ConWeb Touted 'Ben-Hur' Remake, Is Silent On How It's Bombing In Theaters Topic: The ConWeb
A few weeks back, we documented how both Newsmax, CNSNews.com and the Media Research Center were all shilling for the new remake of "Ben-Hur" and touting its religious bona fides, in line with the producers' aim to make the film appeal to a religious audience.
They weren't the only ones in the ConWeb who signed on as unpaid (or paid) spokespeople for the film. WorldNetDaily got in on the act too:
In an Aug. 15 article, Rusty Wright -- "an author and lecturer who has spoken on six continents" -- rehashed the background of the book that inspired the film and asserted that "'Ben-Hur’s' poignant depiction of revenge, reconciliation and redemption generates a powerful message for today’s world filled with racial and religious violence, cop killings and more."
George Escobar, who runs WND's film division but is grandiosely described in the headline as a "top film executive," lamented in an Aug. 20 article that "we are in an age of colonization in our politics, theology and mass migrations, fought most visibly within inner-city plantations" before giving the film a gushing review: "Probably more than at any other time, a film such as 'Ben-Hur' is needed. Does it deliver the power and drama of its predecessors? Mostly. Is it relevant for our time? Definitely. Should you go see it? Absolutely."
The reality, however, is that the film is tanking -- badly.
The film made only $12 million its opening weekend and to date has made a little over $20 million in just under two weeks -- very bad for a film that opened wide (3,000+ screens) and cost $100 million to make. Even counting foreign revenue, it's highly unlikely the film will recoup what it cost to make during its theatrical run, making this movie "the bomb of the summer."
YOu won't read about that at WND, CNS or the MRC, though -- none have seen fit to mention the "Ben-Hur" bomb on their front pages the way they promoted the film.
Newsmax, however, made a game attempt to spin the failure with an Aug. 23 article by David Patten, blaming the bad reviews on the "mainstream media" who actually reviewed the film and found it wanting:
The mainstream media is doing such a fine job of heaping coals on the new Mark Burnett and Roma Downey epic, "Ben-Hur," that it might want to be careful. The intensity of their vituperation might just induce movie-goers — particularly faith-oriented ones — to go see what all the fuss is about.
Rolling Stone branded the film "a remake disaster of biblical proportions."
ABCNews.com dismissed it as "a miscast remake that will only appeal to a specific [read Christian] audience." Others were less kind.
If film lovers ignore those reviews and go anyway, however, what they'll see is a picture far different from the one being portrayed in the media as a flop — which explains why some are extolling it.
"I love 'Ben-Hur,'" host Glenn Beck remarked on his program recently. "It is great."
Patten made excuses for producers (and Christian-media faves) Burnett and Downey, whom he baselessly proclaimed to be "Hollywood's No. 1 power couple": "If the film's director and producers are guilty of anything, it is their soaring ambition in trying to boil down a story that took three hours and 32 minutes to relate in the 1959 version — clearly too long for modern audiences – to a little over 2 hours in the remake."
Patten also claimed that "Evangelicals trust Burnett and Downey to handle their cherished biblical narratives with care," ignoring the fact that "Ben-Hur's" main story -- a revenge story involving a Jewish prince forced to become a slave and a climactic chariot race -- is not a "cherished biblical narrative"; it's from a novel first published in 1880. In the book, the crucifixion of Christ is a parallel narrative to the story of Judah Ben-Hur.
WND Reporter Has Trouble Counting, Can Only Copy-And-Paste Topic: WorldNetDaily
The headline of Bob Unruh's Aug. 29 WorldNetDaily article screams "10 PROMINENT DOCTORS QUESTION HILLARY'S HEALTH." But do they really? And are there really 10 of them?
Unruh prefaced a bullet list by stating that "many physicians, based on publicly available information have raised concerns." But that bullet list contains only six names that are rehashes of previous WND attacks on Hillary Clinton's alleged health problems; as we've noted, three of them are affiliated with the far-right-fringe Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, and a fourth is a urologist has nothing relevant to add regarding Hillary's purported maladies. None of them have actually examined clinton in a clinical setting, so all they have to offer is speculation.
That's six. Where are the other four?
You have to go down to the 55th paragraph of Unruh's article to find a bullet list of three other doctors that are taken from WND attacks earlier this year, when Jerome Corsi was portraying warfarin, a commonly used blood thinner, as rat poison. As with the previous six, these three also have never examined Clinton and are simply engaging in speculation.
That's nine. We're missing one.
The 10th doctor appears to be Ben Carson, who like the others have never examined Clinton. But Unruh never mentions his name or otherwise cites him anywhere in his article. Rather, a few paragraphs up from the bullet list at graf 55 is an inserted video of Carson saying that both Clinton and Donald Trump should release their health records. Not only does he make no specific claims about Clinton's health, he actually debunks the other speculating doctors, saying that "physicians and scientists generally will not make a diagnosis based on something they see from a long distance. They want to have the facts."
In short, Unruh has turned in a badly written article that's mostly copy-and-paste. No wonder WND is in deep financial trouble.
Unruh goes on to complain that "Rather than address the concerns, many Clinton supporters have responded with torrents of abuse and ridicule." But Unruh is not behaving in a manner that requires a serious response. He mentions how a Clinton campaign spokesman has pointed out that Trump "has put forward a laughable letter that omits basic health information including the date of his exam, past medications, family medical history, heart rate, respiratory rate, EKG, or cholesterol level, but he does nothing with that information; instead, he pivots to his regurgitated Clinton-bashing.
Think of this as a reminder that WND not only fails as real journalism, it fails at being a partisan mouthpiece. Again, no wonder WND's in deep financial trouble.
