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Saturday, June 8, 2019
WND's Cashill Pounces on Dubious MLK Claim
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Jack Cashill thinks he has something worth writing about in his May 29 WorldNetDaily column:

Without intending to, civil rights historian David Garrow may have just preserved the legacy of Thomas Jefferson.

In a Standpoint article due to be published Thursday, Garrow reports on the FBI memos regarding Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. that were part of a substantial U.S. National Archives data dump from earlier this year.

Among the revelations from the FBI’s year-long bugging of King’s hotel rooms is that King had sex with more than 40 women, participated in orgies and, most damningly, stood by and laughed as a friend raped a woman.

As of this writing, the average consumer of mainstream news knows none of this. Although all of the major British publications have reported on Garrow’s research, none of America’s major media outlets has.

The problem for the major media is Garrow. A Pulitzer Prize winner and King biographer, he is no one’s idea of a right-wing smear artist. In his 2017 Obama biography, in fact, he critiques the president from the left.

As of this moment at least, Garrow is comfortably at home among the liberal journalistic elite. He has little use for those of us who are not.

Needles to say, Cashill omits certain inconvenient details about this alleged MLK revelation. As a real news outlet reported, Garrow's source is "FBI files purported to be summaries of recordings of King and his colleagues in the 1960s when their rooms were being bugged and phones wiretapped by Hoover." Any corresponding tapes and transcripts, if they exist, are under court seal and won't be made public until 2027, meaning that Garrow hasn't confirmed what those summaries claim.

Further, the FBI at the time was engaged in a disinformation campaign against King, and because of that, more circumspect historians have raised questions about whether the summaries should be taken at face value. (Garrow thinks the summaries are accurate.)

Nevertheless, Cashill insisted that Garrow "may have just preserved the legacy of Thomas Jefferson" and Andrew Jackson, bizarrely adding, "Say what one will about Jackson, but most of the Cherokees survived the Trail of Tears."

Laura Hollis also used her WND column to highlight the controversy, also making sure to leave out pesky details. She took a slightly different approach:

In this era of #MeToo and “Trust Women,” what would the reaction be if a group of feminist activists were to arrange a protest around the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C., take sledgehammers and other blunt instruments to the statue of the man there, deface it with spray-painted sayings and hire a crane to knock it over? What would the public reaction be if local police and the National Park Service personnel were ordered to “stand down” and allow that to happen? Would pundits, gender and race scholars and Hollywood tweeters jump to the protesters’ defense? Would we hear calls for all streets and schools and parks named for Dr. King to be renamed?

I don’t think so. (And I would hope not.) But the deafening silence since the sordid revelations – unverified though some of them are – says plenty about the public discomfort when our heroes are revealed to be deeply flawed individuals. What does it do to their legacy? What standards are we holding public figures to now?

Hollis had an interesting argument but for her mention of Confederate monuments that have been removed. Changing standards don't change the idea that maybe we shouldn't have monuments to the losing side of a war against the United States.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:27 AM EDT
Friday, June 7, 2019
NewsBusters Blogger Gets Mad Trump's Affinity For Right-Wing Strongmen Is Pointed Out
Topic: NewsBusters

Blogging at NewsBusters, former Media Research Center intern Ryan Foley tries the ol' whataboutism route in a May 16 post:

Opening Wednesday's CNN Tonight, the horribly biased Don Lemon pondered: “Why this President loves to surround himself with strong men, with dictators?” Naturally, Lemon proceeded to criticize Trump for meeting with dictators, apparently forgetting that President Obama attended a baseball game with Cuban dictator Raul Castro while administration officials had numerous meetings with Iranians. Lemon went further by saying that President Trump wants to “follow their lead” by acting like a king.

While Obama did attend a baseball game with Castro -- though some people were more upset that he did so in the wake of a terrorist attack in Europe -- he also held a joint news conference in which Castro was allowed to be asked questions by the news media for the first time in, well, ever. Foley also offered no evidence that any Obama administration officials treated those Iranians with the same deference Trump has treated his right-wing strongman buddies.

And who are those right-wing strongmen that are Trump's buddies, anyway? Foley mostly avoids them in his post. Two of them -- Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil and Viktor Orban of Hungary -- are two of the MRC's favorite right-wing strongmen as well; its "news" division CNSNews.com just loves them.

Foley did complain that Lemon pointed out Trump said to Chinese president Xi Jinping, "you’re President for life and therefore, you’re king," then sneered: "The far-left CNN host asserted that 'it should be no surprise President Trump is behaving like a king.' His evidence? Trump saying 'I alone can fix it' at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Big whoop."


