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Monday, November 25, 2019
AIM Misleadingly Attacks Wash. Post Article
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Brian McNicoll wrote in a Nov. 15 Accuracy in Media post:

With the release of the report from Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz on the origins of the 2016 election now “imminent,” in the words of Attorney General William Barr, mainstream media has stepped forth to discredit it in advance of what are expected to be devastating findings and possibly even criminal referrals of Democrats.

The Washington Post claimed the Justice Department was not allowing witnesses to submit written feedback to the report, only to backtrack hours later and blame the confusion on Justice Department spokespeople.

[...]

The Post’s claim was refuted within hours by the Justice Department, and a later story revealed the Post had relied on anonymous sources for its claim that witnesses would not be allowed to submit written responses but could respond verbally.

McNicoll is trying to frame the Post's story as relying on allegedly unreliable anonymous sources whom the Justice Department had to "refute." Actually, the Post article detailed that the Justice Department reversed its earlier instructions to witnesses and allowed written feedback per department policy after intially declining to comment when the story first appeared:

The Post had reported hours earlier that — as is the case in most inspector general probes — witnesses were being invited to review draft sections of the report and offer comments and corrections. But — unlike most cases — they were told those comments must be conveyed only verbally, people familiar with the matter said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the political and legal sensitivity of the matter.

It remains unclear why witnesses were given that instruction initially.

[...]

Witnesses, the people said, were being asked to review their sections in a secure area, after signing nondisclosure agreements, according to people familiar with the matter. The witnesses have also been told they will not be allowed to remove any notes they make about the document, the people said.

The initial directives left some witnesses concerned that their objections might not be recorded precisely and incorporated into the inspector general’s findings, the people said. The witnesses, they said, were also concerned that the process gave the inspector general complete control in characterizing any comments witnesses make — and left witnesses with limited ability to create a paper trail that might help them show their words were captured inaccurately.

At no point did the Justice Department ever deny that witnesses were told they couldn't leave written feedback. Thedepartment was also given a chance to comment before the article first appeared but it refused. Those are important details that McNicoll didn't tell his readers.

Instead, McNicoll complained that "the media" was trying to "dirty up" the report and hype its alleged contents, gushing that "Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), said the findings would be 'stunning' and 'damning' and indicative of a “system being off the rails,” and most suspect he is on the mark." "Most suspect"? Wasn't McNicoll just ranting about anonymous sources making dubious claims?

In reality, it appears the opposite is true: The report has apparently found that investigations into the 2016 presidential election had a proper legal and factual basis, and the only apparent serious offense involved a low-level FBI lawyer caught altering a document and fired afterwards.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:12 PM EST
MRC Tries To Delegitimize Impeachment By Claiming It Has Low Ratings (Compared To The O.J. Trial)
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has a new way of downplaying the impeachment hearings against President Trump: highlight their allegedly low ratings.

In a Nov. 14 post, Kristine Marsh touted how an appearance by Donald Trump on ABC's "The View" got better ratings than ABC's coverage of the impeachment hearings:

If ratings are any indicator of Americans’ interest in impeachment, Democrats are in big trouble. Viewership for yesterday’s impeachment hearings are out, and reveal that between the three major broadcast networks, ABC led ratings, with just 2 million total viewers (Fox News Channel was the most viewed network, with 2.9 million watching.)

But just 6 days before on came to political talk show, The View.

Deadline reported his interview on November 7th was the highest rated for the show in over six months:

[...]

While taking shots at Trump, even the liberal entertainment source had to admit, “The showdown went viral, and now it seems even old-school viewers were watching en masse.”

Marsh then sneered: "To get some perspective, the ratings ABC got Wednesday, were lower than the lowest rated daytime soap opera on television, Days of Our Lives, averaged on NBC. Those numbers were so concerning for the network they fired the entire cast and put the show on an indefinite hiatus this past week." Actually, the article to which Marsh linked stated that production of the show is so far ahead of schedule that the normal holiday hiatus came earlier this year; the soap hasn't been canceled and episodes are still airing.

Rich Noyes then picked up the talking point, huffing on Nov. 18 that the impeachment hearings must suck because (we're not making this up) O.J. Simpson's trial got much higher ratings:

Americans aren’t exactly obsessed with the Democrats’ impeachment hearings, it seems. Friday’s second day of live, wall-to-wall coverage drew an average of 12.7 million viewers on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC and the Fox News Channel combined.

That’s down from a relatively tepid 13.1 million for Day 1 of testimony on Wednesday.

In comparison, an actual news event that definitely captured Americans’ imagination — the verdict in the O.J. Simpson trial — drew 150 million viewers (nearly twelve times as many) back in 1995.

[...]

That suggests 95 percent (about 241.3 million) were doing something else on Friday besides watching these hearings.

And I’ll bet most of them were having more fun.

Noyes isn't going to tell you that the hearings still got more viewers than pretty much every prime-time network TV show that isn't a football game.

Noyes followed two days later with another ratings update:

The TV ratings took another dive on Tuesday morning for Day 3 of the Democrats’ impeachment hearings, with only 11.4 million tuning in to ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC and the Fox News Channel for the testimony of Lt. Col. Alex Vindman and an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, Jennifer Williams.

But according to early Nielsen Media Research, the combined audience for those networks grew to 13 million for the afternoon/early evening session featuring the first two witnesses sought by the Republican minority, former U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Kurt Volker and ex-NSC aide Tim Morrison.

Last Wednesday, 13.1 million watched the first day of testimony, while 12.7 million tuned in for Day 2 on Friday.

[...]

Of course, with an estimated 254 million adults living in the United States, nearly everyone was doing something else on Tuesday besides watching these hearings.