MRC Personally Attacks Colin Kaepernick For His Protest Topic: Media Research Center
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the national anthem in a preseason game, prompting the Media Research Center to lash out at Kaepernick personally for his protest and dismiss mock the reason he did it: a protest over the way blacks are treated in America.
NewsBusters' Dylan Gwinn was first to lash out, huffing that Kaepernick's Twitter account "basically reads like a Black Lives Matter site" and sneering, "Unclear as to whether or not Kaepernick considers our black President and black head of the Justice Department as in on the racist cabal. That story coming later, probably. Actually, probably not." Gwinn then dismissed Kaepernick completely because "he’s not good at football anymore."
Anonymous coward "Bruce Bookter" took umbrage at ESPN commenter Pablo S. Torre for suggesting only Trump supporters are angered by Kaepernick's protest:
Yeah, it’s not all about sports at all. It’s supposed to be a unifying moment that brings us together as one, before we all yell and scream and foam at the mouth at each other. This is a point understood by most people. These same “most people,” many of whom elected and then re-elected a black President, don’t believe the American flag represents bigotry or oppression.
The fact that it’s apparently not understood at all by the leftist sports media is…well…sadly not surprising. However, heed Torre’s words here, and expect a renewed push on the part of the sports media to eliminate the National Anthem as a quaint old custom that has nothing to do with sports and everything to do with oppression.
This from a guy who doesn't even have the courage of his convictions to put his own name on them.
Gwinn returns to attack NFL Players Association president DeMaurice Smith for defending Kaepernick (italics his):
Smith categorically rejects the idea of “shut up and play.” The notion that athletes should just do their jobs and leave their politics out of it. Smith claims that this turns the athlete into a two-dimensional person, and doesn’t allow for the athlete to express those attributes which make him “human.”
Of course, those critical of Kaepernick are not saying he doesn’t have a right to feel how he feels. They’re disputing what he says. Not his right to say it.
Actually, Dylan, if you're telling Kaepernick to "shut up and play" -- and it certainly appears you are -- you are, in fact, disputing his right to say it.
Also pretending he's not disputing Kaepernick's right to say it while actually doing do is "Bookter," who goes on a tirade against both him and ESPN’s Ian O’Connor for daring to defend him:
Someone needs to get ESPN and 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick a room. Preferably a room in another country. Yet, a room nonetheless.
Rebranding disrespect to America and its flag as patriotism is, of course, verbatim from the leftist handbook. If people call Colin Kaepernick un-American, it’s not because they think he doesn’t have the right to speak. They say it in response to his actual words and actions.
Also funny is that O’Connor feels Kaepernick’s protest will remind the world that the United States is “still a pretty damn good place to live.” Really? How is telling the world that our nation oppresses black people and minorities a good thing? Upon reading Colin Kaepernick’s protest, will people in Africa or Central America more likely think, “Hmm, maybe I’ll go to America where I’m free to speak my mind?” Or, “Holy cow! American cops ruthlessly murder minorities with impunity, and nobody does anything about it!”
I’m guessing the latter.
O’Connor, honestly, likely has no idea himself what he meant when saying that whites forever ask blacks to overcome obstacles “that whites themselves created.” Just remember the important things here: a white family adopted Colin Kaepernick, who was drafted into the league by a white head coach and General Manager, paid millions of dollars by NFL owners who happened to be white, a majority white country has now twice elected a black President, and you’re all racists.
Gwinn piled on in yet another post, declaring that " in addition to being a moron, he’s also bad at football."
Kyle Drennen, meanwhile, declared Kaepernick to be "anti-American," according to the headline of his Aug. 29 post, upset that one reporter allegedly "treated Kaepernick like a martyr," while Brad Wilmouth asserted that Kaepernick's proest was an "expression of anti-U.S. sentiment." with his protest.
Actually, what could be more American then protesting the actions of others? If that's "anti-American," than the MRC is anti-American too.
Gwinnn returned once again to slam Kaepernick's purported incompetence as a QB (never mind that he led the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012), sneering that he was merely "assuming the sitting position he’s likely to become very familiar with over the course of the next season." Gwinn also attacked Kaepernick for the alleged futility of his protest:
Has he started the Colin Kaepernick Fund for Underprivileged or At-Risk Youth? Has he spent hours and hours mentoring kids? Is he trying to improve police/community relations?
Even if every other player in the league followed Kaepernick’s lead, and sat during the anthem at every game for the rest of the season, the end result of that would be?...
I can think of a few outcomes. None of them would do anything to help the cause Kaepernick claims to want to fix.
Finally, Randy Hall calls in a lower-tier right-wing commentator to hurl insults at Kaepernick:
During Monday night's edition of the Tomi program on The Blaze, conservative host Tomi Lahren harshly criticized Colin Kaepernick -- quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers professional football team -- for refusing to stand during the performance of the National Anthem at the start of the preseason game against the Green Bay Packers the day before.
Lahren began her “Final Thoughts” segment by promising to “eviscerate” Kaepernick's “mouth diarrhea” before calling him a “whiny, indulgent, attention-seeking crybaby” and asserting that “if this country disgusts you so much, leave!”
Lahren then said she was going to “eviscerate” this “mouth diarrhea” sentence by sentence.
As with most of the MRC's nasty personal attacks on Kaepernick, this has nothing whatsoever to do with its claimed mission of rooting out "liberal media bias."
AIM's Kincaid Defends the Honor of White Supremacists Topic: Accuracy in Media
For some reason, Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid loves Jared Taylor, the unambuguously racist head of white-supremacist group American Renaissance. He's promoted Taylor before, fretting that the Southern Poverty Law Center "has smeared Taylor as a 'white nationalist'" (it's not a smear if it's true, Cliff) and laughably denying that Taylor and AmRen are racist, insisting that merely deals with "racial issues" like the Congressional Black Caucus.
