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Thursday, January 2, 2020
CNS Wants You To Believe That 'Tabloid Media' -- Not Conservatives -- Pushed Hillary-Is-Lesbian Smears
Topic: CNSNews.com

Writing in a Dec. 5 article about an interview Hillary Clinton did with Howard Stern in which she "denied that she had ever had a lesbian affair and stressed that she really likes men," CNSNews.com managing editor Michael W. Chapman stated that "Over the years there have been several unfounded claims, mostly in the tabloid media, that Hillary Clinton is a homosexual."

Well, that's not exactly true: those claims were largely pushed by Chapman's fellow conservatives.

Conservative Clinton-haters -- not the tabloids -- have pushed this never-substantiated rumor for as long as Hillary has been in the national public eye. Former Bill Clinton campaign aide turned conservative Clinton-hater Dick Morris has long promoted the idea that Hillary is a closet lesbian, as has Clinton-hating conservative author Edward Klein. Roger Stone, Larry Klayman and Matt Drudge have pushed it. As recently as 2013, radio host and Fox News contributor Sandy Rios -- who signed a letter pushed by CNS' owner, the Media Research Center, alleging that Facebook was censoring conservative content --  argued that Clinton's expressed support for same-sex marriage hinted at her sexual identity. Conservative websites were pushing these rumors during the 2016 presidential campaign.

These people are not working for the tabloids; they made their money in the conservative movement.

As Raw Story explained, right-wingers insist on portraying Hillary as a secret lesbian because she is a powerful woman who doesn't conform to the conservative stereotype of a female, despite the fact that she "has been married to the same man for her entire adult life while raising a successful daughter."

This is not an new story, by the way; Hillary has been denying this since at least 2007. Where was CNS' story on that then?

There is more reporting on this issue Chapman could have done, but didn't. He probably thinks Hillary is a secret lesbian too.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:23 AM EST
Wednesday, January 1, 2020
MRC Promotes Jordan Peterson's So-Called 'Free Speech' Website (Where The MRC Has Its Own Space)
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center -- as part of its failed narrative that conservatives are being uniquely discriminated against on social media -- spent 2019 touting right-wing motivational speaker Jordan Peterson's new social media platform. Alexander Hall -- who has previously touted Peterson as "the famous academic who has made a career out of intellectually sparring with political-correctness" -- gushed in June:

An upcoming free speech platform promises to provide users the best features of other social media, but without the censorship.

The subscription based “anti-censorship” platform “Thinkspot” is being created by popular psychologist Dr. Jordan B. Peterson. It’s being marketed as a free speech alternative to payment processors like Patreon in that it will “monetize creators” and also provide a social media alternative to platforms like Facebook and YouTube. 

Peterson discussed Thinkspot with podcaster Joe Rogan on June 9, emphasizing a radically pro-free speech Terms of Service. He described freedom as the “central” aspect saying, “once you're on our platform we won't take you down unless we’re ordered to by a US court of law.”

That will be a profound contrast to platforms that ban users for “misgendering” people who identify as trans, or for tweeting “learn to code” at fired journalists.

When October rolled around, Hall breathlessly declared: "BREAKING: Beta Testing for Jordan Peterson’s Free Speech Platform Thinkspot Goes Live!" He did, however, disclose that the MRC has a vested interest in the project:

Dr Jordan B Peterson’s meteoric rise in popularity has started intense intellectual conversations on topics from free speech to gender politics. Now, after seeing free speech threatened by Big Tech censorship, he worked with experts to create his own platform for people to have just those kinds of discussions.

MRC Techwatch, which covered the creation of this new platform, was selected as one of the first users.

One has to wonder if Hall's earlier piece, plus his predeliction to grant Peterson the "Dr." honorific and his middle initial, prompted Peterson to give the MRC that early access. Hall wasn't done gushing, though:

The main page of the website shows a menu of intellectual commentators to follow, podcasts to listen to, and thought-provoking articles to read. 

One of the features shown is that users can purchase access to dozens of e-Books ranging from Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life to the Communist Manifesto or Little Women, and be able to converse with other users about the ideas in various passages. Users can also annotate podcasts, adding their comments to specific times in the podcast.

Hall did concede that ThinkSpot isn't as "free speech" friendly as he portrayed, admitting that the site "may remove any content or comments from contributors or users at any time if we deem the content is in violation of law or otherwise violates these terms."

Hall hasn't said anything about ThinkSpot since then -- perhaps because the reality of Peterson's website is not nearly as rosy as he portrayed.

Right Wing Watch delved into ThinkSpot and declared it "an absolute mess that is ripe for disaster" -- and, essentially, a money-making scheme for Peterson. Users are expected to pay $30 a year for basic content, but must pay $120 a year to access "exclusive" content from Peterson. Those e-books Hall touted are only functional within ThinkSpot, limiting their usefulness. Gizmodo similarly sees ThinkSpot as a Peterson cash grab.

You're not going to hear about any of that from Hall and the MRC, though -- they have a vested interest in making sure Peterson doesn't come off as a grifter.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:44 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, January 1, 2020 7:11 PM EST
WND's Cashill Tries To Keep Seth Rich Conspiracy Theory Alive
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Jack Cashill just can't quit Seth Rich conspiracy theories, it seems.

