MRC's Double Standard on TV Hosts' Alleged Conflicts of Interest, Part 2 Topic: Media Research Center
In May, we noted how the Media Research Center obsesses over how NBC "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd's wife works as a Democratic strategist -- while it defended Greta Van Susteren when she frequently had Sarah Palin as a guest on her Fox News show without disclosing that her husband worked as an adviser to Palin.
The double standard continues: Tim Graham huffed in an Aug. 2 post about how "Mrs. Todd has donated $13,250 to federal candidates so far in this election cycle, all of them Democrats," denouncing this as an "ongoing conflict of interest in political coverage" for Todd.
Let's look at another relevant comparison. Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, has long been a right-wing activist and was particularly active during the anti-Obama Tea Party years. That's a potential conflict of interest that much more serious than Todd's, since issues of justice are at stake instead of journalism (not that anyone at the MRC has uncovered an instance in which any candidate linked to Todd's wife got favorable treatment on TV from Todd).
Needless to say, the MRC rushed to defend the Thomases.
In a 2010 post, Matthew Balan touted how CNN's Jeffrey Toobin "defended Mrs. Thomas' grassroots conservative work , while Graham complained that "Media outlets from CNN to NPR to the Washington Post have picked up on the Los Angeles Times story suggesting there could be conflicts of interest for Virginia Thomas to start her group Liberty Central while she's married to Justice Clarence Thomas," an article Balan also reference.
When then-MSNBC host Keith Olbermann called for Thomas to resign from the Supreme Court of the conflict, Noel Sheppard sarcastically claimed, "isn't it marvelous how a cable news anchor shows such disrespect to the wife of a Supreme Court justice?" (Though it's about the same level that Graham shows for Todd's wife.) Sheppard then huffed that "despite Olbermann's blathering, the only potential conflict here would be if the Supreme Court heard a case involving a donor to Liberty Central. At that point, there are procedures in place to deal with it."
Later in 2010, Kyle Drennen groused that "questions about Thomas's political involvement" were being raised again following reports that Ginni Thomas called Anita Hill (whom the MRC can't stop hating a quarter-century on) demanding an apology, and that "implied that since Virginia Thomas is the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas her conservative activism in a conflict of interest." And in 2011, Graham lamented that it was revealed that Clarence Thomas never reported his wife's income from right-wing activist groups on financial disclosure forms and that he had to go back many years and revised the forms, and lamented evenmore that then-Rep. Anthony Weiner insisted that Clarence Thomas "should recuse himself on the constitutionality of ObamaCare" if and when that came to the Supreme Court because of that.
Lest anyone accuse the MRC of not knowing what side its bread is buttered on, MRC chief Brent Bozell sat down for a 2012 interview with Ginni Thomas -- by this time working for the right-wing Daily Caller -- "to discuss a wide variety of issues ranging from media bias to the future of the conservative movement." The MRC version of it does not indicate whether discussions of conflicts of interest took place, but since this was a friendly interview with a friendly media outlet, we're guessing it didn't.
Lately, Ginni Thomas has been spreadingfakenews on social media. Needless to say, the MRC doesn't want to talk about that, let alone what that might mean for her husband.
Newsmax's Gizzi Caught Sending Article to Kobach Before Publication Topic: Newsmax
For a journalist, letting a source see your story before it's published is a tricky issue. While it can be acceptable to double-check a quote with a source, letting that source see the entire article beforehand is generally frowned upon.
So it's worth noting that ProPublica reporter Jessica Huseman -- while looking into recently released documents from the failed voter fraud commission convened by President Trump then disbanded when many states refused to cooperate with it over its apparent bias -- found an email from commission head Kris Kobach showing that Newsmax correspondent John Gizzi had sent an article he wrote to him that was, according to Huseman, "asking for his thoughts." That story ultimately appeared at Newsmax in July 2017.
