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Monday, December 9, 2019
WND Repeats Fake-News Ukraine Story
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An anonymously written Nov. 20 WorldNetDaily article asserted:

A Ukrainian member of parliament says that Hunter Biden and his corporate cronies made $16.5 million from the Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings.

[...]

Joe Biden is on video boasting he threatened Ukraine officials the U.S. would withhold aid if they didn't fire the general prosecutor, who was investigating Burisma at the time.

The Zerohedge blog reported an "indictment drawn up by Ukraine's Office of the Prosecutor General against Burisma owner Nikolai Zlochevsky claims that Hunter Biden and his partners received $16.5 million for their 'services' - according to Ukrainian MP Alexander Dubinsky of the ruling Servant of the People Party."

But as an actual news organization reported, this isn't actually true: no indictment was announced. Further, "ZeroHedge apparently misconstrued the original Russian article from the Interfax-Ukraine News Agency, which did not mention an indictment. The Interfax-Ukraine News Agency operates as part of Interfax, a Russian news outlet."

In other words, ZeroHedge is pushing Russian propaganda, it got that propaganda wrong to the point that it became even more propagandistic. The original ZeroHedge article has been corrected to more accurately state that "a document leaked from the Ukraine's Office of the Prosecutor General contains claims against Burisma owner Nikolai Zlochevsky."

The actual news organization also cited an expert on Russian kleptocracy, who pointed out that Dubinsky, the Ukraine official helping to push this claim, is "not credible" and that he and a fellow Ukraine official who also pushed this claim are "professional disinformers. ... Anybody who’s anybody knows about these two. They are not credible." WND didn't mention that either, which tells us that it (and ZeroHedge) are not among the "anybody who's anybody."

Meanwhile, WND's article remains uncorrected.

There's another claim in the WND article  that's false as well: the asserion that the Ukrainian prosecutor Biden wanted fired "was investigating Burisma at the time." In fact, the prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, was not investigating Burisma or much else at the time, which is why Biden (and other European countries) wanted him fired.

WND's insistence on pushing fake news even while it's fighting to stay alive does not inspire confidence in answering in the affirmative about whether WND deserves to live.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:24 AM EST
Sunday, December 8, 2019
MRC Keeps Working the Refs In Attacking Another Debate Host
Topic: Media Research Center

With the November Democratic presidential debate, the Media Research Center did with it usually does: attack the moderators and the network showing it in an attempt to work the refs.

Geoffrey Dickens complained in a Nov. 19 post that "MSNBC has tabbed a Bernie booster (Rachel Maddow) and Joe Biden fan (Andrea Mitchell) to be the lead moderators for Wednesday’s Democratic debate. So it’s a good bet the questions won’t be coming from the right." He then served up "just a few examples of Wednesday night’s debate moderators’ history of liberalism, as culled from the MRC’s archives."

The next day, Nicholas Fondacaro attacked MSNBC's parent network, NBC, for a pre-debate segment of its "What Matters" series that allegedly "seemed to suggest only Democrats cared about the opioid crisis while boosting Senator Bernie Sander’s Medicare for all scheme," going on to huff that the series was "biased" and "only sought out 'What Matters' to Democratic voters. Scott Whitlock followed some hours later by bashing a different "What Matters" segment for purportedly being "yet another PR push for a liberal 2020 candidate" and doing so "shortly before sister network MSNBC debuted a Democratic debate filled with liberal hosts."

As far as the actual debate itself, Whitlock complained:

What was the big concern for the liberal hosts of MSNBC’s Democratic debate on Wednesday night? Dealing with the nasty Republicans and figuring out ways to convince them to support impeachment. The first half hour of the event was full of queries on impeachment, as well as fretting over being mean to Joe Biden’s son, and reminders that the GOP opposed Barack Obama. Rachel Maddow offered what could be the most obvious question for the assembled 2020 candidates. 

Rather than focus on issues, she wondered if Senator Elizabeth Warren would lobby her GOP colleagues to remove the President. Not shockingly, Warren said she would!

Impeachment is not a issue these days? That's news to us.

Shortly thereafter, Whitlock whined in a separate post that Maddow -- whom he called "far-left" in the headline, a favorite sloppy label for the MRC -- "unloaded both on the state that hosted the 2020 contenders (Georgia) and also a conservative Democratic Governor for daring to be pro-life."