Noyes didn't mention that many of those adults have jobs they must be at during the day that prevent them from watching daytime hearings. It's also likely millions more Americans watched the hearings online, which wouldn't have been measured in the TV ratings Noyes and Marsh focused on.

Tim Graham and Brent Bozell piled on as well with, yes, another ancient O.J. ratings comparison:

Rep. Adam Schiff's Democratic impeachment hearings are under way — airing live all over the dial — and the liberals are quite upset that America couldn't care less.

NBC News spurred rage on Twitter for daring to admit online that the first two witnesses "lacked the pizzazz necessary to capture public attention."

[...]

In June 1994, 95 million people were transfixed by a low-speed police chase of O.J. Simpson in his white Ford Bronco through the streets and freeways of Los Angeles. "An estimated 150 million viewers watched Simpson's 1995 acquittal after standing trial for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman," reports the Los Angeles Times. A full 92% of Americans ignored this impeachment spectacle.

When CNN's Brian Stelter dared to make the point that in the internet age, young people watch online while old people watch TV, Graham and Bozell decided to mock instead of offering a cogent response:

All this left CNN's Brian Stelter sputtering that the dismal ratings are a "woefully incomplete" picture of the viewership. The vast majority of those who watched the impeachment hearings on television were over the age of 55. But Stelter tried to argue that younger viewers "were more likely to stream it and/or soak up the info like sponges." Or maybe the millennials were too busy playing "Pokemon" or texting in the middle of busy streets while motorists debated the ethics of running them over.

The two concluded by writing that "the liberals were actually interested in democracy, they would let the elected president finish his term, and try to defeat him at the polls, instead of trying to ruin him before there's any chance for reelection." Funny, we don't remember the folks at the MRC being concerned about whether President Clinton would finish his term as they agitated from his impeachment.

P.S. None of these MRC writers explained why these purportedly low ratings for the impeachment hearings means, as they are suggesting, that the evidence being presented is somehow illegitimate. Would they support Trump's impeachment if the ratings were higher?


Posted by Terry K. at 7:47 PM EST
Updated: Monday, November 25, 2019 8:00 PM EST
Will WND Apologize For Attacking Omar's Claim That Trump Official Is A 'White Nationalist'? (No.)
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Back in April, WorldNetDaily's Joe Kovacs was quick to take offense at Rep. Ilhan Omar's claim that Trump White House adviser Stephen Miller is a "white nationalist," complaining that "the Minnesota Democrat added to her personal tempest" by doing so, then filling out his article with mostly anonymous attacks on her copied from social media:

"He's Jewish," responded the Daily Caller in a tweet of its own in response to Omar.

[...]

Social-media users are verbally scorching the congresswoman online, with remarks including:

  • "How do you know that that is the case? I highly doubt it. Please stop the name calling. U do not like it when people call you antisemitic or extreme or link you to stoning, genital mutilation etc. so why do it to some one else."
  • "A Jewish white nationalist? Do those exist? I am confused?"
  • "Yes, and she hates the Jews. She's substituting 'white nationalist' for 'Jew' here ... hmmm."
[...]
  • "She's right behind AOC in skull density."

WND columnist Lowell Ponte was similarly offended, citing her having "attacked Mr. Trump's White House adviser Stephen Miller, who is Jewish, as a "white nationalist" as an example of her "extremist words" that have "elicited rage.," going on to rant that "Rep. Omar makes no secret of her hatred of the United States."

But it turns out that Omar appears to be right. Earlier this month, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported on leaked emails showing that Miller "promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof’s murderous rampage," and in those emails the group "was unable to find any examples of Miller writing sympathetically or even in neutral tones about any person who is nonwhite or foreign-born."

If you thought WND would be moved to apologize to Omar for falsely attacking her over a claim that has since been proven correct, you don't know WND. But WND is editorially decimated enough that its response has been farmed out to other outlets, mainly to the right-wing clickbait site Western Journal, into which WND is apparently in the process of being slowly subsumed into.

A Nov. 16 Western Journal article by Jack Davis at WND lamented that "Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York is demanding the resignation of White House aide Stephen Miller on the strength of a report that claims Miller is a "white nationalist" based on emails from 2015 and 2016," repeating a tweet by Omar stating that "As I said earlier this year: Stephen Miller is a white nationalist. And now we have the emails to prove it" but not otherwise acknowledging previous WND attacks on her over the statement. David uncritically repeated White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham's attack line that the SPLC "an utterly-discredited, long-debunked far-left smear organization" but did not deny the accuracy of the emails.

After another SPLC report came out detailing how Miller "frequently gave editorial instructions to Breitbart News," WND published a harsher attack by Davis on those criticizing Miller over his white nationalist sympathies:

After last week's shrill calls for the removal of White House aide Stephen Miller accomplished nothing, Hillary Clinton tried to step up the pressure on Miller on Tuesday.

"Every day Stephen Miller remains in the White House is an emergency," Clinton tweeted, citing a letter from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights that demanded Miller's removal.

[...]

In its reporting on the leaked emails published by the SPLC, NBC sought to portray Miller as having "more editorial influence over the right-wing news website Breitbart during the 2016 presidential campaign than previously known and attempted to push articles attacking then-presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla."

NBC did publish a Breitbart statement in response that noted it is “not exactly a newsflash that political staffers pitch stories to journalists — sometimes those pitches are successful, sometimes not.”

Hogan Gidley, a spokesman for the White House said that attacks on Miller reflect anti-Semitism.

Miller is Jewish.

Again, Davis did not dispute the accuracy of the supporting emails.

WND also published a syndicated column by white nationalist-leaning Michelle Malkin complaining: "The New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, CNN, PBS and MSNBC have all regurgitated SPLC's release of leaked emails between senior White House adviser Stephen Miller and a former editor for the conservative Breitbart website. Miller, who is Jewish, has been attacked repeatedly as a "white nationalist" for recommending immigration restrictionist books and websites that the powers that be don't want anyone to read. Miller's frank discussions of 'demographic Armageddon' wrought by mass, uncontrolled migration have been deemed beyond the pale."

