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Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Questioning Trump Makes Yamiche Alcindor An Enemy Of The MRC
Topic: Media Research Center

One of the reasons the Media Research Center relaunched its war against public broadcasting -- aside from not letting a crisis go to waste -- is because PBS NewsHour reporter Yamiche Alcindor has committed the offense of asking tough questions of President Trump during his daily coronavirus press briefings. The MRC specifically cited Alcindor's questions to Trump as a reason to defund PBS and NPR.

On March 18, the MRC's Kyle Drennen complained that Alcindor "worked together" with another reporter "to claim that President Trump’s use of the term 'Chinese virus' was 'racist' and 'puts Asian Americans at risk.' Alcindor even touted rumors of an unknown administration official using an offensive term to describe the disease." Drennen furtyher complained that Alcindor force a "biased line of questioning" to Trump.

Two days later, Curtis Houck sneered that Alcindor was a "taxpayer-funded reporter" and insisted that her question to Trump about the message he sends to other countries by lashing out at reporters was "another entry into the NewsBusters files and provided yet another audition tape to be deemed the female Jim Acosta." Houck lectured: "This may seem crazy to some, but it is entirely reasonable and possible to set aside whatever you want to believe about the President rhetorically smacking reporters and still think that there’s no profession that loves itself more than the liberal media. And, beyond that, one can also set aside the President and conclude that many journalists are incredibly thin-skinned when presented with criticism from outside their Statist bubbles in New York and Washington D.C."

(Houck is well known for his pathological loathing of all things Acosta.)

When Trump had a meltdown March 29 over a question from Alcindor, Houck was practically orgasmic (needless bolding in original):

The White House Coronavirus Task Force was back Sunday with a briefing and, after a lull, the fireworks also returned as President Trump tussled with multiple reporters, most notably another throwdown with PBS NewsHour White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor.

Alcindor asked about his comments to Sean Hannity about New York’s ventilator requests, but the President wasn’t having it. Instead, he told her to “be nice,” “don’t be threatening,” and reminded her that, despite how some in the liberal media behave, “we’re all on the same team” in hoping to defeat the virus.

She started to ask the first of two questions, but she didn’t get to finish before the President interjected, so here’s what she did get out: [Y]ou said repeatedly that you think some of the equipment that governors are requesting they don't actually need. You said New York might need --- might not need 30,000.”

Trump claimed that he never said that and when Alcindor brought up Hannity, the President grew upset and thus cross-talk ensued with Alcindor saying “Mr. President, my question is” on a loop while Trump implored her to be “a little more positive” and drop the “get you” attitude.

He added her attitude was “why nobody trusts the media anymore”:

[...]

Alcindor again brought up his comments on the Fox News Channel and the President responded by telling her to rewatch it because something was up [w]hen I hear facemasks go from 10,000 to 300,000 and they constantly need more and the biggest man in the business is, like, shocked.”

Houck is not going to tell you that Alcindor was correct that Trump said what he now denied saying. After all, it's an article of faith at the MRC that Trump never does anything wrong and his criticism of reporters who challenge him is honest and insightful and not mean and petty.

Houck also called her a "lefty" in his headline, but made no effort to prove that asking questions of Trump that he didn't want to answer equated to her being a "lefty."

The next day, Scott Whitlock chose to interpret a comment by Alcindor about solidarity among journalist as an expression of anti-Trump bias:

Basking in another contentious coronavirus White House press briefing, PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor on Sunday night told MSNBC’s Ali Velshi that covering Donald Trump is a “team sport” for the press and that journalists must “have each other’s back” in opposition to the President. Much of the interview was spent lamenting that Alcindor only initially got one question out at the briefing before a CNN journalist used his question to allow her to ask another.

Speaking of Jeremy Diamond, she described the team dynamic as journalists vs. Trump: “I have to say thank you to Jeremy of CNN for giving me the opportunity to ask my second question. We know now that covering President Trump sometimes is like a team sport. We have to have each other's back in the press corps and Jeremy had my back today.”

In a way, it’s refreshing for a reporter to admit that they see themselves as on the opposite team of Trump. 

That's not what she said, Scott, but you be you.

That same day, Drennen laughably described Alcindor's questioning of Trump as "hostile" and complained that other reporters were coming to her defense. He further deliberately misinterpreted Alcindor's words, insisting that she "proudly proclaimed that bashing Trump during White House briefingswas a 'team sport' among the press corps."

