MRC Defends Pope From Liberal Critics; Conservatives Can Bash Him All They Want Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center is usually pretty sensive about criticism of Pope Francis -- understandable since its leadership ranks are heavily Catholic. Here's a sampling of recent headlines on the subject:
Note the one linking factor between those items: the MRC is attacking liberals (or perceived liberals) for their statements on the pope.
By contrast, conservatives are allowed to smear the pope all they want.
For instance, one writer marked Pope Francis' visit to the U.S. by claiming he "embodies sanctity but comes trailing clouds of sanctimony," offers "shrill" social diagonses and "embraces ideas impeccably fashionable, demonstrably false and deeply reactionary." This writer concluded by sneering, "He stands against modernity, rationality, science and, ultimately, the spontaneous creativity of open societies in which people and their desires are not problems but precious resources. Americans cannot simultaneously honor him and celebrate their nation’s premises."
If the writer was liberal, the MRC would be all over him. But since the writer is conservative Washington Post columnist George Will, his column has been chosen as an "Editor's Pick" for promotion at NewsBusters, complete with the original headline, "Pope Francis’s fact-free flamboyance."
The pope's encyclical on climate change brought out much ire at the MRC. Its "news" division, CNSNews.com, published numerousattacks on the pope, including one commentary by Jen Kuznicki claiming the Vatican is filled with "climate change wackos" and attacking the pope himselffor coming "from Latin America, where corrupt, communistic governments and dictatorships show little regard for their fellow human beings." And just this week, a CNS op-ed claims the pope's support of climate change action means he backs "a political agenda that pushes policies that directly hurt the poor and are contrary to the best science."
It seems that if the MRC is going to be a defender of the pope, it should defend him from all attacks, not just ones from liberals. But that would be too logical; instead, it actually openly encourages conservative attacks on him.
Are Brent Bozell and his fellow followers in faith at the MRC being good Catholics by taking part in such hypocrisy? It doesn't seem so.
Posted by Terry K.
at 2:35 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 2:37 PM EDT
NewsBusters Conspiracy-Monger Mocks Someone Else's Conspiracy Theory Topic: NewsBusters
We got a chuckle out of Mark Finkelstein's Sept. 18 NewsBusters post:
Maybe next week, Chris Hayes will share his views on Area 51, whether fire can melt steel, and if the moon landing happened in a Hollywood studio . . .
On his MSNBC show this evening, Hayes floated the notion that the guy at a New Hampshire town hall who told Donald Trump that President Obama is a Muslim might have been a plant. According to Chris, although the moment seemed to have happened "organically" [yes, but was it free range?], "who knows?" Proclaimed Chris: "until they find the guy I'm going to reserve judgment on the origins of the question."
What makes this doubly hilarious is the fact that it's Finkelstein mocking conspiracy theories here. You might recall that Finkelstein used a NewsBusters post to forward the conspiracy theory that NBC host Matt Lauer wasn't just wearing a checkered scarf, he was wearing a "Palestinian support scarf." Because any checkered scarf must be seen as support for the Palestinian cause, you see.
And he has the temerity to mock the conspiracy theories of others? The hell, you say.
UPDATE: Talking Points Memo has compiled a list of people engaging in the same speculation as Chris Hayes -- and surprise, surprise, most of them are conservatives like Laura Ingraham and Greg Gutfield. We're sure Finkelstein will get around to mocking them like he did Hayes any minute now.
Posted by Terry K.
at 4:13 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 2:49 PM EDT
WND Writer Admits His Obsession With U.S. Spending in Kenya Is A Fraud Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've noted how WorldNetDaily's Steve Peacock has rather obsessively documented U.S. spending in Kenya under the Obama administration, suggesting that the president is directly ordering it to help his ancestral homeland -- all the while failing to prove Obama is directly involved in any of it, or that U.S. spending in Kenya has increased significantly under Obama.
Now we've gotten the answer to one of those questions in a Sept. 17 WND article in which Peacock complains once more that "The Obama administration yet again is expanding one of its aid initiatives to Kenya."
