Once the actual indictment of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and associate Rick Gates and the plea deal involving Trump adviser George Papadopoulos came down, CNS was slow to react. Its first post-announcement story, posted at 10:42 a.m. Eastern time, was the second taken from Chris Christie's Sunday show appearance, featured Chrstie complaining that "Whoever leaked news of the grand jury indictment in the Russia investigation to CNN could face criminal charges." The second -- and its lead story the rest of the day, posted at 11:04 a.m. Eastern time -- was another Jones piece repeating Trump's tweet falsely asserting (not that Jones bothered to explicitly point that out) that the conduct for which Manafort was indicted took place "years ago." It was not until 40 minutes later that Jones wrote a relatively straight story on Papadopoulos' plea deal.
Later in the afternoon, Melanie Arter did her usual stenography from the daily press briefing by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, dutifully regurgitating her talking point that the indictments of Manafort and Gates "have nothing to do with President Donald Trump."
That's exactly the kind of servile pro-Trump stenography Brent Bozell, head of CNS parent the Media Research Center, wants to see in the rest of the media.
CNS Obeys White House Marching Orders to Ignore Kelly's Falsehood Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com's Melanie Arter serves up her latest bit of stenography on behalf of the Trump White House in an Oct. 20 article:
The White House said Friday that the media’s focus on President Donald Trump’s phone call to the widow of a soldier who died in Niger should have ended yesterday after White House Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly spoke on the issue, but instead, it’s the main topic of news coverage a day later.
A reporter asked White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders why Kelly felt the need to address Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) publicly and call her “an empty barrel” instead of calling her privately like he’s done with other members of Congress who were critical of the president and why Trump felt the need to tweet about Wilson again Friday.
“I think that it's real simple: You guys are the ones talking a lot about that story, and he felt it was important to address you and all of America directly. This story has been given an enormous amount of coverage over the last 48 hours, and he thought it was important that people got a full and accurate picture of what took place,” Sanders said.
It seems Arter took Sanders' complaint as marching orders, because CNS has indeed stopped talking about what Kelly said. That's too bad, because Kelly got some key facts wrong in attacking Wilson.
In his remarks, Kelly said this about Wilson at a 2015 dedication of an FBI building in Florida:
And a congresswoman stood up, and in the long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there and all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building, and how she took care of her constituents because she got the money, and she just called up President Obama, and on that phone call he gave the money -- the $20 million -- to build the building. And she sat down, and we were stunned. Stunned that she had done it. Even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were stunned. But, you know, none of us went to the press and criticized. None of us stood up and were appalled. We just said, okay, fine."
A video unearthed by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel of the April 10, 2015, event preserved Wilson’s speech. While it does portray Wilson speaking animatedly and indulging in some braggadocio -- she is known as a colorful, outspoken politician with a soft spot for fashionable hats -- Kelly mischaracterized her remarks in significant ways.
Kelly said that Wilson "stood up there ... and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building, and how she took care of her constituents because she got the money, and she just called up President Obama, and on that phone call he gave the money -- the $20 million -- to build the building. And she sat down."
However, in her speech, Wilson didn’t mention funding for the building, much less claim credit for it or tell the audience how she leveraged influence with Obama to secure it.
Wilson did describe how she helped secure legislation to name the building for two slain agents, but Kelly’s description leaves out that the FBI pressed her to make that effort and that she shared credit with several other lawmakers, including the Republican House speaker and Florida’s Republican senator. Wilson also spoke at some length about the bravery of the slain agents and the FBI in general.
We rate Kelly’s statement False.
Since CNS has acceded to the Trump White House's demand to not report this story anymore, its readers are being deprived of the truth. Sad!
CNS Gives Space to Donohue For Fact-Deficient Rants Against Weinstein Topic: CNSNews.com
A sideshow of the Media Research Center's hypocritical fixation on Harvey Weinstein's newly revealed history of sexual harassment is the space it gives to Bill Donohue of the right-wing Catholic Lague -- on whose board of advisers MRC chief Brent Bozell serves, not that the MRC will reliably disclose that.