Gizzi responded that because he doesn't record his interviews, "it is a good policy to run quotes past subject & thus avoid 'corrections' & 'retractions' from subbject [sic] later." But as Huseman pointed out: "You didn't just run the quotes. You sent the entire article to Kobach for approval. That's not normal.
Gizzi then admitted that he sent his entire article to "election law experts" Jay O'Callaghan and Hans von Spakovsky. O'Callaghan is with the conservative Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research, and von Spakovsky is with the conservative Heritage Foundation and was a member of the voter fraud commission. Huseman responded: "Thanks for this clarification. It's interesting that Hans didn't turn that email over to the commission."
In that article, Gizzi highlighted that "Andrew Spieles, a James Madison University student, pled guilty to charges he submitted 18 fraudulent voter registrations last year. Spieles, who worked for the Democratic Party-affiliated organization Harrisonburg Votes, was sentenced to up to 120 days in prison." But as the fact-checkers at Snopes report, Gizzi apparently got his information about Spieles' alleged partisanship from the Department of Justice; it could find "no website, Twitter account or Facebook page currently listed" under the "Harrisonburg Votes" name, and Virginia voters are not registered by party affiliation.
Gizzi cited the Spieles story in an attempt to undercut the only non-conservative he quotes in his story, then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. He doesn't try to contradict any of the claims he quotes from Kobach and von Spakovsky.
Still, submitting the entire article to Kobach is not a good look, especially given how unlikely it is that Gizzi would report uncritically on him. After all, Newsmax is a pro-Trump website whose CEO considers himself a close personal friend of the president.
CNS' Double Standard on Preconditions In Meeting With Iran Topic: CNSNews.com
Melanie Arter cheerfully types in a July 30 CNSNews.com article:
President Donald Trump said Monday that he would be willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani without pre-conditions, saying that it would be good for the country, Iran, and the world.
During a joint White House press conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Trump was asked what Iran has to do to reduce some of the tensions.
“And you’ve met with the leaders of North Korea and Russia. Are you prepared also -- are you willing to meet with President Rouhani? And under what conditions? And have there been any preliminary discussions about something like that?” the reporter also asked.
“I’ll meet with anybody. I believe in meeting. The prime minister said it better than anybody can say it: Speaking to other people, especially when you’re talking about potentials of war and death and famine and lots of other things -- you meet. There’s nothing wrong with meeting,” Trump said.
When asked whether there would be preconditions, Trump said, “No preconditions. No. If they want to meet, I’ll meet. Anytime they want. Anytime they want. It’s good for the country, good for them, good for us, and good for the world. No preconditions. If they want to meet, I’ll meet.”
Unmentioned by Arter: CNS attacked President Obama for doing the same thing Trump is doing.
A Novmeber 2014 column by Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison praised Hillary Clinton for saying during the 2008 presidential primary that "she was unwilling to deal with Iran’s Mullahs 'without preconditions,'" while Obama "took the unusual, not to say, profoundly unserious, position that he could sweep away thirty years of hostility with a handshake.We need to understand what President Obama’s extended hand meant. We would “re-set” relations with Iran while they still held our embassy compound.
A July 2016 column by the Heritage Founcation's James Phillips similarly complained: "The [Obama] administration’s diplomatic engagement without preconditions has enabled Iran’s dictatorship to have its cake and eat it too. Iran remains the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism, but has been rewarded on the nuclear front for what could be temporary and easily reversible concessions.
CNS has published no op-eds criticizing Trump for offering to meet with Iran without preconditions. A July 30 article by Patrick Goodenough on Iran's rejection of Trump's offer did parentically admit: "While campaiging for the White House, Barack Obama also expressed a willingness to hold talks with Iran without preconditions. Shortly after his inauguration he undertook to engage with Iranian leaders who were willing to 'unclench their fist' and it later emerged that secret talks began in Oman in the summer of 2012. Multilateral negotiations led to the conclusion of the JCPOA in 2015."
At least Goodenough understands what contextual reporting is. Arter, meanwhile, is simply content to be a stenographer.