Drennen returned on April 10 to attack NBC's Seth Meyers for refusing to repeat the MRC's anti-media attacks while having Alcindor as a guest. he huffed that Meyers was "pushing the laughable fantasy thatnego-driven journalists never want to make the news about themselves" and "talked about how much he liked watching reporters gang up on the President during the pressers" (never mind that he didn't actually say that)," finally grousing: "Reporters know that they be as incendiary and irresponsible in the briefing room as they want because the rest of liberal media will always be there to defend them and cheer them on."

Drennen and the rest of the MRC hate journalists like Alcindor so much -- and they are so dedicatd to their anti-media agenda -- that they must manufacture a caricature of her that conforms to their preconceived, agenda-driven notions of what a journalist is.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:22 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 28, 2020 11:17 PM EDT
CNS Concedes One Of Its Favorite Authoritarians Is Making A Power Grab
Topic: CNSNews.com

Hungarian leader Viktor Orban is one of CNSNews.com's favorite right-wing authoritarians -- it has gushed over how he leads an ultra-nationalist "populist government" with a strong (some would call it xenophobic) anti-immigration policies. But now that Orbamn has exploited the coronavirus pandemic to further his authoritarian ambitions, is the romance souring? Perhaps. 

An April 1 CNS article by James Carstensen highlighted the European Union's displeasure with how "Hungary’s parliament on Monday approved in a 138-53 vote a measure allowing Prime Minister Viktor Orban to rule by decree until parliament rules otherwise." While Carstensen does include plenty of criticism of Orban in his article, he does try to give Orban a pass, citing one analyst stating that "the powers Orban has granted himself are not very different from other E.U. governments have done, but may be subject to increased attention due to his unfavorable opposition to immigration." He did admit, however, that the analyst added that "Orban does appear to be aiming to maximize a political advantage from the virus."

Carstensen was supportive of Orban as recently as October, when he portrayed EU budgetary actions as targeting Hungary and the "erosion of democracy" happening there and highlighted Orban's "dim view" of the EU actions.

Will CNS now publish an op-ed critical of Orban's power grab, the way it published an op-ed a couple years back touting Orban's authoritiarian "democracy based on Christian principles"? We shall see.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:14 AM EDT
Monday, April 13, 2020
MRC Pretends It Can Read Media Minds Again
Topic: Media Research Center

A key part of the Media Research Center method of "media research" is to go beyond the facts and pretend to the read the minds of media people to ascribe motive and convict them of thought crimes they can't possibly know. One prime example of this is a March 30 post by Kyle Drennen:

NBC Worries Pandemic ‘Threatens’ Biden’s Campaign ‘Momentum’

On Saturday, NBC’s Today show took time to share one of the top media concerns in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic – that the crisis has hampered likely Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s ability to campaign. Meanwhile, the network broadcast fretted that daily White House briefings about the virus had provided President Trump with a “substitute for campaign rallies.”

“The coronavirus pandemic has temporarily transformed nearly every aspect of American life, including the race for the White House,” correspondent Geoff Bennett told viewers. He then declared: “And with President Trump seizing the national spotlight day by day from the White House, the Democratic candidates have had to find new ways to connect with voters.”

Bennett lamented: “For President Trump, daily briefings are now his daily substitute for campaign rallies...The President, who initially downplayed the virus’s impact, boosting his re-election bid by blanketing the airwaves.”

The fawning segment highlighted how Biden “holds virtual press briefings” and even “appeared on a digital edition of Jimmy Kimmel.”

Drennen's claim that NBC "worries" or "fretted" about the pandemic's effect on Biden's campaign or the reporter "lamented" the situation is pure manufactured speculation on his part. He cannot possibly know the motivation of the people of the segment, so he assigns them based on the MRC's right-wing narrative that all journalists who aren't blatantly conservative are "liberal" and, thus, targets.

Similarly, Drennen's description of the segment as "fawning" is also entirely subjective. The MRC thinks any news segment lacking right-wing criticism of a non-conservative is "fawning." It would never describe a Fox News segment that praised Trump as "fawning."

This sort of fictional, agenda-driven labeling is why the MRC's "media research" is not to be taken as face value and should be treated as the political activism it is.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:01 PM EDT
WND Writer Pretends His Attempt At Evangelism Isn't 'A Message About Religion'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joe Kovacs is one of the very few remaining WorldNetDaily employees, so he's still down with the deceptive WND way. He began an April 5 article this way:

As the entire world battles the coronavirus pandemic, there is a much greater threat affecting every single person on this planet.

