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Tuesday, February 26, 2019
WND Story Relies On Unreliable Sources
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Feb. 14 WorldNetDaily article breathlessly declares:

The claim that Russian intelligence officials hacked emails from the DNC server that were later published by Wikileaks is a core tenet of the belief that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 election.

But more than three years later, no forensic evidence has been produced to back the claim. And now an investigation by two cyber-security and intelligence experts has concluded the hard evidence indicates the files were not breached via the internet but downloaded onto a portable storage device.

The conclusion by William Binney, a former intelligence official with the National Security Agency, and former CIA analyst Larry Johnson was reported exclusively by the Gateway Pundit blog.

WND's first problem is that it's citing anything from Gateway Pundit, publisher of all manner of false, misleading and inflammatory dreck. Its second problem is that the co-author of the study is linked to one of the biggest political hoaxes in recent years.

As we noted the last time someone in the ConWeb cited him, Larry Johnson spent years pushing the hoax that somewhere out there, a recording exists of Michelle Obama talking about race and railing against "whitey." When no recording continually failed to surface, Johnson never really apologized for pushing it; despite claiming that "I take full responsibility for my role in putting out that story," he declared that "it did not originate with me" and that he was a victim, "an unwitting tool" in a "dirty trick" perpetrated by Media Matters leader David Brock. (Disclosure: I used to work for Media Matters.)

So, WND is giving us a double dose of untrustworthy sources. That's not the way to build up credibility that will pull it out of its continuing financial crisis.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:52 PM EST
CNS Pushes 'No Collusion' Narrative Again
Topic: CNSNews.com

As part of its editorial agenda to do President Trump's bidding, CNSNews.com has regularly pushed assertions by Trump and his supporters that there was no collusion between Trump's presidential election campaign and Russian interests and/or attacking Robert Mueller's investigation into same. The latest round comes through Senate Republicans insisting that their investigation found no collusion.

CNS managing editor Michael W. Chapman led this particular bandwagon, with a Feb. 8 article headlined "Senate Chairman to CBS: Zero Evidence of 'Collusion by Trump Campaign and Russia.'" When NBC did a fuller story on this, Chapman breathleessly declared in a Feb. 12 post: "BREAKING: Senate Intelligence Cmte: No Direct Evidence of Russia-Trump Collusion."

Chapman conveniently omitted the fact that NBC also quoted Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee who pointed out that "no direct evidence" does not mean "no evidence," adding that "Trump and his associates had more than 100 contacts with Russians before the January 2017 presidential inauguration." NBC also points out where Chapman didn't that a Republican-controlled investigation of a Republican president could be considered by many to be partisan and incomplete.

Instead, CNS' Susan Jones touted the next day how "In an early morning tweet on Wednesday, President Trump pointed to the Senate intelligence committee: "THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION BETWEEN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND RUSSIA!" he wrote in all-caps." Jones did, surprisingly, note Democratic criticism of the GOP conclusion.

On Feb. 14, however, CNS' Michael Morris gave space to Mark Levin fill-in host Dan Bongino declaring that "[t]he Russian collusion fairytale is finally, fully, completely collapsing." This was followed by Jones giving a Feb. 18 platform to  Rush Limbaugh to rant that "People such as Andrew McCabe and Rod Rosenstein 'took it upon themselves to overthrow the election results of 2016,' while ignoring the 'real collusion' between the Clinton campaign and the Russians."

This attempt to downplay any link between Trump and Russia comes straight from the top. A Jan. 30 column by editor in chief Terry Jeffrey portraying Russian election interference as no big deal: "Which is a greater threat to the United States? A shipment of heroin smuggled across the Mexican border that ends up in your hometown? Or a series of Facebook posts made by a Russian operative in St. Petersburg that show up on your Facebook feed?" Jeffrey then huffed:

Yes, our government should work to stop foreign governments from hacking into U.S. computer systems and stealing data, or tampering with vote-counting systems.

But how many Americans died last year from reading a Russian Facebook post or tweet?

The top national security issue facing the federal government today has nothing to do with deceptive political speech on social media. It has everything to do with our southern border.

Build the wall.

