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Tuesday, March 26, 2019
CNS Touts Pro-Trump Rabbi's Latest Stunt
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com's favorite loopy right-wing Trump-fluffing rabbi, Aryeh Spero, is at it again -- and, of course, CNS was there to promote his latest stunt. Alex Madajian writes in a March 15 article:

Rabbi Aryeh Spero, along with numerous Christians and Jews, gathered at the Capitol Hill office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday to protest the apparent growing anti-Semitism in the Democratic Party and specifically the anti-Semitism of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

Rabbi Spero is the leader of the National Conference of Jewish Affairs, which, the rabbi explained in an email to CNSNews.com, “speaks for the conservative and non-left leaning segments of American Jewry” and believes that “politically and socially conservative positions more accurately reflect the authentic view of historic Judaism, and is thus good for the Jewish people and good for America as well.”

At the protest, Rabbi Spero said that House Speaker Pelosi “failed us -- she had the chance to condemn [Rep.] Omar. She didn’t.  She had a chance to condemn, stand alone by itself, anti-semitism. She didn’t. She failed us.”

Madajian served up his own softball question to Spero: "What would you say was [Rep. Omar’s] most egregious example of those anti-Semitic remarks?" Surprisingly, he did acknowledge there was another side to the story, noting that there were "half-a-dozen counter-protesters from Code Pink, though he claimed the group "supports Palestine over Israel."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:16 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, March 26, 2019 12:18 AM EDT
Monday, March 25, 2019
Newsmax's Gizzi Joins ConWeb Lovefest for Hungarian Right-Winger
Topic: Newsmax

CNSNews.com and WorldNetDaily are not the only ConWeb outlets enamored by Viktor Orban's right-wing authoritarian government in Hungary. Newsmax's John Gizzi joins the parade with a March 15 article gushing over the country's "robust — and revolutionary — pro-family agenda" with a softball interview with Katalin Novak, Orban's minister of familiy and youth. How gushy? The picture accompanying Gizzi's article is of him interviewing Novak in an opulent-looking room.

Gizzi uncritically repeated "uplifting statistics" about Hungary's policies, which center around giving tax breaks to Hungarian natives to have children: "since 2010, the number of marriages is up 43 percent, divorces have decreased 20 percent, and the number of abortions has decreased 25 percent." Hungary has a very high divorce rate, and it's not actually clear that Orban's policies are having any effect on that.

Gizzi also played down the anti-immigration stance Orban has pushed and which lies at the heart of the "pro-family" policy. He noted Swedish official Annika Strandhall's criticism of the policy as "reek[ing] of the 1930s" but let Novak spin it by claiming "it’s not about what she’s saying but protecting our position" when, in fact, Orban has explicitly stated that Hungary is doing this instead of permitting immigration. (Even the white nationalist website VDARE has touted Orban's policy).

Last November, Gizzi did a similar softball piece on Republican Rep. Steve King that downplayed his white nationalist sympathies.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:49 PM EDT
MRC Defends Its 'Thomas the Tank Engine' Freakout
Topic: Media Research Center

Remember the Media Research Center's freakout last year over the idea that the children's show "Thomas the Tank Engine" wanted to expand its audience by introducing trains from various cultural backgrounds? Well, the MRC still thinks that was a very smart take.

In a March 13 MRC post, Clay Waters complains that the New York Times attacked the National Rifle Association's TV operation for, among other things, having an even bigger freakout over "Thomas" by "portraying the show’s talking trains in Ku Klux Klan hoods." But Times writer Danny Hakim was ignoring relevant context, Waters huffed:

Hakim left out the context, which Newsbusters provided at the time. The show was being pressured by the social justice left into adding female characters and “friends” from other countries. Slate's Jessica Roake called the show Thomas the Imperialist Tank Engine and branded the series "sinister,” while New Yorker decried its "repressive, authoritarian soul." But hysterical overreaction over a kids’ show is acceptable from fellow liberal journalists. It’s only when the right takes part does it suddenly become worrisome[.]

