The lesson WND learned from Google threatening to cut off ad revenue over its obsession with "black mobs": Be a little less blatant about it. Read more >>
Monday, February 15, 2016
Sunday, February 14, 2016
MRC-Mark Levin Business Arrangement/Love Affair Watch
Topic: Media Research Center
Last month, the Media Research Center was rushing to the defense of right-wing radio host (and friend of MRC chief Brent Bozell) Mark Levin over a mild swipe by a TV host. This month -- presumably brought on at least in part by the fact the MRC and Levin have a business arrangement to promote each other -- it's back to full-fledged drool mode.
Michael Morris devotes an entire Feb. 11 CNSNews.com blog post to telling us how "Westwood One just announced a 'lifetime extension' for 'The Mark Levin Show' hosted by nationally syndicated radio talk show host Mark Levin." Morris' only source is the press release issued by Levin and Westwood One, andhe makes sure to include the slobbering declaration that Levin is "one of the most important, popular, and trusted voices in radio."
But given that the MRC pretty much forbids criticism of Levin on his websites and aggressively attacks anyone else to dares to do so, rewriting a press release -- and the complete censorship of the MRC-Levin business arrangement -- was all one could hope for here.
Saturday, February 13, 2016
WND Blames 'Obama Economy' For Capitalism At Work
Bob Unruh declares in a Feb. 10 WorldNetDaily article:
But the examples Unruh cites to back this up have nothing to do with Obama. For instance:
Inn fact, Sears has been a dying company for years. One analytics firm highlights how shopper preference for Sears has been plummeting over the past decade -- well before Obama took office -- and even its most loyal customers have ceased going there. And the company seems not to care.
Unruh also features analyst Michael Snyder claiming, "In impoverished urban centers all over the nation, it is not uncommon to find entire malls that have now been completely abandoned." That's true, but again, that has nothing to do with the "Obama economy." The conservative Daily Caller points out that "the mall itself is an inefficient system" and that shopping preferences have shifted to other types of retail, as well as the Internet.
Also, malls as a general rule are not built in "impoverished urban centers," as Snyder claims; they're mostly found in prosperous suburban and exurban areas.
Unruh ultimately concedes some of this, admitting that "online shopping, maxed out credit and other factors were creating a shadow for America’s retail climate." Again, that's not the "Obama economy" at work; that's capitalism.
Friday, February 12, 2016
CNS Oil Industry Stenography Watch
The Media Research Center gets a significant amount of money from fossil-fuel interests, so its "news" division CNSNews.com is always happy to serve as stenographers for the industry. Here are the latest examples.
A Feb. 8 CNS article by Barbara Hollingsworth uncritically repeats spin from the American Petroleum Institute that President Obama’s proposal to impose a $10 per barrel tax on oil "increases the hostile campaign the administration is waging against the American consumer." Hollingsworth made no attempt to seek out a point of view in response.
CNS' chief oil industry stenographer, Penny Starr, used a Feb. 9 article to tout a claim by ExxonMobil that "in the 2040 market, oil, natural gas, and coal will meet 80% of the world’s energy needs and that carbon emissions should peak by 2030." Starr failed to disclose that ExxonMobil has donated more than $400,000 to her employer over the years.
This stenography -- press releases, really -- is obviously good for the API and ExxonMobil, but it does CNS' readers a grave disservice.
Another Dubious WND Doc Peddles Misinformation About Obamacare
Lee Hieb -- a former official with the fringe-right Association of American Physicians and Surgeons who has issues with the facts -- claims to "recap the Obamacare reality" in her Feb. 5 WorldNetDaily column:
Let's break this down and see where Hieb gets it wrong this time:
-- The 2015 numbers for Medicare are not out, but the main reason spending is increasing is because more baby boomers are retiring. But increases in per capita Medicare spending have been much lower between 2010 and 2014 than they were between 2000 and 2010.
-- The main reason "medicines have become vastly more expensive" is because drug companies are increasing their prices arbitrarily, not because of Obamacare. Martin Shkreli, anyone? And Forteo was considered overpriced compared with its benefits as early as 2006, so that concern predates the existence of Obamacare.
-- And we're pretty sure Obamacare isn't responsible for increases in veterinary drugs.
Hieb goes on to blame Obamacare for a number of hospital closings in the past few years, but the answer is more complicated than that. One leading cause is cuts to reimbursement rates to hospitals that treat medicare patients, which began in the 2013 budget sequester and have been upheld in later budget deals between Obama and the Congress, most recently in the deal reached last November.
Also, part of the Obamacare plan was that states would expand Medicare eligibility, but several states -- most of which are controlled by Republicans -- have refused to do that, meaning that hospitals mostly aren't reimbursed for treatment of uninsured patients who might be covered had all states expanded Medicare.