As long as the Russians support the same candidate Jeffrey does, it must not be a problem, right?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:35 AM EST
Monday, February 25, 2019
AIM Spins Polls To Make Trump Look Better Than He Is
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Carrie Sheffield writes in a Feb. 14 Accuracy in Media post:

The mainstream media hit President Trump for urging Democrats in Congress not to engage in partisan investigations against his administration, yet their coverage ignores findings from a Gallup poll released yesterday and taken in the wake of the government shutdown showed that the president’s job approval is more than 20 percent higher than the public’s approval of Congress.

But puffing up Trump's popularity rating by comparing it to that of Congress is irrelevant. Gallup's own polling shows that Congress rates perpetually low -- generally fluctuating between 10 and 20 percent since 2012. Further, President Obama's second-term approval average, covering the first few years of that congressional polling, was 46.7 percent -- meaning that he too scored "more than 20 percent higher than the public’s approval of Congress."

We suspect AIM would never have made such a claim about Obama's popularity.

Sheffield went even further in the poll-spinning route, claiming that Trump's numbers were up -- in this case, at 44 percent in the first poll after the shutdown ended -- because "Gallup found that Americans credited the president with ending the shutdown" while also claiming that only "the mainstream media blamed Trump for the shutdown." But Sheffield ignored another Gallup poll finding that 50 percent of Americans believed that Democratic leaders in Congress acted more responsibly during the shutdown, while ly 39 percent believed Trump did.

Sheffield also ignores that Trump remains generally unpopular, having never received more than 50 percent approval in any Gallup poll -- the only president with that distinction.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:08 PM EST
MRC Still Helping Far-Right Activist Play The Victim
Topic: Media Research Center

Last November, the Media Research Center was crying that far-right activist Laura Loomer became the victim of "Twitter's war on conservative thought," laughably calling her a "journalist" and hiding just how far-right and hateful and Islamophobic she is.

Well, the MRC isn't done trying to turn an extremist into a martyr. A Feb. 6 post by Alexander Hall complains that Loomer was banned from PayPal, including a quote from her that she was banned "for no reason whatsoever." Hall, to his credit, didn't call Loomer the "journalist" that she is not, and admitted she is a "right-wing provocateur" and "an activist and performance artist." Hall uncritically repeated the platforms from which Loomer has been removed and let her whine without challenge that "the left" is targeting her.

But as before, Hall doesn't want to give his readers the details of Loomer's extreme behavior. For instance, Hall let Loomer complain she's been banned from Uber and Lyft -- but didn't explain that it's because she went on an Islamophobic rant complaining that the ride-sharing services employ Muslim drivers. And handcuffing yourself to the door to Twitter's headquarters is a desperate cry for attention, not "performance art."

Nevertheless, Hall felt the need to lecture: "The question here is where the legal distinction lies between core values and political ideology. There is a difference between saying one cannot bake a gay wedding cake for religious reasons, but can offer other items versus denying all of one’s services because you don’t like a person’s political ideology." But Hall presents no evidence Loomer has been de-platformed for "political ideology" alone. Indeed, the evidence shows -- if Hall had bothered to present it to the MRC's readers -- that Loomer engages in hateful, extremist and discriminatory behavior.

But Loomer's de-platforming fulfills the MRC's narrative of purported persecution of conservatives on social media, so Hall will continue to give her martyrdom she doesn't deserve.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:32 PM EST
WND's Farah Is Still Pretending There's No Evidence Of Trump's Racism
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In January, WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah decided to do no research whatsoever before writing a column insisting that there's no evidence to back up claims that Donald Trump is a racist. Given that there's plenty of evidence to support the claim, we called Farah exceptionally lazy for writing that column. It's also part of a campaign of pro-Trump sycophancy by Farah that's approaching astronomical levels.

Farah still apparently can't be bothered to do any research before writing, because he devoted his Feb. 14 column to pushing the very same (false) claim. He goes Godwin early, accusing Chelsea Clinton of "engaging in Josef Goebbels’ old Big Lie strategy" by tweeting about Trump's "embrace of white nationalism & anti-Semitic & Islamophobic hate." Let Farah's bogus defense begin:

I grew up in the New York area at the same time Donald Trump was building his real estate empire. He was a famous person, a local celebrity throughout that time. He was a media darling. He was not very political. But he was a star.

It was always clear Trump had an ego, but no one ever called him a racist, an anti-Semite or Islamophobic. Not once.

Later, Trump became an even bigger star through his work on television. In fact, he was now not only the toast of New York, but Hollywood as well. No one ever called him a racist, anti-Semite or Islamophobic. Not once.

