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Friday, May 29, 2020
The Latest MRC Narrative: Bashing Facebook's Oversight Board
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has to keep up its failing jihad against Facebook somehow -- an utterly hypocritical fight, by the way, since MRC chief Brent Bozell just loves using Facebook Live -- so it's latched on to Facebook's proposed oversight board, attacking for not being stacked with conservatives.

The MRC kicked off its attack with a statement from the "Free Speech Alliance," the right-wing group it created to push the dubious narrative of rampant discrimination against conservatives in social media. It ranted that the board is "too international" -- despite the fact that Facebook operates in nearly all countries on the planet -- and would be "embracing an internationalist construct pleasing to the radical left and likely to make Facebook’s restrictive content policies even worse." The statement complained that one member “does not believe in eternal life, salvation or heaven and hell,” three "have ties to leftist billionaire George Soros," and most "are as left-wing as you might expect," finally huffing, "We find no one supportive of Trump."

Corinne Weaver whined in a May 7 post:

The liberal media met Facebook’s announcement of its first 20 members of its new Oversight Board with praise and applause. But for some, the lefty choices made were not liberal enough.

“Some see the board as a valuable check on Facebook’s power to control the speech and behavior of billions of users,” wrote Columbia Journalism Review’s (CJR) Chief Digital Writer Matthew Ingram. Tech journal Protocol referred to the board as “Facebook’s audacious experiment.” Recode podcast host Kara Swisher called the members “diverse and politically balanced.” CNBC described the board members as a “globally diverse group.”

If there's anything the MRC hates, it's "diversity." Weaver named no board member she thought was too "liberal." Indeed, a few days later, Weaver returned to attack one board member for being a Muslim, digging up a years-old interivew in which she allegedly "supported the Muslim Brotherhood."

Weaver did, however, find someone who was apparently conservative enough there to mine for scoops: oversight board chairman Michael McConnell. She cheered when McConnell told her in an "exclusive interivew" that Facebook would audit its fact-checkers  -- Weaver falsely attacked one of those fact-checkers earlier this year -- and pouted when McConnell pointed out in another "exclusive interview" that the oversight board would only get a couple more explicitly conservative members. She lied about one board member, Pamela Karlan, claiming that she "mocked 13-year-old Barron Trump during the House impeachment proceedings" (she didn't).

Weaver then cranked out a hit piece on the purported "radical views" of oversight board members, in which she repeated her attack on the Muslim board member and her lie that Karlan "mocked" Barron Trump.

Because no right-wing attack on Facebook would e complete without Brent Bozell weighing in, we have the MRC chief demanding in an "official press conference" (does Bozell ever appear at unofficial press conferences?) because it has only "five members from the United States" (again, Facebook operates in nearly every country on the planet). Bozell had right-wing members of Congress joining him, implying there would be Trump administration harassment if Facebook didn't cave to his demands.

Weaver seemed to have soured on McConnell by the time of a May 19 post, in which she noted that, in an Aspen Institute forum, McConnell accurately pointed out that conservatives (like Weaver and her employer) were attacking the oversight board for being insufficiently conservative, further complaining that he "tried to dismiss conservative criticisms" by claiming that a commitment to civil liberties is more important than a "red and blue" debate. (Of course, the red vs. blue divide is everything to the MRC.)

So Weaver typed up a new rant on May 22: "Facebook’s new Oversight Board promises to be committed to freedom of expression. But that principle might better reflect an international standard, rather than a First Amendment-based American one." Weaver didn't mention that Facebook operates in nearly every country on the planet, so international standards could perhaps supercede parochial concerns.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:32 PM EDT
Bad Coronavirus Takes: Blame The Hippies Somehow!
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com published a May 6 column by Jeffrey Tucker of the right-wing American Institute for Economic Research headlined "Woodstock Occurred in the Middle of a Pandemic," making a quick bend to the conspiratorial by comparing that to the coronavirus pandemic:

Which raises the question: why was this different? We will be trying to figure this one out for decades. 

Was the difference that we have mass media invading our lives with endless notifications blowing up in our pockets? Was there some change in philosophy such that we now think politics is responsible for all existing aspects of life? Was there a political element here in that the media blew this wildly out of proportion as revenge against Trump and his deplorables? Or did our excessive adoration of predictive modelling get out of control to the point that we let a physicist with ridiculous models frighten the world’s governments into violating the human rights of billions of people?

Maybe all of these were factors. Or maybe there is something darker and nefarious at work, as the conspiracy theorists would have it.

[...]

If we used government lockdowns then like we use them now, Woodstock (which changed music forever and still resonates today) would never have occurred. How much prosperity, culture, tech, etc. are losing in this calamity?

What happened between then and now? Was there some kind of lost knowledge, as happened with scurvy, when we once had sophistication and then the knowledge was lost and had to be re-found? For COVID-19, we reverted to medieval-style understandings and policies, even in the 21st century. It’s all very strange. 

The contrast between 1968 and 2020 couldn’t be more striking. They were smart. We are idiots. Or at least our governments are.