WND has tried to defend Miller against the now-proven-accurate white nationalist allegation before. A February 2017 article by Paul Bremmer complained that "the left" was claiming Miller was "closely associated with white nationalists,"and an anonymously written April 2017 article repeated the claim. Both articles were in service of promoting the WND-published book "No Campus for White Men" by Scott Greer -- who, it was later revealed, wrote white nationalist and anti-Semitic articles under a pseudonym for the white supremacist Radix Journal.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:04 AM EST
Updated: Monday, November 25, 2019 12:08 AM EST
Sunday, November 24, 2019
MRC Goes Into Freakout Mode Over Disney's New Streaming Service
Topic: Media Research Center

For some reason, the Media Research Center decided it needed to feel triggered by ... a streaming video service. We'll concede it's arguably not just another streaming service -- it's Disney+, the new service from Disney. Still, the freakout mode was nothing short of strange.

The first attack came from Lindsey Kornick, decrying the "progressive" leanings of the service's very meta series-long take on "High School Musical," which appears to mostly involve having too many gay or possibly characters (which is to say, any gay characters at all):

We’ll start with Nini. After the break-up, she gets motivated to reinvent herself by auditioning for a lead for the first time. She’s nervous at first but still has the support of her active grandmother and her two moms. They only appear in one scene in order to establish that Nini has lesbian moms. It’s on par with everything else in 2019, which means there’s nothing natural about it.

Nini’s also joined by her best friend Kourtney (Dara Reneé) who encourages her to move on from Ricky. In addition to being the sassy black friend, she’s also a self-proclaimed “feminist” who’s looking to promote “intersectional” values. That’s at least three liberal stereotypes in one character. At least she hasn’t acted on any of those values, yet.

And this wouldn’t be a high school theater department without the effeminate male co-star. This show actually has two.

Kornick conlcuded by whining that the show is "basically Glee with a smaller budget."

Then under the nasty headline "ABC Whores Out News for Disney+ Push," Scott Whitlock complained that Disney-owned ABC used "Good Morning America" to promote the new service. Does that mean we can call the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, "whores" because it frequently promotes the activities of the MRC and its boss, Brent Bozell, under the guise of "news"?

This was followed by Alexa Moutevelis grousing that "political correctness" made Disney cut a song filled with painfully outdated Asian stereotypes from the service's version of the animated movie "Lady and the Tramp." Tim Graham and Brent Bozell did much the same thing in a column huffing about "'Experts' from the enlightened side of the tracks ... unscrolling their grievances about how the Disney film catalogue is full of racism, sexism, and loathsome bigotry of all sorts," unironically adding, "These people just hate -- everything."

Finally, Matt Philbin decided that "diversity pimps" were responsible for Disney warning viewers about "racist or otherwise offensive elements" in some of the older films and shows on the service, ranting about activists who want more.

That's a lot of digital ink about someone's streaming service that not only is nobody is forced to watch, one must pay for the privilege of doing so.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:22 PM EST
CNS Writes Around Criticism of Rand Paul
Topic: CNSNews.com

In a Nov. 11 CNSNews.com article, Susan Jones touted how Republican Sen. Rand Paul, on NBC's "Meet the Press," "said it's not fair to impeach President Trump for doing "the same thing that Joe Biden did" -- threatening aid to Ukraine if some kind of corruption was not investigated":

Chuck Todd, the host of NBC's "Meet the Press," said he wanted to "set aside what Vice President Biden did." He asked Paul if it's "appropriate" for President Trump to withhold U.S. military aid until the Ukrainians agreed to publicly announce corruption investigations involving the 2016 U.S. election and the Bidens:

"I think there is a real question whether you think the president should specifically go after one person, but there is a real question whether Joe Biden should have gone after one prosecutor. It's exactly the same scenario," Paul responded.

"There is a real question about that. But if it were me, I wouldn't give them the aid, because we don't have the money. We have to borrow the money from China to send it to Ukraine, so I'm against the aid. And I think it's a mistake to do the aid, so I wouldn't have played any games. But I think the American people think it's unfair to treat Trump under one standard and Joe Biden under a different standard."

An hour later, Jones wrote another article based on the same edition of "Meet the Press," this time focusing on Democratic Rep. Jim Himes saying that testimony in the impeachment hearings would feature "immensely patriotic, beautifully articulate people telling the story of a president who -- let's forget quid pro quo, quid pro quo is one of these things to muddy the works -- who extorted a vulnerable country by holding up military aid"and arguing that Trump "acted criminally and extorted in a way a mob boss would extort somebody, a vulnerable foreign country."

Jones added: "Himes argued that "what the president did was wrong and impeachable," nothing at all like Joe Biden holding up a loan guarantee until Ukraine fired the prosecutor-general; and nothing at all like Hillary Clinton using foreigners to do opposition research on Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign."

Jones did not, however, write an article on what happened between those two segments: Himes destroyed Paul's argument that Biden acted no different that Trump is alleged to have done, specifically articulating why that's the case in a way that Jones' one-paragraph summary glossed over, and criticized Todd for not pointing out that fact:

Chuck, if you'll, if you'll grant me one second here, my head is only now decombusting from the exchange you had with Rand Paul. I've spent 11 years in public service defending the press, and when Senator Rand Paul comes on and says that what Donald Trump did -- and the transcript is there -- extorting a foreign government for his personal political gain, and that's exactly the same thing as Joe Biden, "Exactly the same thing," is what he said [...] When Joe Biden is acting in consistency with American foreign policy and back then we had a whole list of things that had to be done and this was American foreign policy, it was European Union policy, it was IMF policy that this prosecutor needed to go. When Rand Paul says that that's exactly the same thing as the president of the United States saying, "You need to find dirt on my political opponent," and with all due respect, Chuck, when you say, "Well, do two wrongs make a right?" Let's be very clear. The president of the United States demanding, extorting a vulnerable country to do his political bidding, to go after his opponent, has nothing to do with Joe Biden executing the foreign policy of the United States or Hillary Clinton, who is a private citizen, doing opposition research on her, on her presidential opponent. Those are radically different things. What the President did is wrong and impeachable.