Its infection rate is 100%.

There is no length of social distancing or any face mask that can prevent you from catching it.

There's no need to be tested, because you've got it already.

Not only do you yourself have it, so do your parents, spouses, children, siblings, friends, enemies, colleagues and neighbors.

Sure sounds scary.  Except that it's a bait-and-switch, as he eventually concedes in the 10th paragraph: "The calamitous condition from which we all suffer is called mortality."

In other words, Kovacs is about to launch into a sermon. The funny thing is, he denies that he's doing so, insisting, "This is not a message about religion. This is a message about life and death." But it's clear this is very much about religion, since he references only one in his attempt at evangelization:

If we take even a cursory glance at the Bible, the source of truth irrespective of whether you believe it, we can see this amazing good news plastered everywhere.

"Jesus continued going around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the GOOD NEWS of the kingdom, and HEALING EVERY DISEASE AND EVERY SICKNESS." (Matthew 9:35 CSB)

Every physical healing by Jesus is simply an illustration of our ultimate healing, when our mortal, physical bodies of flesh and blood will be changed instantaneously into an immortal body, that will no longer be withering away.

As Paul famously said:

"Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor can corruption inherit incorruption. ... the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be CHANGED. For this corruptible body must be clothed with incorruptibility, and this MORTAL BODY must be clothed with IMMORTALITY. (1 Corinthians 15:50-53 CSB)

Yeah, nothing says "this is not a message about religion" than quotes from the Bible in all-caps and boldface.

At one point Kovacs writes, "God's commandments are just that, commands. They are not suggestions. We actually have to stop sinning -- which is the breaking of God's laws -- and repent, meaning to turn around and go in the opposite direction." But as we've noted, nobody at WND has ever repented of the false and dishonest -- and, thus, commandment-breaking -- reporting they have perpetrated over the years, despite being claiming to be such uber-Christians.

Kovacs concluded by writing:

I don't wish to minimize the seriousness of coronavirus. But the pandemic is just the latest attention-getter from God, showing that disobedience to His way of life results in death. Believers are indeed saved by God's grace, which is underserved, but we need to make every effort to get sin out of our personal lives.

A fraction of all human beings who ever existed will die from COVID-19.

But every single person who does not stop his or her personal rebellion against the Maker of all things and repent of his or her own sins will remain infected with something far worse than coronavirus: being dead forever.

Of course, Kovacs never thinks coronavirus was sent by God to test the self-proclaimed piety of uber-Christians like himself. If he was truly repentant, he wouldn't still be working for WND.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:03 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, April 13, 2020 1:40 AM EDT
Sunday, April 12, 2020
MRC Again Promotes Bogus Green New Deal Cost Figure
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Joseph Vazquez gushed in a March 18 post:

MSNBC just cannot seem to help itself.

All In host Chris Hayes sent out a flippant tweet in response to reports that the Trump administration will be asking Congress for “more than $800 billion in economic stimulus: $500 billion in payroll tax cut, $250 billion in Small Business Association loans, $58 billion for the airlines, and a smattering of other items."

Hayes tweeted, “BREAKING: We can, of course, afford a Green New Deal. That’s been true all along.” [Emphasis added.] He must have forgotten how much that monstrosity of an idea costs, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), was sure to remind him in a brutal tweet: “$800 billion is not equal to $93 trillion. Even on MSNBC.” [Emphasis added].

Ouch.

In fact, $800 billion is less than 9/1000th of what Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) gargantuan Green New Deal would potentially cost taxpayers.

As we documented the last time the MRC did this, the $93 trillion figure is basically fictional and forwarded in bad faith. The American Action Forum -- the organization that orginiated the figure -- is funded by fossil-fuel interests, who stand to lose under the Green New Deal and have a vested interest in denigrating it. And Politico pointed out that even AAF leader Douglas Holtz-Eakin admits the number is bogus because any precision in that great of a number is "illusory."

Ouch indeed -- watch out for that errant Cruz missile, Joe! Though Vazquez likely didn't feel the pain of promoting those bogus numbers since that's what he gets paid to do.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:04 PM EDT
Is This A CNS News Story? Or A Trump Press Release? Who Can Tell?
Topic: CNSNews.com

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham wrote in a March 13 post:

Is This a POLITICO Story? Or a Biden Press Release? Who Can Tell?

Take a look at this Politico story about Biden's coronavirus speech on Thursday -- but pretend you're reading it as a release on Biden for President letterhead. This is written by Adam Cancryn, a professional reporter for a respected, national media outlet. But it's not a story, it is a press release.