Both of those articles were cited in the NewsBusters piece by Melissa Mullins. But the Slate piece dates from 2011, and the New Yorker ran in 2017. Two pieces over six years doen not a "pressure campaign" make, and neither Mullins nor Waters prove that they had any direct effect on the show's adjustments.

On the other hand, Waters does seem to be doing, however stealthily, what very few at the MRC have the guts to admit "hysterical overreaction" on the part of the NRA. Is he applying that to Mullins as well?

Waters took other potshots at the Times article as well, dismissively claiming that "Hakim rounded up anything he could toss at the gun-rights group" by reporting the highly relevant fact that NRA board members are questioning the multimillions the group paid to the ad firm that runs the NRA's TV operation, and he also played whataboutism by arguing that the channel's increasingly extremist content was no differnt in tone from "left-wing outlets."


Posted by Terry K. at 1:49 PM EDT
WND Silent On How New Zealand Mosque Shooter Echoes WND's Anti-Muslim Rhetoric
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily's first story on the perpetrator of the New Zealand mosque massacre frames him as being "obessed with neo-Nazi ideology" and waits until the 11th paragraph to note that the in the shooter's manifesto, "The alleged shooter explains he 'disliked' Muslims and called them 'invaders.'"

Of course, one does not have to believe one to believe the other. While WND stays away from neo-Nazi ideology, its archives are rife with references to Muslims as"invaders":

  • A 2013 review by Jim Fletcher of a book claiming a "stealth agenda by the Muslim Brotherhood to infiltrate our government and wider culture" is headlined "Muslim invaders already 'in the house.'"
  • A 2015 article by anti-Muslim reporter Leo Hohmann rants that "Austrians are arming themselves at record rates in an effort to defend their households against feared attacks from Muslim invaders.
  • Another 2015 article approvingly quoted anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller portraying Muslim migration into Europe as "clearly an invasion."
  • A 2015 column by Geller is headlined "Muslim 'refugee' invasion of Europe" and rants about "immigration jihad."
  • Another 2015 article by Hohmann complained about the number of green cards to "migrants from Muslim-majority countries" and citing this "Islamic 'invasion,' as some are calling it."
  • A 2016 article is headlined "Rise of patriotic populists challenges Muslim invasion."
  • A 2017 column by James Zumwalt cited a Belgian politician who called Muslim immigration "a 'Trojan Horse'-style invasion of Europe that, for the West, will prove to be 'the end of civilization.'"
  • A 2017 interview of Paul Nehlen (remember him?) and his film "Hiijrah: Radical Islam's global Invasion" under the headline "Muslims invade U.S. 'in the name of Allah'."
  • A 2017 column by Mason Weaver is headlined "Muslim invasion – and the crazy Europeans who invited them" and said of Muslims: "Did the Europeans really expect peace and prosperity from a culture that has not contributed anything to civilization except piracy, invasion, beheading and death?" Weaver later sneered: "So I will grab a bowl of popcorn and watch the reality show called the 'Muslim Invasion of Europe' and the crazy Europeans who invited them. Your children will be murdered, your freedoms will be controlled, your women will be assaulted and your culture will be destroyed."

That's not the only connection to the shooter that WND is hiding. Another article cited the shooter's manifesto to potray him as a "socialist" and "eco-fascist" -- ignoring the fact that the shooter also sought inspiration from the manifesto of Anders Breivik, who massacred 77 people in Norway in 2011 -- and whose manifesto references WND six times. (WND's first story mentioned the Breivik inspiration but not its connection to his manifesto.)

As we've documented, the rhetoric of right-wing massacre perpetrators tends to echo hateful rhetoric published by WND. And it looks like WND is once again putting its head in the sand and refusing to take responsibility.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:56 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, March 25, 2019 12:57 AM EDT
Sunday, March 24, 2019
MRC Still Spinning Away Devastating Article On Fox News
Topic: Media Research Center

We've detailed how the Media Research Center has been trying to deflect from Jane Mayer's devastating New Yorker article about Fox News and its uncomfortably close ties to the Trump administration by whining that it was written in the first place (not by challenging any of the reporting) and by playing whataboutism by claiming Fox is not different than "liberal media" who allegedly courted Democratic presidents. That spin never really stopped.

