MRC Promotes Falsehood-Prone Todd Starnes Topic: Media Research Center
Kristine Marsh devotes a March 13 Media Research Center Culture & Media Institute article to promoting the latest book by right-wing Fox News commentator Todd Starnes. Marsh allows Starnes to promote numerous dubious and unsubstantiated claims without any pushback:
In a recent interview, Starnes told the MRC’s Culture and Media Institute, “That is really disturbing for me. There isn’t a Christian influence or even family-friendly influence coming out of Hollywood anymore.” He cited the increasingly anti-Christian Saturday Night Live, which in a single recent episode mocked pro-lifers and the Bible. Another example is ABC’s mercifully cancelled “GCB” (“Good Christian Bitches”). The name says it all.
“God Less” is rife with examples of Christians forced to stand by while gays and other liberals relentlessly push their agenda. The litany is becoming familiar: bakery owners from Colorado and Oregon that refused to bake wedding cakes for same-sex couples; a Christian t-shirt company that would not print shirts for a gay pride rally; a New Mexico wedding photographer that would not give her services to a lesbian wedding; college students across the country who were bullied by their professors to wear “gay pride” apparel or write essays that contradicted their Christian beliefs; and teachers who were punished for signing pro-traditional marriage pledges, not attending pro-gay plays or posting their beliefs on their personal Facebook pages.
Telling such stories, of course, makes Starnes awfully unpopular in certain circles, “It’s getting to the point that I don’t mind the death threats,” he laughed, “as long as they’re creative.” To him, it’s a matter of preserving the right to speak up. “Sometimes stuff gets to you but its all opinion and everyone has one. That is what I love about America –hearing everyone’s ideas. The Left doesn’t appreciate that. They have this mentality that you can have an opinion as long as that’s my opinion. I know that because I live among them in New York.”
Marsh doesn't mention the real reason Starnes is "awfully unpopular in certain circles": His tales of Christian persecution tend to be overblown, if not outright false. For example, Alan Noble of Patheos has documented a few recent examples of Starnes' so-called reporting being exaggerated to the point of falsehood. Noble points out that "consistently deceives and manipulates facts in order to exaggerate or fabricate incidences of Christian persecution," adding, "For our own good, we need to reject and denounce hucksters like Starnes."
Marsh, it seems, is too busy promoting Starnes' book to contemplate the possibility that he's not the reporter he claims to be.
Newsmax Hauls Out 'D.C. Super Lawyer' To Defend Republican Senator Topic: Newsmax
David Patten uses a March 15 Newsmax article to haul out "D.C. super lawyer Cleta Mitchell" to vociferously defend Republican Sen. Mike Lee against suggestions of corruption -- necessary because the claim was reported by a conservative newspaper, the Washington Times:
“I think this is a smear,” Mitchell told Newsmax, “and you can quote me on that. I think this is a smear. Mike Lee is as honest as the day is long.”
A well-known figure in conservative politics, Mitchell advised Lee on the short-sale of his former Alpine, Utah home. That transaction is at the center of what she sees as a transparent attempt to impugn Lee’s reputation.
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“He talked to me at the time to make sure that he didn’t break any rules, that whatever he did was done completely in accordance not just with the rules and the law, but to make sure there was no appearance of impropriety,” she stated.
Brian Phillips, Lee’s communications director, issued a one-sentence statement Friday regarding the latest developments as reported by Washington Times editor and vice president John Solomon.
"The article doesn't present any new information about the senator and, as it relates to his house, the senator filed all the required documentation,” Phillips stated.
Although Solomon stated that a common pool of witnesses is providing leads about each senator, Mitchell maintained Friday that the issues affecting Reid and Lee “are absolutely unrelated.” She added that she has confirmed this “with sources,” and believes the source of the smear is someone in Utah.
“There’s no relationship between Harry Reid and Mike Lee on this,” Mitchell told Newsmax. “… These are two completely different scenarios that have somehow gotten reported as the same thing, when they’re absolutely unrelated.”
As someone who worked with Lee on the matter in question, Mitchell is essentially advocating for a client. Did anybody think she wasn't going to defend Lee?
WorldNetDaily managing editor David Kupelian uses a March 16 WND article to try and liken the missing Malaysian airliner -- about which we continue to know nothing -- to the 1999 crash of a EgyptAir plane that he tries to blame on terrorism:
Less than 15 years ago, in October 1999, one of the worst air disasters in modern history occurred when Egypt Air Flight 990 crashed into the Atlantic shortly after takeoff from New York.