Cashill started off his Dec. 18 WorldNetDaily column by complaining that federal judge Emmet Sullivan "forcefully rejected the court filings of attorney Sidney Powell in her attempt to have the guilty plea of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn thrown out" -- Cashill didn't explain that Flynn and Powell were attempting to relitigate a case in which Flynn had already pleaded guilty to lying to federal invesigators -- and then claimed that Sullivan "Sullivan has a history of suppressing unwanted information" regarding Seth Rich. Invoking fellow right-wing conspiracy theorist Matt Couch, Cashill asserted:

Couch and his team at America First Investigations were sued, as Couch writes, "for seeking the truth in the unsolved murder of Seth Conrad Rich."

According to Couch, it was Sullivan who signed the sealed order preventing him and his team from discussing the fruits of their investigation.

In fact, Couch is being sued not for "seeking the truth" but for defamation by Aaron Rich, brother of Seth Rich, after repeatedly promoting the apparently false claim that Aaron and Seth Rich were paid by Wikileaks for their purported involvement in leaking Democratic mails. The lawsuit has already resulted in the Washington Times retracting a column it published pushing the claim, written by right-wing retired Navy Adm. James Lyons.

Like a good conspiracy theorist, Cashill dismissed the fact-based claim that it was Russian hackers who got into the DNC servers and leaked the email contents:

If the Russians did play a part – highly unlikely – the media did not want to know and neither apparently did Judge Sullivan. He put information found in the discovery phase of the lawsuit under a sealed order.

"That means that whatever we find in our discovery as a defense (bank records, emails, eBay records, PayPal records, phone records, autopsy) and things we are seeking in our investigations can never be talked about publicly," writes Couch.

In fact, discovery has not been sealed. As a motion filed by Aaron Rich's attorney states:

Defendant Couch states in his blog post, "Something that we haven’t talked a lot about is the fact that anything found in the discovery phase (discovery goes both ways, and we have nothing to hide) has been sneakily put under a sealed order." ... Of course, no judge has ordered that discovery in this case be sealed — this Court has entered the protective order that all parties (including Defendant Couch) requested it enter and to which all parties (including Defendant Couch) stipulated. Dkt. 22; Dkt. 29. The only order bearing Judge Sullivan’s signature in this case, Dkt. 2, did not seal discovery but rather exempted Mr. Rich from the obligation of listing his address in the Complaint, as is evident from the publicly filed Complaint that redacts solely Mr. Rich’s address, Dkt. 3.

It appears that Couch is lying about discovery being sealed, and Cashill simply played along. That doesn't exactly help WND's quest for credibility.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:11 AM EST
Tuesday, December 31, 2019
VULGAR: MRC's Houck Calls CNN's Avlon A 'Prick' For Ciriticizing Trump
Topic: Media Research Center

For all of its lecturing about non-right-wing media being insufficiently "family friendly" (for, among other things, acknowledging that LGBT people exist), the Media Research Center is no stranger to offensive vulgarity. Take, for example, a Dec. 17 post by Curtis Houck that currently carries the headline "Smug: CNN’s Avlon Says Trump Letter Will Cause Questions About His ‘Mental State’."

But as the item's URL makes clear, the word "smug" wasn't originally in that headline; it replaced the word "prick"  -- which, as we all know, is a vulgarity to describe the penis.

While the headline on NewsBusters was changed, the reposting of Houck's item at MRCTV retains "prick." 

The post itself offers no clue as to why Houck would desperately invoke such a tired vulgarity -- or why he apparently thought better of it and tried to change it -- but he was in full lecture mode, hurling every condescending descriptor he could think of at Avlon for daring to point out the unhinged nature of President Trump's letter to Nancy Pelosi:

Who died and made CNN senior political analyst/supercilious wingnut John Avlon the bearer of what’s right, wrong, partisan, and non-partisan? Well, apparently his smug, ruling class attitude and lectures to flyover country was on-brand for CNN and boss Jeffrey Zucker. 

On Tuesday afternoon’s CNN Newsroom, Avlon proclaimed that the President’s “embarrassing” letter responding to his impending impeachment would cause Republican Senators to raise questions about his “mental state.” Ah, so Avlon decided to play psychiatrist!

[...]

And for good measure, Avlon reveled in the claim by liberal media-pleasing Republicans Jeff Flake and Mike Murphy that between 30 or 35 Republicans would vote to impeach Trump if the process were done in secret. So, that shows you who Avlon thinks was an authoritative voice on the “right.”

He also lectured Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as disgraceful for refusing to hear more witnesses and information at the Senate trial, but thought differently in 1998. Avlon alluded to Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s change from 1998 and 1999, but when you’re a hack like Avlon, liberal flips are minor inconveniences.

It's so entertaining when conervative activists like Houck attack liberals  for having a "smug, ruling class attitude" -- as if his job at a prominent Washington political organization doesn't make him part of a certain "ruling class" or hasn't given him a attitude so smug that he feels entitled to hurl vulgar insults at those with whom he disagrees.

Since he is managing editor of NewsBusters, Houck presumably plays a role in setting the website's tone, so his superiors such as Brenet Bozell and Tim Graham apparently have no problem with the increasingly offensive direction that tone is taking. After all, he was managing editor for at least part of the time that Tom Blumer was inserting white nationalist links into his NewsBusters posts, and it was only when others caught the links that they were deleted and Blumer was fired -- with no apparent discipline handed out to anyone at the MRC who should have caught those offensive links beforehand and saved the organization from embarassment.

