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Thursday, October 10, 2019
CNS Unemployment Coverage Distortion Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

The employment numbers for September were relatively disappointing -- only 136,000 jobs created, which was below expectations. You wouldn't know that from reading CNSNews.com, though, which clung to its full-throated pro-Trump rah-rah in Susan Jones' lead story:

The work week is ending with some good news for President Donald Trump, as more records were smashed in Friday's report on September unemployment.

For the 22nd time since Donald Trump took office, the number of employed Americans reached a record high last month, climbing 319,000 from August's record 157,878,000 to 158,269,000. At the same time, the number of unemployed Americans set a Trump-era low at 5,769,000.

Those two strong numbers pushed the nation's unemployment rate to 3.5 percent in September -- down two-tenths of a point from last month, and the lowest rate since December 1969.

President Trump hailed the good news on Twitter, with a twist:

"Breaking News," Trump wrote. "Unemployment Rate, at 3.5%, drops to a 50 YEAR LOW. Wow America, lets impeach your President (even though he did nothing wrong!)."

It wasn't until the sixth paragraph thatJones mentioned the number of jobs created, and she censored the fact that analysts expected more.

The only sidebars this time around were Craig Bannister writing about how "The national seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for Hispanics and Latinos fell to a record 3.9% in September – smashing its previous record of 4.2% in August" and Melanie Arter repeating Trump gushing over the numbers. Apparently, CNS writers were too busy spinning away impeachment efforts against Trump to devote its usual coverage to it.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:54 AM EDT
Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Impeachment Letter Proves MRC Puts Pro-Trump Loyalty Over 'Media Research'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has made its decision: it's putting politics -- and an aggressive pro-Trump agenda -- over facts. Sept. 30 letter to its mailing list begs for money to stop the impeachmentof President Trump -- not because it isn'ty warranted, but because it wouldgive a win to the "leftist media" (typographical enhancements in original):

The leftist media are DESPERATE to unseat President Trump. And, as we all know, sometimes desperation can be dangerous

The liberal media are the ones leading the charge in this impeachment witch hunt. They are placing our country at risk as they work to unseat a democratically elected president in order to further their own extremist agenda!

The Media Research Center is putting everything we’ve got into stopping the liberal media in their tracks before they drag our country down the rabbit hole of leftist insanity, but your support is critical to our success.

If the liberal media and their congressional cronies win this battle, it will mean bad news for all of us as we approach the 2020 election. Will you consider contributing $75, $50, or even $25 to help fuel the fight against the liberal media’s impeachment crusade?

The situation is URGENT. The liberal media have been trying to oust President Trump since before he even set foot in the White House. Their Russia propaganda failed and now they are determined to take him down with their latest propaganda, regardless of how flimsy their evidence is. 

The MRC is the only organization dedicated to taking on the liberal media and exposing and neutralizing their toxic bias. The media are not simply the Left’s megaphone, they are leading the charge against President Trump. And we are the only organization with the experience and skill to knock them off their high horse.

The liberal media think they can just spread their lies and the American people will swallow them. We are here to expose the truth and make sure that they are checked at every turn. 

But we need your help to do it!

Please contribute $75, $50, or even $25 to fuel the fight again the liberal media’s impeachment crusade and help us stop them in their tracks!

Fight on!

The bottom of the MRC's letter claims it's a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization aimed at improving "media culture" -- but such groups are largely prohibited from engaging in political activity. And this letter  isn't about "media culture," it's a political letter about saving a political figure. On its face, it certainly appers to be a violation of its nonprofit status.

Remember this letter the next time the MRC claims it's only about "media research."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:37 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 9, 2019 9:41 PM EDT
WND Promotes Rush Limbaugh's Bogus CrowdStrike Conspiracy Theory
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We noted how the Media Research Center not only embraced President Trump's CrowdStrike conspiracy theory that's tangentally related to his infamous phone call to the president of Ukraine, it even referenced right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh's embrace of it. Meanwhile, WorldNetDaily -- which just can't refrain itself from pushing conspiracy theories, no matter how much it damages its credibility -- totally took Rush's bait.

