Topic: Media Research Center
The late-night host has some opinions on things near and dear to his heart, and the Media Research Center doesn't like it. At all. Read more >>
Thursday, October 12, 2017
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Hypocrisy: MRC Obsesses Over Weinstein -- But Was Mostly Quiet When Top Conservatives Were Accused of Sexual Harassment
Topic: Media Research Center
As of this writing, the Media Research Center has devoted a whopping 31 posts referencing the sexual harassment allegations surrounding now-former film executive Harvey Weinstein, a large number of them calling out people and media outlets that weren't obsessing over it as hard as the MRC has been, or who had previous links to Weinstein. For instance:
If the MRC wants to play that game, let's take a look at how it reacted to two other recent high-profile cases of serial sexual harassment -- but these involved the leader and the star employee of the MRC's favorite channel, Fox News.
When tales of sexual harassment by Roger Ailes forced him to resign last year from the "news" channel he created, the MRC was the opposite of obsessed; it was mentioned only in passing, when it was mentioned at all. In one of the very rare times it did address the issue, one NewsBusters blogger insisted that Ailes shouldn't be blamed for the culture of sexual harassment at Fox News, and another claimed it was "liberal bias" for anyone to even discuss Ailes' sexual harassment issues.
When Ailes died earlier this year, not only did the statement on his death by MRC chief Brent Bozell fail to mention the sexual harassment, the MRC attacked anyone who attempted to include sexual harassment as part of an accurate accounting of Ailes' legacy.
When star Fox News host Bill O'Reilly was ousted from the network over similar sexual harassment allegations, the MRC didn't really want to talk about that either -- not even when its Tim Graham appeared on the final edition of O'Reilly's old show and had a chance to speak truth to power. Graham and Bozell then issued a perfunctory denunciation of O'Reilly, then spent the rest of their column attacking O'Reilly's critics, dismissing the allegations as old news and portraying O'Reilly as the victim of a hypocritical "liberal media." (Never mind Bozell and Graham's own hypocrisy in being unable to denounce sexual harassment without invoking the Clintons.)
Last month, the MRC touted O'Reilly's appearance on NBC in which he denied any harassment without offering any evidence to back him up and -- in an echo of Bozell and Graham -- insisted he was the victim of a "hit job, a political and financial hit job." Would the MRC ever provide a similarly uncritical platform for Weinstein to deny the allegations against him? Highly unlikely.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Bozell even suggested that the sexual harassment charges against Ailes and O'Reilly weren't true, and even if they were, the Fox News audience wouldn't care:
Bozell didn't say whether he himself was having the same disconnect -- one that the MRC, by contrast, is working to ensure doesn't happen between Weinstein and anyone even tangentally associated with him.
The MRC has no room whatsoever to complain about silence and hypocrisy by others on the issue of sexual harassment. Yet it insists on complaining anyway.
Newsmax Columnist: Won't Somebody Think of the Poor Rich Widow Who Has to Sell Her Picassos!
Ira Stoll tries for a bit of pathos in his Oct. 2 Newsmax column:
Well, no. A multimillionaire woman who's parting with artwork but still has a sizable estate is nowhere near the same thing as a typical widow. Stoll seems to admit he's not generating much sympathy even as he downplays how rich she is, but he gamely presses on:
Nope, Ira, you're still losing us. That 16-acre estate in the Hamptons, where the Sterns kept their art in its own large, private gallery, is on the market for $23 million, and she apparently plans to keep her Upper West Side apartment, which we can safely assume is also valued in the millions. One single piece out of the art collection -- a sculpture not by Picasso -- is expected to sell for $6 million to $8 million, and the collection as a whole is valued at $20 million and is so big it will take 10 separate auctions to dispose of. The Sterns have so much money, they gave a six-figure sum to a New York art museum to have bathrooms named after them.
Stern is not desperate, however much she complains she's selling the art to pay taxes and however much Stoll tries to suggest otherwise -- she's an elderly woman who's downsizing an expansive estate after the death of her wealthy venture-capitalist husband (Stoll never mentions his occupation). Her plight is not that of the "ordinary, middle-income taxpayers" to which Stoll tries to liken her since, as he implicitly admits, Stern's estate is far beyond the $5 million minimum to trigger the estate tax.
Consider Stoll's column a failure of misdirected sympathy.
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
MRC Mad That Media Accurately Describes Pence's NFL Stunt As A Stunt
Topic: Media Research Center
It seems pretty obvious that Vice President Mike Pence's decision to walk out of an Indianapolis Colts NFL game because some players were kneeling during the national anthem was a stunt -- and a very expensive one at that. But accurately reporting the stunt-like nature of Pence's walkout earns you the ire of the Media Research Center.