Even MSNBC's post-debate analysis was attacked, with Curtis Houck in bash mode on people paid to have an opinion for having an opinion (that he didn't approve of). Kyle Drennen followed by attacking other networks' debate coverage, feigning surprise that impeachment would be a topic of discussion and insisting that "it was as if all three network morning shows were reading from the same liberal script" by accurately reporting that impeachment was a debate topic. Drennen didn't tell us whether Fox News mentioned impeachment in its coverage of the debate.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:48 PM EST
CNS Lazily Reprints Press Release On Roger Stone's Conviction
Topic: CNSNews.com

When Trump confidante and sleazy political operative Roger Stone was arrested on various on a warrant from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation earlier this year, CNSNews.com was quick to embrace the bogus conspiracy theory that Mueller tipped off CNN to the arrest so it could have cameras there. Even Mueller himself pointed out this was not true, but CNS never told its readers about it.

Despite that obsession over Stone's arrest, CNS' interest in the case didn't extend to his trial, not even bothering to offer daily coverage of it. And when Stone was found guilty, CNS did the absolute minimum: an anonymously written Nov. 15 article stating that "Political consultant Roger Stone was found guilty today by a jury that convicted him of obstructing a congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, according to a statement put out by the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia," followed by a copy-and-paste job of the entire statement.

No mention of the conspiracy theory it once embraced, no mention of any statement by Stone or his attorneys on the verdict -- just an grudging acceptance that maybe Stone is as terrible as everyone outside the Trump orbit CNS occupies has said, and the ultimate in lazy stenography.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:35 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, December 8, 2019 8:40 PM EST
Saturday, December 7, 2019
MRC Freaks Out Over Nonbinary Cartoon Character
Topic: Media Research Center

We noted earlier this year when the Media Research Center had a freakout when the rebooted cartoon "She-Ra and the Princesses of Power" added a character who wasn't heterosexual and another character who had two dads -- as if acknowledging that gay people exist and aren't inherently evil was an insidious "gay agenda." Well, "She-Ra" has continued to refuse to be as heterosexual as the MRC demands so the freakouts have continued.

Alexa Moutevelis complained in an Oct. 30 item that not only is there a nonbinary character on the show, a nonbinary actor is voicing them:

Prepare for trouble! It looks like the new season of Netflix’s kids' show She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (coming November 5) will feature “the first nonbinary actor to voice a nonbinary animated character in a recurring series role.” Just what parents have been waiting for!

Netflix’s LGBTQ Instagram account Prism was so excited to make the announcement that they produced a video of performer Jacob Tobia talking about the character. Tobia, who recently wrote a memoir titled Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story, said, “I play a character called Double Trouble who is a non-binary, shape-shifting mercenary, so functionally, I’m playing myself.”

Moutevelis complained about the show being "propagandizing" and "indoctrination" -- as if she wasn't doing the exact same thing -- and concluded by ranting, "She-Ra already has featured gay characters and storylines in the past. It looks like season 4 will be more than Double Trouble – parents, beware!"

On Nov. 10,  Elise Ehrhard complained further about this nonbinary character:

In season four’s She-Ra, released Nov. 5, the “non-binary” character Double Trouble is really just a shape-shifter like the countless other shape-shifting characters that have existed in past children’s cartoons and world mythology. Calling classic shape-shifters “transgender” is a new trope of the “woke.” For example, in Rick Riordan’s blockbuster mythological children’s book series, Magnus Chase, a shape-shifting demi-god wearing a hijab is now considered a “transgender” Muslim.

Memo to the left: shape-shifters are not real and men and women cannot change their biological sex. If the left gets to stamp “transgender” on every shape-shifting character, then Robin William’s Genie would have to be called gender dysphoric because he morphs into Joan Rivers, among many other impressions, while singing “Prince Ali” in Aladdin.

The only distinction of Double Trouble is that the voice sounds like a campy gay male from Sex and the City. S/he says “darling” a lot and tells one of the princesses “that outfit really isn’t working for you.” The way transgenderism itself is constantly channeling homosexual stereotypes may explain in part the calls by some lesbian and gay activists to separate themselves from the “T” part of their movement.

Ehrhard went on to mock the fact that nonbinary people would like to be addressed by their preferred gender (or nongender, as it were):

Double Trouble says he loves “the thrill of seeding destruction and chaos,” which pretty much encapsulates the entire LGBT movement’s encroachment into pre-pubescent children’s lives. It is very important to transgender activists to confuse children about both grammar and identity. Everybody, including the villain mastermind, refers to Double Trouble as “they” and "them." “Even the most evil person on the planet doesn’t misgender people, because that would be rude,” Tobia said. You can try to destroy the universe and the English language, but don’t you dare “misgender” anybody!

Ehrhard then issued a sexist attack on the show's writing staff for not being sufficiently male:

Much hoopla has been made of the fact that this contemporary She-Ra has an all-female writing team (even though biological sex is supposedly not fixed). That being the case, I am embarrassed for my sex because the show spends an inordinate amount of time having princesses kvetch at each other and argue about their feelings. I am middle-aged and have more patience, but it must be torture for the kids to wait for action in between endless bickering between Princess Glimmer and Adora while other heroes take “me-time.” Is this really what an all-female writing team is supposed to produce for an action cartoon? If so, it might be time to add some testosterone to the mix. That is, if anybody in Hollywood can still acknowledge biological reality at all.

