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Friday, September 13, 2019
Flip-Flop: CNS Moves From Light Treatement Of Mueller Report To Harsh Treatment of Comey
Topic: CNSNews.com

When the report on Robert Mueller's investigation into President Trump was released, CNSNews.com labored hard to make Trump look good as possible despite it not exactly being a full exoneration for him. By contrast, CNS' reporting on a Department of Justice investigation into former FBI Director James Comey -- which turned up less than on Trump -- was much harsher.

The lead story by Susan Jones emphasized that the DOJ's inspector general "concludes that Comey failed to live up to his responsibility to protect sensitive information; and by using sensitive information to force the appointment of a special prosecutor, the OIG found that Comey "set a dangerous example for the over 35,000 current FBI employees -- and the many thousands more former FBI employees -- who similarly have access to or knowledge of non-public information." The report's key conclusion, that Comey didn't leak classified information and will not face criminal charges, didn't get mentioned until the third paragraph.

Just as CNS lined up Republicans and conservatives to spin away the Mueller report with pro-Trump rah-rah, it lined up many of those same conservatives for some Comey-bashing:

CNS also served up a commentary from the Heritage Foundation's John G. Malcolm repeating those same right-wing attacks.

By contrast, an article by Jones on "liberal" reaction to the Comey report was snarky and dimissive, reacting to one commentator's statement that the last 10 pages of the report are "sort of a howl of rage and anger" by huffing: "In fact, the last ten pages of the report include the IG's conclusion that Comey failed to live up to his responsibility to protect sensitive information; and by using sensitive information to force the appointment of a special prosecutor, the OIG found that Comey 'set a dangerous example for the over 35,000 current FBI employees -- and the many thousands more former FBI employees -- who similarly have access to or knowledge of non-public information.'"

Jones concluded her article with seven paragraphs of copy-and-pasted text from the report "for the record" -- even though that very same text was copy-and-pasted into her lead article, so it was already on the record at CNS.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:39 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, September 13, 2019 9:17 AM EDT
Thursday, September 12, 2019
MRC Still Trying To Hide That Bret Stephens Is A Conservative (And That It Has a Grudge Against Him)
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Scott Whitlock took a not-undeserved shot at New York Times columnist Bret Stephens for a disproportionate response to a critic on Twitter: "Don’t be cruel to Bret Stephens. The New York Times columnist, who compared Republicans to murderous dictators and said the 'serpent' Ted Cruz would sell his family into slavery, doesn’t like being called a 'bedbug.' Not only that, he’ll complain to your boss if you do such a thing." Whitlock went on to complain that Stephens previously  criticized members of the Trump administration.

What Whitlock didn't tell you: Stephens is a conservative writer the MRC used to love.

When Stephens moved to the Times from the Wall Street Journal in April 2017, his first column was dedicated to effectivly denying climate change. Then-blogger Tom Blumer defended Stephens against media reaction to the column (though he still complained that Stephens "gave far too much credit to the supposedly 'scrupulous' science"). But the relationship soured a couple months later when Stephens wrote a column criticizing the MRC for planning to give its annual William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence to Fox News' Sean Hannity, declaring that giving an award named after Buckley -- who had nourished a brand of conservatism that was "fundamentally literary -- to a conspiracy-monger like Hannity ushers in the "post-literate conservative world." After Buckley's son, author Christopher Buckley, similarly objected to the award, Hannity suddenly had a scheduling conflict that kept him from receiving it. No award was given out that year, and no MRC outlet reported on the controversy even though it could've had a big scoop.

After that, the MRC had little complementary to say about Stephens. He's been dismissed by MRC writer Curtis Houck as a "Never Trump diehard" and a  "Trump Derangement Syndrome sufferer," and MRC chief Brent Bozell and Tim Graham denounced Stephens for criticizing Cruz (while failing to disclose that Bozell supported Cruz's candidacy for president in 2016 and taht Graham is a serious Cruz fanboy).

