MRC Still In Damage Control Over Trump And The Central Park Five Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center just can't seem to give up pushing a factually flawed story about Donald Trump and the Central Park Five. Karen Townsend takes a stab at it in a June 3 post, motivated by a scene in the miniseries about the case, "When They See Us":
Shortly after the Central Park attack, private citizen and real estate developer Donald Trump becomes a part of the story when he pays $85,000 for full-page ads in the city’s newspapers advocating for the return of the death penalty. The mother of one of the boys arrested for the rape sees a television interview with Trump as he says, “You better believe I hate the people that took this girl and raped her brutally.”
When another one of the mothers of the Central Park Five boys is asked by a reporter what she thinks of Donald Trump calling for the death penalty for her son, she is shocked and bursts into tears while a spokesman dismisses Trump as "a real estate hustler."
Later, at home, the mother and a friend have a drink together with the television on in the background. The two women hear Donald Trump tell a reporter that he would like the opportunity to be "a well-educated black" because he thinks they "do have an actual advantage today.”
"They need to keep that bigot off tv, is what they need to do," the mother angrily responds. "That devil wants to kill my son," she says later.
A bit of levity is added for the viewer when the friend tells her not to worry about Trump’s remarks because “his 15 minutes [are] almost up.”
It is false to claim that Trump called for the boys to be killed. For one thing, he was calling for bringing back the death penalty in the state of New York in general. He said in an interview with Larry King at the timethat he supported the death penalty only "if the woman died" and if perpetrator was "at a certain age. If they're minors, they should be treated very strongly." All of the boys were minors at the time and would not have been subject to the death penalty if it were reinstated, anyway.
Don't forget, in 1989, New York City was experiencing an extremely high crime rate, and residents were losing patience with city efforts to get it under control. The subject of the death penalty was a popular topic of conversation at the time so it wasn’t particularly unusual that Trump weighed in with his opinion.
As we pointed out the last time the MRC did this, Trump's newspaper ad did reference the Central Park attack, the ran just a few months after it occurred, and the headline on it blared, "BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY. BRING BACK OUR POLICE!" It seems pretty clear who Trump was talking about, even if he didn't explicitly state it. Further, according to a CNN article on Trump's appearance on Larry King, "Trump told King his newspaper ads were not 'pre-judging' the five teens, but rather advocating for their execution if they were to be found guilty."
To repeat: Even though he admitted that the death penalty doesn't apply to minors, Trump appeared to calling for it anyway and only later clarified he didn't want it to apply to minors. It's a muddled message, something Trump is prone to -- muddled enough that the MRC should know better than to continue to make these kneejerk defenses of Trump over this.
Newsmax Gives Dershowitz More Unchallenged Space To Defend Himself Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax has defended lawyer Alan Dershowitz in the past over his involvement in the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking scandal. It serves up another defense in an anonymously written June 8 article is essentially a rewritten, one-sided version of Dershowitz's attempt to remove the lawyers of a woman who has accused him of having sex with her while she was underage:
Harvard Law professor and well-known trial lawyer Alan Dershowitz asked a New York federal court Friday to remove Boies Schiller Flexner LLP from a case in which the firm is representing a woman who claims Dershowitz sexually molested her as a child.
Dershowitz has been accused of being involved in billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein's alleged sex-trafficking ring by an attorney for one of Epstein’s victims. The lawyer who represents the woman, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, in early March claimed in federal court that testimony from other witnesses will show Dershowitz's involvement in the alleged trafficking of "his close friend Jeffrey Epstein."
In a recent blog on Newsmax, Dershowitz wrotethat for him the experience of being falsely accused of sexual misconduct was actually worse than being falsely accused of murder.
“In my case, two women I never met were put up to falsely accusing me for obvious financial gain,” he wrote. “They both had histories of making up stories about famous people for money, and of committing perjury.”
