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Sunday, May 31, 2020
No, MRC, Michael Flynn Was Not 'Exonerated'
Topic: Media Research Center

Last year, we pointed out how the Media Research Center hypocritically proclaimed that the lack of proposed charges against President Trump in the Mueller investigation meant that he was completely exonerated -- despite years of lecturing the media (and yours truly) that the fact that the Clintons have never been charged with anything doesn't mean they're guilty of something. The MRC is indulging in that hypocrisy again in the Michael Flynn case.

The MRC is actually promoting the idea that Flynn, President Trump's ever-so-brief national security adviser, was "exonerated" on charges of lying to the FBI -- even though he admitted twice to doing so -- when all that happened was that Trump's Justice Department asked to stop pursuing the case.

Nicholas Fondacaro privileghed the falsehood in a May 7 post:

“What happened to General Michael Flynn, a war hero, should never be allowed to happen to a citizen of the United States again,” Trump declared on April 30. Neither ABC News, CBS News, nor NBC News mentioned Trump’s comments on Flynn being “exonerated” nor the underlying reason why.

Perhaps because Flynn was not, in fact, "exonerated."

The next day, Curtis Houck uncritically quoted White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany touting "the exoneration Michael Flynn got today," gushing that McEnany "ended her passionate defense of Flynn and torching of the Deep State with a quote from Montesquieu and a nod to" the above Fondacaro post.

Jorge Bonilla, however, went fully in on the falsehood in a May 10 MRC Latino post, starting with his headline: "Univision, Telemundo Uninterested In Covering Flynn Exoneration- Covered Plea Deal 26X As Much." He continued (needless bold italic in original):

At least Univision took 26 seconds to fume over the DOJ’s decision to drop the charges against Flynn. Telemundo did not even acknowledge Flynn’s exoneration, despite devoting a staggering six minutes and 50 seconds to the plea deal on December 1st, 2017. When added to Univision’s two minutes and 49 seconds on the same day, this amounts to nine minutes and 39 seconds against Univision’s 26 seconds on Flynn’s exoneration by the DOJ. 

Put simply, the Spanish-language networks gave 26 times as much coverage to Flynn’s plea deal with the FBI as they did to the DOJ’s dismissal of charges against Flynn.

Bonilla concluded by insisting that "the market continues to cry out for an alternative" for a Spanisgh-language network that, apparently, is a Spanish-language Trump sycophant like Fox News. One could also say the market is crying out for a conservative "media research" organization that doesn't spread lies.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:33 PM EDT
CNS-Mark Levin Stenography Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

It seems that CNSNews.com was so busy playing defense for the Trump administration over the coronavirus pandemic that there wasn't much time to provide its usual fawning stenography of right-wing radio host Mark Levin. It found time to do only eight articles on Levin or his guests during March and April:

That's a total of 21 articles for the first four months of 2020, a little bit off CNS' usual pace, publishing at least 96 Levin articles annually the past three years. CNS will have to step it up to demonstrate the one-sided and un-fact-checked love Levin has come to expect (per a possible cross-promotoin deal) from his favorite "news" outlet.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:53 AM EDT
Saturday, May 30, 2020
What LGBT Stuff Is The MRC Freaking Out About Now?
Topic: Media Research Center

Just because there's been a global pandemic doesn't mean that the Media Research Center has stopped hating on the LGBT community. They made sure to create space for that.

Alexa Moutevelis cheered the end of the TV series "Will & Grace": NBC's obnoxious LGBTQ sitcom Will & Grace has somehow lasted two iterations over 11 seasons and 22 years. Along with pushing homosexuality mainstream, the show has demonstrated a deep antipathy towards Republicans and conservatives. Thankfully, at long last, it is over." Moutevelisthen made her deep antipathy toward people who don't think like her quite abundant.

Moutevelis returned to rage against the purported existence of too many gay characters on TV:

Every human being possesses inherent dignity and deserves the right to life, but we’re talking about fictional television characters.

And the point holds true, almost every single tv show has a token LGBTQ character randomly inserted because the SJWs scream, “Representation matters!” On MRC Culture’s On TV blog we don’t even keep track of regular adult gay characters anymore, we only focus on when the targets children and teens or is over the top.

[...]

As for tv representation, according to GLAAD, there is already “10 percent LGBTQ inclusion among broadcast series regular characters on primetime scripted series” – that’s over double the 4 percent of the population that claims to be LGBTQ. These sexualities are already over-represented on television, but GLAAD demands representation increase to 20 percent by 2025! No wonder Americans wildly over estimate the number of LGBTQ people, thinking they make up 25 percent of the population.

Thanks for making your bigotry so unambiguous, Alexa.