An anonymously written Sept. 25 WND article gushed over Rush's conspiracy, in which he claims that Trump's reference to CrowdStrike in his phone call "should concern the Democrats."The article went on to claim: "CrowdStrike was the company that examined the Democratic National Committee computers during the 2016 presidential race and concluded they were hacked by Russia. Later, DNC emails were released by WikiLeaks. The DNC didn't allow the FBI to examine the computers to verify the claim."

As we also noted, CrowdStrike turned over complete forensic copies of the servers to the FBI, so there was no need for the FBI to examine the physical servers. And as we've previously noted, to insist on making that claim reveals a serious misunderstanding of how servers and investigations work.

But WND couldn't stay away from even more discredited conspiracy theories it once enthusiastically embraced:

Lawyer Ty Clevenger obtained the documents as part of a lawsuit on behalf of businessman Ed Butowsky, who claims columnist Ellen Ratner told him murdered Democratic National Committee worker Seth Rich and his brother provided WikiLeaks the DNC emails before the 2016 election, not Russia.

But the anonymous WND writer managed to get that wrong too. What Butowsky -- who's currently embroiled in a libel lawsuit linked to his promotion of the disproven conspiracy theory that Rich was the person who leaked the DNC emails -- apparently actually did was tweet out a 2016 video in which Ratner (for many years a token liberal columnist at WND) said that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told her that he did not obtain the DNC emails from a Russian source but, rather, an "internal source." She said nothing about Rich.

WND failed to mention that the Mueller report detailed how the Russians hacked into DNC accounts to steal the emails. It has also never apologized for nor retracted its bogus Seth Rich stories.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:44 AM EDT
Tuesday, October 8, 2019
MRC Skips From States' Rights To Abortion -- In A Post About Pollution
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Nicholas Fondacaro groused in a Sept. 18 post:

The same networks that banded together to bully pro-life states earlier this year after they passed sweeping legislation to protect the life of unborn children, spent Wednesday evening whining about President Trump threatening to revoke California’s self-prescribed emissions standards in favor of a national standard.

ABC, CBS, and NBC were up in arms following a tweet from the President. “Next, this evening, President Trump and a new feud with California tonight, telling that state it cannot set its own emissions standards, revoking that state's rightnto set its own limits for cars and trucks,” declared ABC’s World News Tonight anchor David Muir.

That network even had the nerve to play a sound bite of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) proclaiming: “Our message to those to claim to support state's rights, don't trample on ours.”

Of course, Fondacaro doesn't mention his own sudden disdain for states' rights -- a bedrock conservative principle -- since that would expose how he (and the MRC) have put loyalty to Trump ahead of any coherent conservative policy advocacy.

Meanwhile, Fondacaro wasn't done ranting about abortion in a post that had nothing to do with it. After noting that a CBS corresponded repeated a "dubious claim" by California officials that the state's stricter emission standards prevented 29,000 premature deaths a year -- a less dubious claim, we would argue, than his completely false assertion that a documented gun-death statistic he didn't like was an "absolute lie" -- he concluded with a whataboutist huff: "Speaking of premature deaths, abortions killed close to an estimated one million unborn children every year. Meanwhile, the networks treated the nationwide proliferation of pro-life legislation as a scourge that was plaguing the country."


Posted by Terry K. at 10:11 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: When CNS (Briefly) Stops Pro-Trump Stenography
Topic: CNSNews.com
When does CNSNews.com deviate from its aggressively pro-Trump agenda? When Trump doesn't hate gays enough, for instance, or when he approves a deficit-laden budget (and even then, it insists on laying part of the blame on Nancy Pelosi). Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 12:26 AM EDT
Monday, October 7, 2019
MRC Pushes Bogus Conspiracy Theory About Whistleblower
Topic: Media Research Center

We've already caught Media Research Center writer Nicholas Fondacaro telling a lie. Now he's using his MRC perch to spread a right-wing conspiracy theory.

