.” -- Kyle Drennen, March 18
  • [Stephen Colbert] was again torching the President’s coronavirus response and press briefings, particularly blasting Trump for his use of the phrase “Chinese virus.” Colbert called Trump stating the obvious a “very racist term.” -- Gabriel Hays, March 18
  • Communist China knew about the coronavirus for months and wasted critical time trying to silence those who tried to warn the world. But broadcast networks ABC and NBC seemed intent to help the Chinese propaganda machine cover up those facts on Wednesday as they insisted President Trump was being “racist” by calling it the “Chinese Virus.” ABC senior White House correspondent Cecilia Vega even insinuated Trump was trying to unfairly shift blame onto the communists. -- Nicholas Fondacaro, March 18
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci and the rest of the coronavirus task force were busy dealing with the crisis and it wasn’t their job. They’re not the ones that need to tackle the geopolitical jockeying or play the international game of chess between the U.S. and China right now. That’s the President’s job. Calling it out as the “Chinese Virus” or “Wuhan Virus” cut through the propaganda campaign. -- Nicholas Fondaaro, March 18
  • On Thursday, the NBC and CBS morning shows kept pushing the narrative that President Trump’s use of the phrase “Chinese virus” was “racist” and endangering people. NBC even attempted to claim that China “helped” the rest of the world by “delaying” the spread of coronavirus. ... The reporter never bothered to mention the President’s explanation for using the term was about holding China’s authoritarian government accountable for its dishonesty about the initial spread of the virus – not a racial statement.-- Kyle Drennen, March 19
  • Thursday’s New York Times again showed the paper’s warped priorities during the global health emergency: “Trump Calls It the ‘Chinese Virus.' Critics Say That’s Racist and Provocative.” (Normal people would say it's factually accurate.)  -- Clay Waters, March 19
  • On Wednesday's Deadline: White House on MSNBC, fill-in host John Heilemann joined in on the pettiness of some journalists claiming that it is "racist" for President Donald Trump to accurately acknowledge that the coronavirus infections first appeared in China by calling it the "Chinese virus." -- Brad Wilmouth, March 19
  • The three instances of Chinese propaganda shown by Telemundo within an 18-hour period are, to wit: That addressing the pandemic by its geographical origin is now racist. ... Telemundo seems intent on mirroring the rest of the liberal media’s “Blame America” coverage of the Wuhan virus, and on asking its audience to accept Chinese propaganda at face value. -- Jorge Bonilla, March 19
  • While Americans are suffering as people lose their jobs due to the economic impact of the coronavirus, ABC journalists continue showcasing how they care more about President Trump using politically correct terms than anything else. Just one day after ABC’s White House correspondent Cecilia Vega badgered “racist” Trump during a press conference, Nightlinehost JuJu Chang tied Trump's use of the term “Chinese virus” to an alleged “rise in outbreaks of racism” and violence against Asian-Americans. -- Kristine Marsh, March 20
  • The Avengers star lectured the president for referring to the coronavirus as the “Chinese Virus.” Though the pandemic has interrupted life around the globe in part because the Chinese failed to be honest about the outbreak, AND though it’s from CHINA, referring to it as “Chinese virus” is “xenophobic” and makes Trump supporters act “violently and “exclusionary.” ... Second: again, most of the reason that the virus is being referred to as the Chinese virus is because of expediency. The damn thing came from there and most normal folks will colloquially refer to it as so without flipping through the PC handbook to the lengthy chapter on “How to Politely Greet Foreign Viruses Who Knock On Your Door.” -- Gabriel Hays, March 20
  • On Joy Reid's MSNBC show today, Asian-American ex-Republican Kurt Bardella claimed that because President Trump uses the—accurate—term "Chinese virus": "People who look like me can't ride the subway without being attacked. They can't go to school without being attacked." ... But there is no evidence that this is widespread, or that many Asians are not riding the subway or going to school out of fear. Moreover, there is no evidence of any attacks being caused by Pres. Trump's use of "Chinese virus." Guess what? Without any help from Pres. Trump, most people know where the disease came from! -- Mark Finkelstein, March 22
  • After blaming regrettable (if anecdotal) confrontations with Asian-Americans on a factually accurate label (“Asian-Americans also say the “Chinese virus” label has led to incidents of racial slurs and physical attacks.”), the story ended with a quote from (naturally) an Obama official, Ryan Hass.- - Clay Waters, March 23
  • TV journalists have yet to go a day without crying “racist” in the nearly two weeks since President Trump accurately stated that the current coronavirus outbreak originated in China. But although the President’s continued assertions that the virus is “Chinese” or “foreign” have so thoroughly upset the media, most of them are unable to explain what exactly has them so upset about it.-- Bill D'Agostino, March 24
  • Hollywood loves using the Coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to bash the Trump administration's priorities. But what about Hollywood’s priorities? Is it a good time to drag out a bunch of Asian and Asian American actors to continue a petty squabble about the President’s usage of the phrase “Chinese virus,” something he has even dropped in the past week? -- Gabriel Hays, March 25