Mysterious sports blogger Jay Maxson is relieved that coronavirus disrupted the baseball season, otherwise "LGBT advocates were about to engulf minor league baseball with their propaganda this season. The number of pride nights was going to explode to an all-time high, and the resultant 'service to humanity' by LGBT pressure groups was going to be off the charts." After noting someone stating that the purpose of pride nights was to "hook a younger LGBTQ generation on baseball," Maxson conspiratorially added: "Or is that to hook baseball fans on the LGBT? No answer needed." Maxson didn't explain exactly how that's supposed to work.

The latest installment in MRC writers freaking out over the mere existence of gay cartoon characters was enacted by Elise Ehrhard, who melted down over the character of She-Ra being an "open lesbian." Of course, she couldn't do so without a condescending lecture over how children should be shielded from the existence of gay people:

Throughout the '80s and '90s, "family-friendly" entertainment grew more and more sexualized. The one space children and families still had that was not fraught with sexual innuendo was the realm of same-sex friendship. That all changed in the last decade as the LGBT movement took over children's entertainment.

This is tragic for children on many levels because the development of platonic same-sex friendships is a critical aspect of healthy early childhood development. It is a staple of child psychology that "prior to the onset of adolescence, boys and girls become socialized primarily within same-sex contexts" and "same-sex friendship dominates the childhood peer socialization experience from preschool through grade school." Therefore, children's stories which overtly sexualize or romanticize same-sex friendship deliberately sow confusion. But the sexual revolutionaries do not care. They are determined to project their own narcissistic need for "queer visibility" onto children's spaces.

[...]

Sadly, in today's day and age parents cannot click on a cartoon, even a re-make of a childhood favorite, and presume it is agenda-free. After the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationally came into full force, same-sex romance is considered no different from the male/female romance that children recognize as "mom and dad." Therefore, the rights and well-being of children to healthy early development free of unnecessary sexual confusion is no longer in force. Hollywood culture is not on a "slippery slope." It has already gone off a cliff.

Maxson returned to rant about Nike "turning running shoes into symbols promoting the LGBT agenda," further whining that "Adidas is also jostling for position in the rainbow market, offering 22 Pride products, including the NMD R1 Pride shoes. So is New Balance.

And Moutevelis served up one more tantrum, in which she once again complains there's too many gay people on TV:

June has become “Pride Month,” so get ready for everything to turn rainbow colored as pop culture celebrates alternative genders and sexualities even more than usual. This has become big business as brands attempt to cash in on their wokeness and LGBTQABCDEFG inclusivity all month long.

The latest example of corporate virtue signaling comes from the USA and SYFY Networks, owned by NBCUniversal/Comcast, which announced plans Wednesday to partner with GLAAD for Pride Month.

[...]

Of course, this kind of pandering propaganda is nothing new. Television has been very influential in increasing public awareness and acceptance of LGBTQ issues – purposefully so – and GLAAD has been at the forefront of pressuring networks to increase gay visibility. Don’t forget, GLAAD is the organization that wants to double LGBTQ representation on TV from 10 to 20 percent by 2025 – which would be 5 times higher than the 4 percent of the population that identifies as such.

So get ready for your TV to explode rainbows -- in June and in the many years to come!

Of course, Moutevelis is the one who's pandering to the MRC's gay-hating audience by spewing such venom.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:16 AM EDT
Dubious WND Doc Clinging To Hydroxycloroquine
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The last time we checked in on WorldNetDaily's coterie of dubious docs linked to the fringe-right Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, they had thoughts about coronavirus, which leaned heavily on pushing hydroxychloroquine to cure it despite the fact it hadn't actually been proven to do so. One of those docs has continued to cling to the unproven drug.

In an April 29 column, Elizabeth Lee Vliet touted how chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine have been "FDA-approved for safety and effectiveness in 1934 and 1955, respectively," though not for coronavirus. She went conspiratorial (and randomly italic) pretty quickly:

So, CDC has said CQ and HCQ are safe and well tolerated for years to prevent and treat malaria. FDA later approved HCQ for treating lupus and RA, with millions taking much higher doses over decades, not days.

[...]

Critics claim we have "no evidence" for use in coronavirus. They willfully ignore that we DO have data from 2002-2005 showing HCQ has potent antiviral action early in the illness of SARS-CoV. Why don't FDA, CDC, WHO, Dr. Fauci, the American Medical Association and most media tell you about this?

Dr. Fauci, FDA and CDC have up to the minute, country by country data on number of cases, number of deaths and number of deaths per million population. Their failure to allow, and even encourage, physicians to offer HCQ as an option to COVID-19 patients early in the disease is causing more deaths in America compared to countries using HCQ at the earliest onset of infection.