Before his bid for the presidency in 2016, Trump was a media darling, a source of all kinds of political speculation; everything the man said was newsworthy – headlines, soundbites. Again, no one ever called him a racist, anti-Semite or Islamophobic. Not once.

Do you know why?

Because he wasn’t. Because there was no evidence to do so. Because he wasn’t perceived as serious political a threat to left.

Farah then shockingly claims to have actually done research: "I’ve searched endlessly through the accusations, and there’s simply no there there." But, as before, the only example he cites is Trump's response to Charlottesville, which he calls "the most substantive and repeated slur against Trump"; he then endeavoered to explain it away by insising that Trump's "fine people on both sides" remark "clearly meant ... was that there are always some nice people caught up on either side of a political rally gone bad. He no more offered support for any white nationalists than he did for antifa."

Again, Farah ignores the various lists enumerating how Trump has been racist even well before running for president.

Farah claims he "searched endlessly through the accusations," but he offers no evidence he actually did so and addresses only the accusation he previously attacked. Why not go through each accusation one by one and explain why they're not evidence of racism? Probably because Farah would then have to admit that substantial evidence exists, and picking the easiest one to debunk is the demagogue's lazy way of suggesting that all of the allegations are similarly flimsy.

Farah may or may not be lazy, but he is definitely dishonest. But we knew that about him already, didn't we?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:46 AM EST
Sunday, February 24, 2019
CNS Touts Another Right-Wing European Politician
Topic: CNSNews.com

Last year, CNSNews.com gave fawning coverage to French politician Marion Marechal-Le Pen while obscuring her far-right leanings. CNS followed up by touting her aunt, Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Rally party in France.

A Jan. 16 article by Faycal Benhassain highlighted Marine Le Pen launching "her campaign for the European Parliament elections in May." Benhassain did describe Le Pen as "far right," but he also gave her space to frame her political movement as "populist" and "the defender of the Europe of the people," as well as "a great alliance of French patriots opposed to the globalists." Benhassain then repeated French political analysts who touted Le Pen's chances, citing one who said that "many events happening in Europe and around the world are creating a political atmosphere favorable to the ideas of the National Rally," Le Pen's political party.

Benhassain's article is the latest in a string of articles CNS has published promoting the actions of right-wing authoritarian leaders in Europe and South America. One of them is Hungary's Viktor Orban; CNS surprisingly published a Feb. 20 article featuring criticism of a poster issued by Orban's political party suggesting that Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Union's executive commission, was collaborating with George Soros, a Hungarian native who Orban despises and has portrayed in propaganda as an "enemy of the state."

(Update: Rewritten to reflect that Marion Marechal-Le Pen, who is also known as Marine, and Marine Le Pen are not the same person.)


Posted by Terry K. at 5:39 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, April 7, 2019 2:28 PM EDT
MRC Tries to Downplay Ginni Thomas' Far-Right Views
Topic: Media Research Center

We've noted how the Media Research Center -- particularly Tim Graham -- likes to attack NRC host Chuck Todd's wife for working as a Democratic strategist and perhaps having some malign influence over Todd himself (or, at the very least, that Todd should be barred from covering politics due to his "conflict of interest"). Not only does the MRC not think that Fox News hosts with similar conflicts of interest are a problem, it's also giving a pass to the very political wife of a Supreme Court justice.

A Dec. 28 post by Brad Wilmouth complained that CNN held "a discussion of whether Ginni Thomas -- the wife of conservative U.S Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas -- is expressing too many "far-right" political views on venues like Facebook," citing unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.Wilmouth offered nothing but whataboutism in response, attacking CNN for being "the network that makes entire documentaries lauding Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who certainly caused this kind of furor about partisan opinions when she harshly attacked Donald Trump, and CNN thinks she's just terrific."

Graham himself chimed in on Jan. 1, attacking a Washington Post writer who pointed out that Thomas "shared a Facebook post that bizarrely described California as a war zone, with illegal immigrants scaling walls and carjacking U.S. citizens," issued then deleted a post "proclaiming that teenage survivors of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting are 'dangerous to the survival of our nation' because of their gun-control activism," and the she "harangued Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for supposedly wiretapping Donald Trump — a baseless accusation indulged in only by conspiracy theorists." Graham tried to portray these attacks as mainstream views:

Without going deep into these accusations, we can inform [Post writer Dan] Zak: illegal immigrants do scale walls, and some do carjack citizens. Conservatives do believe liberal teenage Parkland survivors are trying to curtail the Second Amendment (and engage in a lot of "erroneous propaganda.") And we now know Paul Manafort was wiretapped, which means the feds probably wiretapped his conversations with Trump. 

