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Monday, April 9, 2018
MRC Falsely Denies That NRA Exploited Rapper
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Brad Wilmouth writes in a March 25 post:

On Sunday's AM Joy, host Joy Reid and her panel were again hating on the NRA, this time smearing the pro-gun group with a conspiracy theory that it recently had black rapper Killer Mike -- who notably supported Bernie Sanders for President -- as a guest for the purpose of scaring members to become afraid of blacks and therefore to buy more guns.

Frequent guest Michelle Bernard -- who has been an MSNBC contributor and a columnist for Roll Call -- pushed the theory, inspiring agreement from Reid.

Nearing the end of the show shortly before 12:00 p.m. Eastern, Reid played a clip of Killer Mike on NRA TV. Reid then came on and chided the rapper for associating himself with the NRA, and also repeated the myth that the NRA did not react to the shooting death of black motorist and concealed carry holder Philando Castille after he was pulled over by a Minneapolis police officer.

Just one thing blowing a hole in Wilmouth's post: Killer Mike himself agrees that the NRA exploited him. From a actual news outlet:

In a roughly seven-minute video, Killer Mike spoke with NRATV host Colion Noir about black gun ownership and what it means to be an “ally” to African Americans. He suggested at one point that he wouldn’t let his children participate in last week’s school walkout protests because his family owned guns. Killer Mike said: “I told my kids on the school walkout, ‘I love you — if you walk out the school, walk out my house.’ That simple. We are a gun-owning family.”

On Saturday, as the march was getting underway, NRATV promoted the segment on its social media accounts, introducing Killer Mike as someone who “knows how guns can solve the problems society faces.”

Now, after a wave of criticism on social media, the rapper is apologizing for the clip, saying he had no idea it would be used to attack the marchers.

“I did an interview about black gun ownership in this era. That interview was used a week later by NRATV to disparage a very noble campaign that I actually support,” the rapper, whose real name is Michael Render, said in videos posted to Twitter on Sunday night.

He said the segment shouldn’t have been presented “in contrast” to the demonstration, which was organized by students around the country, including survivors of the recent mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

“I’m sorry, guys. I’m sorry that an interview I did about a minority, black people in this country, and gun rights, was used as a weapon against you guys,” continued Killer Mike, who is half of the rap duo Run the Jewels. “To the young people that worked tirelessly to organize, I’m sorry adults chose to do this, I’m sorry NRATV did that, I’m sorry that adults on the left and the right are choosing to use me as a lightning rod.”

In a series of tweets responding to critics, he also sought to clarify his remarks about not letting his kids participate in the walkout. It was a joke, he said — he wouldn’t let his son go because he was failing math class.

Needless to say, Wilmouth hasn't updated his post to reflect the facts and that what he claimed was a "conspiracy theory" was given credibility by the interviewee himself.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:45 PM EDT
Likening People to Hitler Suddenly OK Again At WND (When It's Not Trump, Anyway)
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As we've documented, WorldNetDaily had no problem with likening people to Hitler -- especially President Obama. Then people started likening Donald Trump to Hitler, and WND got offended.

But now, people have shifted back to going Godwin on people who aren't Trump, and WND is totally cool with that, not seeing the offense in it at all and complaining when others find it offensive.

See how Bob Unruh dismisses the insult of a Parkland shooting survivor in a March 27 article:

Hitler’s rants, once instilling fear, have become a source of humor in today’s world. Overdubs of his shrieks have been used to make fun of Obamacare, Sen. Ted Cruz and more.

But YouTube believes that one such parody, using Hitler’s voice and the image of anti-gun activist and student David Hogg at last weekend’s anti-gun rally in Washington, could be a problem.

On its site, it has posted the warning, “The following content has been identified by the YouTube community as inappropriate or offensive to some audiences.”

People must click “I understand and wish to proceed” to view it.

Liberty Headlines explains the parody was posted by “MAGA3D,” who converted the footage of Hogg’s speech in D.C. “into a black-and-white grainy imagery, with the sound of a 1930s-era film projector in the background, and the impassioned speech of the German fuhrer roughly matching up to Hogg’s lip movements.”

The report noted “much harsher and edgier content is all over YouTube without such warnings.”

So if a non-conservative is likened to Hitler, it's a "parody" and a joke. But if someone likens Trump to Hilter, it's offensive.  Got it.