Suggestion: Get some Biden for President letterhead -- put this on it, make the reporter the contact with his email (acancryn@politico.com) ... and then post it, asking: Is this a Biden 2020 news release? Or a "news story" in a national media outlet? Can you tell the difference? We can't either....at least not until deep in the story, when Cancryn finally quotes the Trump campaign's response.

[...]

The Trump campaign response came in paragraphs 14 and 15. The other 16 paragraphs were Biden campaign music and lyrics.

Graham won't tell you this, but he's really complaining that Politico is reporting on Biden thte way the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, reports on President Trump.

We've documented how CNS' news coverage of Trump is largely uncritical, even when it's spreading falsehoods.That sycophancy has continued over the past couple months with positively fawning takes on Trump that really have no purpose but to serve as PR piees for the president's re-election campaign.

A Feb. 24 article by Susan Jones described Trump's visit to India in absurdly glowing terms, complete with a headline that simply cribs from his speech:

Trump Travels 8,000 Miles With a Message for India: America Loves You

Throngs of Indians lined the route of President Trump's motorcade on Monday, as the U.S. president made his way to the world's largest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad to reinforce the U.S. relationship with one of the world's most populous countries.

The crowd of 125,000 people -- revved up by the introductory song "Macho, Macho Man" by the Village People -- cheered wildly as Trump and first lady Melania Trump were escorted to the podium by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"The first lady and I have just traveled 8,000 miles around the world to deliver a message to every citizen across this nation. America loves India; America respects India; and America will always be faithful and loyal friends to the Indian people," Trump said.

Trump thanked the many people who turned out to welcome him, "in a stunning display of Indian culture and kindness."

That was joined by an article the next day, in which managing editor Michael W. Chapman gushed: "While speaking to an estimated 110,000 people at the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad, India on Monday, President Donald Trump stressed that 'our nations have many differences' but 'every person has a sacred soul' and 'we are all born' to aim high and 'give all glory to God.'" As if Trump actually thinks that or wrote those words.

As questions grew about Trump's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, CNS was quick to tout polls showing that Americans (barely) approve of his work and not that of his critics, like the media:

CNS reinforced this narrative with a column headlined "Why Does President Trump Have the Highest Approval Ratings of His Presidency?"

Craig Bannister transcribed Fox News personality Geraldo Rivera's praise for Trump, in which he proclaimed Trump "the right warrior for this fight" providing "effective, yet flamboyant leadership" and doing "an epic job."

This presidential fawning reached an apex with a March 27 article by chapman further shoring up Trump's alleged leadership against the pandemic by treating bland boilerplates from the the head of the World Health Organization as something akin to an endorsement:

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), applauded President Donald Trump for "the great job" he is doing in harnessing the tools of the private sector and the public sector to combat the coronavirus.

On March 23, Dr. Tedros tweeted, "Productive call with President @realDonaldTrump."

"I appreciated him for the great job he is doing to fight #COVID19 through whole-of-government approach, leveraging R&D, engaging private sector incl. on essential medical supplies, expansion of testing, educating public," wrote Dr. Tedros.   

At a March 23 press briefing, Dr. Tedros also said, “Fighting this pandemic needs political commitment and commitment at the highest level possible and the president’s [Trump's] commitment, you have already seen it."

“And that kind of leadership is very, very important, the whole of government approach, to mobilize all sectors to suppress the pandemic," he said. "So I know he’s doing all he can.”

Of course, Tedros' sucking up to Trump didn't keep him from attacking WHO and threatening to withdraw U.S. funding for the organiation.

If Graham genuinely thinks news articles should not read like campaign press releases, he should fix his own house first and examine the practices of his employer's "news" division before attacking other media outlets.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:11 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, April 13, 2020 10:26 PM EDT
Saturday, April 11, 2020
MRC Transgender Freakout, Coronavirus Edition
Topic: Media Research Center

At the Media Research Center, it's not enough to merely criticize transgendered people -- they must be mocked and shamed for being who they are and for thinking they have any inherent human rights. Which brings us to Matt Philbin's March 20 post attacking transgenders as portrayed in a article at the website Vice  on the subject of transgender surgeries being delayed by the coronavirus pandemic with all the sensitivity he's known for (which is to say, none):

You knew it was coming. The only question was how frivolous and besides-the-point it would be. Vice has answered with an article on how the Wuhan virus is inconveniencing “transgender and gender non-conforming people.”