Curtis Houck was upset (note the "Ugh" in his headline) that  the Democratic National Committee cited the story -- particularly its allegation that then-Fox News chief Roger Ailes fed questions to Trump prior to a candidate debate on the channel -- as a reason to deny Fox hosting any Democratic presidential candidate debate.Houck ranted that the story was a "rabidly anti-Fox hit job" and complained that CNN's Brian Stelter accurately opointed out that Fox News has regularly "dehumanized" Democrats. Houck complained that "chose not to offer a real defense for any of the straight-news anchors like Bret Baier, Bill Hemmer, Martha MacCallum, Chris Wallace, or even Shepherd Smith" -- despite the fact that the MRC regularly attacks Smith for not being a rifght-wing, pro-Trump shill -- then went into whataboutism mode: "Earth to Brian: Have you seen your own show and what you say about conservatives and Republicans who aren’t bleeding-heart anti-Trumpers or CNN supporters?"

Tim Graham followed by highlighting a Politico piece critical of the DNC's decision, headlined "If You're Afraid of Shep Smith, You Probably Shouldn't Be President." But Graham showed how much he disregards the "news" side of Fox News by including in his item an unflattering photo of Smith primping before he goes on camera. Graham then went into whataboutism mode:

It's entirely understandable that politicians and political parties would want to protect their brands from a hostile journalistic interrogation. It's their right. That's why GOP voters have wanted to prevent partisan hacks like George Stephanopoulos or Brian Williams from moderating their debates. But liberals never seem to admit that Republicans have a tremendous competitive disadvantage here. They have two handfuls of hostile liberal networks that they cannot seriously avoid, while Democrats can easily avoid the outlying "media arm" of the GOP. 

If Graham had bothered to demonstrate how those other networks behave exactly like Fox News under a Democratic president, he might have a point.

Randy Hall then highlighted a column by former Fox News talking head Erick Erickson in deflection mode, insisting that people are critical of Fox beause their ratings are good and downplaying the channel's obvious bias.

The MRC then touted the channel's own danage-control actions (while not identifying them as such). Nicholas Fondacaro featured Fox host Tucker Carlson's "scathing takedown of CNN for justifying the Democratic National Committee’s ban on allowing Fox News to host a Democratic debate,"then joining conservative-leaning media critic Joe Concha in a fit of whataboutism on how "CNN wasn’t the most trustworthy when it came to holding debates" claiming that thisshowed "why [Carlson's] colleagues were the bigger people." Fondacaro highlighted how Carlson said "We defend speech, even when it's unpopular, even when the person speaking has attacked us personally" -- a claim that was to be disproven just a few days later when Carslon attacked Media Matters for uncovering Carlson's vile rants on a shock jock's radio show several years ago. (Ironically, Fondacaro cheered Carlson's "unloading" and declared Media Matters to be a "a radical left-wing political organization." Does that mean we can call the MRC a "radical right-wing political organization"?)

Ryan Foley wrote up more damage control in a form of an interview between two Fox News employee, Bret Baier and Howard Kurtz, in which they plugged the channel's news division (of which they are ostensibly a part) and complained that the New Yorker article "a 'fig leaf' that the Democratic National Committee used as an excuse to prevent Fox News from hosting a debate." Foley -- and, we presume, Baier and Kurtz, since it doesn't appear in either of the clips Foley includes in his post -- failed to mention that reports that Ailes leaked debate questions to Trump, which were a key reason why the DNC dropped Fox as a debate host.

Foley also approvingly quoted Baier claiming that other media outlets suffer from"Fox Derangement Syndrome" -- as if the MRC itself wasn't a major carrier and victim of CNN Derangement Syndrome.

