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Wednesday, June 24, 2020
MRC Forgets It Used to Peddle Conspiracy Theories About Employment Stats Being Fudged
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Joseph Vazquez complained in a June 5 item:

President Donald Trump’s economy proved it’s not going down without a fight. An excellent new jobs report has Keynesian New York Times economist Paul Krugman babbling about a Trump conspiracy on Twitter to make sense of it.

CNBC reported that “Employment stunningly rose by 2.5 million in May and the jobless rate declined to 13.3%,” based on Friday’s Bureau of Labor Statistics’s (BLS) report. The report “was far better than economists had been expecting and indicated that an economic turnaround could be close at hand.” Krugman didn’t appear to know what to do with these numbers, except try to speculate the “possibility” that the Trump administration has “gotten to the BLS” to fudge the numbers. 

Really.

[...]

Then came the kicker: Krugman floated a conspiracy theory, suggesting that the Trump administration could have coerced the BLS to produce fraudulent data: 

[...]

Even the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under former President Barack Obama Jason Furman took issue with Krugman’s conspiracy theory. Furman said in a retweet to Krugman: “You can 100% discount the possibility that Trump got to the BLS. Not 98% discount, not 99.9% discount, but 100% discount.”

Vazquez liked this tweet so muchhe put it on a list of the "Top 10 WORST Paul Krugman Tweets of 2020 … So Far."

Just one problem: the MRC had no problem pushing conspiracy theories about unemployment numbers when Barack Obama was president.

As we noted, in a March 2017 NewsBusters post, Tom Blumer -- who would later be canned from NewsBusters for putting white nationalist links in his items, though the NewsBusters editors who allowed them to be published in the first place apparently went unpunished -- accused outgoing BLS leader Erica Groshen of fudging unemployment numbers during her four-year tenure:

During Groshen's reign, as the reported unemployment rate dropped from 8.0 percent to 4.8 percent during her term, there was reason to believe that BLS may have changed its criteria for whether a person was in the labor force and began excluding more people who were legitimately looking for work. Doing so in a manner inconsistent with previous practices would artificially reduce the officially reported unemployment rate.

Groshen has been gone for six weeks. With new leadership, it's at least possible that Team Trump has gained confidence in the BLS data, and has had the opportunity to correct any major flaws which the previous director might have allowed into its processes.

Blumer provided no evidence to back up his accusation.

Blumer also acused Groshen of having "ties to decidedly left-wing political groups," but the Daily Caller article he cited as evidence for this noted only that she co-authored an article "urging an end to small businesses’ exemption from expensive federal regulations," and that her husband donated $20 to "the far-left Working Families Party."


Posted by Terry K. at 7:59 PM EDT
AIM's Double Standard On Alleged Presidential Candidate Health Issues
Topic: Accuracy in Media

CNN editor-in-chief Chris Cillizza pushed a story questioning President Donald Trump’s health after Trump delicately walked down a ramp following a speech he gave at West Point.

But Cillizza has criticized health scare stories before – in 2016, when conservatives publicly questioned then-candidate Hillary Clinton’s health in the 2016 campaign cycle.

[...]

Cillizza speculated about Trump’s health because Trump’s “medical past is a total mystery.”

-- Spencer Irvine, June 16 Accuracy in Media post

CNN, which has been a vocal critic of President Donald Trump, chose to ignore a recent poll that asked likely voters about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s mental capacities.

The Zogby poll, which was released this week, found that a majority of voters believed that Biden is in the early stages of dementia. Fifty-five percent of likely voters said it was more likely that Biden is in the early stages of dementia, with 45% of likely voters believed it was less likely to be true. The majority of Republican voters believed Biden has dementia with 77% expressing that opinion, while 32% of Democratic voters believed it. However, 56% of independent voters believed Biden has early dementia.

[...]

Only right-leaning media outlets such as the Daily Wire and NewsMax reported on the Zogby poll. CNN and the mainstream media were nowhere to be found when it came to this poll’s findings and potential implications for the 2020 presidential election.

Biden’s stuttering and losing his train of thought have been well-documented during this election cycle, but the likes of CNN and the mainstream media dismissed the possibility that Biden may lack the mental capacity to serve as president at his age.

