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Thursday, August 6, 2020
In Midst Of Pandemic Surge, MRC Remained A Florida Apologist
Topic: Media Research Center

We've documented how the Media Research Center praised Florida and its Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, earlier this year for low coronavirus infection numbers -- but when those numbers started spiking this summer, it had to go into defense-and-deflection mode by throwing out a lot of whataboutism regarding New York's case numbers. That deflection has continued apace.

A July 14 post by Kathleen Krumhansl (also available in Spanish) complained about Latino news networks, where allegedly "numbers are routinely bent to fit their ongoing glorification of New York, and demonization of Florida and other Republican states." The whataboutism came hot and heavy: "According to data from the CDC, in New York City alone, the fatality rate is 277.7 deaths per hundred thousand; for the whole state of Florida, total deaths reach 19.9 deaths per hundred thousand."

The same day, Duncan Schroeder huffed that "CNN co-host John Berman brought on Miami Beach’s Democratic Mayor Dan Gelber to spread liberal propaganda about Florida's response to COVID-19. Throughout the segment, Berman bashed the state's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis and attempted to make Gelber’s handling of the pandemic look better." He also huffed whataboutism: "Attacking DeSantis is nothing new for Berman. He's repeatedly savaged the Republican, but refused to hold Democratic governors such as New York’s Andrew Cuomo accountable for their mismanagement of the virus."

Kristine Marsh pounced on a report about "inflated, erroneous positive infection data"in Florida because it counters "the media’s determination to vilify Florida as the new coronavirus epicenter," going on to tout how Fox News shows like "Fox and Friends as well as the FNC’s primetime lineup shared and discussed the report Tuesday, and Monday night, respectively. Laura Ingraham said the report exposed a 'potentially massive scandal brewing regarding the way hospitals, labs, and others are reporting the percentage of positive test results.'" But as an actual fact-checker pointed out, while there have been discrepancies in reporting numbers, they don't explain away the surge in Florida coronavirus cases, as Marsh seems to be suggesting.

Schroeder also complained that a doctor who appeared on CNN was bashing Republican governors like DeSantis for their mismanagement of the pandemic, grousing that he should "have noted that California had more deaths than Texas and Florida yesterday."

Krumhansl returned to complain (in Spanish as well) that Univision provided "sympathetic coverage of a lawsuit filed by Florida's largest teacher’s union against DeSantis" over opening schools in the fall, ranting that "Univision’s viewers did not hear from Hispanic parents who want schools to open, nor from experts with views on how to safely make that happen, nor from anyone from the DeSantis Administration. She went on to assert that Univision "supports and advocates for infinite lockdowns," though she offered no alternative idea for stopping the spread of coronavirus.

Adter that, though, the MRC seemed to finally tire of defending Florida and DeSantis, apparently realizing the situation there was too dire for even diehard partisans to defend.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:01 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: Whitewashing A Black Right-Winger
Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com loves to promote black right-wing activist Candace Owens -- and to censor the numerous controversies she's been in and the extreme statements she has made. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:50 AM EDT
Wednesday, August 5, 2020
MRC's 'Facts Feared by Leftist Media' Short On Actual Facts
Topic: Media Research Center

Last month, the Media Research Center started a thing called "Facts Feared by Leftist Media," which are just a list of right-wing talking points on particular issues -- which, it turns out, are themselves a bit on the fact-deficient side.

In a post on how Planned Parenthood was "founded on racism and eugenics," Kyle Drennen wrote: "Planned Parenthood was founded by enthusiastic eugenicist Margaret Sanger in 1916. Sanger’s racist views were well-established, declaring that 'minorities (including most of America’s immigrants) are inferior in the human race, as are the physically and mentally handicapped.'"

But that quote is not from Sanger; it's from a 2017 Washington Times column by right-wing activist (and onetime director of communications at WorldNetDaily) Rebecca Hagelin, who we can assume (and Drennen should assume) is more than a bit biased against Planned Parenthood.While Sanger was very much a eugenicist, there's no evidence explicit racism drove her beliefs.

In a post on Black Lives Matter, Drennen ranted that "what reporters don’t want people to know is that the group was founded by self-avowed 'Marxists' who demand 'revolution' and seek to unmake American society." As we've documented, the MRC has been on a tear trying to brand BLM as "Marxist" because of its founders, despite the fact that even other conservatives admit BLM as it's currently constituted is not pursuing Marxist goals.

In a July 23 post on how the Democratic Party is "rooted in racism," Drennen huffed: "On Wednesday night, CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News both promoted a blatant lie from presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, who claimed Donald Trump was America’s 'first racist president.'" But Drennen doesn't deny that Trump is racist -- just that he's the "first racist president."

Drennen added: "Despite DNC operatives in the media routinely attempting to tar Republicans and conservatives as 'racist,' history shows it’s the Democratic Party that has to answer for the nation’s worst racial atrocities – from the birth of the Confederacy, to the founding of the Ku Klux Klan, and right through the Jim Crow era." Or course, the media is talking about what's happening today; nobody's denying that there was racism in the Democratic Party up until the 1960s -- when it began supporting civil rights legislation and those Democrats who wouldn't became Republicans.