And just as Hays was seemingly disappointed that Trump backed off on the "Chinese virus" narrative, so did the MRC after that. They're slavishly in lockstep with the president, after all, and they no longer had a narrative to push.

The MRC follows orders well, doesn't it?


Posted by Terry K. at 9:09 PM EDT
Jeffrey Turns His Bad Coronavirus Take Into CNS' Editorial Agenda
Topic: CNSNews.com

Remember when we caught CNSNews.com editor in chief Terry Jeffrey pushing the dumb take that churches (in Virginia, where CNS is based but wasn't disclosed in his article) are somehow having their religious freedom violated because some states are restricting church services in the name of stopping the spread of coronavirus? Well, Jeffrey has doubled down on it, making this bad take a key part of CNS' editorial agenda, putting that frame on every story on the subject.

Jeffrey attacked Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam again in a March 30 article, complaining that his executive order "makes it a crime to have a gathering of more than 10 people for a 'religious event' or 'in-person classes and instruction' at an 'institution of higher education.'" Jeffrey dishonestly failed to mention that the goal of these bans are to slow the spread of coronavirus until the fifth paragraph of his article.

Managing editor Michael W. Chapman joined the agenda-pushing the next day in a article touting how "A Texas city north of Dallas quickly amended its 'Mandatory Stay-at-Home Order,' which 'prohibited' in-person religious gatherings, after receiving a letter from the First Liberty Institute detailing how the city order apparently violated CDC guidelines, state law, and the First Amendment Free Exercise Clause." Chapman waited until the 10th paragraph to mention COVID-19, even though it was the basis behind the order.

Jeffrey returned to huff, with bonus personal attack:

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) is threatening to “permanently” close the meeting places of religious organizations that persist in holding services while the city is shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A small number of religious communities, specific churches, specific synagogues are unfortunately not paying attention to this guidance [to close] even though it's been so widespread,” de Blasio said in a briefing on Friday.

[...]

De Blasio does not belong to any religious denomination. In a question-and-answer session on Reddit six years ago, he said: “Although my mother was raised a Catholic, she did not bring me up in the Church. I considered myself a spiritual person but unaffiliated, and I was definitely very influenced by the liberation theology movement in Latin America. And BOY am I a fan of Pope Francis!”

Jeffrey is suggesting without proof that De Blasio is motivated by disdain or hatred of religion rather than public health.

Chapman struck a similar misleading tone in an April 1 article:

Because of coronavirus restrictions, Italian authorities permit people to go to the grocery store, the pharmacy, the doctor, and to "essential" work. But if you go to a church to pray -- even with just a few people and widely separated -- you can be cited by the police and forced to disperse. Citations can be as high as 200 euros (about $220) and may involve court appearances, according to Crux, a Catholic news publication online.

Going to church to pray is not considered "essential."

Chapman didn't mention that the Catholic Church in Italy has canceled all Masses and religious services and that even Pope Francis is celebrating Mass daily without a congregation -- and, thus, that one is not required to be in a church to pray.

An April 3 article by Chapman noted how "Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) revised his March 19 executive order in response to the coronavirus to now include "religious services" as "essential services." Chapman included stock photos of vartious religious services, none of which appeared to be taking place in Texas.

CNS even threw in an article featuring President Trump claiming that "he’s disappointed that churches can’t hold services because of social distancing guidelines limiting the number of people allowed at large gatherings to stop the spread of COVID-19."