But you have to go to the 17th paragraph of the 20-paragraph article to see the truth: that the U.S.' overall aid to Kenya "dropped from a high of $830 million in FY 2009 to $460 million in FY2013."
In other words, Obama is spending less in Kenya than President Bush did.
But because that doesn't further the conspiracy, Peacock then complains about the "rise in aid to Kenya" -- which he admits is still only "$630 million in spending planned for FY 2016." In other words, it's still about 25 percent less than was spent under the final budget approved under Bush.
So, basically, Peacock and WND's entire obsession with U.S. money spent under Obama " ... in Kenya!" is a fraud. You know, like a lotofthings WND has reported about Obama.
WND's Farah Laments Coulter's Anti-Semitic Tirade, Ignores His Role In Boosting Her Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah devoted his Sept. 17 WorldNetDaily column to criticizing Ann Coulter's "f---ing Jews" tirade, calling it "a staggeringly inappropriate and ugly comment" that's likely anti-Semitic and puts her in league with Iranian mullahs.
What Farah didn't do is admit his role in perpetuating her work as a right-wing bombthrower -- just like the Media Research Center did -- nor did he say he would do the one thing he could to send a meaningful message by canceling her column.
Farah rather laughably laments that "It’s sad to see Coulter degenerate into a slur machine, one who seems so desperate for fame at any cost that she will say anything and possibly do anything to maintain a career as, frankly, a thuggish commentator." But thuggish commentary is what WND is all about -- from Mychal Massie to Jesse Lee Peterson to, well, Farah himself.
Besides, Farah is on record as encouraging Coulter's thuggishness and her transformation into the "slur machine" he now purportedly despises. In 2005, WND proudly re-edited a Coulter column to restore a description of Helen Thomas as an "old Arab" that her syndicate had removed.
It wasn't until 2010 that Farah took offense to anything Coulter had said or written -- and that was only because she wasn't being extreme enough. Farah dropped Coulter as a keynote speaker for WND's "Taking America Back National Conference" that year because she spoke to a gay-Republican group, sparking a war of words between Farah and Coulter.
But if Farah was really mad about Coulter, he could have canceled her column. But he didn't, presumably because it's reportedly a driver of traffic to WND's website.
As of this writing, Coulter's column remains in the lead spot in the list of WND columnists that appear on Thursday.
Farah can rant all he wants to about Coulter, but he has the power to harm her pocketbook. That he has so far refused to do so -- and in fact has helped her to become the person who would refer to "f---king Jews" -- demonstrates he doesn't have the courage of his convictions.
Logrolling In Our Time: Trump and Newsmax Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax is already all in on Donald Trump's presidential bid -- has been since 2011, actually. Now there's a new form of logrolling going on between the two: Newsmax's Trump-loving audience votes Trump the winner in post-debate polls -- the opt-in polls are not scientific -- Newsmax gives the results to Trump, Trump cites that poll in public, and Newsmax touts Trump's citing of Newsmax.
This first happened after the Aug. 6 GOP debate, when Trump touted the Newsmax poll claiming Trump won, and Newsmax touted how "Trump pointed to the Newsmax poll while blasting RedState leader Erick Erickson for revoking an invitation for Trump to speak at the conservative group's gathering in Atlanta.
It happened again after the Sept. 16 debate, as Greg Richter is more than happy to inform you in a Sept. 17 Newsmax article:
Presidential front-runner Donald Trump drew cheers on Thursday from a New Hampshire town hall audience when he touted his dominance in the post-debate online polls.
Among them was the Newsmax poll, in which Trump took 46 percent. Carly Fiorina was a distant second at 20 percent.
"Time magazine, they did votes as to who won the debate last night," Trump noted. "114,000 votes as of 6 p.m. Trump 56. Carly Fiorina, 19, Rubio 7, Ben Carson 4. The rest not doing too good." Special: New Probiotic Fat Burner Takes GNC by Storm The Drudge Report poll found Trump favored by 66 percent. Latest News Update
"Second Fiorina much less, like much," he said. "And then Rubio, then Cruz. I'm not going to mention the next name because I don't like him very much."