Graham then went into whataboutism mode by attacking the reporter for being "nakedly partisan."

After a group of activists led by Thomas met with President Trump, Clay Waters was upset that the New York Times described them as "hard-right" then, yes, played whataboutism: "The paper proved itself hypersensitive to supposed conflicts of interest among conservatives, though one wonders if reporters would be as aggrieved if a spouse of a liberal Justice met with a President Obama."

Waters was also upset that  Thomas' far-right postings were described by the Times as "conspiracy theories," joining Graham in whitewash mode: "The paper didn’t offer any further details about those 'conspiracy theories,' but on the face of it there’s nothing particularly striking or shocking to suggest that left-wing Soros is working to help Democrats, or the possibility of pro-Democratic voter fraud."

Graham, along with MRC chief Brent Bozell, engaged in more whataboutism and deflection in their Jan. 29 column, further attacking that New York Times article by complaining that it claimed Thomas "is, well, extreme. And she's married to You-Know-Who." The attack continued: "Now try to imagine the Times writing in high dudgeon about Obama or Hillary Clinton meeting with people on 'the Democratic Party’s fringes.' For 8 years Obama entertained every leftist group imaginable. And yet the Times can’t find a 'fringe' on that side of the partisan aisle. On the same day they nearly fainted over Ginni Thomas, the Times gushed over hard-left Sen. Kamala Harris announcing a run for president in her hometown of Oakland, California."

Graham and Bozell then immediately attack Harris for being "hard left" and "on the left-wing fringes" for supporting Medicare for all and the Green New Deal. They do not explain how they determined these to be "fringe" views; instead, they're mad that the Times accurately described them as "currently popular among Democrats."

Notice that at no point do any of these MRC writers delve further into Thomas' views -- indeed Graham himself declared that he wouldn't be "going deep" into them. That suggests to us they know her views really are fringe, and that they don't want to give her critics ammunition by admitting that. Which, again, is the MRC putting its right-wing agenda ahead of the truth.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:29 PM EST
Saturday, February 23, 2019
CNS Reporter Rushes to Defend Trump After 'Executive Time' Leak
Topic: CNSNews.com

Not only does CNSNews.com serve as an echo chamber to support President Trump's pronouncements, it's also a source of kneejerk defenses of the president.

A good example of this is a Feb. 4 article by Susan Jones, who's so offended that somebody released Trump's private schedule -- which includes copious amounts of "executive time" -- that she turns it from a "news" item to an opinion piece defending Trump and attacking the leaker:

In another apparent attempt to undermine the Trump presidency, someone described as "a White House source" has leaked "nearly every day of President Trump's private schedule for the past 3 months to Axios' Alexi McCammond," Axios reported on Sunday.

The website published those daily schedules, which show that Trump "has spent around 60% of his scheduled time over the past 3 months in unstructured 'Executive Time.'"

The leak allowed cable news shows such as MSNBC's "Morning Joe" to "report" that "Barack Obama worked around the clock compared to Donald Trump."

According to host Joe Scarborough on Monday, "There are seniors playing shuffle board in Boca retirement communities who work more than the president of the United States right now."

[...]

This is not the first time someone in the Trump administration has tried to undermine the president.

We still do not know which "unnamed Trump administration official" wrote a New York Times op-ed last September, describing the president as “impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.” The editorial said insiders were "working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”

The leak to Axios may be part of that effort.

Jones also uncritically quotes borderline ludicrous (not to mention unsupported) statements by Trump aides: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders' assertion that Trump is "the most productive President in modern history, and Trump personal secretary Madeleine Westerhout insisting that "This POTUS is working harder for the American people than anyone in recent history."

The article also includes a picture of "President Donald Trump at work in the Oval Office."


Posted by Terry K. at 2:04 PM EST
WND Gets Out-Conspiracied By CNS on Roger Stone Conspiracy
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It's not often you see WorldNetDaily get outplayed by another ConWeb outlet on a conspiracy theory, but it has surpisingly happened.