When Stephens wrote a Times column a few days later doubling down on his reaction to being called a "bedbug," Graham showed up to drag him some more. Criticism of Stephens was pretty much universal by this point, but Graham added the requisite amount of right-wing whining: "Stephens also described Ted Cruz as a "serpent covered in Vaseline" who would sell his family into slavery. So he really doesn't stand on a moral high ground at all." No mention of Graham's  Cruz fanboyism or the MRC's grudge against Stephens, and still no mention of the fact that Stephens is a conservative formerly in the MRC's good graces.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:08 PM EDT
WND's Kupelian Spews His Usual Hate In Alleged Defense Of Children
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In an essay accompanying the August issue of the sparsely read Whistleblower magazine, themed "How the Left Hurts Kids," WorldNetDaily managing editor David Kupelian repeats the usual right-wing tropes attacking "the left." First, he declared that Democratic criticism of of the way the Trump administration treats undocumented is part of a sinister plan to create "future Democrat [sic] voters" and change America from Kupelian's white-dominated ideal:

For Democrats, the game is simple: The vast majority of illegal aliens, given a "pathway to citizenship" including the right to vote – something all top Democrats advocate – statistically will vote for Democrats. Thus the left is literally flooding America with future Democrat voters, radically altering the nation's traditional demographics, culture, unity and wellbeing, all for the express purpose of transforming the electorate into what they themselves call a "permanent progressive majority." America would then be perpetually ruled by one party, like Detroit and San Francisco, and would suffer the same fate as those once-great cities.

But there's more to it. Not only does a de facto "open borders" policy portend the creation of a new electorate and the unraveling of America's Judeo-Christian culture, Constitution and bedrock institutions, but current immigration policies also enable – indeed, invite – Central American "refugee" families to cynically use innocent children as props to get into America by gaming her immigration laws. If countless children are sexually abused, sold into sex slavery or "recycled" as pawns to get unrelated families into this country, and if human traffickers and drug cartels are enriched in the process, today's Democrat Party leadership has proven that it doesn't care. Democrats' actions, as distinct from their words, serve the sole interest of their acquiring power.

Then it was on to the usual factually challenged right-wing rants:

Most obviously, today's Democrats have proven they care very little for the yet-to-be-born children of American women – particularly black children. In New York City, more African-American children are aborted today than are born. Such was precisely the oft-stated intention of open eugenicist and Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, whose legacy continues unabated into the present.

As we've pointed out, the idea that Sanger was a virulent racist is a right-wing fantasy they cling to in order to justify their hatred of Planned Parenthood. Kupelian's evidence to back up his faulty claim is alink to a 2014 Family Research Council column by Arina Grossu that noted she once spoke to a Ku Klux Klan women's auxiliary -- which, as we also pointed out, was effectively a mainstream organization at the time and she spoke to anyone who would have her, and she later belittled the audience as behaving like children -- and the quote about Sanger's "Negro Project" that right-wingers love to take out of context to falsely portray heras a racist.

Since Kupelian absolutely hates the LGBT community, he served up a freakout over "drag queen story hours" and insulted gays as "immoral and pathological":

Likewise, the left cares very little for the nation's toddlers who are being continually confused and indoctrinated with the immoral and pathological sexual/gender delusions of the LGBT movement, most recently via the rapidly growing national craze called "drag queen story hour."

One must wonder: Where did this idea come from, of having a deeply troubled, mentally ill and arguably demonized man, clothed and made-up as a woman (and sometimes as a dragon-headed creature), reading stories about happily adjusted homosexual families to America's precious toddlers in the nation's taxpayer-funded public libraries? All to the apparent applause and delight of the clueless grownups in attendance. This "drag queen story hour" phenomenon is even starting to appear in some churches, as occurred recently in Cincinnati's Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church.

Kupelian concluded by insulting anyone who doesn't hold the same far-right values as himself as having rejected "reality" and being "compelled by a dark, deceiving spirit to confuse, intimidate and indoctrinate everyone else so [they] can initiate them into our alternate reality."


Posted by Terry K. at 5:48 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 12, 2019 5:50 PM EDT
CNS Unemployment Coverage Distortion Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

The August jobs report was disappointing, with only 130,000 jobs created and job-growth numbers from June and July revised downward. This, of course, meant that CNS had to obscure that fact with a raftload of pro-Trump rah-rah. Thus, Susan Jones' lead story begins this way:

The number of people employed in the United States hit a record 157,878,000 in August, the 21st record set under President Donald Trump, according to the employment report released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That's an increase of 590,000 from the record 157,228,000 employed in July.

The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7 percent. For blacks, the unemployment rate dropped to a record low of 5.5 percent last month. And for Hispanics, the unemployment rate was 4.2 percent in August, which ties the record low set earlier this year.

The fact that only 130,000 jobs were created was buried in the eighth paragraph, and the previous months' downward revisions didn't get mentioned until the following paragraph.

