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Sunday, June 28, 2020
MRC's Graham Is Mad Once Again That Trump Is Fact-Checked
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham is totally cool with President Trump lying all the time -- so much so, in fact, that he and the MRC attack the media for fact-checking him. Graham did this again in his June 10 column, in which he complains that Washington Post fact-checkers have compiled a book of Trump's falsehoods.

Graham served up his usual hand-waving of Trump's falsehoods: "Trump has a casual relationship with the truth. Even MAGA hat-wearing Trump boosters know it." (Graham said the same thing in a 2019 MRC post.) He then complained:

There's a Big Lie at the end of the "fact-checker" book: a passage from page 261, in the concluding chapter, titled "Toward a Resurgence of Truth." It was plucked out and celebrated by CNN host Brian Stelter, since it's a favorite Big Lie on the left. The authors claim Trump is like a dictator: "A hallmark of authoritarian regimes is to call truth into question — except as the regime defines it. Russian president Vladimir Putin offers up a fog of disinformation to maintain power, including denying obvious facts (such as Russian involvement in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17), spouting falsehoods and deflecting attention with nonsensical comparisons (dubbed 'whataboutism')."

Then the authors quote former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul as saying, "A cumulative effect of all these tactics is nihilistic debasement of the very concept of truth."

This "authoritarian" lie was repeated when Kessler appeared on "Morning Joe" on June 2. Co-host Mika Brzezinzki said Trump isn't just assaulting truth. "It's also an assault on our democracy."

Kessler said, "Correct."

This is what Kessler calls a Bottomless Pinocchio, an often-repeated untruth. Donald Trump is not a dictator. Nobody's jailing anyone at The Washington Post for maintaining anti-Trump databases and screaming, "Democracy dies in darkness!" like a panic-stricken teenager on the front page every day.

So a president can't be described as "authoritiarian" if you don't act on those authoritarian impulses? Then perhaps he and the MRC should apologize for portraying President Obama and other Democrats as having gone authoritarian even they know that, by Graham's standards for Trump, they haven't.

For instace, David Limbaugh ranted in a May 2016 column published by the MRC attacking the Obama administration's policy to bring more equality to transgendered people:

The Obama administration obviously cares not a whit for the privacy of students who don't want to be forced to share a restroom with students of the opposite sex. The rights of the many will be subordinated to the rights of the very, very few -- not to protect the rights of those few but to manufacture rights that don't exist to make an authoritarian statement on behalf of Big Brother.

Folks, there has to be a tipping point -- a point at which we'll no longer tolerate this kind of tyranny, even if it means the states' forgoing blood money from the federal leviathan.

In a March 2016 column published by the MRC, Michelle Malkin complained about an "educational SWAT team" then-candidate Hillary Clinton wanted to establish to improve education: "Clinton's SWAT team solution, you should know, is like all her other authoritarian plans: a moldy, recycled oldie."

In an August 2015 post, Seton Motley complained of director Quentin Tarantino's praise for Obama, asserting that Tarantino is "totally stoked the president’s been ruling by executive fiat" and adding, "Scratch a liberal – or cut his ear off – you find an authoritarian."

In a December 2014 post, Tom Blumer declared Obama's executive action to create a program to protect undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as minor children to be an "authoritarian immigration move."The month before, Blumer similarly attacked a provision in the Affordable Care Act: "Auto-defaulting consumers into a lower-cost plan and forcing them to do something about it if they want to keep their current plan's design and provider network is (here we go again) heavy-handed, authoritarian over-reach."

Blumer also complained that a "Like A Boss" T-shirt sold by Democrats "has obvious authoritarian overtones," huffing: "That Democrats can openly sell hate and Dear Leader-admiring authoritarianism at their online store is thus a small indicator of a much, much larger problem."

That's right: According to the MRC, Obama T-shirts are "authoritarian," while Trump is not.

Graham concluded his column by ranting: "We have an election in November. No one has canceled it. But liberal journalists speculate that imaginary tyrant Trump will never leave office if he loses...which is laughable, since they've never accepted he was legitimately elected in the first place." Remember that the MRC effectively condoned Obama birtherism by not criticizing it until it was applied against Brent Bozell's preferred 2016 presidential candidate, Ted Cruz, so it can be argued that Graham and Co. never considered Obama to have been legitimately elected.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:32 PM EDT
CNS Keeps On Publishing -- And Defending -- Increasingly Extremist Malkin
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com is continuing to publish and defend right-wing columnist Michelle Malkin even as she moves further to the far-right fringe and embrac s white nationalism and conspiracy theories.