CNS, needless to say, did no fact-check. That was left to an actual news organization, Reuters, which pointed out that while there was a flu epidemic in the winters of 1968-69 and 1969-70, there was not one in the summer of '69:

It is true that the Woodstock festival fell between those dates – it took place in August 1969 at a dairy farm in upstate New York. However, a closer look at the timeline of the disease shows why it is misleading to suggest that Woodstock happened “in the middle of a pandemic”. The peak for most U.S. states was December 1968 and January 1969 (Dec 28, 1968 in New York state). See article here . The first season of the pandemic had ended in the U.S. by early March 1969 and it did not flare up again until November of that year, several months after Woodstock, as can be seen in figure 1 here . The diagram shows the pattern of the Hong Kong flu in six countries, of which only Australia was experiencing epidemic activity in August 1969. 

In other words, Woodstock happened between the first and second waves in the United States of the H3N2 Hong Kong flu that emerged in 1968, but not during a peak in infections and months after the first season of the flu had ended in the U.S.

Reuters even quoted Woodstock organizers, who pointed out there was no outbreak at the festival.

A bad take getting proven false does not stop it from being repeated; thus, James Hirsen touted Tucker's op-ed in his May 18 Newsmax column, claiming that the media was "triggered" but it and asserted without evidence that "Tucker’s Woodstock article was not received well by the dominant media, likely because its content is at odds with the narrative that is being spun by a majority of the elite." Hirsen then attacked Reuters' factcheck.

Both Tucker and Hirsen ignored the simple observation that coronavirus is not the flu and is, in fact, much worse, in part because we know so little about it.

Hirsen went from there to bizarrely attack the Woodstock generation for trying to stop the coronavirus pandemic:

It's literally shocking that leftists of today who espouse the philosophical global view of the 1960s are the same individuals who are now utilizing authoritarian tactics to strip away freedoms and stifle expression.

Ironically, they have become everything they never wanted to be:

“We are stardust, we are golden. We are caught in the devil’s bargain. And we got to get ourselves back to the garden . . ."

Which has nothing to do with trying to enforce public health measures, but you be you, Jim.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:26 AM EDT
Thursday, May 28, 2020
MRC Writer Is Apparently Too Cowardly To Criticize Trump Where It Counts
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Research Center writer and NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck has been doing a lot of complaining about President Trump's tweets arguing that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough murdered an intern, Lori Klausutis, while serving as a Florida congressman -- on his Twitter account anyway, and mainly to insist that conservatives really do think he ought not be doing that.

In one post, Houck tried equivocation and whataboutism:

Multiple things can be true:

Trump should shut the hell up and stop tweeting about Joe & Loris Klausutis.

Joe and Mika should do the same and, along with the rest of the liberal media, stop saying Trump has committed murder with this pandemic.

Former is WORSE. Latter is dumb.

Then, replying to CNN anchor Jake Tapper's claim that Trump supporters "sit silently" while Trump falsely and maliciously maligns a critic and harms the family of the dead intern, Houck huffed: "This is pants-on-fire lie and I'm betting Jake knows this. I've seen people from the following sites call Trump out: Blaze, Daily Wire, RedState, Twitchy, NRO, Resurgent, Free Beacon, the Examiner, and a few of my NB colleagues."

Finally, Houck complained that the media newsletter put out by CNN's Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy "didn't note the droves of conservative media peeps who've expressed disgust with Trump." He later cited a Washington Examiner editorial criticizing Trump as evidence of this.

But Houck is being very disingenuous. It may be true that Houck and his "NB colleagues" have criticized Trump's actions, but they didn't do so where it counted: in a NewsBusters post.

The only actual criticism at NewsBusters of Trump is a May 26 post by Houck in which he called Trump's tweets "vile" -- but this came in the 16th paragraph of post that was otherwise smearing CNN's Dana Bash as a "lackey" for doing an allegedly "softball" interview of Joe Biden. Not exactly a profile in courage here.

Meanwhile, the other NewsBusters posts that addressed Trump's tweets regarding Scarborough and Klausutis did the opposite of what Houck says he and his "NB colleagues" were doing -- they attacked anyone who criticized Trump.

In a May 21 post, Alexander Hall began by being mad that Scarborough's wife and "Morning Joe" co-host criticized Trump, blaring, "MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski has called for Twitter to deplatform a sitting president." Hall did not criticized Trump's tweets.

The next day, when Scarborough criticized Trump's tweets about him, Mark Finkelstein went full whataboutism:

Maybe Joe should consider how he's done on spreading false information. Like saying it was a "lie" that Hillary Clinton received dirt on Donald Trump from foreign sources....like the Russians cooking up a dossier with Christopher Steele. Or spreading the Trayvon Martin "armed with Skittles" defense, suggesting conservatives wanted him shot. Or wisecracking the Republicans wanted to include "chaining women to a radiator in the kitchen" in the 2012 platform. 

Far from criticizing Trump, Finkelstein appears to be arguing that Scarborough deserves to be lied about; instead, he cheered that she got "torched by Ted Cruz."

And a May 27 post by Corinne Weaver repeating Trump's whining that Twitter fact-checked one of his tweets noted in passing in the ninth paragraph that "According to the Washington Examiner, Twitter apologized Tuesday to the family of a former Joe Scarborough intern Lori Klausutis because of a Trump tweet that speculated MSNBC host and onetime Republican congressman had something to do with her death in 2001." Of course, Trum[ didn't just "speculate"; he unambigously declared that Scarborough "got away with murder."

Houck is simply being a coward here. Not only won't he explain why he refuses to commit his thoughts about Trump and Scarborough to a prominent NewsBusters post (or, if he's prohibited by MRC management from criticizing Trump on its its websites, explain why he can't), the website he manages has attacked Trump's victims.