Drennen also whined: "Even with this mountain of damning evidence, many in the leftist press still try to conceal the truth of the Democratic Party’s racist history. On June 30, USA Today attempted to do just that with a fake 'fact-check' that pretended Democrats weren’t responsible for the Civil War or founding the KKK." Drennen is lying; the fact-check specifically responded to the claim that the Democratic Party, not individual Democrats, were responsible for the Civil War or the KKK.

Drennen concluded with more huffing: "The next time some sanctimonious reporter or Democratic politician accuses any Republican or conservative of racism, someone should ask them if they’ve ever opened a history book." Drennen might want to consider opening one as well so he can get a fully rounded view of American history and not just cherry-pick things that advance his employer's right-wing agenda.

On Aug. 4, Drennen did a lot of ranting about the "scandals and unhinged agenda" of "Squad" members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley." They're all negative attacks that read like an Republican opposition research document; he won't mention, for instance, that a Republican congressman slurred Ocasio-Cortez as a "fucking bitch."

Drennen ultimately came up with some boilerplate for his mission: "The Media Research Center is committed to telling the truth about the left, unlike the compliant press that push its extreme views." But only certain truths, of course; inconvenient facts will be censored.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:58 PM EDT
Newsmax Columnist Attacks Fauci With Dubious Coronavirus Statistics
Topic: Newsmax

Tawfik Hamid -- whose expertise is apparently in hating Muslims, given that he's written a book called "Inside Jihad: How Radical Islam Works, Why It Should Terrify Us, How to Defeat It" -- complaine in a July 14 Newsmax column that Dr. Anthony Fauci said that he didn't know where President Truump got his assertion that 99 percent of coronavirus cases are "not a problem":

Yet even basic research on coronavirus statistics confirms beyond doubt that President Trump is correct.

For example, if anyone consults Worldometer’s coronavirus statistics, he or she can easily see, in the first box on the left of the page, about active cases of coronavirus, the essential statistics showing how many among those active cases have developed only mild symptoms and how many of them have developed more severe or serious conditions.

According to Worldometer’s statistics, 99% of coronavirus infections constitute mild cases, and only 1 percent are in serious or critical condition.

Therefore, Worldometer’s statistics fully support President Trump’s assertion.

Well, we consulted Worldometer’s coronavirus statistics and found that he 1% number referred only to current cases, not all cases. It also does not provide a definition of what it considers to be a "mild" case, and that numerical assertion appears to be contradicted elsewhere on the site. In a page that dates to April, Worldometer reported on a group of 72,314 coronavirus cases in China, where it found (bold in original):

  • 80.9% of infections are mild (with flu-like symptoms) and can recover at home.
  • 13.8% are severe, developing severe diseases including pneumonia and shortness of breath.
  • 4.7% as critical and can include: respiratory failure, septic shock, and multi-organ failure.
  • in about 2% of reported cases the virus is fatal.

Worldometer also stated that of the 12.7 million closed cases, more than 707,000, or 6 percent, resulted in death.That seems to be much higher than 1 percent.

Hamid is simply massaging statistics in a desperate attempt to boost Trump. Yet he went on to rant: "I find it difficult to understand why Dr. Fauci has ignored such clear and unmistakable statistics, which are available to anyone who wants to track coronavirus cases. Let us express our appreciation to President Trump for providing the American people with the correct statistics about coronavirus."

Yeah, not so much.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:29 PM EDT
WND Columnist Pushes 'Second Tower Moment' Conspiracy Theories
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've caught WorldNetDaily columnist W. Scott Magill spreading lies about Anthony Fauci and going all conspiratorial. He (with co-writer Larewnce Allen) took the conspiracy stuff up to eleven in his July 14 WND column:

Few who were alive at the time can forget the moment the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City on 9/11. Over the intervening 18 minutes, people remarked that there were 10,000 people in those buildings on any given workday. And some talked about a B-25 that crashed into the Empire State Building in dense fog in 1945. Nearly all were wondering how those kinds of accidents can still happen in the 21st century. In those tense minutes, everyone knew something was terribly wrong, but they were in a First Tower Mentality.

When the second plane hit the South Tower, everyone suddenly had a Second Tower Mentality. They didn't need to hear about the Pentagon or Flight 93 or see reports about who al-Qaida and the Taliban were. That would come later. All knew when that second plane hit – America was under attack.

Many feel precisely the same way today: Americans and our constitutional republic are under attack. But not from strange foreign adversaries with names that took practice to pronounce. Instead, it's an attack from "Enemies Domestic" right here at home – household names like CNN, Nancy Pelosi, Seattle Mayor Durkan, California Gov. Newsom, your local faceless city council members, Soros-selected district attorneys and the usual suspects of academics, race hustlers and deep state operatives at all levels of government. Like al-Qaida, they are working to rob you of the blessings of your birthright, your liberty, your livelihood. Their goal is to: destroy your safety and security; burn down our nation; erase Western civilization history; and destroy our way of life so they can enforce their tyrannical form of government in a socialized world without borders.

We are under attack.

A mere five months ago, we had a roaring economy. A bottom-up economic boom, by which all boats were being floated. Average Americans saw their wages grow for the first time in two decades. All minorities were seeing rising economic stability, and black American unemployment was at an all-time low. All while America was disentangling itself from costly mistakes abroad and getting our allies to pay their fair share.