Well, Kincaid has struck again in an Aug. 29 AIM column. First, he's upset that Hillary Clinton's campaign is pointing out the white-nationalist support for Donald Trump and doesn't see why it's such a big deal: "I frankly don’t know who or what she is talking about. Is it objectionable for white people to defend their interests and even be proud of their race? Is that 'white nationalism?'"
Kincaid quickly moves from that to defending the honor of his white-supremacist friends at AmRen:
It would be nice if these columnists would let the pro-white groups speak for themselves. It would also be nice to have a few facts in place of their vitriol.
One good source of information on all of this is the website of American Renaissance, a self-described “white advocacy organization.”
American Renaissance declares, “The United States is not a territory that is up for grabs, and that belongs to whoever manages—legally or illegally—to get here. It was founded by Europeans, who gave it its culture and institutions, and America’s European core has every right to resist dispossession.”
Is there some doubt that European Americans founded this country?
American Renaissance goes on to say, “American Renaissance is a voice for all white people whose hopes for preserving their people and culture are being sacrificed under the delusion that diversity is a strength. Diversity of race, language or religion is a source of weakness and tension for a country. To ask whites—anywhere in the world—to ‘celebrate diversity’ is to ask them to celebrate their declining numbers and dwindling influence. It is to ask them to welcome oblivion.”
One can disagree with Trump on this or that issue. But the idea that it’s wrong to appeal to or attract white voters is simply ludicrous. Is it objectionable for whites to advocate policies advantageous to their race?
Kincaid then complains that if appealing to minorities is OK, why is it such a bad thing for anyone to explicitly appeal to whites, like Jared Taylor does?
It is perfectly fine, from the liberal media’s point of view, to appeal to blacks and other minorities. But whites are off-limits. Hence, to even speak of a “white identity” makes one a racist or a nationalist. This is complete nonsense, especially from a media that doesn’t even use the accurate phrase “illegal aliens” anymore.
In 2012 the Obama campaign ran a 60-second ad entitled, “We’ve Got Your Back,” appealing to black voters’ nostalgia about the election of the nation’s first African-American president. It called on those voters to “have the President’s back” and stand with Obama again in November of 2012.
Obama’s mentor had taught him that black people have “reason to hate.”
Where was the outrage?
We commented four years ago that Jared Taylor, author of the book, White Identity, had been banned from most programs because he dared to talk about whites as people with special interests of their own, separate from various minority groups. Taylor runs American Renaissance.
He’s getting more attention today because he is a target of Hillary Clinton’s campaign against Donald J. Trump. Taylor has been lumped into the alt-right category and branded as a “white nationalist.”
That's because he is a white nationalist, Cliff.
Kincaid concludes with what he thinks is his coup de grace: The real racist is Hillary!
Hillary has a $10 billion plan to fight drug addiction with “multi-faceted federal policy leadership.” Her plan says nothing about how to stop the heroin, which kills white people, from coming across the border.
Is she anti-white?
Um, no, Cliff -- you're just projecting. Further, as Vox explains, Clinton's plan does address the heroin epidemic through increased funding for prevention and treatment programs. It also proposes to increase access to naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of an overdose of heroin or other opiates.
Vox also points out that prescription opioid drugs have contributed to heroinuse, and Clinton's plan would also give doctors better training and tools to know which patients actually need painkillers and which may be likely to abuse them.
Kincaid apparently doesn't understand that one key way to address the supply of heroin is to address the demand; as the Economist notes, rising supply is linked to rising demand. Merely addressing supply without addressing demand, as Kincaid seems to want, does not solve the problem.
WND's latest attempt is an Aug. 21 article by Bob Unruh that ropes his homeschooling friends into being anti-vaxxers:
A fight has erupted over a decision by bureaucrats in Colorado to go, according to critics, well beyond what the law allows and threaten parents of homeschoolers seeking exemptions from state vaccinations requirements for their children.
There was a plan before the legislature earlier this year that would have demanded homeschool parents sign forms stating things like, “My child/I may be at increased risk of developing …” and “Failure to follow the advice of a physician … who has recommended vaccines may endanger my child’s/my health or life and others who come into contact with my child/me.”
Officials with the Home School Legal Defense Association said they helped defeat the “attempts to invade families’ privacy.”
The proposal didn’t give parents the option – it simply demanded they make that particular political statement.
But, the HSLDA explains, demanding that parents “affirm that by exempting their child from immunizations they are endangering the life and health of that child … is at odds with some parents’ personal and/or religion beliefs.”
“By forcing parents to make this statement, the state of Colorado is unconstitutionally compelling speech.”
By making being anti-vaccine a "religious belief," the HSLDA, with an assist from WND, is now effectively an anti-vaxxer group.
Unruh tries to spin that little troublesome aspect away, writing of the HSLDA: "The organization doesn’t necessarily advocate for or against vaccinations, but believes, 'whether to immunize a child is a medical decision that HSLDA believes is best made by fully informed parents in accordance with the law and without undue interference or burdens imposed by the state.'"
So the HSLDA will defend every foolish thing a homeschooling parent declares just to stick it to purportedly intrusive state officials? That seems like a lack of standards, especially given the universally acknowledged benefits of vaccines and the indisputable risk one takes by not getting them. WND, being largely staffed by homeschooling parents, is so close to the HSLDA that it effectively acts as the group's PR division, so Unruh (also a homeschooling parent) is simply doing stenography.
