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Wednesday, February 21, 2018
NEW ARTICLE: Does WND Deserve to Live?
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah is begging for money to keep WorldNetDaily alive, but he's refusing to address the elephant in the room: the fake news and shoddy reporting that played a major role in bringing WND to the brink. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 8:50 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 6:30 PM EST
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
CNS' Reaction to Fla. Shooting: Blaming Abortion, Bashing Students
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com responded to last week's mass shooting at a Florida high school the way you'd expect from a right-wing website: blaming anything but guns for the massacre, then attacking the school-age survivors for speaking out.

CNS first reposted a 2012 commentary by Craig Bannister effectively blaming abortion for mass shootings:

The problem of mass violence in the U.S. is more a reflection of contempt for the sanctity of human life than of a love for gun ownership.

In a society that reveres human life, gun ownership isn't a chronic problem. People who genuinely believe in the sanctity of human life won't take another life - by gun or any other means - unless it is absolutely necessary.

Not so in a society that views human life as subjective and revocable.

In a society that condones, funds, and promotes abortion and excuses euthanasia, human life is cheap. When a woman has a right to kill an unwanted child growing inside her simply because it suits her to do so, life is robbed of its value.

 [...]

Thus, when it comes to preventing mass violence, the answer is respect for life and self-control - not gun control.

When students at the school began to show up in the media demanding action against gun violence, highly biased CNS reporter Susan Jones went into attack mode. Jones sneered in one "news" article that the students were ignorant publicity hogs:

The FBI failed to investigate warnings about the Florida school shooter, but never mind that. And the National Rifle Association has no control over school shootings, but never mind that, either.

Two newly minted gun control activists from Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida are defending the FBI, while demanding that NRA "child murderers" dismantle and disband. And they have declined an invitation to discuss their concerns with President Donald Trump, whom they call "disgusting."

[...]

Both Hogg and Gonzalez said they have been invited to a listening session to share their concerns with President Trump, but neither of them are going. They're blowing off Trump for CNN's Jake Tapper, who is hosting what they called a previously scheduled town hall on CNN.

Jones doubled down on her attack in a second article trying to defend the National Rifle Association:

Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez told CNN on Monday morning that she wants the NRA to "disband, dismantle...don't you dare come back here." She said gun control is the students' main focus. Fellow student David Hogg said politicians have to stop taking money from those  NRA "child murderers." The students made it clear that the upcoming "March For Our Lives" is a direct attack on the NRA. But, they insist, this is not political.

She made sure to insert a piece of boilerplate pro-NRA puffery:

The National Rifle Association supports the legal possession and use of firearms and protects' Americans' right to self-defense. It also donates to politicians who endorse the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. The "blood on its hands" line is straight out of the liberal, anti-gun, anti-NRA playbook, and by making the NRA the bogeyman, as it so often is, the students politicized the debate that supposedly "isn't a red and blue thing."

Again: Jones is writing what are supposed to be "news" articles. Instead, she's injecting the kind of bias CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, normally objects to.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:51 PM EST
WND Managing Editor Tries To Blame Antidepressants for Fla. School Shooting
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily managing editor David Kupelian rehashes an old theme in a Feb. 15 column:

Here we go again. A horrific mass shooting occurs. Everyone is in shock and grief. Democrats blame guns and Republicans. Pundits urge the public, “If you see something, say something.” And everyone asks, “Why?”

As information about the perpetrator emerges, a relative confides to a newspaper that the “troubled youth” who committed the mass murder was on psychiatric medications – you know, those powerful, little understood, mind-altering drugs with fearsome side effects including “suicidal ideation” and even “homicidal ideation.”

Yet the predictable response from the press is always the same – not only a total lack of curiosity, but disdain for any who ask the question, as though connecting psychiatric meds to mass shootings is pursuing a “conspiracy theory.”

Here’s a good way to tell whether or not something is a conspiracy theory: If it’s true, it’s not a conspiracy theory.

In the case of Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old Florida mass-shooter, his mother’s sister, Barbara Kumbatovich, told the Miami Herald that she believed Cruz was on medication to deal with his emotional fragility.

[...]

Fact: A disturbing number of perpetrators of school shootings and similar mass murders in our modern era were either on – or just recently coming off of – psychiatric medications.

One example he cites of this is "Andrea Yates, in one of the most heartrending crimes in modern history, drowned all five of her children – aged 7 years down to 6 months – in a bathtub. Insisting inner voices commanded her to kill her children, she had become increasingly psychotic over the course of several years." Kupelian adds that "Yates had been taking the antidepressant Effexor."

Blaming antidepressants for mass shootings -- never mind his ignorance of fact that corellation does not necessarily equal causation -- is something Kupelian has been doing for years. Strangely, the perpetrators he lists as examples appear to all be white; if you're a Muslim mass killer, Islam is to blame, apparently.

But as we pointed out back in 2010, Kupelian's inclusion of Yates on that list leaves out one important piece of information: At the time of the deaths, Yates and her husband were in thrall to a fundamentalist Christian street preacher who convinced the Yateses to sell their possessions and live in a bus the preacher had sold them.