It wasn’t until two-and-a-half years later that the National Transportation Safety Board finally reached the conclusion many observers and analysts had claimed immediately after the crash – that the plane’s Egyptian copilot, Gameel El-Batouty, had cut power to the engines and intentionally sent the plane plummeting into the ocean, killing all 217 people aboard.
The U.S. government panel declined to suggest a motive, except to speculate that El-Batouty might have “committed suicide.” And the Los Angeles Times suggested El-Batouty might have been taking revenge against an Egypt Air executive who was aboard the flight.
However, to most people, “mass murder” or “terrorism” constituted a more apt description than “suicide” regarding the wanton annihilation of hundreds of passengers. Despite the fact that the copilot, El-Batouty, had calmly repeated over and over the Arabic phrase “Tawakkalt ala Allah” – meaning “I rely on Allah” – for almost a minute and a half during his deed – and that such behavior, according to the NTSB report, “is not consistent with the reaction that would be expected from a pilot who is encountering an unexpected or uncommanded flight condition” – the federal report steered clear of suggesting jihad as a motive.
Based on flight-data recorder and other evidence, the Atlantic Monthly in 2001 published “The Crash of EgyptAir 990,” a chilling, moment-by-moment reconstruction of how “El-Batouty had gone haywire” after the main pilot took a bathroom break, leaving him free to purposely crash the plane.
Kupelian didn't read that Atlantic Monthly article close enough, for it notes that the FBI failed to uncover any terrorist links to the pilot. While we will likely never learn the truth about why the pilot deliberately crashed the plane, one possibility is that an EgyptAir executive who had demoted the pilot was a passenger on the plane.
It's a more logical explanation than Kupelian's suggestion of terrorism, which is not supported by any official investigation. But when has lack of evidence ever stopped anyone at WND before?
NewsBusters Silent As Anti-Obamacare Tale It Promoted Falls Apart Topic: NewsBusters
On Feb. 23, Jeffrey Meyer wrote a NewsBusters post defending Julie Boonstra -- a woman featured in an anti-Obamacare ad in Michigan -- after the accuracy of her story was criticized, complaining that "the liberal media has remained silent on this leukemia patient’s nightmare dealing with ObamaCare."
This is the only reference to Boonstra on NewsBusters, which means it hasn't reported how Boonstra's story has fallen apart. Talking Points Memo summarizes:
When journalists looked into her claim, Boonstra identified the new plan she chose on the Obamacare exchanges: a so-called "gold" plan from Blue Cross Blue Shield, per the Detroit News.
Her old plan cost $1,100 per month, which adds up to $13,200 a year in premiums alone -- before co-pays, out-of-pocket costs and drug expenses.
Her new plan costs $571 per month, which adds up to $6,852 per year. Her out-of-pocket costs are maxed at $5,100, which means a maximum cost of $11,952 per year. That means her new plan cannot cost her more than her old plan.
In other words, Boonstra would save at least $1,248 under Obamacare.
When the Detroit News told her this, Boonstra was in disbelief, saying it "can't be true."
"I personally do not believe that," she told the paper.
The Affordable Care Act sets a maximum of $6,350 in out of pocket costs. So even if Blue Cross were to raise her out-of-pocket costs to the upper limit, the worst case scenario is that Boonstra would pay under Obamacare is $13,202 with everything covered -- which is what her old plan cost her on premiums alone. Either way, she saves money.
Meyer hasn't said a word about that -- and neither has anyone else at NewsBusters.
WND Pretends Absurd Anti-Obama Attack Is Meaningful Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joe Kovacs spends a March 5 WorldNetDaily article taking a fringe political candidate's smear of President Obama very, very seriously:
When it comes to his policies favoring gun control, President Obama is being compared to some of the most reviled names in history, including dictators such as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and North Korea’s Kim Jong Il.
California State Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a Republican candidate for governor, tweeted a message Tuesday featuring an image contrasting what he said were famous names who championed gun rights with those who have backed gun control.
“These people stood for gun rights,” the image states, with portraits of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.
But when it comes to those who “stood for gun control,” the names and faces include Hitler, Stalin, Kim, King George III of England, China’s Mao Zedong and Barack Obama.
“Which side would you choose?” Donnelly said in his Twitter message he billed as a “history lesson.”