Indeed, this being an Unruh-written article published by WND, there's no attempt whatsoever to tell the other side of the story. The new rules, approved last year, are designed to raise immunization rates in Colorado, which are among the lowest in the nation.
MRC Latino Spins Trump Stance on Deporting Undocumented Immigrants Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's MRC Latino researcher Edgard Portela goes into heavy spin mode for Donald Trump in an Aug. 24 post:
Following his recent meeting with his new Hispanic Advisory Council, speculation that Donald Trump is changing his stance on immigration has continued to dominate the news coverage on the nation’s top Hispanic television networks.
However, both Univision and Telemundo have continued their usual pattern of concealing Trump’s intention – articulated by the candidate himself since shortly after launching his presidential campaign last year – that as President he wants to allow most of the current unauthorized immigrant population in the country (individuals and families who are gainfully employed and who are not convicted felons) to quickly return to and resume their lives in the U.S. following their deportation.
Instead, both Univision and Telemundo routinely omit from their reports and panel discussions this important piece of information for their viewers, and parrot Democrat talking points that only mention the deportation part of Trump’s stance on immigration.
It seems Portela is perfectly fine with the massive economic and personal disruption of deporting millions of people out of the country, since they will allegedly be allowed "to quickly return to and resume their lives in the U.S." and that this provision somehow negates the newsworthiness of the deportation angle. Ironically, as proof Portela links to a RedState post from December that is, in fact, upset that Trump will apparently allow them to return. (Trump's immigration has never been all that well defined, and it appears to be softening in the face of heightened scrutiny.)
Portela adds: "It’s also worth noting that for over a year now, the Trump campaign position paper on immigration only specifically mentions deportation for 'criminal aliens', a position consistent with his statement in July 2015 that the only people who should be worried are the 'bad dudes.'"
Portela curiously declines to use in his post the preferred right-wing terminology for undocumented immigrants, "illegal aliens" -- the MRC itself has dismissed "undocumented immigrant" as "liberal-preferred terminology" -- presumably to paper over the fact that his fellow right-wingers believe that undocumented immigrants are by definition "illegal" and, thus, "criminal," theoretically making them a Trump target for permanent depoartation and conflicting with his apparent pledge to let some return.
WND Spreads Muslim Rumors About Kaepernick Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah once claimed that "While WND strives for “fair and balanced” news coverage, it believes a higher value not emphasized strongly enough by competitors is the pursuit of the truth," adding that "In our work, WND reporters and editors are always encouraged and required to seek out multiple sources and contrary viewpoints in news articles."
Now, WND's purported journalistic standards have sunk so low that it is now reporting never-verifed rumors as "news."
WND's response to NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's sit-down protest of the national anthem was to pen another anonymously written article, this one designed to spread the rumor that Kaepernick is a secret Muslim.
The article begins, under a picture of a bearded Kaepernick, apparently chosen to emphasize the Muslim suggestion: "With rumors afire that San Francisco 49ers quarterback has not only embraced 'Black Lives Matter' activism but Islam, it’s worth reflecting on the way he came into the NFL – as a 'Christian' celebrity, with most of the controversy in his life concerning his tattoos." The article continues to hammer home the rumors attacking Kaepernick and his girlfriend:
According to widespread reports, still unconfirmed, he and his girlfriend, Nessa Diab, an MTV DJ, may be planning an Islamic-style wedding. During Ramadan, he posted a greeting on Instagram wishing his friends the best for the holiday: “kaepernick7 I know a lot of people who were fasting during Ramadan, wishing you a Happy Eid!”
Meanwhile, Kaepernick has been dating Diab, a graduate of UC Berkeley’s mass communications department.
Known professionally as just “Nessa,” she worked nights at San Francisco radio station Wild 94.9 from 2009 to 2014. At 31, she’s three years older than Kaepernick.
According to an East Bay Times profile, she was born in Southern California, but frequently moved between the U.S. and Middle East growing up, thanks to her father’s job.
While her faith is not known, several unconfirmed reports say she, also a “Black Lives Matter” proponent, is a Muslim – though she hardly dresses in traditional hijab.
Note that WND admits these rumors are all "unconfirmed." Normal journalistic practice is not to report something until it is confirmed, but WND never cared much for normal journalistic practice.
WND can't even be bothered to link to any of those "widespread reports" it claims are pushing the secret-Muslim story, which tells us that perhaps those "reports" aren't as widespread as WND wants you to think.
With such lazy, hate-driven writing passing for "journalism," is it any wonder WND is in financial trouble?
MRC Finds Joy in Huma Abedin's Marital Problems Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center couldn't disguise its glee at Anthony Weiner's latest sexting scandal and the decision of his wife, Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, to separate from him.
First, the MRC's NewsBusters Twitter account retweeted all the hate it had spewed in the past over every instance it could find of anyone saying nice things about Abedin. For instance, it retweeted a Tim Graham screed from 2013 about a People magazine article on "Why Huma Stayed" after the last sexting scandal, sneeringly adding, "ROFLMAO."
NewsBusters also ran a mocking post from Sarah Stites about how Weiner and Abedin's wedding was "doomed from the outset" because it "was officiated by champion philanderer Bill Clinton." Employing the sneering NewsBusters tone, she adds, "For your viewing pleasure (disgust?), here’s the photo you won’t find anywhere else."
Which is all kind of strange, because the conservatives at the MRC normally champion marriage and look askance ats eparation and divorce, and one would think Abedin deserves praise, not mocking, from the MRC for trying to save her marriage.
But Abedin and Weiner have committed the offense of being liberals, which makes their private life fair game for mocking by the MRC. It certainly didn't do so when the "pervert sleaze" (as Donald Trump, approvingly quoted by Stites, called Weiner) in question wasn't a liberal.