That Liberty Headlines website, by the way, is not a real news website -- it's a clickbait aggregator with most of its articles attributted to "Editor" and "Admin." A few articles have actual names attached to them; it appears they work elsewhere and are falsely portrayed as Liberty Headlines employees.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:44 AM EDT
Sunday, April 8, 2018
MRC Still Viciously Embraces Needless Hyperbole
Topic: Media Research Center

A couple months back, we highlighted how ridiculous the Media Research Center's rhetoric has gone off the deep end with overly enthusiastic violent metaphors. It hasn't really stopped.

A March 13 post by Bill D'Agostino carries thge overwrought headline "'Are You a Goner?': Craig Melvin Viciously Interrogates Republican Congressman Ryan Costello." D'Agostino didn't identify any actual viciousness in the post itself; instead he complained that MSNBC host Melvin "bombarded his guest with a salvo of loaded questions and boilerplate DNC talking points. His only earnest question – which was to ask whether Costello planned to campaign with President Trump – came at the tail end of the conversation."

Apparently, Melvin's pointing out that the rapid ratte of high-profile departures from the Trump White House was a fact instead of the "narrative" Costello claimed it was was a "vicious" thing to do, according to D'Agostino; instead, he reframed Costello's words as referring to White House chaos as a "narrative" -- even though it's also a fact.

Referring to something as "vicious" should involve actual viciousness instead of merely a challenging line of inquiry. But that's not really clickbait, is it?


Posted by Terry K. at 11:57 PM EDT
Newsmax Columnist Misleads on NRA's Lobbying Efforts
Topic: Newsmax

Michael Dorstewitz is eager to defend the National Rifle Association from the March for Our Lives in his March 26 Newsmax column:

Although no one can doubt the sincerity of their passion and resolve, their rage is misdirected. The NRA isn’t at fault for Parkland or any other shooting. Blaming the NRA for a firearm death is akin to blaming the AAA for auto accidents.

Although the NRA is primarily engaged in firearm safety and education, it also has a lobbying arm — the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA). But it’s not nearly as powerful as gun control advocates would have you believe.

The NRA-ILA doesn’t appear on OpenSecrets.org’s list of top 20 lobbying firms. Nor does hunting and shooting sports appear on the organization’s list of top 20 sectors. How about gun control? Nope, not a top 20 issue. Finally, guns and arms is absent from the organization’s list of top 20 industries.

Dorstewitz is misleading about how the NRA spends money on influence. PolitiFact serves up the actual numbers:

The NRA’s biggest chunk of spending on politics came from "outside spending," consisting largely of " independent expenditures" — efforts "expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate." Often these take the form of campaign ads, but they are carried out without coordinating with the candidates they are supporting.

This type of spending vastly outpaces what the NRA spent on giving to candidates directly. The NRA spent $144.3 million on outside spending, such as independent expenditures, during that period.

In addition, the NRA since 1998 has reported spending a cumulative $45.9 million on federal lobbying, both for its in-house operations and the outside consultants it has retained.

If you add it all up -- candidate and party contributions, independent expenditures, and lobbying -- the NRA has spent $203.2 million on political activities since 1998.

So, yeah, it's pretty powerful.

Dorstewitz concluded his column by making another misleading claim:

The NRA receives nothing in federal funding and is responsible for zero deaths.

Planned Parenthood, on the other hand, received more than $500 million in funding from the 2018 Omnibus bill, and destroys more than 300,000 human lives per year.

As we've repeatedly pointed out, federal money to Planned Parenthood does not pay for abortion, as Dorstewitz suggests, because it is forbidden by law.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:20 AM EDT
Saturday, April 7, 2018
What LGBT Stuff Is The MRC Freaking Out About Now?
Topic: Media Research Center

What LGBT stuff has the Media Research Center been freaking out about lately? Let's take a look-see!

Tim Graham was offended that "leftist drag queen Taylor Mac" was the subject of a news story simply because he was awarded a MacArthur "genius grant," which Graham portrays as evidence of how Taylor Mac is "so indulged by the left." Graham also declared that the story on Taylor mac was "a typical LGBT story" because it included "wacky demands about pronouns."