We've detailed how CNSNews.com reporter Susan Jones has heartily embraced the conspiracy theory that CNN was tipped off to the arrest of Roger Stone on various charges through the Robert Muller investigation, presumably by Mueller himself. Jones gave copious space to those advancing the theory while giving short shrift to CNN pointing out that it wasn't that hard to figure out to reporters who have been following the Mueller investigation.

Even WND wasn't that enthusiastic about this particular conspiracy theory, even though editor Joseph Farah has ranted that Stone's arrest displayed "Gestapo police-state tactics" and rather unconvincingly tried to argue that he doesn't even know Stone. Its first report, coinciding with Jones' first report, was simply copied-and-pasted from far-right blog Gateway Pundit. WND didn't touch it again until Feb. 13, when Stone issued a court filing claiming -- according, again, to Gateway Pundit, to whom WND has apparently outsourced this conspiracy theory -- "the metadata on a draft copy of the indictment obtained by a CNN reporter and sent to Roger’s attorney after his arrest showed a save date of two days prior to the January 25th unsealing of the court documents following the Stone’s arrest."

But Stone's filing never proves the indictment was sent out before Stone's arrest, writes Buzzfeed News' Zoe Tillman who added: "Per today's filing, Stone was arrested at 6:06am. An email from Mueller's office to reporters, with a link to the indictment, went out a few minutes later (my email has it time-stamped 6:17am). Stone's filing has a text from a reporter to Stone's lawyer with that link at 6:22am." The noted "save date" two days before Stone's arrest has nothing to do with whether reporters got a copy before the arrest.

Mueller himself has since confirmed that he did not tip off CNN to Stone's impending arrest. Neither WND nor CNS have seen fit to report this devlopment so far.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:01 AM EST
Friday, February 22, 2019
MRC Decries One Nazi Comparison While Its 'News' Division Promotes Another
Topic: Media Research Center

It's not a surprise that the Media Research Center never holds its own "news" division, CNSNews.com, to the same standards of behavior it demands from "liberal" media outlets. Here's yet another example.

A Jan. 27 NewsBusters post by Jack Coleman complains about "the juvenile comparison of American conservatives to Nazis," specifically targeting HBO host Bill Maher likening diehard Trump supporters to "Mrs. Goebbels in the bunker ... giving the cyanide to the children because she does not want to live in a world without national socialism."

(Coleman also bizarrely writes that "You'd think that Maher of all people would applaud conservatives and not mock them for their frequent warnings about socialism -- seeing how he's quite aware it also didn't work so well for Germany." He's apparently oblivious to the fact that Nazism was not socialism.)

The next day, CNS published a post by managing editor Michael W. Chapman touting celebrity musician Charlie Daniels' Nazi comparison that apparently has full MRC approval:

Commenting on the sweeping abortion-on-demand legislation that New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law on Jan. 22, country music legend and commentator Charlie Daniels said Cuomo was sanctioning "thousands of murders," had created "a new Aushwitz" dedicated to killing the innocent, and that "Satan is smiling."

[...]

"Watch the wrinkles on cuomo's face lengthen as the ramifications of the thousands of murders he has sanctioned come to bear on him," wrote Charlie Daniels in a Jan. 26 tweet.

"The NY legislature has created a new Auschwitz dedicated to the execution of a whole segment of defenseless citizens," he wrote.

"Satan is smiling," concluded Daniels.

Chapman then added his own editorial comment:

In total, the Nazis killed close to 19 million in their concentration camps. 

Since the Surpeme Court's Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 -- no legislation was ever passed, it was a court decision -- more than 56 million babies have been killed by abortion. Every day, on average, 2,900 babies are aborted. 

Satan truly is smiling.

A week later, CNS published a column by Daniels expanding on the Nazi comparison:

In the early stages of the second World War, Hitler, intent on totally exterminating the Jews, came up with a plan the Nazis code named the Final Solution.

The Buchenwald, Auschwitz, Dachau, Treblinka, concentration camps were set up to systematically import, incarcerate and exterminate the Jews of Europe.

There are those out there who will deny that the Holocaust ever happened, but I’m here to tell you that it did happen. I remember the newsreels from my early youth that showed bulldozers pushing thousands of naked, emaciated bodies of dead Jews into mass graves like so much garbage.

There were six million Jews murdered by the Nazis, in gas chambers, mass shootings and any other kind of monstrous methods of death these demonic animals could come up with.

Horrible right? Could never happen in the United States of America, right?