CNS certainly knows how to commit to an editorial agenda. Too bad it's such a biased and dishonest one.

UPDATE: We missed a couple of other attempts to advance this narrative. Jeffrey devoted his April 1 column to attacking "excessive government" and complaining that some politicians "have used the threat this virus poses to public health to threaten a fundamental liberty," specifically "the free exercise of religion." Jeffrey refused to concede that even the possiblity that public health is more important in this case than freedom of religion, huffing at one point, "While COVID-19 is a threat to human health, excessive government is a threat to human liberty."

That was joined by an article from Melanie Arter detailing pastors violating the law by holding religious services for large crowds.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:03 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, April 10, 2020 8:29 PM EDT
Monday, April 6, 2020
Pro-Trump Sycophancy, Christopher Ruddy Division
Topic: Newsmax

Throughout this national emergency President Donald Trump has repeatedly demonstrated that he’s the right person to lead the nation.

From the beginning we have seen Trump’s best attributes.

Some time ago, the Quinnipiac poll asked Americans about the president’s best attributes.

The public said he was a “strong person” (62%) and that he “is intelligent” (58%).

Both of those attributes of his have been on display during this crisis.

Trump has other arrows in his quiver: He’s calm and doesn’t panic, decisive, and follows the evidence, not the hype.

[...]

Trump has been chided for not taking the threat seriously.

But as his congressional opponents focused on a very flimsy impeachment inquiry, he was busy convening a coronavirus task force. And that was back in January.

[...]

Throughout the crisis, Trump has remained focused and level-headed.

He defers to the experts at his task force’s daily press briefings, and has kept the nation informed without being panicked.

-- Christopher Ruddy, March 31 Newsmax column


Posted by Terry K. at 9:22 PM EDT
MRC To PBS And NPR: Drop Dead (Of Coronavirus)
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has a pathological hatred of public broadcasting, most recently demonstrated when chief Brent Bozell demostrated he doesn't know how public radio works by cluelessly demanding that there be as many stations running his buddy Mark Levin's right-wing radio show as NPR stations (which all have their own format and schedule and don't necessarily run every NPR program).

And since the MRC isn't one to let a crisis go to waste, it's seizing upon a miniscule appropriation in the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill going toward public broadcasting as an excuse to resurrect its longstanding demand that President Trump defund public broadcasting. Bozell tweeted out what he thought the money could have Bought instead:


Never mind, of course, that those numbers of tests, masks and ventilators aren't even available, and that -- giving the price-gouging currently going on -- even if they were, they couldn't be bought at pre-pandemic prices.Never mind that the $75 million is only a tiny fraction of a $2 trillion bill -- 0.00375 percent, if our calculations are correct. Never mind that Bozell objected to no other specific provision in the bill, though you'd think there would be plenty of pork to object to in a bill that size. Bozell had his talking point, and the MRC flogged it.

The MRC's NewsBusters blog dutifully repeated Bozell's tweet, adding: "Lobbyists for the public broadcasters claim this money will go to "local news and information," "distributing emergency alerts," and "partnering with local and state educational authorities to provide remote learning services for millions of pre-K to 12th grade students." But they use the same talking points about their everyday funding." That's misleading; the bill itself -- as reported by MRC "news" division CNSNews.com -- states that the money will also go to "prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus." Which means at least some of that money will pay for mitigating coronavirus exposure among public broadcasting employees.

In other words: It appears Bozell and the MRC would rather see public broadcasting employees get sick and possible die from coronavirus than receive any federal money, simply because it purports to find "partisan information and misinformation," as viewed by "many conservative Americans."

This was followed by the usual letter from Bozell, this time to President Trump, complaining that the money ewas "wasteful," declaring that thte things in his tweet that nobody can actually buy now even if they had the money "are infinitely better uses of taxpayer money than giving it to left-wing outlets like NPR and PBS, both of which attack you and your administration continuously." Bozell, of course, didn't mention that the money would go in poart to coronavirus mitigation efforts -- that would've shown he cared about people's lives or anything greater than his political agenda. Instead, he ranted:

That is why your proposal to eliminate all federal funding for CPB is completely justified. There will undoubtedly be proposals for more stimulus packages going forward. When that happens, we encourage you to push back hard against funding for such entities as CPB. No amount of classical music, Ken Burns documentaries, or “Morning Editions” is worth one saved human life.