A June 4 article by commentary editor Rob Shimshock complained that "Twitter locked the account of Michelle Malkin on Wednesday, after the conservative author and columnist suggested the use of force on violent criminals.," declaring Malkin's tweet that violent criminals should be shot" to be "not dissimilar from sentiments expressed by some in law enforcement" -- as if that excused her violent intent. Shimshock went on to write:

"Every day, Twitter allows Antifa to doxx and harass journalists and Trump supporters," Malkin told National File. "Every day, Twitter allows BLM agitators to incite escalating violence against cops."

"Twitter makes no moral distinction between armed self-defense against violent criminals and proactive terrorist threats against law enforcement officers doing their jobs," she posted on Telegram.

Shimshock didn't tell readers that National File is a far-right website that promotes conspiracy theories and white nationalist events, or that Telegram is a social-media site dominated by white supremacists.

Meanwhile, Shimshock has let stand without comment Malkin's descent into conspiracy theories and white nationalism. In November, Malkin touted white nationalist Nick Fuentes,  complaining that she "was accused of promoting 'Holocaust denialism' and 'white nationalism' based on brief clips of Fuentes accumulated by anonymous sources culled from 500 of his hours-long shows." CNS didn't think it was news that this and an earlier assertion that she would stand by white nationalists like Fuentes got her removed from the speakers bureau of the decidedly conservative Young America's Foundation.

In a March column published by CNS without further comment, Malkin ranted that "amnesty" of some undocumented immigrants already in the U.S., "on top of uncontrolled mass migration of legal immigrants, aren't just turning California and Virginia and Texas blue. They are turning all of America blue. Every American should be seeing red about it and raising their voice against the coming, unforgivable betrayal of the MAGA doctrine. This isn't making American great again. It's making America disappear."

And in a May 13 screed published by CNS, Malkin promoted Judy Mikovits, a conspiracy theorist whose film "Plandemic" and conspiratorially accused infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci of being a liar. That was also published without further comment from Shimshock or anyone else at CNS.

CNS does itself no favors to being the mainstream conservative outlet it likes to think of itself as -- and, in fact, accentuates its creeping WND-ization -- by continuing to publish Malkin.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:17 PM EDT
Saturday, June 27, 2020
MRC Thinks 'Gone With The Wind' Was 'CANCELLED'
Topic: Media Research Center

Alexa Moutevelis huffed in a June 10 post headlined with the word 'CANCELLED' in all caps:

Gone With the Wind is gone from HBO Max's video library after the classic film was effectively "cancelled" in today's racial climate.

On Monday, 12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times calling for HBO Max to remove Gone With the Wind from its library because it “glorifies the antebellum south,” “ignore[s] the horrors of slavery,” and “perpetuate[s] some of the most painful stereotypes of people of color.”

[...]

Within a day, HBO Max responded by removing the film that won 8 Oscars in 1940, including the first for a black actress, and releasing a statement:

Gone With the Wind is a product of its time and depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American society. These racist depictions were wrong then and are wrong today, and we felt that to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible. These depictions are certainly counter to WarnerMedia’s values, so when we return the film to HBO Max, it will return with a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions, but will be presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. If we are to create a more just, equitable and inclusive future, we must first acknowledge and understand our history.

This comes on the heels of HBO Max removing Elmer Fudd’s rifle from their new Looney Tunes Cartoons as well as Paramount Network canceling Cops and others calling for the cancellation of cop shows in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and subsequent anti-police protests.

The cancellations are coming fast and furious – what will be next? “After all, tomorrow is another day.”

Moutevelis didn't tell you that "Gone With the Wind" is readily available from numerous other streaming services. And temporarily withdrawing something to add a disclaimer is not "CANCELLING." Indeed, the film has since returned to HBO Max with said disclaimer -- but Moutevelis could't be bothered to write that up, since that doesn't pump up the right-wing activists that are the MRC audience.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:18 AM EDT
Chuck Norris Upset Over Texas Ranger Statue Removal -- But Hides Full Story
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Chuck Norris complained in his June 8 WorldNetDaily column:

When [wife] Gena and I also read that airport authorities in our own Lone Star State of Texas took down the Texan Ranger statue at Dallas Love Field Airport on the basis of racism, we retorted, "Really?" Take down a representation of law and order from a tried-and-true agency of criminal justice, of which my brother Aaron and I are honorary members? Are they next going to discontinue showing daily rerun episodes of my longstanding acting role as "Walker, Texas Ranger"? I oppose all threads of racism in anyone who shows them. I equally oppose demeaning agencies of justice through which good men and women fight against evil and for law and order.