Wrong.

This past week, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York signed into law a bill that is every bit as evil, and just as satanically inspired, as Hitler’s Final Solution. It’s a bill that allows abortion up to the time the child comes through the birth canal.

If Nazi comparisons are juvenile and bad and Godwin-esque, why won't the MRC criticize all of them instead of publishing the ones it endorses?


Posted by Terry K. at 2:50 PM EST
CNS Still Giving Loopy Rabbi A Platform to Praise Trump
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com's favorite loopy Trump-loving rabbi, Aryeh Spero, just can't stop fawning over the president. And CNS can't stop giving Spero a platform for it.

In a Jan. 10 column, Spero aped Trump campaign rhetoric that building a wall at thte Mexico border is "the moral thing to do," complete withj Trump-esque rant:

Many of our communities have suffered, especially in rural areas, by an overcapacity and demand stemming from illegal immigration. Hospitals, schools, clinics, and other vital institutions have closed to the detriment of our citizens who have depended upon these institutions. Contagious diseases have begun to crop up in many areas; and people not wealthy enough to have fences surrounding their homes and unable to afford private transportation services are the victims of these outbreaks. Compassion for these ordinary American citizens is what we need and what the wall offers. 

And in a Feb. 6 column, Spero can't stop drooling over Trump's State of the Union address and alleged support for the Jews:

Last night’s State of the Union Address by President Trump will go down as one of the most historic, unifying, and visionary peacetime addresses to the nation. It was delivered with passion, precision, and expressed with heart, making us feel the country will be safe and will move forward under President Trump’s dynamic leadership.

[...]

No president has devoted more time to the scourge of anti-Semitism as did the President last evening when addressing survivors of the Holocaust, victims of the massacre at the Pittsburgh synagogue, and linking America’s history and identity with fighting anti-Semitism.  The President did a masterful job because deep inside he believes in what he says, and because he loves America and its people.

CNS previously brought in Spero, in his role as spokesperson for the National Conference on Jewish Affairs -- which appears to exist mainly, if not solely, as a vehicle for Spero -- to ostentatiously praise Trump's response to the Pittsburgh syagogue massacre, though he didn't much beyond visiting the area and offer "heartfelt expressions of grief."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:27 AM EST
Thursday, February 21, 2019
MRC: Soros Is A Jew You're Allowed To Hate
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center hates George Soros, and it wants you to hate him as much as he does -- to the point that it has absolved anyone who criticizes him of anti-Semitism.

After Democratic Rep. Ihlan Omar got into trouble with a remark about conservative politicians being controlled by Jewish money that many considered anti-Semitic, others pointed out that convervatives like to attack Soros and other liberal Jews for funding their preferred causes.  That did not go down well at the MRC.

Curtis Houck complained that "numerous analysts and hosts have tried to assist Omar by muddying the waters, suggesting House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is also anti-Semitic for a tweet last year criticizing the left-wing views of Michael Bloomberg, George Soros, and Tom Steyer." Houck added: "So criticizing the policies of specific individuals as radical is on par with suggesting money from Jewish people controls politicians? Yeah, no. Not the same."

Kyle Drennen huffed that some were taking "what was supposed to be a story about the anti-Semitism scandal swirling around Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar" and bring up McCarthy's comments, insisting that "In reality, McCarthy’s tweet simply criticized Soros for his left-wing influence over Democratic politics, in the exact same way that Democrats routinely attack the Koch brothers for donating to Republicans."

Alex Christy similarly got mad about the McCarthy parallel, sarcastically griping, "When Republicans warn about wealthy billionaires' influence on elections it is anti-Semitism, when Democrats do it, it is showing appropriate concern about money and lobbying in politics." Christy also complained that one cable news guest said that "Trump and Republicans have been peddling anti-Semitism through criticism of George Soros and 'globalists,' even seeming to imply that Trump's rhetoric had inspired the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, despite the fact that the shooter hated Trump." Actually, the shooter supported parts of Trump's political agenda, though he allegedly didn't vote for Trump.

Ryan Foley groused that CNN's Don Lemon "couldn't resist the urge to call House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy a hypocrite for knocking Omar despite the fact that he had accused 'Soros, Steyer, and Bloomberg,' three wealthy liberal Jews and Democratic donors, of trying to 'BUY this election.'"

Foley served up another defense of McCarthy, prlclaiming that he "offered a common sense explanation: it was election season and he was talking about Democrats and their big donors."