This was followed by a full version of Dershowitz's statement. No opposing view was permitted, even though there the Miami Herald has stood by its reporting on the Epstein case and pointed out that in a meeting with the Herald, Dershowitz "read select passages from voluminous documents that he said vindicated him. He declined to let the journalists examine the documents or take copies." Not exactly the behavior of someone who's completely innocent -- after all, Dershowitz was Epstein's attorney and helped put together a plea deal that got Epstein just a year in prison for his crimes, meaning he's no peripheral player.
Further, Newsmax never followed up on the fate of Dershowitz's motion: it got quickly thrown out because it broke the judge's rules of requiring a pre-motion conference limiting supporting documentation to 20 pages.
MRC's Media-Bashing Book Overlaps Levin's Media-Bashing Book Topic: Media Research Center
This has to be a little embarassing: Mark Levin's anti-media book "Unfreedom of the Press" was released on May 21. Just two weeks later, Levin's buddies at the Media Research Center, Tim Graham and Brent Bozell, released their own book covering much of the same territory, "Unmasked."
That's a pretty short promotion window to avoid direct competition between two books. The fact that Levin's book was released four days before a long holiday weekend doesn't give much time for promotion either (though Graham, Bozell and the MRC did what they could for him).
The MRC is doing the usual things to promote the Graham-Bozell book: propagandisticarticles at the its "news" division, CNSNews.com, a promotional overview of the book at NewsBusters (which suggests it's basically a condensation of the past three years of NewsBusters posts), and media appearances that stay inside the right-wing bubble that guarantee neither Bozell nor Graham will be asked anything but softball questions by sycophantic interviewers.
A side note: "Unmasked" is published by Humanix Books, a division of Newsmax. But the MRC didn't disclose this fact when mentioning Newsmax on its main content website, NewsBusters. A Feb. 19 post touted an media appearance by Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy, and a May 4 column by Jeffrey Lord asserted that "Newsmax is indeed a quite serious news outlet," but neither disclosed that Newsmax was publishing Graham and Bozell's book.
We'll be taking a closer look at the book in the near future, so stay tuned.
WND Attacks Liberals As 'The New Barbarians' Topic: WorldNetDaily
The current issue of WorldNetDaily's sparsely read Whistleblower magazine is about "The New Barbarism," which claims to argue that "in every meaningful way, today’s far left, which has already taken over – one might even say 'raided and devoured' – the Democratic Party, is now dragging America down a barbaric road to ruin."
The lead essay by WND managing editor David Kupelian is yetanother example of his liberal-bashing claptrap , and the errors start with the very first paragraph: "'Socialism or barbarism!' That’s the classic Marxist theme, the title of many far-left books, and the stark existential choice posed by socialists of all stripes: Either adopt our enlightened way – or sink into barbarism." It's actually the title of one book, not "many." But exaggeration is the order of the day for Kupelian; he goes on to suggest that today's liberals are barely different from the murderous regimes of Mao Zedong and Pol Pot.
Kupelian then claimed that among the "institutions targeted for destruction" by liberals is "American history," adding: "Everyone has watched in amazement over the last several years as activists on the left have waged an ongoing campaign to eliminate America’s historical memory, starting with toppling Civil War statues across the country." As he has before, Kupelian is confusing the winning and losing sides in the Civil War. Nobody's tearing down monuments to the winners of the Civil War -- it's only those honoring the Confederacy, the side that fought a war against the United States and lost.
Kuupelian also complained that "The Democrats have never accepted the election of Donald Trump as president – as demonstrated by the incredibly damaging Russia collusion hoax, which in reality has constituted a full-fledged attempted coup d’etat." Kupelian seems to have forgotten that his boss, Joseph Farah, never accepted the election of Barack Obama as president and that he helped Farah attempt a coup d'etat by relentlessly pushing the birther hoax.
Kupelian also ranted about "the Islam problem," huffing, "Islam, by its very nature, and as history proves again and again, tends not to assimilate but to conquer. It’s politically incorrect in the extreme to say so, but 'barbarian invasion' is what Islam has specialized in for most of the last 14 centuries."