In an Oct. 1 post quibbling about whether the whistleblower who launched what became an impeachment inquiry of President Trump, Fondacaro wrote regarding a form change by the Intelligence Community's Inspector General office:

The Federalist was the first publication to expose how the ICIG recently and secretly edited their whistleblower form to eliminate the need for first-hand information. In a follow-up report out Tuesday, co-founder Sean Davis pointed out that in a recent statement (the same one Vega cited) the ICIG admitted to editing the document.

[...]

The Federalist raised serious questions about the timeline of events concerning the edit, when the press was inquiring about the complaint, and when Congress and the DNI were informed about the complaint. They also reported that the ICIG had obfuscated when and which version of the form the whistleblower filled out.

What Fondacaro didn't tell you: The form change is irrelevant. As an actual news outlet reported, the underlying rules regarding whistleblowers -- under which firsthand knowledge is not required -- never changed, the ICIG's office found that the whistleblower's statement was credible,and the whistleblower did indicate firsthand knowledge of some events in the case. The Federalist also suggested the form change was linked to the current whistleblower case, which there is no evidence to support.

Despite the fact that the bogus, conspiratorial nature of the Federalist article had been exposed, Fondacaro repeated the claim in an Oct. 3 item, asserting that an unrelated whistleblower complaint regarding the handling of President Trump's tax returns "came after the Intelligence Community Inspector General admitted to secretly editing their whistleblower guidelines to allow for second-hand and hearsay information," with a link to the Federalist article.Again, Fondacaro refused to tell his readers that the form change is irrelevant because the underlying rules never changed.

By hiding important facts, Fondacaro is effectively spreading a conspiracy theory. His maliciously sloppy and biased writing isn't helping the MRC act as a credible "media research" institution.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:07 PM EDT
WND's Favorite Charlatan Filmmaker Is Back With A 'Trayvon Hoax'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Remember Joel Gilbert? He's the guy who makes so-called documentaries that get mysteriously reclassifed as "mockumentaries" years after the fact. He's best known -- and beloved by WorldNetDaily -- for an anti-Obama film whose central claim that Obama's mother posed nude for Frank Marshall Davis was discredited so quickly that Gilbert re-edited promotional videos to play dodwn the claim.

Well, Gilbert is back with a new scam, er, film -- and, of course, WND has him. Jack Cashill wrote in his Sept. 16 WND column:

On Monday. Sept. 16, I attended the preview of Joel Gilbert's new documentary, "The Trayvon Hoax," at the National Press Club in Washington.

Having written a book on the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin – "If I Had a Son" – I have been following Gilbert's progress with interest. In fact, I introduced Gilbert to George Zimmerman, the man who shot Martin.

Gilbert's presentation should have been news. In the course of his research, he uncovered the most spectacular legal fraud in memory. Not surprisingly, however, the mainstream media chose not to show up for the press conference and screening.

If the media were embarrassed, they had every right to be. An independent filmmaker, Gilbert did the work the major media should have done six years ago. Instead, they drowned the case in relentlessly fake news.

Actually, nobody's embarrassed to have skipped Gilbert's presser -- after all, his reputation as a charlatan precedes him. Cashill didn't mention any of that, of course; that would undermine the idea that Gilbert is someone to be trusted. Instead, he insisted that "Independent journalists like Gilbert are showing us that we of the American samizdat have the power to un-tell the lethal story the media told. ... I use samizdat as shorthand for the alternative conservative media of blogs, public forums, online publications, independent books and films and talk radio."

Anyway, the "Trayvon hoax" the film purportedly depicts involves the identity of the person Martin was texting at the time of his fatal encounter with Zimmerman. As we've noted, Cashill is highly biased, portraying Martin as a thug and Zimmerman as a hero, even as Zimmerman continued to engage in criminal behavior.