Again, by the way, no MRC writer has ever disputed the accuracy of anything in the New Yorker article.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:54 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, March 24, 2019 9:11 PM EDT
CNS Story on Shine Resignation Censors Fox News Link, Scandals
Topic: CNSNews.com

Last year, we documented how CNSNews.com wrote a story on White House communications director Hope Hicks' resignation that read like it was written by Hicks herself -- chock full of congratulatory statements and completely censoring the scandals surrounding her, such as testifying before a House committee and the fact that her boyfriend, Rob Porter, had to resign his White House job after his history of spousal abuse was made public.

With the resignation of another White House communications director, the pattern is repeating. Melanie Arter -- who wrote the fluff piece on Hicks -- wrote this in a March 8 article:

White House Communications Director Bill Shine offered his resignation Friday to spend more time with his family and focus on the president’s re-election campaign.

In a statement Friday, Shine said, “Serving President Trump and this country has been the most rewarding experience of my entire life. To be a small part of all this President has done for the American people has truly been an honor. I’m looking forward to working on President Trump’s reelection campaign and spending more time with my family.”

Shine is expected to serve as senior advisor to Trump’s re-election campaign, the White House said.

Trump praised Shine for doing “an outstanding job” and said he looks forward to working with him on the 2020 presidential campaign.

“Bill Shine has done an outstanding job working for me and the Administration. We will miss him in the White House, but look forward to working together on the 2020 Presidential Campaign, where he will be totally involved. Thank you to Bill and his wonderful family!” Trump said in a statement.

Arter also included praise of Shine from White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

Missing, as before, was any mention of the scandals surrounding Shine. Arter did not mention that Shine is a former executive for Fox News, where he was accused of helping then-CEO Roger Ailes cover up allegations of sexual harassment against Ailes and trying to discredit the women who made those claim. Arter also failed to report claims that Shine was ousted because Trump was unhappy he was unable to improve the president's public image.

As far as Shine's purported desire to spend time with his family goes, Arter ignored that Shine's wife, Darla, used her Twitter account to spread false anti-vaccine claims.

This is the second Trump White House communications director to whom Arter has given a gushy send-off. It's almost as if Arter is trying to establish herself to the Trump White House as a friendly reporter so it might throw a scoop or access to a high-ranking administration official her way.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:54 PM EDT
Saturday, March 23, 2019
'Captain Marvel' Derangement At The MRC
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has spent a lot of time throwing hate at the new superhero movie "Captain Marvel," fretting that the film may too politicially correct for its right-wing sensibilities.

On March 4, Gabriel Hays cited an interview with star Brie Larson to claim the film examined "intersectional feminism" and was going to "flow down the PC sewer" with its "female-centric gaze." Hays went on to tout the "strong pre-release boycott of this film due to Larson’s PC pulpit."

Biased reviewer Christian Toto trashed "Captain Marvel" in a March 9 post that started off not by examining the film itself but by attacking Larson for having "railed against too many white male reporters, trumpeted the film’s feminist agenda and dictated which under-represented writers could pen her glossy magazine profiles." It's not until the sixth paragraph that Toto finally gets around to addressing the actual film, sniffing that it "suffers from anemic characters, lame comic relief and, worst of all, a talented actress who’s all wrong to play a superheroine."

But the MRC's narative must be served, and he bashes one character for deing "always around the corner, telling Vers she’s too hysterical to make an impact. How did Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez not score a cameo?" He concludes by huffing that the film "cares far more about lecturing audiences than entertaining them."

Hays returned to spend a March 9 post being triggered that the film was promoted on the Twitter account of the late Stan Lee:

If your feminist superhero movie is losing in the court of public opinion and millions of dollars are on the line, how far would you go to save face? Well if you’re Marvel, I guess you might drag up the ghost of Stan Lee to do some last minute PR. An effective tactic? Er, maybe … ? Creepy and ghoulishly opportunistic? You betcha.