Ryan Foley keeps up the MRC's hatred of Olympic skater Adam Rippon, insisting that Rippon's "claim to fame" is his "criticism of the Vice President" (but apparently not that he is, you know, an Olympic-caliber skater) and that a recent TV appearance was "a public service announcement for the LGBTQ movement." Foley then served up an oddly capitalized lecture to Rippon on his claim that LGBT people lack a voice because of anti-gay politicans like Pence: "Perhaps Rippon fails to realize that the LGBTQ movement has captured the support of nearly all of the country’s major institutions, including the media, Academia, Hollywood, and the Courts."

Alex Nizberg, meanwhile, is mad that there is a gay person on TV (let alone more than one):

Set for a March 18 premiere, CBS’s new and upcoming show Instinct confirms yet again the media’s unflagging promotion of the LGBT agenda. The program will feature a “gay lead character” according to a January 6th AP article. 

Alan Cumming, the actor playing the lead part, lambasted Donald Trump: “His crime procedural ‘Instinct’ arrives at a time when Cumming said ‘the president is actively condoning, by his silence, violence and persecution against the LBGT community.’”

The Goldeneye and X-Men 2 “saluted CBS for committing to a series with a married gay couple,” according to the piece. “In real life Cumming, 52, has described himself as bisexual and has a husband, Grant Shaffer. But he was also once married to a woman.”

Last year on an episode of CBS’s Madam Secretary, one of the characters said that he was bisexual. Also last year, CBSN released Gender - The Space Between.

Lindsay Kornick complains that "Madam Secretary" engages in "more liberal pandering" by focusing on "a new character's sexuality":

The March 18 episode “Refuge” involves the administration discovering a raid and the illegal arrest of members of an LGBTQ nightclub in Abhkazia. Although homosexuality is legal in the country, the leader is apparently approving of the harsh treatment, claiming boldly that there are “no gays” in his nation. With this harsh human rights violation, Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord (Téa Leoni) attempts to plan a way to provide refuge for the LGBTQ citizens at the behest of her new advisor Kat Sandoval (Sara Ramirez).

Why is Kat so personally involved in this scenario? Because, like the actress who plays her, she is boldly “bisexual and queer” and even raising a child with no discernable pronouns. In this highly promoted episode, she even explains her lifestyle to Chief of Staff Jay (Sebastian Arcelus) as they plan to help the refugees.

[...]

The only problem is that this isn’t simply teaching. It’s lecturing and indoctrinating. Even the actress seems to admit that the scene is mostly about telling a majority-heterosexual population that they’re wrong for not knowing the politically correct sexuality terms of the day. We’re wrong for assuming that a woman is a woman, and we constantly need re-education from the liberal elites. That is the only lesson I gained from this very special episode of Madam Secretary.

Karen Townsend was relieved to discover that Stewie didn't actually come out as gay on "Family Guy": "So, despite the description by some in the press that this is a coming-out episode for Stewie, it really wasn’t. Also, remember that Stewie is in pre-school and drawn as a toddler. Sexualizing him at all is perverse." Townsend does know that this is a cartoon, right?

And Dawn Slusher was upset that an episode of "Rise" "featured a Catholic student who appears to be secretly gay, an effeminate priest who supports said student and his desire to take part in a controversial school play over the objections of his parents because he 'can appreciate its message of the perils of living in a repressed society,' and a female student who just started transitioning wanting to change in the boys’ dressing room."


Posted by Terry K. at 10:35 AM EDT
WND Desperately Tries, Fails To Manufacture A Clinton 'Scandal'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An anonymously written March 27 WorldNetDaily article carries the lurid headline "Bill, Hillary Clinton tied to sex-slaves 'cult." The lead paragraph tries to amp that up:

It’s a bizarre and twisted tale of brainwashed sex “slaves” who were branded with a leader’s initials on their private parts – and top executives of the secretive group in upstate New York reportedly pumped thousands of dollars into Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.

But this Clinton "scandal" is a dud. It's not until the article's 14th paragraph that the anonymous writer finally gets around to explaining the connection between the Clintons and the "secretive group" known as NXIVM:

In October 2007, then-New York Post writer Charles Hurt reported that leaders of the Albany group gave thousands to Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. And Salzman, the woman whose home was reportedly raided by the FBI, is reportedly a member of the Clinton Global Initiative.