Cashill has been acting as Gilbert's PR agent for his film. In his Sept. 25 column, Cashill ranted that this was somehow "the most spectacular legal fraud in memory," adding: "In a just world, Florida media would be swarming all over this story. They are not. I have emailed a short version of the above story to a half-dozen editors and reporters at Florida's leading newspapers and have heard nothing in response." Again, Cashill seems to forget that Gilbert's sleazy reputation precedes him, of which we assume Cashill did not inform those reporters and editors.

Cashill's Oct. 2 column tried hard to come up with a new angle, complaining that Hillary Clinton endorsed Martin's mother in her bid for a county commissioner seat in Florida. He laughably claimed that Gilbert invested "months of painstaking research" into his film, whining that "the major media absolutely refuse to know what Joel Gilbert has proved" and suggestring that media who uncritically promote Gilbert's work could win a Pulitzer Prize.

WND even contributed a "news" article to the promotional effort on Sept. 24, which appears to be little more than a rewritten press release. Neither this "news" article or any of Cashill's columns mentions the history that makes Gilbert singularly untrustworthy.

If WND keeps presenting charlatans like Gilbert as credible, it probably doesn't deserve to live.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:17 AM EDT
Sunday, October 6, 2019
MRC Complains Racist Comedian Got Hired At SNL -- Then Complains He Got Fired
Topic: Media Research Center

At the Media Research Center, writers must always be on the attack -- even when those attacks contradict previous MRC attacks made just a few days earlier. Gabriel Hays wrote in a Sept. 13 post regarding comedian Shane Gillis:

For a group of entertainment producers who kill to come off as condescendingly woke, Saturday Night Liveshowrunners look super inept for hiring an apparent racist as one of their new cast members. One of the sketch comedy’s new talents has been labeled a racist by CNN journalists for making fun of Chinese people in 2018. SNL is in an even deeper pickle because another new cast member for the upcoming season is actually Chinese.

If only outraged libs could cut you a break because you’ve been so anti-Trump.

Hays suggested that Gillis "just may be fired before he even starts his new job"-- and he was right. So Hays should have been happy, right? Wrong. In a Sept 16 post, Hays downgraded Gillis' offensive comments from "racist" to merely "insensitive," and complained that "SNL" fired him "although Gillis apologized for the insensitive comments." He then downgraded Gillis' offense even further by huffing that "NBC would never risk a politically incorrect liability even if it’s a talented rookie who could use just a bit of forgiveness."

Thus, the narrative was changed. Hays wrote two posts over the next two days citing comedians who we're pretty sure the MRC has bashed over the years criticize Gillis' firing, in which he further downgraded Gillis' offense to a simple case of "making fun of Chinese people" and invoked the new right-wing obsession of "cancel culture" -- never mind that trying to get people canceled for saying thing it doesn't like has been an MRC cultural staple for 30 years.

NewsBusters' Randy Hall joined the narrative swap with one post also invoking "cancel culture" and another complaining about a claim that Gillis' hiring was an attempt by "SNL" to appeal to conservatives, which made him concede that Gillis had made "racist remarks" -- something Hays hasn't mention since his first post on the subject -- if only to insist that racism isn't conservatism.

Hays returned with an Oct. 1 post wrestling the narrative back to its new track citing Gillis' firing  -- not for racism, of course, but for "offend[ing] sensitive millennials" -- among the examples of "woke culture" that allegedly caused director Todd Philllips to abandon "raunchy comedies" to helm the new "Joker" movie.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:40 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, October 6, 2019 9:41 PM EDT
CNS Covers Trump-Ukraine Scandal With Its Usual Bias
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com is treating the scandal over President Trump's phone call to the Ukranian president exactly the way you'd expect: with a heavy pro-Trump bias, at least based on its first week of coverage.

Susan Jones' first article on the whistleblower complaint that led to the controversy served up her usual pro-Trump/anti-media framing, complaining that the report "provides new fodder for determined anti-Trump investigators" and that "liberal media outlets, including the Post, have seized on the report." She also complained that Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, head of the House Intelligence committee, is "a dedicated  Trump foe." That was followed by more Jones articles touting Trump's dismissal of the complaint as "fake news," accacking the whistleblower and mocking Schiff, with no additional editorial commentary.