If Jones was a fair and balanced reporter, she would have provided this information to her readers in the same manner that she gave Paul an uncritical platform to spin his bogus claims. But, of course, we know she's not.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:06 AM EST
Saturday, November 23, 2019
Actor's Opinion on Brexit Triggers MRC Writer
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Gabriel Hays unleashed a snide, condescending Nov. 11 rant:

Legendary British actor Patrick Stewart had a bit of a Benedict Arnold moment the other day during French Comic-Con, telling the French audience that he’s “embarrassed” his countrymen voted for Brexit and that he’d much rather be in the EU with them. And here we thought an Englishmen would rather be drawn and quartered than side with the French.

Stewart, who clearly can’t respect the decision of his fellow citizens in their pursuit of an independent Great Britain, essentially hopped the Channel to vent his frustrations to his preferred countrymen; the horde of French folks who don’t care what European bureaucracy rules over them so long as they get their precious Star Trek comics, food and a blankie.

[...]

Geez talk about pandering to your audience.

Stewart continued, virtue-signalling about his appearance at the “Let Us Be Heard” Brexit protest in London in October. Stewart along with activist/Live Aid! founder Bob Geldoff, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and thousands of protesters marched to Parliament Square to vote against Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s latest Brexit deal. Stewart claimed, “I want you to know that more than half of the population of the United Kingdom wants to stay in the European Union.”

Whatever you say, Mr. Stewart. If only that had been the case when 52% of the British people voted “leave” on that fateful June day in 2016.

It appears Hays is another MRC staffer whose job it is to feel triggered when a celebrity expresses a political opinion he doesn't like. 

Looks like he needs to retreat to the safe space of the MRC's "news" division, which though that Ringo Starr's opinion on Brexit was so newsworthy that it did an article on it two years after he said it. Of course,  Ringo's opinion was the conservatively correct one, so Hays has nothing to fear.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:51 AM EST
WND Columnist Attacks A Congressman's Non-Lie, Ignores Trump's History of Lies
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Craige McMillan huffed in a Nov. 9 WorldNetDaily column:

The nation's elitists seem to think it is their God-given right to lie to the rest of us. Lying is nothing more than an unwarranted exercise of power against another person. By framing the situation as other than it really is, the liar influences events and outcomes in his or her favor. The liar's victim loses.

While lying has been with us for millennia, God has always equated lying about another person (bearing false witness) as the equivalent of murder, so making lying a capital crime may not be as far-fetched as some think. The Ten Commandments are still foundational to much of the Western legal tradition.

It used to be that horse traders, then used car salesmen and finally politicians were considered to be the most accomplished liars. Perhaps because politicians have had the most free time to perfect the vice of lying to groups of people, they are today the unquestioned champions of mass deceit (especially when aided by the mass media).

When House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff can stand up and read an entirely fabricated telephone transcript between the presidents of the U.S. and Ukraine into the congressional record as a true account, and suffer no repercussions, I think it is well past time to consider a more permanent solution for our nation's lying class.

In fact, Schiff never represented his verision of the transcript as a fully "true account"; he introduced it as outlining "the essence of what the president communicates," and said afterwards that it was a "parody."

In other words, McMillan is the one who's lying here by falsely claiming Schiff represented his reading as something other than it was.

Also in point of fact: For all his whining about "elitists" who "think it is their God-given right to lie to the rest of us" and should perhaps suffer capital punishment for doing so, at no point does he mention the name of perhaps the most prolific liar in an elitist position in America today: President Trump.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:09 AM EST
Friday, November 22, 2019
MRC on Politicians Insulting Reporters: Compare and Contrast
Topic: Media Research Center

Pelosi Disses Sinclair Reporter James Rosen as 'Mr. Republican Talking Points'

Joe Concha at The Hill reported House Speaker Nancy Pelosi brought her egotistical swagger to a press conference on Thursday, dissing reporter James Rosen of Sinclair as "Mr. Republican Talking Points" and then bragging about how she has more experience on intelligence matters than anyone else in Congress. 

Rosen pointed out how Rep. Adam Schiff told Republicans on Wednesday he would be protecting the anonymity of the Ukraine whistleblower and asked "I wonder if you could explain to the American people why the legal rights of the whistleblower should prevail in this political setting over those of President Trump, who should ordinarily enjoy a right to confront his accuser?"

[...]

Don't go looking for the usual scolds of Trump's fighting with reporters (such as CNN's Brian Stelter) to say anything about this exchange, on Twitter or on TV. 

-- Tim Graham, Nov 14 NewsBusters post

(By the way, Tim, James Rosen's question did, in fact, invoke a Republican talking point.) 

Rep. Mark Meadows TORCHES Reporters During Impeachment Presser

While Wednesday’s impeachment hearing was in a brief recess during the 12:00 p.m. ET hour, Republican Congressman Mark Meadows conducted a press conference with Capitol Hill reporters and called them out for their biased questions in real time. He repeatedly corrected the record as the journalists made misleading assertions about the hearing in an attempt to boost the partisan impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

“Congressman, how can you say that this was all hearsay when these two highly respected officials say they heard the exact same thing from everyone in the President’s inner circle?,” CBS’s Nancy Cordes shouted at Meadows. The North Carolina representative pushed back: “Well, I can say that it’s hearsay because that’s the testimony that I just came out from listening. So if you’d been listening, the American people have been listening, they said, ‘Well, I believe,’ ‘I thought I heard,’ ‘This was what was conveyed to me.’”