That's it -- something that happened a decade ago, well before any "sex slave" accusations were ever made against the group (Hurt makes no mention of it in his article). Hurt offered no proof that the donations were offered with  the intent of something in return, or that the donations are in any way linked to becoming a member of the Clinton Global Initiative; both Hurt and WND note that Clinton pointed out that she had more than 100,000 donors to her campaign.

WND also obscures one key exculatpory piece of Hurt's story, one that Hurt thought was important enough to put in his lead paragraph and explain later on: that Arkansas in 1992 -- when Bill Clintion was still governor, charged the leader of NXIUM, Keith Raniere, with running a pyramid scheme, which resulted in fines against Raniere's then-company and, in Hurt's words, being "run out of Arkansas."

WND includes this crucial information only a screenshot of Hurt's article but not in the article text itself.

It's sad that WND remains so desperate to hate the Clintons that it tried to manufacture such a lame "scandal." No wonder nobody believes WND.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:24 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 1, 2019 10:53 PM EDT
Friday, April 6, 2018
CNS Managing Editor Lectures the Pope on Being Catholic
Topic: CNSNews.com

You'd think that as the managing editor of a "news" operation, CNSNews.com's Michael W. Chapman wouldn't have time to launch attacks on the leader of his faith. You'd be wrong.

Chapman is firmly in the right-wing faction of the Catholic Church, as his approval of Catholics who hate the LGBT community as much as he does. So he's among the folks who think Pope Francis is just too darn liberal. For instance he huffs in a March 23 blog post:

Pope Francis tweeted on Thursday that "to defend the earth and to safeguard water is to protect life," which has led some pro-life leaders to question whether the Pope is broadening the definition of pro-life to include environmental issues, such as protecting "Mother Earth" that, in turn, undermine the principle life issues that stem from abortion and euthanasia.

Chapman went on to lecture the pope:

The "seamless garment" argument of liberal clerics seeks to put issues such as immigration, joblessness, and the environment on the same moral plane as abortion and euthanasia, which is illogical because abortion is the direct killing of another human being for no other reason than that the child is an inconvenience. The same moral position holds for euthanasia: murder is wrong. 

Policies and laws against murder are not the same, morally, as policies on immigration or wetlands. Human life (and the immortal soul) takes precedence.

When the pope was reportedly quoted in an interview with a "longtime atheist friend" as saying there is no hell, Chapman was so apoplectic that his blog post on the issue was the CNS lead story for a time on March 29. "This is a denial of the 2,000-year-old teaching of the Catholic Church about the reality of Hell and the eternal existence of the soul," he ranted.

Several hours later, though, Chapman had to update his post the Vatican's statement that the words attributed to the pope were not directly quoted and should not be considered a "faithful transcription."

Chapman followed up a few days later with quotes from Cardinal Raymond Burke -- a right-wing Catholic who was removed by Pope Francis as the head of the Vatican's high court and moved to a ceremonial position, which may have resulted in some anti-Francis bias and which Chapman doesn't mention --  calling the pope's alleged statements a "profound scandal" and "heretical ideas," then denounced the Vatican's walkback of the statements as not strong enough. This was also made the lead story on the CNS front page on April 6.

Chapman also quoted a nun who said that the pope needs "needs a sassy nun" as a personal assistant who will prevent him from ever speaking with his "athiest friend" again.

And that's how Chapman is spending his time instead of, say, trying to make his "news" operation less biased and more credible to the point that we're no longer moved to put scare quotes around "news" when referring to CNS.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:42 PM EDT
WND Doesn't Mention It Promoted Same Seth Rich Rumor Other Outlets Are Being Sued Over
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An anonymous reporter wrote the March 27 WorldNetDaily article as drily as possible:

The brother of murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich is suing the Washington Times and others, claiming the defendants spread false claims about him – including unfounded allegations that he helped his brother leak DNC documents to WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential election.

Aaron Rich, brother of slain DNC staffer Seth Rich, filed the lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia. It accuses Texas businessman Ed Butowsky, America First Media, activist and talk-show host Matt Couch and the Washington Times of acting “with reckless disregard for the truth.”

WND even downplayed some of its earlier reporting: "Private investigators have claimed there is evidence Rich was the source WikiLeaks used to obtain thousands of Democratic National Committee emails released on the eve of the party’s presidential nominating convention last July, but they haven’t provided verifiable proof of those claims.

What the article doesn't mention, though, is that WND pushed the very same rumors about Aaron Rich it now calls "unfounded."