But dismissing inconvenient facts is what Kupelian does -- and that's one reason why WND is currently fighting for its life.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:22 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 4:55 PM EST
MRC Attacks Olympic Skater For Being Gay, Criticizing VP Pence
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center doesn't like Olympic skater Adam Rippon for two specific reasons: 1) he's gay, and 2) he has criticized Vice President Mike Pence for what can reasonably be interpreted as his endorsement of the discredited practice of gay conversion therapy.

In a Jan. 17 post, Jay Maxson whined that USA Today did an article on Rippon, "a gay figure skater who's angry that Vice-president Mike Pence will lead Team USA in the opening ceremonies.Maxson even tried to defend the discredited practice: "Forty-one states permit conversion therapy for people struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction, but [USA Today reporter Christine] Brennan tried to portray the VP as a pariah for supporting their choice."

On Feb. 8, Gabriel Hays hufffed about the Rippon-Pence contretemps: "More controversy has erupted between Mike Pence and another openly gay U.S. athlete at this winter’s Olympic games, all in the name of tolerance and homosexual acceptance. It’s one small step for gays, and one giant, exasperated 'Oh, shut up!' for the rest of normal America." Hays is not telling Pence to shut up, by the way; he uncritically repeated an overly forceful denial from Pence's press secretary that Pence ever supported conversion therapy.

On Feb. 11, Brad Wilmouth was offended that "The View" co-host Whoopi Goldberg likened a Rippon-Pence meeting to "asking a Jewish person to sit down and understand where the Nazi is coming from."

The next day, Kristine Marsh grumbled that through the mere act of interviewing Rippon, "ABC anchor Amy Robach tried to bring left-wing activism into her coverage of the Winter Olympic Games."

Maxon returned to attack Rippon some more in a Feb. 13 post, complaining that one writer "chastised the Vice President for the controversy over homosexual figure skater Adam Rippon, who is using the media to advocate against conversion therapy. It's a favorite target of the LGBT pressure groups and their compliant media. Rippon and his media friends, including Phillips and a group of writers at USA "LGBT" Today, are portraying Pence as the champion of this therapy, which nine liberal states have outlawed."

Maxson whined some more the next day that "LGBT athletes and supportive media have used the Olympic stage to advocate against conversion therapy through attacks on Vice-president Pence as well," adding:

Somehow in the era of Trump and Pence the United States is fielding its most diverse Winter Olympic squad ever. Pre-dating these Olympic Games, it's been a steady media drumbeat on race and gender. Anyone perceived to oppose LGBT policy positions is taken down by LGBT groups and the left-stream media. Fear of them has largely eliminated public opposition. Tolerance is no longer enough, and now [Washington Post columnist Jerry] Brewer demands we celebrate homosexuality[.]

And the news that Rippon had (briefly) signed on with NBC Sports to help cover the Olympics sent Matt Philbin in an apoplectic anti-gay fit:

NBC Winter Olympics coverage may be tanking in the ratings, and taking fire for sloppy broadcasting, but the Peacock is reluctant to let go of the Gayest Games Ever™. The network just announced it has hired Adam Rippon to as a correspondent for the remainder of the Olympics. He will “work for the network on a variety of platforms, including television, digital and social media.”

Rippon’s a gold medal-winning Olympic figure skater, but that’s not really his allure for NBC. The network is just hoping he’ll say something sassy or spidery and generate some buzz for an event that feels as though it’s been going on for about five months. Rippon is gay, outspoken and (best of all!) spiteful toward Vice President Mike Pence.

[...]

You might have thought NBC had maxed out it’s gay skating coverage quotient, as the Mean Girls act of Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir is the toast of enlightened media critics everywhere. But Rippon’s star dust is just too magical to pass up. The media can’t decide whether he’s a “Perfect Millennial Ambassador for US Figure Skating” or just a simple “Gay Rights Ambassador.” And really, why choose?

NBC and the rest of the media are embarrassing themselves with this swoon, and once again proving that satire is dead. As for Rippon, he’ll get every last bit of hype out of this moment. After all, it’s what Brian Boitano would do.

And hating gays for existing is pretty much what the MRC does.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:11 AM EST
Monday, February 19, 2018
Oprah Winfrey Derangement Syndrome
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The idea of Oprah Winfrey running for president rose and failed like a cheap Fourth of July rocket. The hysterical Hollywood elites, along with the mainstream press, have been eager to find a suitable replacement for Trump. They seem to believe that the national turn toward Trump was because of a “messaging” problem on their part. These folks make their living through persuasiveness and their ability to moderate your behavior. They think your choice of sneakers, cars, vacations and movies are all due to their power to influence your personal choices. They believe this so much that they try to use it politically, socially as well as spiritually.