There’s plenty of buzz surrounding Marvel’s latest blockbuster film Captain Marvel, but it’s due less to excitement about the movie itself and more to the political comments made by the film’s creators and its star Brie Larson, who say it could be the “biggest feminist movie of all time." Needless to say, superhero fans are tired of hearing about how this movie appropriately tackles “intersectional feminism” and other progressive tropes, so many have taken online to push for a boycott.

Of course that means it’s time for Marvel to start overcompensating. Besides continuing to push a “woke” political agenda that many mainstream critics have been eating up (pre-release reviews are oh so positive at the moment), the company employed a social media seance and now Twitter users have to endure the horror of the deceased Stan Lee tweeting at them to go see a crappy girl power movie.

While Hays and Toto rooted for the film to be a bomb, they were surely disappointed that non-traggered fans didn't agree; "Captain Marvel" grossed a massive $153 million on its opening weekend.

But the MRC didn't back off. A March 15 item by Clay Waters bashed the New York Times for reporting on how the movie review site Rotten Tomatoes revamped its scoring system to discount pre-release attacks by trolls doing the same thing that Hays did by whining about the film being too PC. "The article was an amusing example of how avidly the ostensibly anti-capitalist left will defend a multi-billion dollar capitalist enterprise (Marvel Studios and its ongoing myriad-film superhero saga) when the right ('troll') enemies are lined up on the other side," Waters huffed.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:45 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, March 24, 2019 1:10 PM EDT
WND Finds An AOC Conspiracy Theory To Embrace
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As we've seen at CNSNews.com, Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lives rent-free in the heads of conservatives and right-wingers. That goes for WorldNetDaily as well, which found a conspiracy theory (of course) about AOC that it could embrace, promoting it in a March 11 article:

Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., is a “puppet congresswoman,” and “the people controlling her are very dangerous.”

It sounds like a crazy conspiracy theory, acknowledges actor, writer and political commentator Christopher Patrick Kohls.

But the first-hand evidence is there for anyone to see, he contends in a video produced under his Mr Reagan moniker.

“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not really the congresswoman of New York’s 14th Congressional District,” he says provocatively as he opens the video. “She is essentially an actress. She’s merely playing the part of a New York congresswoman.”

Kohls explains that in 2017, a progressive group that formed in response to Trump’s election called the Justice Democrats held “auditions” for potential congressional candidates to run on their platform.

As evidence, he runs a clip from a Justice Democrats video.

“Back in 2016, we put out a call for nominations,” says the group’s executive director, Alexandra Rojas. “We got over 10,000 nominations. Out of those 10,000 nominations, we found Alexandria.”

[...]

Kohls comments: “A casting call. They had a casting call. They cast Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the role of congresswoman. And they did this so they could promote their own agenda.

As usual, WND can't be bothered to fact-check any of this hooey or reach out to AOC for a response.

That's a bad idea, since the theory that Ocasio-Cortez is a "puppet" for Justice Democrats collapses quickly when one discovers that she is also alleged to have been in control of the group in late 2017 and early 2018 and has since been de-listed from its leadership.

Of course, when has lack of truth ever stopped WND from embracing conspiracy theories before?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:59 AM EDT
Friday, March 22, 2019
How Is CNS' Managing Editor Hating Transgenders Now?
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com managing editor Michael W. Chapman pretty much despises the entire LGBT community. Let's take a look at his recent hate for transgenders.

In a Jan. 25 article, Chapman cheered how "Japan's Supreme Court ruled to uphold existing law that transgender persons who want their gender legally changed on official documents must be sterilized in order to prevent "problems" in parent-child relationships and protect society from "confusion" and "abrupt changes." He then disparagingly defined a transgender man as "a female pretending to be a male."

On March 6, Chapman had a fit about how "two members of Congress read the pro-transgender 'kids' book I Am Jazz on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives" -- so much of a fit that, as the article URL indicates, the original headline on Chapman's post called the book a "transgender propaganda book," before being later changed to "pro-transgender 'kids' book." In keeping with his theme of hatred, he disparagingly calls Jazz Jennings "a biological boy pretending to be a girl."