In a Aug. 2, 2017, article, then-WND reporter Alicia Powe promoted the alleged "bombshell claim" by "Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh" that evidence purportedly backing up the idea that Seth Rich leaked the DNC emails to WikiLeaks. Powe also reported a claim by Rod Wheeler -- the private investigator right-wing financier Ed Butowsky tried to foist upon Rich's parents and whose claims WND has treated credibly in its exploitation of Rich's death -- that "he suspects Seth’s brother, Aaron Rich, helped the DNC staffer leak the emails. Wheeler alleged the Rich family refused to hire him unless he agreed to ignore Rich’s emails, computers and potential WikiLeaks associations." Powe added that "Wheeler says Aaron blocked him from investigating any connections Seth might have made to WikiLeaks."

That's a big factual omission on WND's part. It's also a sign that WND has learned nothing from its most recent financial crisis and is intent on continuing the same factually challenged conspiracy-mongering that led it there.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:14 AM EDT
Thursday, April 5, 2018
MRC Parrots Trump Talking Point As 'Real Reason' McCabe Was Fired
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Nicholas Fondacaro serves as a fine Trump administration apparatchik in a March 18 post:

In the wake of the former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s firing from the FBI for misleading Inspector General investigators, the liberal media were rife with misinformation of their own. During the Sunday morning news programs, NBC’s Chuck Todd misled their viewers on why McCabe was fired and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos lied about the messages sent by pro-Hillary Clinton FBI agents investigating her and President Trump.

According to Todd’s warped retelling of Friday’s firing, and the events leading up to it, President Trump and conservative media were to blame for McCabe getting canned by Attorney General Jeff Sessions:

What I would say is this, I think the fact that how the President made the McCabe firing happen, I mean, it is an extraordinary -- if you go back 18 months, the systemic campaign against McCabe to delegitimize him to raise questions about him, to a deputy FBI director that nobody had ever heard of and the president using his bully pulpit to do that.

Of course, the real reason McCabe was fired was that he leaked information about an investigation to the press he wasn’t supposed to and then lied to investigators about it.

Of course, Fondacaro doesn't actuallyknow the "real reason" McCabe was fired -- he's merely repeating the stated reason as forwarded by the Trump administrationn.

In fact, the report on McCabe by the Justice Department's inspector general has never been released -- only parts damaging to McCabe have leaked out. McCabe has since denied that he lied to investigators, and it's unclear whether he actually "wasn't supposed to" release information.

But never mind any of that -- or the fact that McCabe had, in fact, been the victim of a months-long right-wing delegitimization campaign. Fondacaro and his MRC colleagues have a Trump talking point to push:

  • Tom Blumer complained that "two Associated Press dispatches and an NBC news story wouldn't directly admit that his dismissal was largely based on a finding that he lied to internal investigators."
  • P.J. Gladnick huffed that historian Douglas Brinkley "acted as if the firing was strictly political and unjustified. However, as we shall later hear from reknowned [sic] legal scholar Jonathan Turley, the firing was not only justified but probably mandatory."
  • Kyle Drennen declared that some TV shows were "completely ignoring the fact that Bureau’s own Office of Professional Responsibility recommended the dismissal."
  • Bill D'Agostino grumbled that "the usual suspects on MSNBC’s Morning Joe had memory-holed McCabe’s alleged transgressions for which the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility had recommended his firing in the first place.
  • Drennen returned to complain that the media had a "desire to find a nefarious motivation behind the firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe" -- as if that was difficult to find -- and, like Fondacaro, insisted that the inspector general's investigation was the "real reason."

Hopefully the Trump White House is paying the MRC well for all this water-carrying they're doing.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:36 PM EDT
WND -- Which Feared Obama Would Be President For Life -- Mocks Streisand For Calling Trump An Authoritarian
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An anonymously written March 19 WorldNetDaily article claims:

It’s a conspiracy!

Actress Barbra Streisand is accusing Donald Trump of wanting to be “president for life” – just like his rumored pal in Russia, Vladimir Putin.

“@realDonaldTrump wants to be president for life just like #Putin,” Streisand tweeted Monday in response to a New York Times article headlined “Trump assails Mueller, drawing rebukes from Republicans.” 

She added: “He only surrounds himself with sycophants, just like every authoritarian in history.”

Streisand has a history of tweeting bizarre political statements.