Donohue's columns for MRC "news" division CNSNews.com have largely been a campaign of schadenfreude on Donohue's part; as he writes in his Oct. 6 column, "Harvey Weinstein and I have been doing battle for decades—he is the supreme Catholic basher in Hollywood."
Donohue cranked that attitude up in his Oct. 12 column, declaring, "Hollywood has had a jolly good time ridiculing the Catholic Church for its sexual abuse scandal. Now the tables have turned." Actually, Donohue has repeatedlymispresented the facts regarding sexual abuse in the church.
In his Oct. 11 column, Donohue railed at Weinstein for the purportedly anti-Catholic films his company has released:
In 2013, they released "Philomena," a tale of malicious lies about Irish nuns and the Church (Harvey lobbied hard for an Oscar, but came up empty). In real life, Philomena Lee was a teenager who abandoned her out-of-wedlock son, and who, because of the good efforts of the nuns, was adopted by an American couple.
In fact, the real-life Philomena did not "abandon" her child; she was forced to sign away all rights to him to the nuns who then put him up for adoption. That, unfortunately, was a depressingly common fate at that time or women with out-of-wedlock children, who then were forced to work in the laundries operated by the nuns.
Donohue might be a more credible critic of Weinstein if he could ever be bothered to get basic facts straight.
CNS Still Working As A Stenography Service for Judicial Watch Topic: CNSNews.com
Earlier this year, we detailed how CNSNews.com was essentially serving as a press-release factory for right-wing legal group Judicial Watch. Since that time, CNS has never stopped its PR work for the organization. Here are some of its JW-friendly headlines from over the summer and into the fall:
As usual, all of these articles -- some of which were written by CNS managing editor Michael W. Chapman -- stay slavishly close to the message Judicial Watch wants to spread, and no effort is made to solicit anyone who might rebut the group's claims.
A real news organization does not dedicate so much effort to serve as a press release rewrite service for a single partisan organization. CNS, thus, is not a real news organizaiton.
CNS Goes Into Cleanup Mode for Trump's State Dept. Topic: CNSNews.com
President Trump's State Department and diplomacy efforts hit a bit of a rough patch last week -- which means it was up to the Trump stenographers at CNSNews.com to put its best spin on things.
After the U.S. voted against a United Nations resolution opposing the death penalty for crimes, including alleged offenses of homosexuality, CNS Patrick Goodenough rushed into action with an Oct. 4 article serving up State Department spin that the U.S. voted agianst it "not because it condemned capital punishment for homosexuality, but because the text included calls for the abolition of the death penalty altogether." Goodenough then added that "Countries where the death penalty for homosexuality is applied or codified in law are all Islamic."
Then, after a story broke that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly clashed with the White House and disparaged Trump, CNS' Melanie Arter went into damage-control mode with an article uncritically detailing how Tillerson "disputed a news report that claimed he considered resigning from his post over the summer and refused to address what he called 'petty nonsense,' when questioned on whether it was true that he called President Donald Trump 'a moron.'"
The next day, Goodenough returned for more stenography, this time from State Department spokesperson (and former Fox News anchor) Heather Nauert:
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson cares more about promoting America’s foreign policy goals than about the television cameras, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Wednesday.
In giving a spirited defense of her boss in the face of press reports claiming Tillerson considered resigning over the summer, Nauert suggested that some predecessors had not been so averse to media coverage.
“He’s not the kind of person who’s going to just show up in front of every television camera,” she told reporters. “Some have done that in the past. The secretary doesn’t find that necessarily to be effective.”
“He’s not someone who’s ever going to love being in front of the television cameras,” Nauert said later. “He is not a politician. He isn’t. And some people just don’t seem to get that just yet.”