If it seems like we're having a hard time understanding why Houck would be so utterly disingenuous, this is why.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:01 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, May 28, 2020 9:07 PM EDT
Newsmax TV Hires The Increasingly Fringe Michelle Malkin
Topic: Newsmax

Bill Hoffman gushed in a May 21 Newsmax article:

Award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist, and best-selling author Michelle Malkin has joined Newsmax TV. 

The outspoken media entrepreneur will be a prime-time Newsmax contributor and host a weekend show offering her commentary and analysis of the news.

“Newsmax TV is America’s must-watch news network and I’m absolutely thrilled to be a part of it,’’ Malkin said.

“Michelle is a true conservative, a respected media personality and a powerful  voice for of millions Americans that the big media ignore,” Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax Media, Inc., said.

Malkin will join Newsmax’s growing list of media heavyweights and commentators where she will deliver her fiercely independent reporting and no-nonsense commentary.

Hoffman, of course, didn't tell his readers that his employer's latest hire has been leaning hard lately into white nationalism and anti-Semitism. Or that she's a conspiracy theory-prone anti-vaxxer. Just two weeks ago, Malkin used her column to tout the notoriously misinformation-laden film "Plandemic" and conspiratorially accused infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci of being a liar.

Newsmax, apparently, doesn't want its readers to know all about this craziness. Newsmax chief Christopher Ruddy seems weirdly proud of hiring Malkin.

This is likely to end badly with Malkin embracing some even-more-fringe view that will damage the Newsmax brand.

(And, no, we haven't forgotten that CNSNews.com still runs Malkin's column, including the above-mentioned one in which she endorsed "Plandemic." WorldNetDaily runs her column as well, but her white nationalism and conspiracy theories are more on brand for WND.)


Posted by Terry K. at 4:42 PM EDT
Terry Jeffrey Trump Deficit Blame Avoidance Watch, Coronavirus Edition
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com editor in chief Terry Jeffrey made sure to stamp President Obama's name on every article he did on deficit spending during his presidency -- even when Obama was spending much of that money to pull the country out of a recession. But as we've documented, Jeffrey can't be bothered to work up that level of calling out regarding the deficit spending President Trump has racked up; not only has he not invoked Trump by name, the photos accompanying those articles included stock photos of both Trump and House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, falsely implying equal blame even though Pelosi controls only one-half of one branch of government while Trump and his Republicans control one and a half branches.

Not even the massive stimulus bills designed to counteract the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic that Trump has signed has moved Jeffrey to send any explicit blame Trump's way.

An April 9 article by Jeffrey complained that "The debt of the federal government topped $24 trillion for the first time on Tuesday, when it climbed from $23,917,212,663,857.59 to $24,011,523,316,653.36, according to data released by the Treasury Department." As per usual, Jeffrey doesn't breathe Trump's name, and the article is illustrated with yet another misleading stock photo of Trump with Pelosi.

On April 23, Jeffrey groused that "passed a $483-billion spending bill to further aid Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic---with only six members of the 100-member Senate participating."  Even though the Senate is controlled by Republicans, the image he used was of a Democratic senator, Chuck Schumer.

Jeffrey huffed in an April 28 article that "The federal debt has increased by more than $1 trillion so far in the month of April, according to data released by the U.S. Treasury." Strangely, Jeffrey didn't mention cornavirus stimulus as being the reason for that. The article got a change-up for an illustration: a stock photo of Pelosi with Senate Leader Mitch McConnell.

On May 8, Jeffrey complained that "The debt of the federal government topped $25 trillion for the first time on Tuesday, when it climbed from $24,948,983,700,916.84 to $25,057,924,023,406.80." Again, he didn't identify coronavirus relief as the reason for this.  The stock photo this time was actually somewhat balanced, featuring Trump and Pelosi with Vice President Mike Pence.

Jeffrey was in full lecture tone in a May 13 article:

The federal government has spent more money and run a larger deficit in the first seven months of fiscal 2020 (October through April) than in any previous year, according to the data published today in the Monthly Treasury Statement.

In fact, in the month of April alone, the federal government spent more money than it ever has before in a single month and ran up a larger deficit that it has before in a single month.

In the first seven months of the fiscal year, the federal government spent a record $3,326,683,000,000 while bringing in only $1,845,379,000,000 in total receipts—thus running a record deficit of approximately $1,481,303,000,000.

Missing yet again was the fact that that deficit money was spent on coronavirus relief. He reverted back to an old favorite stock photo of Trump and Pelosi.

None of these articles mention Trump by name, and none identify this deficit spending as belonging to Trump the way he blamed Obama for deficits under his presidency.

By contrast, when Pelosi proposed a new $3 trillion stimulus bill, Jeffrey's CNS touted Republicans attacking that bill as unnecessary and fiscally irresponsible:

Jeffrey himself attacked one proposed provision that funded suicide prevention efforts among LGBT youth, while Melanie Arter attacked another provision that "would provide $1200 stimulus payments to illegal aliens" who pay taxes and have a federal taxpayer ID number.