Jones also knew where to direct the story for maximum pro-Trump sycophancy: at Joe Biden. One article was devoted to uncritically repeating Rudy Guiliani's rants falsely claiming that Biden, as vice president, withheld federal money to Ukraine until an investigator who was looking into dealings in the country involving Biden's son Hunter was fired. (In fact, U.S. and European officials wanted the investigator fired because he wasn't investigating corruption in the country, which Jones didn't tell her readers.)

In a follow-up article, Jones bashed Schiff for "getting ahead of the actual facts" while making no editorial comments when quoting Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin for pointing out that conversations between world leaders are supposed to be confidential. Later, Jones lamented that the controversy has "has stoked Democrat [sic] cries for impeachment.By contrast, Jones made no judgments against Republicans Devin Nunes and Lindsey Graham in reporting their comments backing Trump and criticizing Biden. She also touted Republicans Jim Jordan (a favorite of CNS' parent, the Media Research Center) and Mark Meadows bashing the controversy, huffing that it originated with "a second-hand whistleblower complaint."

That kind of blatant bias from Jones continued. She whined in a Sept. 24 article:

We demand more documents!

The Democrat [sic] chairmen of three House committees are "demanding that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo immediately begin producing documents the State Department has been withholding in response to a letter the Chairmen sent two weeks ago relating to efforts by the President and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to solicit the help of a foreign power to interfere in the 2020 Presidential Election."

[...]

Meanwhile, House Democrats are meeting at 4 p.m. to discuss possible impeachment proceedings against President Trump, this time for something he supposedly said in phone call with the newly elected Ukraine president.

Never mind that Congress does not know details about the complaint filed by an intelligence community whistleblower. And press reports now say the whistleblower's complaint is based on what he heard from someone else.

The same day, Jones uncritically repeated more dubious assertions about the Bidens from Trump, without snarkiness or additional editorial comment, though she repeated the false claim that "Joe Biden in 2016 forced the Ukraine government to fire a prosecutor who was looking into corruption."

On Sept. 25, Jones shockingly did not add snark to two articles featuring Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer talking about an impeachment inquiry. But then, she also uncritically presented statements from Lindsey Graham and Trump attorney Jay Sekulow, even as Sekulow ranted about "former Vice President Joe Biden's quid pro quo with the Ukraine government" (which, in that framing, ignores the facts).

CNS' Melanie Arter, meanwhile, was (as usual) stuck in stenography mode writing stuff with headlines like "Trump to Ukraine: ‘There’s a Lot of Talk About Biden’s Son, That Biden Stopped the Prosecution’."


Posted by Terry K. at 4:11 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, October 6, 2019 8:19 PM EDT
Saturday, October 5, 2019
MRC Mourns Right-Wing Financier, Doesn't Disclose He's An MRC Benefactor
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Brent Baker somberly wrote in a Sept. 15 post:

Business tycoon T. Boone Pickens passed away this past week at age 91. In 2005, he took part in the Media Research Center’s “DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2004,” where he accepted, in jest on behalf of PBS’s Bill Moyers, the “Send Bush to Abu Ghraib Award.”

Pickens offered a humorous allegory about a cowboy with a rattlesnake and wrapped up with a joke about a monkey in tree, both to convey his scorn for the news media.

Baker curiously failed to disclose one key fact about Pickens: He didn't just randomly show up at that 2005 shindig. He had donated millions of dollars to the MRC.

As we documented, Pickens -- who made his money in the oil and gas industry -- gave a $1.5 million challenge grant to the MRC for the creation of its Business & Media Institute. As a result of that donation, MRC vice president Dan Gainor holds the title of T. Boone Pickens Fellow, and in 2011 he attacked ProPublica for investigating the oil and gas industry where Pickens made his millions. MRC chief Brent Bozell considered him an "old friend," devoting a 2011 column to gushing over his charitable donations while hanging out in the plush skybox at the Oklahoma State football stadium he funded through a $165 million donation to the school (while not admitting that the organization he runs has also been a beneficiary of Pickens' largesse). Pickens has also been a longtime meber of the MRC's board of trustees.