Bozell then laughably stated: " Now more than ever, Americans must pull together in a spirit of unity. " He didn't explain how exploiting a crisis to exploit his hateful agenda advanced that "spirit of unity."

The guy who used to write columns under Bozell's name but now has finally been given the keys to it, Tim Graham, channeled his boss and threw in as well with an April 1 column whining that the public broadcasting is "niche broadcasting by liberals for liberals" and attacking PBS journalist Yamiche Alcindor for asking President Trump tough questions during his coronavirus briefings.

Needless to say, Graham didn't menion that the money helps pay for coronavirus mitigation. So it appears Graham would want public broadcasting employees sick or dead than getting the same help much of the rest of the country is getting under the coronavirus relief bill.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:10 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, April 6, 2020 7:43 PM EDT
WND Promotes Doctor's Unverified Claims About Coronavirus Cure
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An anonymously written March 24 WorldNetDaily article stated:

A physician in New York state claims he has used the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine and zinc to treat 350 patients for COVID-19 with 100 percent success.

In a video posted on YouTube, Dr. Vladimir Zelenko said he saw the symptom of shortness of breath resolved within four to six hours, the Gateway Pundit blog reported.

Zelenko, addressing his message to President Trump, said he's a board-certified family practioner in the community of Kiryas Joel in Orange County, New York, in the Hudson Valley, about 50 miles north of New York City.

"I'm seeing a tremendous outbreak in this community," he said. "My estimate is more than 60% currently have the infection.

The article downplays the fact that hydroxychloroquine has not been federally approved to treat coronavirus. Further, as fact-checkers have detailed, Zelenko has offer no documentation of his claims about curing patients.

On top of that, Zelenko's claim that residents of the Kiryas Joel community is sufering a "tremendous outbreak" of coronavirus have been debunked by state health officials who called them "unsubstatiated and irresponsible," given that Zelenko was extrapolating from a small amount of tested patients.

Nevertheless, WND touted Zelenko the next day in an article by Art Moore, who gushed that the doctor was "a recent survivor of an extremely rare cancer with a "100% mortality rate" that took one of his lungs" and that he has now been able to "successfully treat at least 500 patients with the coronavirus" and that "he hasn't slept in the past four days." Kovacs does not offer any documentation of anything Zelenko has done.

That was followed by a March 30 WND column by dubious fringe-right AAPS doc Elizabeth Lee Vliet, who cited how Zelenko "has been successfully using the combination of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, zinc and vitamin C to treat almost 700 patients in the outpatient setting" -- again, no documentation given -- as an excuse to attack politicians who "have no background in infectious disease, medicine, research design, or epidemiology" and "presume to dictate to front-line physicians who are reading the emerging research and caring for patients."

Similarly, a March 31 WND column by Andy Schlafly touted how Zelenko "has treated 699 coronavirus patients with a treatment regimen using the same hydroxychloroquine tweeted by Trump. By giving this inexpensive medication early enough, Dr. Zelenko has successfully kept 695 of his patients out of the hospital, and none of them has died." He too was apparently not troubled by Zelenko's complete lack of documentation of his claims, but was apparently more concerned in using Zelenko as alleged proof that "Trump was right" to push hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment.

Promoting treatements are that clinically proven and 100% safe and effective is highly irresponsible -- but it's par for the course for WND, where a sensational story is more important than the facts.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:32 AM EDT
Sunday, April 5, 2020
MRC Has A Meltdown Over A Nonbinary Superhero
Topic: Media Research Center

We've noted that how nonbinary meltdowns have continued at the Media Research Center. Combine that with the MRC's long tradition of dissing superhero characters who commit the offense of not being heterosexual and right-wing, and you have Gabriel Hays' March 18 freakout over Marvel introducing a superhero who's nonbinary:

Marvel’s most recent comic book isn’t even about superheros this time around. It’s progressive propaganda with a crime-fighting veneer. That’s it.