"Then Newsmax, way up ahead, Newsmax. You like Newsmax? The great Chris Ruddy. I like it, too. Donald Trump, first place by a lot."
The fact that both Newsmax polls are still open for voting (here and here) testifies to the utter meaninglessness of the results.
MRC Silent on MRC Friend Ann Coulter's Anti-Semitic Tweet Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center is a longtime friend of Ann Coulter, having served as a judge and/or presenter for its annual "dishonors awards" several times. And in the last year alone:
MRC leaders Brent Bozell and Tim Graham devoted an entire column to promoting Coulter's new anti-immigration book, touting how she bashes the media and "Lord knows Coulter understands they deserve the hectoring."
The MRC made a supercut of Coulter's scenes in "Sharknado 3" because, as MRC VP Brent Baker explained, it knew its readers' preferences about "what you know you want to see, but didn’t want to spend two hours to catch."
As you might guess from that chummy releationship, the MRC is also a defender of Coulter, unable to identify anything she says that might be offensive. We've detailed how the MRC rushed to aggressively defend Coulter after she was credibly accused of homophobic rhetoric, so aggressive that we wondered if Coulter had some blackmail thing going against MRC chief Brent Bozell.
All of this made us wonder how the MRC would react to Coulter's Twitter rant complaining about Republican presidential candidates pandering to Israel, adding, "How many f---ing Jews do these people think there are in the United States?"
The answer so far is: not at all. Stone silence at CNSNews and MRCTV, and no mention at all on the Twitter feeds of either Bozell or the MRC. NewsBusters does link to a Mediaite article on Coulter under the headline "Coulter unleashes anti-Semitic bile on Twitter," but no NewsBusters writer mentions it in a blog post, let alone passes judgment on it.
Why the silence? Are Bozell and Co. simply that clueless about how Coulter's words hurt the conservative brand? Or do they know it's offensive but are afraid to speak out against her? That would make them either ignorant or gutless.
The problem with the MRC's silence is that because it's been so close to Coulter in the past, they have ownership in her anti-Semitic remarks. In this case, silence can only be interpreted as assent. The MRC's longtime defense of Coulter and embrace of her as a mainstream conservative is a major reason why she is in a position today to make such an offensive statement.
As we've noted with MRC's wishy-washiness over birthers, its refusal to use its position as a leader in the conservative movement to unequivocally denounce extremism in its ranks allows the so-called "liberal media" to show how that extremism is part of conservatism. The MRC repeatedly insists that the portrayal is unfair, but it won't police its ranks the way it lashes out at conservatives who move even the slightest bit to the left.
In short, the MRC must speak out on Coulter so the public knows where it stands on right-wing extremism: will it denounce her, or will it continue to embrace her as it has in the past?
At CNS, 10 Articles on GOP Debate, But Candidates' Vaccine Misinfo Is Censored Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com churned out a whopping 10 articles on the Sept. 16 Republican presidential debate -- a main article by Patrick Goodenough, and eight more highlighting various statements made by candidates during the debate by Goodenough and three other CNS writers (count 'em: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), plus a blog post highlighting the "most tweeted moment" of the debate.
All the CNS articles were stenography -- there was no fact-checking or analysis of the statements the candidates made. Even Carly Fiorina's factually dubious attack on Planned Parenthood was merely dutifully transcribed by Goodenough, making sure to note the "enthusiastic applause" it received, without any mention of the fact that -- as even CNS' parent organization is conceding -- she did not speak fully accurately.
And none of the articles the misinformation the Republican candidates spread about vaccines, from Donald Trump's assertion thatvaccines cause autism to Ben Carson's insistence that children need only "certain" vaccines to Rand Paul's claim that childhood vaccinations shouldn't be "bunched up."
