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Thursday, June 13, 2019
CNS Unemployment Coverage Distortion Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

May was a month that was bad enough for employment that even CNS couldn't put a pro-Trump spin on it. Susan Jones' lead story was relatively dire:

Total nonfarm payroll employment edged up by 75,000 in May, below expectations, and the unemployment rate remained at its 50-year low of 3.6 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for March was revised down from +189,000 to +153,000, and the change for April was revised down from +263,000 to +224,000. With those revisions, employment gains in March and April combined were 75,000 less than previously reported.

Jones did, however, work in some spin in claiming that "The number of employed Americans, which has set 18 records so far in the Trump presidency, increased by 113,000 month-to-month, totaling 156,758,000 in May.

It was left to others to cherry-pick numbers to spin. Editor in chief Terry Jeffrey touted how "Manufacturing jobs in the United States increased by 3,000 from April to May ... the largest number of manufacturing jobs the U.S. economy has sustained since December 2008," but in another sidebar he complained that the number of federal employees had risen to "the highest level since President Barack Obama left office."

Craig Bannister, meanwhile, was left to promote how "The national seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for Hispanics and Latinos in the U.S. labor force held steady at its record low of 4.2% in May."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:56 AM EDT
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Newsmax Columnist Not That Big on Diversity
Topic: Newsmax

In a June 3 Newsmax column complaining about a court ruling that allows transgender students to use the bathroom that fits their gender identity, Christine Flowers complains that we now have to consider theneeds of people who are different than her:

Now, we’re all about celebrating identity and diversity. Some people are elated that we’ve left behind what they think of as prejudice and intolerance, while others are nostalgic for a past when children were allowed to be children and didn’t have to deal with who they were, who they loved, and what “Drag Queen Story Hour” is all about.

Increasingly, the people who long for a simpler time are called bigots, and their voices are silenced by social ostracism, and sometimes lawsuits.

Well, yes, if you try to frame bigotry as "longing for a simpler time," there's a good chance you'll be called a bigot. She concluded by huffing:

Here’s the reality: Some children are still figuring out their identities, and need to be treated compassionately. But, in my opinion, tending to their needs should not come at the expense of kids who don’t deserve to be called bigots just because they want to go to the bathroom without making a political statement.

Flowers doesn't understand that transgender students would also like to go to be bathroom without making a political statement, and sometimes lawsuits are the only way to accomplish that.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:47 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: LGBT-Bashing To The Max
Topic: Media Research Center
Mysterious Media Research Center sports blogger Jay Maxson has a particular dislike for gays and transgender community -- and he (or she) really hates Caitlyn Jenner, so much that the MRC had to delete one of his Jenner-bashing posts. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 2:19 PM EDT
WND Takes Anti-AOC Trolling Seriously
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An anonymously written May 30 WorldNetDaily article intoned:

Twitter news aggregator Twitchy has caught socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, D-N.Y., flashing the “white power symbol.”

You remember, that symbol that got a Chicago Cubs fan banned from the team’s stadium for life.

It was Ashley StClair who posted the image of Cortez online, asking, “Why did Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez flash a white power symbol on her livestream last night?”

And Twitter users HillReporter provided the image for which a Cubs fan was banned from Wrigley Field.

JWF even provided an earlier image of Cortez, with apparently the same symbol.

Twitchy reported some news outlets find the gesture so extreme that they pixelate it.

It’s just the latest controversy surrounding the newcomer to Congress from New York.

Except for one thing: WND -- and Twitchy -- apparently got played.

WND lifted its article from the right-wing attack site Twitchy, which similarly published screenshots taken from Twitter of Ocasio-Cortez out of context to also declare that "according to the MSM," she was flashing a "white power symbol." Twitchy writer "Greg P." went on to chortle: "Or maybe it's the symbol for wokeness? HA HA!"

Both Twitchy and WND fell for a big trolling operation created by posters at a comment board called 4chan, which decided to push the idea that the OK symbol was secretly a white power symbol in a way that would force media outlets to cover it.

WND botching this story doesn't exactly inspire confidence that its reporting should be taken seriously.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:36 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, June 16, 2019 8:48 PM EDT
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
MRC Opposes Using Correct Scientific Terminology Regarding Abortion
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is so anti-science -- and so anti-abortion -- that it objects when news organizations correctly use scientific terms when discussing it.