We documented how the MRC, particularly its CNSNews.com "news" division, largely avoided reporting on the creepy sexual escapdes of Josh Duggar -- which included molesting his own sisters -- waiting until the right-wing darlings' TV show, "19 Kids and Counting," was canceled over the controversy for devoting any original reporting to it, and even then treating it as perfunctory as possible and not straying from the Duggar family's PR plan.
Even Tim Graham took a different attitude toward the Duggars than Weiner and Abedin, lashing out at a reporter who noted that the Duggars' strict right-wing religiosity and "cult of purity" may have played a role in fostering Josh's unhealthy behavior, ranting about "feminists and libertines" who purportedly "have an unhealthy attitude toward sexual commitment, and are against educating children about preserving yourself for a committed relationship. Libertines insist virginity is impossible, unless you’re an indoctrinated robot...like they think of the Duggars."
This is the same guy who mocked Abedin for wanting to project the image of being a "normal family."
We can only ROFLMAO at Graham's and the MRC's sick hypocrisy.
WND Doubles Down on Clinton Body Count Topic: WorldNetDaily
Since the beginning of the year, WorldNetDaily has been trying to revive the "Clinton Body Count" -- the utterly discredited list of supposedly mysterious deaths of people surrounding the Clintons, however tangentally -- heck it's even trying to add to the list.
Well, WND has decided it's not going to let the facts, or even the wishes of the family of one person it desperately wants to put on the list, get in the way of its beloved anti-Clinton conspiracies.
An anonymously written Aug. 21 WND article (yes, another article a WND writer is too embarrassed to put his or her byline on) purports to examine "33 of the most mysterious deaths linked to Bill and Hillary Clinton," focusing on "people associated with the Clintons who have died the most mysterious and often violent deaths." The article complains that "Left-leaning 'fact-check' websites have dismissed “Clinton body count” lists circulating on the Web for many years," yet WND makes no effort to rebut any specific claim made by a fact-checking website in its article.
The anonymous WND writer then portrayed the family of murder victim Seth Rich asking that people stop spinning baseless conspiracy theories around his death as part of the conspiracy:
When DNC staffer Seth Rich was gunned down near his affluent neighborhood in Washington, D.C., on July 10, theories exploded in the news media about Rich’s possible involvement in the WikiLeaks dump of nearly 20,000 Democratic National Committee emails – some of the messages suggesting that the Democratic Party favored nominee Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders from the start.
Now reports reveal Brad Bauman, the man hired by Rich’s family to end the “conspiracy theories” surrounding the unsolved murder, is a public relations manager with the Pastorum Group and specializes in “crisis communications” for the Democratic Party.
WikiLeaks broke the news on Twitter, tweeting: “Seth Rich’s new ‘family spokesman’ is Brad Bauman, a professional Democrat crisis PR consultant with the Pastorum Group.”
Pastorum Group was founded by Joseph Cohen, according to a press release posted on Twitter. It describes Cohen as “a campaign veteran who has previously worked at SEIU, the Democratic National Committee, and Obama for America.” Also, the release says Bauman is a former executive director of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
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Rich’s father, Joel Rich, has begged his son’s killer to come forward. Bauman released the following statement to the International Business Times on behalf of the Rich Family:
“The family welcomes any and all information that could lead to the identification of the individuals responsible, and certainly welcomes contributions that could lead to new avenues of investigation. That said, some are attempting to politicize this horrible tragedy, and in their attempts to do so, are actually causing more harm than good and impeding on the ability for law enforcement to properly do their job. For the sake of finding Seth’s killer, and for the sake of giving the family the space they need at this terrible time, they are asking for the public to refrain from pushing unproven and harmful theories about Seth’s murder.”
A lot of what WND writes about those 33 "mysterious deaths" are simply rehashes of earlier dubious reporting, such as referencing the purported mystery of Victor Thorn's apparent suicide while omitting the fact that Thorn was a Holocaust denier who blamed Israel for the 9/11 attacks and wrote for a website considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
WND also repeats the claim that John Ashe "was scheduled to testify in just days with Chinese businessman and co-defendant Ng Lap Seng, who was accused of smuggling $4.5 million into the U.S. and lying that it was to buy casino chips and more." According to Snopes, Ashe was only scheduled to attend some standard pre-trial meetings, and no part of his court case pertained to the Clintons at all.
WND tries mightily to create mystery around the 2010 death of Charles Ruff, who defended Clinton in his impeachment trial more than a decade earlier. Ruff "reportedly died 'after an accident at his Washington home,'" WND writes, adding "One report said he was found unconscious outside his shower. Other reports indicated he had a heart attack."
WND puts most of the old chestnuts on the list -- Vince Foster, Jerry Parks, etc. Snopes debunked them all, but WND won't acknowledge it because the truth conflicts with its conspiratorial anti-Clinton agenda.
MRC Mad Media Didn't Bite on Bogus Right-Wing Attack Against Hillary Aide Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Nicholas Fondacaro writes in an Aug. 22 post:
A major report broke in the New York Post on Sunday that laid out top Hillary Clinton Aide Huma Abedin’s past where she worked for a radical Muslim journal. “For a decade [Abedin] edited a radical Muslim publication that opposed women’s rights and blamed the US for 9/11,” wrote the Post’s Paul Sperry. But you would never know it if you watched the “Big Three” networks ABC, CBS, and NBC on Monday. They neither covered it in their morning shows nor their evening broadcasts.
“Clinton's long-time aide Huma Abedin is under scrutiny after the New York Post first reported she edited a publication, The Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, working under her mother for more than a decade,” reported Fox News’ Mike Emanuel as part of a longer report on Clinton’s latest scandals.