WND's Farah Defends Alex Jones, Basically Wants Net Neutrality Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah wrote a hot mess of a Aug. 7 column, in which he attempted to intertwine his usual conspiracy theories with the news of the day, the removal of hateful conspiracy-monger Alex Jones from several social-media outlets. After invoking Martin Niemoller (hence his headline "First, they came for Alex Jones...") Farah fully engaged in said hot mess:
I’m going to defend Alex Jones’ right to say what he wants – even if I sometimes, or even often, find myself in disagreement with him. And I’m going to condemn this cabal of bloated mega-corporations imposing their ideology on America’s most vital public square – the digital media.
Maybe you say, “Well, Farah, don’t these corporations have the absolute right to approve and disapprove of the viewpoints they carry – just like you do?” The answer may be surprising: No, they don’t. None of these conglomerates are publishers, content producers, part of the “press.” They are more akin to “utilities” – like the telephone companies of old or the electricity producers who have a public obligation to be fair and neutral in offering the services they provide to all, without regard to race, religion and ideology. They don’t have to like Alex Jones. They don’t have to listen to Alex Jones. But if they are going to have privileged positions making money distributing all manner of content, data, information, they dare not think of themselves as “gatekeepers” against offensive political speech. And they better not designate the partisan hacks of the SPLC as their content cops, which is what they have done – all of them!
I know I sound like a broken record on this theme, but I’m going to keep pounding on it until the public catches on to the threat these trillion-dollar monopolies pose to America’s precious institutions of free speech, the free press and freedom of religion. We need congressional hearings. We need action in Washington. We need President Trump to recognize who the biggest purveyors of fake news really are. It’s not just CNN and the Huffington Post. It’s their distribution arms – Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Apple and Amazon – the Digital Cartel.
It’s time to throw down the gauntlet, draw a marker in the sand, file class-action lawsuits, summon our leaders to action.
Treating internet companies like public utilities? Isn't that what net neutrality is all about? Pretty much -- and Farah and WND oppose it.
In November 2017, WND published an interview its Greg Corombos did with FCC commissioner Brendan Carr, who asserted that net neutrality rules, in Corombos' words, "badly misapplied laws designed to address telephone service and actually wound up with the federal government micromanaging the Internet and its providers" -- in other words, the utility rule Farah wants to apply to Google. And in a June column, Farah complained that net neutrality was one issue with which "Google became aligned with progressive politics."
Oh, and as for Farah's assertion about "who the biggest purveyors of fake news really are"? We know -- as Farah surely does but will never admit -- it's WND.
Farah concluded by ranting:
I’ve been telling you how they have attacked WND relentlessly and ruthlessly through its politically and religiously discriminatory algorithms. I’ve told you how they have been coming after the independent media, especially since the 2016 election that so disappointed all of them.
Do you really want to talk about supposed Russian interference in our free society when this powerful monolithic cartel is setting the rules of debate for Americans out in plain sight – openly censoring voices they don’t like while systematically elevating those they do like? What a sick joke!
As for me, I will defend the voices of dissent, and even controversy, as long as I have a soapbox upon which to stand. I know they are coming after me and the first independent online news company I founded 21 years ago. Once, again, I ask you to stand with me or find yourself living in a country you won’t long recognize. No privacy. No freedom.
Curtis Houck's Jim Acosta Derangement Syndrome Topic: Media Research Center
Media Research Center writer Curtis Houck -- who's also the managing editor of NewsBusters, the MRC's main vehicle for disseminating the "sober, substantial" media criticism he claims the MRC issues -- has a weird obsession with CNN correspondent Jim Acosta. Houck is the leader of the MRC's war on Acosta, attacking pretty much every public utterance Acosta makes, hurling insults, cheering every time he's heckled by rabid Trump supporters and portraying him as a mentally deranged partisan. Houck's obsession with Acosta has only gotten worse, to the point that we can declare him a victim of Acosta Derangement Syndrome.