The Democratic Party had just put on three sideshows – their candidate debates, the unsuccessful Russian hoax debacle and failed impeachment. Some traditional Democratic interest groups were already looking favorably upon the Trump economy and sincerely asking themselves: yeah, so what do I have to lose? Meanwhile, other Democratic interest groups, like Wall Street, the Deep State, RINO Republicans, entertainment industry personalities, big tech corporate executives, media and academia, all knew they were going to be more soundly defeated November 2020 than they were in November 2016.

With three of their weapons having failed them, they needed a new one. For them, something had to be done, and done fast, to destroy the freest country and the most powerful force for good in the history of humanity.

And then it happened. The left weaponized COVID-19.

Magill goes on like this for a while, ranting further about "Enemies Domestic" and a "Second Tower Moment" and dropping a Goebbels reference, ultimately declaring that "Only the truth is the mortal enemy to the lies permeating the American culture today." Ironic, since he's been proven to be a liar.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:38 AM EDT
Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Who Is The MRC's Graham Heathering Now?
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has been on quite the Heathering binge lately -- attacking well-credentialed conservatives for the sin of being insufficiently conservative, as defined by a refusal to criticize anything Presient Trump does, no matter how petulent or non-conservative he acts. That hasn't stopped.

Tim Graham devoted his July 15 column to bashing conservative Michael Gerson:

Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson has a Republican pedigree and an evangelical Christian background. He wrote profound speeches for former President George W. Bush, who was mocked as a mangler of the English language. Today, he sounds like a speechwriter for the gaseous opening of the Brian Stelter show on CNN.

The headline of a recent Gerson column was "Trump has taken up residence in an alternate political reality." Gerson writes the most urgent national challenge is how "the president inhabits a different country from the rest of us."

One of the most consistent (and consistently annoying) tropes of Stelter's CNN is how the network claims its opinionated hot takes are "reality," that it deals in Facts. When the president disagrees with its opinionated hot takes, he's living in an "alternate reality."

[...]

Consider how "reality-based" Gerson describes Trump's current belief system about our country: "It is a land where the novel coronavirus is harmless. Where hydroxychloroquine is still a miracle drug. Where President Trump's handling of the pandemic is an example to the world. It is a land where Black Lives Matter is a movement of looting and violent subversion. Where the Confederacy is part of 'our heritage.' Where police brutality is the desired norm."

That, in "reality," is not an objective description of Trump's beliefs. It's a hostile political cartoon, like so much of CNN's reporting from "reality."

Graham also found a way, as he usually does, to excuse Trump's constant stream of lies by adding some whataboutism: "It is obvious to everyone that Donald Trump boasts and exaggerates about his greatness. Just as it was obvious that former President Barack Obama never needed to boast or exaggerate about his greatness; he had CNN and the rest of the "objective" media gang to do it for him."

Graham defended Trump further, even while conceding that Gerson has a point: "Gerson was making a larger and less cartoonish point about the president being unwilling to consider opposing points of view, even within his circle of advisers. Every president should be pressed to consider dissenting views and advice. But you can hardly say Trump isn't faced with that dissent everywhere, and even within his team, he has to wonder which adviser is going to burn him anonymously in Gerson's newspaper."

When unambigously right-wing Fox News host Chris Wallace conducted a relatively tough interview of Trump, Graham spent a July 20 post attacking Wallace by going the whataboutism route, complaining that a interview  he did withJoe Biden wasn't similarly tough:

When President Trump complains about Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace pushing hard questions on him, the natural curiosity is to go back and look at how Wallace pressed Joe Biden. He interviewed Biden on March 1, 2020, which was not a common occurrence. At the end, Wallace joked "Please come back in less than 13 years, sir."

The interview began with a lot of horse-racey stuff about battling Bernie Sanders for the nomination. Then he asked if the socialist Sanders could hurt the party down the ballot, and Biden in a vague way said Yes. Then came the bizarre part, when Wallace sounded just like a Chuck Todd. He insisted Biden was a "moderate," which Biden didn't really want to accept!

[...]

Wallace did fact-check Biden in one question on his bizarre lie about getting arrested trying to see Nelson Mandela in South Africa.

[...]

ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, NBC and PBS all failed to air or note this Soweto tall-tale exchange after the Fox News Sunday interview. There were no stories hailing Wallace for an "A-plus accountability interview." Chris Wallace is only making news when he's challenging Trump, not Biden. 

And Graham only writes about his fellow conservatives when they haven't drunk the same amount of Trump Kool-Aid that he has.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:45 PM EDT
CNS Compares COVID Death Numbers To April Peak To Downplay Current Surge
Topic: CNSNews.com

The coronavirus pandemic is swamping Republican-led states like Florida. What's a good Republican lackey-slash-arm of the Trump re-election campaign like the Media Research Center to do? At the MRC proper, they're using a lot of New York whataboutism to distract from the disaster in Florida. And at the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, reporter Susan Jones is achieving the same narrative in a different way, by cherry-picking numbers and making the current surge sound minor by comparing it to the pandemic's peak earlier this year.