The hypocrisy is astounding.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:39 AM EDT
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
MRC Finds Another "Censored" Misinformation-Laden Video To Defend
Topic: Media Research Center

Does the Media Research Center have to lament every single instance of coronavirus misinformation getting taken down by social media and branding it "censorship"? Apparently it does. Corinne Weaver complained in a May 8 post:

The first half of the conspiracy documentary, Plandemic, was removed several times from YouTube, according to The Washington Post. Twitter and Facebook also made statements to other media outlets confirming that both platforms were suppressing hashtags and content related to the documentary.

A YouTube spokesperson told The Post that the company takes down “content that includes medically unsubstantiated diagnostic advice for covid-19.” This includes Plandemic.

The 26-minute long clip featured an interview with Judy Mikovits, a former medical researcher and critic of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci. In the interview, Mikovits touted a medical paper that she had written that eventually was retracted. She also claimed that the coronavirus was not a “natural occurrence,” according to CNET.

Weaver plays down the misinformation Mikovits peddles in her video -- the headline describes the video is merely "controversial" -- and the only one she acknowledges is Mikovits' claim that wearing masks is harmful. In fact, according to the Post article to which she links, Mikovits made the bizarre claim that "billionaires aided in the spread of the coronavirus to further the spread of vaccines" and attacked federal infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci by using "out-of-context footage." Another Post article, meanwhile, delved further into the Mikovits research paper that was retracted, which apparently launched her into her conspiracy theory that Fauci is conspiring against her.

Weaver could have told her readers this. Instead, she just reports minimal information, since to tell the full truth about Mikovits and "Plandemic" would (further) undermine the MRC's failing narrative that social media is purportedly "censoring" conservatives.

When you're on the side of the likes of WorldNetDaily in defending the likes of Mikovits, that's never a good look.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:46 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: CNS Commits To A Bad Take
Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com and editor Terry Jeffrey want you to believe that shutting down worship services to stop the spread of coronavirus is an issue of religious freedom and not public health -- even though it quietly published a columnist who completely discredited that take. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 5:48 PM EDT
WND's Cashill: Wearing A Mask 'Has Become A Form of Virtue Signaling'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

I have my own office in a hip, youth-oriented entertainment district filled with bars and tattoo parlors and vape shops. I go in every day. Parking is, I must admit, a whole lot easier. I have yet to wear a mask anywhere.

Most of the young people I pass on the streets, some of them jogging or biking or even driving alone, wear masks, many of them elaborate and almost burka-like.

There is a Whole Foods in my neighborhood. I see young people lined up outside of it, six feet apart, playing with their cellphones, virtually all masked given the righteousness of the establishment. I have never been and won't go.

Mask wearing has become a form of virtue signaling. Friends of my mine have been publicly scolded. I cannot say that I have, but I have gotten more than my share of dirty looks.

As the days wear on, and the numbers don't add up, my sentiment upon seeing these passive clowns has morphed from surprise to disappointment to outright disgust.

I keep thinking that some new indignity, some day, will push them over the edge and make them wake up, but I do not see that day coming.

I have a book coming out in August titled "Unmasking Obama" (available for pre-order at Amazon).

I might have to title my next book "Unmasking America." That is, if I have stomach enough to write it.

-- Jack Cashill, May 6 WorldNetDaily column


Posted by Terry K. at 12:32 AM EDT
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
MRC's Alternate-Universe Explanation Of Axl Rose-Mnuchin Twitter Fight
Topic: Media Research Center

In most of the world, the brief Twitter feud between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and rock star Axl Rose was pretty clear cut: Mnuchin took Rose's bait then screwed up by tweeting the Liberian flag in response instead of the American flag. But the Media Research Center lives in an alternate universe in which President Trump and his administration is always right and all critics are always wrong, so we get this bizarro-world interpretation from Gabriel Hays where Mnuchin is an adult and Rose is the idiot:

The Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Famer appeared to be spoiling for a fight on social media, bashing Mnuchin seemingly from out of nowhere. Rose tweeted, “It’s official! Whatever anyone may have previously thought of Steve Mnuchin he’s officially an asshole.”

OK then?

We’re not sure whether Axl Rose expected a response, but he actually got one. Mnuchin fired back at the “Paradise City” singer asking, “What have you done for your country lately?”

The guy who organized Rose’s last gig must have demanded the singer show up earlier than two hours late. No wonder he’s in a foul mood.

After Mnuchin’s response, the angry red-head really let him have it, blaming the Trump administration for the pandemic death toll and blasting the Treasury Secretary for telling Americans they could travel during the pandemic.

Rose tweeted, “My bad I didn’t get we’re hoping 2 emulate Liberia’s economic model but on the real unlike this admin I’m not responsible for 70k+ deaths n’ unlike u I don’t hold a fed gov position of responsibility 2 the American people n’ go on TV tellin them 2 travel the US during a pandemic.” Yeah, real nice.

Hays was certainly not going to give Rose credit for zinging Mnuchin for using the wrong flag, insisting that Mnuchin "accidentally" inserted the Liberian flag, which he  "quickly replaced with the real stars and stripes in an edited tweet," finally huffing: "Thank heavens for Rose’s eagle eye. Really proves his point."

Hays concluded by sneering, "Perhaps he should be thanking the Trump administration for giving him a tiny taste of relevance again. Stay angry, Axl Rose." He didn't mention that Mnuchin could have simply ignored Rose's tweet and not embarassed himself in responding to it.

A week later, Hays worked up more petulance toward Rose after the singer started selling T-shirts with the phrase that alludes to Trump's playing the Guns n' Roses cover of the Wings song "Live and Let Die" at a recent personal appearance:

One 80s rock group isn’t content with being a part of rock ‘n’ roll history and has been trying way too hard at gaining relevance by selling band merch with political attacks against President Trump.