So here comes Trump, a white, self-made billionaire businessman and entertainer who ran for president and won. They believe he won due to his notoriety, name recognition and the ability to persuade voters to his way of thinking. So in looking for a candidate to beat him, Oprah is perfect. She is a black, female, self-described as a self-made billionaire – who was also abused by men when she was younger.

[...]

The Rasmussen poll had Winfrey supported by 48 percent of likely voters over President Trump’s 38 percent. Gee, imagine how far that will fall when voters actually get to know her politically. All we know of Oprah is the skillfully crafted image she presents. We do not know her political stance on the issues or her constitutional understanding.

We do know that she’s very pro-woman – from her films like “The Color Purple” where all the men were weak or ruthless, to her investment of $40 million for a school for girls in Africa. With her vision of Africa, only the little girls will have a quality education; the boys will be working in the fields. What kind of relationship would that create between men and women? With the women educated and better-employed, it would have the same results of the old South, when girls left the farm for college and the boys stayed home to keep the farm going. The next generation of black Southern female nurses, teachers and secretaries had a difficult time relating to the uneducated farmhand. This gave fuel to disrespect between the two and helped break up black families. Oprah attempting to help only African girls with school will have the same effect.

-- Mason Weaver, Feb. 8 WorldNetDaily column


Posted by Terry K. at 6:34 PM EST
CNS Somehow Avoids Actually Saying Russians Interfered In Election On Trump's Behalf
Topic: CNSNews.com

After last week's indictment of 13 Russians for interfering in the 2016 presidential election, mostly for the benefit of donald Trump and aagainst Hillary Clinton, CNS published three aricles about it -- all of which manage to avoid stating in the headline the salient fact that Russians interfered in the election to benefit Trump.

Here they are:

All three articles were written by CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey, so this blatant pro-Trump spin is coming straight from the top.

And, of course, there's the requisite uncritical stenography of Trump's tweets on the issue.

This is the standard M.O. for CNS -- avoiding reporting of the actual news in favor of cherry-picked information favorable to conservatives (and, in this case, the Trump administration) that it can blow up and get links from the likes of the Drudge Report.

That also means there's no highlighing of minor information that makes Trump and conservatives look bad -- like the fact that the indictment also revealed that the Russian trolls heavily promoted baseless right-wing fears of voter fraud in the election.

That's how committed CNS is to biased reporting.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:46 PM EST
Updated: Monday, February 19, 2018 2:48 PM EST
Farah's Thin-Skinned Response To Report on WND's Imminent Demise
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Last week, Salon published an article about the apparently impending demise of WorldNetDaily, in which we are quoted pointing out that one major factor in WND's current financial situation is that its content -- heavy on conspiracy theories and fake news -- is simply not trusted.

Well, WND editor Joseph Farah took notice. And, being the thin-skinned fellow that he is, he didn't take it well. So much so, in fact, that he devoted two days' worth of fundraising pleas to the Salon article.

In his Feb. 15 email letter, Farah complained:

It didn’t take long for the leftist fake-news media sharks to smell WND’s blood in the water because of our pitches for financial help to our subscribers.

Salon.com, one of the worst of the bunch, made the case that WND is suffering the consequences of publishing "fake news." To make the case, they went back to 2015 to find a sensational headline as the major illustration in their story – and then lied in the caption about what the story said.

Typical.

The WND article in question involved what a "concerned woman" called a "strange image" in a video of an appearance by President Obama in Kenya, which the woman described as a "demon"; the Salon article described the article as "promoting the idea that then-president Barack Obama might be demon-possessed. Farah has sort of a point in that the article doesn't exlplicitly state that Obama is demon-possessed. But a link between Obama and malevolent figures is clearly the impression WND wants to leave its readers, as the article's introduction makes clear:

He’s the U.S. president who has had flies land on his face numerous times, prompting some to call him “Lord of the flies.”

And he has been buzzed by bees.

And has had rodents running across his presidential podium while addressing reporters.

His face has even been compared to the character of Satan the devil in “The Bible” TV miniseries.

And now, a mysterious flash during Barack Obama’s visit to his ancestral homeland of Kenya last month has some people wondering once again about the president’s ties to strange phenomena.

(Actually, the actor who played Satan looks supiciously like Farah.)

Farah then flip-flopped and conceded that the Salon article "did make a point that has more than a grain of truth," about the Obama years being more lucrative for WND than the Trump presidency thus far. Farah decided this was the readers' fault: "Some of the WND audience, to a certain extent I suspect, thinks all the nation’s problems are being solved. So, who needs WND? What those folks are missing is that WND is needed more than ever for the Trump agenda to be realized."

Later on Feb. 15, Farah devoted his column to attacking not the Salon article but Salon itself, for having benefactors who keep it afloat:

If I had a rich dad who subsidized WND to the tune of millions of dollars a year, even more than all of my company’s annual revenues, I would not be begging for money from WND’s subscribers. That’s what allows Salon to sling mud at WND and other independent media year after year, decade after decade.

According to Wikipedia, which is also known for not being charitable or truthful toward WND, “Salon has been unprofitable through its entire history.”