Under the headline "Jim Acosta Loses His Mind, Throws Fit in New Tussle with WH’s Huckabee Sanders," Houck ranted in an Aug. 2 post: "Just a reminder: CNN is straight up lying to you if any of their more prominent figures ever say they don't want to be the story because everything is about them. And Thursday’s White House Press Briefing perfectly illustrated that as chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta lost his mind when Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders wouldn’t fall into a trap he had laid for her." Houck claimed Acosta "angrily responded" as Sanders "took him to the cleaners," while "Acosta’s colleagues soldiered on with more professionalism than Acosta could ever show." Houck also touted how Sanders referenced the MRC's utterly fraudulent assertion that "90 percent of the coverage on [Trump] is negative."
On Aug. 8, Houck promoted a piece in the Atlantic critical of Acosta "for living up to the verb closely associated to his name (accost) and making himself the story when it should be reporting the news" and claimed that the writer offered "advice that Acosta undoubtedly will ignore."
When Acosta appeared on Steven Colbert's late-night show, Houck was ready with more venom (excessive bolding in original):
Receiving a raucous hero’s welcome reserved for far-left politicians, CNN’s Jim Acosta flaunted Jim Acosta on the Wednesday edition of CBS’s The Late Show by reliving his August 2 duel with Sarah Huckabee Sanders, claiming he’s a fact-checker, blaming “conservative outlets” and “websites” for “twist[ing] and warp[ing]” their views of him, and using an either or fallacy to justify his chicanery.
Acting as though we’re living through the end times, Acosta fretted that “these are tough times” so “tough questions” must “be asked” and “I don't think we do ourselves any good, Stephen, if we shy away from these hard questions and, you know, my goodness, the way I look at it is — and this is the debate I have with my fellow journalists when we talk about this — what if we just did nothing?”
Jeez. This guy really does think he’s Captain America squaring off against Thanos< inInfinity War.
Houck also wrote -- in addition to complaining that Acosta spoke "smugly" and exhibited "utter stupidity" -- that Acosta "also sought to blame conservative media and websites (which, one could assume included NewsBusters) for giving people a false understanding of Acosta and his colleagues." Interestingly, Houck doesn't dispute that claim -- which tells us he knows Acosta is right.
Houck also claims Acosta exhibits "narcissism," which is "clear to the naked eye." As is Houck's worsening case of Acosta derangement.
WND Gets A Tiny Scalp In Its Sad Little Anti-Gay 4-H Crusade Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily finally got a scalp in its sad little anti-gay crusade.
For months, WND hasranted about the idea that 4-H groups in rural America should be inclusive of all children, repeating anti-gay attacks from anonymous 4-H leaders furious about the proposed concept of treating LGBT kids like everyone else. So it cheered when one person linked to the proposed policy lost his job, a 4-H official in Iowa.
Even though John-Paul Chaisson-Cardenas' dismissal has not been officially linked to the proposed policy, WND took a victory lap anyway in an anonymously written Aug. 6 article, continuing to fearmonger abaout the now-abandoned proposal as "a stealth campaign to impose radical LGBTQ policies, including mandatory transgender bathrooms and pronoun usage."
Needless to say, WND took a little time in its victory lap to praise itself: "As soon as WND got involved in this story, not only did the “Inclusion” document disappear from the USDA website, but even from the web pages of local 4-H leaders pushing for implementation of the LGBTQ policy, due to public backlash once it was made public. Today, virtually the only place it is still publicly available is on WND’s servers." Which themselves may not be running very much longer.
WND also, laughably, benignly describes Liberty Counsel, which helped lead the attack against 4-H over the proposed policy "as a result of WND's investigative efforts," as merely a "non-profit legal group" when, in fact, it endeavors to perpetuate anti-LGBT discrimination.
This gay-bashing is what passes for "investigative journalism" at WND these days.