Note that Norris is deliberately vague about the "racism" accusation, suggesting that it's an overreaction to the current racial strife. In fact, even the Fox News article to which he links tells the real story:

The 12-foot tall bronze statue is of Ranger Capt. Jay Banks and has greeted travelers since the 1960s.

Banks is part of a soon-to-be-released book on the history of the famed law enforcement agency.

Part of the book details how Banks was involved in trying to stop integration of public schools in North Texas in the late 1950s and how he left a black man to be lynched in 1930.

So it's not a general concern about "racism" -- it's a very specific accusation against the person depicted in the statue. And the Rangers as a whole have something of a checkered past in dealing with minorities.

But Norris didn't want to talk about those specific allegations; he otherwise mostly spoke in platitudes about trying to heal the racial divide.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:48 AM EDT
Friday, June 26, 2020
MRC Writer Melts Down Again Over Colors On A Map
Topic: Media Research Center

Last year, Media Research Center writer Scott Whitlock had a meltdown because a "CBS Sunday Morning" segment about the Reconstruction period after the Civil War used a map in which the former Confederate states were colored in red, even though "the Confederacy was made up of Democrats," who are apparently supposed to be blue. (Of course, Whitlock didn't mention that the Democrats of the Reconstruction period have morphed into the Republicans of today.) Well, Whitlock has melted down again over another map in a June 13 post:

The History Channel in late May produced a mostly laudable documentary series on Ulysses S. Grant, rightly hailing the legacy of the victorious Union general and the president who fought for civil rights. However, the series contained what’s become a recurring problem in some historical reflections on the Civil War. Throughout the three part series, the production repeatedly showed the slave-holding Confederates as red states and the Union north as blue states. In reality, it's the reverse. 

As anyone familiar with history knows, the Confederates were Democrats. It was Abraham Lincoln’s Republican Party that fought the war to preserve the union and ultimately to end slavery. As Marine and retired U.S. Army War College professor Daniel Douds astutely explained Grant’s strategy to defeat the Confederates, the on-screen graphic showcased the (incorrect) blue state/red state dynamic.

[...]

Now, a charitable person might say the choices were unintentional and not meant to associate modern red states with slavery. But if so, why not just use blue and gray, the actual colors of Civil War uniforms?

Note that Whitlock invokes the shopworn "liberal media" conspiracy here; after all, his long MRC tenure means he is well marinated in perpetuating that narrative, so he plays thet conspiracy card first and only later avers the "charitable" thought that it's not a conspiracy. But once again, this is a guy who's being triggered by colors on a map, and again, he doesn't acknowledge that the Democrats of the Civil War era have become the Republicans of today -- which would make the map colors ultimately accurate.

The fact that Whitlock thinks map colors is such a winning issue that he's written about it twice in a year tells you how little the MRC cares about actual "media research" and is much more about finding ever-more-obscure ways of trying to own the libs.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:51 PM EDT
Didn't Age Well: CNS Claimed Reports Of Tear Gas At Lafayette Square Were 'Discredited'
Topic: CNSNews.com

Following in the footsteps of its Media Research Center parent, CNSNews.com tried to tried to peddle the fiction that the Park Police didn't use tear gas to clear protesters out of Lafayette Square so President Trump could do a photo op with a Bible in front of a church.

A June 3 article by Craig Bannister highlighted Nancy Pelosi's claim that police and security were "using clubs to beat people" when, in Bannister's words, "the president walked over to the burned remains of St. John’s Church" off Lafayette Square. Actually, damage from the fire was minor and the church remained almost entirely intact. Bannister then wrote:

And, even if it’s true that White House security didn’t actually use tear gas, as discredited liberal media reports initially claimed, “They had elements of it,” Pelosi said.

Bannister apparently missed his colleague Melanie Arter's report from earlier that day in which she noted that the Park Police "did acknowledge using smoke canisters and pepper balls on the protesters." And while Arter didn't point this out, smoke canisters and pepper balls are the functional equivalent of tear gas.

Meanwhile, an actual news outlet discovered tear gas canisters at the scene, further undermining the Park Police's story. Ultimately, the Park Service tried to walk back the claim.

So, no, those "liberal media reports" have not been "discredited" -- indeed, even Fox News, which Bannister would never describe as part of the "liberal media," pointed out the botched claim and attempted walkback. Bannister's kneejerk use of right-wing anti-media propaganda backfired on him.

Meanwhile, Bannister's article remains live and uncorrected.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:01 AM EDT
Thursday, June 25, 2020
MRC's Attempt To Own NY Times Reporter On Twitter Fails Miserably
Topic: Media Research Center

Being quick and snarky is the coin of the realm on Twitter, but the Media Research Center was a little too quick in an attempt to attack a New York Times reporter -- and then refused to admit its error.