Since CNS won't hold Republicans to the same level of scrutiny it holds Democrats -- even when the misinformation being provided is dangerous, as it is with the Republicans' misinformation about vaccines -- it falls to legitimate news organizations to do the job of fact-checking. The Washington Post does the fact-check that CNS won't:
Here's the truth: there are vaccines for 14 different diseases given in the first few years of a child's life, according to a carefully vetted schedule. These may be for diseases, like measles and diphtheria, that we generally don't think of as killers today -- but that's largely because vaccines have been so successful in preventing people from getting sick in the first place.
Those vaccines are scheduled so that they can be given to children before they come into contact with the pathogens that cause disease. When they are given in combinations, or "bunched" at the same time, it's only after they are carefully tested in "concomitant use" studies to make sure the vaccines don't interfere with each other or cause harm.
Indeed, experts say, when doctors stray from the bunching of vaccines, they fall into unknown territory where the harms and benefits are less clearly understood.
"It’s not like the CDC makes it up. They give these vaccines in combination only when proven to be safe and effective," [professor of pediatrics Paul] Offit said. "When you choose what Ben Carson or Trump or Rand Paul is arguing for, you’re making up a schedule. You don’t know whether that’s safe or effective."
We've documented how the MRC will only criticize anti-vaccine conspiracy-mongers when it conflicts with its right-wing political agenda. Admitting that Republican presidential candidates are not telling the truth would certainly be one of those conflicts.
MRC Walks Back Its Defense of Fiorina on Planned Parenthood Videos Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center was outraged that anyone would dare to fact-check Carly Fiorina's attack on Planned Parenthood during the Sept. 16 Republican presidential debate.
Kyle Drennen complained that an MSNBC guest pointed out that there were "serious misstatements" made by Fiorina, immediately running to her defense:
Despite MSNBC’s desperate attempt to deny the horrific reality of the Planned Parenthood videos, one of them does in fact show “a fully formed fetus on the table. Its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain,’” just as Fiorina described in the debate.
But the source Drennen provides to back up his assertion -- a Federalist post by right-wing activist Mollie Hemingway -- is not as clear asDrennen claims. Hemingway actually never directly backs up Fiorina's claim that the scene she described was committed by Planned Parenthood officials in the secretly recorded, dishonestly edited "Center for Medical Progress" videos; she fudges things by stating that "she is likely referring to the entirety of the 10 videos, including the seventh video released by the Center for Medical Progress" and never actually ascribing the scene to Planned Parenthood.
But about five hours after Drennen's post, the MRC's Ken Shepherd was walking back the idea that anyone who says Fiorina was wrong is lying. In his NewsBusters post complaining about more people on MSNBC calling out Fiorina, Shepherd essentially admits the CMP videos are dishonestly edited by citing a Wall Street Journal item pointing out that the scene Fiorina described was actually that of "a different fetus that came from other antiabortion groups," not anything Planned Parenthood did.
But Shepherd won't actually say out loud that the CMP videos were dishonestly edited by the addition of outside footage, even though he's basically conceding the point. He instead admits the Journal's explanation is "charitable" to Fiorina, then runs with it:
In other words, the most charitable and rather likely explanation is that Fiorina conflated the imagery and the testimony of the procurement technician and essentially mis-remembered it as seeing actual footage of a live aborted baby. At any rate, it's undeniable that abortion itself is a grisly and violent taking of a human life, and if coupled with the deliberate harvesting of organs for profit, well, it just heightens the heinous nature of the act.
Shepherd then takes that position to ludicrous extremes:
Left-wing critics of CMP have sought refuge in the claim that the shorter videos are deceptively edited, yet they have the full videos for comparison and, if they were in fact deceptively edited, they could easily build their case for why by contrasting exculpatory footage that was edited out of the shorter pieces. That no one has done so, it seems to me, is a case of the dog that didn't bark.
SHepherd is simply lying when he claims "no one" has highlighted exculpatory footage CMP edited out its pieces. Here's one quite comprehensive guide to what Shepherd claims doesn't exist.