The MRC does not do itself any favors when it refuses to hold itself to the same standards of disclosure and transparency it demands from the "liberal media."


Posted by Terry K. at 10:05 AM EDT
Is WND Slowly Merging With Western Journal?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily may be inching toward a resolution to its financial woes by moving closer to its old stomping grounds and an organization to which it has long been intertwined.

To recap: Joseph Farah founded the noprofit Western Journalism Center in the early 1990s, and it became a mechanism for promoting anti-Clinton conspiracy theories. WND was founded under the WJC umbrella in 1997 and was spun out as a for-profit company a couple years later. The WJC atrophied for a few years until it was taken over by Farah friend Floyd Brown in 2008, after which it collaborated with WND on a ridiculous "case for impeachment" against President Obama. Western Journalism then became a hub of right-wing fake news and clickbait, and was sold in 2014 to Liftable Media, operated by Brown's son. The website's name evolved into the Western Journal after its bogus clickbait got it blacklisted by social media operators and it's trying to go legit.

Western Journal is the descendant of the nonprofit Farah founded nearly30 years ago, and the two may be getting together again. How do we know?

First: WND's recent website redesign appears to use the same template that Western Journal uses. The basic setup is the same.

Second: WND has been running a full complement of Western Journal-bylined stories since at least Sept. 23 -- original content it needs since firing all its reporters in its ongoing financial crisis. These are full stories that get their own byline, compared with with the news it steals from other media outlets, which typically run only a few paragraphs and have a "WND News Services" tag, despite the fact that WND doesn't pay any of those news services for the content (which it has claimed it can do under fair-use doctrine).

With Joseph Farah (mostly) incapacitated by a stroke earlier this year, WND has lost its driving force who could keep his baby alive by sheer chutzpah (and financial shenanigans). It's not clear that the other top WND laeders, Divid Kupelian and Elizabeth Farah, have that same drive. Merging into Liftable Media's operations as a (barely) more credible version of Western Journal might be the best outcome for WND.

Plus, there should still be a nonprofit shell at Western Journal that WND can turn into that long-delayed operation to which it was planning to offload its reporting, a la the Daily Caller.

Is our hunch correct? Stay tuned.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:48 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, October 6, 2019 1:37 PM EDT
Friday, October 4, 2019
MRC Hurls Insults At Teen Climate Change Activist
Topic: Media Research Center

Greta Thunberg is a British teen making her name as a climate change activist. And the Media Research Center had nothing but disdain and insults for her over the past couple months as she sailed across the Atalantic Ocean to give a speech at the United Nations.