Houck's -- and the MRC's -- hatred and intolerance for media people who are not unquestionigly pro-Trump is becoming less veiled and more vicious. So pardon us if we think their concerns about "family-friendly" media ring more than a little hollow.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:26 PM EST
CNS Parrots Cruz's Pushing of Ukraine Conspiracy Theories
Topic: CNSNews.com

Susan Jones was in full stenography mode in a Dec. 9 CNSNews.com article:

Chuck Todd, host of NBC's "Meet the Press," almost laughed at Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) when Cruz told him he believes Ukraine did try to influence the 2016 election.

Cruz said the liberal media is complicit in suggesting that only Russia interfered.

After Cruz cited how "The sitting ambassador from Ukraine wrote an op-ed blasting Donald Trump during the election season" was evidence that "Ukraine blatantly interfered in our election." Jones added:

Todd indicated that Ukraine ambassador was upset about Trump's comments about Ukraine and Crimea.

"So," Cruz told Todd, "You're saying they had disagreements with Donald Trump and they wanted Hillary Clinton to get elected."

Todd responded that an op-ed by the Ukrainian ambassador is nothing compared with what the Russians did.

[...]

Todd said Russia is trying to use the story of Ukraine interference to deflect attention from its own activities:

Because Jones was so in the stenography zone, she failed to explain further what  "Trump's comments about Ukraine and Crimea" or "what the Russians did."

According to the op-ed by Ukrainian ambassador to the U.S. Valeriy Chaly cited by Cruz -- the only evidence he cited to back up his claim that Ukraine "blatantly interfered" in the election -- Trump was suggesting he might give Russia a pass for its seizure of Ukranian land in Crimea. As Todd accurately pointed out (but Jones failed to give him credit for), an op-ed is not remotely equivalent to the Russian campaign of systematic interference in the election such as hacking Democratic National Committee servers, which ultimately served to get Trump elected.

Jones also failed to note that Todd was similarly correct in pointing out that Cruz insisting that there's no difference between Russian election interference and Ukrainian interference serves Russia's interests. Former White House Russia adviser Fiona Hill testified during the impeachment hearings that this "is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services."

Despite CNS' mission statement to "fairly present all legitimate sides of a story," it has little interest in doing so, and that's certainly not Jones did here.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:56 AM EST
Monday, December 30, 2019
AIM Still Pretending Trump Isn't A Liar
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Trump defender Brian McNicoll complained in a Dec. 11 Accuracy in Media post:

Even as polls show Americans have not bought into Democrats’ attempts to impeach President Donald Trump and the Department of Justice’s Inspector General’s report confirms most, if not all, of Republicans’ worst suspicions about the conduct of the FBI, CNN pushed forward Wednesday with a story that asserted Trump is escaping punishment for his misdeeds through compulsive lying.

“Donald Trump is looking to survive impeachment the same way he built his powerful presidency – by assaulting facts and seeking to expand the limitations of the office he is accused of abusing,” Stephen Collinson wrote in a story headlined, “Trump assaults facts to survive impeachment.”

[...]

Collinson then quoted Garry Kasparov, the Russian former world chess champion and Trump critic, comparing Trump to Putin. “’I always call Putin merchant of doubt,’” Collinson quoted Kasparov saying. “’But now seeing what’s happening in America. It’s when just Republicans managed to turn the whole political process in this alternative reality. It’s like a post-truth world.’”

Trump started lying from the moment he took office, Collinson said, referring to the controversy over the size of his inaugural crowd and citing the Washington Post’s largely debunked data base of “false and misleading claims” by the president, which now totals more than 13,400.

“Trump’s incessant torrent of attacks – on Twitter and on camera, amplified by conservative media outlets – has helped to insulate him against the consequences of his actions,” Collinson wrote, not noting that it was not conservative outlets who cleared him of collusion and obstruction of justice in the Mueller probe, but Hillary Clinton-donor lawyers who spent $40 million, interviewed 500 witnesses and came away with nothing.

McNicoll's post is based on a false premise. At no point did Collinson accuse Trump of "compulsive lying" -- the words "lie" or "lying" appear nowhere in his CNN piece. One can assume Trump is deliberately spreading false and misleading claims, but intent is very hard to prove, so it can only be accurately stated that Trump is making false and misleading claims.

Further, McNicoll's claim that the Post's list of false or misleading Trump claims is "largely debunked" links to  a piece he wrote in June -- which, as we pointed out at the time, features lame defenses of Trump's bogus claims (such as insisting that whole or current dollars is a "credible metric" when comparing spending from two disparate time periods) and engaging in Trump-style cherry-picking.

And Mueller hardly "came away with nothing" as a result of his investigation; there was plenty of evidence that Trump obstructed justice and some evidence regarding a conspiracy to collaborate with Russians, though Department of Justice policy taht presidents cannot be charged with a crime while in office kept Mueller from determining whether a crime was committed.

It seems McNicoll is still in denial that Trump is a "compulsive liar."


Posted by Terry K. at 7:58 PM EST
MRC 'Reviewer' Hates 'High School Musical' Series For Having Gay Characters
Topic: Media Research Center

We've noted that the Media Research Center has flagged streaming channel Disney+'s extremely meta "High School Musical" series -- a mockumentary about a high school students staging "High School Musical," a musical about high school students staging a musical -- for committing the offense of having too many apparently gay characters (which is to say, any at all). Lindsay Kornick huffed at the time, "And this wouldn’t be a high school theater department without the effeminate male co-star. This show actually has two."