Spurred on by its frontman’s hatred for the 45th president, legendary hard rock band Guns N’ Roses has started marketing band T-shirts which include hateful messages directed at Trump and his coronavirus response.

The band’s Twitter page revealed its new politically-charged GNR T-shirts on Wednesday, May 13. The message emblazoned on each black shirt was a reference to the band’s famous 1991 cover of Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die” but with a coronavirus twist. The words stated, “Live N’ Let Die with COVID 45,” making the point that the 45 president is the real virus.

A Trump slam? How rock and roll. Guess Axl and the boys really need that purple-hair, catlady #resist demographic to carry on their hard rock image.

Hays complained that Rose attacked Mnuchin "out of nowhere," then one final hit of petulance for the end of his post: "Well at least Rose and his band can now say they did something for the country by donating money earned on insulting, hateful merch. Gee, thanks!"

Given that all Hays could offer here is sneering, petulance and pro-Trump sycophancy, it appears Rose managed to win a Twitter fight with someone who wasn't even originally involved.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:21 PM EDT
AIM Wants us To Praise Lara Logan For Being 'Honest' (!)
Topic: Accuracy in Media

A link promoted at Accuracy in Media states:

Let's praise an honest journalist

When dishonest journalists spread smears and lies, they should be exposed. But when honest journalists speak out against these things, they should be praised. Please use this action alert to thank Lara Logan for taking a stand against dishonest journalists who focus on advancing their agenda rather than educating the public.

It's not clear from this link what AIM is referring to, but it might be a recent rant at the New York Times criticizing the Trump administration over its response to the coronavirus pandemic, where she said that "This is a moment for all of us reporters to stand up for journalism and stand up for our profession and just admit that on every single page of The New York Times, opinion is infused with facts."

The funny thing, of course, is that Logan is not the "honest journalist" AIM would have you believe she is. She effectively lost her job at CBS' "60 Minutes" for promoting the claims of an alleged witness to the Benghazi attack whose story turned out to be a lie and not disclosing that said bogus witness' book was published by a division of CBS -- a story which, by the way, AIM promoted at the time but has since scrubbed from its website (fortunately, the internet never forgets).

Since her re-emergence last year, Logan has shown herself to be dishonest in another way, by pretending she's not a conservative. After declaring that "I'm not going to pretend to be conservative so I can be the darling of the conservative media," she did exactly that, first joining the conservative-leaning Sinclair Broadcast Group and then, earlier this year, starting a Fox News show laughably titled "Lara Logan Has No Agenda" despite the fact that Fox Nation is known for nothing but having a decidedly conservative agenda (that and the sexual harassment), and that Logan had a very specific agenda in attacking the New York Times.

So we're going to pass on signing this little petition.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:37 PM EDT
What About The 'Real Unemployment Rate' Under Trump, CNS?
Topic: CNSNews.com

One of the starkest contrasts that illustrate the right-wing bias of CNSNews.com, as we've detailed, is its treatment of the unemployment rate while Barack Obama was president, compared with how it's treated under President Trump. One of the statistics it embraced under Obama was the U-6 unemployment rate, a different measure than the U-3 unemployment -- the most widely reported number -- because it includes people who are technically not unemployed but are "marginally attached workers" as well as part-time employees who are looking for full-time work. CNS proclaimed this to be the "real unemployment rate," and since it's almost always higher than the official U-3 rate, it touted the number to attack Obama and talk down the post-recession recovery.

Managing editor Michael W. Chapman devoted four articles in 2016 -- the last year of Obama's presidency -- to the "real unemployment rate" and it was mentioned numerous other times during the Obama years. We found no reference to it in CNS' archives before 2010, and neither Chapman nor anyone else at CNS has brought up this number since Trump became president.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U-6 unemployment rate, -- which has generally hovered around 7% over the past year even as the U-3 rate was around 3.5% -- spiked to 22.8 percent in April. Despite CNS spending years proclaiming that this was the "real unemployment rate," this alarmingly high number got no coverage even though much lower numbers under Obama got their own articles.

Instead, CNS serves up attempts to forward Trump's agenda even in the face of those atrocious numbers. A May 15 article by Susan Jones complained that "Foreign-born people in the United States had a lower unemployment rate in 2019 (3.1 percent, down from 3.5 percent in 2018) than native-born Americans (3.8 percent, down from 4.0 percent in 2018)," an apparent attempt to perpetuate the Trump-embraced idea that foreigners are stealing jobs from Americans.

CNS should explain to readers why the "real unemployment rate" stopped being a metric it reported on after Obama left office, and why it won't report on the number now that's even higher than it ever was under Obama.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:58 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 26, 2020 3:01 PM EDT
Monday, May 25, 2020
Another White Nationalist Supporter Once Worked For The MRC
Topic: Media Research Center

Last year, we wrote about how the Media Research Center had employed Tim Dionisopoulos -- a white nationalist activist involved with groups such as Youth for Western Civilization -- in the mid-2010s, which came on top of NewsBusters blogger Tom Blumer being unceremoniously dismissed after his posts were found to contain links to white nationalist websites (the MRC still hasn't explained how those links made it past editing if the organization is so opposed to white nationalism). Well, it turns out another former MRC writer has exposed her true white nationalist colors.