Tim Graham raged in a May 21 post about NPR's correct use of the term "fetus" to describe an unborn child:

Ramesh Ponnuru at National Review pointed out that NPR standards-and-practices guru Mark Memmott issued a new memo -- a "guidance reminder" -- instructing his taxpayer-funded staff how their language on abortion should not concede anything to "antiabortion groups." It isn't about objectivity. It's about using language to shift public opinion.

According to NPR, Memmott is "charged with cultivating an ethical culture throughout our news operation." Unbelievably, this memo is summarized as "We need to be precise, accurate and neutral." 

It's fascinating that liberals who are so exquisitely sensitive about the dignity and humanity of the "illegal immigrant" -- don't use that term! -- or the people denying their gender "assigned at birth" can so easily dehumanize babies with the term "fetus," which we've called the F-bomb of abortion terms.

Graham links back to a 2008 column he ghost-wrote for his boss, Brent Bozell, that did indeed rant about that scientifically accurate term because it doesn't jibe with the anti-abortion narrative:

What a cold, humanity-negating word that is. Happy pregnant women carry "babies." But indecisive or panicked pregnant women carry a "fetus." How discriminatory that sounds in regard to an innocent human life.

"Fetus" has a dictionary definition: the young of a mammal that resembles its parents in physical form, in our case, a human with hands and feet and eyes and a beating heart. But to our media and political analysts, it has a different definition: a subhuman appendage, a disposable mass of tissue, a slave to our whims, and too often, a casualty of our irresponsibility.

[...]

Our media elite prides itself on an official or unofficial policy of not using insulting or offensive terms about women or minorities in its daily news content. It’s about time they took the same approach to the unborn baby, and nixed the word "fetus" as too demeaning of human life.

Yes, the MRC actually demanded that a word be banned for political reasons.

Graham went on to grouse about the NPR's guidance on the the anti-abortion crowd's new obsession, the "fetal heartbeat"; NPR advised putting it in quotes and accurately noted that at six weeks into a pregnancy, when the supposed heartbeat can be detected, it is not yet a fetus but an embryo. Graham sneered: "Apparently it should be the "embryo heartbeat" law?"

Graham also mocked the death of abortion provider George Tiller, who was killed by an anti-abortion activist 10 years ago (which Graham didn't mention). He declared: "Personally, I think we should just refer to abortion doctors as 'assault weapons.'" 

Graham raged further against correct scientific terminology in a June 1 post regarding the whole "fetal heartbeat" thing. This time, the target is the New York Times and Wired for inconveniently pointing out not only that a fetus at six weeks is an embryo, there is no heart to speak of at that stage, just "embryonic pulsing" of what eventually develops into the heart.

Aiden Jackson used a June 6 post to uncritically quote Fox News' Tucker Carlson attacking the Times for using that scientifially accurate terminology -- or, as Jackson put it, "manipulating language" -- ominously adding, "The movement to suppress dissent from any views that are contrary to the liberal media is well under way." As if the MRC's goal wasn't to suppress dissent from any views that are contrary to right-wing orthodoxy.

Jorge Plaza followed in a June 7 post bashing the Guardian for accurate terminology, which it says is "in line with the view of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the largest professional organization for doctors specializing in women’s health." Plaza's response was to attempt an anti-abortion mini-lecture presented as whataboutism:

Despite its claims, The Guardian is not actually committed to total medical accuracy. U.S. editor-in-chief John Mulholland stated, “We want to avoid medically inaccurate, misleading language when covering women’s reproductive rights.”  But the term “women’s reproductive health” makes no medical sense as a substitute for “abortion.” Pregnancy is not a disease. An abortion does not restore a woman’s health (except in exceptionally rare cases); an abortion always kills a human being.

[...]

The Guardian, The New York Times, and NPR were truly committed to purging medically inaccurate, political jargon, they would refrain from calling abortions “reproductive health” and pro-abortion rights groups “pro-choice.” But, not only do they persistently use these euphemisms, they advertise them. To them, “abortion” is a dirty word that should be avoided at all costs. After all, the word “abortion” brings up grotesque mental images of what the procedure entails -- images that are harmful to the “pro-choice” cause.

The Guardian’s terminology isn’t to promote accurate reporting but to dehumanize unborn life. Though this has been the liberal media’s agenda for years, NPR and The Guardian have made it plain and clear by publishing their guidelines. They have proved our long-held suspicions.