Maggie Haberman of the New York Times tweeted out a link to a story she co-wrote on the questionable effectiveness of President Trump's divisive rhetoric in the 2020 presidential campaign that stated:

Trump is “the Rod Stewart of politicians — he may keep coming up with new material but deep down he knows his fans just want to hear ‘Wake Up Maggie,’ so he keeps playing the same tune because he can’t stand the thought of them not loving his performance.”

The MRC's response, from its NewsBusters account, was to huff: "Dear Maggie: The song is 'Maggie May,' not 'Wake Up Maggie.'"

The MRC's social media guy or gal clearly did not read the Times story before he or she tweeted; otherwise, he or she would have known that this was not a quote from the writers but, rather, the writers quoting Republican strategist Terry Sullivan.

Also, "Wake up, Maggie" are the first three words of "Maggie May," so those words are exactly what Rod Stewart fans want to hear.The fact that Sullivan got the song title wrong is irrelevant since everyone knows it anyway; Haberman and her co-writer accurately quoted what Sullivan said.

The MRC's response to this was, unsurprisingly, not to admit it had screwed up. Instead, it blamed the Times for its refusal to fully read the story it was trying to snark on. After Haberman pointed out to the MRC that it was a person being quoted as saying "Wake Up Maggie" instead of the formal song title, the MRC doubled down: "So why is The New York Times lacking the copy editors to suggest the quote isn't a good one to use?"

Haberman snarked in return, since she seems to know how the MRC operates: "Will take that as the rare acknowledgement you're wrong. We will all strive to be as perfect as you going forward." But the MRC still wasn't admitting it screwed up and was still blaming others for its own screw-up like a common Trump: "We'll admit when we're wrong. But you tweeted out the inaccurate quote, like it was brilliant."

The MRC is in utter denial that it was wrong, even though it can't prove Haberman wrong. Just take the L, guys.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:18 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE -- WND's Coronavirus Conspiracies: So Many Bad Takes
Topic: WorldNetDaily
From encouraging prisoners to be vaccine guinea pigs to dismissing mask-wearing as virtue signaling to James Zumwalt's rantings, WorldNetDaily has been the go-to place for unwise claims about the coronavirus pandemic. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 2:09 PM EDT
CNS Censors The Extremist Truth About Its Favorite Gun-Toting GOP Candidate
Topic: CNSNews.com

Last November, we noted how CNSNews.com touted a meaningless petition demanding that Nancy Pelosi be impeached for "treason" launched by a Georgia woman named Marjorie Taylor Greene, whom CNS blogger Craig Bannister lovingly described as "a business owner, wife and mother" and whom, it just so happened, "has launched a campaign to become the Republican House candidate for Georgia’s 6th district." Bannister, of course, didn't tell his readers that she was a notorious enough far-right activist to earn her own profile from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Well, Bannister kept writing about her as her primary race drew closer and she pulled a big publicity stunt. He wrote in a June 2 post:

“I have a message for ANTIFA terrorists,” Marjorie Taylor Greene says while holding a semi-automatic rifle in an 18-second video on her Congressional campaign Twitter page.

Greene’s message to domestic terrorists: “Stay the hell out of northwest Georgia. You won’t burn our churches, loot our businesses or destroy our homes”:

“President Trump declared ANTIFA a domestic terrorist organization.

“I have a message for ANTIFA terrorists: stay the hell out of northwest Georgia. You won’t burn our churches, loot our businesses or destroy our homes.

“I’m Marjorie Greene and I approved this message.”

Bannister didn't indicate whether Antifa was ever a threat in northwest Georgia. Instead, he promoted her campaign and once again plugged her anti-Pelosi petition.

Bannister was also pretty giddy in a June 10 post, touting that "Marjorie Taylor Greene, whose video campaign ad featuring her holding a semi-automatic rifle while warning Antifa terrorists to 'Stay the hell out of northwest Georgia' was banned from Facebook, handily garnered the top vote total in Tuesday’s Georgia 14th district GOP primary." Not only does Greene not even live in the district (moving there only after she filed to run there), she didn't even fully win the primary; she's slated for a primary runoff with the second-place finisher in August.

Bannister obscured that fact, but he completely censored Greene's far-right extremism, which was further revealed after the primary. Turns out Greene made a series of racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic videos that she posted on Facebook, and is also an avid believer in fringe QAnon conspiracy theories, which has caused prominent Republicans to withdraw their support of her campaign.

Bannister, meanwhile, hasn't breathed a word of this at CNS. They're not terribly interested in reporting the truth when it's inconvenient to their pro-Trump, pro-Republican agenda.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:29 AM EDT
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

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