In a follow-up column the next day, Hieb purported to offer "what to do about" all this, but she mostly whined that "Obamacare exists because we have at least one generation of Americans, if not more, who do not understand 'entitlement'" and cheered that "More doctors will continue to opt out of the system and practice for cash." The latter, of course, does nothing for people who can't afford treatment -- the reason Obamacare was created.
Thursday, February 11, 2016
Confused Bozell Is Unhappy Trump Voters Got Criticized
Topic: Media Research Center
Media Reseatch Center chief Brent Bozell hates Donald Trump. So why is he mad that Trump's voters got mocked?
In a Feb. 10 appearance on Fox Business (where he gets to continue to appear in part because of how he has sucked up to them so well), Bozell complained about a New York Daily News cover after the New Hampshire primary depicting Trump as a column and calling his voters "mindless zombies." But Bozell has somehow decided that the cover was calling all Republican voters "mindless zombies" despite the context being clear, ranting that this was "character assassination."
Bozell then went further, insisting that "These left-wingers are always pontificating about right-wing haters" but "there's no conservative type of newspaper that does this sort of thing and is this hate-filled toward liberals."
WND's Corsi Still Obsessing About Hillary's Supposed Health Issues
Last time, if you'll remember, WorldNetDaily's Jerome Corsi found a couple of doctors -- none of whom has ever examined Hillary Clinton and one of whom lost his license to practice medicine for unilaterally discontinuing life-saving medication for a patient -- to opine on Hillary taking the blood thinner warfarin (brand name: Coumadin). Now Corsi has dug up another doctor to engage in baseless speculation:
Again, Hoffman, like Corsi, has never examined Clinton, so anything he has to say is nothing but speculation.
And, again, Corsi doesn't care about Hillary's health -- he's out to destroy her presidential campaign. He's a key component of WND's anti-Hillary jihad, after all. And if raising concerns (based in ignorance) about her health can do that, he has no qualms about it. Remember, Corsi doesn't care about the truth, either.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
CNS Reporter Still Touting Iran Propaganda to Attack Obama
When we wrote a couple weeks ago about how CNSNews.com reporter Patrick Goodenough appeared to be promoting Iranian propaganda to further right-wing attacks against President Obama, Goodenough objected, tweeting, "Don't be ridiculous. I report on Iran's propaganda to inform readers about the regime's nature, not to 'make Obama look bad.'"
But he didn't stop doing so.
A Jan. 31 article highlights how "More than two weeks after Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) personnel detained 10 U.S. Navy sailors overnight in the Persian Gulf supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday awarded medals to the men involved."
On Feb. 2, Goodenough wrote that "The head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Navy said Monday that if the U.S. seeks to humiliate Iran, the IRGC would release footage of ten U.S. sailors detained last month that is much more embarrassing than images released earlier."
And the following day, Goodenough touted how "An Iranian state-run television network is highlighting social media postings that mock the U.S. military, juxtaposing images of the Hollywood action character Rambo with one of U.S. Navy sailors kneeling at gunpoint after being apprehended last month by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps."
With the earlier stories, that's a total of five articles Goodenough wrote repeating Iranian propaganda regarding the detention of the sailors.
In the full context of CNS' general anti-Obama agenda and, specifically, its uncritical reproduction of right-wing attacks on the Obama administration for quickly negotiating a release of those sailors -- indeed, Goodenough wrote one of those pieces, headlined "GOP Senators: Iranians Humiliated Our Sailors; We Thanked Them" -- Goodenough's reproduction of Iranian propaganda can only be seen as an attempt to, yes, make Obama look bad.
Which is too bad, because Goodenough is a better reporter than that. We actually praised him some years back for running CNS like a real news organization when he served as interim editor between the death of David Thibault and the hiring of Terry Jeffrey and Michael W. Chapman. Under the latter two, CNS is a bastion of right-wing bias, and it seems clear that Goodenough has to play along.
How ironic -- the Media Research Center purports to hate media bias, but it apparently won't let one of the few people on its staff actually capable of writing unbiased news actually do that.
WND's Dubious Doctor Blames Vaccines For Zika, Wants To Bring Back DDT
Jane Orient's Feb. 8 column is headlined "Zika virus: What should we do about it?" What Orient plans to do about is spin a conspiracy theory that vaccines, not Zika virus, are responsible for the microcephaly epidemic in Brazil:
Except that, well, the science doesn't really support Orient going anti-vaxxer on what's happening in Brazil. As Tara C. Smith points out, the DTaP vaccine is suggested in the 27th to 36th week of pregnancy, too late in pregnancy to have such a severe effect on brain and skull development. She adds:
Further, as a prominent Australian website (owned by Rupert Murdoch, no less) reports:
The sad thing is that Orient is a doctor -- albeit the executive director of the far-right Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. She loves to fearmonger, bash vaccines and push dubious medical information.
