Susan Jones' main article on February's jobless numbers carries the optimistic headline "152,528,000: Record Number of Employed in February; Participation Rate Rises." By contrast, the headlines in the Obama era would tout how many people were not in the workforce, even though many people choose not to work due to being retired or students. Jones actually notes that prominently in her article -- something she usually failed to do under Obama.
We get the usual sidebar from Terry Jeffrey fretting about increasing government jobs and the comparatively lower number of manufacturing jobs -- but true to right-wing form, Jeffrey gives no credit to Obama for the fact that, according to the chart accompanying his article, manufacturing jobs have been on the increase since 2010.
Missing again from CNS' coverage are a couple of old Obama-era favorites: articles on the "real" unemployment rate and the high rate of black unemployment. Those got replaced by an article by Melanie Arter uncritically quoting White House press secretary Sean Spicer asserting that the unemployment numbers "may have been phony in the past but it’s very real now," though he provided no evidence that the methodology for computing the numbers has changed at all.
If one needs an example of CNS' right-wing, pro-Trump bias, we can't think of a clearer one.
WND's Failed Gotcha Attack On NY Times For Doing What WND Does Topic: WorldNetDaily
Bob Unruh sure thought he had a big scoop in a March 10 WorldNetDaily article:
The New York Times has removed the word “wiretapped” from the headline of a pre-inauguration story on data being used by the federal government to investigate aides to President Donald Trump.
The stunning move comes after Trump charged his campaign headquarters was wiretapped by the federal government, drawing criticism from longtime federal employees and Democrats.
The Times changed its headline from “Wiretapped data used in inquiry of Trump aides” to “Intercepted Russian communications part of inquiry into Trump associates.” The text of the story still includes “wiretapped.”
Unruh went on to quote Rush Limbaugh: "We’ve got a revised New York Times headline – sneaky, sneaky, sneaky – as they postdate-change the headline, wiping out the word ‘wiretaps’ and ‘wiretapped’ from their headline on a story January 20th.”
You know who else sneakily issues major changes to articles after publication without telling readers? WND. Just five days before Unruh's article was published, we caught WND manufacturing a fake quote from former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, from which it quietly removed the quote marks several hours after publication.
There was another reason Unruh's article was wrong -- but this time, for once, Unruh admits the correction in a editor's note:
Editor’s Note: Rush Limbaugh posted a correction regarding the New York Times’ headline after this story was published. It says: “After today’s show we learned that the New York Times did not alter its headline. They say there were two headlines all along, one in the online version, and one in the print edition. The print edition used the word ‘wiretapped’ and the online edition never did. However, this does not change the premise that the story (Trump and Russians hacked the election) is waning in the MSM.”
This WND story has been corrected to reflect that the change was made between the print version and the online version.
What Unruh did not do, however, is explain that this isn't a big deal. Newspapers regularly have different headlines for print and online editions of the same story, typically to reflect changes after publication but also because online headlines are not subject to the same constraints as a print headline. The Times itself explained that "To some degree, there’s nothing new about changing headlines. Editors regularly tweak them in print for any number of reasons — updates, greater clarity, a change in the layout." The Times also said that it often tests two different headlines for the same story online to see which one attracts more readers.
So WND, with Rush Limbaugh's help, tried -- and failed -- to make an issue out of doing what WND itself regularly engages in, though it turns out that the Times wasn't doing that at all. Unruh didn't tell that to his readers either.
Then CNS moved to publishing op-eds actually attacking the Trump plan for being too Obamacare-y. A column by the Heritage Foundation's Edmund Haislmaier complains the Trump plan "fails to correct the features of Obamacare that drove up health insurance costs" and does not include "market-based replacement reforms."
CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey then went on the attack in a March 10 column, singling out the Trump plan's proposal to "replace the Obamacare penalty [for not having health insurance coverage] with their own penalty" that gets paid to insurance companies. "Americans who work, support themselves and do not take government subsidies are not the beneficiaries of this Obamacare repeal — or, that is, this Republican 'replacement.'," Jeffrey grumbled. (Jeffrey had also written a "news" article about this provision.)
In other words, CNS is permitting criticism of Trump's health care plan only because it's not right-wing enough.
WND's Lively Expresses His Love for Russia and Putin Topic: WorldNetDaily
In his March 6 WorldNetDaily column, Scott Lively -- whose expertise runs more toward hating gays than international espionage -- asserts that Jeff Sessions' recusal from any investigation of links between Russia and the Trump campaign was caused by "a bogus intelligence report invented by Obama for the purpose of discrediting the Trump administration." He doesn't explain exactly what was "bogus" about it.