-- Spencer Irvine, June 19 AIM post

(Note to Irvine: Biden's stuttering has been a lifelong affliction and is not a sign of dementia, however much you want it to be.)


Posted by Terry K. at 3:03 PM EDT
Another WND Writer Tags Wearing Masks As Virtue-Signaling
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Jack Cashill has a companion at WorldNetDaily to support his bad take that wearing a mask is "virtue signaling." Rachel Alexander wrote in her June 8 WND column, under the headline "The viciousness of the mask-wearing virtue signalers":

There have been some nasty confrontations between people over wearing face masks. One side thinks they're helpful, both at protecting themselves from COVID-19 and protecting others from contracting it if they happen to have it. The other side thinks they don't work. The divide has fallen down party lines, as Republicans learn more about the masks' inefficacy and question the so-called experts, like Dr. Anthony Fauci who has reversed his position on wearing them.

Mask proponents tell those who won't wear them that they are rude and inconsiderate and jeopardizing the health of others, especially the elderly. Those who don't wear them just want to be left alone. Now, I'm not addressing situations where the government or business requires them. I'm referring to this insistence that we must all wear them everywhere even though it's only optional.

[...]

President Trump doesn't wear a mask, even though he comes into contact with hundreds of people every day, some who have been traveling. He has access to the top experts in the country. What does that tell you?

[...]

I'm sure most mask proponents mean well. They really think they are keeping people safer by wearing them. It's hard to blame them considering the conflicting information we've gotten from our leaders and so-called experts. But they need to stop being so rude and condescending to those of us who have done the research and concluded otherwise. They accuse us of not caring about the elderly, but these are the same people who support euthanasia. It's a ruse.

Now that the left has started rioting, notice you hear nothing more about wearing masks and social distancing. New York requires masks in public where social distancing isn't possible, but it's clear that hundreds of protesters aren't complying. Why the change in attitude? Is it because the onerous restrictions were hurting conservatives more initially, and now that the left is rioting no one wants to bother them? It's evidence the masks really aren't necessary.

Alexander also served up some bunk about asymptomatic transmission:

The WHO's advice on its website at that time advised, "if you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection." On March 8, Fauci said on CBS' "60 Minutes," "There's no reason to be walking around with a mask."

The CDC claims the "experts" changed their minds when they realized people without symptoms could spread the virus. Funny, since then, how many stories have you heard about this occurring? That's right, it completely disappeared out of the news. My guess is the so-called experts freaked out as the numbers increased and wanted to make people feel good as if they were doing something and would be safe. Herd mentality.

As we noted, the WHO did confuse things by claiming that asymptomatic transmission was rare, a claim that turned out to be misleading, but it's indisputable that people can spread the virus without knowing they have it -- and that's why wearing masks is important, no matter what Alexander thinks.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:36 AM EDT
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
MRC Demanded That Media Cover WHO Claim That Was Misleading
Topic: Media Research Center

For much of the spring, the Media Research Center acted like the division of the Trump re-election campaign it is and parroted the president's attacks on the World Health Organization as effectively a division of the Chinese Communist Party for purportedly downplaying the threat of coronavirus as it was emerging in China. This led to headlines such as "CBS & ABC Rush to Defend WHO From Trump, Ignore Failures," "MSNBC Spends Two Hours Siding with Pro-China WHO Over U.S. Since Trump Is ‘Worse’" and "New York Times Lauds WHO Against Trump, Quotes CCP Stooge's Criticism."

But when the WHO apparently did something that coincided with the MRC's right-wing agenda, it suddenly demanded that it be covered. Thus, this June 8 post from Nicholas Fondacaro:

Back in April, CBS and NBC threw a fit because President Trump had decided to cut off U.S. tax dollars from flowing to the World Health Organization (WHO), citing their kowtowing to China. They defended the organization as critical to fighting the coronavirus. But, on Monday, the WHO announced that the virus was very rarely transmitted via asymptomatic patients. Due to what was a mystery of who was a carrier, health officials ensured governments and business sunk the global economy, destroying lives. Now that it seemed as though we did all that for nothing, CBS and NBC were nowhere to be seen.