Jones wrote in a July 7 article in the first of this series, under the headline "CDC: COVID-19 Deaths Peaked in Mid-April; Down 86% by Week Ending June 20":

The number of deaths involving COVID-19 in the United States peaked at 16,394 in the week ending on April 18, 2020, according to the provisional COVID-19 death counts published by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), which is a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

By the week ending on June 20, deaths involving COVID-19 had dropped to 2,287--a decline of 86 percent from the peak of 16,394.

[...]

The weekly COVID-involved death count, as reported by the CDC, has been steadily dropping since it hit its peak in mid-April, based on the numbers reported by NCHS.

While Jones leads with those numbers, the last half of her article carries a bunch of caveats -- specifically, that the most recent numbers are not set in stone and are subject to revision; as she wrote, "CDC also noted that states report at different rates, although 63 percent of all U.S. deaths are reported within 10 days of the date of death."

Indeed, the CDC's current number for COVID-19-related deaths for the week ending June 20 stands at 3,673 -- a more than 50 percent increase from the number Jones reported. That tells you that Jones' reporting here is politically driven to downplay the current surge.

Jones followed this with a July 14 article with the blaring headline "CDC: COVID-19 Deaths for Week Ending June 27 Down 91.9% From Mid-April Peak," oging on to state that "In the week that ended on June 27, there were 1,363 deaths in the United States involving COVID-19, which was a 91.9 percent drop from the peak of 16,895 COVID-involved deaths reported for the week that ended on April 18." The CDC's current death count for that week is 3,534 -- more than double the number Jones reported.

On July 21, Jones touted under the headline "CDC: COVID Deaths for Week Ending July 4 Down 83% From Peak; Down 9% From Prior Week": "In the week that ended on July 4, 2,818 people in this country died from the COVID-19 virus, which is an 83.36 percent drop from the peak of 16,941 COVID-involved deaths reported for the week that ended on April 18." The current CDC number for that week is 3,957.

Joens did bow to reality a little in her July 27 article, conceding that numbers are going up and revising the previous week's numbers upward -- while still portraying that as below the April peak:

After falling for ten straight weeks, COVID-involved deaths in the United States began rising again during the week that ended on July 4 and continued to rise in the week that ended on July 11, according to data published by the CDC.

However, even with the rising number of deaths in those two weeks--as counted by death certificates submitted to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics--the number of COVID-involved deaths in the week ending July 11 was still 77.5 percent below the mid-April peak.

In the week ending July 4, 3,689 people died from COVID-involved illness, a 9 percent increase from the 3,384 who died in the week ending June 27.

In the week ending July 11, the provisional COVID death count was 3,814, a 3.4 percent increase over the week ending July 4. 

But the 3,814 COVID-19-invovled deaths in the week ending on July 11 was 77.5 percent below the peak of 16,970 in the week that ended on April 18.

The CDC is currently reporting that 4,450 people died in the week ending July 11.

Jones' Aug. 3 article read pretty much the same:

The most recent death certificates submitted to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that COVID-involved deaths in this country declined in the second half of July.

Based on CDC's preliminary data, 4,081 people died of COVID-involved disease in the week ending July 18. That is an 8.29 percent decrease from the 4,450 who died of COVID in the prior week. And it is 75.97 percent below the mid-April peak of 16,985 COVID-involved deaths.

Jones did concede in the third paragraph that "as CDC notes, data in recent weeks is more likely to be incomplete. The numbers change as more death certificates come in, but it now appears to be a declining trend for the second half of July."

It's in her employer's political interests that the "declining trend" be the narrative, even if future numbers say otherwise.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:16 AM EDT
Monday, August 3, 2020
MRC Thinks Far-Right Hate Speech On Reddit Is Merely 'Politically Incorrect'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has a bad habit of endorsing the worst content from right-wing creators and social media -- like PewDiePie's racism, hate-mongering extremists like Laura Loomer and Tommy Robinson and coronavirus conspiracy theories -- in the name of its verion of "free speech" where right-wingers are never held accountable for what they say or do on social media and must never be blocked from saying whatever they want no matter how hateful or untrue.

One thing it has been defending is Reddit's r/The_Donald subreddit. Corinne Weaver wrote in a February post:

Reddit will once again crack down on users and communities it considers undesirable.

Buried in Reddit’s 2019 Transparency Report was a concerning update to its policies. Users who consistently upvote “policy-breaking content” in “quarantined communities,” like r/The_Donald, “will receive automated warnings,” followed by consequences like temporary and permanent suspensions. “We hope this will encourage healthier behavior across these communities,” wrote [Reddit CEO Steve] Huffman.

Weaver, however, was curiously vague about the content that got r/The_Donald put on the warning list beyond a reference to it being quarantined for "significant issues with reporting and addressing violations of Reddit’s rules against violence." Meanwhile, other have documented how the subreddit has been notorioius for "its promotion of racism, anti-Semitism, conspiracy theories, and violent memes starring a cartoon frog," adding:

r/The_Donald has been a pain point for Reddit for years. It was created in June 2015 to discuss and promote Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, and quickly became a hotbed for extreme political rhetoric. Members of the subreddit amplified the Pizzagate conspiracy theory in late 2016, and in August 2017, they promoted attendance at the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Southern Poverty Law Center published a detailed report on r/The_Donald in April 2018, highlighting the subreddit’s paranoia about “white genocide” and its support of ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Myanmar, its vicious antiblack racism and anti-Semitism, and its fascination with imagining violence against the media. Still, the community was a favorite of Trump himself, who hosted a question-and-answer session there during the Democratic National Convention in 2016 and to pull content directly from the subreddit to use in his tweets.