Posted by Terry K. at 2:30 PM EDT
CNS Gives Mueller Statement A Pro-Trump Spin
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com was in full pro-Trump spin mode when the Mueller report came out, and it jumped back into spin mode when Robert Mueller himself made a public statement about his report.

The narrative CNS pushed was that even though Trump could not be charged with a crime due to Department of Justice policy that a president cannot be charged while in office, no alleghed co-conspirators were either; thus, Trump could not have possibly committed a crime. Susan Jones framed itas such in her lead article:

"The matters we investigated were of paramount importance," Special Counsel Robert Mueller said on Wednesday in his first public statement on the Trump-Russia investigation since he released his report.

Mueller said in addition to Russian interference, he was authorized to investigate actions that could have obstructed the investigation, and while Justice Department policy prohibits the indictment of a sitting president, co-conspirators could be charged now, if the evidence supported such charges -- but apparently it didn't.

Jones later added parenthetically to drive home the narrative: "[Mueller did not charge any "co-conspirators" with obstruction, but he did not mention that on Wednesday.]"

Melanie Arter echoed the narrative in a sidebar on Mueller's contention that he could not determine if Trump committed a crime: "Mueller also said that the evidence used in the investigation of Trump could have been used to charge co-conspirators. However, no one has been charged with conspiracy in the probe – a fact that Mueller did not mention."

Craig Bannister served up the usual stenographical sidebars: repeating a Trump tweet cheering that the case was closed and uncritically quoting White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders' contention that everyone should move on with their lives. Bannister did also serve up the lone article on Mueller that didn't have a right-wing bias, a statement from Nancy Pelosi that the Mueller report will be used as a blueprint for future action against Trump.

But that's just window dressing. The point was to spin for Trump, and CNS fulfilled that mission.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:32 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, June 7, 2019 5:10 PM EDT
Thursday, June 6, 2019
MRC Dismisses Abortion Clinic Violence
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Kyle Drennen complained in a May 22 post:

During a report on Wednesday’s Today show promoting “protests from coast to coast” against pro-life legislation in various states, NBC reporter Stephanie Gosk fretted over such a measure being considered in Louisiana. She noted how “calls from patients have spiked” at a New Orleans abortion clinic and ironically asked a member of the clinic’s staff if a “violent act” had ever occurred at the facility.

[...]

After Caldwell described seeing “protesters almost every day” outside the clinic, Gosk assumed the pro-life demonstrators were dangerous: “Has there ever been any violent act? Any attack on your clinic?” Caldwell claimed: “Absolutely, and on clinic staff.”

Apparently it was missed on Gosk that abortions themselves are acts of violence.

Note how Drennen frames reporting on protests against "pro-life legislation" -- euphemistic terminology instead of the more accurate "anti-abortion" -- as "promoting" the protests. That's what we call the depiction-equals-approval fallacy, a longtime MRC staple.

Note, too, how Drennen quickly deflects away from anti-abortion activists committing violence to claiming that the REAL violence is going on inside the clinic -- perhaps as a justification for anti-abortion violence.

Of course, this sort of deflection is part of the right-wing anti-abortion playbook. When a man shot and killed three people inside a Planned Parenthood clinic in 2015, the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, immediately portrayed the man as mentally ill and not part of the anti-abortion movement (even though the killings advance the movement's goals and was clearly inflamed by anti-abortion rhetoric). The MRC proper did the same thing.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:36 PM EDT
WND Columnist Can't Separate Trump And America
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Scott Lively takes a break from hating gays in his May 24 WorldNetDaily column to go the divine-Donald route. Not only does he assert that God chose Trump to be president, there's no difference between Trump and America and if you oppose one, you oppose both:

This unique, world-shaping nation – our “sweet land of liberty”– faces an existential Satanic threat in the Marxist Uniparty campaign to destroy our president. For His own reasons reminiscent of His picks for the Old Testament judges, God chose this flawed but fearless bare-knuckle fighter, Donald J. Trump, to rescue America from the Clinton/Obama/Bush/Soros/Deep State takedown in 2016 and to grant its people a short reprieve: a limited window of opportunity to rally behind the Constitution and Christianity as they were understood by our Founding Fathers.

[...]

Why do they hate Trump so zealously? Because America – the real America handed down to us by the founders – is the only thing that stands in the way of these diabolical, God-hating fanatics and their world-conquering agenda. And President Donald Trump is the man chosen – by God and American voters – for this desperate season, to lead real America’s last stand against them.