The usual sidebars got added -- Terry Jeffrey's item on manufacturing jobs, which grew so slowly that he instead highlighted that manufacturing jobs are "up 498,000 since President Donald Trump took office, and Craig Bannister's piece on Hispanic employment.

Bannister also served up a snarky item on how House Speaker Nancy Pelosi noting that the economy is "faltering" despite "the U.S. Labor Department’s August report revealing that a record number of people were employed last month, while the unemployment rate held at 3.7% - and fell to record lows for blacks and Hispanics" and that "employment in the U.S. set its 21st record high under Trump in August."

Bannister writes like a man who knows what his bosses want to hear.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:44 AM EDT
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Newsmax Falls for Bogus 'Democrat' Who Defends Trump
Topic: Newsmax

Sandy Fitzgerald writes in an Aug. 30 Newsmax article:

President Donald Trump Friday, while speaking out on Twitter about the Inspector General's report on James Comey's actions, tweeted a compilation of comments from a Democratic former CIA officer who said on Fox News that Comey tried to "kneecap our duly elected president."

Trump pointed out the former officer, Bryan Dean Wright, had commented on "Fox and Friends" that "'in 2016 we had a coup. We have to take Comey and others to task. Makes no sense not to prosecute him. Comey got a book deal. I fear for my Country. He tried to kneecap our duly elected president, and there are no consequences.”

Wright said Friday that he's angry because Comey leaked information to force the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Trump not because the facts depended on it but because "he and his own partisan drive desired it."

Fitzgerald didn't report, however, that Wright has made a career at Fox News of writing "I'm a Democrat, but..." op-eds that bash Democrats and praise Trump.

Newsmax has done this sort of thing before. A 2014 article called Pat Caddell a "Democratic pollster" even though he hadn't done anything for Democrats in years and was making his living as Democrat-basher on, yes, Fox News. And in a 2017 column, James Hirsen touted Wright as "a former CIA officer and a Democrat" who "spoke frankly about a fifth column of intelligence staffers who are leaking as well as withholding intelligence materials from the Trump administration" on Fox News.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:28 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 9:35 PM EDT
Mysterious MRC Sports Blogger Gets Triggered By Another Athlete Kneeling
Topic: Media Research Center

As someone with a years-long case of Kaepernick Derangement Syndrome -- still getting triggered every time he gets mentioned in the media -- it was all but inevitable that mysterious Media Research Center sports blogger Jay Maxson would get bent out of shape as only he can when U.S. fencing team member Race Imboden knelt on the podium as the national anthem played during the medal ceremony at the Pan American Games where the team won gold.

Crank up that outrage, Jay:

American fencer Race Imboden deserves induction into the "Hall of Shame" for kneeling on the victory stand at the Pan American Games and dishonoring his country on social media Friday. The Democratic Underground certainly loves his tweet blaming a "hateful" President for his pathetic protest, and Bleacher Report gave him a platform for encouraging other athletes to disrespect the U.S. flag.

Along with teammates Gerek Meinhardt and Nick Itkin, Imboden helped the USA defeat Brazil, 45-23 in the team foil gold-medal match. Meinhardt and Itkin were the real heroes of the day Friday ― for standing, for representing the United States with dignity and for respecting all who sacrificed for the freedom we enjoy today.

[...]

Imboden is the top-ranked U.S. fencer and stands No. 3 in the world rankings. He ranks considerably lower than that in the view of American patriots for putting down his country on foreign soil.

Maxson similarly huffed in a Aug. 15 post:

The recent Pan American Games in Lima, Peru were tarnished by U.S. athlete activism, which could be a forerunner for Tokyo. To Brewer, protest "reentered public consciousness because of the audacity of two athletes representing the United States." During a medal ceremony and playing of the U.S. national anthem, gold medalist fencer Race Imboden kneeled and later cited racism, gun control, mistreatment of immigrants and President Trump as his beefs. 

Maxson also directs his ire to anyone who fails to similarly hate Imboden for exercising his constitutional right to free speech. In an Aug. 27 post, Maxson ranted that "professional protest profiteer" Dave Zirin of The Nation for hosting Imboden on his podcast to discuss the latter's "disgusting behavior that led to his being placed on 12-month probation by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee," further outraged that Imboden "invoked Colin Kaepernick and, like a good bleeding heart liberal, his own white guilt." Maxson concluded by declaring that Imboden was Zirin's "newest radical hero."