  • On Tuesday, CBS This Morning was in awe of radical climate change activist Greta Thunberg, hailing the 16-year-old from Sweden as “the voice of the planet” and touting her plan to sail across the Atlantic to attend a United Nations climate summit in New York. -- Kyle Drennen, Aug. 13
  • On New Day Sunday, CNN promoted global warming activist Greta Thunberg as the climate alarmist prepared for a publicity stunt to precede her appearance at the United Nations climate summit[.] -- Brad Wilmouth, Aug. 18
  • CBS Cheers Extremist Teenage ‘Climate Activist’: ‘Voice of the Planet’ -- Scott Whitlock, Aug. 28
  • "radical teenage climate change activist " -- Kyle Drennen, Aug. 29
  • Greta Thunberg wouldn't be a global figure if the media wasn't "smitten" with her and used her to do their bidding. -- Alex Christy, Sept. 7
  • At no time, then or now, did CBS not her extreme positions, including that eating meat is “stealing her generation’s future” and will lead to a climate apocalypse. Additionally, the teenager has touted “flygskam” or flight shaming for anyone who dares use an airplane regularly. -- Scott Whitlock, Sept. 10
  • Journalists simply can’t get enough of Greta Thunberg, the radical 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who wants people to stop flying in order to save the planet. ... Mitchell ignored the extreme nature of her views. -- Scott Whitlock, Sept. 18
  • "Swedish 16-year-old activist and media darling Greta Thunberg"-- Kristine Marsh, Sept. 20
  • Celebs were overjoyed at the sight of millions of young people around the world taking to the streets for 15-year-old pied piper Greta Thunberg and her climate change hysteria. -- Gabriel Hays, Sept. 20
  • Radical climate activist Greta Thunberg threw a temper tantrum at the United Nations on Monday where she claimed the world ruined her childhood, and threatened her opponents, and made faces at President Trump’s back. ... Of course, none of the networks dared to share the most radical parts of her screed before the U.N. -- Nicholas Fondacaro, Sept. 23
  • "the bitter ranting of radical climate teen Greta Thunberg at the United Nations on Monday" -- Nicholas Fondacaro, Sept. 23
  • "16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg’s disturbing speech yesterday at the United Nations" -- Kristine Marsh, Sept. 24
  • It’s climate change hysteria week and all the best in melodramatic, manipulative, and grotesque activism has been put on display for Mother Earth. Most notably,16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg’s dramatic meltdown at the U.N. went over about as smoothly as Harrison Ford landing a Cessna. -- Gabriel Hays, Sept. 24
  • The New York Timesjoined the rest of the mainstream press in hiding behind 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg’s angry, unscientific ranting before the United Nations, in order to push a message of environmental apocalypse. -- Clay Waters, Sept. 24

Finally, Jeffrey Lord huffed in his Sept. 28 column: "Greta Thunberg is on the politically correct side of the climate change debate. Had she been on the opposite side one can easily imagine that she would have received a ton of Covington-style press, mocked and ridiculed endlessly for her ignorance." Apparently, the Covington-style press from right-wing outlets like the MRC doesn't count.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:29 PM EDT
Conflict of Interest: CNS Lets Liberty U Student Write About University's President
Topic: CNSNews.com

A Sept. 11 CNSNews.com article by Kharen Martinez Murcia took the side of Jerry Falwell Jr. following the publication of an expose in Politico on his tenure as president of Liberty University featuring allegations of self-dealing and creating a culture of fear at the school. She touted Falwell complaining that the criticism was an "attempted coup" that is "partially motivated by his ardent backing of President Donald Trump" while dismissing Falwell's critics as "unnamed sources." Martinez Murcia also repeated Falwell's mendacious defense of a photo of Falwell at a "dance club," an issue because, as she concedes, "Liberty University’s honor code prohibits students from attending dances or consuming alcohol" (though she didn't mention that more photos of Falwell at the club surfaced).

But it's not until the end of the article that we get a parenthetical disclosure: "Kharen Martinez Murcia is a third-year student at Liberty University."

While it's nice and proper that Martinez Murcia's connection to Liberty was disclosed, that connection also means that she shouldn't have done this story at all. It can be easily argued that the article's pro-Falwell bias was because she didn't want to run afoul of him and the alleged culture of fear he's fostering at the school she's attending -- meaning she has a personal interest in writing the article the way she did.

Martinez Murcia is apparently CNS' intern for the fall semester. But if all she's learning is how to write biased articles, it's not really much of a true journalistic experience. It does, unfortunately, prepare her to work at Liberty's student newspaper.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:24 AM EDT
Thursday, October 3, 2019
MRC Pretends That Trump's Not Pushing A Conspiracy Theory With His CrowdStrike Reference
Topic: Media Research Center

President Trump's mention of a firm named CrowdStrike in his conversation with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky is actually the invocation of a conspiracy theory: that the company that investigated the hacking of Democratic servers in 2016 refused to cooperate with the FBI and has hidden access to a DNC server, possibly in Ukraine. In fact, CrowdStrike turned over complete copies of forensic images of DNC servers, and it was never necessary for the FBI to have physical possession of the server (and there's no evidence it was ever in Ukraine).

But the Media Research Center has given trumo's reference to CrowdStrike a pass and, at times, even went along with Trump's conspiratorial angle.