Of course, it's simply absurd to suggest Obama has acted anywhere close to the likes of Hitler and Stalin, on gun control or any other subject. And WND has a lengthyhistory of likening Obama to Hitler and other Nazis.
But this is the sort of anti-Obama propaganda WND readers eat up, as demonstrated by the reader poll at the end of the article, which asks, "Who is the most evil leader in the past 100 years?" The winner is Obama with 50 percent of the vote, twice as much as Hitler. and four times as much as Stalin.
Of course, these dead-enders are the only audience WND has left -- since nobody else believes what it publishes -- so it must pander to them any way they can.
CNS' Chapman Lectures The Pope About Catholicism Topic: CNSNews.com
There aren't many people out there who feel so secure in their Catholicism that they think they can lecture the pope about the religion he heads. CNSNews.com managing editor Michael Chapman is one of those people.
Chapman was appalled that Pope Francis doesn't hate gays as much as he does, so he wrote a March 5 CNS article designed to put the pontiff back on the right path, complete with linked footnotes to official church teaching:
Although Pope Francis in a March 5 interview seemed to leave open the possibility of approval for same-sex civil unions, the official teaching of the Catholic Church, from the Catechism, says that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered” and “under no circumstances can they be approved.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that “homosexual persons are called to chastity.” (2359) The Catechism further says, “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.” (2357)
Chapman updated the article a day later with more citing of the Catechism and a fuller context of the pope's response, in which he states that he "does not endorse same-sex civil unions or heterosexual civil unions but apparently is saying the different cases would need to be evaluated." That probably didn't make Chapman sleep too much better at night.
Chapman then went on to lecture Cardinal Timothy Dolan the same way, footnotes included, in a March 13 article:
The office of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who heads the Catholic archdiocese of New York, said the archbishop is “fully supportive” of the Church’s teaching on “homosexual activity, “particularly as it is expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”
The Catechism says that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered,” are “contrary to natural law,” and “under no circumstances can they be approved.” (2357)
On Sunday, Mar. 9, NBC Meet the Press host David Gregory interviewed Cardinal Dolan and asked him about football player Michael Sam, who recently came out as an open homosexual, and who likely will be drafted by the NFL this fall. “How do you view it?” said Gregory.
Cardinal Dolan said, “Good for him. I would have no sense of judgment on him. God bless you. I don’t think – look, the same Bible that tells us, that teaches us well about the virtue of chastity and the virtue of fidelity and marriage, also tells us not to judge people. So, I would say bravo.”
In an e-mail to Cardinal Dolan’s office, CNSNews.com quoted from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2357) that says “’homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”
CNSNews.com asked the Cardinal, 1) “Do you agree with the Catechism (2357) that says “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” and “under no circumstances can they be approved”?” and 2) “Do you believe that Michael Sam, an openly homosexual football player and public figure, is a good role model for young men or is Sam's open homosexuality scandalous?”
If Chapman is such an uber-Catholic, why isn't he working for the clergy instead of a right-wing website? Then again, CNS is almost a Catholic website.
WND's Unruh Puffs Homeschooling Activist, Ignores Scandal At School He Founded Topic: WorldNetDaily
Bob Unruh performs another feat of stenography in a March 13 WorldNetDaily article, uncritically repeating homeschooling activist Michael Farris' assertion that the Romeike family case (which WND has consistently misreported about) somehow means that the U.S. government can force children to attend schools that violate their parents' religious beliefs. As per usual, Farris' assertions are allowed to stand unchallenged.
Meanwhile, Unruh and WND have yet to report a controversy at the school Farris founded, Patrick Henry College. As we've documented, PHC has demonstrated a callous attitude toward female students who have been sexually assaulted that has essentially given male students accused of sexual assault a pass.
Apparently, WND's mission statement to serve "as a light exposing wrongdoing, corruption and abuse of power" doesn't involve covering WND's favorite sacred cows when they act the same way.
It took nearly a month to figure out how to correctly give Tim Graham credit for writing Brent Bozell's column, which it did for their March 12 column.
For their March 14 column, however, Bozell and Graham were given separate bylines instead of the shared one on the previous column. That means not only that the column appears on CNS' front page with only Bozell's byline, it appears on CNS' commentary page twice, once for Bozell and once for Graham.
Putting a byline on someone's work should be the easiest thing in the world as far as content management goes, but CNS has continually found a way to mess it up.
