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Wednesday, March 15, 2017
WND's Kinchlow Falls For Another Bogus Right-Wing Meme
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Ben Kinchlow -- who is unusually prone to devoting columns to discredited right-wing memes and bogus chain emails -- does it again in his March 12 WorldNetDaily column:

Here are 12 steps to facilitate the “New American Way of Life.” A guy has a girlfriend with two kids:

  1. He doesn’t marry her and always uses his mom’s address to get mail.
  2. The guy buys a house.
  3. He rents out the house to his girlfriend and kids.
  4. Section 8 pays $900 a month for a three-bedroom home.
  5. Girlfriend signs up for Obamacare, so guy doesn’t have to pay for family insurance.
  6. Girlfriend gets to go to college free for being a single mother.
  7. Girlfriend gets $600 a month for food stamps.
  8. Girlfriend gets a free cell phone.
  9. Girlfriend gets free utilities.
  10. Guy moves into home, but continues to use mom’s address for his mail.
  11. Girlfriend claims one kid and the guy claims the other on their separate tax forms. Now both get to claim head of household at a $1,800 credit.
  12. Girlfriend gets $1,800 a month disability for being “crazy” or having a “bad back” and never has to work again.

Bottom line total: An unmarried couple with a stay-at-home mom on disability nets $21,600; $10,800 free housing; $6,000 free Obamacare; $6,000 free food, $4,800 free utilities; $6,000 Pell Grant money plus $12,000 a year in college tuition free; $8,800 tax benefit for being a single mother. Grand total for single motherhood: $75,000 per year in benefits. Benefits to legally married mother $0.”

(Mr. John Tabb has been credited with the preceding information. While every single item may not be exactly precise and totally accurate, the fact remains that something, somewhere, somehow is stirring the storm.)

Kinchlow's evidence to back this up is a link to a thread at Quora that discusses Tabb's column. But if he had bothered to scroll down a little bit, he would have found a link to Snopes that explains -- and discredits -- Tabb's column.

Snopes points out that Tabb's column is based on something that had been circulating online at least several months before, adding: "As is often the case with e-mail polemics focused on purported welfare abuse and taxpayer outrage, the 'New American Way of Life' offers an implausible, far-fetched scenario to condemn those who use public assistance to make ends meet."

Afater going through each item in detail, Snopes summarizes:

As the excerpt above concludes, the figures bandied about in the e-mail encompass virtually all programs available to low-income Americans and extrapolates the fictional family described routinely accesses all of them. Some of the benefits described (such as free college for single mothers or free utility programs) don’t seem to exist, and several of forms of assistance (such as Section 8 or disability) are not administered in the simplistic manner suggested by this item.

Furthermore, while this item asserts that the complex welfare hustling plan described here is “perfectly legal,” several aspects of it involve defrauding the system in an expressly prohibited (and largely criminal) fashion. Were any family to hide assets or lie about household income on application forms, they would be subject to severe penalties and prosecution should their perfidy be unraveled. The scheme also rests upon the (fallacious) notion that access to assistance programs is easy to both maintain and retain.

Finally, the causes of the national debt are fairly complex. However, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, and Defense broadly account for most government spending.

Kinchlow ironically concludes his column: "Today, the number of blacks on welfare has skyrocketed, and more than 75 percent of black children are born out of wedlock. Could the above stats be a contributing factor? As President John Adams said, 'Facts are stubborn things.'"

Yes, they are, Ben; you might want to try that fact-checking thing out the next time you feel compelled to copy-and-paste a right-wing chain email into your column.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:43 AM EDT
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
MRC's Bozell & Graham Try to Dance On Grave of Gay-Rights Miniseries
Topic: Media Research Center

Hate-watching the ABC miniseries "When We Rise," about the gay-rights movement, was apparently not enough for the Media Research Center. The MRC's Brent Bozell and Tim Graham devoted an entire March 10 column to cheering that the show got bad ratings:

They say network television is a profit-oriented business, but that's obviously not the case when it clashes with Hollywood's sexual politics. Last week, ABC tried to lecture America with a four-part miniseries on the radical gay left called "When We Rise," and it tanked in ratings despite heavy promotion throughout the Academy Awards broadcast the night before the premiere.

Nightly ratings were cracking just below three million viewers. The cable network FX drew far larger numbers for its O.J. Simpson miniseries last year. The History Channel drew almost two million viewers recently for its miniseries "SIX" about Navy SEAL Team Six. Those are obscure cable channels next to ABC.

Of course, lack of popularity does not necessarily equal lack of quality, and these two are indulging in a fallacy to suggest otherwise.

Bozell and Graham also complain:

Then there's just the corrosive hatred. On the first night, the main character Cleve Jones tells one of his lovers: "I say we just get rid of all the heterosexuals. They're so boring."

Can you imagine the outcry if a straight character were to say, "Let's get rid of all the homosexuals"?

That phraseology sounds strangely familiar. Here's the MRC's Alexa Moutevelis Coombs from her hate-watch of the series:

Cleve tells one of his lovers, “I say we just get rid of all the heterosexuals. They're so boring.” Can you imagine if a straight character said, "Let's get rid of all the homosexuals?"