As befitting a not-very-credible doctor, Orient's solution to Zika virus is that old right-wing standard, DDT:
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
MRC: It's 'Politics' To Show A Gay Couple In Love
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center continues to be mad that gays are permitted to be gay in public.
In a Feb. 2 NewsBusters post, Katie Yoder notes that "To advertise greeting cards for Valentine’s Day this year, Hallmark released multiple videos of couples sharing their love stories. Among them: a gay and a lesbian couple." But first she asserts: "Hallmark is using politics to sell cards this Valentine’s Day."
Gosh, we thought that showing loving gay couples was a way to, you know, sell more greeting cards. We thought Yoder and the MRC supported the free market in which goods can be sold to anyone.
And wouldn't be more obviously "using politics" if Hallmark refused to acknowledge gay couples as Yoder wants?
Yoder doesn't answer that. Instead she complains that "In 2011, NPR pushed Hallmark to start creating Valentine’s Day cards for the LGBT community," citing a post by the MRC's Tim Graham whining that NPR once did a story on a company that made them that also quoted a Hallmark spokesperson stating that the company was moving in that direction. So it seems Hallmark hardly needed the "push" NPR supposedly gave them.
Kathleen Willey Still Wants You To Buy Her A House
Back in 2013, we documented Kathleen Willey's attempt -- with an assist from WorldNetDaily -- to cash in on being a professional victim with Clinton-hating right-wingers by begging for money to pay off her house. WND let her tell a sob story about how "Kathleen Willey has endured untold personal hardship and anguish for telling the truth, for simply telling the truth!" and that "she is fighting through a maze of refinancing pitfalls and money shortfalls to stabilize her life." That crowdfunding campaign raised a paltry $3,930, with only one additional donation at this writing in the past two years, despite the added enticement of WND giving an autographed copy of Willey's factually challenged, WND-published memoir.
With Hillary Clinton running for president, Willey is aiming for a new prominence. And that, of course, means she still wants people to give her money to pay off her house. Time for a new fundraising campaign!
An email sent out last week on WND's mailing list, signed by "Pamela Jensen, C.P.A.," announces a new crowdfunding mortgage campaign:
Pamela Jensen never explains what Willey has been doing for the past 20-plus years that let her mortgage get so far in arrears -- and apparently adding another $20,000 in nonpayments in the past two years. If Willey is not so traumatized that she is able to keep up her "heavy schedule of newspaper and radio interviews," she is untraumatized enough to hold a job. Jensen promies "a full audit of the fund," but she offers no detailed accounting of how Willey got into this situation in the first place.
If she is unable to afford a home on the pricey East Coast, perhaps she should sell it, pay off the note and move someplace where housing is less expensive.
Jensen also makes no mention of the 2013 mortgage payoff, even though it, like her current one, is hosted on GoFundMe.
The grifting is going slightly better this time around; as of this writing, $6,344 has been raised. Not too shabby for playing on the sympathy of gullible right-wingers, but at this rate she's not going to keep her pricey house -- and, thus, avoid taking responsibility for her apparently terrible financial management skills.
Monday, February 8, 2016
CNS Unemployment Numbers Distortion Watch
Susan Jones' Feb. 5 CNSNews.com article on the monthly unemployment rates reads a lot like her article from last month -- promotion of the labor force participation rate, burying the actual unemployment rate (which dropped) and the number of new jobs created (151,000).
Unlike last month, however, she omitted the explanation of why the labor force participation rate is a poor guide to the nation's economic situation, which CNS' obsession with it clearly wants to suggest otherwise. As we've noted, even the conservative American Enterprise Institute agrees, since most of the people not participiating in the labor force are either retired Baby Boomers or students.
CNS' other unemployment-related article comes from managing editor Michael W. Chapman, who writes yet another article noting that the unemployment rate for blacks is "more than double that" for whites without also mention that it has always been that way.
WND Columnist Pens Pro-Trump Fanfiction
Theodore Roosevelt Malloch is, as the name suggests, a descendant of Theodore Roosevelt (and is apparently better known as just plain Ted when he's not plying his lineage) and former self-proclaimed "global insider" who used to work with the group that puts on the annual meetings of the world's elite at Davos. He's also apparently given up that sort of thing and joined forces with the anti-elitist WorldNetDaily, which published his new book bashing the whole Davos thing.
Malloch is also a huge Donald Trumpfanboy, and WND is giving him a platform to let his Trump flag fly. His Jan. 28 column was pure fanfiction:
Malloch doesn't offer evidence that Trump has an actual platform that would back up these claims or detail how exactly he intends to accomplish them as immediately as Malloch longs them to be done.
Malloch tones it down a bit in his Feb. 5 column, but it's still pretty fanfiction-y:
Again, Malloch points to no position paper or TV appearance in which Trump actually advocates this or explains how he will go about it.