Lively then launches into a full-throated defense of Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin, with an added dose of Obama derangement:
Next, let’s debunk the false premise behind Obama’s strategy and propaganda: that outrageous lie that the Russian government is an evil America-hating regime that seeks to weaken or control the United States through James Bondesqe subversion and spycraft. Back in the 1960s and ’70, when the liberals were politically aligned with the Russians, the Russian-based Soviet Communist bloc WAS in fact an evil empire, and DID work to subvert America. Indeed, the Cultural Marxism dominant in our university system and mainstream media attest to their success. Today, however, the Russian Federation is socially and fiscally conservative and strongly anti-Marxist.
Obama’s strategy and tactics depend on Americans’ general ignorance of the dramatic reversal of Russian culture since Ronald Reagan facilitated a Christian revival in what is now the Russian Federation and various independent nations in Eastern Europe. When the Berlin Wall came down, the churches torn down by the Obama-style Soviet Communists were rebuilt, and, after a couple of decades of gangsterism due to social disorder, today’s primary cultural influence is not Marxism (as it is in the Democratic Party USA) but Orthodox Christianity.
I am speaking from firsthand observation. I’ve been to Russia three times over the past dozen years, including a 10-day mission trip to the Russian far east in 2006, a 50-city speaking tour in 2007 through Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Belarus, Ukraine and Russia (from Siberia all the way to St. Petersburg), and I was in Moscow in 2013 where I was interviewed on Russian national television by the Orthodox patriarch’s right-hand man for family issues. In 2011 I took a mission trip to Moldova and helped the 95 percent pro-family population stop their U.S.-influenced government from sneaking through a major pro-homosexuality law whose passage was timed to match the arrival of Joe Biden. Since 2013 I have visited Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Kyrgyzstan, helping the latter protect marriage in its national constitution in 2016.
I know from whereof I speak: Ideologically and culturally, the Russian people are the closest match to American conservatives and populists in the entire world, and it is only the constant Obama/McCain/Soros/MSM/Deep State anti-Russian propaganda that keeps the Americans from seeing it. Yet, I fault the conservatives and populists themselves in this, since the very people they’re trusting for news on such matters as Syria, Ukraine, the U.S. election and Russia itself are the one’s they know for a fact always lie about cultural and spiritual issues here at home.
I can’t speak to Putin’s character pro or con, but I know he’s a more faithful representative of the will of the Russian people than any of our U.S. presidents from Bush 41 through Obama, and I certainly don’t trust the people who are poisoning Western minds against Putin. If anything, their hostility toward him should enhance his credibility among conservatives.
One: Funny how Lively is now describing his anti-gay activism in other countries as "mission trips."
Two: The "pro-homosexuality law" Lively claims he helped stop in Moldova in 2011 was actually a law that would have prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation. He doesn't explain why stopping discrimination against gays makes the law "pro-homosexuality."
Three: Also funny how Lively claims ignorance on "Putin’s character pro or con" yet can proclaim him a good man and his critics evil people who are "poisoning Western minds" against him.
Four: Lively's love for Putin and Russia is in league with that of other right-wing, white nationalist and alt-right leaders in the U.S. -- and, as Right Wing Watch details, it ignores the fact that Putin has cracked down against Protestant proselytizing in an attempt to protect the Russian Orthodox Church, something you'd think an evangelical Protestant like Lively would otherwise find concerning.
Further, Putin's crackdown on political opposition and a free press are things Lively would be opposing if they were happening in the U.S. but is apprently perfectly fine with Putin perpetrating.
The type of blinders-on fealty right-wingers like Lively show that he's he's willing to dismantle a free society just to pursure his hatred of gays.
MRC Finds No Humor In Sitcom's "Thanks, Obama" Running Gag Topic: Media Research Center
How utterly humorless are the folks at the Media Research Center? A recent episode of the CBS sitcom "Man With A Plan" featuring a "Thanks, Obama" running gag had Justin Ashford frowning:
President Barack Obama ruined so many things in America and CBS’s Man With a Plan hysterically takes this to the extreme by blaming him for every bad thing that happens, from potholes to bankrupt businesses to running out of juice.
On Monday’s episode, “Assisted Living,” Adam’s parents, Joe and Bev, visit the family in their RV. It's made apparent that Adam’s dad certainly did not approve of Obama’s administration, as he blames him for the potholes during their road trip, saying "Thanks, Obama." We also find out Joe thinks Andi “accidentally” voted for Obama. No surprise there as we’ve seen her liberal stance on same-sex couples.