In a Spet. 25 post accusing CNN personalities Wolf Blitzer and Jim Acosta of having "blatantly lied" about the "favor" Trump sought in his conversation with Zelensky by suggesting it was about investigating Hunter Biden instead of the CrowdStrike claim, Nicholas Fondacaro lectured: "For those who don’t know, Crowdstrike was the group that investigated the hack into the Democratic National Committee e-mails during the 2016 election, and had nothing to do with the accusations against Joe and Hunter Biden. Blitzer and Acosta undoubtablely knew exactly what Crowdstrike was and it was absolutely clear in the transcript that that was what the two Presidents were talking about." But Fondacaro didn't mention that Trump was pushing a conspiracy theory.

Trim Graham suggested the CrowdStrike claim was legitimate in a Sept. 26 post, complaining that in an intervew, Sen. Chris Murphy "claimed the president only talked about Biden, and somehow left out Trump's questions about CrowdStrike and hacking during the 2016 election."

Two days later, Graham complained that "Like most liberal journalists, Frank in effect skips over President Trump asking for a 'favor' about the firm CrowdStrike and skips ahead five minutes to where Joe Biden is mentioned." That link goes to a Rush Limbaugh rant pushing the CrowdStrike conspiracy theory and praising Trump's mention of it as evidence that Trtump is "gonna get to the bottom of the origins of this coup that was run against him come hell or high water."

Other mentions of CrowdStrike at the MRC are in passing or in transcripts but don't discuss it any further.

Of course, the MRC has embraced the CrowdStrike conspiracy for a while; a May 2018 NewsBusters post by P.J. Gladnick pushed the bogus claim that "the DNC refused to allow the FBI to do that examination, preferring instead to allow it's own security company, Crowdstrike, to do the examination instead." Gladnick failed to mention that CrowdStrike turned over copies of everything to the FBI.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:52 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, October 3, 2019 9:53 PM EDT
CNS Joins MRC Parent In Promoting Dubious Anti-Google Research
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've detailed how the Media Research Center has pushed Google-hating researcher Robert Epstein's dubious claims about Google having an anti-conservative bias. Now its "news" division, CNSNews.com, is doing the same thing.

An Aug. 20 blog post by Craig Bannister was essentially a press release for his boss, Brent Bozell, detailing how he "and other conservative leaders released a letter calling on Google to explain reports and allegations that the search engine is attempting to block conservative sites and exclude voices that don’t fit the liberal narrative." (Bannister didn't disclose that Bozell is his boss.) The letter claimed that "Epstein identified pro-liberal bias in Google search results that helped flip three Orange County, CA, congressional districts in the 2018 midterm elections. Nationwide, Epstein found the results may have influenced 4.6 million undecided voters."

On Sept. 12, a blog post by Michael Morris detailed Epstein's appearance on the Fox News show of its favorite right-wing shouter, Mark Levin:

Speaking on Mark Levin’s FOX News Channel show “Life, Liberty & Levin” on Sunday, Senior Research Psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, and self-professed liberal, Dr. Robert Epstein admitted that, in his research, he found a “very dramatic pro-Hillary Clinton bias” in Google search results.

“I can’t say what Google did, but I can tell you what we found,” stated Dr. Robert Epstein. “We found very dramatic pro-Hillary Clinton bias on Google, but not the other search engines, and in all 10 search positions on the first page of search results. That’s quite dramatic.”

Note that Morris followed the right-wing formula for trying to present Epstein as credible by calling him a "self-professed liberal," something his MRC cohorts did as well.Even the headline called him a "Liberal Research Psychologist."

But Levin was apparently not a curious questioner, because he didn't note -- or, at least,  Morris didn't see fit to note -- the questions people have raised about Epstein's research, namely that he appears to be assuming that the mainstream media outlets that typically populate the top of Google search results, which reflects Google's actual bias toward credible sources over fringe blogs and political sites, as "pro-Hillary."

But, hey, the narrative is more important at CNS than reporting actual news.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:13 AM EDT

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