In a very real sense, at this critical moment America is Trump and Trump is America. If Trump goes down, America goes down. The window of reprieve will have closed, and this once exceptional nation will be cannibalized and assimilated into the new globalist order along with every other country that has followed Trump’s lead.

Because if this tireless, thick-skinned, hard-punching, PC-rejecting, Christianity-defending warrior, who can’t be steered or intimidated by the leftist media, who knows all the left’s dirty tricks as only a former insider can know them, and who isn’t restrained by the Marquis of Queensberry rules that only Republicans are ever held to … if he can’t defeat the swamp creatures, then who among the very limited universe of possible alternative leaders could?

No. These are times and circumstances of biblical proportions, and for His own reasons God has raised up Donald Trump as our warrior-champion. Our duty as patriotic Americans is to keep a crystal clear focus on the enormity of the stakes we all face in this war against Trump and to do all that we can to prevent our common enemies from taking him down.

Lively even managed to keep his gay-hating to an absolute minimum. merely listing "LGBT radicals" as part of the "axis of evil" arrayed against Trump. That's pretty tepid by Lively's standards.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:11 PM EDT
CNS Sends Another Intern To Pester Members of Congress
Topic: CNSNews.com

It's summer intern season, and the Media Research Center has a whole crop of 'em. Some get assigned to the "news" division, CNSNews.com, where they get assigned to do things like pester members of Congress with whatever right-wing bias-driven question Terry Jeffrey and crew want to pin them down on an answer.

We're unclear on whether Alex Madajian is an intern -- if so, he appears to have been there for the spring season, since his last article at this writing appeared May 24. His second-to-last article appeared the same day, and it was that bias-driven drudgery:

Although the Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee have issued a subpoena to the IRS demanding the tax returns of President Donald Trump for 2013-2018, Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) said he has no plans to demand the release of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) tax returns.

Also, when asked if he would release his tax returns, Chairman Neal did not answer directly but said, “At the right moment I’d be happy to, sure.” At that point he was escorted away by a staffer.

[...]

CNSNews.com contacted all 42 Ways and Means Committee members – Democrat and Republican – and asked them three questions:

-- Should the committee also subpoena the tax returns of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the six tax years from 2013 through 2018?

-- Has the representative publicly released his/her tax returns for the six tax years from 2013 through 2018? If so, where can we see copies of them?

-- If he/she has not publicly released her/his tax returns for the six tax years from 2013 through 2018 will he/she release them now?

CNSNews.com contacted each member’s office by email and telephone. Also, CNSNews.com went to several of the members’ offices and spoke with the press personnel there and interviewed several committee members in the halls of Congress.

To date, only 11 committee members (or their offices), out of 42, have responded to CNSNews.com’s questions.

That's right -- Madajian was forced to hound 42 members of Congress with a partisan series of questions because someone at CNS was mad that Democrats are seeking Trump's tax returns.

Madajian went on to complain that "The committee has not demanded the tax returns of any previous president," but he didn't mention there was no need to because all presidents since Richard Nixon have released them on their own.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:34 AM EDT
Wednesday, June 5, 2019
AIM Cites Biased Tweets To Attack Article's Alleged 'Biased Framing'
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Carrie Sheffield spends a May 29 Accuracy in Media post complaining that "The Washington Post relied on anonymous sourcing and biased framing in its reporting that “President Trump’s new executive order giving the attorney general broad authority to declassify government secrets threatens to expose U.S. intelligence sources and could distort the FBI and CIA’s roles in investigating Russian interference in the 2016 elections.'" Her idea of rebutting things was to cite a partisan figure's tweets that are, yes, filled with biased framing:

Former George W. Bush White House spokesman Ari Fleischer called out the Post’s Shane Harris for his framing and assertions:

“Flynn was unmasked and the info leaked,” he tweeted. “Hillary’s campaign funded a false dossier that the FBI used to justify a FISA warrant. Comey’s briefing to Trump about the dossier was leaked. But Barr is the problem?!”

[...]

Fleischer called out the unprecedented nature of questionable actions taken by Obama officials.

“The headline on the story should be ‘Obama officials exposed secrets, politicized intelligence with Russia probe,’” Fleischer tweeted. “The subtext here is that if Trump does something, it must be wrong. If Obama does something, it must be right.”

In fact, corrupt Trump official Michael Flynn was "unmasked" -- a revealing of the identity of the person communicating with a foreign entity who intelligence sources were monitoring -- because, according to then-national security adviser Susan Rice, she was trying to understand why the United Arab Emirates was trying to establish a back channel of communication to the incoming Trump administration without alerting U.S. officials of the effort. Despite right-wing insistence to the contrary, there's no evidence the unmasking was done for political purposes. There's no evidence Rice leaked Flynn's identity or that the Obama administration "politicized intelligence."