Malloch reminds us of Doug Wead, who used to write for Newsmax his enthusiastic support for Ron Paul. Wead is, perhaps unsurprisingly, writing on occasion for WND now, this time mostly slobbering over Rand Paul (for whose presidential campaign he has served as a senior adviser).
Sunday, February 7, 2016
Cruz Supporters At MRC Give Cruz A Pass On CNN And Ben Carson
Topic: Media Research Center
It's no secret that Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell is a supporter of Ted Cruz (and a hater of Donald Trump), and that attitude is bleeding into his organization as the MRC is working hard to shield Cruz from media criticism.
During the Iowa caucuses, Cruz's campaign spread a false claim that CNN reported Ben Carson had dropped out of the caucuses, encouraging Carson supporters to cast their votes for Cruz instead. While Cruz apologized to Carson, he also insisted that CNN reported that Carson was quitting the campaign -- which CNN did not do.
But don't expect to read about Cruz's blunder at the MRC, though. It has, however, complained that the media reported it, though -- Curtis Houck groused that news outlets reported on Donald Trump "accusing Ted Cruz of “stealing” the Iowa caucuses" through the false Carson claim.
A Feb. 4 post by Scott Whitlock touted how Cruz "school[ed]" an ABC reporter who asked him about it by retorting, "Is it a dirty trick to pass on your news stories?" Whitlock didn't mention that the information Cruz passed on was wrong.
And when Cruz falsely claimed again during the Feb. 6 GOP debate that it was CNN, not his campaign that got the Carson information wrong, the MRC remained silent on the issue, and Bozell didn't even highlight it on his Twitter feed.
By contrast, the MRC has published numberous posts defending Cruz. These include a couple apparently done to hide the controversy over his false statements about CNN's reporting on Carson -- a Feb. 4 post detailing what Geoffrey Dickens calls "the Worst Media Attacks on Ted Cruz (so far)" -- which misleadingly conflates news reporting with statements by opinion commentators -- and a Feb. 6 post by Tim Graham complaining that the Washington Post did an article about what Canadians think of Cruz, given that he was born there.
At one point Graham writes, "Birtherism is a viciously racist mental disorder when used against Barack Obama, but it’s an amusing exercise in needling when it’s used against a conservative." If that's what Graham really thinks about Obama birtherism, that's a change from the MRC's normal policy of letting the president twist in the wind on the issue by refusing to aggressively denounce it (at least until it became an issue for Cruz).
Saturday, February 6, 2016
FBI Video Shoots Down WND's Attempt To Build Oregon Shooting Conspiracy Theory
Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall writes that it was smart for the FBI to release video of the arrest of several people involved in the Oregon standoff, which resulted in the death of standoff spokesman LaVoy Finicum -- in which it's pretty clear that Finicum ran a roadblock, tries to make a run for it, and appears to reach for the gun on his waist before he's shot -- because it short-circuited attempts to construct conspiracy theories about what happened.
How true. WorldNetDaily, which was trying to go there before the video was released, has largely abandoned the story.
WND columnist Jeff Knox, in a Jan. 27 column, touted the "very credible" account of a passenger in one of those vehicles of standoff perpetrators authorities stopped and arrested, who insisted that "none of the protesters fired a shot or even touched a gun during the encounter." Knox added that Finicum was "a soft-spoken rancher and father of 11 from Arizona" and that "The death of LaVoy Finicum is a needless tragedy" taking place "in circumstances that some are calling murder," although he conceded that Ammon Bundy should have "negotiated a peaceful end to the situation and sent his supporters home to their families weeks ago." WND also posted audio of the passenger's account -- twice.
On Jan. 28, WND's Cheryl Chumley gave a platform to right-wing radio host (and friend of WND) Michael Savage to rant that Finicum's shooting was a "murder" and that if the feds don't investigate it, the United Nations should. Savage went on to rant that “We’re going to fight this dirty, evil government" as Chumley noted that "The details of Finicum’s death are fuzzy."
It seems WND had to give up one conspiracy theory and had to try another. And, actually, that one's a bust too: Quartz explains that the issue at hand -- that Hillary Clinton was part of a committee that signed off on a purchased of a Canada-based uranium mining firm, an investor in which donated heavily to the Clinton Foundation, by Russia's atomic energy agency -- isn't really a controversy because that committee, which signs off on foreign investments in the U.S., had eight other members who also had to sign off on it. As FactCheck.org adds, there's no evidence Clinton took any action regarding the sale, and the Washington Post notes that the Clinton Foundation donor had sold his interest in the company before its sale to the Russians.
WND, however, hasn't done much of anything on either conspiracy since, though WND columnist and lying preacher Bradlee Dean screeched that the Clintons were "promising the Hammond ranch and other 'publicly owned lands' to Russians with one-fifth of our uranium ore." Except, you know, they didn't.
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