Houck went on another "whataboutism" tirade:

In what was a poorly mangled attempt to be the liberal and unfunny Seth Meyers, CNN’sThe Lead host Jake Tapper went on a rant Wednesday in which he pretended to throw fits at his control staff for not showing clips and tweets of anti-Semitic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN), but instead ones that painted the Trump administration and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as not only hypocrites but anti-Semites.

So, in other words, Tapper’s four-minute-and-eight-second monologue seemed to muddy the waters and engage in what probably would be condemned on CNN as “whataboutism” if such a stunt was pulled on Fox News.

[...]

So what should have been an unequivocal condemnation of anti-Semitism, blasting Omar’s treatment of [CNN reporter Manu] Raju, or even how Omar has repeatedly shown an apprehension toward Jewish people (including Wednesday’s hearing with Elliot Abrams), Tapper tried to deflect attention toward the GOP as having a problem with anti-Semitism. 

So, in other words, that’s whataboutism, which was amusing considering what Tapper tweeted on February 4, 2017 about the topic and comparisons that didn’t exactly line up. But Orange Man Bad, so that’s perfectly fine.

Of course, Houck would never be so gauche as to call out such whataboutism on Fox News for what it is in the way he's attacking Tapper.

Houck even went so far as to give Trump the benefit of the doubt in tweeting an anti-Semitic meme, baselessly ascribing ignorance to him:

Alas, Tapper continued on, asking producers to fetch more footage of Omar, but instead was given “a deleted Donald Trump retweet from 2016 as conservative Erick Erickson tweeted at the time: ‘A Star of David, a pile of cash, and suggestions of corruption. Donald Trump again plays to the white supremacists.’”

Yes, this was one of the more undeniably controversial things Trump did during the campaign, so let’s give Tapper the benefit of the doubt, even if one thinks Trump didn’t know what he was doing.

Even the MRC's semi-pro New York Times-hater, Clay Waters, got in on the action, complaining that a Times article "strained to turn the tables on Republicans" by bringing up McCarthy's statement.

It looks like a bunch of people at the MRC have forgotten how it has used anti-Semitic imagery by portraying Soros as a liberal puppetmaster. The MRC has never been held to account for that, and it has never apologized for using it, so it's walking on thin ice here in giving people a pass. The MRC also tried to whitewash unambiguous anti-Semitism against Soros, in the form of Roseanne Barr's false portrayal of him as a Nazi collaborator during World War II, as merely an "anti-Soros tweet."


Posted by Terry K. at 10:16 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2019 10:21 PM EST
WND Pushes Another Bogus Science-Related Petition
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've noted how WorldNetDaily has promoted a petition spearheaded by WND buddy Art Robinson that purports to have more than 31,000 scientists signing to a statement that "there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate" -- though few signees have a background in climatology and there's no apparent mechanism to verify signees' scientific qualifications.

Now, WND is at it again in a Feb. 9 article:

More than 1,000 highly influential scientists from around the world have gone on record with their doubts about Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

They hail from institutions such as Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Columbia, Tulane, Rice and Baylor, the National Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, the British Museum and MIT’s Lincoln Library.

“We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life,” they say in a statement. “Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”

The scientists include the best in molecular biology, biochemistry, biology, entomology, computational quantum chemistry, microbiology, psychiatry and behavioral sciences, astrophysics, marine biology, cellular biology, physics and astronomy, math, physics, geology and anthropology, according to Evolution News, an online publication of the Discovery Institute in Seattle, which promotes the theory of intelligent design.

The Discovery Institute first published its “Scientific Dissent from Darwinism” list in The New York Review of Books in 2001 to challenge “false” claims from PBS’ series “Evolution.”

The fact that this petition has been kicking around since 2001 is highly suggestive of the petition's dubious nature (Robinson's petition has been around since 1998).

But as an article by the National Center for Science Education details, the petition echoes the Robinson petition in other ways. Numerous signatories do not have backgrounds in evolutionary biology, and even Discovery Institute officials who signed it have Ph.Ds in philosophy, not science.

Further, the petition's wording has apparently changed over the years, de-emphasizing the link to the 2001 PBS program that inspired it, which according to the NCSE article falsely equated evolution with Darwinian evolution. Further, NCSE contacted some of the signatories and found that they "represent a diverse range of opinions about the role of natural selection in evolution." NCSE concludes: "Ironically, if one were to conduct a survey of scientists who accepted evolution, the size of that list would swamp by tens of thousands this list assembled by the Discovery Institute!"