Right Wing Watch documented how Ashley Rae Goldenberg -- known in right-wing circles for her "Communism Kills" Twitter handle, where she has changed her last name to Groypenberg (a "groyper" is a supporter of white nationalist Nick Fuentes) and changed her avatar to a groyper toad -- has been praising the alt-right and white nationalist movements since at least late 2019 and running in those circles well before that. Most recently, she has been cheering the death of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black man shot to death by two white men who alleged he was a burglar. RWW notes that a former Daily Caller editor who worked with Goldenberg at the time in 2015, wrote Goldenberg a letter of recommendation for her first full-time job at the MRC, which he now says is one of his "biggest regrets."

RWW added: "Curtis Houck, managing editor of Media Research Center’s NewsBusters blog and someone who Goldenberg described on Facebook as a former co-worker, 'liked' and shared Twitter posts critical of Goldenberg in December​. ​However, neither Houck or MRC responded to our requests for interviews, via Twitter and online contact form, respectively."

Indeed, based on archive records, Goldenberg worked for the MRC, as a NewsBusters writer between March and August 2018 and as a writer for MRCTV between roughly June 2015 and January 2018. Strangely, her author archive at both NewsBusters and MRCTV has been decactivated; clicking on her byline returns an "access denied" error. But one can still search for her work by typing her name into text search. RWW notes that Goldenberg attended a conference hosted by the white nationalist National Policy Institute in 2016, which overlapped with her MRC employment. 

No wonder Houck and the MRC don't want to talk about Goldenberg -- just as they have refused to talk about their employment of Blumer and Dionisopoulos.

We've caught Goldenberg doing MRC-like things, like lashing out at original Facebook programming for purportedly being too liberal, laughably insisting there's no difference between CNN and Infowars, defending a man who developed a 3D-printable gun and, of course, hating gays.

The MRC has had enough white nationalists work for them that maybe it's time for Brent Bozell and Co. to explain why.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:36 PM EDT
CNS' West Embraces Dubious Stats And Misinformation
Topic: CNSNews.com

Media Research Center "senior fellow" and CNSNews.com column Allen West was in a motorcycle accident over the weekend, but that doesn't mean we can't hold him accountable for his recent dubious words.

West added to his dubious takes on the coronavirus pandemic with a May 4 column with this bit of fact-spinning:

Consider the facts in this matter. We firmly know, and have the empirical data showing that COVID-19 has a 99.6% recovery rate. We know that COVID-19 is most dangerous for those with underlying medical conditions such as hypertension, heart disease, COPD, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Those Americans over the age of 65 have been the hardest hit by COVID-19. Sadly, we have lost over 60,000 Americans, but it was just 2017-2018 when the common influenza season resulted in the loss of 61,000 Americans.

And we took no draconian measures then, nor was there an induced fear, panic, paranoia, and hysteria.

We were told that COVID-19 was different, but for the most part, it is not. It is still a virus that attacks the respiratory system. And America did not respond this way with MARS, SARS, Avian (Bird) flu, or the H1N1 (Swine) flu which affected 60 million Americans. As well, in the case of COVID-19, we clearly know that many deaths of Americans are being classified as caused by COVID-19, when there were preexisting severe health issues. COVID-19 is more of an enabler than a cause. People may be dying with COVID-19, but not because of it.

West is throwing out a lot of numbers and conspiracy theories here. His claim that COVID-19 has a "99.6% recovery rate" is false; it has a death rate of 1.4 percent. He likens coronavirus to the flu, which it is not -- it's much more dangerous because we know so little about it and there is no vaccine for it, and West's death numbers misleadingly compare coronavirus deaths from a three-month period to deaths over a a six-month-long flu season.

West is also trying to make the right-wing case that the death count for coronavirus is inflated because some victims  had other comorbidities, purportedly making coronavirus "more of an enabler than a cause." Still, even in those cases, even West can't deny that coronavirus hastened their deaths, thus making them coronavirus victims. In fact, it can be argued that the opposite is true -- that coronavirus deaths is much higher than official statistics show.

West went on to rant about government "tyranny" as officials trying to slow the spread of the virus. "We have seen parents being arrested for playing with their children in parks," he wrote -- an apparent reference to a anti-vaxxer activist who was actually leading an organized protest.

He also wrote: "It is wrong to assume I am putting economic numbers above lives. Every one of those people who have lost their job, small business owners who have lost their livelihoods, are lives as well. And they are lives just as important, and sadly, some are taking their lives. In Montgomery County, Texas, there have been more suicides than deaths related to COVID-19." In fact, the suicide rate in that county -- a suburb of Houston -- was on the upswing well before coronavirus arrived.

In his May 11 column, West served up his usual anti-liberal screed:

I want America to recognize the abject deranged and devious intent of the progressive socialist left in America, the Democrat Party, to leverage a virus to their own electoral advantage. The Democrat (Socialist) Party wants the continued fear, panic, paranoia, and hysteria that their media accomplices have created. They do not want the American people to get back to work, to be released from the illegal martial law and house arrest that has subjugated our constitutional rights.

The left wants a COVID-19 boogeyman, just like the child who fears the monster in the closet at night and cannot get to sleep. COVID-19 has a 99.6 percent recovery rate, and just like there is no boogeyman in the closet, instead of our losing our rights, the left wants to restructure them for their electoral gain.