Of course, Fleischer doesn't explain why Flynn's secret communications with Russian and other officials should have been kept secret -- and Sheffield doesn't either.

Further, while some details of the Steele dossier of raw intellligence remain unproven or have apparently turned out to be false, its overall message -- that Russia worked to help Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election -- is true and was arguably confirmed by the Mueller report. That's far from the "false dossier" claim Fleischer makes.

P.S. Someone at AIM should probably be alerted that the stock photo of the Washington Post building it used to illustrate Sheffield's post is wildly out of date; the Post sold the building and moved its offices elsewhere a few years ago, and the building has since been torn down and replaced.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:35 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 5, 2019 7:42 PM EDT
MRC Loves Levin's New Book, Almost As If It Was Being Paid To Do So
Topic: Media Research Center

Right-wing radio host Mark Levin has a new media-bashing book out, and the Media Research Center is there to lavish praise on it -- almost as if it was being paid to do so. (Levin and the MRC have had previous cross-promotion business deals, after all.)

That comes straight from the top, and Tim Graham and Brent Bozell gush in their May 22 column:

Best-selling author and talk-radio star Mark Levin has another terrific new book that debuted at number one on the charts. The media habitually ignore Levin's books -- no New York Times reviews, no TV interviews, nothing -- and it must drive them insane that he still sells 1 million copies. But this one's is called Unfreedom of the Press, and this one's a direct shot at them, so some may find it impossible to resist a response.

[...]

This is why the liberals don’t want to engage with Levin or his books.  Most won’t seriously debate serious conservatives because as with issues like these, it's a lost cause. There are laws of nature, and this horse manure doesn't fly. They spent eight long years ignoring or dismissing the foibles of Obama while advancing anything he deemed necessary. When Obama aide Ben Rhodes boasted – in the New York Times! – that he had easily created an “echo chamber” in the press to promote their Iran arms deal, they didn't blink in surprise, or embarrassment. They winked.

When Obama was president, there was no resistance, no argument for “standing up to history’s judgment.” There was only teamwork. The team is still intact, now devoted to the proposition that this president ought never have been elected, and now must be removed.

Buy Unfreedom Of the Press. Just imagine what will be the look on Annalisa Quinn's face when she learns Levin has sold a million hardback copies again.

(Actually, we reviewed Levin's "Liberty and Tyranny" for the Huffington Post back in the day, uncovering several factual errors in the process, and Levin had no interest in engaging with us to respond.)

Bozell's MRC minions followed in lockstep. Under the headline "Watch Levin Take a Blowtorch to the ‘Thin-Skinned’ Liberal Media," Curtis Houck effused in a fit of meta-promotion:

Conservative talk radio host Mark Levin dedicated Sunday’s edition of Life, Liberty, & Levin to promoting his new book Unfreedom of the Press (set for release Tuesday) with Fox & Friends: Weekend co-host Pete Hegseth and, as expected, “the Great One” didn’t hold back, throwing the liberal media through a wood chipper and calling out their rampant Trump hatred.

Levin set the table within the first few minutes, providing yet another invaluable history lesson[.]

[...]

Throughout the interview, Levin highlighted example after example of how past Presidents in every century actually worked to undermine the First Amendment, illustrating how overblown the liberal media’s hyperventilation over President Trump are. 

Graham returned for damage-control mode in a June 2 post when someone defied his prediction and did engage with Levin's book in a Washington Post op-ed. When that writer pointed out that right-wing activists "purport[] to analyze the leftward lean of the press with a scholarly veneer," Graham insisted that "We would put our own books at the Media Research Center into that "wake," analyzing liberal bias with a 'scholarly veneer.'" As we've documented, the MRC's "media research" is very much just a veneer, more interested in manufacturing data that fits its right-wing, anti-media agenda than following the data where it leads.

But Graham being Graham -- that is, unable to keep from hurling personal insults at anyone who disagrees with him -- he huffed: "It's always funny when liberal professors lard their books with their analysis, and that is 'scholarly,' but conservative media research has a 'veneer,' like it's fraudulent." That's because conservative "media research" cares only more pushing a political agenda than "scholarly" things like balance and documentation.

When the writer accurately pointed out that the New York Times and the Washington Post are not "liberal equivalents of Fox News," Graham went on attack again: "That's hilarious. But it's the media equivalent of his 'I'm scholarly, you're fake.' It's almost not worth quoting, but Lerner uncorks the time-worn cliche that liberals are the open-minded cosmopolitans that make the best journalists."