Needless to say, WND has no interest in reporting that aspect.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:42 PM EST
CNS Skips A Controversy In Reporting on Trump Judicial Nominee
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com took an unusually high -- albeit highly selective -- interest in one Trump judicial nominee's Senate confirmation hearing.

Seemingly suggesting that the nominee wasn't far enough to the right, Melanie Arter wrote in a Feb. 6 article:

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals judicial nominee Neomi Rao told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that “there’s an overwhelming scientific consensus that there is climate change” and that “human activity does contribute to climate change.”

When questioned on her personal beliefs about when human life begins, however, she said it would be inappropriate to answer because some cases relating to the issue could come before the court.

But another article the same day, by Emily Ward, seemed to come to Rao's defense by highlighting a religion-related question to her:

On Tuesday, while questioning judicial nominee Neomi Rao, who has been nominated by President Donald Trump to serve on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) asked Rao whether she believed gay relationships “are a sin.” This drew criticism from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who pointed out that the Constitution prohibits religious tests of those seeking federal office.

Ward did concede there was a legitimate basis for Booker's question, noting that Rao had previously criticized a Supreme Court ruling that decriminalized same-sex relationships.

Ward followed up with a Feb. 13 article highlighting Republican criticism of questions to judges that "focused on the nominees’ religious beliefs," citing Booker's question to Rao as "only the most recent in a series of incidents in which Democrat senators have questioned nominees on their personal religious beliefs."

Strangely, none of these CNS articles cited a much bigger controversy involving Rao's beliefs: writings in college that seemed to argue that victims of date rape had it coming beause they drank too much. Rao apologized for those writings during the hearing -- something CNS didn't deem to be newsworthy.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:38 AM EST
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
WND's Brown Still Cynically Sticking With An Amoral President
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've documented how WorleNetDaily columnist Michael Brown handwaves President Trump's amoral and immoral behavior because he keesp delivering the right-wing goods. And he does so again in a Jan. 28 column.

Brown again offers up a little faux caring about Trump's behavior, complete with italics: "Quite obviously, as an evangelical, I do not back the president’s every word or decision, especially when he waxes ugly and even vulgar." Then he enumerates concerns about "some of the potential Democratic presidential candidates"; he repeats some of the usual right-wing attacks then, being the anti-gay activist he is, offers special to Pete Buttigeg for being "the openly gay mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and if elected, would be the nation’s first gay president." He also singled out "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the new face of the Democratic Party," even though she is not only not running for president, she's not even eligible to do so in 2020.

But Brown's point here is to once again cynically justify supporting Trump:

If 2020 came down to any of these putative Democrat candidates vs. Trump, it would be a no-brainer for me. Trump would get my vote.

And then there is that six-letter word: courts.

Last week, a state judge in Iowa struck down the “fetal heartbeat” bill, which prevents abortions once the baby’s heartbeat can be detected.

As reported by a local news outlet, “Judge Michael Huppert found the law unconstitutional, concluding that the Iowa Supreme Court’s earlier decisions that affirm a woman’s fundamental right to an abortion would include the new law passed last year.”

We desperately need judges who will do away with the myth of “a woman’s fundamental right to an abortion” and will instead rule in favor of life.

Against this backdrop, it is critically important that Trump recently renominated 50 judges for federal positions, including two for San Francisco’s notoriously far-left 9th Circuit Court. And Trump’s list of 50 is filled with solid conservatives.

In contrast, can you imagine what kind of judges a far-left Democratic president would nominate?

[...]

In light of the positive transformation of the courts, I will gladly put up with the president’s divisive ways as much as I regret them. Again, the alternative leaves me no choice.

Brown concluded:

In an ideal world, we would have a president who was a shining example of Christlikeness, well-versed in the Scriptures and serving as the leader of all Americans, from all faiths and backgrounds. And perhaps that day will come, even in our lifetimes.

But right now, as the Democratic Party continues to lurch left, as the courts play a bigger and bigger role in our society, and as the secular media exposes its extreme bigotry and bias, I am reminded afresh of why I voted for Trump in 2016.

And that’s why, given similar choices in 2020, I would vote for him again.

At least he's being consistently hypocritical.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:07 PM EST

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