On May 7, Vliet attacked a competing drug that shows promise against coronvirus, remdesivir, for having been quickly given emergency use authorization by the FDA, declaring that "such rapid authorization is quite unusual with the FDA." Again, Vliet went conspiratorial, attacking remdesivir's maker, Gilead Sciences:

Is someone stacking the deck in Gilead's favor? Nine of the experts on the NIH COVID-19 Panel recommending treatment options have disclosed financial support from Gilead. Why did these nine experts not recuse themselves? Did financial conflicts of interest affect the recommendation against HCQ, the older, safer, cheaper medicine, and for use of remdesivir, the new, expensive experimental medicine, based on weak, not-yet-peer-reviewed evidence?

[...]

Patients' lives are being sacrificed on the altar of financial interests and elite D.C. powerbrokers, instead of being entrusted to the judgment of patients' own physicians. We are witnessing the deadly consequences of bureaucrats and governors practicing medicine.

Vliet spent her May 20 column having a fit that an "FDA bureaucrat," Rick Bright, had tried to delay broad use of hydroxychloroquine against coronavirus due to lack of scientific evidence that it worked.And it was quickly rant time:

Rick Bright's dictatorial decree limits the use of chloroquine (CQ) and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) from the National Strategic Stockpile in COVID-19 to hospitalized patients only. States are using Bright's fiat to impose broad restrictions limiting the drugs' availability for physicians to use for outpatients to help them recover without hospitalization.

[...]

How does one non-physician bureaucrat have such power with impunity? How can one person brag about blocking physicians' attempt to reduce hospitalization and deaths during a national emergency?

It is a falsehood to say that the administration promoted HCQ as a "panacea" or that this medicine "clearly lacks scientific merit." Both statements are contradicted by video recordings of presidential briefings, by NIH/CDC studies going back 15 years, and by U.S. and worldwide clinical outcomes studies in COVID-19.

[...]

Bright's disastrous bureaucratic decision may well be remembered as one of the worst preventable medical tragedies in our time. Never again should one government employee be allowed unrestrained power without oversight, and be allowed to make a sweeping order interfering with the prescribing authority of front-line physicians trying to save lives.

Vliet's AAPS compadre, Jane Orient, turned her attention to trying to undermine the efficacy and safety of a possible coronavirus vaccine. She complained in a May 7 column: "What to do now? Let the collapse continue until "we have a vaccine"? Does that mean "until (unless?) everybody is vaccinated with a safe and effective vaccine"? There is NO vaccine for most viruses. The influenza vaccine may be only 30% effective, and many serious side effects are reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)."

In a May 18 column, Orient freaked out over President Trump's "Operation Warp Speed" to quickly develop a vaccine and,as befits the AAPS executive director, went conspiratorial:

One reason for hurry is that the epidemic might be gone later, and the vaccinators couldn't take the credit. We have no vaccine for the "Spanish" flu of 1918, the "Asian" flu of 1958, or the "Hong Kong" flu of 1968, all of which killed far more than the current pandemic, and all of which went away. A speedy vaccine, which was developed for the predicted 1976 mass extinction/swine flu pandemic that never was,resulted in deaths and Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Humanity survived many waves of far more deadly pestilence before vaccines existed.

Of course, we have vaccines now, which all much larger swathes of humanity to survive pestilence.

(Vliet also fearmongered about vaccines in her April 29 column: "Dr. Fauci's focus has been that we need to wait for a vaccine to safely re-open the country. Why? He knows vaccines take months to years to develop. Surely, he is also aware of the safety issues of vaccines rushed to market without adequate testing.")

Meanwhile, WND has been giving space to another (though apparently not AAPS-affiliated) doc, Scott Magill, to opine about coronavirus despite his being a retired gynecologist and obstetrician. We previously noted his May 5 column, in which he ranted about infectious disease expert (which Magill is not) Anthony Fauci, asserting that "Fauci, in his role as longtime federal immunology bureaucrat, paid $3.7 million to the Wuhan laboratory for coronavirus development after the U.S. declared a moratorium on such funding." That's a lie; the money -- which was renewed by the Trump administration last year -- was granted to a research group called the EcoHealth Alliance, which was doing research on coronaviruses in bats and working with, among others, the Wuhan Institute of Virology; the institute receoved only $600,000 since 2014 for its role.

Magill also asserted that China owns the patent for remdesivir; that's not true either. He further portrayed coronavirus as a bioweapon that escaped from the Wuhan lab; that's also false.

Magill also asserted that Fauci "and his pharmaceutical partners stand to make huge profits from any expensive COVID-19 vaccine developed later, while they earn nothing from cheap hydroxychloroquine cure available right now." Again, not true.

Lies and conspiracy theories? That's our WND! And the reason, David Kupelian, why WND continues to get tagged as "harmful misinformation" on social media.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:47 AM EDT
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

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