Ehrhard and Moutevelis should perhaps obsess a little less about cartoons.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:13 PM EST
Mychal Massie's LGBT Derangement Syndrome
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Mychal Massie began his Nov. 4 WorldNetDaily column by quoting from "the [Homosexual] (I refuse to use the appellation 'gay') Manifesto," then declared: "There's no ambiguity in the preceding paragraphs. The words are quoted verbatim from homosexual publications. There's no denying the motivations of the homosexual agenda. The most skilled compurgator would be unable to argue them innocent of my allegations. This is the motivation behind what is taking place today."

Except that it's not a real thing. As writers who do actual research have pointed out, the "Gay Manifesto" actually begins by stating, ""This essay is an outré, madness, a tragic, cruel fantasy, an eruption of inner rage, on how the oppressed desperately dream of being the oppressor." In other words, it's satire.

But then, Massie has never been one to let the facts get in the way of a good rant, and so he goes on to huff that "It's time to confront the dark objectives driving the homosexual agenda. We must fight to protect and shield our children who are the most vulnerable to this satanic inculcation," then attacking President Obama, "who if we are to believe the allegations that appear to be highly credible based upon names, dates, locals and scenarios regarding his own sexuality." Massie provides no evidence that anyone who made that claim is "highly credible"; in fact, the chief peddler of that claim, Larry Sinclair -- whom Massie has falsely claimed died in a "very suspicious car accident" in 2011; he's actually very much alive -- has no credibility whatsoever.

Massie served up another anti-LGBT rant in his Dec. 2 column, invoking the usual right-wing tropes:

I will never bow before the altar of Baal. It is time we stand up to the alphabet homosexual offal cabals that think they can force and bully their chosen sexual perversions to be accepted as normal. Their arguments for invasion into every facet of culture are not persuasive; they are an insult to sanity.

[...]

It's time for the overwhelming majority of people who do not support immorality subverting our culture to stand up and be counted.

We have the right to say no to homosexual predators who prey upon young, impressionable minds by pretending to be what they are not and reading books to children in libraries. It is our right to say no to any attempt to have sodomite preachers infiltrate our church.

Christians and those who refuse to approve a behavior that is being forced upon the people cannot be compelled to comply with abnormal and degenerate behavior. We have alternatives to sending our children to schools where a boy claiming to be a girl can shower with your daughter.

Massie also claimed that Google "prominently displays in searches" a number of "false teachers" who offer a brand of Christianity that fails to hate gays as much as Massie does, asserting that it is "motivated to do so by the "prince of liars" because in so doing it supports the lie people like [Pete] Buttigieg espouse about Scripture."


Posted by Terry K. at 11:01 AM EST
Friday, December 6, 2019
MRC Has A 'Moderate' Labeling Meltdown
Topic: Media Research Center

As we've noted, the Media Research Center loves to sloppily label anything remotely liberal as "far-left" without justification (aside from the fact that from its distorted right-wing vantage point, it probably seems that way). But it gets even more offended when a Democrat is described as anything less than "far-left."

Scott Whitlock complained in a Nov. 8 item (bolding in original):

CBS This Morning on Friday pushed the fantasy that the 2020 Democratic field somehow contains several “moderate” or “centrist” candidates, rather than far-left liberals. It started in the 7am hour when reporter Ed O’Keefe reflected on Michael Bloomberg potentially joining the race: “But recent polling shows Biden is slipping behind Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and moderate Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.” 

Moderate? Buttigieg is radically pro-abortion. He’s pro-gun control and wants to pack the Supreme Court in order to protect Roe v. Wade. Where is he “moderate?” Later in the show, correspondent Margaret Brennan cheered the entry of Bloomberg: “He's in some ways, though, splitting possibly a vote with Joe Biden, maybe helping the center, that center moderate Democrat have another voice.

Biden? The former Vice President and Senator is certainly a liberal. His lifetime American Conservative Union score is 12 and the Democrat has drifted farther left as the years go by.

Whitlock concluded by huffing, "The liberal media want you to believe that a field of far-left Democrats actually has some secret 'centrists.'" There's that gratuitous "far-left" mislabeling again.

So offended was Whitlock by this concept that he even went after Fox News -- who nomrally gets a pass from the MRC no matter how biased it gets -- for doing something similar in a Nov. 19 post (again, bolding in original):

MSNBC and Fox on Monday pushed the idea that Mayor Pete Buttigieg is a moderate. However, the facts simply don’t back this up when it comes to the 2020 presidential candidate. In fact, Fox’s Harris Faulkner even lumped in the radically pro-gun control Michael Bloomberg as another “moderate,” saying: “After months of watching the Democratic Party move farther to the left, moderates are now looking to regain control of the 2020 race. But can two new candidates and Pete Buttigieg's recent rise change anything?” 