When Reddit shut down for good in June, the MRC still wouldn't admit that there was any problem with it other than supporting Trump. A June 29 post by Alexander Hall declared that it was "conservative speech" and a "popular political platform" being shut down for being "politically incorrect."

Hall also weirdly took offense with a Reddit rule arguing that "people who are in the majority" lack some protections on the forum. He ranted that this was a "double standard on who is allowed to be openly hated," adding, "Essentially, a person who is in the 'racial minority' may call somebody in the racial majority 'sub-human and inferior' with impunity."

Hall touted how "The r/The_Donald community, exiled from Reddit, can be found at the new TheDonald.win forum website" and also threw in a call to action: "Contact Reddit admin and demand that the platform mirror the First Amendment: Tech giants should afford their users nothing less than the free speech and free exercise of religion embodied in the First Amendment as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court."

The MRC has also continued to attack a former Reddit CEO over "free speech" issues, despite the fact that she left the company in 2015 and was only CEO for eight months. In a May 2019 post, Weaver complained that Ellen Pao "slammed the existence of subreddits like The_Donald. She also strongly emphasized the need for tech companies to regulate in order to rid themselves of bullies and allow 'actual conversation.' Pao also expressed the belief that tech companies lived in 'fear' of their users, especially when it came to conservative groups." Weaver groused in September 2019 that "Pao has been lobbying for Twitter to suspend the president’s account for two years. Now, she’s using the latest tweet uproar to push one last time for a suspension."

In a April 14 post, Hall huffed that Pao "took a swing at President Donald Trump during a time of crisis" by pointing out that what Trump has called "fake news" is usually accurate but makes him look bad. Hall offered only whataboutism in response: "Pao does not have a leg to stand on when it comes to criticizing leadership. As CEO of Reddit, Pao cracked down on speech she found offensive. One of the most infamous rules she implemented was using off-site behavior as an excuse to ban users from Reddit itself. "

All these attacks on Pao referenced the r/The_Donald subreddit -- but made no mention of the offensive content it had become known far. That kind of censorship is at least as bad as what MRC accuses others of doing.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:40 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, August 3, 2020 9:21 PM EDT
Newsmax's Open-Schools-Or-Else Caucus
Topic: Newsmax

The science is settled and it's time to end the debate on school closures. Open them in the fall.

The lengths to which the left will go in their refusal to open schools was illustrated in spades after Thursday's White House press briefing.

Trump administration spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany carefully explained that science favors re-opening schools.

[...]

Today's "essential workers" include grocery clerks, Walmart greeters, and Home Depot employees.

If a liquor store is essential, a public school should be also.

If a private school teacher is essential, a public school teacher should also be.

The only difference between public and private schools is a union — and a Democratic governor who cares more about defying Trump than protecting the country's most vulnerable population.

Keeping schools closed is institutionalized child abuse. Open them up.

-- Michael Dorstewitz, July 17 Newsmax column

If there is one fact regarding the WuFlu that everyone should be able to agree upon, it’s that bat-soup syndrome discriminates based on age.  The older you are, the harder you’re hit.

That’s why at first glance the debate on re-opening the schools seems so bizarre.

So far this year four times the number of school-age children have been killed by the regular flu than the Flu Manchu and schools don’t close en masse for the seasonal flu.

[...]

So why are teachers, administrators and politicians opposing school re-opening this fall?

Two words — Donald Trump.

Keeping school age children at home also keeps at least one parent at home. If schools remain closed the economy can't fully reopen.

If the economy can’t recover then Trump’s chances for re-election begin to plummet.

[...]

Others contend the pressure of lockdowns and the kids at home create a volatile situation. We aren’t ready to jump on the reopen the schools because kids-shouldn’t-be-left-alone-with-their-potentially-deadly-parents bandwagon.

We want the schools open because that is the best way for children to learn.

Online learning for elementary, middle and high school students is a proven disaster — nationwide.

-- Michael Reagan and Michael Shannon, July 18 Newsmax column

It's reasonable that some of these adults are wary of being exposed to a virus that has not yet been tamed by science, and which is still wreaking havoc in some parts of the country. I know that the uncertainties attached to this disease give one pause, and provide significant challenges to reopening the schools. And yes, I am fully aware that there is not enough money, time, or even initiative at the local level to guarantee a fool-proof, completely sanitized, thoroughly germ-free environment.

But by the same token, the only ones I see engaging in finger pointing and "end-times" sort of rhetoric are teachers who do not want to return to the classroom, and their supporters.

[...]

I don’t mean to dismiss the real concerns of teachers who might feel particularly vulnerable to infection, including those who are older, have pre-existing conditions or don’t want to expose vulnerable family members to what they perceive as a risk.

But that is not what we have been doing, because some people see this as just another opportunity to attack a president they despise, or advance some agenda that has absolutely nothing to do with their own health, or the welfare of children.