CNS Appears To Once Again Suggest That Spending Money On LGBT-Related Issues Is A Waste Topic: CNSNews.com
A few years back, we noticed that CNSNews.com's reporting on supposedly wasteful spending was disproportionately focused on LGBT-related issues -- nor surprising since CNS has an anti-gay agenda and a managing editor who absolutelyhates the LGBT community.
Now, CNS appears to be cranking up the wasteful spending outrage machine again -- and the first two items, by Melanie Arter, are LGBT-related.
Arter lamented in a July 27 article: The National Institutes of Health awarded $569,028 in taxpayer funding to the Medical College of Wisconsin to study how the country’s “perceived immigration laws” impact the 'HIV health behavior' of Hispanic immigrants." On Aug. 6 she attacked a similar NIH grant: "The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded Lehigh University $431,119 in taxpayer funds for HIV intervention among heroin and crack users along the U.S.-Mexico border."
Arter doesn't reference homosexuality in either article; both do reference drug use. But HIV and homosexuality are effectively synonymous in CNS' eyes, so these articles count toward its anti-gay agenda. Both articles also reference either immigrants or the U.S.-Mexico border, so your typial right-wing anti-immigrant sentiment is touched upon as well.
Nor does Arter give the grantees sufficient time to respond to her attacks; instead, she states that either grantee responded to her "by the time this article was published," though she doesn't say how much time she gave them to respond.
Finally, Arter never explains why this federal spending is so offensive to her. Is it the immigrants? The HIV? The universities that got the grants?
Absent that, there's no reason not to suspect the most base and biased motives for CNS attacking these grants.
Newsmax's Kerik Moves Closer to Right-Wing Fringe With Anti-Media Rant Topic: Newsmax
Convicted felon (and friend of Newsmax) Bernard Kerik has apparently found his new calling as a right-wing ranter -- part of Newsmax's continuing imagerehab of the guy, apparently. He moves further to the fringe with an Aug. 6 column attacking the media in order to defend President Trump:
The media may be putting out some fake news but their primary goal is to be an anti-state propaganda machine for the new Democratic party and its growing number of socialist supporters.
They are no different than state run television in China, Russia, Iran and Iraq, during Saddam Hussein’s rule.
Think about it. The mainstream media aggressively promotes anti-American political activism daily, while at the same time attacking the president, his family and supporters, and intentionally diminishing or outright ignoring all of this administration’s successes and achievements.
Kerik then devolves into an attack on socialism, smearing one particular candidate as "anti-American" for not holding the same views he does:
The New York Times and other outlets work feverishly to turn the administration’s success into negatives, at the same time spewing incendiary propaganda.
They make a far-left New York congressional candidate like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez the poster child for the Democratic Party, a woman who has called on protesters to "occupy" airports, border crossings, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices nationwide — clearly criminal conduct.
Everything that comes out of this woman’s mouth is anti-American and based on the same socialist and communist ideology we’ve seen in Cuba, Venezuela, and other poverty-stricken nations, where socialism has failed.
These media outlets aggressively target the president with allegations racism, and bigotry, with their socialist and communist following cheering to their rhetoric.
A bigot is a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions, but, there is no one more intolerant than the socialist media, and some members of the Democratic Party, that loath the president because he believes that America should come first before all other nations; that we should secure our boarders and people entering our country should do so legally or be held accountable for breaking the law, or that we should have global fair trade and no longer be taken advantage of by other nations.
Kerik concludes by huffing: "Every day, this movement, the mainstream media, and the Democratic Party are attempting to destroy our Founding Fathers' creation — and what Donald J. Trump is trying to restore." Kerik is sadly mistaken ifhe thinks Trump believes in anything beyond his own ego enough to "restore" it.
MRC Chief Laments No Emmy Nominations for Fox News, Doesn't ID Show That Deserves One Topic: Media Research Center
The Aug. 1 column by the Media Research Center's Tim Graham and Brent Bozell starts off lamenting:
On July 26, the News and Documentary Emmy Award nominations were announced, and PBS topped the list with 45 nominations. CBS led the broadcast networks with 31 nods, followed by CNN and HBO with 22 each, and ABC with 20.