Well, Kornick has been made by the MRC to hate-watch the show, and true to form, she's finding any and all gay-related stuff positively icky. In a Nov. 29 post, she whined that "the show appears to be leaning more to the left than a show aimed for kids should be. Case in point, the latest episode literally has a character wearing a Pride shirt." Yes, Kornick was triggered by a T-shirt.

She went on to complain that because one of the show's characters has two moms, "there’s practically an obligation to promote Gay Pride, even on a show for kids," adding: "I know promoting the LGBT agenda is becoming unfortunately popular for children’s programming, but that doesn’t make these moments any less disappointing. And coming from famously family-friendly Disney, it’s even worse." Or perhaps it's because Disney wants to include all families in its quest to be "famously family-friendly."

Kornick's gay-bashing continued in a Dec. 9 post, where she ranted that the show "seems to be continuing its sad decline into liberal propaganda" as it "piles on its progressive image with the franchise’s first gay romance." She then attacked one of the actors taking part in it for cheering the subplot as a sign of progress in Hollywood, sneering, "That assumes that people beyond Hollywood degenerates are clamoring for kids to talk about sexual orientation and that no show between 2006 to 2019 ever showed that. Both of those things sadly couldn’t be more wrong."

So including gay-related material in a TV show makes one a "Hollywood degenerate"? Apparently so, because Kornick hammers that point further in her conclusion: "Hollywood will stop at nothing to normalize any degeneracy, and it looks like Disney+ is just another platform to do it."

Note to Kornick: If you think all non-heterosexuals are "degenerates" and you're capable of doing nothing beyond denigrating them, maybe you have no business pretending to objectively "review" a TV show that has such characters in it.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 PM EST
Updated: Monday, December 30, 2019 1:23 PM EST
WND Laments That Hallmark Channel Will Stop Pretending That Gays Don't Exist
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Like the Media Research Center, the gay-haters at WorldNetDaily didn't take the Hallmark Channel's decision to reverse a right-wing-demanded withdrawal of a commercial featuring a same-sex couple very well -- or, for that matter, the mere idea that the channel might make Christmas movies that including same-sex couples.

In a Dec. 6 article, Stephen Kokx of the Western Journal -- which the financially strapped WND seems to be slowly subsumed into --  ranted that "News that the Hallmark Channel is looking to add LGBT-friendly movies to its lineup is yet another stab in the back for conservative Christians, many of whom are still reeling from Chick-fil-A’s recent betrayal of traditional family values," adding, "The channel's reputation for airing wholesome, feel-good stories is widely known and greatly appreciated by millions of Americans who detest the radical nature of the LGBT movement's demands." He went on to huff:

The fact that one of the last remaining enclaves of family-friendly entertainment is about to cave to the increasingly coercive LGBT army shouldn’t be surprising.

There are very few courageous defenders of God’s truths left in the entertainment industry.

Moreover, Christians across the country knew all along that liberal activists were lying when they claimed back in the mid-2000s that gay "marriage" wouldn't affect us in any way.

We knew it would just be a matter of time till LGBT activists pressured networks like the Hallmark Channel to promote their lifestyle.

Apparently LGBT folks don't have families in Kokx's bigoted world; the channel is simply trying to include all families in its definition of "family-friendly."

Todd Starnes used his Dec. 16 column to freak out over the channel's commercial reversal, declaring that it would"now broadcast television commercials that feature kissing lesbians." He had his own anti-gay rant to indulge in:

Hallmark's decision came just hours after Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg blasted the network's decision to pull the lesbian-friendly ads.

"Families are built on love – no matter what they look like," Buttigieg, the first openly gay presidential candidate, tweeted Sunday. "Being 'family friendly' means honoring love, not censoring difference."

In other words, "wholesome" Mayor Pete believes the reason for the season is forcing children to watch lesbians making out on the Hallmark Channel.

[...]

The reality is the sex and gender revolutionaries want to indoctrinate your children – whether they are watching the Disney Channel or the Hallmark Channel.

Starnes didn't explain why he's not similarly offended when heterosexual couples make out on the channel, or why that's not "indoctrination."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:33 AM EST
Sunday, December 29, 2019
MRC Is Appalled At The Idea of Non-Heterosexuality In 'Star Wars'
Topic: Media Research Center

Just as it has meltdowns about pretty much any media portrayal of anything not heterosexual, the Media Research Center has been melting down over the idea that there be non-heterosexual characters in the "Star Wars" universe. Gabriel Hays kicked off the meltdown when it was announced in October:

The only surprising thing about Disney putting an alien gay couple in a Star Wars series is that it took this long. Now LGBTQers can finally dry their eyes because the galaxy far far away is incorporating otherworldly sexualities into the mix.

Because according to Disney, kids need to know that even indiscernable, non-human biological entities have same sex relationships too.

Indiewire reported that Disney Channel’s Star Wars Resistance debuted the beloved sci-fi universe’s first ever gay couple made up of aliens Orka and Flix. Though many might claim, “So what? It’s a kids’ show,” there are plenty of grown men who will tell you that anything introduced to the franchise in any capacity becomes canon. Perhaps just in time to get audiences primed for a gay couple in the final movie this Christmas?

I mean what else would you expect from Disney’s social conditioning?

[...]