Even with two years of Marvel discussing token gay characters, or its parent company Disney trying to weave in a subtle lesbian kiss here or there, we were still surprised to learn that the superhero company decided that a “non binary” character named “Snowflake” or “Safespace” would be a cool new edition to the universe inhabited by Captain America.

Nerd culture outlet Bounding Into Comics reported that Marvel repurposed an older Marvel crime fighting team, “The Warriors,” into the “New Warriors.” Creator Daniel Kibblesmith’s description of this reboot destroyed any illusion that these folks were tough heros.

Kibblesmith, who has also written comic books for beloved Marvel characters like Loki and Black Panther, lovingly described his project as a “story of teenage rebels. A lot of the [superhero] names are about teens fighting against labels that are put on them.” Rebelling against labels in 2020? This is going to be weird.

Of course, this means we are getting characters like “Snowflake” and “Safespace,” who are twins.

[...]

He then described “Snowflake” who in addition to being poorly named, is “nonbinary and goes by they/them.” The writer added, “Snowflake has the power to generate individual crystallized snowflake-shaped shurikens. The connotations of the word snowflake in our culture right now are something fragile. And this is a character who is turning it into something sharp.”

We’ve come a long way from Peter Parker’s teenage angst, haven’t we?

Hays further whined that "Today’s hero template can’t just include fighting skills and the desire to help the average citizen, it needs woke activism," finally sneering: "Kibblesmith added, 'I wanted to have teen characters who felt as ‘now’ as the New Warriors did in 1990. The New Warriors have been zeitgeist characters from the beginning.' Well, today it seems that 'now' feeling also comes with side effects of nausea and weeping for the culture."

No, Gabe, that's just your reflexive -- and all too predictable -- right-wing hate taking over.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:12 PM EDT
CNS Censors Nunes' Botched Coronavirus Comments
Topic: CNSNews.com

Republican Rep. Devin Nunes was in cleanup mode, but you'd never know it by reading Susan Jones' March 17 article about him:

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) says there's no reason for Americans to be standing in long lines for food when there is no shortage of it in this country.

Nunes blamed the media for stoking panic that produces crowded grocery stores at a time when health experts are urging all of us to avoid crowds:

"These media freaks don't have a clue what's going on out in the real world," Nunes told Fox News's Sean Hannity Monday night.

We have a problem out here because we have people standing in line for 45 minutes at Costco. What I was saying is, you have empty restaurants. You can go through the drive-thru or do take-out. It's a great place to go.

The media freaks can do what they want. They are endangering lives here by continuing this panic when we have no food shortage in this country. The farmers of America produce an abundant food supply. We have more food than we can eat in this country. And We have to stop panicking and ensure that people know they don't have to wait in a line at Costco for 30, 45 minutes. They need to stay calm.

An actual news outlet, meanwhile, reported the context of Nunes' Fox News appearance:

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) on Sunday morning urged people to go to bars and restaurants, even while Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, was on other shows urging the opposite. Trump then on Monday echoed Fauci, saying the administration was urging people to “avoid discretionary travel and avoid eating and drinking at bars, restaurants and public food courts.”

That left Nunes with some cleanup work to do. So he took to the friendly confines of Sean Hannity’s Fox News show, where he tried to suggest he was talking about takeout — not actually eating at the restaurant.

“So what I was saying is you have empty restaurants, you can go through the drive-through, you can do takeout. It’s a great place to go,” Nunes said. “The media freaks can do what they want, but they’re endangering lives here by continuing this panic when we have no food shortage in this country.”

It’s a clarification that might have been nice in the 36 hours between his initial comments and his Hannity interview, but Nunes’s office didn’t respond to multiple requests from The Washington Post for further comment.

It’s also a clarification that doesn’t really hold water.

In his comments on Fox News on Sunday morning, Nunes had this to say: “If you’re healthy — you and your family — it’s a great time to go out and go to a local restaurant. Likely you can get in easy. … Go to your local pub.”

So Jones wouldn't tell you that Nunes was on Fox News in an attempt to clean up earlier remarks. Instead, she acted like a good right-wing apparatchik, seizing on Nunes' "media freaks" diversionary comment to claim that "Examples of media hysteria play out daily on television, especially on the liberal cable networks."