MSNBC got 5. Vice News got nine. Al-Jazeera International USA got five. And The New York Times got seven — for videos! Even the liberal website Vox got three.
The Fox News channel, which leads in cable-news viewership year after year after year, got none.
Raise your hand if you're surprised.
Graham and Bozell go on to rant that the Emmys "has nothing to do with talent. It's about the best promotion of the leftist agenda," singling out various and sundry programs that received nominations.
Missing from their column, however, is any mention of a Fox News documentary that Graham and Bozell believed was worthy of a nomination. If you are going to spend a column whining that Fox News didn't get nominated for anything, shouldn't you at least offer an example of something that should have been nominated? Given how often MRC types appear on Fox News, you'd think they could easily do that.
But they didn't. Because that's pretty much how Graham and Bozell roll.
It was a total lie, a misrepresentation of reality. I never said, wrote or thought any such thing. I don’t hate anyone. It’s against my religion. My God and Savior instructed me to “love [my] enemies.” And that’s what I try to do by bringing them the truth, the Good News, a dose of reality in a world of deception and fantasy.
Being who he is, Farah gets that story wrong. His link to prove what he claims the Daily News did shows that it was not the paper itself directly making those accusations in an item that apparently ran in its gossip column; it had quoted a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations making the claim. Farah does correctly state that he did not make the remark about dropping pig's blood on Afghanistan; that came from a 2001 column by Paul Sperry that Farah told the Daily News was "over-the-top satire."
But Farah's denial that WND is anti-Muslim or hate-filled? Utter balderdash. WND hates Muslims so much (on top of Sperry's sao-called satire) it hired a reporter, Leo Hohmann, whose main beat was Muslim-bashing -- to the point that he and WND falsely blamed Islam for a measles outbreak in a Somali community in Minnesota when, in fact, it was WND's anti-vaxxer friends who were responsible.
Farah's claim that doesn't hate anyone is equally bogus -- just look at WND's war on Obama, which required hate as the fuel to keep it up for the past decade. And the idea that Farah believes in "the truth" and "a dose of reality"? He apparently doesn't read his own fakenews-ladenwebsite.
So, yeah, Farah hates and lies. He should own it -- just as he should own the fake news that has pushed his business to the brink of death (again) and apologize for publishing.
MRC Suddenly Decides to Trust Website It Hates For Echoing Its Agenda Topic: Media Research Center
Funny how a website publishing an article advancing a right-wing organization's agenda suddenly makes said website trustworthy. Witness this July 25 post from the Media Research Center's Ashley Rae Goldenberg:
Following a report from Gizmodo, left-wing news site Vice News has accused Twitter of “shadow banning” right-wing personalities, politicians, and political pundits.
In a piece, Vice proclaimed in the headline, “Twitter is ‘shadow banning’ prominent Republicans like the RNC chair and Trump Jr.’s spokesman.” According to the report, searches for Republican Party chair Ronna McDaniel, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) all do not automatically fill into the search bar when users begin to look up their accounts if they do not follow those accounts. The search also reportedly fails to list the verified account for Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA).
Vice noted, “Not a single member of the 78-person Progressive Caucus faces the same situation in Twitter’s search.”
This was followed by the usual outraged statement from MRC chief Brent Bozell denouncing said alleged shadow banning. But Bozell didn't mention the political bent of Vice -- and neither Bozell nor Goldenberg mention that the MRC has a history of denouncing content on Vice. For instance:
An August 2017 item by Corinne Weaver huffed that an "America-hating lefty" writer for Vice advocated blowing up Mount Rushmore and basically suggested the website shoujld be censored: "According to the Wall Street Journal, Vice Media is currently valued at $5.7 billion. That's a massive outlet for the kind of anarchist terrorism they are advocating in their headline. Not to mention, the rest of the article is absolute filth that attacks every single president."