Later, Obama gets blamed again when the company Bev uses for lard goes out of business.
Joe's antics get passed on to the youngest of Adam and Andi’s kids, Emme. She opens the fridge and slams the door, saying, “Thanks Obama!” because they’re out of juice. This doesn’t sit well with Andi, as she states, "He turned our little girl into Bill O'Reilly.”
Though it's said in jest, there are many terrible things we have Obama to "thank" for such as the rise of ISIS, rising health care costs, a crippling national debt, and being a more divided nation than ever before.
All together now: #THANKSOBAMA
Ashford seems to be unaware that the show is mocking humorless people like himself who blamed everything wrong with the country on Obama and are too committed to their right-wing ideology to admit that just maybe Obama was an actual human being who was not the manifestation of pure evil Ashford insists that he is.
WND Columnist Blames Christian Bookstore Chain's Demise on Selling 'Heretical' Things Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily columnist Jim Fletcher is normally a hype man for the books published by the same folks who publish his column -- he does this again most recently in a column touting Carl Gallup's new book while failing to mention it was issued by WND -- but he also likes to opine about Christian publishing in general.
He does this in a Feb. 24 column speculating on the failure of the Christian bookstore chain Family Christian Stores. Unfortunately, he decided to blame it on the chain selling things other than the Bible:
A powerful entity, Family was courted by publishers and their sales reps. The result was a multi-headed monster that gouged itself on heretical books and other materials.
The demise of Christian retail and, by extension in my view, the majority of the Evangelical church in this country, came about from a tightly coordinated effort. This ranged from celebrity pastors and ministry heads to publishers and, yes, Christian retail.
The irony is, while Family Christian Stores has imploded, the carcass will simply remain for a while on the highway of “Christian” resources, and the road is well traveled. If books are no longer sold by Family Stores, they will be sold by Amazon, or Saddleback Church, or North Point, or Willow Creek. Et cetera.
You see, a dirty secret of the Evangelical world is that if heretical books no longer have a home in bankrupt retail stores, they live and thrive in conferences, mega-churches, and media.
At the Family Christian Stores fire sale, one can find books by Jen Hatmaker (a Never-Trumper, socially progressive “evangelical”), Hillsong’s Brian Houston and William Paul Young, who wrote “The Shack.”
That’s just the tip of the iceberg that has rendered the Evangelical community just another glitzy, over-confident Titanic.
Family Christian Stores made a conscious decision years ago to make cash the only real priority. No vetting of books being peddled by publishers and salesmen who were, in some cases, more pagan than Baal. Anything labeling itself “Christian” was allowed in the door, more enthusiastically if the book sold like hotcakes as we used to say.
It is a sign of our times that when I tell audiences or readers that their best Christian resources are a Bible, pen and notebook, I hear laughter from the audience. It sounds funny, I guess. But it is also the truth. If the American Christian community would study the Bible, pray, and make real disciples, there would be a thriving Christian bookstore on every street corner.
How dare Family Christian try to sell Christian things to Christians to make money! Most people would call that the American way. Of course, in Fletcher's word, anything that doesn't follow a narrow, right-wing interpretation of Christianity is "heretical."
Needless to say, Fletcher's biased analysis overlooks the actual reasons the chain is going out of business. CBN points out that, like most book retailers, Amazon ate into their business and that other chains such as Lifeway and Mardel will likely fill the void; they presumably sell many of the same things Family Christian did.
Christianity Today adds that Family Christian has been in financial peril for years, filing for bankruptcy in 2015, a couple years after buying itself out of private equity ownership and turning itself into a nonprofit company that donated all profits to charity. In order to get out of bankruptcy, though, suppliers reluctantly agreed to write off $20 million of consigned goods to the chain, an act that itself bankrupted a couple of those suppliers.
Patheos blogger Hemant Mehta commented on Fletcher's narrow view of Christianity and Family Christian:
In Fletcher’s world, every Christian bookstore would focus on a single book, and only sell other products that point to how amazing that Bible is. No criticism. No questioning. No alternative perspectives.
If Family Christian Stores had just invested more in their KJV-coated bubble instead of trying to reach more people, they would totally be around right now. Economic forces be damned.
Fletcher offers no evidence to back up his suggestion that his extremely narrow view of Christianity constitutes a viable retail model.
Michael Reagan Forgets Trump Is Also An Anti-Vaxxer Topic: Newsmax
Michael Reagan complains in his March 4 Newsmax column:
It’s significant that the more the left’s cultural Marxism permeates the nation, the more superstition, ideology, and paranoia take precedence over science.