But to their credit, ABC’s World News Tonight did cover the WHO’s new announcement thanks to correspondent and weekend anchor Tom Llamas.

 [...]

Instead of reporting on this revelation from the organization they feverishly defended from Trump, CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News touted how their city, New York was finally reopening. NBC even wasted time with a segment dedicated to promoting the radical idea of defunding and abolishing police departments.

Just one problem here: the WHO kinda botched things. The next day, it clarified its position by stating that "we don’t actually have that answer yet" on asymptomatic transmission and that the original statement confused presymptomatic transmission with the asymptomatic type, and the original statement ignored studies showing that  asymptomatic people do, in fact, spread the virus.

As one would expect, the MRC then got mad that "liberal" fact-checkers called out the WHO on this.Corinne Weaver huffed in a June 11 post:

Facebook’s third party fact-checkers, selected by the liberal Poynter Institute, have officially labeled World Health Organization’s (WHO) statement about asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19 as “misleading.” Ironically, in April, Facebook used the WHO to disprove myths about COVID-19.  

According to Healthfeedback.org, a wing of Sciencefeedback.org, two scientists analyzed a piece on CNBC and determined that the “statements by the WHO and the reporting by CNBC were misleading and imprecise.” The CNBC piece touting the WHO’s statement was covered up with an interstitial, or filter, and labeled “partially false.”

Weaver concluded by turning on the WHO again: "As far back as mid-January, WHO was reporting information that was not accurate, based on misinformation from China. An infamous tweet dated January 14 from the WHO stated, 'Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China.'"

Weaver didn't mention that her employer had demanded that the media report the original, misleading WHO report.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:32 PM EDT
CNS Cheers Right-Wing Catholic Bishop's Pro-Trump Conspiracy Theories
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com -- in particular, managing editor Michael W. Chapman -- has a thing for right-wing Catholic activist Carlo Vigano, who likes to attack Pope Francis for not being right-wing enough. Now Vigano -- who, by the way, is Italian, not American -- has decided to inject himself into American politics, and Chapman couldn't be happier. Why? Because Vigano parrots conspiratorial right-wing language, and President Trump endorsed it -- in no small part, presumably, because Vigano painted Trump's critics as Satanists. Chapman gushed in a June 8 article:

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former apostolic nuncio (Vatican ambassador) to the United States, released a public letter to President Donald Trump on Sunday in which he said there is a Biblical battle going on in the United States between "the children of light and the children of darkness," i.e., the followers of Christ vs. the the followers of the "invisible enemy," the Devil.

"And it appears that the children of darkness -- whom we may easily identify with the deep state which you wisely oppose and which is fiercely waging war against you in these days -- have decided to show their cards, so to speak, by now revealing their plans," said the archbishop, who resides in Europe.

The archbishop, who called on Pope Francis to resign in 2018 for reportedly covering up the sexual abuse history of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, further said to Trump, "I dare to believe that both of us are on the same side in this battle, albeit with different weapons."

"For the first time, the United States has in you a President who courageously defends the right to life, who is not ashamed to denounce the persecution of Christians throughout the world, who speaks of Jesus Christ and the right of citizens to freedom of worship," said Vigano. "Your participation in the March for Life, and more recently your proclamation of the month of April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month, are actions that confirm which side you wish to fight on."

Chapman, however, didn't highlight Vigano's conspiracy theory that "the riots in these days were provoked by those who, seeing that the virus is inevitably fading and that the social alarm of the pandemic is waning, necessarily have had to provoke civil disturbances, because they would be followed by repression which, although legitimate, could be condemned as an unjustified aggression against the population" and that "hidden behind these acts of vandalism and violence there are those who hope to profit from the dissolution of the social order so as to build a world without freedom."

Vigano also pushed another conspiracy theory, that fellow bishops with whom he disagrees -- read: not as far-right as him -- are "subservient to the deep state, to globalism, to aligned thought, to the New World Order which they invoke ever more frequently in the name of a universal brotherhood which has nothing Christian about it, but which evokes the Masonic ideals of those want to dominate the world by driving God out of the courts, out of schools, out of families, and perhaps even out of churches."