Aside from ripping the quote out of context -- in neither post is it stated what the motivation is for this character to say this, presumably all the better to manufacture anti-gay outrage -- it seems Bozell and Graham are just lazily copying-and-pasting from their own employees.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:27 PM EDT
WND's Farah Decides: Trump Sent By God
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The WorldNetDaily-generated chorus claiming that Donald Trump's election was divine intervention keeps growing (at WND).

In a March 7 article, WND's Bob Unruh cites religious-right fave James Dobson has weigh in in the affirmative:

Now Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, Family Talk radio and an adviser to presidents, says he believes Trump is a “reprieve” for America.

Find out the ultimate “Restitution of All Things” in Joseph Farah’s exploration of the coming Kingdom of God on Earth.

In an interview with Todd Starnes at the National Religious Broadcasters Association convention in Orlando, Florida, Dobson said: “I’m convinced Donald Trump is God’s man for this hour. He is not a perfect man. He’s what I would call a flawed vessel. But so am I, and so are you, and so are all of us.”

He cautioned that President Trump “very well may disappoint us.”

“He may not live up to the standards we expect. But I believe he’s there on purpose.”

The 2016 presidential election, in which Barack Obama’s progressive, pro-homosexual, pro-abortion, anti-American agenda, embodied in candidate Hillary Clinton, was soundly rejected by voters, had America on the edge of a cliff, he said.

“I don’t think we would have ever recovered from it, and I thank the Lord for giving us a reprieve,” he said.

Actually, Clinton defeated Trump by nearly 3 million votes, so that's a funny definition of Clinton being "soundly rejected."

WND editor cited Dobson, as well as his earlier interactions with Obama-hating rabbi and WND cash machine Jonathan Cahn, in his  March 12 column, declaring that "I now believe with all my heart" that Cahn's book "The Harbinger" and the movie Farah and WND made from that book "turned the hearts of Christians in America to humility, prayer, to seeking God’s face and repentance, just as II Chronicles 7:14 commands in times of national backsliding." (How convenient that a WND-made product and Farah's close friend caused this to happen.)

Farah continued:

If I am right and we are experiencing a partial “restoration” in 2017, what better time to explore with me what the full, complete, seldom explored, prophetic story of the ultimate restoration will look like?

Peter said it is what all the prophets from Creation onward were talking about and pointing toward with the greatest of hope.

Don’t get me wrong. We live in a time of conflict, turbulence, maybe even a little chaos. But, don’t you feel a little more hope today than you did last year at this time? Don’t you think we might be getting just a glimpse of the possibility of a national “reprieve” in which God smiles upon His people?

I’m convinced.

It’s why there’s a little strut in my step. It’s why despite a lot of bad news, I feel like I can see a glimmer of hope. It’s why I am so sure things are getting better, rather than worse.

But it’s time to recognize what’s happening and why. It’s not time to cease the humbling of ourselves and the fervent, heart-felt prayers, the seeking of His face and the turning away from sin. It’s time to recognize that it really does work – and pour it on!

Are you with me? Let me know.

We've never seen any evidence that Farah has ever humbled himself before the Lord or anyone else, as his column's plugging of not only Cahn's work (on sale at WND) but his own new book (WND-published, natch) in which he claims to examine "the ultimate restoration of all things that comes with the return of Jesus the Messiah to rule and reign over the whole earth from His throne in Jerusalem." Farah never publicly repented for running a dishonest website and pursuing an agenda of personal destruction against Barack Obama, and there's no reason to think he'll make an about-face and humble himself anytime soon.

There's also no evidence that Farah has considered the possibility that Obama was actually the blessing from God and that Trump is the curse. He's too blinded by his right-wing ideology to ever consider that.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:24 PM EDT
MRC Demands Coverage of Meaningless Climate Denier Petition
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Aly Nielsen complains in a March 1 post:

The liberal media love to report on climate change so long as the story affirms an alarmist, man-caused climate change narrative. When scientists question that, the media fall silent.

More than 300 scientists, engineers and meteorologists, led by MIT Meteorology professor Dr. Richard Lindzen, signed a petition asking President Trump to “withdraw from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)” on Feb. 23, 2017. But ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news shows never once mentioned the letter between Feb. 23 and March 1.

Nielsen glosses over the fact that it seems a small minority of those 300-plus signatories to the petition have any expertise in climatology -- hence her adding "scientists" and "engineers" to the list -- which would seem to show that the list is made up of activists who put politics ahead of science.

Indeed, the very first signature on the petition is Habibullo Abdussamatov, whose climate-denier work has been discredited. Also on the list for some reason is Ted Baehr, who's much better known as a professional prude for the film-review site Movieguide and who apparently hasn't done any environmental research work in decades.

Another signatory is denier and birther dead-ender Christopher Monckton.

The premise behind this petition is the same as one circulated for years by climate denier, questionable homeschool curriculum creator and friend of WorldNetDaily Art Robinson. It's been pointed out that well over 10 million college graduates with science degrees have been churned out by universities in the past 40 or so years. Add engineering graduates to that, as Nielsen wants to do, and there are millions more.