And the MRC confirms our long-held suspicions that it cares more about scoring political points than accuracy or "media research."


Posted by Terry K. at 8:40 PM EDT
WND's Massie Joins The Divine-Donald Bandwagon
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We were surprised that among the many WorldNetDaily writers and columnists who found divine will in the election of Donald Trump, Mychal Massie was not one of them. Until now.

Massie's June 3 column is mostly his usual rant against anyone who's not as right-wing as him, including shots at Colin Kaepernick, public schools, the LGBT community ("The rainbow is a sign of God’s promise to never destroy the earth again by water; it isn’t a sign to be stolen by homosexuals and promoted as the approval symbol of debauchery and sexual sin") and any business that doesn't spew the same vicious hat at the LGBT community thathe does.

He also targeted Christians who fail to hate those who are LGBT as much as he does: "Churches today believe themselves to be making magnanimous statements of love and inclusiveness when they ordain homosexuals and install as pastors homosexuals, lesbians and those who have had themselves butchered in the convoluted belief that they are becoming another sex."

Massie concluded his column by revealing who he thinks his real savior is: "I believe God has given us a window of reprieve through President Trump. But this moment is only of value if we repent and say no to sinful machinations."

If Massie uses this opportunity to repent his own extensive history of hate and lies, we might believe him.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:26 PM EDT
CNS Attacks Judge As Too Old Because Of A Ruling It Didn't Like
Topic: CNSNews.com

Most anonymously written CNSNews.com articles -- credited only to "CNSNews.com Staff" -- are innocuous, generally serving up a straight quote of political figures. A May 29 article, though, may very well lacking a byline because no CNS writer wanted to put their name on an article attacking a judge as too old because he issued a ruling CNS bigwigs didn't like. Here's how it starts:

Judge William J. Bauer of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, who is now 92 years old, yesterday that says women have a constitutional right to abort an unborn baby specifically because of the baby’s sex, race or disability.

Bauer, who was appointed to the appeals court by President Gerald Ford in 1974, published the opinion on April 19, 2018—when he was 91.

The focus on Bauer's age was no passing mention. The anonymous CNS writer highlighted Bauer's background, further emphasizing his age:

The biography of Judge William J. Bauer posted online by the Federal Judicial Center (and linked to the webpage of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit) says he was born in 1926 in Chicago. The Chicago Tribune published a profile of Judge Bauer in 1988 that noted his birthday was Sept. 15, 1926.

Bauer, according to the biography, graduated from Elmhurst College in 1949 and from DePaul University College of Law in 1952. President Richard Nixon nominated him as a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in 1971. President Gerald Ford nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in 1974.

Since 1994—a quarter of a century ago—Bauer has been serving in “senior status” on the appeals court.

The article concludes with an explanation from a federal court website of "what it means to be a judge on 'senior status.'"

Unmentioned is the fact that, regardless of Bauer's age, the judge's ruling is apparently legally sound enough that even a conservative-leaning Supreme Court let it stand.

That's called media bias. Tha fact that the writer is hiding behind a generic byline simply means we can blame the entire CNS staff for that bias.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:31 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, June 11, 2019 1:15 AM EDT
Monday, June 10, 2019
Newsmax's Kessler Keeps Shilling For Trump
Topic: Newsmax

In April, Trump-fluffing author Ronald Kessler wrote for Newsmax a defense of President Trump over Robert Mueller's investigation, insisting (falsely) that Trump really didn't mean it when he said "the Russia thing" prompted him to fire then-FBI director James Comey. Kessler took another crack at it in his May 30 column, raging at Mueller:

With his confusing, contradictory, and ever-changing comments about the results of his investigation of President Trump, Special Counsel Robert Mueller made a mockery of the criminal justice system.

In that system, there is no place for concluding that the subject of an investigation is not criminally charged but is not exonerated. To say, “If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so” makes as much sense as saying, “The moon could be made of blue cheese, we just don’t know.”

In fact, Mueller very clearly explained that because of the Justice Department's policy against indicting a sitting president, he did not  consider whether the evidence rose to a crime but pointed out that the evidence was not exculpatory.