WND isn’t owned by billionaires. It’s not even owned by multi-millionaires. It’s mostly owned by my wife and me who have invested everything we have in the company – and what we didn’t have we loaned. WND has never lost millions of dollars. It can’t afford to. When revenues dry up, we cut. Sometimes we beg. But we keep slaying dragons no matter what.

Farah conveniently omits the fact that WND did have a millionaire benefactor early in its existence: Robert Beale, who later got busted for tax evasion, then failed to show up for his trial and went on the lam for 14 months, then made things even worse for himself by threatening a judge. Beale is also whom we presumably have to thank for longtime WND columnist Vox Day, the pseudonym of Beale's son Theodore.

Despite bashing Salon as "a real propagator of real fake news" and describing the article as "lies," Farah never once identifies anything that's a lie or fake in the article. Perhaps that's because Farah would then have to address WND's own legacy of fake news -- which, again, we contend is a major factor in WND's current death spiral.

Farah then tries to spin turning WND into a Trump fanboy site as a reason it deserves to exist:

I will also admit, WND has not been adversarial toward Trump, like most every other media outlet. So why is traffic down slightly? I suspect it’s because many Republicans and conservatives think Trump’s got everything under control.

Maybe they don’t realize the president is one Democrat-dominated midterm election away from impeachment.

And that is why WND should be an especially important voice in 2018.

Farah headlined this column "Why WND is more successful than Salon." He doesn't explain how circling the drain and begging for money from readers equates to "success."

Farah then sent on his column as the daily fundraising email on Feb. 16, but with an even less accurate headline: "We expose fake news, we don't manufacture it."

Oh, yes you do. And if you, Mr. Farah, are afraid to address the issue in an honest manner, WND probably doesn't deserve to live.

Also of note: As of Feb. 17, WND is only slightly more than halfway to the $200,000 it claims it needs by March 1. That deadline could be a close one.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:09 AM EST
Sunday, February 18, 2018
MRC Writer Falsely -- And Repeatedly -- Implies Federal Money To Planned Parenthood Pays for Abortion
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Katie Yoder loves to spread myths about Planned Parenthood -- for instance, we caught her last year pushing the canard that federal money to Planned Parenthood does pay for abortions because money is "fungible."

But Yoder also peddles the base falsehood -- refusing to specify that federal law prohibits federal money to Planned Parenthood for paying for abortions. Yoder left that false impression in a Jan. 3 post:

From 2016 to 2017, Planned Parenthood performed 321,384 abortions. That’s 6,964 fewer abortions than the year before. And Planned Parenthood can’t credit contraception for that slight decline – because it also provided fewer contraception services (from 2,808,815 to 2,701,866).

And while adoption referrals increased since last year’s report (from 2,889 to 3,889), prenatal services decreased (from 9,419 to 7,762). Still, that means that for every prenatal service given, Planned Parenthood performed 41 abortions, and for every adoption referral, Planned Parenthood committed close to 83 abortions.

Another decrease came in government funding. The abortion giant received $543.7 million (37% of its revenue) from “government health services, reimbursements & grants.” According to Planned Parenthood’s 2015 – 2016 annual report, a year earlier, the organization received $554.6 million. It’s not like Planned Parenthood is in need though, considering that its excess revenue increased from $77.5 million to $98.5 million.

"Excess revenue"? Conservatives like Yoder used to call that profit when it involves business operations they like.

On Jan. 4, Yoder wrote that "the 2016 – 2017 report showed a slight decrease in abortion (from 328,348 to 321,384) and in government funding (from $543.7 million to $554.6 million) since the last report" without disclosing that none of that money pays for abortion.

Yoder did it again in a Jan. 24 post, writing that "According to Planned Parenthood’s most recently published annual report, the organization performed 321,384 abortions and received $543.7 million in 'government health services, reimbursements & grants' for the year 2016 – 2017" without disclosing that none of that money pays for abortion.

Yoder copied-and-pasted that dishonest line into in two posts on Jan. 25 and two posts on Feb. 8. And she did it once more in a Feb. 14 post.

That's a dishonest, misleading statement repeated eight times by Yoder in just over a month's time. Apparently, the fact-checking standards at the MRC are a little on the lax side.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:17 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, February 18, 2018 9:22 PM EST
WND Censors Full Story About Mark Warner Texts
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An anonymous WorldNetDaily writer really tries to sell a purported Democratic scandal in a Feb. 8 article:

The Democrats long have claimed that it was the Trump campaign that was colluding with Russians to steal the 2016 election from their candidate, the now twice-failed Hillary Clinton.

The facts are that Clinton’s campaign paid an operative to get information from Russians to create a dossier of “dirt” on her political foe, Donald Trump.

Now another Democrat has been revealed as having texted many times with a lobbyist for a Russian oligarch as he tried to set up a meeting with ex-British spy Christopher Steele, who was funded by the Democrats while he wrote the dossier, which was used as evidence to get permission to spy on the Trump campaign.