Of course, the idea that the Times and the Post are farther to the left than Fox News is to the right is a foundational MRC belief, and Graham can't let it go unchallenged, even if can only offer juvenilie mockery in response.

UPDATE: Graham attacked another less-than-glowing review of Levin's book in a June 5 post. First, he played whataboutism by complaining that the reviewer liked a book critical of Trump by Michael Wolff, "the guy who claimed without evidence that Trump was having an affair with U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley." (Levin falsely claimed that President Obama directly intervened in a Israeli election in 2015, and we didn't hear Graham demanding a fact-check over that.)

Graham then inserted Twitter posts from Levin making the same attack against the reviewer. Great minds (are maybe paid to) think alike.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:49 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 5, 2019 3:20 PM EDT
WND's Massie: Omar Should Go Back To Africa And Marry A 'Goat Herder With Rotten Teeth'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Mychal Massie broke out his favorite five-dollar word in the process of bashing Rep. Ilhan Omar in his May 27 column:

In their continued efforts to deceive the public, Muslim terrorist-sponsoring groups have engineered an Erebusic plan of subversion that has been successful in its early stages.

I submit that they are in the beginning stages of packing elected offices with Muslim women who are, by all appearance, Americanized. These women do not view themselves as Americans – they view themselves as Muslims. The best example of this is Ilhan Omar, D-MN.

Massie then perused his thesaurus for another attack word and mined the internet for unproven Omar conspriacy theories:

This Omar person is the vilest form of myiasis infesting our government today. Her reasoning is singularly loyal to Islam. It was clear by her questioning of the Pentagon official that her concerns and loyalty laid exclusively with the well being of the Islamic terrorists.

We the people of America view her remarks as an insult to our brave military members who were responsible for rescuing her Somalia village.

She came to America under a cloud of falsified documents, the belief that she married her brother to gain citizenship and rumors that the incestuous marriage was not only consummated, but that she bore children from him. As I said, these things are alleged; but with her kind of Muslim, history proves rumors about them are often true. At the very least, the rumors should be thoroughly investigated.

[...]

I find it interesting that as she waxed poetically about her time spent in the Kenyan refugee camp, she omitted the rapes and brutality that took place in same. Perhaps it is because it was reminiscent of her village in Somalia. But I digress.

Since she has such cherished fondness for being in a refugee camp overrun with filth and terrorist-driven Muslims, why didn’t she return there when she became of age? Why did she stay in America, a country she so despises?

Massie concluded by sneering: "Maybe Omar would have been better off living in squalor as the personal possession of some goat herder with rotten teeth who took baths seasonally. I can say with confidence that America would be better off without her and her kind – specifically those being used by terrorist front groups to further the Muslims agenda.

Massie is still peddling conspiracy theories about another black politician he doesn't like, Barack Obama.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:36 AM EDT
Tuesday, June 4, 2019
MRC Mad That Whoopi Goldberg's Veracity Not Treated The Same As Trump's
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Research Center bigwig Tim Graham's current schtick is to "fact-check the fact-checkers" -- which mostly comes down to complaining that President Trump is being fact-checked at all. Graham whines again in a May 3 post:

Can you say "coup" nowadays? It was fun to recall this week that liberal TV news stars like Dan Rather described the impeachment trial of President Clinton that "this is in fact a kind of effort at a quote, ‘coup’?" Some liberals like Whoopi Goldberg on The View are using it right now for Bill Barr: "When the top law man in the country can't give you a straight answer, it makes me uncomfortable. It feels coup-y. Like, it's like a coup of some sort."

But when Donald Trump uses this rhetoric, PolitiFact ranks it as "Pants On Fire."

Yes, Graham is demanding that a talk-show host be held to the same factual standards as the president of the United States.

On May 23, Graham was similarly mad that Trump's overheated Biden-bashing rhetoric was called out:

The liberals at PolitiFact are so touchy about President Trump mocking Democrats that they slap a "Mostly False" on things that just make them angry. Take this statement: "Don't forget Biden deserted you. He's not from Pennsylvania. I guess he was born here, but he left you, folks."

PolitiFact admits Biden hasn't lived in Scranton since 1953...that's 66 years ago. But it's "false" because you can't "desert" a state when your family moves to another state when you're in grade school. So they're basing a "fact check" on not liking the word "deserted." Obviously, Biden could have returned to reside in Pennsylvania when he became an adult, but he never did.

[...]