Faulkner added, “Progressives like Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are getting a lot of attention lately. However, moderates could be on the upswing. Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick has jumped into the primary, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg potentially is launching a bid, as well.”

Moderate? Buttigieg is radically pro-abortion. He’s pro-gun control and wants to pack the Supreme Court in order to protect Roe v. Wade. Michael Bloomberg was a liberal New York City who is probably best known for his efforts to restrict the Second Amendment. How are any of these people moderate? 

Whitlock did it again in a Nov. 25 post: "The three network morning shows on Monday hyped the entry of Michael Bloomberg into the 2020 race as a “moderate” who will take on other “moderates,” Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg. They also touted the ex-New York Mayor’s former Republican status. ... In reality, Bloomberg is radially supportive of restricting the Second Amendment and who supports abortion." Nicholas Fondacaro chimed in as well the same day, complaining that one show "falsely labeled [Bloomberg] a 'moderate.'"

Clay Waters joined the narrative in a Nov. 27 post attacking the New York Times for using the M-word:

It’s bad enough that the Times is labeling Buttigieg and Bloomberg moderates, although there is at least the thin excuse that there are no hard-and fast metrics for measuring just how liberal those two former mayors are. But the American Conservative Union has long kept up with the ideological voting records of congressmen, and former Sen. Kerry as of 2004 had earned a lifetime rating of 5.18 out of a possible 100. No “staid moderate,” just a true-blue Massachusetts liberal.

But Waters and Whitlock invoked the ACU voting record, but they didn't explain how, exactly, that score is a reliable indicator of one's place on the ideological spectrum.

Kristine Marsh had a related "moderate" meltdown in a Nov. 18 post:

It seems anyone to the right of Karl Marx is considered a “moderate” in today’s Democrat [sic] party. On ABC's  The View Monday, the hosts were discussing a new Iowa poll out this weekend that showed a significant bump for South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg in the 2020 race. Co-host Joy Behar claimed he was rising in the polls because he was a “moderate” Democrat, who was “fresh, new and gay” but also in a “traditional” same-sex marriage. What?

[...]

The far-left in the media are constantly trying to make radical Democrats appear rational and mainstream. From the very beginning, Buttigieg has advocated far left positions on guns, health care and suggested he supports abortion until birth. Yet the media has consistently downplayed his liberal policies by calling him a “moderate.”

The MRC's complaints about labeling might be taken more seriously if their own labeling of anything remotely to the left of the MRC wasn't so sloppy and out of whack.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:37 PM EST
CNS Follows MRC's Narrative By Calling Impeachment Hearings Boring
Topic: CNSNews.com

The Media Research Center has tried to delegitimize the impeachment hearings by portraying them as boring and poorly rated (as if excitement and good ratings was a measure of justice), so it was inevitable that the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, would push that same narrative. And that's exactly what Susan Jones does in a Nov. 19 CNS article:

Four witnesses will testify in the House intelligence committee's impeachment inquiry today, beginning with Alexander Vindman (member of the National Security Council since 2018) and Jennifer Williams (Vice President Pence's advisor) at 9 a.m.; and Kurt Volker (special envoy to Ukraine) and Tim Morrison (National Security Council official) at 2:30 p.m.

But who will be watching?

It's "boring television," Rep. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), a Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee, told Fox News’s Laura Ingraham Monday night.

Jones did not allow anyone to rebut Biggs' claims or to point out the obvious fact that TV ratings are not a measure of justice. Instead she repeats an attack on impeachment inquiry witness Alex Vindman by claiming that his former supervisor at the National Security Council "had raised concerns about Alex's judgment." That attack, of course, comes directly from the Trump White House.

But Jones never told her readers that Vindman rebutted this claim by reading from a performance evaluation of him by Hill that called him "a top 1% military officer and the best Army officer I have worked with in my 15 years of government service." Or that Hill herself later testified that she never had any issues with Vindman's judgment but, rather, was concerned about how a military man like him would handle the increasingly political direction the Ukraine issue was turning.

Remember: At CNS, reporting the facts doesn't matter -- adhering to the narrative does.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:49 AM EST
Updated: Friday, December 6, 2019 12:51 AM EST
Thursday, December 5, 2019
MRC Censors Full Story On ABC's Spiked Jeffrey Epstein Probe
Topic: Media Research Center

For the past month or so, the Media Research Center has been obsessing over a bit of media-related news: the "bombshell scoop," as Scott Whitlock termed it, from "investigative journalist" James O'Keefe of a leaked video of an ABC host lamenting that the network killed a story about "convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and his network of connections to powerful men, including Bill Clinton," featuring alleged Epstein victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre. (The host and ABC itself later issued statements that the reporting at the time didn't meet the network's standards.) So huge was this story at the MRC that it translated Whitlock's post into Spanish.