According to Sperry, Abedin’s mother who is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal once, “Wrote that Clinton and other speakers were advancing a “very aggressive and radically feminist” agenda that was un-Islamic and wrong because it focused on empowering women.”
Fondacaro didn't mention that the New York Post is a conservative outlet (owned by the conglomerate that used to employ Roger Ailes, who's helping Donald Trump out with debate prep) or that Paul Sperry used to work for the discredited conspiracy-mongers at WorldNetDaily. Plus, there's the whole thing about the report being rather bogus, as one might expect from someone who used to work for WND.
The Washington Post did the fact-checking that Fondacaro wouldn't, pointing out that the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs is not "radical" but, in fact, "a sober academic journal with a range of viewpoints on Muslim life around the world":
The New York Post described the journal as “a radical Muslim publication” but that’s ridiculous, according to experts on Islam and members of the advisory board. The New York Post report cherry-picked quotes and mischaracterized articles published over the years, including by Saleha Abedin, according to a review of the articles by the Fact Checker.
“I wouldn’t consider it ‘radical.’ Quite the contrary,” said Noah Feldman, director of the Julis-Rabinowitz Program on Jewish and Israeli Law at Harvard Law School. “That doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of articles expressing conservative viewpoints, of course. But I’ve never seen anything in any way radical.”
Dale F. Eickelman of Dartmouth College, who is a member of the journal’s advisory board, described it as a “fairly innocuous journal.” He said it was “anything but radical, within the golden mean of what academic journals do.” He said most of the articles are written by emerging scholars who are relatively early in their academic careers. “The authors can vary in quality, as is the case with most academic journals,” he said. “Some are more edgy than others, but you can learn some fresh things.” He added that no one works on the journal full time.
Of course, the mere fact that the claim was fact-checked is considered suspicious at the MRC, which has declared war on fact-checkers.
Meanwhile, religion blogger Richard Bartholomew adds:
It’s true that the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs has Saudi backing – indeed, it shares its London address in Goodge Street with the Muslim World League – but it can hardly be called a “Saudi journal”. It is actually a standard academic journal, and publication is managed through the mainline academic publisher Taylor and Francis. Details of the editors and advisory board as of 1998 can be seen here – it is worth noting that the advisory board at that time included none other than Bernard Lewis, who is hardly known for his Islamist sympathies (here he is being praised at American Thinker). Huma Abedin is listed as one of two assistant editors, but given her studies in the US and work for Hillary Clinton from 1996 (when she was 20), it seems likely that her association with the journal over the years has been nominal.
Bartholomew also has details on how far out of context Sperry took quotes from the journal. adding that it's "characteristic of a man who once wrote a column for WND calling for US forces in Afghanistan to threaten to put pig blood in the water supply."
Don't expect Fondacaro or anyone else at the MRC to acknowledge this.
WND's Farah Reacts to Clinton Speech on Alt-Right With Projection-Filled Rant Topic: WorldNetDaily
The only "news" article WorldNetDaily did on Hillary Clinton's calling out Donald Trump's connections to white nationalists, white supremacists and the alt-right was one that simply reproduced her speech. That seems like an admission that WND couldn't use the "news" part of its website to respond to it, even with its very loose journalistic standards.
That means WND had to find a commentator whose factual standards are, shall we say, less than journalistic to go wild in the commentary section.
And Farah delivers in the lengthy screed that serves as his Aug. 25 column. Here's how he started it:
In delivering one of her patented conspiratorial screeds in Reno, Nevada, Thursday, Hillary Clinton started by saying she had intended to talk about her desire to help small businesses and entrepreneurs, cut red tape and taxes.
“Because I believe that in America, if you can dream it, you should be able to build it,” she said.
Those were her first lies – unless you count her first words: “Thank you, Reno! It’s great to be back in Nevada.”
Hillary Clinton never met a tax she didn’t want to raise, a government regulation she thought was too lenient, or a small business she couldn’t care less about.
Remember what her former boss Barack Obama said: “You didn’t build that.” To them, only government builds things.
More to the point, Hillary was never going to talk about cutting taxes and red tape and helping small businesses. Let me take you back to 1993, when Hillary was secretly crafting the government takeover of the U.S. health-care system. When it was pointed out to her the devastating consequences some of her plans would have for small businesses, she famously screeched: “I can’t be responsible for every under-capitalized entrepreneur in America.”
Those 10 words say more about her utter contempt for the free market than any 10 words she has ever spoken. Spoken spontaneously, without scripting, they revealed the true Hillary.
But, as Hillary said, that’s not what she went to Reno to talk about. What she did say was carefully scripted, well-planned and even coordinated with her friends in the press, who had been laying the groundwork for the attack speech in which she did what she always does with her adversaries according to the rulebook of her smear-artist mentor, Saul Alinsky.
As you might have guessed, Farah's column is pure projection, accusing Clinton of engaging in behavior he and WND have been reveling in for years. If there's anyone who know his way around conspiratorial screeds, it's Farah.
True to dishonest form, Farah not only gets the Clinton quote wrong -- she apparently actually said, "I can't go out and save every undercapitalized entrepreneur in America," though we have yet to find the original -- he pulls the Obama "You didn't build that" quote out of context.
Farah deftly avoids discussing the specifics that Clinton offered in support of her claims. He does take exception to Clinton's references to birtherism, though:
The pattern continued through the amazing speech: “And let’s not forget Trump first gained political prominence leading the charge for the so-called ‘birthers,'” she said. Oh really? It wasn’t a Democrat apparatchik of Hillary’s who played the so-called “birther” card against Obama in 2008 Democrat primary? Of course it was. She just didn’t want to get her hands dirty by making a constitutional case on eligibility. Trump courageously did. And, as a result, Obama was forced to release what he claimed to be his “birth certificate” after refusing to do so for nearly his entire first term in office.