So this isn’t only about gay sex, but about inter-sepcies sex too? And to think, If we’re confused, how are the kids going to react to it? Granted you might accuse us of being the kinds of people who would complain that Donkey and Dragon got together in Shrek but that was obviously a joke. The difference here is that people at Indiewire see this as a milestone for representation and that’s disturbing.

On Dec. 4, Hays took another shot at melting down, complaining that "director J.J. Abrams and Disney can finally claim that the LGBTQ representation is strong with this one" and lamenting that some fans were shipping the two male leads in the current film trilogy. He went on to sneer, "I miss the days when the biggest Star Wars controversy was whether Hans shot first."

Hays went on to whine about the actual non-heterosexual scene in the new Star Wars film, under the mocking headline "Two Lesbians Walk Into a 'Star Wars' Bar":

At this point, there really is only one major unresolved plot point remaining in the endless Star Wars saga: Where are the gay space aliens?

Surely a story that spans galaxies and light years and campy dive cantinas must have run in to some, er, marginalized sexualities. Surely space pirates must have accidentally raided a “Wookie Cruise.”

The good news — for progressives that is — is that there is a gay scene stitched in with all the lasers, quips and intergalactic turmoil. The bad news is that it’s clearly just a cheap throwaway compared to what LGBTQ fans were hoping for.

Hays added that Abrams "can’t please everyone, not the diehard gays, nor the normal folks who don’t want to see it." Actually, it's the vicious homophobia from people like Hays that's not "normal."

Hays is so homophobic that he even devoted a Dec. 2 post to mocking "Star Wars" actor Billy Dee Williams for allegedly declaring himself to be "gender-fluid," huffing: "But seriously, you can still get in touch with your feelings without having to manifest a gay split personality. Real men throughout history wore capes and had canes and they were still secure in their masculinity."

It turned out that wasn't true, however. An editor's note appended to the post states that "Billy Dee Williams has since clarified that his statements on gender were not about a specific sexual orientation, but rather a figure of speech alluding to him getting in touch with his feminine side. Multiple sources which this post was based on incorrectly assumed that Billy Dee Williams had come out as 'gender-fluid'."

right-wing film critic Christian Toto also weighed in with a Dec. 14 post portraying the "LGBTQ messaging" in the new film as something that will purportedly "alienate, mock or downright dismiss right-leaning fans," adding: "The vast majority of conservatives have no issue with people in that demographic. What they object to, though, is pushing social agendas in their beloved stories."

Oh, Mr. Hays has amply demonstrated that he very much has issues with LGBT people, which Toto bizarrely dismisses as a "demographic."


Posted by Terry K. at 11:03 AM EST
Terry Jeffrey Trump Deficit Blame Avoidance Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com editor in chief has long had a problem calling out his favorite president for his role in increasing federal deficits. That hasn't changed in his most recent round of budget-related articles. He complained in a Nov. 27 article:

The federal debt has increased by $1,303,466.578.471.45 since last Thanksgiving, according to data released by the U.S. Treasury.

That is the largest Thanksgiving-to-Thanksgiving increase in the debt in nine years. The last time the debt increased more from Thanksgiving to Thanksgiving was in 2010, when it increased by $1,785,995,360,978.10.

It also equals approximately $10,137.48 per household in the United States.

Jeffrey struck a similar tone in a Dec. 11 article:

The federal government collected record total tax revenues of $470,706,000,000 in October and November, the first two months of fiscal 2020, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released today.

Despite collecting that record amount in taxes, however, the federal government still ran a deficit of $343,360,000,000 during October and November because it spent $814,012,000,000 in those two months.

That was the second-highest federal spending in the October-November period in the history of the United States. The only time the federal government spent more in the first two months of the fiscal year was in fiscal 2009 (October and November of 2008), when Congress enacted the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to bailout insolvent banks.

As is Jeffrey's pattern on these articles, the words "Trump" or "Republican" does not appear, and they are accompanied by photos that feature Democrats. The Nov. 27 article features the easily recognizable Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer with two unnamed people who do not look familiar; the Dec. 11 article features a picture of Pelosi with President Trump, whose face is not visible.

Weirdly, despite being such a budget hawk, Jeffrey has yet to write about the $1.4 trillion spending bill passed by not only a Democratic House but a Republican Senate and signed by Trump on Dec. 20.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:46 AM EST
Saturday, December 28, 2019
MRC Also Feels Sadness That Chick-Fil-A Stopped Hating Gays Like The MRC Does
Topic: Media Research Center

So invested was the Media Research Center in Chick-fil-A supporting anti-gay causes that when a newspaper noted that Kanye West gave a shout-out to the "notoriously anti-LGBTQ" fast food chain in his new Christian album, Alexa Moutevelis enthusiastically wrote, "Pardon me as I listen to Kanye’s new album while picking up Chick-fil-A on my way to the next pro-life rally."

But Chick-fil-A has changed its charitable giving strategy to de-emphasize anti-gay activism, the MRC -- along with WorldNetDaily and MRC "news" division CNSNews.com -- is having a major sad. Gabriel Hays was feeling particularly betrayed after all that conservatives have done to support the chain's gay-hating tendencies:

The fact that once-proud Christian establishment Chick-fil-A has just been scared off from donating to its Christian allies by the leftist mob feels like a betrayal and the end of an era. For the past seven years, the chain has championed conservative Christians and their values and now, by ditching their donations to Christian charities to appease a vocal 4 percent of the population, it’s clear they care more about their PC image than the Christians who stuck by them through thick and thin.