WND's Farah Goes On Anti-Science Rant Against 'Cosmos' Series Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah is not a big fan of science. He's even less of a fan of the new Neil DeGrasse Tyson-hosted "Cosmos" series. Why? He writes in his March 13 WND column:
The show includes a “Cosmic Calendar,” which asserts the scientifically unprovable notion that the history of the universe spans 13.8 billion years.
It promotes the unscientific nonsense of climate change and neo-Darwinism.
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But, most of all, it deliberately and consciously undermines the possibility that God actually created the universe and made man in His own image, as the Bible records.
Farah then goes on a full-throated screed against science:
Here we go again!
Haven’t we heard all this before?
When will the same scientists who promote man-made catastrophic climate change and Darwinism as gospel truths be forced to apply the scientific method to their theories?
When will the public recognize that such beliefs are inherently “religious” because they start with presuppositions that can never be discredited regardless of the evidence?
When will everyone see through the fact that we now have a scientific establishment that is politically driven and government funded – a combination more dangerous than when the church was in charge?
When will the closed-minded scientific establishment that promotes this propaganda consider the possibility that they do not have a monopoly on truth – and stop blacklisting the increasing number of scientists who see design in every part of the universe?
When will Farah actually do a little investigative work and examine the scientific evidence that supports evolution and man-made climate change?
When will Farah stop assuming that everyone who disgrees with him is not only wrong but evil?
Melanie Hunter writes a press release for Republican Sen. James Inhofe that's posing as a March 10 CNSNews.com article:
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Wednesday at a hearing on the Defense Department’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget that President Barack Obama has wasted $120 billion on global warming over the past five years – money that would be better spent on the military.
“I've been working on this for quite some time ... In the last five years, between 2009 and 2014, the president has spent $120 billion on the environmental agenda, mostly global warming, climate and that type of thing,” said Inhofe. “And in that respect, if you'll just take the amount that was not authorized by Congress -- and I'm talking about the environmental agenda, you could actually buy 1,400 F-35s.”
Hunter provided no evidence that Inhofe backed up his claim that all spending on the "environmental agenda" is a waste. Nor did Inhofe provide any evidence that the U.S. needs 1,400 F-35 fighter planes. Hunter simply dutifully copied Inhofe's words.
Floyd Brown Defends The 'Steve Stockman Strategy,' Such As It Was Topic: WorldNetDaily
Steve Stockman not only got trounced in his run for John Cornyn's Texas Senate seat but lost his own congressional seat in the process -- and WorldNetDaily is not done shilling for him.
Floyd and Mary Beth Brown do a little fibbing and a lot of hiding in a March 13 WND column:
I was able to understand why Stockman launched his Senate race because I did a novel thing. I asked him. In fact, I posted a dozen videos of the interview on Youtube and wrote about other parts of the interview.
But now I want to give you the exclusive “rest of the story.”
Stockman never cared about the perks of Congress. He isn’t obsessed by the power like so many of the little people that populate the GOP caucus on the hill. He was frustrated by a do-nothing Boehner and pathetic leaders obsessed with protecting their jobs, damn the country.
Instead Stockman did exactly what he set out to achieve. He knew Karl Rove was intent on taking him out in his congressional primary, so he upped the ante and forced Rove to spend millions protecting his crown jewel, John Cornyn.
Cornyn has been a Rove lackey from way back. Rove uses him for information and access.
I am not sure how many millions Rove had to spend, but I know it was multiple millions, maybe as much as $10 million through all the independent committees he had trashing Stockman.
Needless to say, there's no mention of the fact that Stockman didn't bother to campaign, which even Fox News noticed.
As for the rest of Brown's sycophantic description of Stockman's alleged plan, Dave Weigel rebuts:
Stockman didn't have a primary opponent. When he filed for Senate, on Dec. 9, no one credible had filed to run against him in the House race. Brown says Stockman forced Cornyn-allied groups to spend up to "$10 million" against him. We need to wait to see the final total, but the pro-Cornyn PAC Texans for a Conservative Majority spent only $1 million before the start of early voting. And Cornyn was facing a bunch of Tea Party candidates who ran harder than Stockman did. It's not like the money wouldn't have moved if Stockman hadn't sleepwalked into the race.
That was apparently the plan. Floyd Brown said so.