In June, Katie Yoder went into freakout mode over a report that a Vice producer once "attempted to pay for one woman’s abortion under the condition that Vice could film it."
On July 20, Isaac Cross attacked a Vice article for pointing out that studies have shown that anty-gay discrimination is a contributing factor in the overall poor health of the LGBT community. Cross was outraged thatVice didn't blame "the lifestyle choices of LGBTQ members" -- as if one chooses to subject themselves to the discrimination efforts of people like Cross -- and huffed: "When it comes to LGBTQ media, the blame is frequently placed on somebody else because they are victims, and once the victim always the victim."
And Vice apparently committed an even greater heresy than blowing up Mount Rushmore, as Clay Waters highlighted in a July 29 post a Vice piece arguing that the film "Animal House" hasn't aged well. Waters whined that "liberals spoil everything" by "insulting fans" of the "comedy classic" with "hectoring, concluding with arbitrary hostility."
So if the MRC thinks Vice is a terrible website for denouncing "Animal House," how can it trust the "shadow banning" report without showing even the slightest amount of skeptism avoer it? Yet it has done just that.
CNS Editor Still Playing the Whataboutism Card To Protect Trump Topic: CNSNews.com
After President Trump's disastrous post-meeting performance with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the pro-Trump crew at CNSNews.com had to do a lot of damage control (and more than a little pro-Putin stenography). CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey played the whataboutism card when he complained that gormer CIA director John Brennan, who argued that Trump was acting like a traitor over his performance, "never accused his old boss Barack Obama of 'treasonous' behavior" when Obama told then-leader Dmitry Medvedev that he would have "more flexibility" to negotiate with Russia after the 2012 election.(CNS has since pushed the spiteful idea of Trump pulling Brennan's security clearance.)
Jeffrey wasn't done playing damage control, though. His July 25 column complained that "less-than-reasonable people" were equating Russian interference in the 2016 election to that interference changing the outcome, and they "may not put it in context."
That "context," apparently, is whataboutism in rehashing the right-wing obsession over Hillary Clinton's email server and bringing up yet again FBI agent Peter Strzok's text messages with Lisa Page, with whom, Jeffrey made sure to note, he was having an "extramarital affair" -- something Jeffrey weirdly attributes to a Department of Justice inspector general report. (Strzok's sex life is another CNS obsession.) Jeffrey concluded:
The Russians favored Trump over Clinton.
"Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency," the report said. "We further assess that Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump."
But did the Russians tamper with the actual vote count? No.
"Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple U.S. state or local electoral boards," said the report. "DHS assesses that the types of systems Russian actors targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying."
So, to change the outcome of the 2016 election, Putin's Russia would have needed to change the minds of would-be Clinton voters.
The Russia investigation is now two years old — and under the control of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. No charges have been brought against any Trump campaign official for coordinating with Russia.
Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland have proposed legislation to impose sanctions on foreign regimes that try to illegally influence U.S. elections. That is a good idea.
But Congress must also thoroughly investigate how the Comey-McCabe-Strzok-Page FBI handled the Russia investigation.
But the Mueller investigation is not sole about whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, and a lack of charges against anyone for collusion (yet, anyway) does not mean it's a failure. We suspect that Jeffrey never objected to the length of Kenneth Starr's independent counsel investigation against President Clinton or deemed it a failure because he was never indicted on anything related to Whitewater.
Misinforming WND Columnist Unironically Lecures About The Ignorance of Others Topic: WorldNetDaily
Despite his record of spreadingfake news, James Zumwalt feels the need in his July 18 WorldNetDaily column to lecture others about their supposed ignorance.
He starts off by complaining that a school in Virginia named after Confederate general J.E.B. Stuart is being renamed for Barack Obama -- because Obama's family "benefited" from slave ownership because the "great-great-great-great-grandfather" owned slaves. He added: "Little did Michelle Obama know when she played the race card, claiming in a 2016 speech that the White House was primarily built by slave labor (it was not), she was casting aspersions upon her own husband’s family line.