-- Christine Flowers, July 29 Newsmax column


Posted by Terry K. at 1:32 PM EDT
WND: 'Obama's Roots Are In Kenya'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has never let go of its Obama birther conspiracies, and it occasionally likes to remind us of that fact.

In a July 31 email promoting an article on anti-abortion activist Alveda King attacking President Obama's eulogy of civil rights leader John Lewis as "more like a stump speech than a eulogy, taking America back to the segregated '60s," WND stated: "Do you remember the steady progress in America's race relations before Barack Obama became president? Compared to now, those were the good old days. Obama's roots are in Kenya, not the Deep South or America's civil-rights history ... no wonder he gets it so wrong."

That's an odd promo, given the article itself does not quote King blaming Obama for puported deterioration in race relations or question his "roots" or place him in Kenya. WND seems to have forgotten that Obama has never lived in Kenya, so claiming his "roots" are there is simply a figment of WND's overactive imagination.

It appears that one of the few remaining WND employees was suffering a flashback to the time when WND was making hay and lying with impunity about a black Democratic president. On the other hand, given WND's current dire financial situation, perhaps it's been paying for all those lies at last.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:03 AM EDT
Sunday, August 2, 2020
MRC Shills for Twitter Rival Parler, Censors Its Problems
Topic: Media Research Center

Like Gab, Parler is a Twitter wannabe that has gained a reputation as the place right-wingers go when they get kicked off Twitter for being too extreme. And like Gab, the Media Research Center has promoted Parler as a "free speech" alternative for right-wingers who are enjoy playing the victim by whining about how they got kicked off Twitter for their extremism.

While the MRC and its writers did not have the courage of their convictions by abandoning Twitter to join Gab, they are joining Parler (while hedging their bets by not quitting Twitter). The tipping point appears to be right-wing activist Dan Bongino buying a stake in Twitter. Alexander Hall gave Bongino and Parler some free promotion in a June 16 MRC post:

Bongino declared on the June 16 episode of The Dan Bongino Show that this platform is “the social media alternative to the tech tyrants which have declared war against conservatism, liberty, and everything we stand for.” He heavily cited founder and President of the Media Research Center Brent Bozell’s opinion piece at Fox News, which declared that the “fate of democracy” will be decided by how conservatives fight for free speech online.

Bongino explained his rationale for partnering with Parler: “When I see my problem I try to solve it. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. I didn’t like the political establishment I ran for office” He then cited how he “didn’t like what was out there in the podcast space, started my own.” Then cited how he “didn’t like what the Drudge Report was doing with their hard-left turn we started Bongino Report.com, why? ‘Cause talkers talk, and doers do.”

Bongino described how this spurred him to take action on his own, “So I’m putting my own skin in the game” with his Parler partnership because “I don’t like what Twitter is doing to us, and I don’t like what SnapChat’s doing to us, and I don’t like what Facebook’s doing to us, I don’t like what Reddit’s doing to us” citing how it banned r/The_Donald. “So I took an ownership stake in Parler and I’m going to put my own skin in the game, and I know, I know for a fact that we’re gonna succeed, I know it.”

A few days later, MRC writer and MNewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck announced he had started a Parler account, declaring (on Twitter) that Bongino's "urging on his show finally convinced me, along with Twitter deciding law and order is offensive." Houck didn't mention that because Bongino now owns a piece of Parler, it's in his financial interests to promote its use by others. The next day, MRC official Tim Graham announced he had joined Parler at Houck's urging.

Around the same time, the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, published an article touting how "conservatives are flocking to Parler, which considers itself an 'unbiased social media network,' after two conservative accounts were banned from Twitter earlier this week."

The MRC, however, won't tell you that Parler isn't exactly the "free speech" bastion it's been made out to be.

The Huffington Post reports that Parler's user agreement and community guidelines not only bans numerous forms of speech, users forfeit their right to sue Parler over posts and indemifies Parler in case a user gets sued over a post and requires the user to pay Parler's legal fees. That's the opposite of free speech, in the monetary use of the word. Parler is now trying to frame itself as something of a "good censor" who only kicks out people for good reasons, unlike Twitter.

Parler also has the issue of imposters and trolls posting under the names of famous people -- many of them Republican Party officials and politicians -- and it's turning into a right-wing echo chamber as liberals have declined to take part in the conservative migration.

Instead, the MRC is serving up Parler puff pieces. A July 31 post by Joseph Vazquez touted how Parler CEO John Matze appeared on Fox Business (of course)to talk about how "his site is doing its part to defend freedom of speech. Vazquez let Matze lie about the state of censorship on Parler by redefining the word: "There is no censorship of any kind. We do have clear rules about violence, any illegal activity — anything that you couldn’t do in public, you couldn’t do on Parler — but there is no ideological censorship or ideological bias of any kind."

Vazquez didn't mention how much Parler users have to sign away in order to use the platform, nor did he note any of the other problems Parler has. Then again, this was little more than a commercial for Parler.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:26 PM EDT
CNS Censors Columnist's Ties to Trump
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com loves publishing columns by conservative activist Ken Blackwell. It does not, however, love disclosing the fact that he's a Trump campaign and administration adviser -- making his columns stealth campaign ads and CNS a publisher of partisan content that bumps up against what it and its owner, the Media Research Center, is allowed to do under its nonprofit status.