The fact that the MRC must be so dishonest about the Planned Parenthood videos shows the shaky ground they are on.
WND Columnist Who Declared Obama A Psychopath Gives Trump A Clean Bill of Mental Health Topic: WorldNetDaily
Last year, WorldNetDaily columnist Gina Loudon was not shy about playing armchair psychologist to declare that President Obama is a psychopath, largely on the false claim that "Obama has golfed more than any other president." Of course, all Loudon was doing was dressing up her own borderline-psychopathic hatred of Obama as a purpored psychatric evaluation.
Now Loudon is training her armchair-diagnosis skills at Donald Trump, who arguably displays signs of mental disorders -- and she can't find a thing wrong with the guy.
In her Sept. 13 WND column, London concedes an obvious issue -- Trump's narcissism. But, she assures us, Trump is no sociopath like Hitler, and besides, Reagan was a narcissist too:
The important distinction here is that those who lead through strength to achieve evil are deranged. Hitler was sociopathological. Trump seems mentally sound. Though mental assessment is impossible without true clinical testing and diagnosis (and is even then, very elusive), I haven’t observed, nor have I heard of any other mental health professionals observing that Trump is in any way unstable.
Were great leaders like Ronald Reagan, Teddy Roosevelt and Margaret Thatcher just as narcissistic and driven as Trump? Likely yes. Were they better at hiding it? Certainly. Decorum was different then. And that was before political correctness had become the major enemy of the American people. Trump intuitively saw the frustration of Main Street over the tyranny and oppression of political correctness, and he capitalized on it, masterfully.
Yet if you go back to her Obama-bashing 2014 column, the psychopathic qualities she ascribes to Obama certainly apply to Trump as well:
Psychopaths often act audaciously, without regard for those affected. They get away with actions that others in their positions haven’t, because of their ability to remain calm even when committing atrocities, and their ability to manipulate whole groups of people.
But Loudon gives Trump's audaciousness a pass, declaring that "Trump takes the hits for the heretofore 'unspeakable truths,' while other conservatives in the race have the luxury of looking composed, deliberative, presidential."
Loudon caps off her column with this ringing endorsement:
Trump has eviscerated the predictions of those who have traditionally been good at guessing the rise and fall of presidential candidates. I am going to take a stab anyway. My prediction is this: As long as he is loyal to the three principles he has made clear in his run thus far, his supporters will be loyal to him, and he can win. If he does win, or he is part of a winning team, the world could see a return of Reagan's "Shining City on a Hill." It has been a rough road back to America's rugged exceptionalism, but it could come back. And that could be huge.
Somehow, the things that made Obama a psychopath to Loudon make Trump a lovable potential president. Go figure.
NewsBusters Writer Bashes 'Liberal Media Narrative' With False Conservative Media Narrative Topic: NewsBusters
Jeffrey Lord -- who thinks it's a "legitimate conservative" tactic to smear people as Nazis -- spends his Sept. 12 NewsBusters column complaining about the purportedly dishonesty-laden "Liberal Media Narrative." He explains:
How does the Liberal Media Narrative game work? Like this.
Reported the New York Post of then-Senator Barack Obama during the fall campaign of 2008 in a remark that was instantly seen by Republicans as an attack on Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
“You know, you can put lipstick on a pig,” Obama said, “but it’s still a pig.”
….Many in the Obama crowd leaped to their feet in delight – apparently taking the “pig” comment as a direct slam at Palin.”
The liberal media of the day was outraged. From the New York Times to the Washington Post to MSNBC, Obama was pilloried for being a sexist and a misogynist. His poll numbers tanked.
Just kidding. The media didn’t care a whit, Senator Obama was not only elected president he was re-elected.
Except, well, that's not how that happened at all -- starting with what Obama actually said.
Obama was criticizing John McCain's policies by referencing a common saying, and Obama's full statement in context shows that he didn't reference Palin at all. The New York Post made up the part about the statement being a "direct slam at Palin."