And President Trump’s recent appointment of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as chairman of a new commission on vaccines certainly doesn’t help matters. Kennedy is a believer in the repeatedly disproved superstition that vaccines cause autism.
This damaging assertion, combined with gullible members of the media and the public, has caused vaccination rates of schoolchildren to fall in many areas.
While Reagan is correct on the efficacy of vaccines, he gets a couple of things wrong.
First, his attempt to blame the anti-vaxxer movement on "the left’s cultural Marxism" is ridiculous. It's more prevalent on the right than it has ever been on the left, as anti-vaccine fearmongering by WorldNetDaillyand the Media Research Center demonstrate.
Second, nowhere in his column does Reagan mention the highly relevant fact that Trump himself has pushed that very same repeatedly disproved superstition that vaccines cause autism.
We don't know if Reagan has ever criticized Trump for his anti-vaxxer stance -- we could find no example of such in a quick Google search. This column would have been an appropriate time to do so. but he didn't.
The MRC's 'Far-Left' Fascination Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Curtis Houck used a March 3 post to come to the defense of right-wing author Charles Murray, who was "chased ... from far-left Middlebury College by an angry mob" where he was planning to give a speech. He further complained that the Associated Press cited "the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center, touting their belief that Murray is a 'white nationalist' using 'racist pseudoscience and misleading statistics to argue that social inequality is caused by the genetic inferiority of the black and Latino communities, women and the poor.'"
Strangely, Houck didn't actually challenge the SPLC's description of Murray (other than that it was expressed), nor does he defend Murray's views let alone explain why they would be considered controversial enough to protest; he just benignly describes Murray as a "longtime conservative author, columnist, and think tank scholar." The full SPLC profile of Murray is here, since Houck couldn't be bothered to link to it.
But let's look at something else: Houck's overuse of the "far-left" descriptor. That's just cheap and lazy heat on Houck's part; neither the SPLC or the entirety of Middlebury College can plausibly be dismissed as "far left" by a neutral observer.
Indeed, attacking anything and everything as "far left" is something of an avocation at the MRC. Here are the things have attacked as "far left" so far in 2017 alone:
"rebels of the music world" such as rappers Chuck D and Vic Mensa, jazz musicians Kurt Elling, Lalah Hathaway, and Arturo O'Farrill , alternative rockers Alex Ebert of the band Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards, and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth
Not all of these things are "far left." In fact, most of them aren't. They only look "far left" if you're a right-winger like Houck and his MRC stablemates. It's as if the MRC doesn't understand that words mean things.
Except they do. In 2015, the MRC's Rich Noyes complained that the broadcast networks "have gone out of their way to relentlessly paint House Republicans, especially the Freedom Caucus, as ideologues who are outside the American political mainstream" by using labels such as "far right." Noyes went on to huff that "The media’s repeated labeling of conservatives as outside-the-mainstream is something that liberals don’t have to face."
Except from the right-wing ideologues at the MRC, who again refuse to hold themselves to the same behavior they demand from others.
WorldNetDaily, it seems, justcan'tstop portraying Donald Trump as sent from God.
We've noted that WND editor Joseph Farah has gotten more explicit about proclaiming divine intercession in Trump's election. In his Feb. 27 column, Farah invokes his favorite right-wing prophet, Jonathan Cahn:
The dizzying pace of Trump’s complete reversal of the very policies that seemed to be dragging America down into imminent judgment is, after all, remarkable. Who would have predicted it? Did it seem even in the realm of possibility in the near term – in 2017?
Even for me, someone who was deeply moved by Cahn’s message and who predicted Trump would win in a landslide mandate eight months before Election Day, I admit I didn’t imagine just how faithful the new president would be to his campaign promises. I didn’t see how moved he would be by the support of Bible-believing Christians. I didn’t see how radically different he would govern from his predecessors – especially his most recent.
But that’s just what he has done – and, always barring some unforeseen catastrophe, it bodes well for the immediate future of the country.
You may be surprised by what the Kingdom of God will be like! Find out in Joseph Farah’s “The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age,” what it will be like during the future Kingdom of Heaven on earth under the rule and reign of Jesus.
So that leads me to the inevitable question: Did enough of America’s believers, His people who are called by His name, humble themselves, seek His face and turn from their wicked ways? I know there was a shaking of God as a direct result of Jonathan Cahn’s teachings. I saw it. I heard it. I felt it. But I am not God.
Could it be that a spiritual earthquake took place between 2012 and 2016 just as so many of us had hoped and prayed for individually?
Could the Holy Spirit have used that profound and amazing teaching to shake American like Jonah shook Nineveh – thus buying us time?