Over the following weeks, the MRC has repeatedly taken potshots at ABC, especially after the person who allegedly leaked the video to O'Keefe was apparently subsequently fired from a job at CBS and right-wingers like Megyn Kelly tried to advance the story.

Because this story conveniently fits into the MRC's media-hating narrative, it has censored the fact that there's another side to this story. If you'll recall, Alan Dershowitz, -- who was Epstein's lawyer when he got a sweetheart deal for a short prison sentence -- has vehemently denied allegations by Robert Giuffre that Dershowitz had sex with her while she was underage and doesn't believe that the woman is credible. He served up his encounter with ABC in a Nov. 20 Newsmax column:

In mid-2015, I was sent an email that one of Giuffre’s lawyers had circulated, announcing that an interview with Giuffre would be run on "Good Morning America," the ABC evening news, and "Nightline." I immediately called ABC to inquire whether my name was being mentioned, since she had falsely accused me of having sex with her, even though there was incontrovertible proof that I had never even met her. They said it was not. (To this day, she has not publicly and directly accused me out of court, in order to avoid being held accountable for her defamation.) I asked about Leslie Wexner — who she had also privately accused — and was told that his name was also not mentioned. (Perhaps because her silence about him was being negotiated.) I told the producer that Giuffre had a long history of lying about prominent individuals, including Tipper and Al Gore and Bill Clinton, as well as about other matters, including her age at the time she met Epstein. I also told them about my conversation with Giuffre’s friend Rebecca Boylan, in which she told me about the plan to obtain a billion dollars from Wexner. I told them that these interviews with Giuffre were part of the shakedown plan — that Boylan had told me that Giuffre went on TV in order to send Wexner the following message: See, I have access to the media; this time I didn’t mention you; but next time . . .

The people at ABC said they would look into the matter and I sent them the evidence. I made it clear that I was calling onlyon my own behalf and not on behalf of Epstein. I told the same thing to the NPR reporter when he interviewed me about this episode. But he had an agenda and a story line, and reporting accurately what I told him would undercut his pre-determined narrative. So this is what he falsely reported in a piece entitled “How media fell short on Epstein.”

The NPR reporter described me as Epstein’s lawyer, without disclosing that I explicitly told him that I had called ABC only on my own behalf as someone who had been falsely accused by Giuffre.

Notwithstanding his expressed interest in how I “convinced” ABC not to run the interview, he never mentioned the evidence I provided to ABC and to him proving that Giuffre had a long record of lying. Instead he quoted Julie Brown, a reporter for the Miami Herald, recently telling him, “I [Brown] found [Giuffre] to be very truthful and credible.” But Brown had never told that to ABC, back when they were making their decision. She only told it to the NPR reporter when he was doing his report years later. So her after-the-fact assessment of Giuffre’s alleged credibility was completely irrelevant to ABC’s decision, while my evidence — which I sent to ABC at the time — was highly relevant. 

[...]

So ABC was right and its critics are wrong.

For all of its obsession with the ABC-Epstein story, the MRC has said nothing about Dershowitz's defense of ABC spiking the story. Strange, since the MRC loved Dershowitz for his defenses of President Trump before his ties to Epstein became more prominent following Epstein's arrest on new sex-trafficking charges and his death in prison.

We have no idea who's telling the truth here, but we know that the MRC is doing a disservice to its readers by hiding the fact that this story is complicated, just because it has a narrative to perpetuate.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:09 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, December 5, 2019 2:27 PM EST
CNS Editor's Double Standard On Federal Spending
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com editor in chief Terry Jeffrey spent his Nov. 20 column lecturing members of Congress that the longtime practice of paying a year's salary to the surviving spouse of a congressmember who dies in office is a waste of money:

The members of Congress who have enacted previous bills that included language directing the Treasury to provide the equivalent of a full year's salary to the spouse of a deceased colleague were not giving that person their own money.

They were giving that person your money — or your children's and your grandchildren's money.

And this, of course, is exactly how the Washington establishment has long shown how compassionate it is: It takes money from one group of people and gives it to another.

[...]

Since Congress plans to run annual deficits in every fiscal year for the foreseeable future, this "gift" might alternatively be paid with borrowed money — adding to the $1.1 trillion deficit the Office of Management and Budget had previously estimated the Treasury would run this year.

In that case, the Treasury will issue bonds to secure the cash needed to fund that "gift" and then roll those bonds over and over — unless the federal government actually pays off its debt someday.