What does Maxson's ranting about an athlete's political views have to do with the "media research" that's supposed to be the mission of the MRC? We have no idea.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:40 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 5:49 PM EDT
WND Revives Bogus Obseesion Over 'Mega-Mosque'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Back when WorldNetDaily had reporters, one of them, the Muslim-hating writer Leo Hohmann, became obsessed with a controversy over a planned mosque in Sterling Heights, Michigan, which he insisted on describing as a "mega-mosque" despite the fact that it would be no bigger than your typical Aldi grocery store and only a fraction of the size of a typical Christian megachurch. Hohmann had complained that mosque supporters invoked the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act -- a federal law designed to protect religious institutions from discrimination in local zoning and landmarking laws -- which heclaimed was "being used to coerce cities into approving mosques, even when the mosque is in a residential neighborhood" (though WND never had any problem with Christian congregations invoking RLUIPA to get their church buildings built).

In the ensuing time, courts have upheld the Michigan city's right to permit the building of the mosque. In the meantime, mosque opponents have shifted their arguments as they continue to lose in court -- and WND is checking back in on the story.

A Sept. 2 WND article echoed the long-departed Hohmann's bias by declaring that "Chaldean Christians who escaped persecution from Muslims in their home country Iraq by fleeing to Sterling Heights, Michigan, now are fighting a proposed 21,000-square-foot mega-mosque in their neighborhood." Opponents have now enlisted the right-wing American Freedom Law Center (apparently, their version of "American freedom" doesn't involve freedom of worship for Muslims), which is trying to get a federal appeals court to reverse its decision upholding the city's right to permit the mosque by focusing on technical procedural issues:

"During this public meeting," AFLC said, "the mayor enforced a content- and viewpoint-based speech restriction that prohibited private citizens, including our clients, from making any comments that the mayor deemed critical of Islam, in direct violation of the First Amendment!"

Subsequent court rulings were "fraught with egregious errors," the legal team said.

Since WND is simply rewriting an AFLC press release -- no reporters, remember? -- it tells only one side of the story. Meanwhile, an actual news outlet told the full story: that the appeals court upheld the city's right to remove spectators from a city council meeting regarding the mosque because audience members had become disruptive; there were "more than two dozen outbursts" from the audience, some of which "disparaged Islam and the [American Islamic Community Center, which is building the mosque], calling them terrorists or terrorist-funded."

The WND article does not explain why the AFLC thinks disrupting public meetings with out-of-order disparaging attacks is a right that has to be protected.

And while the AFLC is trying to pretend otherwise, WND is admitting it's an anti-Muslim battle with the headline "U.S. Christians in fierce fight against mega-mosque in backyard." Perhaps the AFLC should be similarly honest and admit it's trying to stop construction of the mosque because it too hates Muslims and doesn't believe they deserve the same religious rights as Christians in America, despite what the Constitution says.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:02 AM EDT
Tuesday, September 10, 2019
MRC's Graham and Bozell: Damn Right Those Illegals Are An Invasion!
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham and Brent Bozell spent their Aug. 14 column outraged that the New York Times pointed out how the anti-immigration language of the El Paso massacre shooter's manifesto echoed that of prominent right-wing pundits including Rush Limbaugh. They even defended the inflammatory (and mutually used) word "invasion" to describe undocumented immigrants and refugees truying to cross the southern border:

The Times brigade was especially appalled by conservative media stars' using the term "invasion" to describe the influx at the southern border. Limbaugh explained that "invasion" describes the left's strategy to import new voters who don't share any particular affection for America's founding principles.

"Invasion" is the correct word. It didn't matter to The Times that each month from March till June, we were faced with over 100,000 border apprehensions of immigrants surging into our country.

The two followed that with another kneejerk defense of their buddy Limbaugh:

Would Limbaugh be more politically correct if he were to categorize this more gently, perhaps as "increased travel"?

This is the kind of "news" story that the left has been uncorking for decades. Limbaugh was blunt: "It's been a constant attempt by the left since I started this program to discredit me, to impugn me. And their purpose has been to make sure I don't acquire an even larger audience."

Limbaugh has every right to be furious. When white supremacist Timothy McVeigh drove up to a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995 and blew it up with an ammonium nitrate bomb, killing 168 people, the "news" media energetically connected it to the rhetoric of Limbaugh and the new Republican House Speaker, Newt Gingrich.

(Remember, the MRC even found a way to defend Limbaugh after his vicious misogynist attack on Sandra Fluke.)