“I’m okay with that,” she said. “I’m okay standing behind a man, working for a man who wants to keep his nose to the grindstone, wants to promote U.S. foreign policy goals, and cares first and foremost about that and less about television cameras.”
Through its pro-Trump stenography, CNS is proving to be as loyal to the Trump administration as Nauert is.
CNS Misleads on Bump Stocks and Obama Administration Topic: CNSNews.com
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:
On June 7, 2010 -- about a year and a half into the Barack Obama administration -- the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives issued an opinion letter, giving the go-ahead to an after-market accessory that allows the user to “bump fire” a semi-automatic rifle.
A company called Slide Fire had earlier sent its patented replacement shoulder stock to ATF’s Firearms Technology Branch, asking for an evaluation of the device.
The ATF, in reply, wrote: “Your letter advises that the stock (referenced in this reply as a ‘bump stock’) is intended to assist persons whose hands have limited mobility to ‘bump fire’ an AR-15 type rifle.”
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.
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:
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma are long gone, and despite dire predictions, they did not dampen the September jobs report in most key areas.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday said the labor force participation rate of 63.1 percent reached a high for the year in September, up two-tenths of a point from August.
The number of employed Americans reached 154,345,000 in September, setting a sixth record since January. As the number of employed Americans reached an all-time high, the number of unemployed Americans in September -- 6,801,000 -- hasn't been this low since May 2007.
The already low unemployment rate dropped another two-tenths of a point to 4.2 percent last month. That is the lowest since early 2001.
BLS noted that the recent hurricanes had "no discernible effect on the national unemployment rate."
The number of Americans not in the labor force declined a bit in September to 94,417,000. The record, set in the final full month of the Obama presidency, stands at 95,102,000 Americans not in the labor force.
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.
CNS Squeezes Three Articles Out Of A Single Trump Speech Topic: CNSNews.com
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?
CNS Censors HHS Secretary's Plane Scandal Until Just Before He Resigned Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com has more than proven itself to be a lackey for the Trump administration -- and that includes refusing to report on Trump scandals until they can either be spun away or no longer ignored.
On Sept. 19 Politico reported that Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price had spent tens of thousands of dollars on private charter flights instead of traveling on regular commercial flights like his predecessors. But a search of CNS' archive of Washington news showed that it failed to cover the story at the time, or in the following days.
In fact the first story on Price that CNS ran was a Sept. 29 article by Melanie Arter -- dated at 4:40 p.m. Eastern time -- that was another Trump stenography piece, quoting him saying that he didn't like the "optics" of Price's use of private charter planes and that he would be "announcing something in the very near future" regarding Price.
Arter followed up 51 minutes later with an article announcing Price's resignation. Buried in the article is CNS' first admission of a related scandal regarding other Trump cabinet members "using private planes on the taxpayer's dime."
How convenient that CNS couldn't find anything newsworthy about a Republican cabinet secretary wasting taxpayers' money on private flights until just before he was forced to resign over it. That's what's called bias by omission -- something CNS' mission statement purports to be oppased to.
CNS Pretends Roger Stone Isn't A Sleaze Topic: CNSNews.com
Susan Jones uses a Sept. 26 CNSNews.com article to portray Roger Stone as normally as possible. Under the innocuous headline "Trump’s Friend Roger Stone Blasts House Intel Committee: ‘This Is Cowardice’," Jones writes:
Denied his request for an open hearing before the House intelligence committee on Tuesday, Roger Stone, a longtime friend and adviser to Donald Trump, released both a video and printed version of his opening statement to the committee before entering the hearing room.
He was blunt, scornful and ticked off:
Stone described himself as a 40-year friend of Donald Trump and one of Trump’s first campaign consultants. He said he consulted for the Trump campaign for five months, until August 2015, and continued to advocate for Trump thereafter.
Stone firmly denied any involvement in the alleged – alleged -- collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and he said just because the intelligence community has said there was coordination that doesn’t make it true. He listed various failings of the intelligence community and said it has become politicized.