Since Chapman reproduced Vigano's entire letter, it's entirely possible that he subscribes to Vigano's conspiracy theories as well.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:39 PM EDT
MRC Heavily Pushed Trump's No-Tear-Gas Falsehood
Topic: Media Research Center

A couple weeks back, we noted how a Media Research Center post embraced the Park Service's explanation that no tear gas was used when Lafayette Square was cleared of protesters so President Trump could do his Bible-clutching photo op in front of a church near the square -- even though that story fell apart almost immediately. Turns out the MRC pushed that story a couple other times as well.

In a June 2 post, Kyle Drennen complained about the media "hyping the 'outrage' over President Trump visiting the church" and reports that tear gas was used on protesters, further huffing: "The Park Police dispute that version of events, denying that they used tear gas and claiming that they were unaware of the President’s plan to exit the White House and walk across Lafayette Square to St. John’s." He closed by complaining, "If journalists want to criticize the timing and optics of Trump visiting a church, they should at least be as outraged by rioters who set that church on fire a day earlier."

Maybe Drennen should question his swallowing a false narrative before attacking others.

In another post the same day, Curtis Houck ranted about a "juvenile diatribe" on  CNN that noted the flashbang grenades going off and tear gas in the air," huffing in response: "As we later found out, the use of tear gas was a complete lie."

The following day, Houck grumbled that "CNN chief White House correspondent and resident quack Jim Acosta predictably inserted himself into Wednesday’s press briefing, taking up over four minutes lamenting about Monday night’s events in D.C.’s Lafayette Park and refusing to denounce violence against police officers. And just as predictably, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany made him look like a fool." He claimed Acosta was trying to "filibuster" when he responded to McEnany's (false) denial that no tear was was used by pointing out that "chemical agents were used,"and he gave a pass to McEnany's falsehood by delcaring, "Thankfully, McEnany put a stop to it and laid out the timeline and rationale for clearing Lafayette Park."

A June 5 post by Ryan Foley included a transcript from "Late Nigh with Seth Myers" that includes the McEnany-Acosta exchange and another CNN clip pointing out the false tear-gas claim. But Foley doesn't mention it in his post; instead, he attacks Meyers for criticizing Republican Sen. Tom Cotton's notorious New York Times op-ed calling for military force to stop "looting and rioting."

That's the only time -- buried in a transcript -- that the falsehood of the tear-gas narrative is noted. None of the other posts have corrected the record, and their promotion of the Trump administration's false narrative remains. 



Posted by Terry K. at 7:31 PM EDT
Monday, June 22, 2020
CNS Censored Racist Origin Of Trump's Looting-And-Shooting Tweet
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com just loved it when President Trump tweeted at the height of unrest following the police-custody death of George Floyd, "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." Patrick Goodenough gushed in a May 29 article:

As a police precinct in Minneapolis went up in flames overnight, President Trump tweeted that he has offered Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz military support, and added a warning: “Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

The same day, Susan Jones complained that Twitter "masked" Trump's tweet with a message stating that it "violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence." She then touted Trump's executive order attacking social media. Goodenough similarly complained that Twitter "limited the visibility of Trump's tweet."

Melanie Arter noted the tweet in a June 1 article, and in a separate article that day quoted Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (whom she neglected to identify as a Republican) calling the tweet "inflammatory" and "not helpful."

None of these articles, however, mentioned the origin of the phrase: with racist andsegrationist officials during the 1960s. A real news outlet reported:

In 1967, Miami police Chief Walter Headley used the phrase "when the looting starts, the shooting starts" during hearings about crime in the Florida city, invoking angry reactions from civil rights leaders, according to a news report at the time.

"He had a long history of bigotry against the black community," said professor Clarence Lusane of Howard University.

[...]

According to Lusane, Headley may have borrowed the phrase from Eugene "Bull" Connor, who had been the notorious public safety commissioner in Birmingham, Ala. Connor was a segregationist who directed the use of police dogs and fire hoses against black demonstrators.

[...]

Segregationist presidential candidate George Wallacealso used the phrase during the 1968 campaign.