But Hillary’s lies got more vicious.
“He promoted the racist lie that President Obama isn’t really an American citizen – part of a sustained effort to delegitimize America’s first black president,” she claimed.
Trump never said that. I don’t know anyone who claimed he was not an American citizen. The question raised was legitimate: Was Obama – and is Obama – constitutionally eligible for the presidency as a “natural-born citizen”? A whole different criteria. And, again, Trump didn’t start the controversy – Hillary did, in her desperate bid for power.
Nope, Joe, Hillary did not start birtherism. And it would have died with renegade Clinton supporters if right-wing Obama-haters like WND and Trump (whom WND fed birther stuff behind the scenes) hadn't picked up the baton and so enthusiastically embraced it as a way to personally destroy Obama.
It seems Farah is still wavering on how proud he should be about being a birther. He still won't admit the whole birther movement has been discredited -- note his wording about Obama releasing "what he claimed to be his 'birth certificate'" -- but last month he insisted the "eligibility issue" ended in "late 2011," when WND was plotting to sleaze Joe Arpaio's incompetent "cold case posse" into existence.
As far as Farah claiming "I don’t know anyone who claimed he was not an American citizen," he might want to check with his own website and his favorite incompetent attorney, Larry Klayman. He declared just two years ago in a lawsuit to deport Obama, in an article published by WND, that Obama "falsified documents, such as his birth certificate and Social Security number, to qualify for the privileges of American citizenship such that his citizenship, which is based on false pretenses, must be nullified."
Farah then dubiously professed innocence about the alt-right movement Trump has embraced:
For weeks I had been getting calls from those in what we euphemistically call “the mainstream media,” including the Washington Post. They wanted to talk to me about the “Alt-Right.” I had never heard the term. But that didn’t stop them.
I asked them to define it for me, but none of them could. Apparently, according to Hillary’s speech, it had been defined by the Wall Street Journal as “a loosely organized movement, mostly online, that rejects mainstream conservatism, promotes nationalism and views immigration and multiculturalism as threats to white identity.”
When one reporter got to the racist angle, all I could say was: “Well, that is detestable. I consider any form of racism an abomination.”
What I am suggesting here is that Hillary’s friends in the media – and they are legion – were attempting to help her create a new bogeyman.
But nationalism is not racism. Being for borders is not racism.
But WND has been doing a lot of alt-right activism without the name. It's long railed against multiculturalism and threats to white identity like "black mob violence" to the point that WND can credibly be accused of helping to inspire a couple of mass shooters: Anders Breivik in Norway (who cited WND six times in his manifesto) and Dylann Roof in Charleston (who shared some WND writers' lament for the end of apartheid).
Farah bellowed in his closing rant:
This is a sick, sick woman, full of hate herself, someone who is ethically challenged more than anyone who has ever run for the presidency, a woman who was “co-president” in the 1990s when her husband used the Internal Revenue Service to target his and her political enemies – myself prominently among them.
She does not deserve another chance. She is unfit. She is disqualified. Many who breached national security as she did as secretary of state are serving prison time. She and her husband have never been held accountable for their crimes – many of which were committed when they served in the highest offices in the land.
Don’t give her another chance, because she will surely do it again.
Again, projection. Farah is at least as unfit and disqualified to be a journalist as he claims Clinton is to be president, and he has rarely been held accountable for his journalistic crimes (except that one time). You'd think the fact that Farah had to beg for money from readers to keep WND afloat -- evidence that readers are, in fact, passing judgment on his brand of so-called journalism and finding it wanting -- would have been a sufficiently humbling experience to him that he would change his (and WND's) ways and start acting in a responsible manner that relies less on conspiratorial rants and more on fairly and accurately reporting facts.
Even Other Conservatives Think Bozell's Column on Malia Obama Is Dumb Topic: Media Research Center
In their Aug. 19 column, Tim Graham and Brent Bozell complained that "the press refused to touch" the story of "blurry pictures of 18-year-old Malia Obama puffing some sort of cigarette at the Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago," as well as "dancing suggestively to a rap song."
Graham and Bozell revealed that they're still butthurt 15 years -- 15 years! -- after the Bush twins were busted for underage drinking:
In the middle of 2001, the media pointed at and mocked Jenna and Barbara Bush, daughters of former President George W. Bush, when they were cited for underage margarita drinking in Austin, Texas, at age 19. The New York tabloids loved it. The story was headlined ''Double Trouble'' by the New York Daily News and ''Jenna and Tonic'' by the New York Post. The networks jumped all over it, underlining that this was the public's business because the twins had entered the police blotter, and because their father is a recovered alcoholic.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer also sounded the alarm: "Police in Austin, Texas today cited President Bush's twin daughters for violating state alcoholic beverage laws. Questions about the incident remain off limits at the White House. As CNN's Anne McDermott reminds us, all first families struggle to retain a little privacy." Apparently CNN believed the Bush family should be an exception.
As they continually have for, yes, the past 15 years, Graham and Bozell ignore the obvious: 19 -- techinally an adult -- is different than 18, Jenna Bush was on her second alcohol-related violation in five weeks, and they rather blatantly drank underage in a bar with their Secret Service detail in tow.
In promoting the column, Bozell tweeted: "The media leave Malia Obama alone. But not the Bush children, the Santorums, the Palins."
The stupidity of this was too much even for Bozell's fellow conservatives, like Betsy Rothstein of the Daily Caller, who, after citing numerous media references to Malia's escapades, called Bozell's tweet "the dumbest commentary of 2016" and responded: "Hey Bozell, Google is your friend."