Jones conveniently fails to mention that there was good reason for Stone to be investigation over Russian meddling; as actual journalists at Politico reported:
Stone became a focus of the Russia probe because he indicated in August 2016 that he had communicated with Assange through back channels. Later that month, he seemed to foreshadow the email dump when he prophesied that it would soon be “Podesta’s time in the barrel.” WikiLeaks began publishing Podesta’s emails in October.
Stone also revealed earlier this year that he’d been in contact with Guccifer 2.0, believed to be a Russian-affiliated hacker at the center of a separate hack of the Democratic National Committee.
The only hint of Stone's sleaze and extremism in Jones' article is buried in a photo caption, which mentions that the testimony Stone released went to "Alex Jones' Infowars."
Needless to say, there was no mention of the fact that Jones' boss, Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell, cheered (albeit belatedly) when Stone was banned from CNN and MSNBC for making offensive remarks -- the Trump flip sent that down the memory hole. Nor was there any mention of Stone's personal life, which Jones and the rest of the Media Research Center would be denouncing as immoral were he not a loyal Trump lackey.
Stenography: CNS Does 4 Articles on Trump's U.N. Speech Topic: CNSNews.com
How eager is CNSNews.com to serve as President Trump's stenographer? It assigned at least three writer to do four -- count 'em, four -- articles on Trump's speech to the United Nations.
First up was Susan Jones, who touted how "President Trump lumped Iran with North Korea, saying both countries are led by 'reckless' regimes," complete with lengthy, copy-and-pasted speech excerpt. She was followed a few minutes later by Mlanie Arter cheering how "President Donald Trump said that if North Korea forces the United States to defend itself or its allies, the U.S. will 'totally destroy' it."
Then, an anonymous CNS writer, in an article credited only to "CNSNews.com Staff," gushed over how Trump "highlighted the fact that although there are 193 nations in the U.N., the U.S. pays 22 percent of the organizations budget." The next day, another anonymously written article featured how Trump made a shout-out to "the almighty God who made us all."
On top of that, prior to Trump's speech, Arter did another fawning article, touting how "In his first appearance at the United Nations, President Donald Trump said bureaucracy and mismanagement are reasons why the world body has not reached its full potential."
There's no journalistic reason to send at least three writers to pen four articles on a Trump speech that could be easily summed up in one. CNS simply cherry-picked the portions of the speech it thought helped further its right-wing agenda, then put them in separate articles to pad out its story count and give the illusion that CNS is a legitmate and prolific "news" organization.
On Sept. 13, Chapman uncritically repeated a rant by anti-gay Rev. E.W. Jackson in which he asserted that the LGBT community "hates Christianity" and that gaywho "brag about their sin" are responsible for "all kinds of disorder and chaos and, yes, natural disasters and so forth."
Chapman then deliberately failed to get Chelsea Manning's name correct in a Sept. 14 article, referring to her as "Bradley 'Chelsea' Manning."Chapman did it again the next day, adding that Manning is "a former U.S. Army soldier who now identifies as a 'woman'."
Most media outlets identify transgender individuals to as they present themselves in public, but Chapman has decided he knows better than those biased, respectful journalists.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has now branded hundreds of counties, cities, schools and U.S. military bases as potential catalysts to “unleash more turmoil and bloodshed” – because of their names.
The SPLC website says it has compiled a list of 1,503 place names, monuments and symbols it wants its supporters to demand be eradicated:
“We will never solve our community’s problems if an entire group of citizens is alienated or feels targeted for discrimination,” SPLC says.
But those quoted statements don't appear in the SPLC document to which Bannister links -- they are in a separate document.
And in neither of those documents does the SPLC assert that confederate monuments should be "eradicated," as Bannister claims. The document to which Bannister failed to link has a form letter stating that monuments should be moved to "an appropriate place," adding: "Confederate symbols belong in museums and on private property. In museums, we can learn their full history."