Contrary to Lord's claim, MSNBC did, in fact, promote the idea that Obama was attacking Palin. Even the Associated Press, whhich Lord would most certainly count among the "liberal media," did it as well.
Media critic Howard Kurtz, now with Fox News, pointed out at the time that the right's narrative on the "lipstick" quote was a "manufactured story that was pushed by the right ... pushed along and made up by Drudge, Sean Hannity, and the New York Post," and yet the media did "segment after segment on it."
That's what you might call the Conservative Media Narrative -- and Lord fell for it.
Why is Lord doing this? To deflect from Donald Trump's recent misogynistic remarks toward Carly Fiorina and Fox News' Megyn Kelly. He's following the MRC playbook as Ted Cruz did by insisting that any criticism of Trump is, by definition, liberal:
Now comes the media dust-up over Trump’s remark’s about Carly Fiorina. And unlike the media’s treatment of then-Senator Obama’s attack on Sarah Palin with his “lipstick on a pig” comment, Trump gets no pass. As he did not with his comments on Fox’s Megyn Kelly after the Fox debate. The Liberal Media Narrative game is in play.
And it isn’t working.
What is the lesson here? It’s an easy lesson, an old lesson and a lesson that has nothing whatsoever to do with Donald Trump on Carly Fiorina’s looks or Ted Cruz on a government shutdown beyond the fact that they are Republicans. The fact is that no Republican - no matter who he or she is - will get a pass on anything the media decides is “controversial.” The Liberal Media Narrative must be served come hell or high water.
Despite the fact that Obama was definitely not referencing Palin in his remarks while Trump was directly and unambiguously directly his remarks at Kelly and Fiorina, Lord insists that Trump's fans -- himself apparently among them -- "understand why comments about the physical looks of a woman are bad if coming from Donald Trump, irrelevant and dismissed if coming from Barack Obama."
At no point, however, does Lord breathe a word of what Trump actually said about Kelly and Fiorina in his defense of them; he simply declares any atempt to hold Trump accountable for his words (never mind the fact that evenconservativescriticized his nasty jabs at Fiorina and Kelly) is part of the "Liberal Media Narrative."
But if there is a dishonest "liberal media narrative" that Lord believes exists, then there is also a conservative media narrative that is just as dishonest -- and Lord's column is all about furthering that dishonesty.
In that Sept. 7 "news" article, Chapman obsesses over Sanger's criticism of Catholics, highlighting that "Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger opposed the Catholic Church for decades because of its moral teachings and its theology in general, to the point that in 1960, when John F. Kennedy, a Catholic, ran for president, Sanger said if he were elected, she would “find another place to live.”
But Chapman is a curiously incurious "reporter": Completely missing from his article is the fact that Sanger was far from alone in opposing to Kennedy's election on the basis of his Catholicism. Indeed, two of the most prominent people in invoking anti-Catholic sentiment against JFK in the 1960 presidential election was his Republican opponent, Richard Nixon, and Billy Graham.
As detailed in the book “The Making of a Catholic President: Kennedy vs. Nixon 1960″ by Shaun A. Casey, major Protestant denominations and influential Protestant leaders teamed with the Republican Party and Nixon to feed anti-Catholic prejudice among the large Protestant voting majority to try and prevent JFK's election. One reviewer summarizes:
Famous names like the Rev. Billy Graham and Norman Vincent Peale are uncovered as joining in, nay, leading the charge, in order to keep the Catholic Kennedy from the White House.
Casey’s research shows how Protestant ministers and church leaders used their pulpits and their printing presses to blatantly state that no Catholic could ever be trusted to uphold the U.S. Constitution as president.
In going after the anti-Catholic vote, Nixon took up a suggestion from Rev. Billy Graham, who wrote in a letter to the then vice president, “when the chips are down I think the religious issue would be very strong and might conceivable work in your behalf.” Graham in fact shared his mailing list with the anti-Kennedy efforts.