WND Writer Frets Muslim Terrorists Are Being Called Mentally Ill Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've noted the massive hissy fit WorldNetDaily exhibited when Donald Trump's mental health was called into question. Turns out WND offers the same objection -- albeit for different reasons -- when the mental health of those who commit terrorist acts is similarly questioned.
Is “mental illness” the new cover for jihadist attacks on the West?
It certainly seems that way, says a noted expert on jihad.
The latest “mentally unstable” young man to launch a seemingly random attack on unarmed civilians was Zakaria Bulhan, a 19-year-old Somali Muslim who had been resettled in Norway at the age of 5. Bulhan singled out an American woman in London and stabbed her to death Wednesday on a busy square filled with tourists, then injured five others in a stabbing spree before being apprehended.
“Authorities have ascribed jihad terror to mental illness on numerous occasions,” said Robert Spencer, including the Orlando, San Bernardino and Chattanooga attacks in the United States. Sometimes it sticks, but usually, days, weeks or even months later, when few people are still paying attention, the police will retract their earlier statements and admit it was a terrorist attack.
Hohmann also quotes his boss, WND managing editor David Kupelian, asking "Where does ‘radical Islam’ end and ‘mental illness’ begin? And what if they are the same thing?"
By contrast, Hohmann quoted WND author Carl Gallups effectively running to the defense of alleged Charleston massacre perpetrator Dylann Roof -- who can't be pigeonholed as a Muslim terrorist -- by declaring he actually was suffering from mental illness because, in Hohmann's words, "Roof was at the time of his arrest carrying Suboxone, a powerful narcotic commonly used to treat opiate dependence and has been linked with sudden outbursts of violence." Of course, it couldn't possibly be that Roof may have been taking his pro-apartheid cues and concerns about black-on-white crime from WND writers who spouted that sort of thing.
While Hohmann fills his article with the rantings of anti-Muslim activists, one voice is curiously missing from his discussion of the issue: that of any actual mental-health professional. You'd think that would be relevant to the conversation, but Hohmann doesn't.
Hohmann followed up with an Aug. 19 article grousing that "a knife-wielding Muslim yelling 'Allahu Akbar!'" who stabbed a Jewish rabbi in France was described as suffering from "psychatric issues." Hohmann offered his own armchair analysis: "The defining element of insanity, for legal purposes, has long been that the perpetrator is not aware that his actions were wrong. That would account for almost all Islamic terrorists, who believe their violent outbursts are part of the Quran’s instructions for them to wage jihad against non-Muslims and therefore they are morally justified."
Hohmann once again quotes Muslim-hater Spencer but no mental-health professional.
AIM Lets Anti-Gay Activist Attack 'Media Myths' About Gay 'Agenda' Topic: Accuracy in Media
Accuracy in Media -- never particularly friendly to gays -- has published a report claiming to "expose and refute some of the longstanding statistical lies and propagandistic myths of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) activist movement."
One huge sign the report wouldn't live up to the standards in AIM's name: it was written by Peter LaBarbera, head of the virulently anti-gay group Americans For Truth About Homosexuality. The Southern Poverty Law Center has detailed how LaBarbera and his group traffics in distortions and falsehoods about gays.
True to form, LaBarbera paints gays as filthy and disease-ridden, lovingly detailing how they are more likely to catch diseases like HIV and syphilis. He denies all evidence that homosexuality may have a genetic basis and thinks bans on conversion therapy are "highly dangerous" (as opposed to the therapy itself).
LaBarbera touts a study claiming that children of homosexual parents have more emotional problems than in other types of families, but that study has been criticized as using highly flawed data and was published in a for-profit journal that takes payments from authors to get published, meaning that its peer-review process was questionable.
LaBarbera also extensively quotes discredited anti-gay and anti-transgender psychiatrist Paul McHugh -- a favorite of CNSNews.com managing editor Michael W. Chapman -- and his list of "helpful sites" all at least as gay-hating as his own, except for the Centers for Disease Control, which "is strongly pro-homosexual" but serves LaBarbera's purpose by issuing reports with "ample evidence on the relationship between homosexual/bisexual behavior and disease."
So anti-gay hate is "accuracy in media"? Apparently it is at AIM.
The unpopular truth is that most blacks are not interested in achievement as such nor moral propriety. Most are motivated to make white people pay for some perceived injustice, past and/or present. Whites were not singularly responsible for the slave trade; Muslims played the greater role and continue to at this very time in history. Slavery was immoral but it wasn’t illegal, and America had the good sense and decency to abolish it. Jim Crow was a white Democrat construct of rabid segregation, but that hasn’t stopped blacks from supporting Democrats en masse for the over 50 years – but again, I digress.
Another unpopular truth is that most blacks are more interested in being crayon colors than they are in modernity. They complain and blame whites when the ramifications of their bad behavior and irresponsible decisions result in crisis. The media and fallacious studies refuse to acknowledge the truth of what I have just stated. They’d rather make excuses for said commonality and anti-societal behavior.
It is time to stop making excuses, and it is time to stop allowing blacks to define propriety. And it is long past time to stop blaming whites for some mythical privilege they alone enjoy. White people owe blacks nothing.
Many blacks go through life with a chip on their shoulder ready to blame any slight, real or perceived, as representative of racism. They go through life believing the white man is holding them back and white police are out to gun them down.
Which brings me to another unpopular truth. Not all blacks subscribe to bad behavior, but barely enough blacks to be measured publicly admonish the boorish behavior of the black masses.
Again: Imagine if Massie was white and saying such things.