Kupelian still hasn't figured out that kneejerk, factually dubious, right-wing ranting like this is one key reason WND is going down the tubes.
NewsBusters Blogger Defends Author's Dubious Claim About MLK Topic: NewsBusters
Clay Waters complains in a June 5 NewsBusters post:
The New York Times suddenly distrusts left-wing scholar and Pulitzer Prize-winning Martin Luther King Jr. biographer David Garrow. Why? Because the scholar unearthed F.B.I archives suggesting the civil rights icon once laughed along as a colleague raped a woman in his presence in a hotel.
Garrow’s bombshell piece was rejected by many news outlets, including the Times (which actually ran an pre-emptive op-ed against it, evidently before the paper’s skeptical news piece was even posted). It was eventually picked up by the British magazine Standpoint.
While Garrow relied on summaries of wiretaps, not the original tapes, which are sealed until 2027, he argued there is no obvious reason to embellish such details, since such records would not have been expected to have any public or historical value.
First: Waters provides no evidence to back up his claim that Garrow is a "left-wing scholar" -- instead, he seems to boost the opposite view by noting that "his biographies have become more critical of liberal heroes." Second: As we've documented when WorldNetDaily similarly latched onto Garrow's claim, there is plenty of reason to suspect a claim might be "embellished": The FBI was engaged in a disinformation war against King at the time of the illicit bugging incident Garrow documented. Garrow is relying only a summary of a wiretap; the tapes themselves are under seal until 2027.
Waters then complained that the Times article "threw in some extraneous personal attacks against Garrow" by noting Garrow's alleged mistreatment of his co-workers. As if NewsBusters' publisher, the Media Research Center, has never leveled much more personal attacks on its most despised targets.
Cody Leach started off a June 3 CNSNews.com blog post in mostly promising fashion, reporting that "Conservative comedian Steven Crowder has found himself under investigation by YouTube after accusations of racism and homophobia surfaced over the weekend from Vox host Carlos Maza, who hosts the media literacy series “Strikethrough.”
But Leach then drops the ball, noting that Maza said that "dvery single video" Crowder made purporting to debunk his series "has included repeated, overt attacks on my sexual orientation and ethnicity" -- but then doesn't cite any examples, stating only that Maza's allegation was followed by "a long string of tweets."
In fact, Maza detailed that Crowder has mocked him as a "lispy queer" and worn a "Socialism Is For Fags" T-shirt during his anti-Maza attacks, as well as attacking his ethnicity by calling him a "anchor baby," and that Crowder's followers have doxxed him. Maza also stated that his ire is mostly targeted at YouTube for not enforcing its anti-harassment policies against Crowder, which he claimed was out of fear that it "get them accused on anti-conservative bias."
Instead, Leach played into that right-wing narrative -- which CNS' owner, the Media Research Center, pushes despite the fact it's not actually true -- by uncritically allowing Crowder to play the victim, writing that Crowder "tweeted a video with the caption “Vox is trying to ban my channel.” The tweet was followed by several tweets and retweets of similar content." Leach weirdly didn't quote from Crowder's video either.
Also weirdly, neither Leach nor anyone else at CNS has done a follow-up on this story. YouTube has since demonetized Crowder's videos, meaning he can no longer make money off them though he is still allowed to post them.
MRC Shouts 'Pedophilia!' At Snapchat Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center knows a good, inflammatory narrative when it sees one, and it saw a huge one it could smear Snaspchat with, as Corinne Weaver detailed in a June 3 post:
A tech company has made a disturbing statement during the left-centric “Pride Month.”
For Snapchat, the LGBTQ might also include pedophiles. In the campaign for “Love Has No Labels” held by Snapchat, one of the options wasa “Love Has No Age” filter. While this filter appears to be defunct as of June 3, conservatives on Twitter pointed out the option over the weekend of June 1-2. Twitter user Ashley St. Clair posted a video of herself with the “Love has No Age” filter.
The filter had the options to say that love had no gender, race, or religion, as part of the mass-marketed Pride Month that infiltrates businesses and social media in June. But age did not seem to fit in the list, unless it was meant to justify pedophilia.