Jeffrey, however, is much more cavalier when it comes to spending tax money on causes he approves of -- and he was just two weeks before his lecture to Congress.

As he has before, Jeffrey devoted a Nov. 7 article to touting how building a border wall would take up an infintesimal amount of the federal budget, then complaining that Congress isn't funding it to his satisfaction:

The $5,000,000,000 that President Donald Trump has requested Congress appropriate for border-wall construction along the southwestern border in fiscal 2020 equals just 0.1 percent of the $4,745,573,000,000 that the Office of Management and Budget estimates the federal government will spend in total during the fiscal year.

The fiscal 2020 Department of Homeland Security funding bill that the House Appropriations Committee has approved, however, provides $0 for the wall.

[...]

The $5,000,000,000 President Trump has requested for construction of the border wall in fiscal 2020 equals 0.1 percent of the $4,745,573,000,000 that the OMB estimates the federal government will spend in total in fiscal 2020.

By contrast, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved and sent to the full Senate a DHS funding bill that says: “$5,000,000,000 is for the construction of pedestrian fending.”

Unlike in his lecture over survivors' payments, Jeffrey did not mention the federal deficit at all or fret that the wall would be paid for with borrowed money. It's as if he has different standards based on things he would like to see money spent on.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:44 AM EST
Wednesday, December 4, 2019
MRC Hypocritically Blames 'Sexism' For Criticism of GOP Congresswoman
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center typically mocks and denounces claims of sexism. For instance, a Nov. 4 post by Lindsay Kornick complained that the TV series "For All Mankind" decided to "highlight how sexist NASA members can be and force a feminist angle," then a few days later whined that the show "continues to push its feminist agenda by dragging NASA as male-driven and sexist. What isn’t sexist to TV writers these days?"

What's "sexist" to MRC writers these days is when a female Republican politician gets criticized, and they're not afraid to hypocritically exploit the allegation.

Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik pulled stunts during the impeachment hearings such as violating hearing rules by attempting to question witnesses at a time when she was not permitted to do so then falsely playing the victim after criticism of it -- and the MRC was more than happy to pump up her victimhood. A Nov. 13 post by Curtis Houck complained:

Former Bush official-turned-liberal-turned-ABC News chief political analyst-turned-special correspondent Matthew Dowd found himself in hot water on Wednesday after the first set of impeachment hearings, tweeting a sexist attack against Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY). Why? Well, it turned out he didn’t like her questioning.

And taking a page out of the Hillary Clinton playbook, Dowd’s apologies amounted to him expressing dismay and apologized that people thought that he was being sexist when, in his mind, he wasn’t.

Dowd's remark was not particularly sexist -- he called Stefanik "a perfect example of why just electing someone because they are a woman or a millennial doesn't necessarily get you the leaders we need" --  but it was sexist enough for Houck to exploit, though he would never find a similarly worded tweet aimed at, say, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to be similarly offensive to him.

Houck dropped the S-word again in a Nov. 18 post when he found another Stefanik-related tweet to get offended by:

On Saturday afternoon, Never Trump attorney and liberal cable news darling George Conway leveled sexist attacks at Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) on Twitter for being against impeachment and tussling with fellow media favorite and Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), calling her “lying trash” and sharing a doctored photo of her flipping off a camera.

[...]

Of course, CNN did nothing to rebut or even acknowledge these attacks on-air. Their reason? To go out on a limb, they might have seen nothing wrong with that level of sexism and peddling of fake news.

Houck never explained why Conway calling Stefanik "lying trash" is enherently "sexist," even though she did lie by claiming victimhood after getting called out for violating hearing rules, which was apparently what Conway was pointing out. Nor does Houck disprove Conway's assertion that Stefanik is a liar.

Houck also addressed the doctored photo of Stefanik flipping off a camera that Conway had retweeted, complaining that "former Ted Cruz aide-turned-Never Trumper-turned-liberal CNN political commentator Amanda Carpenter" was "smearing Stefanik by arguing that the fake photos seemed credible to her," asserting that her philosophy was "if it rings true, it is true!"

Funny, that's the exact approach Houck and other MRC writers have taken in the case of a charge the MRC heavily promoted in 2017 that a high school student was raped by an undocumented immigrant. When it turned out that prosecutors dropped the rape charges citing inconsistencies and lack of corroboration, the MRC covered for their lack of due diligence in hyping the bogus story, with Houck trying to distract from the fact that they got it wrong and Nicholas Fondacaro justified the false hype by insisting that "at the time of the original story, there was little evidence that the charges wouldn’t stick."