Blackwell served as President Trump's domestic policy adviser as part of the transition team, and he later served on a "Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity," which collapsed under allegations of secretive behavior and attempts to obtain sweeping election records from states for undisclosed purposes as it became clear the commission was little more than a partisan attempt by Trump to manufacture allegations of voter fraud to discredit electoral challenges to himself and other Republicans. Blackwell is a campaign adviser for Trump's 2020 re-election campaign and an official campaign surrogate, and as recently as a month ago, Blackwell said "he has counseled senior White House advisers on the need for the president to tweak his language around policing.

It seems pretty clear that Blackwell is a Trump campaign surrogate. But CNS never describes him as one, even when he is touting Trump and denigrating Joe Biden -- even as the end-of-column tags for him regularly change.

In his March 31 column, Blackwell gushed that "President Donald Trump is preparing the entire country for a rapid post-COVID economic resurgence, even while he works to provide state and local leaders the resources they need to fight the virus." The end-of-column tage stated that he "served as the mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio, the Ohio State Treasurer, and Ohio Secretary of State. He currently serves as an adviser to the Family Research Council and on the board directors for Club for Growth and National Taxpayers Union."

On April 3, Blackwell claimed that in a coronavirus relief package, "Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Democrats tried to include language making it easier to commit vote fraud with the ballots of our military stationed overseas." The end-of-column tag did not disclose that Blackwell served in Trump's discredited "election integrity" commission; rather, it stated that "Ken Blackwell is a Policy Board Member for the American Constitutional Rights Union and Protect Military Votes, and former Secretary of State for Ohio."

On April 7, Blackwell harrumphed that "President Donald Trump has shown the country that he is the tough leader America needs during this time of crisis. ... Trump's forward-thinking about China has been proven right, especially as we see the problems faced by outsourcing necessary medical supplies, which should be made by American companies. The tag stated that "Ken Blackwell is the Chairman of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). He is the former Treasurer of the State of Ohio and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission."

Blackwell's April 27 column accused Democrats of "exploiting the pandemic to instill fear in our electoral process" and  cheered "congressional guardians of the U.S. Constitution" for stopping measures that would allow for easier options other than in-person voting. Again, Blackwell's position on a partisan "election integrity" panel wasnot mentioned, stating instead that he "served as mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio, Ohio Secretary of State and U.S. ambassador to U.N. Human Rights Commission. He currently serves on the National Leadership Council of the Save Our Country Coalition."

Blackwell ranted in his May 23 column that "Joe Biden and the Democrat [sic] Party have long sowed racial division and promoted identity politics in order to maintain power and control." It was not disclosed that Blackwell is a Trump campaign adviser, only that he "is the former Mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission."

A May 29 column co-written by the late Herman Cain touted how "there has never been a president in the White House who has been more supportive of HBCUs and their mission than President Donald Trump." It described Blackwell only as former "mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio, Ohio Treasurer, and U.S. ambassador to U.N. Human Rights Commission."

Blackwell's June 15 column was headlined "We're Not Buying Joe Biden’s ‘Tough on China’ Act" and declared that "Everyone knows about President Trump’s record of success in bringing China to the negotiating table through strategic counter-tariffs." It too was silent on Blackwell advising Trump, stating that he "served as mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio Treasurer, a U.S. Ambassador to the UN; he currently serves on the board of directors for Club For Growth."

Blackwell did more gushing in his June 17 column: President Donald Trump is taking unprecedented action to strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and their local communities by recognizing the need to invest more energy and resources in police training and by supporting efforts to bring the police and communities together," declaring that "President Trump is leading through his actions" and that "Joe Biden continues his campaign of “all-talk, no-action” by continuing to criticize the president from the comfort of his own basement." He's described only as "the former Mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission."

A June 30 column in which Blackwell declared that Trump's restriction on employment visas "made about 525,000 jobs available so that the millions of unemployed Americans will have a better opportunity to return to the payroll, and to earn a fair wage so that they can support their families" stated only that "Ken Blackwell is the former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights."

The only Blackwell column related to the presidential campaign in which CNS  disclosed his ties to Trump was a July 6 column in which he declared that "Biden’s extraordinarily mild criticism of the extremists who are trying to tear America apart does nothing but reinforce Biden’s inability to rein in the anti-American insanity that is now the driving force within the Democratic Party." It stated that Blackwell is "a member of the Advisory Board of Donald J. Trump For President, Inc."

CNS' almost complete refusal to disclose that a columnist's attacks on Biden and praise for Trump comes from someone who is actively a part of Trump's re-election campaign is journalistic malpractice -- an odd position from a "news" organization whose parent loves to attack the journalistic integrity of other news organizations.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:24 PM EDT
Saturday, August 1, 2020
MRC's Graham Rages Over Imagined 'Leftist' Tilt of '100 Reasons To Love America' List
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham was in an especially whiny mood on the Fourth of July, spending his day spewing rage at People magazine for including allegedly liberal things on a list of "100 Reasons To Love America." Oh, did he whine:

Number one was “Peaceful Protests” against police officers. Protests are American, but these journalists only celebrate leftist protests, and they left out any mention of looting, rioting and police being injured and killed. No, they could only accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative:

[...]