Chapman then took offense to the book's description of Jennings as being "born this way," huffing that "To date, there is no scientific evidence proving that transgender people are, as Lady Gaga sings, 'born this way.'" As evidence, he provides a link to a rant about "gender ideology" from the right-wing American College of Pediatricians.

Chapman, as he has before, then turned to discredited anti-gay psychiatrist Paul McHugh to assert that "transgenderism is a “mental disorder” that merits treatment, that sex change is 'biologically impossible,' and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder." And, for reasons known only to him and God, he includes an image of a painting of the Second Continental Congress.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:36 PM EDT
MRC Thinks CNN Tribute To Trebek's Pursuit Of Facts Is Veiled Attack on Trump
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center loves ot look for "liberal bias" in areas where it doesn't necessarily exist. Nicholas Fondacaro takes a shot in a March 6 post, assering that in a tribute to "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek's pancreatic cancer fight, "CNN’s Chris Cuomo had to throw in a dash of politics and veiled references to President Trump" instead of "just promoting Trebek’s fighting spirit and spreading awareness for a type of cancer that’s really hard to detect."

What did Cuomo say that Fondacaro found so offensive? He merely noted that "In a time of shallow beliefs and rampant truth abuse in our politics and beyond, every night [Trebek] makes facts first. We need him now more than ever." That's it. Despite the fact that Cuomo did not name Trump or any other politician, Fondacaro ranted "Seriously? Nnow, of all times?" and his CNN derangement kicked in:

Cuomo treats his show as a prosecutor’s argument and courtroom against President Trump. Seemingly every night, Cuomo uses his show to rail against the President with suggestions he’s tearing us apart and poisoning the dialogue with lies and misinformation. So, given that blatant history, it’s clear that Cuomo exploiting Trebek’s cancer diagnosis to score political points.

Fondacaro did eventually calm down enough to acknowledge that Cuomo "did take time to raise awareness" about pancreatic cancer. But perhaps he needs to lay off the caffeine or whatever it is they're drinking over there to fuel the kneejerk corporate hatred for all things CNN.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:21 AM EDT
Thursday, March 21, 2019
Pollster Thinks Criticism of America Is Anti-American
Topic: Newsmax

Conservative pollsters John and Jim McLaughlin spend their March 4 Newsmax column framing any criticism of America as anti-American.

They summarize a poll they conducted for "our client United in Purpose for their 'You've Been Lied to!' campaign" -- but they don't describe the organization any further. As it turns out, United in Purposeis a data-mining organization with the goal of increasing turnout of evangelical Christian voters, but is best known for inadvertently making public information on millions of voters through failure to secure it. Its leader, Bill Dallas, spent time in prison for embezzlement. The United in Purpose website is curiously barren, having only a home page and contact page.

The McLaughlins wrote: "In our most recent national survey of 1,000 likely voters conducted between February 6 and 10, when we asked, 'Do you agree or disagree that America is the source of most of the world’s ills: political, economic and environmental?' 46 percent of all voters agreed and only 46 percent disagreed. It was a shocking result." They asserted that this was an "anti-American message."

The McLaughlins then declared that "Agreement that America is the source of most of the world’s ills is clearly a political message tied to party and ideology," with of course Democrats and liberals most like to hold that belief.

The pair demonstrated their bias further in another poll question asking who was to blame for "rising anti-Americanism," by including the choices of "media elites" and "Hollywood entertainment elites" -- derogatory right-wing terms for things they don't like. They would never describe, say, Fox News as "elites." They conclude with more biased posturing:

It is a political message that is driven by ideology and political beliefs and it is growing among younger voters. It’s clearly a message for the left to drive younger voters to their philosophy.

The vast majority of voters feel that anti-Americanism is on the rise, and they mostly blame partisan politicians and media entertainment elites for the rise of anti-Americanism. So while we agree Anti-Americanism is on the rise, as Americans, we can see it is clearly from germinating from the left within.