One example of "hysteria" she cited was New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo saying on CNN, "You take any numerical projections on any of the models and our health care system has no capacity to deal with it. We in New York have 3,000 ICU beds. In case you don't understand, intensive care unit beds. We already use 60. We need multiples of that."

Given that Cuomo's predictions have largely borne out, shouldn't Jones apologize to him for falsely accusing him of engaging in "hysteria"?


Posted by Terry K. at 3:10 PM EDT
Saturday, April 4, 2020
What LGBT Stuff Is The MRC Freaking Out About Now?
Topic: Media Research Center

As the world descended into a coronavirus pandemic, the Media Research Center made sure to stay on-message bycontinuing its rich tradition of freaking out over anything remotely non-hateful of the LGBT community.

Alexa Moutevelis was outraged that a reboot of "Walker: Texas Ranger" will give the title character a "gay, conservative younger brother," grumbling that the show undoubtedly "will have plenty of opportunity to explore his gay personal life for audiences to watch" and sneering, "No word yet on if there will be a trans or non-binary character, but you can be sure something like will be a nice little Easter egg in there, too.

The nonbinary meltdowns continued over the show Fox show "Deputy." Rebecca Downs got upset when one character was revealed to be nonbinary and was dedicated to "living one's truth," huffing that the show is spreading "lies about biology in the name of some social justice warrior crusade": "The biology is clear that there are two sexes. There's also no "living one's truth." One is either a man or a woman." A couple weeks later, Downs complained that the show "tried to insert the issue into the series plotline again" and that another character "acted like it's all normal."

Lindsey Kornick huffed that another Disney+ series has "given in to the gay community" and that it "dives headfirst into LGBT propaganda by turning one of its main characters gay." She declared: "The Disney of old used to be about entertaining the masses. Let’s hope it’s not too late to return to that." It's indicative of Kornick's (and the MRC's) anti-gay bigotry that she think the mere mention of gay people is not family-friendly.

Elise Ehrhard played whataboutism regarding another show:

Recently, a prominent married politician was found in a hotel room with a gay male escort. That politician was the Democratic star Andrew Gillum, who almost beat Ron DeSantis in Florida's 2018 gubernatorial race. But in the fevered mind of Hollywood writers, it can only be a hypocritical Christian conservative who has something to hide. 

The latest entry in "hypocritical Christian conservative" tropes appeared in Showtime's series Black Monday, in the episode "Mixie-Dixie," on March 15.

[...]

Democrats have provided numerous examples of shocking political sex scandals, from former President Bill Clinton to the recent example of Gillum. Yet for Hollywood writers, the only good sex scandal is one committed by a conservative, preferably a character who professes to be a devout Christian and believer in traditional values.

Kornick complained that the "Amazing Stories" reboot fell into a "propaganda trap by delivering a gay love story," further huffing: "Amazing Stories is supposed to be a show that inspires viewers with uplifting stories by upcoming filmmakers. Instead, it offers more opportunities for leftists to push their worldview on others. Only the most obsessive liberal would find that 'amazing.'" Says someone who's trying to push her right-wing worldview on others.

And Gabriel Hays felt the need to remind us how much he hates drag queens and is utterly gleeful that one of the "silver linings" of the pandemic is that drag shows have gotten shut down along with everything else:

You know, the coronavirus “social distancing” measures don’t have to be all bad. There are silver linings to some of this limbo, one being that the LGBTQ community has to slow down its offenses against our sensibilities.

Both the Hollywood gay lobby (GLAAD) and drag queens have reported hits to their respective lines of work. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation had to cancel its annual awards show because of coronavirus and famous drag queens are lamenting the lack of people coming to their shows because of quarantine.

Hey, at least kids all over the country can be safe from drag queen story hour for a month, and by the grace of God we have a reprieve from listening to another Taylor Swift lecture.

[...]

Yeah, well again, maybe a national break from drag queens is a good thing. All the viral videos of them sexualizing kids as young as nine-months-old are proof that maybe from certain perspectives, quarantine might be good.

Wait -- doesn't the MRC hate the idea of people finding "silver linings" from the coronavirus pandemic? More MRC hypocrisy.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:10 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, April 4, 2020 10:05 PM EDT

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