Most of the rest of Kessler's column is devoted to rehashing his bogus insistence that the "counterintelligence investigation that specifically targeted Trump after he fired James Comey as FBI director was based on false pretenses," complaining that "by unfairly impugning President Trump, Mueller ended his otherwise sterling career with a travesty while ignoring an abuse of the FBI’s authority the likes of which we have not seen since the Hoover days." A bigger travesty than Kessler starting out as a journalist and ending up a right-wing, pro-Trump shill?


Posted by Terry K. at 9:28 PM EDT
MRC On Pelosi Video: It All Depends On What The Meaning Of 'Doctored' Is
Topic: Media Research Center

When is a selectively and misleadingly edited video about Nancy Pelosi not "doctored"? When the Media Research Center decides it's not. Bill D'Agostino huffed in a May 24 post (bolding is his):

Cable news hosts spent Friday morning running damage control for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after the President tweeted a video mashup of her verbally stumbling at a press conference. Curiously, CNN and MSNBC parroted the language used by Pelosi’s own office in their efforts to discredit the video: “doctored.”

Between 6:00 a.m. and noon EDT on Friday, CNN and MSNBC hosts and journalists used the term “doctored video” 32 times. That term was attributed to Pelosi’s deputy chief of staff only once within the same time span.

[...]

The video tweeted by President Trump was a compilation that aired on Fox Business Network’s Lou Dobbs Tonight, depicting some of the Speaker’s verbal fumbles during a press conference. While certainly unflattering, that collection of disparate clips – mashed together, but otherwise unedited – could not be described accurately as “doctored” by any stretch of the imagination. A doctored video portrays a false reality, which the simple mashup did not do.

Actually, the non-"doctored" video did portray a false reality -- the idea that Pelosi had nothing but "verbal fumbles" during that press conference -- which, by D'Agostino's definition, makes it "doctored." And calling a heavily edited clip "otherwise unedited" defies reality.

Joseph Chalfant then took a crack at parsing things, comparing it with a different video of Pelosi tweeted out by Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani:

The video retweeted by Trump was only a mash-up of the slip-ups Pelosi had Thursday during her weekly press conference. The video retweeted by Giuliani was a slowed-down video of Pelosi speaking that made her seem as if she was slurring her words. CNN hosts and guests regularly called both of the videos “doctored” despite the fact that nothing was altered in the tweet Trump sent.

Chalfant then complained: "It seems that whenever Democrats' own words are used against them by conservatives, the liberal media will be there to energetically defend them."

Kristine Marsh followed in a May 28 post:

On Tuesday’s show, the hosts of ABC’s The View conflated two unflattering videos starring Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that circulated social media late last week. While only one video was altered, the co-hosts claimed both were “fake,” angrily came to Pelosi’s defense, and demanded that both “doctored” videos needed to be taken down.

[...]

Whoopi [Goldberg] then made a fair argument, that political opponents should be beaten “fair and square” without resorting to doctored videos. However that’s a moot point when the video Trump tweeted about Pelosi wasn’t doctored at all, it just was unflattering to her. Still, Whoopi called both videos, “lies” from the right[.]

Alexander Hall and Corinne Weaver sniffed that the videos merely "made Nancy Pelosi look silly" and criticized those who sought their removal from social media.

Tim Graham and Brent Bozell felt the need to weigh in on this as well in a column filled with their usual whataboutism:

When President Trump creates a verbal miscue, the late-night comedy brigade has a field day. A misspelled tweet. A facial expression. A hand gesture. It takes nothing to trigger media mockery.  What if it's a Democrat?  In the Dobbs video, Pelosi cites “three things” while holding up two fingers. If you think anyone in late-night world is going to pan Pelosi for mental errors, you’re not paying attention.

The perpetually angry left and their allies in the “news” media were outraged that Facebook and Twitter didn’t take down the distorted Pelosi video, although Facebook “deprioritized” it, making it less visible. They don’t remember how they have mangled videotape (and audiotape), like NBC mangling George Zimmerman’s phone call about Trayvon Martin. Or everyone pretending President Trump called all immigrants “animals” when he was discussing MS-13 murderers. Or everyone misrepresenting the Covington Catholic kids as hate-speech villains.