Jacobson made a brief reference to the fact that Biden's longtime home state of Delaware has no television stations, so Biden needs to get on the air in Philadelphia. And it's easier to project "blue collar-aligned roots" by tying yourself to Scranton. It's also an obvious political move since Pennyslvania is a much bigger player in a presidential election. Mocking any of that as electioneering? Well, that's "Mostly False," according to Democrats who work as "fact checkers." 

PolitiFact concluded: "The statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. We rate the statement Mostly False."

That's classic subjective Fact Checker-speak. They object to Republicans ignoring facts that would leave a positive "impression."

And Graham is invoking classic subjective anti-fact-checker speak because he's angry that Trump is being put into context -- something he selectively cares about.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:43 PM EDT
Shocker: WND Attempts Balance On Vaccines
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has been giving a lot of space lately to anti-vaxxers even as a measles epidemic fueled by lack of vaccination is raging. But WND suddenly has a surprise: a May 20 column that takes an unusually balanced (for WND) view of the vaccine.

There's a second surprise: the person who wrote this relatively balanced take is Rachel Alexander, who we last saw trying to portray criminal ex-congressman Steve Stockman as the victim of a "Deep State" conspiracy.

Alexander admitted that "Vaccines prevent hundreds of thousands of cases of a deadly disease – but it’s true that they may come at the expense of a smaller number of side effects. The controversy arises over determining the degree and type of side effects caused by the vaccines." She alsodid something we've rarely seen at WND: point out that claims linking vaccines to autismhave been discredited, and that anti-vaxxers who refuse to vaccinate their children endanger the health of others:

One condition that has been blamed on vaccines is autism. A 1998 study in the prestigious British journal The Lancet linked the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine with autism. Investigations concluded the research was fraudulent 12 years later, and the lead author was stripped of his medical license. A legal review called the Omnibus Autism Proceeding found no causal relationship between the two. But partially as a result of the article, more than 5,000 cases were filed by 2010 claiming a link between vaccines and autism.

Charles Nelson, a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and a neuroscientist at Boston Children’s Hospital, said progress is being made researching autism. Doctors are seeing signs of autism at three to six months of age, well before babies are vaccinated with the MMR vaccine at 1 year old.

Over 90 percent of kindergarteners in the U.S. are vaccinated for most types of immunizations. Some states have laws that allow exemptions. But if parents decide not to give their child the MMR vaccine, they risk not only infecting their child and their peers but also babies under 12 months and people with cancer or weakened immune systems.

Alexander wavered a bit at the end, claiming: "While it appears that the evidence weighs in favor of vaccines, it is best to be fully informed about the controversy before deciding either way." Still, for the anti-vaxxers at WND, it's a definite change of pace.

Lest you think that WND has taken our advice and examined its editorial policies, or that Alexander has suddenly become a reasonable columnist, you can rest easy: Alexander's column the following week was yet another defense of Stockman, insisting he was targeted by "corrupt, left-leaning prosecutors in the Department of Justice" and begging President Trump and Attorney General William Barr to "thoroughly clean out the DOJ from top to bottom."


Posted by Terry K. at 2:25 PM EDT
Monday, June 3, 2019
AIM Stop Talking About The Mueller Report!
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Accuracy in Media really, really wants to move on from the Mueller report, if an anonymously written May 30 post (credited only to "AIM Staff") is any indication:

With special counsel Robert Mueller holding a press conference Wednesday to discuss the infamous Mueller Report, expect to see the mainstream media obsessing over every single word Mueller said.

Expect lots of news stories that ignore the facts – especially that after almost two years of investigating, Mueller found no collusion on the part of the President – and instead misrepresented the facts in order to fit their own narrative.

Never mind that the Mueller Report makes it clear there was no collusion. Never mind that Mueller had almost two years to find something and found nothing. Never mind that the Department of Justice has determined this matter has been thoroughly investigated and is now considered closed. 

The media will use this press conference as an excuse to write another series of articles calling into question the investigation – the same investigation they championed when they thought it would hurt President Donald Trump. 

While the national media continues to obsess over Mueller, most are ignoring the real news of the day, including a new poll from Monmouth University showing that public support for tariffs and the trade war are waning.

[...]

Trump’s talk on trade helped him win some of those Midwest states in 2016 like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Gordon’s home state of Wisconsin. But with these new numbers coming out, the Trump campaign will likely be reconsidering whether that same message will work again in 2020.