Graham even lied to Kennedy about not being involved in anti-Catholic efforts against him. Randall Balmer writes:
On August 10, 1960, for example, Graham sent a letter to John F. Kennedy, the Democratic nominee for president and only the second Roman Catholic to run on a major-party ticket. Graham assured Kennedy in no uncertain terms that, contrary to rumors, the evangelist had no intention of raising the “religious issue” during the course of the campaign.
Eight days later, however, Graham convened a gathering of American Protestant ministers in Montreaux, Switzerland, to discuss how to derail Kennedy’s campaign. The follow-up to the Montreaux meeting was a closed-door gathering of 150 Protestant clergy at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington on November 7—the purpose of which, once again, was to sound the alarm about the dangers of a Roman Catholic in the White House.
None of this makes Chapman's article -- possibly because he's an admirer and sycophant of Graham's son, Franklin Graham, and would rather hide the truth than dare to make his idol mad. But then, hiding facts to advance a political agenda is what Chapman's CNS is all about these days.
NEW ARTICLE: MRC vs. A Dead Woman Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center is spreading lie after lie about Margaret Sanger as part of the right-wing media's campaign against Planned Parenthood. Read more >>
'Exclusive' WND Columnist Ben Carson Bails On His WND Column Topic: WorldNetDaily
Earlier this year, WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah made a big deal out of getting an "exclusive" column by Ben Carson after his syndicate dropped him for making moves toward a presidential candidacy. Farah then played off the ethical implications of a news outlet giving a presidential candidate a regular platform to speak in what Farah proudly called "his own unadulterated words" by offering "every serious, bona fide presidential candidate – Democrat and Republican, Libertarian and others associated with smaller parties – the same opportunity" of having a regular column at WND.
How's that working out for Farah and WND?
As you can see from WND's columnist lineup, no active presidential candidate has taken Farah up on his offer. On top of that, a look at Carson's WND column archive shows that he hasn't written one since June 30.
One might argue that Carson is too busy running for president to write a column -- though he wrote a piece for USA Today last month, so apparently the "exclusive" deal he and WND had is over -- but it may also be that Carson realized that WND is so far-right fringe that it would hurt his chances of election to be associated with it.
A Sept. 11 WND article by Leo Hohmann carries the headline "Bin Laden crane collapses, kills 107 on 9/11 anniversary." But the article makes no mention of Osama bin Laden, as the headline implies: instead, it notes that "The giant Binladin Group was heading up the nearly two-year construction project to enlarge the mosque by 4.3 million square feet, enough space to accommodate 2.2 million Muslim worshipers inside the mosque at one time."
Hohmann later writes: "The Binladen Group was founded by Osama Bin Laden's billionaire father Mohammed and the sprawling construction conglomerate runs a large amount of major building contracts in the Saudi kingdom."
Between the headline and Hohmann's incomplete reporting, WND is suggesting that Osama bin Laden has had a role in the operation of the Binladin Group -- which is a lie.
The Wall Street Journal reported shortly after the 9/11 attacks that the Binladin family had disowned Osama long before the attacks, that Osama never owned an equity stake in the Binladin Group, and that a family spokesman expressed "the strongest denunciation and condemnation of this sad event, which resulted in the loss of many innocent men, women, and children, and which contradicts our Islamic faith."
In 2013, a U.S. appeals court upheld the dismissal of lawsuits against the Binladin group by victims and survivors of the 9/11 attacks, which had claimed the group supported the attacks.
All of this information about how the Binladen Group hasn't had ties with Osama bin Laden for decades is easily found, but Hohmann didn't feel the need to put that in his article.
On top of that, it's not clear who actually was reponsible for the crane. As ABC News reported, "It was not immediately clear who owned the crane that collapsed." In other words, Hohmann is making assumptions beyond the established facts -- something a real reporter would never do.
But then, Hohmann works for WND, which isn't exactly known for real reporting.
How The MRC Isn't All In on Trump (Just Like Bozell Wants It) Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center feels the same way about Donald Trump as it does about birtherism: not an issue until somebody cites it/him to criticize conservatives.