Of course, Graham and Bozell never actually disproved the idea that the extreme rhetoric of right-wing jocks like Limbaugh had an effect on McVeigh.

Graham and Bozell concluded by whining, "The liberal media are becoming increasingly more comfortable with impugning every reporter and commentator in conservative media as a poisonous instigator of violence." Say the operators of an organziaton that was eager to play whataboutism in blaming Rachel Maddow for a deranged man who tried to kill Rep. Steve Scalise despite there being no evidence Maddow ever advocated violence against anyone.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:43 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 10, 2019 8:46 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: CNS Attacks When Trump Critics Testify
Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com's biased coverage of the congressional testimony of Michael Cohen and John Dean fit its pro-Trump template: trash the speakers and cheer Republicans who bash them while ignoring questioning from Democratic members of Congress. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 9:07 AM EDT
Monday, September 9, 2019
Newsmax Columnist Tries To Claim Ben Franklin Endorses Trump
Topic: Newsmax

Stephen B. Presser's Aug. 27 Newsmax column carries the goofy headline "Ben Franklin Would Be All In for Trump 2020." He never quite gets around to making that case, though.

Much of Presser's column is devoted to riffing on Franklin's comment "A republic, if you can keep it" by claiming that republics are better than democracies and, by implication, that the Republican Party is better than the Democratic Party. He then rather abruptly shifts into partisan mode for a tired political argument:

In the Barack H. Obama administration, in a manner that departed from the rule of law, an effort was implemented to concentrate much more power in the federal government.

In that administration, a far-from-disinterested bureaucracy (especially in the Department of Justice (DOJ) and our intelligence agencies) came close, as we are now coming to understand, to deciding to shred the constitutional scheme of presidential selection, to promote a favored candidate (Mrs. Clinton) and, eventually to seek to depose a duly-elected chief executive (Donald Trump).

President Trump, and his administration now understand this, and he and they are determined to continue his ongoing effort to reverse the flow of power to the bureaucracy, or as they call it reining in "the deep state" or "the swamp."

The Democrats, whose candidates have their own plans for increasing taxes, restricting private property, implementing some form of socialism, and redistributing resources to meet the selfish needs of their core constituencies, fail to understand that their program would fatally undermine the Framers’ design.

Republicans in 2020 are, in the President’s new campaign slogan seeking "to keep America great," simply striving to preserve small "r" republican government itself.

Of course, there's little proof outside right-wing fever swamps that the Obama administration used the federal bureaucracy to stop Trump (Presser writes not only as if it existed and also that it succeeded), while there's growing evidence that Trump cares less about maintaining a republican form of government and more evidence that he's using the levers of goverment to enrich himself. And Republicans care less about republican government than about getting a corrupt man re-elected.

Presser won't tell you any of that, of course. In addition to the cumbersonmne title of "Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History Emeritus at Northwestern’s Pritzker School of Law," he was also a "Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy at the University of Colorado's Boulder Campus," whatever that is.

Presser can't make the case that Trump is a conservative or a small-government republican, so he will trot out the usual right-wing attacks against Democrats.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:35 PM EDT
MRC Defends Google-Hating Researcher And His Dubious Work
Topic: Media Research Center

Robert Epstein is the Media Research Center's favorite Google-hating researcher. His claim to be a Hillary Clinton supporter gives him cover to be a conserative darling pushing claims that Google is biased against conservatives -- which conveniently fits in with the MRC's anti-media agenda.

A September 2018 post by Corinne Weaver touting the anti-Google film "Creepy Line" noted how Epstein supplied the film's title: “Google crosses the creepy line every day. ... Google can shift the voting preferences of undecided voters by up to 80 percent in some demographic groups just by altering the order in which search results are shown."

A couple days later, Weaver cited how Epstein "told the Media Research Center that Google was building personal profiles of users mainly through Gmail" and that "conservatives have 'special reasons to be concerned' based on the leaked emails and videos from Google concerning the 2016 election." Weaver added that "Epstein clarified that he was not a conservative."

A few days after that, Weaver got another "exclusive statement" from Epstein dismissing a Stanford University study highlighting the large number of conservative websites that push fake news, echoing Weaver's suggestion that Stanford has a pro-Google bias because Google's founders were Stanford graduates and have donated money to the school, though neither offered any specific evidence that this particular study was influenced by Google money. Weaver even pushed an article Epstein did for the pro-Trump Epoch Times that purported to explain "10 ways that Google and Facebook could affect the midterm elections.