[...]

Conservatives and Christians immediately went to Chick-fil-A’s defense, slamming the media’s glaring double standards. Media Research Center’s Founder and President Brent Bozell led a conservative coalition for the Christian company, including other conservative groups like Family Research Council, the Alliance Defending Freedom, and the Susan B. Anthony List, among others. In a press release, Bozell claimed, “The media smeared anyone who lined up for a chicken sandwich as an anti-gay bigot instead of a proud Christian or free speech patriot.”

[...]

It’s clear that Chick-fil-A has flipped on what appeared to be rock-solid convictions and abandoned many of the conservatives who have bent over backward to protect it. The saddest aspect is that the chain is selling out the values of at least 35 percent of the population (conservative Americans) to appease the Christian-hating anger of a much smaller 4 percent (LGBT Americans) who, as we’ve seen, will never be satisfied. 

Just because hating gays is popular among Christian conservatives doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. Hays doesn't explain why people must do the allegedly popular thing even if it's wrong.

Two days later, Hays returned to rage that the Salvation Army was among the groups that Chick-fil-A would no longer fund, even though it "discriminates against no one" (though it has been linked to anti-gay sentiments): "The fact that Chick-fil-A’s move was clearly a response to its leftist media detractors — who have smeared it for giving to 'anti-LGBTQ' groups — also bolstered the Salvation Army’s image as a discriminatory group rather than a company that gives aid to all because of its overtly Christian message." But if the Salvation Army truly doesn't discriminate against gays, why is Hays defending it? If hating gays is as fundamental to Christianity as Hays insists, he should be angry with the group for its delcared non-discrimination policy, right?

Still, Hays lamented: "Sadly, Chick-fil-A’s been made to back away from its Christian image for the sake of thriving in the lefty dominated corporate world. And, you know, Chick-fil-A can sink its own ship if it wants, but the fact that it’s hanging the Salvation Army out to dry is a shame and pretty much proof that its Christian-ness isn’t such a priority anymore."

Matt Philbin weighed in as well on a side issue:

Conservatives were surprised when it was announced in November that Chick-fil-A was ending its philanthropic partnerships with the Salvation Army, The Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Paul Anderson Youth home, three organization repeatedly targeted by the left as being “anti-LGBT.” But the news that the chain gives to (among other objectionable groups) the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is simply stunning.

Philbin then invoked the bogeyman of Floyd Corkin's failed shooting attack on the Family Research Council to attack the SPLC, whom Philbin blames for the incident because Corkins claimed to have found the FRC on a list of hate groups on the SPLC's website: "SPLC is a progressive direct mail giant -- a lefty hate group that makes money screaming “Hate Group” at anyone to the right of People for the American Way. It trades in slander and fear, and in the case of FRC, it nearly got people killed."

But the basis for Philbin's post isn't true: It turns out that the SPLC donation was made by a volunteer for the company's charitable foundation, not by the foundation itself. No correction has been made to Philbin's post.

Hays, meanwhile, wasn't don't ranting, compelled to bring up Chick-fil-A in  posts on other subjects. On Dec. 18, he huffed that the situation involving the Hallmark Channel's botched ban of a commercial featuring a same-sex couple "sounds like every ransom note sent to Chick-fil-A by LGBTQ groups before the chicken restaurant caved," adding that the chain was "forced to capitulate" to LGBT advocacy groups. On Dec. 20, he whined that advocacy group GLAAD "is just up to its ridiculous playground bullying. With the blessing of the media, it gets to strut around and bully folks like Hallmark and Chick-fil-A into doing its bidding, while crying about victimization."

Hays seems to be feeling particularly victimized that his safe space where he can bash and mock gays with impunity is being infringed upon.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:19 AM EST
Mychal Massie Rant Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It's time for all Americans and specifically blacks to ask: What have they got to lose in supporting President Trump? It's time for all Americans and specifically blacks to ask: Just what have Democrats done for them? President Trump has done the single-most important thing any American could ask of the president. He has created an economic environment the likes of which has never been seen, and specifically never been seen or enjoyed by blacks.

President Trump has restored dignity to working-class America, especially the black working class. His policies have resulted and are resulting in more jobs and higher-paying jobs. Democrats and President Obama, whom blacks were bullied and guilted into supporting, lied to America and specifically to blacks who felt they had to support him because of his skin color.

Unemployment for blacks and women were at historic highs under Obama. Under President Trump, in three years they are the lowest in history.

Obama never promised blacks and women dignity. He promised sodomite bathrooms and sex-change operations. Democrats vying for the nomination in 2020 are promising to give trillions of dollars in free benefits to illegal aliens and free abortions for black women.

-- Mychal Massie, Dec. 9 WorldNetDaily column


Posted by Terry K. at 2:19 AM EST
Friday, December 27, 2019
MRC Ignores Context To Push Pro-Trump 'No Quid Pro Quo' Talking Point
Topic: Media Research Center

As we know, the Media Research Center is not really about its stated purpose of trying to "create a media culture in America where truth and liberty flourish" -- it's all about serving as an adjunct to the Trump presidency and re-election campaign (possibly violating its nonprofit tax status in the process). As a result, the MRC is in no small part pro-Trump and pro-Republican talking points masquerading as "media research."