Graham and Bozell even justified mocking Pelosi, complaining that one media outlet "insisted that the Fox Business clip package “offered a misleading impression of a perfectly coherent 21-minute news conference” (as if holding up two figures and saying “three” is perfectly coherent). "

They then used the videos to push their tired victimization narrative: "Right now, it seems to conservative Americans that the current policy is to take down videos and accounts quickly and haphazardly, often based on angry left-wing activist complaints. Conservatives cannot count on the 'independent fact checkers' to police videos, since they have all the same leftist biases as these activists and the "news" media. If these imbalanced current practices continue, these social-media companies will be as mistrusted as the Old Media."


Posted by Terry K. at 2:46 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, June 10, 2019 3:09 PM EDT
WND Employed Even More White Nationalists
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A few weeks back, we detailed how a BuzzFeed News profile of former alt-right white nationalist Katie McHugh revealed that WorldNetDaily -- in addition to its already-known ties to white nationalism by publishing the likes of Colin Flaherty, Paul Nehlen and Scott Greer -- had employed another white nationalist, Kevin DeAnna, as well as a pre-mea culpa McHugh. It turns out there are even more links.

A Twitter thread by McHugh claims that Michael Thompson, who worked as a marketing director for WND, was apparently enough of a white nationalist that notorious white nationalist Peter Brimelow, founder of the white-supremacist website VDARE, attended his wedding.

We caught Thompson in 2012 promoting Alex Jones-inspired conspiracy-mongering protesters outside a Bilderberg Group meeting in the Washington area (not too far from WND's then-headquarters), and in 2016 when he -- who "works in the marketing department for WND.com and WND Books and is the social media manager for WND," according to his bio at the time -- attacking the researchers who debunked claims in David Barton's book about Thomas Jefferson, which WND republished with minor edits after the original publisher pulled the book from the marketplace.

(Tim Dionisopoulos also wrote about the Bilderberg gathering for WND along with Thompson; as we documented, he was a member of the racist, misogynist group Youth for Western Civilization and later went on to run social media for several years at the Media Research Center.)

Weirdly, Thompson's byline no longer appears on those pieces; it seems that somewhere along the line, WND removed Thompson's article archive, which apparently wiped out formal bylines on the pieces he wrote as well. Pieces from 2012 and 2013 in which Thompson's byline is integrated into the body copy still have them intact.

McHugh also claims that Andrea Prevette, whom she identifies as "Elizabeth Farah's assistant," is an "active member of the Wolves of Vinland," which the Daily Beast describes as a white supremacist group with a neo-pagan twist (and identifies Prevette as a member as well). DeAnna has also attended Wolves of Vinland events.

Prevette, along with Thompson, apparently worked in WND's book division as well. In his WND-published 2015 book "When A Jew Rules The World," Joel Richardson thanked both Thompson and Prevette for being the "marketing coordinators" for the book.

WND's shoddy journalism is one big reason it probably doesn't deserve to live. Its extensive association with white nationalists is another.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:09 AM EDT
Sunday, June 9, 2019
MRC's Graham Whines That CBS' Pelley Won't Admit He's Part Of The 'Liberal Media'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham is as mad as ever that mainstream journalists won't buckle to the MRC's narrative and admit they're part of the "liberal media." In a May 19 post, Graham takes aim at CBS' Scott Pelley, grumbling that Pelley doesn't talk about CBS scandals while plugging his new book:

As part of CBS kissing up to CBS, Late Show host Stephen Colbert brought on 60 Minutes correspondent (and former Evening News anchor) Scott Pelley to promote his new book Truth Worth Telling. No one was going to bring up Dan Rather, not to mention sexual harassment scandals at CBS News, from Pelley's dismissed 60 Minutes colleagues Charlie Rose and Jeff Fager to CBS's harasser at the top, Les Moonves. No, Pelley came on to lecture about how President Trump and foreign governments are poisoning the information well. It sounded like...collusion.

Will Graham and Brent Bozell, in plugging their new anti-media book, agree to appear on any show that might ask about, say, the scandal of Bozell hiding for years the inconvenient fact that Graham ghost-wrote his columns -- let alone anywhere outside the right-wing bubble where they might face any questioning that's less than softball or designed to tee up talking points? Doubtful. Would Graham describe that situation as "collusion"? Doubtful.

Graham, meanwhile, is still miffed that Pelley won't play along with his narrative. Huffing that "Pelley implied the Old Media, the liberal media are the gold standard" when it comes to correcting misinformation, grousing further:

It should be said that just having experience in journalism for decades isn't enough to make you trustworthy, as Dan Rather proved. It can also be said that at sites like NewsBusters, you have senior people who've been reporting on liberal bias for 30 years (ahem). Evaluating the credibility of your news media should involve engaging with media critics and their arguments, not just dismissing their criticism as "poisoning the information." 