Bannister also asserted that the SPLC listed "The top 10 most hateful states, ranked by SPLC by number of offenses." IN fact, in neither document does the SPLC call these states "hateful."
Bannister is engaging in dishonesty that borders fakery. Ironic, since right-wingers love to attackk the SPLC for falsely labeling right-wing anti-gay groups as "hate groups."
CNS Inadvertently Lets Liberty Counsel Demostrate SPLC's 'Hate Group' Designation Is Correct Topic: CNSNews.com
It likely wasn't CNSNews.com managing editor Michael W. Chapman's intent, but he gave Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver enough rope to hang himself.
In an Aug. 31 article, Chapman played stenographer to Staver's rant against the Southern Poverty Law Center listing "Christian and conservative organizations" as hate groups "is not unlike how the Nazis treated the Jews." Needless to say -- and we can assume this because Chapman did not transcribe it -- Staver didn't mention the fact that these groups' unambiguously demonstated hatred toward gays is the reason the SPLC gave them the "hate group" designation.
Chapman then touted Staver's own brand of malicious hate:
Earlier, [radio host Jim] Schneider asked about white supremacy and how an estimated 266 black children are killed every day in America by abortion.
Staver said, “Well, talk about white supremacy! That’s exactly what [Planned Parenthood founder] Margaret Sanger was all about. She wanted ultimately to create a super race. She was a social Darwinist, and she wanted to eliminate certain populations, including the black population. That’s why she put her then-contraception, later-abortion clinics into these minority neighborhoods to stop the reproduction of these minority communities, and including the African American community."
In fact, Sanger was not a "white supremacist" and did not seek to eliminate the "black population."
Sanger also ranted:
"One of Sanger’s closest friends and influential colleagues was the white supremacist Lothrop Stoddard, author of The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy. In the book he offered his solution for the threat posed by the darker races: 'Just as we isolate bacterial invasions, and starve out the bacteria, by limiting the area and amount of their food supply, so we can compel an inferior race to remain in its native habitat.' When the book came out, Sanger was sufficiently impressed to invite him to join the board of directors of the American Birth Control League."
In fact, a review of Stoddard's book in the Birth Control Review, which Sanger ran for several hears, was critical of it.
Staver also invoked the Ernst Rudin article in the Birth Control Review years after Sanger let the publication, as well as an out-of-context reference to Sanger's speech to a KKK auxiliary.
Staver is spreading malicious lies -- thus demonstrating why groups like his are labeled as hate groups by the SPLC. (And we haven't even gotten around to mentioning Liberty Counsel's suspected role in helping a woman it represented flee the country with her child in order to avoid having to share custody with her former lesbian partner.
As a side note, it's telling about the state of journalism at CNS that Chapman couldn't be bothered to do a fact-check on Staver, despite the numerous falsehoods we found in his rant.
Irony: CNS Relies on Liberal Media to Cover Hurricane Topic: CNSNews.com
As much as the Media Research Center loves to bash the "liberal media," its "news" division, CNSNews.com, has relied on it -- for instance, being a longtime subscriber to the Associated Press, which was discontinued earlier this year for unexplained reasons.
CNS' weekend coverage of Hurricane Irma is another example. Now that CNS can no longer repeat the right-wing talking point about the length of time between "major" hurricanes hitting the U.S., it has to find other ways of covering news (and, no, taking stenography from the Trump administration does not count). A Sept. 10 article promised "Live Coverage of Hurricane Irma."
But the article, credited to "CNSNews.com Staff," states only:
For live coverage of Hurricane Irma, you can go to the websites of:
That's right: This right-wing "news" organization must rely on the normally despised "liberal media" -- WTFS is an ABC affiliate, and the Miami TV station linked to above is owned and operated by CBS -- to cover actual news.
Apparently, the MRC doesn't think the evil "liberal media" isn't that evil after all. But will they ever say so in public?