The new rally cry of the left is “mail-in ballots.”

And it's clear West has decreed mail-in voting to be his new bogeyman. he ranted further:

Just last week, in Pelosi’s California, her nephew, Governor Gavin Newsom, decreed that all ballots in California will be mail-in. Yes, just like that -- another unconstitutional edict, mandate, order from a leftist governor. And guess what: California is where Eric Holder has set up his base of operations. Coincidence? California also provides drivers licenses to illegals and allows them to vote in local elections.

It was also in California where a new leftist initiative – ballot harvesting -- was unleashed in the last national election, in 2018. That worked so very well for the left in California that Republicans who were heralded as the victor in their elections found themselves losing several days later.

You know, those ballots just kept flowing in from who knows where, and they were all for Democrats. This was prevalent in the Southern California area of Orange County, a Republican stronghold. You can rest assured that anything the left wants to implement nationally will first be tested in the progressive socialist laboratory called California.

No, Newsom did not "decree that all ballots in California will be mail-in"; all residents will have the abililty to vote by mail if they choose, but physical voting locations will still be open.And "vote harvesting" -- actually, just a change in procedure that allows anyone, not just a relative, to pick up and return someone's absentee ballot -- is legal in California, and Republicans who got caught flat-footed in 2018 plan to fully exploit ballot harvesting in this year's elections.

But West doesn't care about facts. He does, however, care about ranting a lot:

Yep, if you fear the COVID-19 boogeyman in the closet, and fear going out to vote, you can get a mail-in ballot. I told you it was absurd. The proliferation of COVID-19 fear, panic, paranoia, and hysteria is exactly what the left wants. And that is why this whole illegal martial law, shutdown, lockdown insanity must end.

[...]

The left needs a boogeyman. COVID-19 fits the bill, and they are going to milk this to restructure things to fit their vision. The Democrats sadly, seem to not want our economy to reopen, for Americans to get back to work. And we now know, they want to use COVID-19 to change our electoral system – for good.

The best solution? Just make our national election day a national holiday, yes, the first Tuesday in November each even year. Unless you are truly disabled, which Texas state law defines, or out of the country, you can get to a voting site.

We can ill afford the COVID-19 boogeyman in the closet to instill a fear that results in the loss of our Constitutional Republic. But that is what the left seeks.

It seems West believes that making it easier for Americans to vote is a terrible thing.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:35 AM EDT
After 23 Years, WND Is Still Pretending It Doesn't Push Misinformation
Topic: WorldNetDaily

With Joseph Farah apparently still out of commission -- his only recent contribution in the past few months was a May 13 column bizarrely declaring against all evidence to the contrary that President Trump "may be the most polite and patient president America has ever had" -- it's been up to managing editor David Kupelian to promote the interests of WorldNetDaily. So it was his job to write a column on the anniversary of WND's founding on May 4. Kupelian lacks the panache and utter shamelessness of Farah, but he can whine just as well. Take this passge on alleged social media censorship:

Last week, YouTube banned the viral video of two California ER doctors after more than 5 million people had viewed it over the course of just a few days. You see, the two physicians dissented from the “approved” view of how to manage the coronavirus pandemic – the one favored by the guardians of the internet.

Censorship of dissent has become the “new normal.” In the last couple weeks, several WND stories have been singled out and labeled “Partly False Information” by Facebook, which seriously hurts our readership. When we asked Facebook’s “independent fact checkers” why one story had been labeled “Partly False Information” even though it was 100% accurately reported, they told us the viewpoint of the expert being interviewed – a New York-based Ph.D. epidemiologist who argued herd immunity would be reached faster by not locking down the whole country – was “harmful misinformation.”

This is tyranny.

Hey Facebook: What about virtually the entire output of the “mainstream media” for the past four years, from the Washington Post and News York Times to all the broadcast and cable networks (except Fox News), with their never-ending conspiracy theories contending that Donald Trump “colluded” with Vladimir Putin to steal the 2016 election from Hillary Clinton? Those stories weren’t “partly false,” they were totally false. But did they merit any attention from Facebook’s fact checkers? We all know the answer.

Kupelian seems not to understand there's one easy way to not get flagged by social media for publishing misinformation: don't publish misinformation.

As we documented, WND touted the views of the "two California ER doctors" without telling readers that actual experts found their research to be flawed and their video discredited. In the other instance, Kupelian is apparently referring to an April 7 article touting the views of one Knut Wittkowski, which was a another one-sided story that ignored the fact that experts say given how deadly coronavirus is and the overall lack of knowledge about the virus, counting herd immunity would be uncertain at best and dangerous at worst. In an apparent attempt to get the misinformation tag off the article, WND appended an "update" a week later adding the expert view.

From there, Kupelian moved on to the usual whining about alleged slights against WND, ranting that both Wikipedia and the Southern Poverty Law Center pointed out its fringe-right leanings and appetite for conspiracy theories. He responded, "Translation: WND is pro-American, pro-Christian and pro-Constitution."

No, David; nobody sane is making that translation.