A good example of this is a Dec. 2 post by Nicholas Fondacaro:

In a recent interview with TIME magazine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he never approached conversations with President Trump “from the position of a quid pro quo.” It was a declaration that poked a major hole in the left’s impeachment narrative, but the liberal broadcast networks would have none of it during their Monday evening newscasts. Two of them downplayed the comments and one just flat out refused to report them.

“Trump's strategy all along: deny he's done anything wrong and trash the process. Today, he argued the president of Ukraine backs him up,” scoffed ABC senior national correspondent Terry Moran on World News Tonight.

[...]

There was a similar song and dance on CBS Evening News with chief congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes. After another soundbite of Trump telling people to check out what Zelensky said, Cordes downplayed the quid pro quo balloon being popped:

Fondacaro pushed this same pro-Trump talking point in another post the same day:

Just as the liberal broadcast networks did Monday evening, CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta batted away an interview Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky did with TIME magazine, in which he stated he did not approach his conversation with President Trump “from the position of a quid pro quo.” Despite that fact, Acosta treated the development as some kind of unimportant statement Trump was “seizing on.”

“The President will be spending the week meeting with NATO leaders here in London. But he’s also latching onto comments made this week by the leader of Ukraine saying, that those comments really exonerate him in this impeachment process. But that's not really the case,” Acosta scoffed as he began his report.

For Fondacaro to embrace this pro-Trump narrative, however, he must focus only on that statement and deny the importance of other things Zelensky said in the Time interview. Here's the full statement from which Fondacaro (and Trump) cherry-picked that line:

Look, I never talked to the president from the position of a quid pro quo. That’s not my thing. … I don’t want us to look like beggars. But you have to understand. We’re at war. If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us. I think that’s just about fairness. It’s not about a quid pro quo. It just goes without saying.

It seems clear that Zelensky was not denying a quid pro quo was made; rather, he said that he would never have accepted one and was upset that Trump was "blocking" aid to Ukraine.

Fondacaro did note Zelensky's "you can’t go blocking anything for us" statement -- he simply dismissed the fact that it undermined the "quid pro quo" statement. In the first post, Fondacaro huffed that an ABC reporter "interrupted a soundbite of Trump explaining what Zelensky said to contradict the President" in bringing up the "blocking" statement and that a CBS reporter also bringing it up meant that she "downplayed the quid pro quo balloon being popped." In the latter post, Fondacaro noted that "Acosta read from Zelensky’s statement" including the "blocking" remark while failing to acknowledge its importance.

Fondacaro also complained that "the liberal media and left will downplay, deflect, and ignore Zelensky’s comments" -- even though he was ignoring and downplaying critical context showing that Zelensky was not saying what he and Trump wanted him to say.

Ignoring inconvenient facts to forward a partisan political narrative isn't "media research" -- it's the work of a political campaign. Which makes Fondacaro a political activist, not a "news analyst."


Posted by Terry K. at 1:28 PM EST
CNS Dutifully Repeats GOP Senator's Temper Tantrum on Impeachment
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com is such a loyal pro-Trump, pro-Republican talking points stenographer on impeachment that it treated a Republican's senseless tantrum seriously. Susan Jones (of course) wrote in a Dec. 13 article:

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler postponed a planned impeachment vote late Thursday night, infuriating Republicans who were not consulted about the schedule change, and prompting ranking member Doug Collins to say, "This committee is more concerned about getting on TV in the morning than it was finishing its job tonight and letting the members go home."

A short time later, Collins spoke to reporters:

"I  have just witnessed just the most bush-league stunt I've ever witnessed in my professional life," Collins said after Nadler abruptly ended the 14-hour impeachment debate late Thursday night, telling the committee to return at 10 a.m. on this Friday the 13th to vote.

"But in the midst of impeachment, the chairman just ambushed the entire committee, did not have any consultation with the ranking member and tell him we're going to have votes at 10:00 a.m. in the morning?" Collins said.

[...]

Collins said the American people "know it's all about these TV screens. It's all about getting at a president because they want the prime time hit.

“This is Speaker Pelosi and Adam Schiff and the others directing this committee -- I don't have a chairman anymore. I guess I just need to go straight to Ms. Pelosi and say, what TV hit does this committee need to do? Because this committee has lost all relevance. I'll see y'all tomorrow.”

Jones made no mention of the fact that Collins' tantrum was nonsensical because it has long been a Republican talking point that the impeachment process was moving too quickly. It was also hypocritical because Republicans were the ones who prolonged the hearing by offering numerous amendments. Collins' insistence that Democrats wanted to delay the vote for a "prime time hit" on television also fails the smell test since 10 a.m. is not TV "prime time."

One can also argue that delaying the vote short-circuited another possible GOP attack line over the timing of the vote; had it taken place after 11 p.m., Republicans could have argued that the lateness of the vote was more evidence the process was being rushed or being done as a quiet midnight vote designed to obscure the process from Americans.

Jones did quote Nadler saying that he wanted "members on both sides of the aisle to think about what’s happened over these last three days and to search their consciences before we have our final votes," but she did not point out that nothing Collins said was in response to Nadler's statement.

You'd think that such blatant stenography would eventually get embarrassing to Jones and CNS. Apparently not.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:36 AM EST
Thursday, December 26, 2019
MRC's Hypocritical Attacks On Bloomberg News
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is needlessly inserting itself into the Democratic presidential campaign in a way that seems to push against its nonprofit tax designation that prohibits most partisan political activity.