Could it be we are reaping the practical political benefit of the individual prayers of millions touched by those teachings?
I don’t know. But I’m throwing it out there for you to consider.
In his March 1 column, Farah got his answer from his hero:
It started with a plea for a National Day of Prayer and Repentance on Sept. 11, 2013, an event that has continued annually since.
The annual Washington Man of Prayer event in the Capitol was inspired by Cahn’s message. Since then, regular prayer meetings in the Capitol have been instituted.
Many other prayer networks and chains have been taking place continually.
With all this in mind, I recently posed the question of whether what is happening right now in Washington, with a new administration, is in direct response to what Cahn started with his book and his unique message and ministry and what grew from it.
So I asked Cahn.
It turns out, he has humbly been asking the same question.
“The main thing I’m convicted of is that God has heard and has given a reprieve,” he told me. “Right now the culture is still falling away. It has to be reversed. If not, the template of ‘The Harbinger’ continues. And if we don’t reach the younger generation, the future then remains unchanged. It may be that God’s people prayed in part – the faithful – and God answered in part. Now is the window. There must be revival.”
Cahn characterizes what happened with the presidential election in November and thereafter “a miraculous reprieve, an opening for national revival.” But, he adds, without that revival, the progression will continue. “We must pray.”
There's also a WND column by Sean Harshey headlined "TRUMP ON A MISSION FROM GOD?" He writes:
Remember liberals’ claims during the primaries that they prayed for Trump to be the nominee? Whether they actually prayed, who they prayed to or if their claims were merely mocking in nature, they got what they claimed they wanted. Like everything else, it turned out to be the opposite of what they planned.
It is more apparent every day that there is a supernatural element to the Trump presidency. The mocking and scornful media and political class have not only been steamrolled by a political novice, but their best efforts to destroy him have backfired. “On a mission”, indeed.
Indeed. It appears WND is on a mission as well -- to give a thrice-married adulterer a patina of respect by cloaking him in a religion he has shown no evidence of ever following.
MRC Hate-Watches Miniseries On Gay-Rights Movement Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has been attacking "When We Rise," an ABC miniseries on the history of the gay-rights movement, since it was first announced.
In a December 2015 post, Sarah Stites huffed that "It’s no secret that ABC pushes the gay agenda," adding that the miniseries was written by "openly gay screenwriter Dustin Lance Black," who is "not new to activism through media," and that "His new 8-hour miniseries is likely to be similarly acclaimed by the major media."
Stites also claimed that "The ABC network has also promoted its bias more subtly through support of LGBT events," desperately citing "the 2015 DC Pride Parade. WJLA channel 7, ABC’s local news station, was listed under the Capital Pride Alliance’s Rainbow sponsorship level." But WJLA is not owned by ABC; at the time of the 2015 parade, it had just been purchased by right-wing TV station owner Sinclair Broadcast Group -- something the MRC failed to mention in its original post on that subject. (By the way, WJLA and its sister station, News Channel 8, remains a Capital Pride Alliance sponsor, somsething the MRC is unlikely to bring up lest it offend its fellow conservatives at Sinclair.)
The MRC ramped up the hate as the miniseries' airdate neared. A Feb. 14 post by Matt Norcross repeated a claim from the right-wing, Rupert Murdoch-controlled blog Heat Street that the miniseries "glorifies violence against police officers,"based apparently on nothing other than a cursory view of the "When We Rise" trailer. Norcross went on to denounce the series as "potential propaganda" and argues that "perhaps it’ss time for Disney to let go of ABC and sell it to another party."
Norcross also complains that the miniseries "stereotypes Americans in Republican-controlled states as homophobic" -- again, based on only the trailer. Of course, Norcross doesn't admit that's hardly an out-of-the-mainstream viewpoint.
When it came time to hate-watch the show proper, Alexa Moutevelis Coombs was given the task. Her post on part 1 lived up to the hate by immediately declaring it "ABC's eight hour gay propaganda event," further ranting that the series "immediately gets into the leftist activism with a montage bashing Republicans and comparing gay rights to the fight against Nazism and the Civil Rights movement -- and it all goes down hill from there." She took particular exception to "all the gay characters kissing and hooking up in various states of undress within the first 10 minutes" and whined, "There are so many leftist tropes checked off in the first two hours, I can only imagine what’s coming in the next six."
Coombs then wrote: "LGBT sacred martyr Matthew Shepard is referenced, 'Those who truly hate us…are trying young men to fences in Wyoming and cracking their skulls open.' Of course, we now know that Shepard’s murder, horrific as it was, was not a hate crime." Coombs is clinging to right-wing revisionist history that insists that we take the word of Shepard's killer now that it was merely a drug deal gone bad and igore the fact that he mounted a gay-panic defense during his trial.