CNS later alluded to this in the most weirdly oblique way. A June 8 article by  Arter noted an interview between CBS "Face the Nation" host Margaret Brennan and Condoleezza Rice, former national  security adviser under President George W. Bush:

Brennan invited Rice to criticize Trump, asking her about his tweet, "when the looting starts, the shooting starts."

But Rice steered a neutral course:

"The president, obviously, the shooting and looting, he said that he didn't know that historical context. And so I would say, think about the historical context before you say something because it is a deep wound.

"And the presidency is special in that regard. People look to the Oval Office, as we've looked to the Oval Office throughout our history, for -- for messages, for signals. And as I said, the president has used some language that I am really very -- very much admire, like the resilience of the American people. Just be careful about those messages.

But nowhere in her article did Arter explain what that "historical context" was or include any explanation of it from the interview, so its readers may not know there was a controversy over the tweet since it had previously censored the discission.

That's unhelpful reporting and doesn't inform CNS' readers. Then again, misinforming them may be the point.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:42 PM EDT
WND Silent On Project Veritas' Antifa Fail
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An anonymous WorldNetDaily staffer breathlessly wrote in a June 4 article:

An undercover video released Thursday by James O'Keefe's Project Veritas shows an instructor for the far-left militant movement Antifa teaching newcomers how to injure people.

"The whole goal of this, right, it to get out there and do dangerous things as safely as possible," says an instructor for Antifa, which is blamed for much of the violence that has enveloped the protests of the death of George Floyd over the past week.

"Practice things like an eye gouge. It takes very little pressure to injure someone's eyes."

[...]

The video was created with the help of an infiltrator who warned of becoming the target of violence if identified.

But WND didn't tell its readers that the Project Veritas video was deceptively edited to suggest it depicted something going on currently; in fact, the bookstore where the training was allegedly taking place closed two years ago.

Uncritically repeating right-wing propaganda without bothering to fact-check it is not a good look for something that claims to be a "news" organization.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:16 AM EDT
Sunday, June 21, 2020
MRC's Graham Is Mad 100,000 Coronavirus Deaths Were Honored
Topic: Media Research Center

Tim Graham began his May 29 column somberly: "On May 27, the American death toll from coronavirus sunk into the six figures: 100,000 lives lost. That’s a very sad number, made sadder when we ponder that the virus prevents loved ones from saying goodbye in person, and makes any funeral an extremely small event."

That somberness disappeared quickly, as Graham spent the rest of his column ranting that the media was noting that sad number in an alleged conspiracy to make President Trump look bad:

The nation’s largest national newspapers have all made dramatic front pages out of the number. The New York Times came first on Sunday, filling their entire front page and three more pages with names of the victims. USA Today followed on Wednesday with an entire front page in black, with photos of the dead. The Washington Post waited until the horrible number was true, but still printed some actual news stories on the front page.

In the Post, Marc Fisher brought the usual emotional language to the milestone. It “slipped by like so many other days in this dark spring, one more spin of the Earth, one more headline in a numbing cascade of grim news.”

It’s hardly “slipping by.” They’ve made sure of that.

CNN promoted each and every one of these performative pages, which strongly enhanced the notion that this wasn’t just a number. It was a political strategy. Each of these newspapers and CNN haven’t just reported on President Trump, but have cast him as a dangerous man who should be removed from office long before he had a chance to campaign for re-election.

[...]

You can’t merely grieve in a vague way for the 100,000. They have to be trotted out as talking points, as Public Rationale Number One for removing Trump from office in November.

Graham concluded: "We can all lament this death toll, but some clearly are beating their breasts in the most opportunistic way imaginable. It doesn’t honor the victims. It merely exploits them." We don't recall Graham complaining when his employer spent years exploited the deaths of people at Benghazi or the Border Patrol agent who died in a tangental link to the Fast and Furious operation -- but, hey, that was when there was a Democratic president.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:40 PM EDT
CNS Also Touts Its Parent's Agenda-Affirming Poll
Topic: Media Research Center

We documented how the Media Research Center's promotion of its agenda-confirming poll claiming that a majority of voters believe the media want a long coronavirius shutdown to hurt President Trump's re-election chances failed to tell readers about the conflict of interest that the MRC's pollster is shared with Trump's re-election campaign. The MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, didn't do any better.