In other words, in the eyes of  the MRC's immigrant-hating writers, the story rung true, so it was true -- and they never apologized for pushing a bogus story when the truth came out. Which makes Houck's attempt to shame Carpenter more than a little hypocritical.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:42 PM EST
WND's Lively Blames Ukraine Scandal On ... The Gays?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Scott Lively began his Nov. 18 WorldNetDaily column with a bunch of right-wing conspiracy theories, such as President Obama's "apparent interference in the Israeli elections to hurt Bibi Netanyahu (he didn't), George Soros having "orchestrated the Ukraine street riots, sniper murders and violent civil war" (not really) and "Joe Biden's admitted extortion of the Ukrainian president to force the ouster of the chief prosecutor investigating him (yeah, no).

But first and foremost, Lively is a professional gay-hater, and he somehow turns things around to blame President Trump's Ukraine scandal on, yes, the gays, of which he apparently thinks Obama is one:

Then in June 2013, Russia infuriated the elites by passing a national ban on "gay" propaganda to children. This action, applauded by morally conservative Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, represented a direct threat to EU expansion plans, and to the global sexual revolution by which the elites weaken target nations by undermining the marriage-based family foundations of their society.

It also personally offended purported homosexual Barack Obama who had tasked all agencies of the U.S. government in 2011 to prioritize "gay rights" by official Presidential Memorandum.

Thus, from June 2013, U.S. policy turned hostile to Russia, exhibited most clearly at the February 2014 Olympics in Socci, Russia, where many government-backed U.S. and EU leftists staged pro-LGBT protests designed to humiliate and punish the Russians.

Then, in November 2013, Ukraine declined to sign an agreement to integrate more closely with the EU, undoubtedly in part because of the EU's LGBT agenda.

Importantly, the new Obama strategy to make Russia an international pariah centered on Ukraine. (As is true of individuals, nations that oppose the LGBT agenda must be discredited or destroyed.)

Obama knew a successful pro-globalist "regime change" in Ukraine would force Putin to seize control of its key military bases in Crimea and other strategically critical territory (analogous to American interests in Hawaii). That would allow Obama to characterize Putin as the aggressor and Russian policy as "expansionist" when the opposite was true.

Lively's evidence that Obama is a "purported homosexual" is a link to a WND rehash of the never-proven rumor that Obama was involved in "Chicago's homosexual community."

That, as well as the conspiracy theories he indulges in here, is a good indicator of the lack of factual and intellectual rigor that Lively puts into his work.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:20 AM EST
Tuesday, December 3, 2019
NEW ARTICLE: Anonymously Yours, The MRC
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center loves to rant about anonymous sources in the "liberal media" -- while it invokes its own anonymous sources on stories that advance its right-wing agenda. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 4:10 PM EST
CNS' Impeachment Stenography Files Continue
Topic: CNSNews.com
For pro-Trump talking points on impeachment, it's hard to find a more devoted regurgitator of them than CNSNews.com. Craig Bannister made his stenographic contribution in a Nov. 19 article:

While Democrats are now accusing President Donald Trump of bribery, the thirty-five hundred pages of sworn deposition testimony released so far reveal only one mention of the word “bribery” – and it’s used to describe the alleged conduct of former Vice President Joe Biden, Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) said Tuesday.

During Tuesday’s House Intelligence Committee impeachment inquiry, Rep. Ratcliffe noted how Democrats’ charge against Trump has morphed, from “quid pro quo” to “extortion” to, currently, “bribery”:

[...]

Ironically, the only time word “bribery” is used, it’s used to describe the behavior former Vice President Joe Biden, Rep. Ratcliffe explains:

“In fact, in these thirty-five hundred pages of sworn deposition testimony and just these ten transcripts released thus far, the word ‘bribery’ appears, in these thirty-five hundred pages exactly one time.

“And, ironically, it appears, not in the description of President Trump’s alleged conduct – it appears in the description of Vice President Biden’s alleged conduct.”

Weirdly -- or not, considering that he's in slavish-stenography mode and Ratcliffe apparently didn't elaborate or bookmark the reference -- Bannister never tells his readers the full context of that alleged reference to Biden and "bribery." Perhaps because that reference is irrelevant; as an actual news organization reported, it came "in a question one attorney asked about unfounded bribery allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden."

In uncritically repeating Ratcliffe's rant, Bannister is just repeating the apparent mandate from his Media Research Center overlords to frame discussion of "bribery" as merely a question of semantics driven by Democrats, as his MRC co-workers have similarly done. He continued to be Ratcliffe's mouthpiece, asserting that "The American people need to be aware of these facts, because the Democrat-controlled Judiciary Committee is likely to approve articles of impeachment against Pres. Trump based on the charge of bribery – even though not a single witness has characterized it as such – Ratcliffe said."