Coombs' review of part 2 again calls the show a "gay propaganda miniseries," expressing anger that President Reagan was depicted as insenstive to the burgeoning AIDS crisis during his presidency. Coombs rushed to his defense by citing something that didn't happen during his presidency: how Reagan "took a risk by publicly opposing" a 1978 California initiative that would legalize firing any gay teacher or support staff in California public schools. She then grumbled, "I suppose it was too much to ask that this series give a little credit where credit is due to a conservative legend."
For part 3, Coombs is joined in her hate-watching by Karen Townsend, and they complain that "The slander of President Ronald Reagan’s legacy by liberal gay activists continues," insisting that Reagan really did care enough about AIDS to fund research into it.
Townsend took over completely for the final installment -- apparently, Coombs ran out of hate to hurl -- and she complained that Christians are now becoming the victims of gays:
I wonder if the show’s creator, Dustin Lance Black, understands that people of faith also feel under attack for not falling in line with the gay agenda pushed in today’s entertainment world and that Christians are being persecuted for their religious beliefs. The left fails to understand that it is not because of hate that people of faith oppose same sex marriage – it is because of their belief in religious principles. Christian bakers, photographers, and function hall owners are being forced to choose between violating their conscience or losing their livelihood.
When We Rise doesn't seem to recognize - or care - when others fall.
Townsend forgets that anti-discrimination law forbids denial of service to anyone by those who offer their services to the public.
The truth is, When We Rise was as self-absorbed and entitled as the LGBT movement it chronicled – utterly lacking empathy for anyone who’s convictions don’t allow them to fall in line with the agenda. Thus, gay marriage wasn’t enough, they had to make Christians bake the cakes for those weddings. Rather than persuade, Black et al used the opportunity of When We Rise to slander Middle Americans as benighted cretins brimming with hate for gays.
The truth is, Dustin, we’re benighted cretins who just aren’t that into you – one way or the other.
Hey, at least Philbin admits he's a cretin. Of course, if the MRC really didn't care "one way or the other" about "When We Rise," it wouldn't have sent three writers to make sure every night of it got hate-watched.
AIM Helps Sebastian Gorka Overcompensate Topic: Accuracy in Media
In a Washington Post piece, Daniel Drezner pretty much obliterates Sebastian Gorka, the right-wing Muslim-hater who somehow ascended to being an terrorism adviser to the Trump White House. It seems Gorka cold-called a critic and actual terrorism expert and whined about the "incessant berating of my professional acumen." In telling Gorka to grow a pair, Drezner also pointed out Gorka's laughable insistence on touting his doctorate at every opportunity despite the fact that his doctoral thesis (from a Hungarian university) would have a hard time getting respect as an undergraduate thesis at a decent American college. "It’s a surefire sign that you’re overcompensating," Drezner wrote.
Accuracy in Media, for one, has been among the right-wing groups helping Gorka overcompensate and evade criticism of his work.
In a May 2012 column, AIM's Cliff Kincaid introduced "Dr. Sebastian L. v. Gorka," who claimed that "the Obama Administration is rapidly revising federal counter-terrorism training materials in order to eliminate references to Jihad and Islam." Kincaid made no mention of any actual evidence Gorka had of this beyond a Wired magazine expose on how FBI connterterrorism training had a bad habit of characterizing all Muslims as prone to violence or terrorism. Kincaid added that Gorka "recently became an American citizen."
A September 2016 AIM article by Alex Nitzberg touted how "Dr. Sebastian Gorka" said that political correctness is harming U.S. "war efforts" because it fails "to recognize the link between Islam and terrorism." Gorka peddled other right-wing orthodoxy as well:
While he identified “the global jihadi movement” as the primary threat currently facing America, he also said, “…I think if the nation looks at itself in the mirror, the other truly horrific enemy we face is ourselves. If you look at the debt that both politicians of left and right have accumulated for this nation and for generations to come…Capitol Hill is acting like a bunch of drunken sailors that will create a bankrupt nation if we don’t get a grip.”
Questioned about the potential ramifications of a Hillary Clinton presidency, Dr. Gorka said that “…a Hillary Clinton administration would be catastrophic for this nation.” Describing Clinton as “…a person who’s completely beholden to the highest bidder and has no regard for the interests of the republic,” he asserted that “…she would be bad for America, her allies, and the interests of the nation in the long run.” While not a member of the Trump campaign, Dr. Gorka has previously advised the Republican candidate on national security.