Kupelian is still mad at the Washington Post's allegedly "vicious, lengthy smear article on WND's 'downfall' – published immediately after the Post's reporter learned from Elizabeth Farah that her husband and WND CEO Joseph Farah had just suffered a devastating stroke." His phrasing here is telling his that WND used Farah's stroke as a excuse to suppress the Post article -- which is a violation of journalistic ethics --  and Kupelian is still using it as an excuse not to respond to the article's claims, which includes a litany of bad business decisions (i.e. bitcoin giveaways) and financial mismanagement -- never mind that he and Farah's wife, Elizabeth, are the top two company officials behind Farah and surely have some knowledge of said financial shenanigans. To this day, WND has never refuted any claim in the Post article -- which means we have no option other than to assume it's true.

Kupelian went on to bash more critics but, as before, he refuted none of their claims. He then tried for some Farah-esque rah-rah:

But guess what, friends. On our 23rd anniversary I have bad news for Big Tech and the rest of the leftwing forces that are so breathlessly intent on "fundamentally transforming" America and silencing pro-American, Judeo-Christian news alternatives like WND.

Even though our advertising-revenue model has mostly been destroyed by Google and Facebook who together control 90% of online ad revenue; even though we are banned, censored, maligned, shadow-banned, suppressed and buried in search results; even though we are battered by lawsuits, threats, hack attacks and every other kind of attack imaginable – we’re still here! And in fact, we’re getting stronger!

Along with reporting boldly, honestly and accurately, and exposing the ubiquitous "fake news" of an establishment press afflicted with Stage 4 Trump Derangement Syndrome, we at WorldNetDaily are doing our job as "real news" journalists.

"Real news"? WND has not been associated with that, if it ever has been, and all of Kupelian's insistence that's what it does (it doesn't, even as it's fighting for its life, the details of which Kupelian is conveniently vague about) doesn't change the fact that WND is best known for spending eight years perpetuating the lie that President Obama isn't a real U.S. citizen.

Apologize for all the lies WND has spread, David, and maybe WND will be considered a purveyor of "real news."


Posted by Terry K. at 1:17 AM EDT
Sunday, May 24, 2020
MRC Handwaves Anti-Lockdown Nazi Symbolism With Lots of Whataboutism
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is totally cool with smearing abortion providers and women who have abortions as Nazis. But far-right protesters who were actually waving Nazi symbols? Not so fast -- not when there's a Democratic governor to attack.

In a May 4 post, Tim Graham took issue with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer accurately pointing out in an appearance that "there were swastikas and Confederate flags and nooses and people with assault rifles" at anti-lockdown protests in her state:

That's an awfully vague smear. Some people with swastika signs were mocking Whitmer as a Nazi (one with the words "HEIL WHITMER.") Even liberal fact-checkers noted an alleged swastika sign in Michigan...was actually a picture from Idaho. 

The protester footage CNN aired didn't have any nooses, swastikas, or Confederate flags. The local news story showed  American flags, alongside some Trump flags and Don't Tread On Me flags:

Not only did Graham also take the whataboutism route by  ranting about CNN hosts who weren't even involved in this segment failing to hate antifa the way Graham apparently still does, he complained that one observer of the Michigan protests "spread the falsehood that Trump called neo-Nazis 'very fine people,'" citing a claim by "former CNN pundit Steve Cortes" about "what Trump actually said." But as we've previously documented, Cortes got it wrong.

Kristine Marsh tried to pile on Whitmer in a May 13 post, grumbling that an appearance by Whitmer on "The View" was "just another opportunity for Whitmer to bash critics of her harsh lockdown rules as violent racists" and insisting Whitmer was the one pushing "hateful rhetoric." Marsh failed to highlightthe Nazi and Confederate symbolism at anti-lockdown protests in the state.

Scott Whitlock's goal in a May 15 post was to minimize the extremists of the Michigan protesters and insist they weren't representative of the crowd. He first huffed:

When there is a liberal protest with signs comparing Republicans to Hitler and calling for violence, journalists tend to carefully avoid those images on network TV. But a few bigots and nuts who attend anti-lockdown protests must be representative of the group at large. That was the message on Friday’s CBS This Morning.

[...]

This time, a fight broke out between demonstrators over a doll with a noose around its neck.” She added that the organizers “quickly distanced themselves from the incident.” But CBS clearly won’t let them do that.

He too complained about Whitmer and tried to make things about her and not the extreme protesters:

Many of these rallies are stridently anti-Whitmer. So perhaps that has something to do with the governor's dismissal of “political rallies” as “not an exercise of democratic principles”? [Reporter Jerika] Duncan didn’t ask. A network graphic warned, "Anti-Lockdown Protests Concerns: Signs of Hate Spotted at Rallies Nationwide.”

Instead, she focused on isolated incidents of Nazi imagery and a noose on a doll. Obviously, these examples are disgusting and should be condemned by everyone. However liberal and Democratic protesters aren’t forced to condemn their nuts and extremists. 

And he played whataboutism as well: "They also compared Bush to Hitler."

Marsh returned to complain about another episode of "The View," where "Joy Behar in particular was upset because angry protesters harassed a local news reporter there, so she compared them to the 'white supremacists and neonazis' in Charlottesville, whose protest ended in violence." She went onto huff whataboutism: "So The View is upset by a few protesters yelling “fake news” and obscenities at a reporter. But where was their outrage when a reporter was actually physically attacked by Antifa last year? In 2017 the show defended the violent left-wing group." That's a reference to right-wing provocateur (not a "reporter") Andy Ngo, who appears to have been collaborating with the right-wing protesters that were clashing with Antifa, making him a little less innocent that Marsh would have you believe.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:37 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, May 24, 2020 10:37 PM EDT

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