Putting the petition's 300 signatories in that perspective exposes what a fringe effort this is. That, and not the old "liberal bias" boogeyman, is why the media isn't covering the petition.

Nielsen also goes on to note the outlets that gave the petition favorable -- "The Washington Times, The Hill, Climate Depot, Fox Nation, The Free Beacon, and climate blog Watts Up With That" -- but she failed to identify them as conservative or denier. By contrast, the sole outlet she cited as critical of the petition, DeSmogBlog, she makes sure to label as "liberal."

DeSmogBlog, by the way, also helps makes our point about the lack of relevant expertise among the petition's signataories: "There are medical doctors, mystery men, coal executives, petroleum engineers, economists, and think tank members. Only a small handful could be considered even remotely 'qualified' or 'eminent' — but not in the field of climate science."


Posted by Terry K. at 1:19 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, March 14, 2017 8:53 AM EDT
Monday, March 13, 2017
WND Clinton Derangement Watch, Spinach Pancake Edition
Topic: WorldNetDaily

For a website founded in no small part to attack the Clinton administration, it's no surprise to see that Clinton derangement is strong at WorldNetDaily. And it has continued well after Hillary Clinton lost the presidential race.

Just check out this snotty March 8 WND article by Chelsea Schilling:

Can Chelsea Clinton do anything right?

The former first daughter’s new book, “Governing Global Health,” is such a flop, Chelsea won’t even discuss it. Upon reading it, one reviewer remarked, “Holy hell, that was horrible.”

Despite her eye-popping $600,000 salary from NBC, her short journalism career was such a disaster, the Washington Post dubbed her “one of the most boring people of her era.”

And now Chelsea is apparently trying her hand at liquefied spinach pancakes – and her new “Soylent Green”-style food experiment has Twitter followers ready to lose their collective lunches.

On March 7, also known as National Pancake Day, Chelsea tweeted a photo of her pea-green spinach pancakes with the message: “Spinach pancakes for #NationalPancakeDay (we won’t eat them all tonight although Charlotte would if we let her)!”

Schilling devotes most of the rest of her article to reprinting insults of how those pancakes looked.

That's right -- WND thought Chelsea Clinton making pancakes that weren't aesthetically pleasing was worth devoting an article to.

But that's not all. An anonmyously written WND article the same day starts off with similarly snice shots at Chelsea's mother:

This latest poll isn’t good news for Hillary Clinton.

Not on the day she scheduled her reemergence on the public stage with a speech at the Kennedy Center in Washington … not on the feminist-sponsored National Day Without Women … not on the day ADP, a global human-resources and payroll firm, reported U.S. companies adding 298,000 new jobs in President Trump’s first full month in office – 100,000 more than economists expected … not on the day Ivanka Trump’s clothing line is reporting record sales despite calls for boycotts by Trump critics … and certainly not the day following another poll showing a majority of likely New York voters not wanting Clinton to run for mayor.

The new poll by Suffolk University shows just 35 percent of registered voters continue to have a favorable view of Clinton, with 55 percent having an unfavorable opinion.

The article went on to claim that "In a gender-swapping experiment conducted in January by two self-identified 'liberal' professors at New York University, where actors of the opposite sex played the roles of the two candidates citing lines and copying body language and intonation, the professors and their primarily liberal audience were shocked with how hard the male version of Clinton was to admire while the female Trump 'shined' in moments they recalled as the real Trump 'flailing or lashing out.'"


Posted by Terry K. at 6:17 PM EDT
CNS' Unemployment Coverage: New Regime Edition
Topic: CNSNews.com

The shift in reporting on monthly unemployment figures at CNSNews.com continues to show a marked change now that a Republican is president.

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.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:33 PM EDT
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.

WND quietly rewrote an article filled with false speculatlon in December, and in January it rewrote a false headline and published a Photoshopped picture of then-President Obama as real -- all without telling readers about the changes.

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.

(The original is archived here for posterity.)

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.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:22 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, March 13, 2017 12:57 AM EDT
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Shocker: CNS Actually Criticizes Trump's Health Care Plan
Topic: CNSNews.com

Well, it seems the Trump stenographers at CNSNews.com have finally found a line they won't cross in their servile pro-Trump agenda.

The Trump administration's replacement for the Affordable Care Act brought something almost unprecedented from CNS during the Trump administration: negative-leaning coverage of a Trump initiative.

First, CNS served up the usual stenography:

But it also served up articles that noted conservative opposition:

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.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:36 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, March 12, 2017 11:42 PM EDT
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.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:50 PM EST
Saturday, March 11, 2017
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.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:12 AM EST
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.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:23 AM EST
Friday, March 10, 2017
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 WorldNetDailly and 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.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:39 PM EST
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:

(And here's a bonus entry from late December: Walter Cronkite.)

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.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:55 AM EST
WND Trump Messiah Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily, it seems, just can't stop 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.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:08 AM EST
Thursday, March 9, 2017
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.

When the ratings for "When We Rise" didn't go well, the MRC called in a longtime professional hater, Matt Philbin, to gloat over the alleged failure:

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.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:56 PM EST

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