As if the McLaughlins aren't themselves trying to push an ideological message masquerading as purportedly neutral polling.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:28 PM EDT
MRC Attacks Devastating Piece on Fox News With Whataboutism
Topic: Media Research Center

Earlier this month, the New Yorker published an article by Jane Mayer about "the Fox News White House," detailing in great depth ties between the channel and Trump White House as well as numerous unflattering claims about Fox News' behavior, wuch as the fact it refused to report on the story that Trump paid off Stormy Daniels to keep silent about their affair before the 2016 election.

Since Fox News is the Media Research Center's favorite media outlet -- as well as the one on which its spokespeople make the vast majority of their talking-head TV appearances -- it had to figure out a way to knock down Mayer's story.

The efforts were rather tepid at first. A March 4 post by Alex Christy complained that MSNBC had Mayer on to talk about her story; at first he sneered, "Well, if critics, who never liked Fox well before Trump became President, say so, it must be true." Christy then whined that the article highlighted Bill Shine's move from the Fox News executive suite to White House commiunications director, adding that "Mayer didn't write an over 11,000 word exposé on George Stephanopoulos, or the fact that the President of CBS was the brother of Obama's deputy national security advisor, or ABC News President Ben Sherwood's sister being an Obama foreign policy staffer, or MSNBC's Al Sharpton having a close relationship with President Obama. Not to mention all of MSNBC's morning and evening opinion shows, Morning Joe included."

Christy also complained that Mayer highlighted how "Fox's hostility toward the Obama Administration grew increasingly extreme," then huffed that it was "left to Fox to play" the aversarial role. He then went the whataboutism route: "Fox has its share of opinion hosts who defend the President, sometimes in over-the-top ways, but what Mayer and Morning Joe  missed was that they engage in similar rhetoric. Morning Joe has never passed an opportunity to call Trump a racist or compare the current state of Trump's America to Germany in 1933. If Fox's opinion hosts claim that everything good in the world is because of Trump and everything bad is due to his opponents, MSNBC and Morning Joe have the inverse opinion."

Yet Christy and the MRC have never criticized Fox News for acting the inverse of MSNBC.

Two days later, though, Kyle Drennen was denouncing Mayer's article as an "anti-Fox News hit piece" filled with "anonymous claims." Drennen went straight to whataboutism, responding to MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell noting that Fox News killed the Daniels story by huffing: "NBC would certainly know about sitting on damaging accusations against a president. In 1999, the network delayed airing an interview with Bill Clinton rape accuser Juanita Broaddrick until after impeachment of the Democratic president had passed." Drennen then ranted:

The gall it takes for committed liberals like Mitchell and Mayer to sit and pass judgment on alleged bias at another media outlet is stunning. The two of them, and most of their press colleagues, have spent decades carrying water for the Democratic Party and slamming conservatives. Just a look back at the 2008 presidential race and the uniform media adulation for Barack Obamashows how blatantly journalists disregard the “line between politics and news” on a routine basis.

Jeffrey Lord complained in his March 9 column that Mayer's article had the "unsubtle subtext" that "somebody needs to silence Fox News," citing the Democrats' decision not to let Fox News host a Democratic presidential primary debate, which Lord declared was a "quite normal and free press activity."

MRC honchos Brent Bozell and Tim Graham got in on the deflection action as well. In their March 6 column, they admit that the Fox-Trump axis is "a fair subject for analysis" -- then make it clear they can't be bothered to do that analysis by descending into full-tilt whataboutism going all the way back to the 1930s: "Forget the journalists who covered up President Franklin D. Roosevelt's disability, or President John F. Kennedy's debauchery. Never mind the 'news' people who insisted that President Bill Clinton would never sexually harass or rape a woman."

(Of course, it's never been proven that Clinton raped anybody, and Broaddrick's story remains highly suspect because she spent a good 20 years denying any such thing ever happened.)