If Gorka is a two-bit ideologue who Peter Principled his way into the Trump White House -- and it certainly appears he is -- AIM certainly helped create him.
A Potpourri of Trump Stenography at CNS Topic: CNSNews.com
Last week, CNS was in damage control mode over news that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had not been completely forthcoming over his contacts with the Russian ambassador. Over the weekend -- as if directed by the Trump White House, as a lot of CNS' coverage appears to be -- CNS pushed right-wing narratives on Sessions:
And amid all this Trump stenography, CNS' Susan Jones found time to write a second article in less than a week maliciously portraying Sen. Al Franken as obsessed with Trump's tax returns (here's the first one), despite the fact that it was not even the primary focus of the remarks Jones reported.
All that Trump stenography is sure keeping CNS busy.
Over the past several years, WorldNetDaily spent a lot of time denouncing the best-selling spiritual book "The Shack" and even published a book attacking it as "blasphemous" and filled with "counterfeit Christianity," not to mention "more than 15 heresies."
A film of the book has just been released, so WND's knives are drawn again.
A Feb. 12 WND article trots out James De Young, who wrote WND's anti-"Shack" book. He claims the book's idea of "universal reconciliation" is heretical and asserts the book is "beyond disturbing for its thoroughly anti-biblical portrayal of God." He also claims that "The Shack" author Paul YOung "takes on the mantle of a terrorist, anarchist and subverter of the home and marriage" when God as portrayed in the book says that marriage, the church and the government are man-made institutions, not God-ordained, ranting further that Young "is anti-church, anti-marriage and the home, and anti-American."
De Young returns again in a Feb. 15 article to rant some more about the book's "universalist" language, taking particular offense to the book's version of Jesus saying that he doesn’t desire to make anyone a Christian.
“So first, Paul Young doesn’t want to be known as a Christian,” De Young laments. “Second, Jesus warned of those who would profess to be his followers but are inwardly deceiving, ravenous wolves heading for spiritual destruction because they do not bear good fruit and do what he says, as cited in Matthew 7:13-27. Jesus and the Apostles teach what a follower of Jesus must believe about God, Jesus, judgment, and eternal destiny.”
De Young believes “The Shack” and its author do not follow these beliefs. Therefore, he says boldly, “The Shack” cannot be called a Christian book, nor can its author.
“If a person rejects all of these truths or redefines them in ways that contradict what Jesus and the Apostles say, as ‘The Shack’ teaches, then that person’s claim to be a follower of the Lord Jesus is false – so Jesus said in Matthew 7:23,” stated De Young.
The "Shack" attack goes seriously off the rails in a March 5 article, with "blogger and pastor Tim Challies attacking it for a "visual representation of God:
“To watch ‘The Shack’ is to watch human actors play the roles of Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” he said. “I take this to be a clear, serious violation of the second commandment: ‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.’ (Exodus 20:4-6).”
Challies believes human representations of God the Father and God the Holy Spirit distort and diminish the understanding of anyone who views them.
“To portray the Spirit is to vastly misrepresent the Spirit; to portray the Spirit is to blaspheme the Spirit,” he wrote. “The same is true, of course, of the Father.”
De Young echoes the idolatry attack byc laiming the film "reaching new depths of blasphemy" by visually depicting God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
In his March 7 WND column, Jerry Newcombe dismissed the film: "I felt the movie was too New Age for my tastes. If Oprah Winfrey were to make a 'Christian' movie, 'The Shack' would be it. I felt it took too many liberties with the Person of God. God commands us to not to make any graven images."
WND Didn't Cover Pro-Trump Marches It Promoted, Or Even The One WND's Farah Spoke At Topic: WorldNetDaily
Last week, we detailed how WorldNetDaily was heavily hyping a series of planned pro-Trump rallies across the country this past weekend, as well as the fact that WND editor Joseph Farah would be speaking at one of them.
Well, those rallies came and went ... and WND didn't cover them. No "news" article on the rallies was ever posted at WND.
Why? Right Wing Watch's Brian Tashman went to the Washington, D.C., rally across from the White House and found the answer: "While several speakers addressed the crowd as if the day would be treated as a watershed moment in American political history, the Lafayette Square gathering only attracted a few dozen people." Tashman also summarized Farah's speech:
The next speaker, WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah, similarly declared that prayer and divine intervention were directly involved in Trump’s electoral victory, saying that Democrats “should not be investigating Russia’s influence on the outcome—they should be investigating God’s influence on the outcome!”