Managing editor Michael W. Chapman's June 9 article on the poll reads like a the press release it is, and it still carries a "BREAKING" notice in the head despite it being long past breaking news, if indeed it ever was:

A new survey released this morning shows that 59.8% of likely voters, liberal and conservative, believe that "some members of the media" would like to see the coronavirus shutdown drag on so that "it hurts" President Donald Trump's chances of reelection in November.

“This is just more evidence of how at odds the American liberal media are with the American public,” said Media Research Center (MRC) President Brent Bozell. “Honest journalism has been replaced with leftist advocacy. Even in these divisive times, both conservatives and liberals can agree on one thing: the media have it out for President Trump.”

Not only did Chapman fail to disclose that the pollster the MRC used, McLaughlin & Associates, is also on the payroll of the Trump re-election campaign --  raising questions about the veracity of the poll, given the partisan motivations of those behind it -- or that McLaughlin has an atrocious polling record, he also failed to supply the basic disclosure of the fact that the MRC is CNS' parent.

Chapman loves to load up the items he writes with lot of images, but this time he threw in a shot of CNN anchor Don Lemon for no apparent reason; he's not mentioned anywhere in the article.

Chapman keeps demonstrating that the "news" outlet he manages cares more about being a pro-Trump stenographer and less about news.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:20 PM EDT
Saturday, June 20, 2020
MRC Goes A-Heathering Against Conserative Trump Critic, Fox News Host
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has spent years Heathering itsd fellow conservatives who step out of line by failing to rigidly toe the conservative line. These days, though, Trumpism must be enforced, and the MRC will tolerate no dissent, even from those whose conservative credentials are impeccable (and Fox News hosts).

So when "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace and conservative guest Jonah Goldberg criticized White House press secretary Kayleigh McEneny's unprofessional behavior in attacking journalists who dare to question the actions of the Trump administration, Nicholas Fondacaro went into full Heathering mode:

Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace invited a panel to bash White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany because she dared to stand up to the opposition press. Between Wallace taking it personally and the Never-Trump editor-in-chief of The Dispatch, Jonah Goldberg attacking her, it was like watching CNN.

Wallace’s chief complaint was that McEnany had taken the White House pool to task for ignoring and downplaying the revelations in the corrupt investigation of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, and how the Russian collusion narrative was unraveling.

“I have to say that if Kayleigh McEnany had told Sam Donaldson and me what questions we should ask, that would not have gone well [for her],” Wallace bristled as he addressed Goldberg.

[...]

Wallace also repeatedly threw around how he used to be a White House correspondent back in the day with ridiculously biased Sam Donaldson. That being the case, Wallace should acknowledge the fact that every press secretary has acted as a spokesperson for the respective administration they work for.

Now, the argument can be made that McEnany's comments can be a little hot, but the hyperbolic rhetoric from Goldberg and Wallace was uncalled for.

Fondacaro -- who is a Trump true believer, incapable of considering that he or his administration is capable of doing anything wrong -- repeated his employer's old blame-the-media schtick: "But back in reality, the liberal media were the ones who had turned nearly every press briefing into 'gladiatorial arenas' since day one of the Trump presidency. One just needed to look at how CNN’s Jim Acosta, Playboy’s Brian Karem, and the plethora of other so-called 'journalists' who used the briefings to make themselves the news story."

This fit of Heathering is just another example of how the MRC has become an arm of Trump's re-election campaign.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:24 AM EDT
WND Tries To Spin Away Film About Roe v. Wade Plaintiff
Topic: Media Research Center

Like the Media Research Center and CNSNews.com, WorldNetDaily didn't take news of the new documentary film on Norma McCorvey, the "Jane Roe" plaintiff of the Roe v. Wade case that ultimately made abortion legal, very well since she states that she became an anti-abortion activist because she was paid to do so.

WND went into damage control quickly, with an anonymously written May 20 article (before the film was released) rehashing a Daily Caller item claiming that "people who spent years working with her scoffed at the idea." It featured Troy Newman of Operation Rescue -- which, if you'll recall recall, helped inspire Scott Roeder to murder an abortion doctor in Kansas -- pulling the old trick of attacking the filmmaker as having "no credibility because of his previous work, including titles 'Born in the Wrong Body,' 'Transgender Kids' and 'Sex robots.'"