We got more confirmation of the MRC's Trump non-agenda in an interview chief honcho Brent Bozell did with Rush Limbaugh for the Limbaugh Letter. The MRC posted only the first two pages of it, and it's pretty fluffy -- just as you'd expect Limbaugh to do for someone who started an "I Stand With Rush" website in an attempt to shield him from criticism over his three days of ugly misogyny against Sandra Fluke.
The MRC has posted only the first two pages of the interview, but it includes the telling passage that Bozell is a Ted Cruz supporter -- but, he insists, "not through the Media Research Center, or through my other organization, ForAmerica, but personally."
Well, that's not exactly true (even if he has to say it in order to avoid legal questions about the MRC's nonprofit tax status): the MRC has been pretty quick to run to Cruz's defense, as suggested by the 818 NewsBusters items that mention him as of this writing. Some are pretty picayune, such as the post accusing the New York Times of "flirt[ing] with birtherism" by merely quoting Cruz's father's defense of his eligibility to run for president. And it absolutely loves the fact that Cruz is following the MRC playbook by dismissing tough questions from the media as "liberal."
By contrast, the MRC has not been as interested in embracing Donald Trump's media critiques, even though he's using the same MRC playbook Cruz used to make them. As we've noted, the MRC stayed silent on Trump's dismissal of questions during the August Republican presidential campaign debate as liberal gotcha questions -- likely because the questions came from Fox News anchors, whom Bozell had previously demanded be put in charge of running Republican presidential debates.
That hands-off attitude was expanded upon by Bozell in his interview with Limbaugh:
Rush: What was your analysis of the public reaction to that debate, aimed at Fox News? Not just Megyn Kelly, but the whole thing as it related to Trump?
Bozell: People love Fox News. People have so much hope in Fox News, and I think people felt really let down by what they saw.
Rush: Is that right?
Bozell: Absolutely. I was there. I will tell you that the mood inside that auditorium was apparently very different from the mood on television. If you were to have taken a poll of the people who were there, in no way did Donald Trump win that debate. You could hear the grumblings in the audience. People were asking why there were so few questions to Cruz, why there were so few questions to Carson, and then question after question after question to Trump. People got very tired of it, Rush.
So Bozell also disliked the way Fox News handled the debate as well, if only (publicly, anyway) for letting Trump divert attention from his beloved Cruz. But, again, none of this criticism made its way to the websites of the MRC. It's as if Bozell is afraid of criticizing Fox News lest he lose his weekly spot on "Hannity."
Similarly, when Trump denounced "gotcha" questions in an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, the MRC didn't feel like echoing it. Why? Because Hewitt is a conservative the MRC loves. It cheered how Hewitt claimed how NPR is the "liberal version of my show" and his ridiculous claim that the right-wing-fueled controversy over Hillary Clinton's emails was itself an "indictment" of her (as opposed to, you know, an actual indictment).
The only mention of Trump's MRC-inspired attack on Hewitt was a few days later it happened, in a Sept. 6 NewsBusters post by Melissa Mullins noting that "liberal journo" Geraldo Rivera had backed up Trump. Mullins didnt mention the fact that Hewitt is a conservative.
Later in the Limbaughinterview, Bozell touted how Fox News chief Roger Ailes is "a master of this medium" by latching on to Trump and even by making Trump a focus of the Fox debate, then threw in some wishful thinking by grumping, "I think Trump may have peaked."
It seems to us that if you're afraid to engage in media criticism for fear of angering one side or the other lest you lose access because of it, you're a terrible media critic. It's never been afraid to play right-wingGod to decree who is and is not a true conservative -- that's what Heathering is all about, after all -- and there's no reason it should stop now, especially when it knows that Trump is an opportunist and not a genuine conservative (to judge from the Twitter feeds of MRC employees we've read who aren't buying his schtick).
The MRC is in a perfect position -- one it created -- to weigh in on Trump's fights with conservative media. But it won't, apparenly choosing to hope that Trump simply goes away.