If Streisand's tweet is a "bizarre political statement," then WND is just as bizarre.

WND columnist Morgan Brittany used a 2015 column to argue that racial unrest in Baltimore is part of President Obama's grand plan to institute martial law and cancel the 2016 election, claiming that if a verdict in a trial of Baltimore police officers "is not what they want, perhaps Obama will have to institute martial law to preserve order, form a national police force and postpone the 2016 elections."

In another 2015 column, WND editor speculated that Obama might not leave office because of his purported contempt for the law (all the free vacations he gets), adding: "Again, do I think Obama will leave office in January 2017? Yes I do. But, with a track record like this – and, actually much worse – should we simply take it for granted?"

WND writers are the last people who should be mocking others for holding presidential conspiracy theories.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:27 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, April 5, 2018 8:39 PM EDT
CNS Echoes WND, Pushes Idea God Wanted Trump To Be President
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The creeping WND-ization of the Media Research Center continues with a March 28 blog post by CNSNews.com managing editor Michael W. Chapman:

The vice president of the Family Research Council, Lt. Gen. William G. "Jerry" Boykin (ret.), a former leader of Delta Force and commander of Army Special Forces, said the endless attacks by the left on President Donald Trump are "diabolical" and that the left is in "disarray" because they do not understand that "God's imprint" is evident in the election of Trump in 2016. 

“They are coming up with these absolutely absurd, off-the-wall things trying to justify and rationalize why they lost this election to a guy like Donald Trump," said Boykin on the Mar. 27 edition of The Jim Bakker Show.

"What they don’t understand is that there is God’s imprint on this thing," he said.  "There is God’s imprint and they can’t deal with that because they can’t talk about God. But we can. God’s imprint was on this.”

We've documented how WorldNetDaily has promoted the idea that Trump's election was divinely inspired. And like WND, Chapman and Boykin refuse to entertain the notion that if Trump was indeed sent by God, he was sent as a warning instead of the blessing they seem to believe it is.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:05 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, April 5, 2018 3:09 PM EDT
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
NEW ARTICLE: Jesse Lee Peterson Still Has Issues With Women
Topic: WorldNetDaily
For some reason, the WorldNetDaily columnist is very angry at about all those ladies blowing the whistle on sexual harassers and pervy politicians. And Oprah. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 6:10 PM EDT
Tuesday, April 3, 2018
MRC Tries To Justify EPA Secretary's Lavish Travel Expenses
Topic: Media Research Center

Even before the latest accusations of lavish spending by EPA chief Scott Pruitt, the Media Research Center was taking his side in justifying Pruitt's higher-than-usual travel expenses.

Scott Whitlock played the whataboutism card inthe form of an Obama Equivocation in a Feb. 14 post:

ABC on Tuesday went after the “high-flying” head of the Environmental Protection Agency, complaining that Administrator Scott Pruitt regularly flies first class. This is the same network that hailed a“lush,” “luxurious” vacation of Michelle Obama, ignoring the $148,000 cost. 

World News Tonight anchor David Muir trumpeted a special investigation: “Members of President Trump's cabinet under fire again for wracking up huge travel bills and you're paying for it. EPA chief Scott Pruitt spending thousands of dollars on first class flights, claiming it’s for security reasons.”

Reporter Mary Bruce chided, “With his high-flying lifestyle under scrutiny, today, the EPA chief Scott Pruitt was at it again.” The latest example? A $1600 flight from Washington to New York City. 

[...]

In contrast, on August 6, 2010, ABC’s Yunji de Nies touted Michelle Obama's "five-star," "luxurious" vacation to Spain, skipping any discussion of controversy over the $148,000 trip. De Nies gushed, "They toured the plaza in old Marbella. Cooled off with chocolate gelato and bought matching sun dresses. Michelle and Sasha Obama are making a splash in Spain."

That flight alone to Spain cost $73,781.

On Feb. 21, Julia Seymour tried to justify Pruitt's first-class travel expenses because of "the death threats he has received. According to The Wall Street Journal in November 2017, Pruitt gets five times as many threats as the previous EPA administrator and there had been 'explicit death threats.'" Seymour then chastised media outlets for failing to report on the threats.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:12 PM EDT
WND Tries to Downplay Austin Bomber's Homeschooling Link
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've previously noted WorldNetDaily's disparate treatement of perpetrators of terrorism: quick to blame religion when the perpetrator is or perceived to be Muslim, but refraining from assigning motives when the shooter is white.