CNS Columnist Dishonestly Attacks Proposed Calif. Rape Law Topic: CNSNews.com
Hans Bader writes in a March 10 CNSNews.com column:
How does classifying most consensual sex as rape help rape victims? As a lawyer who has handled rape and sexual harassment cases, I have no idea, but this radical result is what some want to happen in California. In endorsing a bill in the California legislature that would require "affirmative consent" before sex can occur on campus, the editorial boards of the Sacramento and Fresno Bee, and the Daily Californian advocated that sex be treated as "sexual assault" unless the participants discuss it "out loud" before sex, and "demonstrate they obtained verbal 'affirmative consent' before engaging in sexual activity."
Bader is dishonestly portraying the proposed law, which specifically states that consent doesn’t necessarily have to be verbal -- it can be through “clear, unambiguous actions.” Bader concedes this later in his column, but then insists again that the bill is "Requiring people to have verbal discussions before sex" and that "Since most couples have engaged in sex without 'verbal' consent, supporters of the bill are effectively redefining most people, and most happily-married couples, as rapists."
Despite the fact that the proposed law doesn't cover marital sex, Bader goes on to tell us way too much about his sex life:
I and my wife have been happily married for more than a decade, and like 99.9% of married couples, we do not engage in verbal discussion before engaging in each and every form of sexual activity. Indeed, in the first year of our daughter's life, when she was a very light sleeper (she would wake up if you merely walked into her bedroom and stepped on a creaky part of the bedroom floor), it would have been unthinkable for us to engage in any kind of "out loud" discussion in our bedroom, which is right next to hers (the walls in our house are very thin, and you can hear sounds from one room in the next room). We certainly did not verbally discuss then whether to have sex. Having sex quietly when you are a parent is a sign that you are considerate of sleeping family members, and have a healthy marriage, not of sexual abuse.
Thanks for sharing, Hans. It's completely irrelevant.
WND's Murray Loves Russia Because It Reminds Him Of 1950s America Topic: WorldNetDaily
William Murray, who's working with Joseph Farah and Jerome Corsi on their right-wing super PAC (and who we previously remember blaming a train crash on homosexuality), has a new buddy, and along with many of his fellow WorldNetDaily writers, it's Vladimir Putin.
President Vladimir Putin of Russia is cast as an evil villain and blood-thirsty madman by the American media and politicians of both parties. Often, to demonize him they point out that he was once head of the old KGB (note that our own President George H.W. Bush once headed the CIA). In reality, Putin actually presided over the dismantling and reform of the old KGB.
Putin may be no Easter bunny, but he is a far better man and a far better human being than the fascist monarchs the United States supports in Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Let’s remember that we are arming and supporting Islamic nations that stone people to death, have zero human rights and hold no elections at all, such as Saudi Arabia.
The attacks on Russia and Putin began before the Olympic Games in Sochi and have escalated over the issue of Ukraine. I was actually ashamed of conservative outlets such as Fox News that salivated over one overrunning toilet that was found by an Associated Press photographer at the Sochi games. (Apparently, no toilet has ever overflowed in Western Europe or the United States.)
Why do President Obama and the Western media have such hatred for Russia? What is all the Russia bashing really about?
In Russia the clergy are allowed to enter the schools to give instruction in the Bible. Prayer is allowed in the public schools in Russia, as well. It is against the law to sell or give pornographic literature to anyone under the age of 18. Marriage in Russia is allowed only between one man and one woman.
Why do Barack Obama and the liberal media hate Russia so much but have such love for nations that are anti-Christian and repressive such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia? Morally and spiritually, Russia today is the nation America was in the 1950s.
Apparently, Murray thinks that returning to the 1950s is a good thing.
NewsBusters Plugs Mark Levin, Doesn't Mention He's A Paid MRC Spokesman Topic: NewsBusters
Ken Shepherd does a fine job of shilling for Mark Levin in a March 10 NewsBusters post:
He may call himself a "Bernie Goldberg conservative" and a "Juan Williams liberal" but in truth, NBC sportscaster Bob Costas is simply "a damn fool" who "has abused [his] role" on the network's airwaves to trash the constitutional right of "we the people" to keep and bear arms, syndicated radio host Mark Levin argued on his March 10 program.
Check out Mr. Levin's website here. For the full March 10 program, as well as to check out the complete Levin audio archive, click here.
Shepherd didn't mention that Levin is a paid spokesman for the publisher of NewsBusters -- just like his colleagues at ostensible MRC "news" division CNSNews.com regularly fail to do.
We don't ask for much -- just that the MRC follows the same journalistic ethics it demands from the "liberal media" it bashes.