[...]

If the media are going pick fights with Republican members of Congress like Meadows, they better show up armed with facts and not just Democratic talking points.

-- Kyle Drennen, Nov. 14 NewsBusters post


Posted by Terry K. at 1:56 PM EST
CNS Reporter Loves Her Pro-Trump Boilerplate
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've documented how CNSNews.com's most aggressive defender of President Trump, Susan Jones, has copied-and-pasted her pro-Trump defenses, heavy on transcript excerpts from the notorious phone call between Trump and Ukranian President Volodomyr Zelensky. But she does good condescending pro-Trump boilerplate too.

In a Nov. 14 article, Jones hurls pro-Trump talking points at Nancy Pelosi after reporting her statement that Trump engaged in "bribery" in withholding military aid to Ukraine in exchange for a promise that the country would conduct an investigation into the Ukranian company Joe Biden's son worked for:

For the record, the summary of Trump's July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president does not show that President Trump threatened to withhold military aid in exchange for anything, although he did say the Ukraine president would be doing him a favor by looking into alleged Ukraine efforts to work against Trump in 2016. Later in that conversation, Trump brought up the Bidens, saying that their dealings with Ukraine sounded "horrible."

Unfortunately for Jones' boilerplate, it's since been revealed that Trump moved to withhold the aid as early as the beginning of July, and that Ukraine was likely aware of it at the time of the Trmp-Zelensky phone call -- making the question of whether that was discussed during the call irrelevant.

Jones had some more talking points to spread around after repeating another quote from Pelosi:

"The president used power and violated his oath by threatening to withhold military aid and a White House meeting in exchange for an investigation into his political rival -- a clear attempt by the president to give himself the advantage in the 2020 election."

As Republicans have noted, the aid eventually flowed; President Zelensky never made a public statement about investigations; and both presidents said they were very satisfied with the phone call in which Democrats insist a bribe was made.

Jones conveniently leaves out the fact that the aid "eventually flowed" only after a Politico story revealing that Trump had blocked the aid, which blew up the negotiations with Ukraine to get an investigation announced. And it turns out Zelensky may not have been telling the full truth about the call; it's since been reported that he did indeed feel pressure from the Trump administration even before the call, and it's likely that Zelensky is publicly denying feeling pressure in an attempt to not upset Trump and keep U.S. aid flowing.

But as with its parent, the Media Research Center, perpetuating Trump-friendly political narratives comes before reporting the full truth at CNS.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:58 AM EST
Thursday, November 21, 2019
MRC Bogus Study Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's signature work of "media research" is a study purporting to gauge how "negative" coverage of conservatives and their causes in the "liberal media" whose methodology is so shoddy and narrowly constructed that it seems to have been devised to create a preordained result. And the MRC was sure to trot it out again as it works to defend President Trump over the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

Cue Rich Noyes, in a Nov. 12 post:

MRC analysts have reviewed all coverage of President Trump and his administration on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts since 2017. Following the beginning of the impeachment inquiry on September 24, this coverage has been even more hostile than normal: Out of 684 evaluative comments included in these broadcasts, a whopping 96 percent have been negative, vs. a meager four percent that have been positive.

As we've repeatedly pointed out, this study, like earlier ones in this genre, 1) focuses only on a tiny sliver of news -- the evening newscasts on the three networks -- and suggests it's indicative of all media; 2) pretends there was never any neutral coverage of Trump by explicitly rejecting neutral coverage in favor of dishonestly tallying only "explicitly evaluative statements"; 3) fails to take into account the stories themselves and whether negative coverage is deserved or admit that negative coverage is the most accurate way to cover a given story; and 4) fails to provide the raw data or the actual statements it evaluated so its work could be evaluated by others. 

What the MRC measured cannot be extrapolated into an evaluation of coverage across the entire broadcast meda -- it excluded cable news, and the MRC never does these kinds of studies on the work of Fox News --  it can't even be extrapolated into an accurate evaluation of the coverage on the three networks since, again, it cherry-picks  "explicitly evaluative statements" and ignores all other coverage.

Noyes went on to complain about specific subjects about which Trump received especially "negative" coverage -- impeachment, of couse, as wellas Trump's withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, about which he groused that "journalists routinely framed it as “abandoning” an ally (the Syrian Kurds) in the fight against ISIS."

But fair and accurate reserach isn't what this report is about; using those dubious numbers to get attention from Fox News empire is. Thus, MRC chief was granted two appearances on Fox Business -- to push those bogus numbers, which he talked about only as "coverage" and the narrowly tailored, cherry-picked numbers from selected sources they are in reality, falsely asserting at one point, "Almost 100 percent of the media coverage is against Donald Trump." Similarly, the MRC's Nicholas Fondacaro referenced the study's finding of "96 percent negative coverage" without the numerous qualifiers that would have made that statement accurate, as did Joseph Vazquez in a later MRC post.

Needless to say, Bozell and Tim Graham devoted their Nov. 13 column to the findings, lying that the numbers reflected the "tone of overall coverage" when it did nothing of the sort; they too omitted a complete listing of the study's bogus methodology.

The latest version of this stock study shows once again that at the MRC, the facts aren't important -- the narrative is.

UPDATE: Speaking of perpetuating the narrative, the MRC's "news" division CNSNews.com contributed to it by devoting an article to a glowing review of the study by the MRC's favorite right-wing radio host, Mark Levin, who absurdly gushed that the the MRC is "a solid organization, come hell or high water." Did the MRC pay Levin to say that?