None of these MRC writers dispute anything in Mayer's article -- they simply complain it was written at all and have nothing but whataboutism to offer in response.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:45 PM EDT
WND's Ponte Rants Against Voting Reform Bill
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Lowell Ponte's March 10 WorldNetDaily column is one long screed against H.R. 1, the Democratic-promoted voting reform bill. He pushes all the usual right-wing arguments against reform, plus a few less-than-factual ones. For instance, he writes:

Under the U.S. Constitution, states and localities were to control the voting process. For many decades, judges have been changing this. Before the 2018 election, Democrat judges took redistricting away from elected state legislatures in Pennsylvania and North Carolina and re-drew congressional district boundaries – a judicial gerrymander that favored Democratic candidates. Billionaire Democratic donor George Soros has spent many millions electing leftist state Attorneys General and local district attorneys who control election recounts and tilt their results leftward.

In fact, what those judges have done is forced an un-gerrymander -- both states were so gerrymanded by Republicans that it was deemed illegal. In Pennsylvania, the voting population is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, yet 13 of the state's 18 congressional seats are held by Republicans, and one district is so bizarrely shaped that it's been described as "Goofy kicking Donald Duck" and at one point is only 550 feet wide. In North Carolina, Donald Trump received slightly more votes in 2016 than Hillary Clinton, but Republicans control 10 of the state's 13 congressional districts.

Ponte is certainly not going to admit that any "leftward" movement in those states is simply more accurately reflecting the electorate.

Ponte followed that with a nasty attack on felons trying to regain the right to vote, as well as Democrats for purportedly being no better than criminals:

Under H.R. 1, states must allow all convicted felons to vote. According to university studies, convicted felons vote up to 88 percent of the time for Democrats. Both share the same desire to profit from redistributing wealth at gunpoint. Would you want members of Congress beholden to the felon vote that elected them?

Actually, under H.R. 1 voting rights to felons would be restored once they complete their sentences. And it's weird that Ponte fixates on the alleged political affiliation of felons who have completed their sentences -- which means that he's willing to deny someone's voting rights solely because that person might not vote the way he wants, since he offers no other argument for denial.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:56 AM EDT
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
How CNS Media Bias Works, Congressional Hearing Edition
Topic: CNSNews.com

As we've noted, one way CNSNews.com displays its right-wing bias is by ignoring questions at congressional hearings posed by Democrats while heaping coverage upon those made by Republican members of Congress. There is an exception, though: CNS will report questioning by Democrats when it can be used to advance its political agenda and/or to make them look ridiculous.

Susan Jones takes this approach in a March 7 article, in which she complains about questioning of Customs and Border Protection commissioner Kevin McAleenan:

At a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) expressed more concern about the welfare of illegal alien children in U.S. custody than she did about the welfare of those same children on the perilous journey north, when they are subject to all kinds of injury and sexual abuse.

Harris was particularly concerned about allegations of sexual abuse in U.S. detention facilities; and about the removal of toys from children in Customs and Border Protection custody.

Jones then dismissed Harris' concern over "reports that immigrant children may have been sexually abused while in custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement," suggesting that McAleenan shouldn't have been questioned about it because that "falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Health and Human Services," which operates the Office of Refugee Resettlement. She went on to huff: "Even though HHS/ORR personnel are separate from CBP, Sen. Harris made it look like McAleenan bears some responsibility for turning children over to alleged American abusers."

Jones concluded her article by circling back to her opening paragraph and touting the softball questions by Republican Rep. Joni Ernst, who merely "asked McAleenan what he's seeing at the border" and gave him time to pontificate about the alleged sexual abuse happening on the way to the border.

Jones, by the way, did not admit that the U.S. has no jurisdiction over any alleged criminal acts that happened to refugees before they arrived at the border, thus making it superfluous for Harris to demand accountability from any U.S. official over it.

 


Posted by Terry K. at 5:33 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: 'Free Speech' Cowardice At The MRC
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center laments that alternative social-media operations get deplatformed for serving as outlets for far-right extremism -- which it rebrands as "free speech" -- but it can't be bothered to support those operations by establishing a presence there. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 9:33 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, March 20, 2019 4:08 PM EDT

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