WND's Art Moore did that again in a March 21 article on Mark Conditt, believed to the perpetrator of a string of bombing attacks in the Austin, Texas, area. But not only was Conditt white, he was homeschooled -- and WND is such a proponent of homeschooling that doing so is almost a prerequisite for working there (not that it's hiring anyone right now due to its financial crisis, of course).

Moore soft-pedals Conditt's homeschooling ties and makes sure to frame him as a man who was merely in "darkness":

“Devastated” and “broken” relatives of suspected Austin bomber Mark Anthony Conditt expressed shock that he was behind the deadly attacks over the past three weeks, saying they had “no idea of the darkness” he was in.

[...]

Neighbors have told reporters the Conditts were a “godly” Christian family that homeschooled their four children and held Bible studies in their home. They described Mark Conditt as a quiet, polite, “nerdy” boy who was not violent.

Early Wednesday, FBI and law-enforcement officials told reporters they still do not have a motive for the series of four attacks that still has the entire community on edge, with warnings of the possibility that explosive parcels are still in circulation.  Conditt is believed to be responsible for six bombs that killed at least two people and wounded five.

But at a news conference late Wednesday, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said Conditt recorded a 25-minute-long “confession” to his crimes on his phone, which was found in his possession after his confrontation with police. In the recording, he described creating seven devices, including one he blew up to kill himself “with a level of specificity,” including their differences, Manley said.

The police chief said the suspect did not mention “anything about terrorism, nor does he mention anything about hate.

The message, Manley said, is “the outcry of a very challenged young man talking about challenges in his personal life.”

Toward the end of the article, though, Moore did hint at a possible dark side to Conditt's homeschooling:

The Houston Chronicle spoke with a man it did not name who worked with Conditt’s father and spent time at the family’s home.

He described the Conditts as a “very conservative” and “loving” family didn’t want their children to see “the bad stuff in society.”

“It was a very ‘us versus them’ type of household,” he said. “I’m guessing that was a catalyst that led Mark to believe what he thought.”

The man said he regularly attended get-togethers at the Conditt home he said were “not a cult” but may have been mistaken for one.

“They were always mentoring us on how to raise our family and how to be good parents to our kids in the society they lived in,” he told the Houston paper.

“They were always trying to help people achieve more, as long as it fell in line with what they believed in.”

This is the only "news" story WND has done on Conditt, and no opinion column has yet been dedicated to him. Apparently, a homeschooled terrorist is much harder to demagogue than a Muslim one.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:32 PM EDT
CNS Edits Out Mnuchin Getting Schooled On Line-Item Veto
Topic: CNSNews.com

Susan Jones rather blandly writes in a March 26 CNSNews.com article:

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin echoed Trump's call for a line-item veto in an interview with "Fox News Sunday."

"I think -- I think they should give the president a line item veto," Mnuchin told host Chris Wallace, who responded that it's been ruled unconstitutional.

In a 6-3 decision in 1998, the Supreme Court ruled that the line-item veto Congress gave to President Bill Clinton in 1996 violated the Constitution's Presentment Clause, which says the president may either sign a bill into law, let it become law without his signature, or send it back to Congress with his objections.

The justices ruled, "there is no constitutional authorization for the president to amend or repeal" by eliminating those line items with which he disagrees.

Mnuchin told Chris Wallace, "We don't need to get into a debate in terms of -- there's different ways of doing this.

But Wallace said a lot more to Mnuchin that noting that the line-item veto was ruled unconstitutional. For some reason, Jones felt the need to edit out just how severely Wallace owned Mnuchin on the issue. Here's the full relevant transcript:

MNUCHIN: I think -- I think they should give the president a line item veto.

WALLACE: That's been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, sir.

MNUCHIN: Well, again, Congress could pass a rule, OK, that allows them to do it.

WALLACE: No, no, it would be a constitutional amendment.

MNUCHIN: We don't need to get into a debate in terms of -- there's different ways of doing this.

It's almost as if Jones was trying to hide how badly Mnuchin embarrassed himself, and doing so for the benefit of the Trump White House. But that's kinda Jones' job, isn't it?


Posted by Terry K. at 1:20 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 3, 2018 8:52 AM EDT

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