Jay Maxson complained that "CNN's Brian Stelter accused Pence of planning his actions ahead of time," despite the fact that it was pretty obvious he did. Brad Wilmouth followed up by huffing about TV networks calling it it a stunt that "It did not seem to occur to either network that, when several of the '49ers players sparked the move by kneeling during the National Anthem, this display could also be called a 'stunt.'" Given that kneeling is something of a regular thing among some NFL football players, it could hardly be described as a "stunt" at this point. Nevertheless, Wilmouth goes on to grouse:
The fact that Wilmouth stuck a "perhaps" in there means he doesn't actually know whether Pence normally goes to football games in Indiana, and he's just grasping at straws to defend him.
Kyle Drennen complained that networks newscasts "touted left-wing 'critics' deriding the move as a 'PR stunt.'" He doesn't deny it, but he does try to deflect: "The protests against the National Anthem by NFL players were not 'impromptu' either, in fact, those demonstrations have been highly orchestrated in many cases. That never seemed to bother journalists before."
Oh, the lengths some people will go to defend a politician...
WND's Farah Offers His Usual Load of Hooey To A Reporter
WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah began his Oct. 2 column in his usual tone, mocking the feminist website Jezebel by invoking the biblical Jezebel with "her penchant for child sacrifice, the elevation of pagan gods and the way she lured King Ahab into spiritual corruption and murder." However, he then devoted the rest of his column to the answers he gave to questions about WND from a Jezebel writer.
Unfortunately, Farah served up the same self-aggrandizing hooey he has for years. First up:
Just because neither Farah nor WND "self-describe" as conservative or right-wing doesn't mean they aren't. Farah was a right-wing activist editor at the Sacramento Union in the early 1990s, later forming the right-wing Western Journalism Center, which under his leadership mostly attacked President Clinton. WND was formed in 1997 as an offshoot of the WJC, and its real original purpose -- not Farah's bogus declared mission -- was to attack the Clinton administration.
Farah is, of course, lying when he says WND was "simply asking questions and pursuing answers" about birther conspiracies. A presentation to an Arizona tea-party group by birther WND reporter Jerome Corsi set in motion Joe Arpaio's laughably incompetent investigation of the issue -- something that presentation was apparently intended to do -- and WND worked behind the scenes to manufacture pro-birther affidavits and feed birther conspiracies to Donald Trump. If WND really was interesting in "pursuing answers," it wouldn't have utterly ignored the repeated debunkings of birther conspiracies.
As for Farah's "broadest spectrum" of columnsts, only two of WND's regularly appearing three dozen or so columnists (Ellen Ratner and Bill Press) are genuinely liberal; the rest are various shades of conservative, right-wing and conservative Christian. Not much of a spectrum.
How funny -- WND has a long history of refusing to seek out countervailing viewpoints and writing "news" articles only from its right-wing point of view. And how can Farah possibly deplore fake news when he publishes so much of it?
Farah concluded with his knee-slapper response to allegations that "President Trump or his campaign colluded with the Russian government": "A conspiracy theory with no evidence to support it." Yes, he really said that, despite the fact there's far more evidence of Russian interference in the election than there ever was of Obama being born anywhere but the U.S. If Trump was a Democrat, WND would be all over this story -- but Farah is a diehard Trump supporter, so the president gets a pass.
We can only express grudging amazement that Farah continues to tell such lies in public with a straight face.
Monday, October 9, 2017
CNS Misleads on Bump Stocks and Obama Administration
As much as the Media Research Center loves to complain about the "liberal media" trying to allegedly "politicize" the Las Vegas mass shooting by talking about gun regulations, its "news" division CNSNews.com is no less guilty of it. A prime example is an Oct. 4 article by Susan Jones, written after it was revealed that several of the weapons the Las Vegas shooter used had a "bump stock" that allows semi-automatic weapons to emulate the ation of a fully automatic weapon:
But that's not the whole story. As PolitiFact details, the ATF didn't so much approve the sale of the device as determine that it couldn't be regulated under current law. While two bump-stock devices have been determined to be legal by the ATF in the past decade, two other similar devices were effectively banned. And Think Progress notes that the manufacturer may have misled the ATF by claiming it was only intended for use by disabled veterans.
So, Jones reported only half the story in order to score a political point against Obama (and couldn't bring herself to say "President Obama"). That's what CNS does.
WND Columnist Complains Aabout Lying Media, Forgets Who He Writes for
Craige McMillan huffs in his Sept. 29 WorldNetDaily column:
Has McMillan forgotten who publishes his column? WND is among the leading fake-news purveyors in America, which we've proven again and again and again. WND's obviously believe their own lies; otherwise, they wouldn't be forwarding them.