Specifically, Vice related that “trans communities on Reddit and Twitter are being flooded with reports of postponed and canceled surgeries in the U.S., U.K., Spain, Thailand, and elsewhere, leading to enormous stress and disappointment on top of a global health crisis.”

Um, huh? Nearly all international travel has ceased, entire cities are on lockdown, wealth and jobs are evaporating at a staggering rate, and in Italy they’re re-enacting the “Bring out your dead!” skit from The Holy Grail. “Enormous stress and disappointment” is currently the baseline emotional state of a vast portion of the global population. Whatever you call the level above “First World problems,” Vice has found it.

See, “trans people already wait far longer than is safe or healthy” for what Vice calls “gender-affirming” surgeries. “Further delays can be dangerous and even life-threatening.”

Really? In what way can waiting a few months before mutilating your body be life threatening? In fact, how does Vice justify calling the procedures “Life-Saving Trans Surgeries” in its headline?

[...]

So … really, there’s no story here. A tiny sliver of a tiny sliver of the population is being temporarily stymied in its short-term aspirations -- just like the rest of the planet. But it’s never a bad time to underscore the victimhood and marginalization of America’s most trendy grievance group.

It must be sad to have so little empathy for people not exactly like him -- that is, right-wing conservative -- as Philbin. We assume the MRC pays him well enough to keep such pesky empathy at bay.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:13 PM EDT
WND's Cashill Gloats Over A Man's Personal Issues
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Jack Cashill took unseemly pleasure in the personal problems of another human being in his March 18 WorldNetDaily column:

A surefire way to remove oneself from the short list even of Democratic vice-presidential candidates is to get caught by the police vomiting in the bathroom while your naked gay male escort is overdosing on crystal meth, surplus bags of which are strewn everywhere.

This past Saturday morning, Florida politico Andrew Gillum had a lot of splainin' to do. Talking to the wife and kids would be hard enough. The real challenge for the famously black Gillum was explaining to his racially charged base why his "date" was white.

In 2018, the former Tallahassee mayor came within 32,000 votes of becoming the governor of Florida. Race was his ticket from the beginning of his career to the very end.

Why is Cashill so irrationally angry at Gillum and taking such perverse pleasure in his apparent downfall? He took the side of Trayvon Martin against the man who killed him, George Zimmerman. Cashill has been a longtime champion of Zimmerman, portraying him as a civil-rights martyr and Martin as a thug in training. Cashill fired up the old tropes again as an attempt to heap more scorn on Gillum:

As filmmaker Joel Gilbert documents in his film and accompanying book, "The Trayvon Hoax," Gillum built his career by ruthlessly and dishonestly exploiting the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.

To make the gambit work, Gillum had to defame George Zimmerman, the man who shot Martin, and lie about the circumstances surrounding the shooting. Gillum was always up to the task.

Said Gillum during a Democratic debate in 2018, "George Zimmerman was able to interpret the very presence of Trayvon Martin to be a threat. And because of Stand Your Ground laws, which have no place in civilized society, was able to engage him, snuff out his life and get away with it."

As Gillum knew well, Florida's Stand Your Ground law had nothing to do with Zimmerman whose case was a classic example of self-defense.

[...]

Gillum could never admit that the wayward Martin gratuitously and viciously attacked a man half-a-foot shorter and might have killed him had not Zimmerman fired a single shot.

Gillum could never tell his supporters how Trayvon Martin's parents split when he was 3, how the boy's father abandoned Trayvon's loving stepmom when Trayvon was 15, how the biological mom kicked Trayvon out of her home for fighting months before the shooting, how Trayvon's life devolved into a maelstrom of street fighting, burglary, guns, sex and drugs.

No, Gillum could not say any of this. He lied so often and so effectively about the case a City Lab article after his primary win began, "Last night Andrew Gillum became the first African American candidate to win the Democratic Party nomination for Florida governor, and it's not out of the question to say that he can thank Trayvon Martin for that."

Unfortunately for Gillum, Florida's racist "for-profit police state" chose not to arrest him on a drug charge. He doesn't even get to be a martyr.

Joel Gilbert, of course, is the charlatan filmmaker who spread lies about Barack Obama, so there's no reason to take him seriously on anything. Cashill does, however, because they share the same conspiracy theories.

And, thus, Cashill's affinity for killers continues, and his callousness toward those who don't advance his right-wing agenda is all too apparent.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:49 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, April 11, 2020 12:59 PM EDT
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

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