It should also be said that "reporting on liberal bias for 30 years" also does not make one trustworthy -- especially when so much of that "reporting" is in bad faith, designed not to make journalism bnetter but to push a partisan political narrative. Graham 's insistence that members of the media should be "engaging with media critics and their arguments" is especially right, given that both he and Bozell have blocked us from following them on Twitter and, therefore, to more personally engage with their arguments. You can claim you're credible if you refuse to engage with your critics, right, Tim?

And, proving that he can hold a grudge like a champion, Graham is still upset with Pelley for failing to lead his first CBS Evening News broadcast with the Anthony Weiner scandal, opting instead for a report on the war in Afghanistan. "The Washington Post showered accolades at the time, gushing Pelley had pleased the late CBS legend Edward R. Murrow," Graham reminded us. Yes, Graham complained about it then, too.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:51 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, June 9, 2019 9:23 PM EDT
CNS Writers Freak Out Over Gays, Drag Queens Selling Cookies
Topic: CNSNews.com

Michael W. Chapman isn't the only writer at CNSNews.com who feels he needs to spend time bashing the LGBT community.

CNS gave column space to John Stonestreet to assert that homosexuals claiming they were "born this way" is a "zombie" argument, in particular addressing Pete Buttigieg, whom CNS won't let you forget is gay:

Nowadays, the LGB movement has largely retired the “born this way” argument to make way for the “T”—transgender identity. So in place of “I was born this way and I can’t change,” we now hear “I was born this way, it was wrong, and I want to change.” In fact, these days, the “born this way” argument almost always comes from self-identified Christians who are trying to convince us that homosexuality is compatible with our faith. I think especially of the comments of Mayor Pete Buttigieg that God made him gay and anyone who disagrees has a quarrel with the Maker.

My response is simple, and I’ve given it countless times: Even if there is a biological impulse toward a certain kind of behavior, that doesn’t make it right to act on the impulse. Science tells us of all kinds of biological impulses for behaviors that are harmful, like depression, extreme anger and violence, anorexia, even pedophilia. And of course, biological impulses don’t alter the very clear biblical condemnations of homosexual behavior.

Sadly, the gentleman ended our email discussion with another zombie argument: that the only reason I hold the position I do is because of homophobia and disgust toward gay people.

That’s just not the case. The clear teaching of Scripture, natural law, Christian tradition, and even scientific evidence leads me to reject same-sex behavior, while still loving and seeking the best for those engaged in it.

Stonestreet doesn't explain how rejecting people different from him equals "loving" them.

Stonestreet also claimed that "leaders in the LGBT movement have long known that the 'born this way' argument is bogus," citing as evidence the book "After the Ball," which claims sexual orientation involves "complex interactions" that involve -- wait for it -- "innate predispositions." That sounds like "born this way" to us.

Meanwhile, Craig Bannister was triggered by a cookie commercial in a May 23 post:

Chips Ahoy! is promoting a famous drag queen’s video endorsement of its cookies on Twitter.

In a May 12th post currently on the cookie’s Twitter page, Chips Ahoy! wishes a “#HappyMothersDay” to “drag moms” and features a video by drag queen Vanessa Vanjie Mateo. Mateo starred on two seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race on VH!.

In the video, Mateo, surrounded by bags of Chips Ahoy! cookies, recommends giving cookies to “your drag mama” - or anyone you identify as you mother:

“What’s a sweet gesture for you to do to your mama? Your real mama, your drag mama, whichever mama … whoever you feel or consider your mama, it’s their day today. Get them a cookie.”

Bannister somehow managed to restrain himself from making overt insults or attacks.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:15 AM EDT
Saturday, June 8, 2019
MRC Insults Taylor Swift For Expressing Political Opinions
Topic: Media Research Center

As singer Taylor Swift has moved toward making her political voice heard, the Media Research Center has reacted in the way we've come to expect: with lame, juvenile insults.

When Swift first ventured into the political arena last October, the MRC showed some restraint at first. Kyle Drennen pushed the narrative that it as a media distraction: In the wake of [Brett] Kavanaugh being confirmed to the high court, the liberal media were clearly desperate for any positive news they could find for Democrats. Swift jumping into the midterm campaign on behalf of the left gave the networks exactly what they looking for."