Number two was“American Optimism,” by CBS This Morning host and Oprah Winfrey pal Gayle King. She, too, lauded the protests. “For the first time you see a very diverse crowd marching shoulder to shoulder, teenagers and twentysomethings challenging their parents….Young people are speaking up. Look at the best-seller list – nine of the top 10 are about race. There’s coast-to-coast solidarity.”

For the first time? Bunk. The Left ALWAYS celebrates their protests as "very diverse." It's nothing new.

People celebrated some seriously silly things as reasons to love America with a pandemic twist, including "Toilet Paper" and  "Tie-Dye" and "Stress Baking," but the magazine's leftist tilt came throughout the list:

Graham went on to list 13 more purportedly "leftist" things like, um, "workplace equality" and home-based pandemic broadcasts. That leaves 85 items that weren't"leftist" -- meaning that Graham is whining about a decided minority of items on the list, which is much less than the "list of leftist-media talking points" he claimed it was. Since he proves no actual bias here, this falls well short of his insistence that the list is "biased."

For Graham, apparently, any mention of something "leftist" renders the entire thing "leftist." This is the MRC.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:14 AM EDT
WND's Brown: 'White Supremacist' Is The New 'Homophobe'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

My purpose in this article is not to compare "white supremacy" to "homophobia." Nor is it to deny the existence of white supremacists. Instead, my purpose is to expose tactics of intimidation, shaming and manipulation. In that regard, "white supremacy" is the new "homophobia."

[...]

In the recent past (and until today), the tactic was to brand everyone who opposed any facet of LGBTQ activism a homophobe. Do you have a problem with drag queens reading to toddlers? You're a homophobe! You don't want first-graders learning the definition of gender-queer? You're a hater and a bigot. Homophobe!

Now, if you like President Trump's Mt. Rushmore speech, it's because you're a white supremacist.

Forget the fact that he said, "We believe in equal opportunity, equal justice, and equal treatment for citizens of every race, background, religion, and creed. Every child, of every color – born and unborn – is made in the holy image of God."

Or that he said, "Our opponents would tear apart the very documents that Martin Luther King used to express his dream, and the ideas that were the foundation of the righteous movement for Civil Rights."

Or that he said, "We must demand that our children are taught once again to see America as did Reverend Martin Luther King, when he said that the Founders had signed 'a promissory note' to every future generation. Dr. King saw that the mission of justice required us to fully embrace our founding ideals. Those ideals are so important to us – the founding ideals. He called on his fellow citizens not to rip down their heritage, but to live up to their heritage."

It doesn't matter. The speech was delivered at the foot of Mt. Rushmore, a monument to white supremacy, by a white supremacist president. That says it all.

[...]

Along with other commentators, I have pointed to the current misuse of the term "white supremacy." But it's important that we compare it to the use of "homophobia," which continues to be an effective tactic for labeling and silencing those who differ.

Let's catch this early. Let's expose it. And let's reserve the term "white supremacy" for those who deserve it.

-- Michael Brown, July 13 WorldNetDaily column


Posted by Terry K. at 12:28 AM EDT
Friday, July 31, 2020
MRC's Double Standard On 'Cancel Culture'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center loves to denounce "cancel culture" -- a July 11 post by Gabriel Hays, for example, complained that a letter "signed by prominent leftists and liberals decrying Cancel Culture" asserted that "Cancel Culture doesn't exist" and declared cancel cluture to be a "free speech-killing phenomenon."

But Hays is a joyful proponent of cancel culture when it involves trying to cancel opinions he disapproves of. Hays ranted in a July 2 post:

Just in time for the BLM folks who are fed up Western Civilization’s depiction of White Jesus, a new film depicting Christ as a lesbian is currently looking for a major Hollywood distributor. The film’s premise is so noxious that nearly 300,000 people have signed a petition to make sure the “Christianophobic” film doesn’t get a wide Hollywood release.

Hundreds of thousands of people have signed a petition to prevent the wide release of the reportedly blasphemous film titled Habit. The movie which is currently eyeing Warner Brothers and Lionsgate as major distributors, depicts a female Jesus played by Paris Jackson, the late Michael Jackson’s daughter, who has her own modeling and film career. 

According to the petition, which has been gaining traction on Change.org, the film’s Jesus is not only female, which is heretical and subversive enough, she is a lesbian who may or may not have a relationship with the film’s main character, a nun played by former Disney Channel star Bella Thorne. 

The petition called Habit “blasphemous” and “Christianophobic garbage.” It stated, “A new blasphemous Hollywood film is predicted to come out soon depicting Jesus as a lesbian woman. The film ‘Habit’ stars Paris Jackson who plays the role of ‘lesbian Jesus.’” 

The page asked potential petitioners to help “spread awareness and wake people up to the Christianophobic garbage that is spread nowadays, but is somehow accepted and praised by society.” The good news is that the petitioner's goal of reaching “300,000 signatures” has almost been fulfilled. On July 2, the number of signatures reached 277,517.

Hays concluded: "Hopefully, the film, – which is currently in post-production – doesn’t see the light of day. Please sign the petition at Change.org, so that our Lord isn’t made a disgusting mockery by our own film industry." Not a word about cancel culture or a concern about killing someone else's free speech.

What a hypocrite.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:03 PM EDT

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