So AIM wants us to stop focusing on one Trump mess (no, AIM, Mueller never said there was "no collusion," just that it didn't rise to a level of criminality -- even conservative Fox News anchor Bret Baier agrees) and focus on a new Trump mess? Got it.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:10 PM EDT
Gay Cartoon Characters Send MRC Into Anti-Gay Freakout Mode
Topic: Media Research Center

At the Media Research Center, the mere existence of non-heterosexual character in a children's cartoon makes it automatically unsafe for children to watch. Annie Piper explains in a April 29 post:

In this day and age, parents have to be extra cautious about what their kids watch as not all cartoons are actually kid appropriate. Fortunately, there are some innocent shows out there, but then there are shows that aren’t as innocent as they seem. One such show, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, proved to fall in the latter category when the first part of their second season debuted on Netflix on April 26.

The series is a revival of a popular kids action show from 1985, and follows heroine Princess Adora (Aimee Carrero) AKA She-Ra. Upon first glance, the show is something most parents would be comfortable with their kids watching as long as they could handle the fantasy violence, but in its second season the TV-Y7 rated series starts to really push the gay agenda—without actually telling you it is.

And how is the show "pushing the gay agenda"? By acknowledging that one female character "has a crush" on another female character and that another character has two dads" (Piper sneered, "yes, that was plural"). Piper then lectured:

By now, we’re (unfortunately) used to most of the prime time adult shows having the requisite gay character and, more recently, even the gay child coming out has become popular on hit shows, but it seems like Hollywood isn’t content to stop there. They are now not only pushing this agenda on fictional kids, but actually pushing it to the children in their audiences, and it seems as though they’re hoping conservative parents don’t watch past the first couple of episodes. Moral of the story: if you don’t already, you might want to research your kid’s favorite shows a little more thoroughly.

Yes, acknowledging that gay people exist is an "agenda," according to the MRC.

The MRC similarly freaked out when a teacher on the long-running children's show "Arthur" married his gay spouse. Take it away, Gabriel Hays:

Some say that if a hero lives long enough, they’ll eventually see themselves become the villain. Well, that certainly can be said for PBS children's classic Arthur. The show, now in its 22nd season, has taken beloved character, Mr. Ratburn, and made him gay. In the season premiere, the 3rd grade teacher and male role model for Arthur and his gang said “I do” to a male anthropomorphic muskrat (or something) in a wedding ceremony attended by his students. As one character exclaimed, “It’s a brand new world.”

That's right -- if you're gay, you're a "villain," according to Hays. And Hays also apparently believes that the show arbitrarily "made [Mr. Ratburn] gay."

Hays goes on to complain that the show dragged out the wedding ceremony "like some sort of grand reveal that ultimately feels insidious rather than celebratory," then sneers: "Let’s just say that Arthur has officially overstayed its welcome."

When a public broadcasting affiliate in Alabama refused to air the "Arthur" episode, the MRC rushed to their defense. Matt Philbin huffed that "The lefty Twitter mob is predictably enraged" by the decision to not air "federally funded gay propaganda." And Kyle Drennen complained that one discussion of the show refused to "acknowledge the controversy of using a kids cartoon show to push a liberal social agenda" and that "journalists immediately attack anyone who objects and demand that they 'celebrate' the effort."

Yes, showing that gay people exist is apparently "propaganda" and an "agenda." And there's no explanation frm the MRC of why the existence of gay people must be suppressed from children.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:04 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, June 3, 2019 6:09 PM EDT
WND's Cashill Sees Secret Message In Choice For Trump Rally Site
Topic: WorldNetDaily

One of WorldNetDaily columnist Jack Cashill's favorite conspiracies is the one surrounding the crash of TWA Flight 800 in 1996. Despite the conclusion of an extensive investigation that the likely cause was a short circuit that caused a fuel tank to explode, Cashill has clung to the idea that it was shot down by a missile.

Cashill got to rehash that conspiracy theory yet again in his May 22 column, with the added hook of a new conspiracy theory: that the choice of location for a rally by President Trump sent a secret message to conspiacy-mongers like him:

On Monday, President Donald Trump held a rally in Montoursville, Pennsylvania.

Not many people have heard of Montoursville, a pleasant little town of fewer than 5,000 people. But those who have include the CIA analysts, FBI honchos and Clinton White House operatives who orchestrated the cover-up of the TWA 800 crash.

On July 17, 1996, the ill-fated 747 was shot down off the coast of Long Island, almost surely by accident, killing all 230 people on board.

Among the dead were 16 French-club students from Montoursville High School and five of their chaperones. I have been to Montoursville and spoken with people who lost their children. They are still waiting for answers.

Many people are waiting for answers, including the hundreds of TWA veterans with whom I have spoken, most recently at a heavily attended LAX event led by retired TWA Capt. Al Francis.