When a candidate Swift supported lost to a Republican the following month, the MRC's Kristine Marsh couldn't help but gloat: "After all three networks gushed over pop star Taylor Swift endorsing the Democrat, Phil Bredesen, in Tennessee’s Senate race, they largely ignored the GOP candidate Marsha Blackburn completely demolishing Bredesen in last night’s election." Gabriel Hays similarly gloated, stating that even though Swift inspired hundreds of thousands of voter registrations, "Swift failed to attract enough turnout needed" to beat Blackburn.

Later in November, when Swift signed a record deal that required the label to split royalty revenues from Spotify with all its articles, Jacob Comello groused:

Taylor Swift is undeniably talented, but she seems to have been struggling with identity for the better part of her career. Her days of strumming tunes about lost high school love into the hearts of country audiences are very long gone, and since the early 2010’s she has been trying to reinvent herself as a pop princess of the same strain as Katy Perry and Ke$ha. Simply put, Swift is a revolving door for labels.

But what about the title “labor radical?” Do you think that befits any of Swift’s incarnations? Apparently, Maxwell Strachan of Huffington Post thinks so.

In Comello's eyes, the writer committed the offense of saying something nice about Swift; he went on to dismiss the deal as "a product of corporate goons hijacking 'solidarity' as part of a slick PR stunt."

But as Swift made it clear she was going to dabble more in politics, the MRC lashed out more. Hays sneered in a March 8 post:

Finally, Taylor Swift has promised to grace us with more of her political opinion. After years of media haranguing and being quiet when asked her opinions on the bad Orange Man (Vice claimed her silence may be partially to blame for Trump’s election) the pop princess claimed that from here on out she “ will be more active in political campaigns.”

And if her stance during the 2018 midterm elections were any indication — she had claimed Tennessee Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn’s conservative policies “terrified her” — she’s definitely not going to be supporting any conservatives for 2020. Well, not that her record label Universal Music Group would have let her anyway.

[...]

That’s commendable (if only more celebs were that circumspect) but in the end it is no different than any other entertainer who has to sound good to a bunch of postmodern, new age romantics — just use a couple of alt-left buzzwords and you’ve got your ticket. It’s taken almost 30 years for Swift to figure it out, but it seems she’s finally got it. “Invoking racism and provoking fear through thinly-veiled messaging is not what I want from our leaders,” she claimed.

You don’t say.

Of course, we all know Taylor Swift is referring to conservatives. It’s the same rhetoric she used when she slammed Republican Senator from Tennessee Marsha Blackburn during her election in 2018. This marked Swift’s first foray into the public forum, and revealed that she has chosen the lefty team. And who cares if she went in for the wrong candidates and annoyed fans who just wanted her to stick to her craft; Taylor mentioned that she will not be dissuaded in speaking her mind.

Hays wasn't done sneering at Swift for exercising her constitutional right of speaking out on the issues of the day. He heaped more scorn on her in an April 9 post:

Remember when Taylor Swift refused to get political? Good times. Now we know she’s a garden-variety entertainment lefty, and she’s proving it with a large donation to an aggressive pro-LGBT interest group in Tennessee.

[...]

Well at least she’s committing to it, and not only spouting off progressive cliches. Who knows? With her enthusiasm, by this time next year maybe she’ll have kicked out Chick-Fil-A from every airport south of the Mason-Dixon. I’m sure that’s the dream anyway.

After Swift expressed her support for the Equality Act, Jorge Plaza huffed in a June 3 post: "Ever since her decision to go political back in October, Taylor Swift has chugged the entire pitcher of liberal Kool-aid." But Plaza showed he has chugged the entire pitcher of conservative Kool-Aid, uncritically repeating scary Heritage Foundation talking points against the Equality Act, such as that it would force "schools to allow boys into girls' restrooms." Plaza went on to complain that Swift was engaging in "virtue signalling" -- as if that's not what Plaza himself is doing -- and concluding by sneering: "Based on the promise she made in March to be 'more active in political campaigns,' it doesn’t seem like Swift and sanity are never ever getting back together."

Because failing to march in lockstep with the MRC is the definition of insanity, apparently.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:50 AM EDT
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

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