Ed Henry at Fox News reports that there are text messages that reveal Sen. Mark Warner tried to set up that meeting.

But there are two important things WND failed to report. First, two weeks before the Fox News story appeared, Wikileaks' Julian Assange contacted a fake Twitter account under the name of Fox News host Sean Hannity offering "some news about Warner." So Fox News is apparently basing its report on stolen property. (Fox News' Henry denies speaking with Wikileaks.)

Second, Warner's texts are not news to the Russia investigation. Committee member and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted that Warner disclosed the texts to the committee four months ago and that they have "zero impact on our work."

If WND really wants to be taken seriously as a news source, it needs to report all the facts -- not just the ones that are convenient to its pro-Trump editorial agenda.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:22 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, February 18, 2018 6:23 PM EST
Saturday, February 17, 2018
MRC Promotes Bogus Study on Immigrant Crime
Topic: Media Research Center

When dubious pro-gun researcher John Lott issued a study claiming that undocumented immigrants commit more crime than U.S. citizens -- a finding described as an outlier, since most other studies on the issue have found the opposite -- The Media Research Center jumped right on it.

The Media Research Center's Brad Wilmouth highlighted that "liberal CNN contributor Van Jones insisted that illegal immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than the general population as right-leaning CNN contributor Rick Santorum cited a recent study by John Lott finding that illegal immigrants in Arizona commit crimes at twice the rate of the general population.

At the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, Craig Bannister touted the study:

Undocumented (illegal) aliens are far more likely to commit crimes, as well as to commit serious crimes, than are U.S. citizens, a new study of 33 years of Arizona prison data reveals.

The study, “Undocumented Immigrants, U.S. Citizens, and Convicted Criminals in Arizona,” by Crime Prevention Research Center President John R. Lott, also extrapolates that data to estimate how many additional crimes were committed nationally in 2016 by illegal immigrants, if Arizona is representative of the U.S. as a whole.

The study provides a uniquely accurate picture of illegal immigrant crime, its abstract notes, because it relies on comprehensive state records of every prisoner incarcerated over a 33-year period, delineated by citizenship status:

Well, it turns out the study wasn't so "uniquely accurate" after all. Alex Nowrasteh at the Cato Institute explains how Lott botched the study:

The variable that Lott focused on is “CITIZEN.” That variable is broken down into seven categories. Lott erroneously assumed that the third category, called “non-US citizen and deportable,” only counted illegal immigrants. That is not true, non-US citizen and deportable immigrants are not all illegal immigrants. A significant proportion of non-U.S. citizens who are deported every year are legal immigrants who violate the terms of their visas in one way or the other, frequently by committing crimes. According to the American Immigration Council, about 10 percent of people deported annually are Lawful Permanent Residents or green card holders—and that doesn’t include the non-immigrants on other visas who were lawfully present in the United States and then deported. I will write more about this below. 

Lott mistakenly chose a variable that combines an unknown number of legal immigrants with an unknown number of illegal immigrants. Lott correctly observed that “[l]umping together documented and undocumented immigrants (and often naturalized citizens) may mean combining very different groups of people.” Unfortunately, the variable he chose also lumped together legal immigrants and illegal immigrants.

[...]

Lott’s controversial empirical findings regarding the high admission rate of illegal immigrants to Arizona prisons, a finding that contradicts virtually the entire body of research on the topic, stems from his simple misreading of a variable in the 1985-2017 ADC dataset. Lott thought that “non-U.S. citizens and deportable” describes only illegal immigrants but it does not. There is no way to identify illegal immigrants with precision in the 1985-2017 ADC dataset and their population can only be estimated through the residual statistical methods that Lott derides as “primitive.” Using another variable in the June 2017 ADC dataset that Lott did not analyze reveals that, at worst, illegal immigrants in Arizona likely have an incarceration rate lower than their percentage of that state’s population.

The MRC and CNS have so far failed to correct the record so their readers know the truth.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:52 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, February 17, 2018 9:57 AM EST
WND, MRC Don't Understand Artistic Reinterpretations
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Where is pseudoymous WorldNetDaily arts writer "Marisa Martin" when you need her?

In an anonymously written Feb. 12 article, WND igorantly dumps on the artist who painted the official portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama:

While America is captivated by the newly released portraits of former President Obama and first lady Michelle, there’s something curious about Obama’s artist that’s raising eyebrows: He apparently enjoys painting portraits of black women holding the severed heads of white people.

Kehinde Wiley, a New York artist who paints primarily African-American subjects in heroic poses, was chosen by former President Obama to create a portrait of the 44th president to be displayed at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Wiley’s portrait of Obama was unveiled Monday.

[...]

While America is captivated by the newly released portraits of former President Obama and first lady Michelle, there’s something curious about Obama’s artist that’s raising eyebrows: He apparently enjoys painting portraits of black women holding the severed heads of white people.

Kehinde Wiley, a New York artist who paints primarily African-American subjects in heroic poses, was chosen by former President Obama to create a portrait of the 44th president to be displayed at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Wiley’s portrait of Obama was unveiled Monday.