Trump, he said, is “the deliverer we’ve been given by God almighty,” calling his presidency a “window of mercy” and “an answer to our heartfelt prayers.”
“God has given us a miracle” with Trump’s election, according to Farah, along with a holy “reprieve” and a “second chance” for a “political and spiritual revival.” If Trump hadn’t won, Farah said, America would have had a future of “socialism, corruption, decay, tyranny, perversion, immorality [and] lawlessness.”
Farah said that “the ‘fake news’ cartel has cast a spell over America for the last 30 years, at least,” claiming that conservatives are blacklisted from the media.
The first acknowledgement at WND that these rallies actually took place is Farah's March 7 column, which reproduces his speech at the sparsely attended rally. He made even more references to the purported divine intervention that resulted in Trump's election, at one point saying, "If the Democrats and the media want to investigate the 2016 election, I’ve got some news for them: They should not be investigating Russia’s influence on the outcome! They should be investigating God’s influence on the outcome." He continued:
Do you believe God has opened a window of mercy and grace for America?
Do you believe He’s giving us an opportunity to seize this moment?
Do you believe what we’re witnessing in Washington today is the answer to our heartfelt prayers for the future of our country?
Do you believe the fate of this political and spiritual revolution is every bit as much in your prayerful hands as it is in the determination of this deliverer we’ve been given by God Almighty?
Then let’s agree – right here and now – to make this rally the first of many that grow ever larger, always beginning and ending in fervent appeals and petitions to the Creator of the Universe to straighten our individual and collective paths.
Tellingly, Farah doesn't link to any WND stories about the rally (since there aren't any) or even of a video of his speech; the column embed a long-shot image, apparently taken from the back of the sparse crowd, of someone who is described as Farah giving the speech (since you certainly can't tell from the image itself).
The column, however, does include an editor's note: "To learn more about future such rallies around the country, sign up for free notices from WND." That hasn't exactly worked out so far, has it?
Another Bogus MRC Coverage Study Topic: Media Research Center
A March 2 post by Rich Noyes and Mike Ciandella describes the Media Research Center's latest so-called media research:
A new American President is always a big story, but TV news is obsessed with the Trump administration — and not in a good way.
In the first 30 days (January 20 to February 18), our analysts determined that the President and his team were the subject of 16 hours of coverage on just the Big Three evening newscasts. This equates to more than half (54%) of all of the news coverage during this period.
While most new presidents enjoy a media honeymoon, the tone of Trump’s coverage was nearly as hostile (88% negative) as we found during last year's presidential campaign (91% negative).
Our measure of media tone excludes soundbites from identified partisans, focusing instead on tallying the evaluative statements made by reporters and the non-partisan talking heads (experts and average citizens) included in their stories. In their coverage of Trump’s first month, the networks crowded their stories with quotes from citizens angry about many of his policies, while providing relatively little airtime to Trump supporters.
That last paragraph is the only described methodology used, and no further detail about the results are provided -- which are big warning signs that this study is bogus.
Another sign: the binary nature of the provided choices. "Negative" and "positive" are inherently subjective descriptions, and it defies logic that the coverage the MRC covered could only be described as one or the other. There's a high likelihood that Noyes and Ciandella are portraying negative news reported neutrally as "negative," which skews their study.
Actual media researchers Stephen Farnsworth, S. Robert Lichter and Roland Schatz pointed out that Trump news coverage has skewed negative even from the Trumpophiles at Fox News. Their study also conceded that the majority of Trump coverage was neutral -- again, a category the MRC failed to include.The MRC, of course, would never conduct such "research" on Fox News because 1) it would prove the channel's right-wing bias, and 2) doing so would likely jeopardize MRC employees' regular appearances on it and sister channel Fox Business.
The researchers also note tha Trump's attacks on the media as the "enemy of the American people" also contributes to the negative coverage as well: "This puts journalists in a difficult position. If they challenge Trump at every turn, they may appear to be the opposition he claims they are. But if they conduct business as usual, this could simply let Trump be Trump at their expense."
Media Matters' Eric Boehlert adds that most experts agree that the first month of Trump's presidency has been unusually chaotic, an environment that leads to news that the MRC is predisposed to describe as "negative." In other words, a significant amount of that "negative" coverage was created by Trump himself -- something else for which the MRC fails to account.
Instead, Noyes and Ciandella engage in the MRC's rote media-bashing, whining about the supposed "anti-Trump editorial tone" after CBS anchor Scott Pelley accurately reported that Trump made "statements divorced from reality."
In sum: This is more unscientific partisan-motivated bogus "research" from an organization sadlyknown for it.