Why doesn't McMillan hold the publisher of his column to the same standards as the rest of the media? Because he wants to continue being published, of course. He doesn't have the conviction of his own beliefs to speak truth to power.
Nevertheless, he continues with his selective lecturing:
Would McMillan ever confront Joseph Farah about the spiritual sickness embodied by the lies his website publishes? Doubtful -- not if he wants to continue to have a column at WND, anyway.
Sunday, October 8, 2017
CNS Unemployment Coverage Distortion Watch
After taking a couple months to actually acknowledge some bad news in jobless numbers under President Trump, CNSNews is back in pro-Trump rah-rah mode for September's unemployment figures. The head cheerleader, of course, is Susan Jones:
It's not until the seventh paragraph that Jones gets around to mention the real news: that 33,000 jobs were lost in September, largely due to the effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Jones didn't mention, though, that this is the first time in 83 months that there wasn't a net creation of jobs.
The only other article this time around is yet another piece by Terry Jeffrey on his obsession with comparing manufacturing jobs with government jobs.
Saturday, October 7, 2017
LGBT Derangement Syndrome, WorldNetDaily Edition
-- Larry Tomczak, Oct. 2 WorldNetDaily column
-- Mychal Massie, Oct. 2 WND column
-- Linda Harvey Oct. 3 WND column
Friday, October 6, 2017
MRC Wants Jimmy Kimmel to Shut Up, Part 2
Topic: Media Research Center
If you thought the Media Research Center was angry when Jimmy Kimmel spoke out against that mess of a Republican health care plan, it was in full-on rage mode when Kimmel reacted to the mass shooting in Las Vegas.
According to Fondacaro, Kimmel was "emotional," "ranting," told "lies," lives in a "warped reality," and "hadn’t done any actual research outside of ingesting and regurgitating Democratic Party talking points," ultimately whining that "There’s no doubt that the liberal media will hold Kimmel up as the darling sensible voice for tumultuous times." Well, there was certainly nothing sensible coming out of Fondacaro's mean-spirited mouth.
That was followed by Kristine Marsh bashing media praise of Kimmel's "emotional monologue," which was really a "political plea" that was "reciting the liberal media's gun control script," praising her colleague Fondacaro for "debunking the skewed facts and outright lies the comedic host helped spread to millions of Americans who may not know any better."Marsh concluded with a tirade of her own: "With the help of the media promoting his propagandizing on their own daytime news shows, it’s no wonder the entertainer is now treated as a policy expert rather than what he actually is, a comedian who is aiding the left-wing media's mission to mislead viewers on this difficult subject."
Neither Fondacaro nor Marsh mentioned the reason Kimmel had justification for being a little emotional: He's a native of Las Vegas.
Then, Curtis Houck dedicated a lengthy post to summarizing how "conservative star and podcast host Ben Shapiro obliterating [sic] the ABC late-night host on Tuesday for an 'abhorrent,' 'gross,' and 'nasty' gun control ranttouting confiscation and mauling those against his views as monstrous" (boldface his).
And because they never miss an opportunity to sneer at a TV personality who strays from their right-wing orthodoxy, Tim Graham and Brent Bozell huffed that Kimmel's monologue "might as well have been brought to you by speechwriters from the office of Senator Charles Schumer." Again, no mention of Kimmel's personal stake.
Graham then went solo to spew more hate at Kimmel, screeching at CNN's Bill Carter for calling Kimmel a reluctant everyman spokesman, highlighting his "estimated net worth: $35 million" and security detail and whining that "Having your own late-night show on ABC and using it for liberal sermons defines the Hollywood elite."
Marsh returned to cheer a right-wing artist's immature (or, according to her, "provocative") mocking of Kimmel for being emotional about the shootings and mockingly renaming his show the "Jimmy Kimmel Estrogen Hour" -- no mention, of course, of Kimmel's personal stake. Marsh lashed out not at the juvenile smear -- apparently, Marsh believes that real men don't get upset at the slaughter of dozens of people at a concert -- but at Kimmel for responding to it and making a "virtue-signaling" statement.
If all the MRC has to offer against its ideological enemies is gratuitous and immature insults, what good is all that Mercer money?
WND Can't Let Go of Seth Rich Conspiracy
WorldNetDaily, it seems, is not done trying to exploit the death of Seth Rich for its own political purposes.
A Sept. 25 article by Alicia Powe -- who is becoming to Seth Rich conspiracy theories at WND what Jerome Corsi was to birtherism -- touted how "lobbyist and lawyer Jack Burkman has launched a new nationwide TV campaign pleading for the public’s help" to solve the case.
Somehow, the fact that Burkman's video plea is subtitled in Russian -- proof that Burkman is a right-wing troll instead of a someone genuinely interested in helping out -- escaped Powe's attention.