Since white subjects rarely appear in Wiley’s work, it’s particularly curious that the painting depicts a black woman holding the head of a white man.

The Media Research Center located yet another painting by Wiley, “Judith beheading Holofernes,” that depicts a black woman with a severed head of her white victim. This 2013 painting was unveiled at the Brooklyn Museum.

WND did graciously concede that "Wiley has also painted many stunning portraits of African-American people without depicting severed heads."

What WND columnist Martin might have mentioned (if she isn't still too preoccupied with hating Obama and gay people, that is) is that the depiction of Judith behading Holofernes was a common subject in Renaissance and Baroque era art. Caravaggio, for instance, offered one notable take. But placing Wiley's art in context doesn't sell as well as freaking out over paintings of black woman severing someone's head. It's almost as if WND's latent fearmongering about black people suddenly decided to resurface.

The MRC reference in the WND article is to an MRCTV post by Brittany Hughes, who did admit that the Judith-Holofernes story "inspired a whole bunch of art during the Renaissance and Baroque periods." Then she added: "While the original story did involve a woman whacking off a guy’s head, Wiley’s choice to use a black woman holding a dead white person’s severed head is clearly a deliberate one." Well, duh.

But neither Hughes nor WND seemed interested, however, in finding out the context of that choice. Via Snopes, we can discover the artist's own words about his creation, which he considers a critique on contemporary street culture, masculine identity and the racism of art history:

Wiley takes obvious artistic license with the story—Holofernes is represented by a woman’s head, and Judith wears a gown designed by Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy. This new rendition can be interpreted on many different levels, including racial and gender identity and inequity, the representation of women throughout art history, and society’s ideals for beauty. In Wiley’s words, “I am painting women in order to come to terms with the depictions of gender within the context of art history. One has to broaden the conversation . . . This series of works attempts to reconcile the presence of black female stereotypes that surrounds their presence and/or absence in art history, and the notions of beauty, spectacle, and the ‘grand’ in painting.”

But, hey, why explain context when you can freak out about severed heads instead?


Posted by Terry K. at 1:24 AM EST
Friday, February 16, 2018
Charlie Daniels Pushes Conspiracy Theory That Trump-Russia Probe Is Democrat-Invented 'Farce'
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've noted singer Charlie Daniels' descent into right-wing conspiracy theories. Well, he ventures into that territory again in his Feb. 8 CNSNews.com column.

Daniels begins by praising those who voted Donald Trump and how because of them  "the economy sizzles, their burdensome taxes have been modified, their 401Ks are prospering, new jobs and old companies return to our shores, and the violent gangs that plague the nation are being rounded up and jailed or deported," while "The other side, at least the official part of it, is still staggering around in denial and disbelief trying to figure out how America could have gone for such a brash, outspoken outsider who holds no fear for Washington, nor the media they carry around in their hip pockets." 

He then lashed out at Hillary Clinton as "unlikable, untrustworthy and spoke to the American people like an Ivy League college professor lecturing a class." Then came a tirade of anti-elitist elitism:

Another thing is, and a most important one, after eight years of Barack Obama, the absolute idol of the media, the elitists’ dream, the man with the pen and the phone, who consistently cowed the milksops in Congress and regularly tested the limits of accepted doctrine, who had no fear of confronting religious organizations concerning their constitutionally protected rights, champion of any term abortion on demand, who viewed America as an unjust nation that needed a comeuppance – which he was happy to start the process for – the Democrats took comfort in their fawning media coverage and comforting poll numbers and conveniently forgot about the working people and “flyover country.”

They’d do what they were told. No need to interrupt the celebrity-laden sound bites and appearances on the prestigious TV news shows where the hosts fell all over themselves to make their candidate appear as the savior of the nation.

From there, Daniels descends into pushing the conspiracy that Democratsinvented Russian meddling in the 2016 election to benefit Trump:

And then along comes this, this unsophisticated city slicker, with unruly orange hair, who actually called their ideal candidate, “Crooked Hillary.”

He has no right to be president. We’ll show him.

And so it began, “THE RUSSIAN FARCE,” and Democrats like Adam Schiff went so far out on the limb that when, and if, it is all proven to be a hoax, he is going to have a heck of a time finding a way to get back on solid ground.

As for me and my humble thoughts, if Trump or any of his cabinet or official associates are guilty of colluding with the Russians or any other foreign power, I want them charged and punished.

Conversely, if the Obama administration, the Hillary Clinton campaign, the FBI, the Justice Department or any other government entity, past or present is guilty of obtaining a FISA warrant under false pretenses, being instrumental in helping the Russians obtain 20 percent of our available uranium … if the DNC is guilty of stacking the deck against Bernie Sanders or any other candidate, if there has been a quid pro quo policy in Hillary’s State Department or Loretta Lynch’s Justice Department, I also want to know about it, and I want them charged and punished.