But the site Zumwalt uses to support his claim os something called Top Right News, an anti-Obama clickbait operation that states at the end of its Michelle Obama item, "SHARE this if you agree that January 20, 2017 cannot come soon enough to see the Obamas OUT of the White House…" so it's hardly an objective source of information. The item itself fixates on Obama's broadly accuate claim to nitpick that "the White House was not built solely -- or even primarily -- by slaves" and then huff that "Once again, the Obama’s never let historical facts get in the way of their race-baiting disses of America."
Zumwalt then repeated a claim by the anti-Muslim Clarion Project that some schools in San Francisco were working with a purportedly "extremist, anti-Semitic, Islamic group to provide academic support and 'workshops' to five high schools." He then cited a random Islamic imam making extremist statements to baselessly claim such a view "does not represent the fringe of such Islamic teachings. At other mosques around the U.S. and the world, similar sermons are being preached. While the workshops the Board authorized will, undoubtedly, not immediately jump into teaching anti-Semitism, it will most assuredly lead students in that direction.
Zumwalt concludes by huffing about educators embracing "misguided political correctness" -- even though he has his own record of misinformation and embracing misguided bias as accurate information.
CNS' Double Standard on Process, Procedure and Protocol Topic: CNSNews.com
A July 27 CNSNews.com article highlighted White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley justifing the banning of CNN correspondent Kaitlan Collins form a White House event because she asked was deemed an inappropriate question of President Trump at an earlier event. Melanie Arter uncritically qhoted Sanders insisting that it was not "the content of the questions," it was that Collins "refused" to leave the Oval Office until her question was answered, adding "It's about process, procedure, and protocol."
Another article the same day, by Brady Kenyon, had a different take on a similar situation:
A California college student is suing the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD), claiming that his First Amendment rights were violated when his school prohibited him from handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution.
Kevin Shaw, a student at Pierce College in California says he was stopped from handing out Spanish-language copies of the U.S. Constitution on campus because it was not inside the school’s designated “free speech area.”
In his lawsuit complaint, Shaw alleges that, while he was handing out Spanish-language copies of the U.S. Constitution, he was forced to stop and was then escorted into an office and told to complete a permit application to use the college’s “Free Speech Area.” The free speech area measures 616 square feet and comprises approximately .003% of the total area of Pierce College’s 426-acre campus.
It seems the student, like the CNN correspondent, is accused of violating "process, procedure, and protocol" -- but the student is being championed by CNS as a free-speech hero while Collins is implicitly attacked as a pushy liberal.
Last month, we noted that while WND promoted an upcoming press conference by fellow expoliter Jack Burkman purporting to have found a witness to Rich's death, it wouldn't report on what a joke the presser turned out to be. A few days later, the arrest of 12 Russian intelligence officers apparently put a key conspiracy theory about Rich to bed -- that he leaked a bunch of Democratic National Committee (his employer) emails to WikiLeaks -- because the officers were indicted in part on charges of hacking the DNC, Hillary Clinton's campaignand the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Rich's purported tie to the leaked DNC emails was something WND heavily promoted. But no WND article has yet to admit that its pet conspiracy theory has been debunked -- and WND apparently no longer wants to talk about it.
An anonymously written Aug. 2 WND article on the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Rich's parents over a false story about Rich published on the Fox News website did some minor rehashing of the case based on earlier WND articles -- that nobody at the bar that was "the last known location where Rich was seen before his murder" had been questioned by police, and that local officials "refused to reveal what hospital admitted and treated Rich before a physician pronounced him dead" and "refused to release Rich’s autopsy report" (darn those medical privacy laws!) -- but was silent on the email leak conspiracy it has spent much of the past year promoting.
Since WND is loath to correct a false claim on its website unless someone threatens to sue, and since Rich is dead and therefore can't be libeled, this is probably the closest we'll get to WND tacitly admitting its key Rich conspiracy theory is bogus.