In a November post, Weaver intoned: "The scariest thing about Google Search is the algorithms and changes that users don’t see. Dr. Robert Epstein of AIRBT (sic: the American Instistute for Behavioral Research and Technology, of which Epstein is the apparent sole staff member) has spent years studying Google and the algorithms behind it." In a July 11 post, Alexander Hall gushed that the "prolific American psychologist, journalist, and author" Epstein "will soon unleash a report that he claims will bring down Google." And an Aug. 20 item reprinted MRC chief Brent Bozell's letter to Google, signed by other "conservative leaders," citing Epstein's claims of "pro-liberal bias" in a demand that Google "explain reports and allegations that the search engine is attempting to block conservative sites and exclude voices that don’t fit the liberal narrative."

But the MRC has a conservative narrative to push, and Epstein is a big part of that. So when Hillary Clinton and other media outlets pointed out the flaws in Epstein's research, the MRC rushed to his defense.

In an Aug. 21 post, Weaver claimed that Epstein was "smeared" by Clinton and CNN over his finding that "Google had helped influence 2.6 million votes in favor of Hillary Clinton in 2016," gushing that Epstein "responded with his first ever 'twitter storm,' in essence factually disarming Clinton’s comment."

Well, not so much. Clinton had claimed that Epstein's research "was based on 21 undecided voters," which is effectively true. Epstein's paper -- which examined whether Google search results could influence the voting preference of undecided voters in the 2016 presidential election -- says that his research was based on the work of 95 people, 21 of whom were undecided, meaning that his conclusions were, in fact, based on how those 21 undecided voters reacted. In that tweetstorm, Epstein objected by citing the "3,207 election-related searches & the 98,044 web pages linked to those searches," which he claimed showed "substantial pro-Hillary bias."

But as the Washington Post pointed out, the paper doesn't explain how it determined whether a given website exhibited "pro-Hillary bias" -- which makes us wonder if it's using methodology from groups like AllSides that push the right-wing narrative that mainstream media outlets, which typically populate news searches, are reflexively "liberal" -- nor did it describe how those "election-related searches" were conducted. Epstein also apparently threw out results that were unbiased based on a conspiracy theory that "perhaps Google identified our confidants through its gmail system and targeted them to receive unbiased results."

Weaver also bashed a CNN article debunking Epstein's study, complaining that it "cited the opinions of two academics who disagreed with Epstein," then huffed: "The issue is that in the world of academic studies, one can always find two academics to either agree or disagree with you. That’s not a litmus test for accuracy or truth."

Of course, Weaver did not mention the nature of those academics' objections. One noted that even if such search bias did exist, "Epstein has failed to establish that any such biases have had anywhere near the magnitude of impact on American presidential voting that Epstein suggests," while the second pointed out that the study "did not take into account how much a voter might care about a particular subject" or "how people's voting preferences might have been affected by other technological platforms, such as Facebook, which he said was 'quite clearly gamed by third parties' in 2016."

Weaver further repeated Epstein's defense of himself:

Epstein also defended the integrity of his work, which Clinton dismissively referred to as a “debunked study.” He asked, “If my work has been "debunked," why was it included in a volume just published by #Oxford U.? Why have I been invited to speak about it at prestigious venues worldwide: #Stanford U., #Yale Law School (where both you & Bill went), even our #Senate.”

Weaver would never admit that getting published in a prestigious journal is no guarantee of credibility, as The Lancet learned when it published since-discredited research on vaccines and autism. But Epstein has his own issues in that department as well. Slate reported that Epstein supplied seven pages of citations to support his congressional testimony in July in which he rehashed the above study, "but all of them are papers or op-eds he wrote or co-wrote himself" and only one of those products was peer-reviewed, though "even that study didn't demonstrate that this has actually happened."

Yes, there are obvious problems with Epstein's research. But because his work advances the MRC's narrative, it won't tell you about them.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:00 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, September 9, 2019 4:17 PM EDT
Birther Revisionism: WND Still Blaming Hillary, Censoring WND's Key Role
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joe Kovacs used a July 31 WorldNetDaily article to highlight a claim by Ttrump surrogates Diamond and Silk that Hillary Clinton might have been racist for her "involvement in the hunt for Barack Obama's true birthplace." Kovacs added:

It was operatives for Mrs. Clinton who sparked the entire controversy over Obama's natural-born citizenship during the 2008 campaign when Clinton was in a tight contest for the Democratic presidential nomination. Obama was able to fend off Hillary and eventually win the presidency, but his status of a being a natural-born citizen as the U.S. Constitution requires dogged his years in office, with Trump himself getting into the fray, urging the release of Obama's real birth certificate.