If there is ever to be any more trust between we the people and the U.S. government, there has to be a special counsel appointed to investigate the goings-on on the Democrat side, and not some Potomac political hack, but a total outsider, whose politics are not so rigid as to make him or her partial in the undertaking.

America is in the middle of a full-blown constitutional crisis. There’s smoke on both sides of the aisle, and the fire needs to be located and every iota of scandal on either side brought out into the sunshine of public scrutiny for the people to understand and judge for themselves.

We are not serfs. We are a free people who pay the taxes that keep this government in business, and it’s high time for transparency. We’ve had enough translucence and opaqueness, and hiding behind the wolf of national security is not acceptable any longer because no matter what they say, the pertinent part of this evidence can be presented without compromising any part of national security. Most of it is domestic, and we already know about how law enforcement goes about obtaining evidence in this country.

Besides, whatever happened to the liberal philosophy that exposing government secrets in a good cause is perfectly plausible? Remember the Pentagon Papers?

Wonder if the Washington Post will apply the same principles to the current situation as they did when they printed Daniel Ellsberg’s Vietnam-era revelations.

Probably not.

But the truth has a strange way of coming out anyway because it is indestructible.

There are many prominent professional and political careers on the line here, but when it comes to justice, nobody is above the law. And we’re talking about the relationship between the people and the government of the greatest nation the world has ever known.

Somehow, we get the feeling that a guy who dismissed the whole Russian investigation as a Democrat-invented "farce" doesn't really want Trump and his cronies to be held to the same standards as the rest of us.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:12 PM EST
WND Turns Trump Campaign Promo Into A 'News' Story
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Here's how desperate -- and slobberingly pro-Trump -- WorldNetDaily is: It's turning Trump campaign emails into "news" articles.

On Feb. 8, the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, "a joint fundraising committee authorized by and composed of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. and the Republican National Committee," sent out an email touting some recent polling: "President Trump has a stronger approval rating (48%) today than President Barack Obama (44%) did in 2010 on this same day. But we bet you won’t hear it from the media."

A few hours later, WND's Bob Unruh echoed the tone and content of the Trump email, making sure people did hear about it from the media:

You’ve been hearing the steady drumbeat from establishment media: President Trump lost the popular vote and he’s even more unpopular now.

A poll released Thursday indicates otherwise, though, with 48 percent of likely voters approving of his performance amid undiminished media opposition.

And that figure, believe it or not, tops voters’ approval of Obama, a media darling, at the same point in his presidency

The Rasmussen survey, the organization’s daily Presidential Tracking Poll, also found 34 percent strongly approve of the way Trump is performing and 43 percent strongly disapprove.

Unruh doesn't mention that Rasumussen polls have historically been biased toward Republicans and against Democrats. Indeed, Rasmussen has consistently shown Trump with higher approval ratings than other polls, and we can probably assume it showed Obama's approval ratings as lower than other polls did.

But reporting that would have interfered with WND's embarrassingly pro-Trump agenda, as well as required Unruh to spend time doing research that might interfere with his "news" stenography.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:17 AM EST
Thursday, February 15, 2018
MRC Still Trying to Push Gay Conversion Therapy
Topic: NewsBusters

The Media Research Center has a thing about insisting that gay conversion therapy works, despite the lack of any scientific evidence to back it up. The latest to try it is Robert Oscar Lopez, an instructor at Southern Baptist Seminary, in a Jan. 18 NewsBusters post complaining about coverage of the issue.

Lopez complained about the "cliched and vague styles" used by critics of the therapy, then pushes the unsupported claim that apparently all gay people were sexually abused:

The U.S. Dept. of Justice reports that 17% of males are sexually abused as minors, overwhelmingly by other males. Nobody claims that 17% of all men are gay, so tens of millions of men will have homosexual history but not necessarily a homosexual future. One must wonder if “authentic” or “loving” policies should silence discussion with such men about their conflicted feelings and anger over what has happened. Many, including therapists and former homosexuals whom I have interviewed (see here, here, here, and here) see a valuable message to offer such individuals: the act of abuse does not define them forever.

Nor should a entire group of people be dismissed as abuse victims as a way to deny their sexual identity, but Lopez missed that part.

From there, Lopez attacked a Univision report on conversion therapy for not conforming to anti-gay attitudes:

[Anchor Ilia] Calderón’s characterization of the issue starts out by implicitly accepting the often-repeated claim that homosexuality is an “orientation” - a part of a person’s identity like race, sex, or religion. Experts still have no strong evidence from science or cultural history. Direct testimonials vary. Some people never changed their sexual patterns while others who engaged in homosexual activity went on to live normal heterosexual lives (I count among the latter.) Neither Calderón nor Univision correspondent Danay Rivero acknowledge in their reporting the fact that many who seek “conversion therapy” suffered trauma or want to overcome obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors that are themselves harmful.

Univision’s Rivero interviews Dr. Lisset Ivery, who contends that reparative therapy is “very harmful” since “from infancy as a child you already begin to form your gender identity…and if the person is having some psychological disorder, then what you do is identify the disease that the person is suffering.”