The TWA vets lost 53 of their colleagues on board that plane. If there is one among them who buys the government line that a rogue spark blew up the center fuel tank, I have not met him or her.

A question I have heard often, and I suspect Capt. Francis has too, is whether President Trump can or will reopen the investigation, there being no riper example of deep state treachery than the TWA 800 investigation.

I am not optimistic, but Monday’s rally gave me a glimmer of hope. In the special congressional election held the following day, Republican Fred Keller did not need the president’s help: he won by a greater than 2-to-1 margin.

Presuming that the election inspired the trip, the obvious site of the rally should have been the nearby and much larger Williamsport, the county seat and celebrated home of the Little League World Series.

Indeed, there are many towns in Pennsylvania’s 12th district larger than Montoursville. But the president chose Montoursville.

Cashill then served up a lengthy list of bullet points of "what Trump’s people need to know" about the crash of TWA 800. He rehashed that, plus another discredited claim: that Clinton Justice Department official Jamie Gorelick created the "wall" that kept law enforcement and intelligence agencies from sharing information, which became an issue after 9/11. As we documented at the time, when Gorelick later became a member of the commission looking into the 9/11 attacks, that "wall" was erected in the late 1970s, and the George W. Bush administration's Justice Department reaffirmed it shortly before 9/11, well after Gorelick left government service.

Cashill ominously concluded: "Those responsible for the cover-up had to sleep just a wee bit uneasily Monday night. They know what 'Montoursville' means. Here’s hoping the president does too." Meanwhile, Cashill -- who a few months ago lost his wingnut-welfare job at the Sentinel, a "news" operation run by a right-wing think tank in Kansas -- sleeps the sleep of the aggressively unashamed.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:08 AM EDT
Sunday, June 2, 2019
MRC Still Defending Right-Wing Hate-Mongerers As 'Non-Violent' Conservatives
Topic: Media Research Center

We've documented how the Media Research Center has stood by hate-spewing anti-Muslim writer Laura Loomer by painting her as a free-speech hero as gets deplatformed for her hate -- it can't admit she's anything more than a "controversial Jewish activist." The MRC has continued to promote her stunts as newsworthy and downplay her hate and extremism.

A May 2 article by Alexander Hall complained that PayPal as "deplatformed non-violent conservative activists like Laura Loomer. A May 7 post by Hall promoted how Loomer, ihn protest of her banning by Facebook, "showed up to Facebook’s lobby on May 3, skewering the company for showing solidarity for everybody but Jewish and Christian people." Hall benignly described Loomer only as a "recently deplatformed activist," silent once again on her well-documented-elsewhere hate; instead, he huffed that "Facebook, like many other big tech companies, is famous for a left-wing political monoculture."

Hall used a May 14 post to give free publicity to a film about "five people who have been shut down and silenced on social media," including Loomer, whom he described only as a "Jewish-American activist/performance artist." Hall tried to whitewash other hatemongers featured in the film as well. Tommy Robinson is described only as a "British activist" when, in fact, he's the leader of the far-right anti-Muslim English Defence League; Gavin McInnes is described only as a "former CRTV host" when he's also the founder of the violent, misogynist Proud Boys (and, thus, a former employee of MRC buddy Mark Levin, though he was fired only after Levin's CRTV merged with Glenn Beck's The Blaze).

Hall didn't mention that one of the makers fo the film, George Llewelyn-John, is a colleague of Robinson's, and another, Caolyn Robertson, is Robinson's former cameraman and best known for a video rant following an incident in London in which six pedestrians were killed by a Muslim in a car, where Robertson asserted that "if you import a culture, you get a culture." In other words, this film is nowhere near as objective as Hall suggests it is.

A May 17 post by Corinne Weaver noted Loomer was only among the "individuals" banned by Facebook with no mention of why she was banned. On May 21, Hall had another benign description for Loomer -- "Jewish American activist" -- and complained that she and Infowars conspiracy theorist Paul Joseph Watson were among "controversial but ultimately non-violent YouTubers" who have been "purged."

Gabriel Hays contributed to the whitewashing in a May 23 post, complining that a vulgar song by a French rapper nobody's ever heard of remains on YouTube "while internet personalities like Laura Loomer and Paul Joseph Watson have been removed for 'far less violent content.'"

Hall again touted that dubious film in a May 24 post, and how it features "interviews multiple conservatives who have been targeted by Big Tech purges such as Laura Loomer and Tommy Robinson."


Posted by Terry K. at 8:03 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, June 2, 2019 8:23 PM EDT

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