Powe went on to whine: "Rich’s story has been largely ignored by establishment media. Those who have called attention to the suspicious circumstances surrounding the murder have been branded 'conspiracy theorists,' including Fox News host Sean Hannity." Powe doesn't deny that proponents of conspiracy theories are conspiracy theorists.
Powe followed that with an Oct. 4 article on the exploits of "Texas attorney Ty Clevenger" -- who, according to his blog, appears to be lilttle more than a gadfly Clinton-hater -- in trying to obtain federal records on Rich's death (despite the fact that it is a local crime that the feds wouldn't usually touch).Powe portrays Clevenger as just a concerned citizen and not at all another right-wing troll:
It's not until later in the article that Powe mentions Clevenger's Clinton-hate obsession, noting that he has been "aiming to get Clinton and her personal attorneys disbarred for their handling of her official emails during her time as secretary of state." But then, WND wouldn't have much to report if it refused to talk to obsessed haters.
Thursday, October 5, 2017
CNS Squeezes Three Articles Out Of A Single Trump Speech
How much is CNSNews.com slavishly devoted to Donald Trump? It somehow managed to get three entire articles out of his relatively short speech following the mass shooting in Las Vegas.
In the first article, posted at 11:14 a.m. on Oct. 2, Melanie Arter summarized the speech and hit all the salient points from it. Fro some reason, though, that was insufficient.
Fourteen minutes later, at 11:28, Susan Jones wrote her own story under the editorializing headline "Trump Invokes God, Prayer, Unity and Love," and reproduced Trump's speech in its entirety -- despite it being sufficiently summed up in Arter's article.
Somehow, that still wasn't enough praise for Trump and his rote speech. At 11:43, an anonymous writer under the name of "CNSNews.com Staff" penned an article about how Trump "thanked the Las Vegas police and other first responders for making courageous efforts to stop the shooter and save the lives of the wounded."
Three articles on a five-minute speech, by at least two different writers (it's entirely possible that either Jones or Arter wrote this and didn't want to have a second byline about a single short speech). Is such redundant pro-Trump stenography really the best use of the time of CNS' reporters?
WND's Las Vegas Coverage Heads Straight For Conspiracy Territory
As is its M.O., WorldNetDaily's coverage of the Las Vegas mass shooting headed to conspiracy territory fairly quickly.
Leo Hohmann penned an article headlined "Shooter in Vegas massacre was a longtime federal agent." But he's overstating the case, given that it involved Stephen Paddock being a mail carrier, an IRS agent and an auditor for the Defense Department over a 10-year span ending in the mid-1980s. That's likely why the headline on Hohmann's article later changed "federal agent" to "fed." (Who knew mail carriers were "federal agents"?)
Nevertheless, Hohmann insisted this was a significant development: "With his institutional knowledge of how the federal bureaucracy works, Paddock was anything but the typical mass shooter. He would have been able to cover his tracks in the planning stages of his attack." Again, Paddock's federal employment was 30 years ago, making it unlikely that his "institutional knowledge" would still apply today.
Hohmann devoted another article to trying to build the credibility of ISIS' claim of responsibilty for the Las Vegas shooting, despite the fact that nobody actually investigating the shooting currently believes this to be so.
Alicia Powe, meanwhile, rushed to spin away any responsibility for the shooting on the arsenal of guns Paddock had accumulated: "Over the last 20 years, the perpetrators of nearly all the deadliest mass shooting in the United States have shared one of two traits: Besides killing innocents with firearms, they either were Muslims or were using mind-altering psychiatric drugs."
Powe then found a story that conveniently fit her narrative:
Powe conspiratorially added: "But the truth about mass shootings and psychiatric drugs is being swept under the rug by the media. Corporate media outlets face a major conflict of interests by exposing big pharma corruption."
Look for more conspiracies from WND as the investigation continues.
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Fail: MRC's NFL Boycott Goes Nowhere
Topic: Media Research Center
All last week, the Media Research Center and its various divisions had been promoting the boycott of last Sunday's NFL games, as demanded by MRC chief Brent Bozell:
But the MRC has been silent this week on how Bozell's boycott went, and it can't be because the Las Vegas mass shooting pushed it out of the news. Tell us what happened, actual news outlet:
CBS saw a ratings decline due to Fox's stronger games, and NBC's Sunday night game heald steady compared to last year. ESPN's Monday night game saw a big drop from last year, but that appears to be the result of a lackluster matchup involving a small-market team.
It seems nobody listened to Bozell demanding that we #TurnOffNFL -- they turned Bozell off instead.
Fake News: WND Repeats Woman's False Claim of Being Targeted By SPLC
WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh did a fine job of stenography in a Sept. 29 article:
Except that's not what happened at all. As Right Wing Watch explains:
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