The MRC has been incensed by Bloomberg News' decision not to investigate Michael Bloomberg, its owner and newly minted Democratic presidential candidate, or other Democratic candidates in order ot avoid a conflict of interest -- but will continue to report critically on President Trump. Jjoseph Vazquez complained that this comes "at the expense of the credibility" of Bloomberg News -- as if he or anyone else at the MRC cares about the outlet's credibility.

Nicholas Fondacaro declared that "Some might argue it was the weaponization of a media outlet for personal gain,"huffing: "For all the liberal smears against Fox News claiming they’re 'state-run media,' it has become clear that's exactly what Bloomberg News would become if former Mayor Michael Bloomberg wins in 2020."

Tim Graham and Brent Bozell predictably whined in their Nov. 27 column:

In reality, Bloomberg's journalists have been compromised ever since Bloomberg first ran for mayor of New York City in 2001. After 12 years as mayor, Bloomberg became a big-time sugar daddy to liberal activists pushing government crackdowns on fossil fuel production and gun ownership. How "objective" reporters could ethically navigate all of their owner's political activism seems impossible.

But let's face it: Back then, the rest of the "news" media never found this objectionable. Bloomberg News was branded in a business-news niche and, in that sphere, looked like a progressive influence, so they didn't care.

[...]

Journalists who perpetually lament Trump's destruction of "democratic norms" now face a candidate who's obliterating all the journalistic norms. This is an ethical test. Let's see how many will try to skip the class and hope it goes away.

The funny part here is that Bozell runs a "news" operation, CNSNews.com, that is not allowed to report critically on him or its parent organization. For instance, when Bozell was exposed in 2014 as simply slapping his name on columns that Graham ghost-wrote for years -- thus shaming him into adding Graham as a credited co-author -- CNS not only reported nothing about the controversy, it froze comments on a Bozell column after too many commenters pointed out the deception. Indeed, it seems one of CNS' main function is to repeat right-wing talking points generated by the MRC, seemingly demonstrating that it has no editorial independence at all. Which makes Bozell's concern about Bloomberg "obliterating ... journalistic norms" more than a little hypocritical.

Meanwhile, the MRC continued to exploit the story:

  • Jeffrey Lord ranted that "What Americans are witnessing at Bloomberg is up-front corruption. ... Bloomberg News will now be an in-kind campaign contribution — and not only to owner Michael Bloomberg but to every other candidate in the race for the Democratic nomination."
  • Fondacaro touted how the move "was almost universally panned, with the media beat Sunday shows on both CNN and Fox News criticizing the Bloomberg News.
  • Curtis Houck cheered how "the Trump campaign announced in a statement they would not be credentialing anyone from “Bloomberg News for rallies or other campaign events” due to the news outlet’s policy of banning their journalists from investigating founder Michael Bloomberg and his 2020 Democratic opponents but insisting they continue digging into President Donald Trump."
  • Graham complained that TV networks have not reported on "Bloomberg’s destruction of journalistic norms."
  • Houck served up a similar "the media isn't covering a story that advances the MRC's agenda" piece, grousing that "CBS News has refused to show on its morning or evening newscast 2020 Democratic Michael Bloomberg telling CBS This Morning co-host and Democratic friend Gayle King that Bloomberg News journalists need “to live with” the company policy that Bloomberg and primary opponents can’t be investigated but President Trump can."

None of ehse writers disclosed that the MRC does not allow its "news" division the same freedom it's demanding from Bloomberg.

The MRC then inserted itself into the story, as a Dec. 10 post (which was also translated into Spanish) announced:

On Monday, The Media Research Center (MRC) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against Bloomberg LP, the owner of Bloomberg News, Michael Bloomberg and Mike Bloomberg 2020, Inc.

The complaint maintains that the policy adopted by Bloomberg News to omit investigating Mike Bloomberg and the other Democratic presidential candidates while continuing to investigate Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump potentially is an improper contribution to Bloomberg’s campaign under FEC regulations.

[...]

“Bloomberg News is making a mockery of legitimate journalism. They have consciously chosen to abandon their journalistic responsibilities in favor of what is politically convenient,” stated MRC President Brent Bozell.

“This is a public declaration that Bloomberg’s newsroom is adopting media bias as an official policy,” Bozell added.“This is not only categorically unethical, but potentially illegal, which is why we are calling for an investigation.”

Of course, Bozell's own "news" division actually does what Bozell is accusing Bloomberg News of: adopting media bias as an official policy and abandoning their journalistic responsibilities in favor of what is politically convenient. He'll never admit that, of course.

The press release also noted that "According to FEC law, the 'media exemption' that would normally exempt media organizations from federal campaign finance disclosure laws does not apply if 'the facility is owned or controlled by any political party, political committee, or candidate' should the organization fail to 'give reasonably equal coverage to all opposing candidates.'"

As we've noted, CNS does not give "reasonably equal coverage," attacking Democratic presidential candidates while cranking out pro-Trump stenography that even uncritically repeats his falsehoods. Does this violate FEC law? After all, the MRC is arguably choosing to operate as a "political committee" in apparent violation of its 501(c)(3) nonprofit tax status.

Almost as if proving our point, CNS managing editor Michael W. Chapman published a rewritten version of the MRC press release the same day -- under the exact same headline as the press release -- instead of offering an indepenvent view of the issue. Chapman couldn't even be bothered to seek comment from Bloomberg News or the Bloomberg campaign.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:36 PM EST

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