Yeah, no. PolitiFact documented that while a 2007 Clinton campaign memo pushed the idea of thing after Obama's "lack of American roots," it was never acted upon. Disgruntled Hillary supporters -- not campaign "operatives" -- embraced birther claims after she suspended her campaign, but the campaign itself never pushed it.

In other words, Kovacs is lying. He's also lying by omission as well, curiously failing to mention what was the defining story of his employer's and its signature issue from 2008 to 2016: pushing birther conspiracy theories.

Kovacs also did not mention that not only did WND work behind the scenes with Trump to push those conspiracy theories,  it responded to the release of Obama's "real birth certificate" by concocting another conspiracy theory, that it was fake as well. 

Then again, Kovacs doesn't want to admit the natural conclusion to Diamond and Silk's claim: If Hillary is racist for having a preliminary discussion about Obama's origins, then WND is absolutely racist for pursuing birther conspiracy theories so aggressively and maliciously, as if the birth certificate was Obama's Vince Foster.

It's as if Kovacs and WND don't want to take responsibility for what they publish, or something.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:12 AM EDT
Sunday, September 8, 2019
Flashback: When The MRC Loved Joe Walsh
Topic: Media Research Center

Nicholas Fondacaro devoted an Aug. 25 post to complaining that media outlets were giving a "platform to Trump’s Republican challengers," particularly Joe Walsh. (No complaint, however, about how the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, was giving a platform to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's challengers.) Fondacaro huffed that Walsh is a "never-Trump Republican" and that while ABC host and "Clinton lackey" George Stephanopoulos did highlight some of Walsh's controversial tweets, "they omitted ones far worse," adding, "If Trump had tweeted that, the media would rightfully be all over him."

You know who else couldn't care less about those controversial Walsh tweets? Fondacaro and the MRC -- at least until he became a never-Trump Republican. In fact, the MRC absolutely loved Walsh when he was being provocative as a "Tea Party congressman."

Let's take a look back:

  • In a February 2011 post, Scott Whitlock defended Walsh against an MSNBC anchor who was "attacking a conservative Congressman for advocating severe spending cuts."
  • In April 2011, Matthew Balan complained that an NPR host labeled Walsh as "intransigent" for not wanting to compromise with Democrats on Tea Party priorities.
  • That same month, Alex Fitzsimmons cheered when Walsh, during an MSNBC appearance, attacked the anchor "on why he and his colleagues are such Obama sycophants, pointing to the media's unwillingness to criticize the Democratic president for ignoring entitlement reform in his initial budget blueprint.
  • Noel Sheppard similarly gushed that "Walsh made a fabulous point about how the press gave Obama a pass this week with his budget redo as they were mercilessly attacking Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.)."
  • In May 2011, Eric Scheiner did some PR work for the then-congressman, noting that "Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) has made a video to go along with a letter to President Obama, in which Walsh expresses his concern over the president’s recent comments on immigration."
  • In July 2011, Matt Hadro touted how Walsh "twice called out the media for protecting President Obama on Thursday night's In the Arena, and told host Eliot Spitzer to his face that 'you're doing a much better job of making [Obama's] case than he did.'"
  • Scott Whitlock followed with more gushing: "Republican Congressman Joe Walsh didn't put up with Chris Matthews' 'bullying' on Tuesday, mocking the liberal MSNBC anchor for his effusive praise of Barack Obama. Over the host's frequent interruptions, the Illinois Representative taunted, 'Hey, Chris, your President, who sends a tingle up your leg-'"
  • In August, Hadro whined that "CNN's Don Lemon gave softball interviews to three Democrat congressmen who voted against the [debt ceiling compromise] bill, while scrutinizing Tea Party Congressman Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) for his opposition."
  • In September 2011, Whitlock wrote a post headlined "Rep. Joe Walsh Educates Martin Bashir: 'Your Profession Did Not Vet' Obama."
  • In October 2011, Clay Waters complained that the New York Times did a "hit piece" on Walsh's finances, noting that he owed "more than $100,000 in child support," which seemed to contradict his message of fiscal responsibility.
  • In September 2012, Sheppard cheered even louder when Walsh said in a speech that "free contraception advocate Sandra Fluke" needs to "get a job." (MRC writers similarly slimed Fluke, and none have apologized.)