But as political analysts have detailed, "bribery" is not an inaccurate word for what Trump is accused of doing, and a quid pro quo is an usually a component of bribery. Bannister won't tell you that, of course, because he's not being paid to report the full truth.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:25 AM EST
Monday, December 2, 2019
NewsBusters Blogger Tries To Whitewash Gingrich's Dubious Book Deal
Topic: NewsBusters

In a Nov. 21 NewsBusters post, Clay Waters complained that a New York Times story about former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh being caught in corruption involving shady deals regarding sales of a children's book series she wrote "cynically lumped in non-criminal behavior with what Pugh was convicted of doing." This being NewsBusters, Waters was particularly upset that the Times referenced a shady book deal involving Newt Gingrich:

Finally, reaching back to 1988, [writer Emily] Eakin found a Democratic book controversy, involving powerful House Speaker Jim Wright, who had to resign. Yet unwilling to let a Democrat take the blame alone, she made a false moral equivalency, comparing Wright’s situation with another “unorthodox book arrangement” on behalf of Gingrich, who had made Wright’s reign a target of ethical scrutiny.  Wright was engaged in genuinely sleazy activity, which resulted in 69 counts of ethics violations (he resigned to avoid being indicted), while Gingrich’s deal was above board.

Yet Eakin lazily equated the two stories[.]

"Gingrich’s deal was above board"? Not so much. The Washington Post explained it in 1989:

When Gingrich and his wife, Marianne, wrote the nonfiction book "Window of Opportunity" with David Drake in 1984, they signed a contract to share a standard 10 percent hardcover royalty. But they also took the unusual step of setting up a limited partnership, which raised $105,000 from Republican political activists and business people around the country, to promote sales of the book. Normally, a publisher pays for promotion. The idea, Gingrich said in an interview late Friday, was that a large publicity budget could "force a best seller. I was real naive." The 21 investors in the COS Limited Partnership each put up $5,000 and were to split half of the publisher's profits. But sales of the book were modest, and there were no profits. The publisher, Jim Baen, of Baen Enterprises, lost money on the venture. This created a tax benefit for the partners. Gingrich did not have a share of the partnership, but his wife, Marianne, said in an interview yesterday that she has been paid close to $10,000 by the partnership for her work as general partner. She said she put no money into COS but got a 2 percent share and thus a portion of the tax benefits from the partnership's continuing annual losses.

Another 1989 Post article pointed out that Gingrich's book was "paid for by political supporters and constituents, several of them with an interest in legislation," and that even Gingrich admitted the promotion scheme was "weird."

Just because it was apparently legal doesn't mean it wasn't a bit on the shady side.

UPDATE: A bio of Gingrich reported that he violated House rules by using his congressional office staff to work on the book by editing and sending out drafts of the book -- and it was just one of a number of shady book deals Gingrich has been involved with. Relly, "above board" is a phrase that has not normally been associated with Gingrich.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:42 PM EST
Updated: Monday, December 2, 2019 7:20 PM EST
WND Launches Another Lame Attack on Google
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Google seems to be living rent-free in the brain of WorldNetDaily managing editor David Kupelian. His latest dubious attack on the search giant came in a Nov. 7 letter to readers in which he complained about "Google's "new front in its war to drive WND out of business" -- as if Google feels specifically threatened by anything WND is doing. He then continued:

These leftist censorship tools are making it harder and harder for WND to deliver our content to our current readers and ever more difficult to attract new ones. So you can imagine our concern when:

Google recently announced that it would be using its vast wealth to enter the internet news business and was launching this new initiative by bankrolling 29 websites to compete for WND readers.

[...]

It’s not enough to ban our content or conceal it from potential readers looking through search results.

No. Google is going into the “news” business, starting with 29 websites to spread its far-left propaganda – content I am certain will appear at the top of search results when people look for news on the internet.

[...]

I will venture a guess that Google will not charge for access to its selected “news” websites either. With 90% of the online advertising pie at their disposal, they won’t need to.

They will spread and promote their liberal poison using their wealth, their ability to cripple and sideline genuinely pro-American, non-Swamp news organizations like WND, and do all of these things in the background without the public even knowing they are being lied to and bombarded with godless, biased, leftwing propaganda.

Well, no. As we documented when the Media Research Center fearmongered about this initiative, several of the Google grant recipients are already-existing mainstream media outlets, and almost none involve spreading "far-left propaganda" -- many are infrastructure-related, such asdeveloping databases or helping to move a for-profit newspaper to a nonprofit structure.

At no point in his letter did Kupelian describe any of the projects the Google initiative is funding -- all the better to portray the company as a bogeyman trying to run WND out of business. But Kupelian also wants money; he wrote that "I hope you will take a moment to help WND with a contribution of $25, $35, $50, $100 or more today." 

At least Kupelian is admitting WND's bias, which currently incapacitated founder Joseph Farah never did, stating that WND caters to "conservative, pro-American readers like you."


Posted by Terry K. at 1:59 AM EST

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