The next day, WND served up another article, this time highlighting anti-abortion activists "demanding the filmmakers provide proof of their claim." Again, this was before anyone had seen the full film, and the proof they were demanding would have been in that film. In neither of these articles does WND bother to contact the filmmaker so that he could respond to the criticms.

However, WND largely ignored "AKA Jane Roe" after this, even though the film had finally become available. The only reference to it we could find was a May 26 column by Jerry Newcombe, who begins with the usual attempt to discredit: "It should be noted she was paid to appear in the FX documentary. Nick Sweeney, the documentary producer, has made movies about sex robots and girls becoming 'boys.'" Newcombe offered no evidence she was "paid to appear" in the film; Sweeney says he gave her a "modest licensing fee" to use family photos and video). Newcombe then called in Operation Rescue's Cheryl Sullenger -- who was sentenced to three years in prison for plotting to blow up an abortion clinic in the 1980s -- to handwave McCorvey's more damaging claims:

On my radio show, Sullenger added that the claim McCorvey received money from the pro-life movement proves nothing. Receiving honoraria for speaking engagements is a common practice, no matter one's politics.

Furthermore, Norma claims in the FX documentary that they (pro-lifers/the evangelicals/the Catholics) told her what to say. That can sound worse than it was. Sullenger noted that Norma had little education and was not a polished public speaker. Thus, in various venues in which she spoke, speechwriters crafted the copy she read. That type of thing happens all the time, again, no matter one's politics.

Newcombe included by declaring that what McCorvey said doesn't really matter and that the anti-abortion narrative is more important:

Only God knows the heart. Norma McCorvey was a fiery, unpredictable woman with rough edges. But regardless of who was telling the truth between the Norma of 1995 and the Norma of 2016 (in that one interview), the realities of abortion, legalized in her court case, do not change. Abortion unjustly takes an innocent human life and does incredible damage to the mother. That's not a matter of changing opinions or the passage of time. That's a fact.

That's what one must do to stay on message when another, more compelling message runs counter to it.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:41 AM EDT
Friday, June 19, 2020
NewsBusters Defends Fox' Baier As Impartial. Forgets His Anti-Hillary Fake News
Topic: NewsBusters

Randy Hall devoted a June 1 NewsBusters post to complaining about a purported "hit job" on Fox News anchor Bret Baier in the Hollywood Reporter arguing that he's not as impartial as right-wingers like to claim he is. Enlisting fellow right-winger Caleb Hull on defense, Hall was particularly unhappy that the article cited "more than a dozen cable news insiders and industry observers" to support its claim, huffing: "Cable news insiders? And because they're anonymous, we don't know if they're from CNN or MSNBC, or disgruntled ex-Fox employees."

Hall then exhibited the Media Research Center's hypocrisy on anonymous sources by further complaining that the supposed "hit job" cited as an example of Baier's bias a claim that the coronavirus originated in a labe in Wuhan, China, that was sourced only by "classified and open-source documents and evidence" that the network did not "directly view" -- in other words, effectively anonymous documents.

But neither Hall nor the Hollywood Reporter cited a more egregious example of Baier's bias: a report before the 2016 presidential election that Hillary Clinton's indictment was imminent -- another anonymous sourced piece that Baier had to retract. If you'll recall, the MRC enthusiastically promoted Baier's bogus story -- so much so that MRC chief Brent Bozell declared that "We will report developments on this continuing cover-up every hour from here on out" -- and never told its readers it was retracted.