How much did the MRC love Walsh? He even got a sit-down with MRC chief Brent Bozell,  who loved Walsh's narrative-advancing claim that the media "are so vested" in Obama "not being a failure." This video was cross-posted at the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com.

The MRC even went all-in in defending Walsh against the deadbeat-dad charge. A February 2013 post by Matthew Sheffield complained about another newspaper "hit piece"  on the subject that "did not give him a chance to respond to the allegation before it ran with the piece." Sheffield added, "The story is completely false, according to Walsh but the paper printed it anyway."

What has changed between then and now? Walsh violated the new conservative omerta: No Republican is allowed to criticize Trump. Fondacaro should perhaps have told that to his readers to explain the MRC's flip-flop on Walsh.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:45 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 8, 2019 9:08 PM EDT
CNS Also Loves The Lazy 'Meathead' Insult of Rob Reiner
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've documented how the Media Research Center insists on identifying Rob Reiner as "Meathead" -- an acting role he hasn't played in more than 40 years and despite the fact he has become a director and producer of numerous successful and critically acclaimed movies since -- as a cheap, lazy insult whenever he expresses an opinion it doesn't like.

It turns out the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, embraces that lazy insult as well. An anonymously written Aug. 19 CNS article -- a "news "article, not a blog post -- carries the headline "Rob Reiner (AKA ‘Meathead’): ‘The President of the United States is a Lying Racist Criminal’" and tells us in the lead paragrah that "Actor and director Rob Reiner, who played ‘Meathead’ in the 1970s television program 'All in the Family'" said this.

The article also added that "Reiner frequently issues Tweets attacking Trump," but it did not explain why this particular tweet was somehow more newsworthy than the others. At no point does the anonymous CNS writer dispute Reiner's characterization of Trump, just complain that it was said.

The article is bizarrely illustrated with an 11-year-old photo of Reiner pictured with Hillary Clinton. Didn't Getty Images -- from which CNS pulled that photo -- have any more recent photos of Reiner that would be more timely and relevant? Or is CNS giving up on the pretense that it's different from its MRC parent and is now pushing the same partisan political attacks?

The question has to be asked: Is there any difference between CNS and the MRC anymore, other than the format in which the information is presented?


Posted by Terry K. at 11:22 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 8, 2019 11:35 AM EDT
Saturday, September 7, 2019
Tim Graham's False Choice
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham devoted a July 25 post to complaining that CNN's Brian Stelter pointing out President Trump's lengthy record of lies and falsehoods -- and that conservatives simply accept and rationalize away those falsehoods -- is "implying something ideological, not something journalistic." Graham then huffed:

Donald Trump has a casual relationship with the truth. He can keep "fact checkers" very busy. But Stelter doesn't seem to realize that if you support free markets and/or orthodox religious values against the Libertine Left and/or a strong defense and border control, you have one choice in the coming election. They're not going to be persuaded to #Resist by CNN hosts who offer supportive segments to socialists on "Is the Media Fair to Socialism?"

But Graham and his fellow ideologues know they the do not have "one choice." If Trump's lies truly bothered him, he could support another Republican. (The fact that they don't is exemplified by Graham's refusing to say "lie" or "falsehood," eupemistically describing  Trump as merely having "a casual relationship with the truth.") There are other Republicans who lie less and still are sympatico with Graham ideologically. Does Graham really think Trump has core beliefs that mesh with his and is not simply glomming on to the conservative agendas as a way to hold power and generate support?

Graham is actually proving Stelter right -- Graham worships anyone with the power to push his agenda, and thus, he worships Trump because he currently has that power. Graham doesn't care that Trump doesn't actually believe what he's pushing; the agenda is all that matters, not the character of the person pushing it (despite that exposing how hollow the MRC's concern over character in politicians was during the Clinton years). He won't take the chance of choosing a Trump challenger with more personal integrity and ideological credibility because he's so devoted to the cause that it doesn't matter how compromised the person is who's pushing it.

Graham concluded by whining: "Clearly, Stelter is a very activist voice in the Sees a Liar Tribe, pushing the liberal media to be more opinionated. They have to say 'liar' and 'racist' and 'authoritarian.' That's CNN, constantly providing a free messaging service for the #Resistance." Graham, meanwhile, can't say those words; to do so would admit that he cares only about power, not integrity.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:43 AM EDT

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