Posted by Terry K. at 9:14 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, November 21, 2019 10:18 PM EST
CNS Lazily Recycling Repubican Attack Lines
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com is so slavishly devoted to the pro-Trump narrataive on impeachment that it's just lazily rehashing the same Republican talking points.

For instances, an Oct. 31 article by Melanie Arter is headlined "McCarthy: This Is an Attempt to Undo the Last Election and Influence the Next One" and states: 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Thursday the impeachment is not just an attempt to undo the last election, it is an attempt to influence the next one as well.

Speaking on the House floor, McCarthy said “elections have consequences” and Americans “used their vote to choose who will work for them.”

[...]

“It is about the integrity of our electoral process. Democrats are trying to impeach the president, because they are scared they cannot defeat him at the ballot box. That's not my words. That's the words of my colleagues from the other side of the aisle that has offered impeachment three different times,” McCarthy said.

“This impeachment is not only an attempt to undo the last election, it is an attempt to influence the next one as well. This is not what Democrats promised when they entered the majority 11 months ago,” he said.

Then, on Nov. 4, Susan Jones wrote an article headlined "McCarthy: Democrats Trying to Change Outcome of 2016 Election and Influence the Next One," stating:

The Democrats' impeachment inquiry is a partisan effort to undo the last presidential election and influence the one coming up, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

"Never in our history have we ever moved through with what's such a partisan impeachment movement. This is unheard of," McCarthy said.

"And what they're trying to do -- remember, what is today? November 3. We are exactly one year away from Americans going to the polls to vote for the president. They're trying to change the outcome of 2016 and influence the next one."

That's right: CNS devoted two articles five days apart to pushing the same exact talking point by the exact same Republican politician, albeit in two different places.

That's some serious dedication to pushing a narrative. Or is it just that CNS editors don't actually read the website they work for before posting stories to it?


Posted by Terry K. at 3:43 PM EST
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Alveda King Now Shilling for Trump Over Impeachment
Topic: Newsmax

We've detailed how anti-abortion activist Alveda King is desending into pro-Trump worship and outright shilling. She went further down that path in her recent Newsmax columns. On Oct. 25, she wrote:

Blessings to Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina for his stand for justice in the case of the current unfair impeachment efforts against President Trump.

Yesterday, Senator Graham introduced a resolution denouncing the current impeachment inquiry into President Trump. He said impeachment is "very dangerous to the country," and that is true.

Please join the battle for justice in support of this effort. Support Sen. Lindsey Graham’s resolution by doing three things:

First, pray that what is being done in secret will be exposed in the light.

Next, get on all your social media platforms and post your support of the resolution and for your support of due process for President Trump.

And, put a call in to your Senators and Representatives, let them know they must honor the rule of law, to put the impeachment proceedings to a vote and for your support of SR 378. Assure them of your support.

She repeated more pro-Trump talking points: "The illegitimate impeachment proceedings lack due process for the president and transparency, as standing members of Congress have been shut out of the hearings, and U.S. citizens are being denied facts while POTUS is denied due process.

King then gushed in her Nov. 8 column:

I am in Atlanta today with President Trump and it’s been a great day for the president.

There is a lot of support for Trump in Atlanta. We all need to love, forgive, and support our leaders. Through loving our enemies we can all get along. We can have the greatest nation on the planet.

Today we rolled out the “Black Voices for Trump” coalition. There is a lot of energy and excitement in the air. President Trump spoke to a large crowd of supporters along with Vice President Mike Pence and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson.

In his run for the presidency in 2016, in asking for the Black vote — "What do you have to lose?" Since that day, with many promises kept, POTUS has consistently shown us what we have to gain. Now, 3 years later, not only did Blacks not lose anything but we have gained a lot with the unemployment rate being at historic lows and the establishment of opportunity zones to help revitalize struggling neighborhoods. He has also been the most prolife president we have ever had, protecting all life from the womb to the tomb. With Blacks accounting for about a third of all abortions, that’s a lot of Black babies our president is protecting.

So, please pray for us! God is good.

King's prayer for Trump included this bit of worship: "God bless humanity and America with four more years with Donald J. Trump in your hands as our president."

In her Nov. 14 column, King bizarrely framed the impeachment in biblical terms:

This most recent bloodthirsty demand for impeachment, a drive based on lies, secrecy, and hearsay reminds one of a passage in 1 Kings 18.

Let’s examine the passage through 21st century “woke” lenses.

“Then the Truth-seekers said: Let the haters seek impeachment. Let them lay it out on their altar — but don’t ignite it. We will take the truth, lay it before the people. And wait; neither will we light the fire. Now you do your worst; we will do our best. You fan the media furor, we will pray to GOD.

The one who answers with fire will prove to be, in fact, God.

[...]

A Challenge from Truth Seekers to America:

“How long are we going to sit on the fence? If GOD is the real God, follow GOD; if it’s the politicians, follow them. Make up your minds!”

Immediately the fire of GOD fell upon the altar of the truth seekers and burned up the offering, the wood, the stones, the dirt, and even the water in the trench. All the people saw it happen and fell on their faces in awed worship, exclaiming, “GOD is the true God! GOD is the true God!

Truth seekers arise. We don’t worship government, we worship God. Overcome impeachment with truth. Pray for America.

It's almost cute how King thinks that an inveterate liar like Trump is a "Truth Seeker."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:45 PM EST
MRC Defends The Honor Of A Politically Motivated Investigation
Topic: Media Research Center

A while back, Attorney General Robert Barr assigned U.S. attorney John Durham with the quest of investigating the origins of the investigation that resulted the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller to look in to possible Russian collusion with the Trump presidential campaign among other possible crimes -- part of the Republican conspiracy theory machine, complete with blatantly obvious political motivation. But the Media Research Center wants you to believe it's all on the up and up and totally not politically motivated.