Needless to say, Weaver offered no actual evidence that Snapchat intended the filter to "justify pedophilia." Instead, she smeared Snapchat further, asserting that it "has a reputation for enabling pedophiles on the app," again baselessly portraying Snapchat as deliberately catering to pedophiles.
Such claims could be legally actionable of they cannot be proven, -- indeed, Weaver indeed provides no evidence for her suggestion that Snapchat is deliberately enabling pedophiles. The MRC might want to have a chat with a libel lawyer about this.
WND Calls Woman The 'British Ann Coulter,' Like That's A Good Thing Topic: WorldNetDaily
An anonymously written June 9 WorldNetDaily article touts, under the headline "'British Ann Coulter' to speak in U.S.":
Katie Hopkins, the British media personality whose unabashed defense of European civilization makes her a constant target of scorn, is scheduled to speak in central Connecticut on June 19.
A documentary filmmaker, author and columnist, she warned at a forum last year at CPAC that American is in danger of becoming like Western Europe.
“Do not become us. Do not let yourselves fall as the U.K. has fallen,” she said.
There is no cost to attend the event, but registration is required. Due to security concerns, the venue, near Hartford, will be disclosed on June 18 or the morning of June 19 to those who register.
Weirdly, the article never quotes anyone calling Hopkins the "British Ann Coulter" -- that claim only appears in the headline.
Of course, the whole "unabashed defense of European civilization" thing is a dogwhistle for hating Muslims, not that WND will honestly tell you that; it does obliquely hint at it by claiming that Hopkins' talk will address "the immediate threats the mass immigration of people who refuse to assimilate pose to families," specifically migrants with "mostly with low educational qualifications and with a different cultural background." And a quick Google search reveals that Hopkins somehow manages to be even worse than Coulter.
She's so hateful that the notoriously right-wing (and notoriously less-than-factual) Daily Mail dropped Hopkins as a columnist after she called for a "final solution" after a bombing in Manchester by a radical Islamist killed 22 people. She also was ordered to pay $164,000 in damages and legal costs to a food writer whom she libeled by falsely claiming she supported the defacing of a war memorial.She has since declared herself insolvent.
Which begs the question of how Hopkins can afford a transatlantic flight if she's broke. Too bad WND doesn't have any reporters to check that out.
MRC's Graham Spins for Trump: 'He Meant 'Nasty' In A Good Way! Topic: Media Research Center
How in the tank is the Media Research Center for President Trump? It's even trying to explain away his description of Meagan Markle as "nasty."
Tim Graham (of course) complained in a June 1 post that "CNN and others leaped at the chance to exaggerate comments by President Trump about Meghan Markle, the former American actress who married Prince Harry and is now known as the Duchess of Sussex." But Trump did, in fact, say of Markle that "I didn't know that she was nasty" -- no exaggeration necessary.
And here's the way Graham goes into cleanup mode: "It's not misquoting the president to say he called Markle nasty (or her comments nasty). But it was clear from the exchange that he had no ill will toward the duchess at this point."
See? Trump meant "nasty" in a good way! It's all about context!
This, by the way, from the same guy who gets hypocritically gets mad when journalists put the words of non-conservative politicians in context when it serves his right-wing agenda not to do so.
And it wouldn't be Graham without a dose of irrelevant whataboutism: "Obama brought the Queen of England an iPod with his speeches on it, and the pro-Obama media didn't blink." But Graham's sudden concern for context evaporated just as suddenly -- the iPod also contained a selection of Broadway show tunes (to accompany another gift, a songbook signed by Broadway composer Richard Rodgers) and video of the queen's 2007 visit to the U.S.
And, of course, Obama never referred to any member of the royal family as "nasty" -- not even in a way that could be taken out of context.