Rivero also interviews pro-gay conversion ban Arianna Linto, a “Trans-Latina activist” who in her interview mentions that almost 41% of suicides by LGBTs are by people who have mental problems.

Both Ivery’s and Linto’s claims are disputable. Even if we accepted them, the Broward ban makes little sense. Such a high rate of mental problems co-existing with LGBT lifestyles looks rather like co-morbidity. It would seem that new policy actions should focus on changing whatever this network of individuals does that causes so much dysfunction and unhappiness.

Interestingly, Univisión’s report centers around the case of a self-described trans schizophrenic, Kathy Morón who says she has tried to kill herself twice. It is unclear why Broward County would in effect want to only surround Morón with people whose suicide rates and mental health pose so much danger.

Missing from Univision’s report? Perspective from experts like David Pickup, a well-known reparative therapist in Dallas and co-plaintiff in the federal case, Vazzo v. the City of Tampa, suing over a similar ban. In an interview with MRC Latino, Pickup said Americans cannot promote inclusion, protection, authenticity, or love by banning and penalizing people who help clients deal with unwanted homosexual feelings. Instead, Pickup sees such laws as violations of free trade, parents’ rights, patients’ rights, and religious rights.

Lopez doesn't seem to consider the possibility that gays have more mental problems because of societal ostracization for their orientation, not to mention people like himself who would like to force highly questionable conversion therapy on them.

Lopez goes on to claim that "Pickup describes himself as an authentic reparative therapist, as opposed to the quackery so often reported and vilified by the liberal media." Actually, Pickup does engage in quackery; not only is he a board member of the virulently anti-gay group NARTH (as highlighted on his own website), he was (and maybe is) a senior staff member for the Mankind Project, which runs a purported "New Warriors Training Program" conversion therapy program that involves participants going naked at one point to affirm their masculinity, or something.

Lopez then insists -- again without basis -- that Hispanic boys are more likely to turn gay because there aren't enough men around, thus purportedly making them prey for gay recruiters:

Also lost in their coverage is the special risk to their target audience:  Latinos are more likely than non-Latino whites to be fatherless, incarcerated, or in placement by Child Protective Services. These are situations that tend to coincide with less than constant supervision and potential misconduct by a high-risk individual who can get them alone (for example, a mother’s boyfriend).

In other words, they are more likely to be in situations where they could experience same-sex abuse and might need a therapist like David Pickup to assist them in avoiding lifelong behaviors that would allow their abusers to force on them a homosexual life they do not, and should not, want for themselves.

We'll pass on Pickup's so-called therapy, and so should everyone else. We'll also pass on Lopez's self-published anti-gay gay erotica (a cover of which is pictured above).


Posted by Terry K. at 10:02 PM EST
Does WND Want ISIS To Destroy This Restored Ancient Site Too?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's ongoing freakout about the restoration of ancient history continues unabated. Bob Unruh writes in a Jan. 21 WND article:

First Baal was “resurrected” from the pages of history books.

Then came Athena, via a United Nations program.

And even a statue of the Lion of al-Lat, a “pre-Islamic goddess.”

Now the ancient cult of Mithras is being represented. In fact, there are some 600 people a day visiting a restored temple underneath the London headquarters of the business news outlet Bloomberg.

CNN describes the scene at the site of the restored ancient Roman temple to “a mysterious god called Mithras.”

“The temple slowly comes to life as torch light flickers and a recording of a low chanting fills the room,” CNN reports. “Channels of light and haze extend from the rocky ruins, recreating shadowy columns to give the impression of the temple’s superstructure. A light display in the recess of the temple depicts the cult statue of Mithras slaying a bull, an image that was the central icon of the cult.”

Sophie Jackson of the Museum of London Archaeology explains Mithras was a “mystery cult” that apparently had members keep its secrets.

“So we really don’t know a lot about what went on in the Mithraeum [temple], apart from the archaeological artifacts,” she told CNN.

Unlike the others WND has freaked out about, this isn't an attempt to reconstruct something that ISIS destroyed; as Unruh goes on to note, the ruins of the temple were first uncoverered in 1954 and moved; what's happening now is the relocation of the ruins to the original site -- which actually happened in November, meaning Unruh is a good two months late in reporting this.

Unruh spends the rest of the article prattling on about how terrible it is that shrines to pagan gods are being preserved, using material copied-and-pasted from earlier freakouts.That's a willful ignorance of the reason why it's being done. Nobody engaged in these reconstructions are trying to bring back worship of ancient gods, and nobody at WND has ever proven otherwise; they are historians trying to preserve history.

Just as WND has apparently approved of ISIS' destruction of the earlier antiquities that have been restored or reconstructed, Unruh seems to be implicitly arguing that ISIS -- or some other band of violent radical extremists -- do the same to the ruins of the Temple of Mithras.

(Photo: The Guardian)


Posted by Terry K. at 3:48 PM EST

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