Alex Christy complained in an Oct. 22 post:

It is a common refrain on MSNBC in the age of Trump that nobody is above law and to raise questions about investigations into high ranking officials is damaging to our institutions, unless of course that investigations is looking into alleged misconduct during the Obama years, then it is the investigation that is the threat to institutions. Such, was the argument that Andrea Mitchell made on her Monday show alongside former Obama officials Wendy Sherman and Ned Price in a segment that also torched plenty of strawmen in an attempt to described John Durham's investigation into the origins of the Russia probe.

Christy then pointed out that the investigation has the Fox News stamp of approval, since that channel's Bret Baier reported that "John Durham [is] expanding his investigation, the timeline, getting more federal agents, more resources. He then defended Durham's honor insisted the probe was necessary:

Durham, a prosecutor respected by both Republicans and Democrats alike, is not looking into whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election, just about everybody accepts that they did. What Durham is looking into is whether the investigation  into an opposition campaign, that eventually led to a special counsel, was justified. Considering that despite years of work, the only indictments that came out of the Mueller probe were either procedural crimes or pre-dated the campaign and that the country was forced to spend two years talking about such salacious and discredited things as "pee tapes," wanting to know if any corners were cut by anti-Trump partisans such as John Brennan and Jim Clapper is perfectly reasonable. 

Christy didn't mention that the conservative-lauded Whitewater investigation into President Clinton during the 1990s found no wrongdoing by the Clintons regarding titular land deal, and it wasn't until the investigation moved far afield from its origins that Clinton was busted for lying about sex.

A few days later, Mitchell dismissed the Durham probe again, and this time Kyle Drennen was on board for the lecture and Fox News shout-out:

On her 12:00 p.m. ET hour on Friday, MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell derisively dismissed the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into the origins of the Russia probe as a politically motivated inquiry that was “elevating what had been widely denounced as a conspiracy theory.”

[...]

During the panel discussion that followed, Mitchell teed up a clip of former Justice Department official David Laufman accusing the investigation into the Russia probe of having a “political taint.” She then seized on his assertion as she also took a jab at Fox News: “...the whole question that David Laufman raised last night about the taint on this because of all the politics involved and all the conspiracy theories that have been promulgated by one network and by the President.”

It’s pretty stunning that Mitchell would have the audacity to attack Fox, since journalists there have been properly covering the investigation, while she and her liberal media colleagues have either been ignoring the story or downplaying it. In fact, FNC’s Special Report anchor Bret Baier has called out other news organizations for refusing to cover the expanding inquiry into how the Russia investigation began.

[...]

Obviously if the origins of the Russia probe were “universally-accepted” there would be no need for an investigation.

The same day, a column by Jeffrey Lord attacked MSNBC's Rachel Maddow for calling Durham's probe "embarrassing":

This, mind you, from the MSNBC conspiracy-theorist-in-chief who has spent the last two years insisting on the Trump-Russia collusion fairy tale. Now, confronted with the real possibility of criminal wrongdoing by the Obama administration and the use of the FBI, CIA and Department of Justice to target an Obama/Clinton political opponent - Donald Trump -  Maddow gulps and, but of course, accuses the Trump Justice Department falsely of doing exactly what the Obama Justice Department actually may have done.

[...]

It is safe to say that we are in for a series of “breaking news bombshells”, and that based on their performance thus far, the Trump-hating media will be out there frantically trying to discredit them. Not to mention, as those stories out of theTimes and MSNBC indicate, will Attorney General Barr and U.S. Attorney Durham now be dragged through the mud and slimed with charges of doing what in fact Obama officials appear, to have actually done.

Best advice?

Buy the popcorn and settle in.

The MRC is as invested in this probe the way it loved to claim liberals were invested in the Mueller investigation.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:29 PM EST
WND's Lively Pushes Bogus Film
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Scott Lively wrote in a Nov. 4 WorldNetDailiy column:

Years ago I spoke at a Bible conference in Bournemouth, England, which opened numerous doors to missionary adventures for me. One was an area of personal study and travel that greatly expanded my understanding of how Satan and the demonic realm accesses and operates in the physical world. That door was opened during a break in the conference when one of my hosts played "The Rape of Europe," a documentary by British evangelist David Hathaway. The title frames the Greek myth of the rape of Europa by Zeus as a metaphor for the cultural rape of Europe by Islam. That myth, depicted on the euro currency, features Zeus/Satan in the form of a bull with crescent shaped horns being ridden by a woman, Europa.

The Rape of Europe (2002) is a work of compelling scholarship, carefully documenting the demonic origins of the European Union, framed as the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Released before the Soros Open Borders agenda became overt globalist policy, it is also prophetic of today's geopolitical realities.

The film includes commentary about the two primary exhibits of Berlin's Pergamum Museum. The first is the Pergamum Altar, called Satan's Seat in Revelation 2:13. The second is Babylon's Ishtar Gate, historically called the "Gate to Hell" because it is decorated with 337 images of Marduk, the serpent god: 337 being symbolic of Sheol (hell) in Hebrew numerology. In demonology, Marduk (aka Bel, aka Baal, aka Zeus) is Satan, and Ishtar (aka Astarte, aka Ashteroth, aka Europa) is Satan's female consort.

[...]

Hathaway argues persuasively that Germany, or more specifically it's political creation called the European Union (established through the Treaty of Rome), is the reemergent Roman Empire predicted in the "four kingdoms" prophecy of Daniel 2. Few Christians today realize that Adolf Hitler's "Third Reich" was the third iteration of the Holy Roman Empire in Europe. Nor is it widely known that the plans for the EU were originally drawn up by Hitler.