CNS' Jeffrey Still Won't Blame Trump For Record Federal Spending, Deficit Topic: CNSNews.com
We'vedocumented how CNSNews.com editor in chief Terry Jeffrey is highly reluctant to single out President Trump for blame President Trump and the Republicans who control the federal government for record federal deficits, even though he showed little reluctance in blaming Democrats when President Obama was in office. Jeffrey expressed more of that blame-free outrage in a June 12 article:
For the first time in the history of the United States, the federal government has spent more than $3 trillion in the first eight months of the fiscal year, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released today.
The record $3,013,541,000,000 that the federal government spent in October through May of fiscal 2019 was $181,157,920,000 more than the previous record of $2,832,383,080,000 (in constant May 2019 dollars) that the federal government spent in October through May of fiscal 2009.
As before, the words "Trump" and "Republican" appear nowhere in Jeffrey's article. And as before, Jeffrey tried to take some of the implicit heat off Trump by including a picture of him with Democratic House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
This time around, though, Jeffrey left off the tag about CNS' economic reporting being "funded in part with a gift made in memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold." Maybe the Wold family got tired of their name being attached to such dishonest reporting?
MRC's Philbin Plays Sorry/Not Sorry Over AOC Insult, Suggests She Deserves Hate Topic: Media Research Center
When a minor-league baseball team showed a video during a Memorial Day game that showed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez among the "enemies of freedom," most people cried foul. The Media Research Center's Matt Philbin did too -- well, kinda.
Philbin asserted in a May 29 post that "for once, Ocasio-Cortez and her media enthusiasts are right to cry, just not for the reasons they think." When one writer pointed out that she is "a regular target of criticism by right-wing media and GOP officials," Philbin sneered: "That’s certainly the way AOC sees things." Philbin then switched into sorry/not sorry mode, suggesting that, just maybe, she deserves all the hate right-wingers like him send her way:
Ocasio-Cortez has made herself the mouthpiece for a fundamentally un-American ideology, one that has a track record of failure, misery and, in may cases, tyranny. She has regularly said the kind of things (untrue, extreme, ignorant) that get the media howling when Donald Trump says them.
Obviously, it’s horrible that she gets threats, and the authorities should track them and punish the criminals who make them. There’s gotta be a special place in hell for those who make threatening phone calls. But Twitter isn’t a nice place. Unfortunately, to take and defend a controversial position on social media is to stir up the fever swamp and poke at things -- left and right -- better left on the bottom. And that goes for everybody.
The Grizzlies apologized to Ocasio-Cortez. That’s nice. More important, the team apologized to the ones who really deserve it: the fans who came to the park for some baseball and got politics. They could stay home and watch Fox or CNN for that. Memorial Day should be observed at ballparks and arenas across the country, but it shouldn’t be an opportunity to score political points. No entertainment event should be. So Grizzlies, shut up and hit the ball.
Philbin continued his sorry/not sorry act two days later in a post attacking another writer, this time Washington Post sports columnist Thomas Boswell, for pointing out the insult, which included a copy-and-paste from his earlier post:
To be clear, a video -- any video -- insulting any political figure should never have run at a ballpark, Memorial Day or not. Because nobody should have politics intrude on their day at the game. If they want partisan hackery mixed in with their sports, they can stay home and watch ESPN -- or read the Post sports page. As for the content, is it hate speech? Not really. Is it an “implicit incitement to violence,” as Boswell condemns it? No. It’s an over-the-top and debatable description of her policy stance. Ocasio-Cortez has made herself the mouthpiece for a fundamentally un-American ideology, one that has a track record of failure, misery and, in may cases, tyranny. Americans still, thankfully, have an innate distrust of socialism.
And to show how much Philbin opposes politics in sports, he used his ostenible sports-themed post to attack "the left" for having "eschewed overt patriotism, and at various times embraced socialism, apologized for communism, and loudly denounced the history of America and the rest of the West." He went on to whine that "I eagerly await [Boswell's] reaction column to the next Emmy’s or Oscars, or whichever is the next entertainment awards show festival of hate for Trump and other Republicans. Should be an enlightening read."
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."
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.
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 >>
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.