If we know anything about the MRC, is that it's so far to the right that its judgment about the political leanings of others is so utterly skewed as to be unreliable. So if Hall is insisting that Baier plays it straight, that really means his conservative bias is quite pronounced.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:40 PM EDT
CNS' Trump-Defending Reporter Goes The Whataboutism Route
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've documented how CNSNews.com reporter Patric Goodenough has been slowly shedding his reputation as a decent reporter to become a pro-Trump shill like the rest of the rest of the CNS crew. He did that again in a June 1 article, which started by complaining that "The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is demanding that Twitter suspend President Trump’s 'racist' account, over his recent tweeted warning that looters exploiting protests sparked by the death of George Floyd risk being shot. CAIR based its charge that the warning amounted to a “racist threat of violence” on the fact that Trump used the word 'thugs' to describe those looting, vandalizing and torching businesses." Goodenough then went the whataboutism route:

Five years ago, President Obama used the same word in connection with those looting and destroying businesses in Baltimore, amid protests over the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who died of a spinal-cord injury while in police custody.

“A handful of criminals and thugs who tore up the place,” were the words Obama used to describe the perpetrators of the violent behavior.

Speaking at the White House on April 28, 2015, a day after the rioting erupted, he said there was “no excuse for the kind of violence that we saw yesterday.”

Goodenough did seem to admit he was stretching the point, noting that, unlike Obama's very narrow use of the word, "Trump used the descriptor in reference to ISIS terrorists, Democratic lawmakers, MS-13 gang members, the surviving Boston marathon bomber, and protestors outside his campaign rallies."

Goodenough also undercut his suggestion that criticism of Trump's use of "thug" is politically motivated attack against him by noting that Obama and other Democratic figures faced criticism for using the word.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:46 PM EDT
Thursday, June 18, 2020
MRC Censors Fact That Cop Killer Is A Right-Wing Extremist
Topic: Media Research Center

In a June 11 item, the Media Research Center's Bill D'Agostino complained that "ABC, CBS and NBC have churned out a massive amount of coverage for protests during the past two weeks (1,042 minutes on their morning and evening news programs), but these same networks have spent almost no airtime letting viewers know about the injuries and death inflicted on police officers during these two weeks of social unrest." He cited two incidents in particular:

On the night of May 29, federal law enforcement officer Dave Patrick Underwood was killed in a drive-by shooting while providing security at a U.S. courthouse in Oakland. The incident was labeled “an act of domestic terrorism” by Acting Deputy DHS Secretary Ken Cuccinelli. Underwood’s death received just 10 seconds of airtime from NBC; the incident received 14 seconds from CBS and 19 seconds from ABC. 

[...]

Another police killing -- the June 6 ambush and murder of a sheriff's deputy in Santa Cruz, California -- was not immediately linked to the protests and social unrest, but it also received miniscule coverage: 2 minutes, 14 seconds on ABC; 50 seconds on CBS; and 46 seconds on NBC.

The MRC has yet to tell you, however, that the man arrested in both killings is a right-wing extremist.

Steven Carrillo, an Air Force sergeant who is apparently affiliated with the far-right Boogaloo movement -- which seeks to ignite a second civil war in the U.S. -- was arrested on June 11, the same day as D'Agostino's post, for the Santa Cruz ambush, then was charged five days later with the killing of the Oakland officer.

The MRC has invoked both incidents to suggest that left-wing Antifa activists are responsible for these officers' deaths:

A June 3 post by Kristine Marsh claimed Underwood's death was an example of  how "The media also largely ignored when another black man was killed last week during the riots.

A June 4 item by D'Agostino invoked Underwood's death in a similar "study" on law enforcement deaths that were "glossed over or were ignored outright by the broadcast networks."

In his June 6 column, Jeffrey Lord referenced "the murder of Dave Patrick Underwood, a black federal security officer in Oakland" as an example of the "looting and burning."

Nicholas Fondacaro complained in a June 7 post that "ABC chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz appeared on Good Morning America claimed Trump wanted to bring 'combat troops' to bear against peaceful protesters. But while ABC was mischaracterizing Trump’s use of active-duty military, they completely ignored the ambush of sheriff’s deputies in Santa Cruz, California, where one was murdered and two more injured.

Fondacaro used the Santa Cruz incident to attack Raddatz in another post the same day: "But even though a Santa Cruz County sheriff’s deputy was killed and two others were injured in an ambush the previous night, Raddatz indignantly declared: 'There have not been too many examples in the last few days.'"

The MRC should tell its readers the full story about the incidents it cites -- you know, what it demands from the media outlets it criticizes.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:40 PM EDT

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