Lively also appended a link to the film on YouTube.

Actually, the film that Lively claims is "a work of compelling scholarship" ... isn't. One reviewer wrote: "Unfortunately, nearly everything in the video is untrue—both historically and biblically. There are some facts in the presentation—it is nearly impossible to talk for over an hour without some facts slipping in—but the way it is put together makes us look at the wrong direction."

The reviewer, Marko Joensuu, pointed out that there's "very little if no historical evidence" to support the film's claim that the Pergamum (or Pergamon) Throne is the "Satan's Seat in Revelation 2:13." He then wrote regarding the film's references to the rape of Europa:

First, this kind of mixing of Christian imagery with Greek mythology is deeply problematic, and it has to be justified, as it easily leads to accepting ‘revelation’ from false—even demonic—sources. This kind of mixing of sources has been the Achilles heel of the modern-day prophetic and charismatic movement.

Second, Hathaway’s interpretation completely ignores what is clearly presented in Revelation 17.

Third, it is not historically accurate.

About the Lively-embraced claim about the Pergamum altar, Joensuu wrote: 

It is problematic to use Hebrew numerology in prophecy, as it is the study of the occult meanings of numbers. Don’t let the word ‘Hebrew’ in Hebrew numerology deceive you, as it really is an Assyro-Babylonian-Greek system adopted by the Jews that has very little to do with the Bible and a lot more to do with horoscopes and occultism.

But that doesn’t really matter, as the Ishtar gate isn’t actually decorated with 337 snakes at all! Instead, the wall and the gate are decorated with dragons, lions and snakes, symbolising the major gods of Babylon.

Joensuu also blows apart the film's argument that Hitler's third Reich and the European Union were extensions of the Holy Roman Empire:

The historical problem Hathaway faces is the apparent discontinuation of the Roman Empire, as it was destroyed by the Germanic tribes. He solves this problem by claiming that the Roman Empire was in fact never discontinued but that, essentially, any form of German government after the destruction of the Roman Empire presents the continuation of the Roman Empire.

This leads Hathaway to another problem—somehow, he has to link Rome and Babylon with Germany. 

Also, Hathaway places the timing of the feet’s destruction with the 2nd coming of Christ, rather than the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus.

But how sound is that interpretation? Not very sound.

To begin with, Daniel would have called any Germanic empire the fifth kingdom rather than the fourth, as that’s the logic of his narrative—one empire taking over another, with their territories overlapping. 

Joensuu went on to write that "There are so many historical errors and falsehoods in Hathaway’s presentation that it seems clear that his main sources have been the internet conspiracy theorists." Lively, of course, loves his conspiracy theories, especially anti-gay ones -- he did, after all, write a WND-loved book that bizarrely portrayed the German Nazi Party as "a neo-pagan, homosexual cult" -- so this film is very much up Lively's alley.

Indeed, he highlights the postwar period in Germany "when the United States had de facto ownership of the Seat of Satan as the dominant power of the Allied occupation of Germany until the Berlin Wall went up," adding: "That 1945-61 window is precisely when America was shifted by our Supreme Court under the control of anti-Christian Justice Hugo Black from a biblical to a humanist foundation, and an army of freshly legally empowered militant atheists began systematically dismantling our Judeo-Christian infrastructure from coast to coast."

Yeah, totally not a surprise that Lively would embrace this film.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:37 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, November 20, 2019 9:18 AM EST
Tuesday, November 19, 2019
MRC on Impeachment: Body Counts And Stopwatches
Topic: Media Research Center

Conservatives have to distract from the impeachment inquiry of President Trump. That must mean it's time for the Media Research Center to count things.

The MRC was ON IT back in September by counting the number of times that media outlets discussing possible impeachable offenses by Trump used the word "impeachment":

Yet, apparently, counting the number of times a certain word is used is somehow not an obsession.

Scott Whitlock turned in that old MRC staple, the stopwatch count, in a strategically boldfaced Oct. 1 post:

In just ten days (September 20 through September 30) the broadcast networks overwhelmed their evening and morning shows with more than 7 hoursof coverage devoted to a whistleblower’s complaint about President Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukranian president Volodymyr Zelensky and the ensuing calls for impeachment. 

Only 46 minutes of that coverage referenced Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden’s sweetheart deal with a Ukranian company. Even when networks mentioned Trump’s concern about Hunter benefiting from his father’s status as Vice President, they were quick to dismiss the allegations with the refrain: “no evidence of any wrongdoing.”

Jump ahead to this month, and the MRC's Nicholas Fondacaro went into full Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy mode -- in an echo of its insistence that the "liberal media" is acting as stenographers for Democrats, a claim that reads like the MRC is taking stenography from the Trump White House -- baselessly portraying news reports noting that Nancy Pelosi had decided to call Trump's quid pro quo to Ukraine "bribery" as an endorsement of the term and of Trump's impeachment in general:

At a Thursday press conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) essentially authorized the use of the word “bribery” to describe President Trump’s phone call with the president of Ukraine. The broadcast networks gushed about her use of the word and showed their approval by roundly noting that bribery was an impeachable offense explicitly laid out in the Constitution.

[...]

Perhaps “bribery” should be added to the list of shared talking points between the media and Democratic Party.

Kyle Drennen followed up with a body-count piece, headlined "Nets Follow Pelosi Marching Orders: ‘Bribery’ Mentioned 43 Times." He insisted that every singhle mention of the word -- no, really, "all of it" -- was "designed to boost the impeachment crusade against Trump." He also claimed that "journalists seem to be just as eager as partisan Demcorats to throw around the serious criminal charge without any substantiation," even though the quid pro quo Trump is alleged to have engaged in with Ukraine is a form of bribery.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:40 PM EST

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