MRC Pretends Selectively Editing Videos Isn't Manipulation Topic: Media Research Center
Most people understand that selectively editing videos to take them out of their intended context is a form of manipulation. The Media Research Center thinks differently -- at least when the video editors are conservatives and the video's target is a Democratic presidential candidate -- and is laboring hard to split hairs in order to prove it.
We've already noted that MRC tech blogger Alexander Hall is upset that Facebook pointed out that a misleadlingly edited edit of Joe Biden tweeted out by Trump was, in fact, misleadingly edited and had flagged it as such.In a March 9 post criticizing Twitter for similarly pointing out the video's misleading nature, Hall's case for claiming the video isn't misleading comes from... the Trump operative who originally posted it:
An embarrassing clip of Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden stammering during a speech has been spun by liberal media as “manipulated media.”
Former Vice President Biden was caught on video seemingly endorsing President Donald Trump for re-election. Liberal media outlets condemned the video as deceptively edited misinformation in order to cover for the Democratic primary frontrunner. Twitter followed up by labeling the video as “manipulated media.” When reached out to for comment, Twitter staff replied that “this Tweet was labeled based on our Synthetic and Manipulated Media policy.”
The clip, posted on March 7 by White House social media director Dan Scavino, showed Biden stammering: “Because we can not get re-elect, we can not win this re-election. Excuse me, we can only re-elect Donald Trump.”
Trump retweeted Scavino's proclamation that “The video was NOT manipulated,” and has also retweeted other variations of the video in question.
It's laughable that Hall is treating Scavino as an objective observer of what is and is not video manipulation, given that he has a personal and professional vested interest in the outcome. Also note that Hall is again focused on Biden allegedly "stammering" in the video being the non-manipulated part, not the deceptyive edit.
Hall then played whataboutism:
Donald Trump, Jr. retweeted multiple conservative commentators who were calling out Twitter for allowing a Biden campaign video which itself appears to be deceptively edited in that it claimed that Trump was calling the coronavirus a hoax. A Politico article featuring this same claim was fact-checked on Facebook, at the behest of the Daily Caller, a move which outraged members of the liberal media. Former ThinkProgress editor-in-chief Judd Legum questioned, “The bigger question is why Facebook allows The Daily Caller to make judgments about Politico's reporting.”
Hall then invoked a tweet from right-wing writer Ryan Saavedra -- who also has a ideological interest in the debate -- attempting to parse between "selectively edited" and "manipulated" to make the same whataboutism point.
One cannot escape the feeling that Hall is trying to redefine words to protect the Trump campaign and advance a political agenda.
WND's Cashill Writes A Book For Teen Boys That Sounds Strangely Familiar Topic: WorldNetDaily
Jack Cashill is a bit full of himself -- so committed to the idea that he's right about everything that he can't be bothered to admit that a large number of his pet conspiracy theories have, shall we say, not held up, let alone apologize to his readers for getting things so wrong.
Cashill has a new book out, which he's portraying as a book for young men. He began his March 4 WorldNetDaily column with a rant about what he thinks is the current state of YA literature:
The betrayal begins with the books teachers assign in high school and college. These books are routinely effete, feminist, anti-Christian, socialistic and often gay.
Collectively, they do better a job of teaching a young male to be a metrosexual than to be an a man.
I do not exaggerate the problem facing young men in school. To see what educators would like our young people to read, I chose an article titled "20 Contemporary Books for Your High School Reading List" from a random Google search.
Here are some samples. In "Bless Me, Ultima," described as "a classic piece of Chicano literature," the protagonist learns a new kind of spirituality from a faith healer.
"The Hate U Give" tackles "themes of racism, police brutality, and societal injustice."
The one worthy book, Cormac McCarthy's "The Road," may be the single bleakest book I have ever read. Even by post-apocalyptic standards, it is a total downer. The movie version makes "The Walking Dead" look like "Hello, Dolly."
Given the books young people are assigned, It should not surprise that girls are an incredible 10 times more likely than boys to pick up a book and read it on their own.
By contrast, Cashill claims that preparing to write his new book, "I harkened back to the books I was assigned to read in high school. I still remember them: 'Call of the Wild,' 'Red Badge of Courage,' 'Annapurna,' 'Kon-Tiki,' 'Mutiny on the Bounty,' 'Men Against the Sea,' 'Huckleberry Finn' and 'Lord of the Flies.' These books not only captured our attention and held it, but they also helped us boys envision our lives as men. We saw how courage, perseverance and self-reliance worked in the real world and why they remain essential virtues."
Cashill found a co-writer and claims they wrote "an action adventure novel that young men – men of any age – would actually want to read":
The result is "The Hunt." In the book we tell the story of a recently widowed Army veteran who takes his adolescent sons on a character-building elk hunt to Colorado only to discover they are the ones being hunted.
The hunters are leftist anarchists in league with Muslim terrorists hell-bent on shooting the president's plane out of the sky. The incorrectness of the bad guys assures that no public high school anywhere will put the book on its reading list.
Cashill didn't remark on this amazing coincidence, of course -- that would be too obvious (not to mention making the inevitable copyright infringement lawsuit happen a bit sooner than he's planning). Instead, he cited a couple anonymous glowing reviews, then exhorts his reader to "talk to your school board" about adding it to their school curriculum.
We suspect that no school board would want any book with such a blatant partisan agenda, almost assuredly filled with stiffly drawn heroes and cardboard villains,to be inflicted on their students.
What Is MRC's Mysterious Sports Blogger Freaking Out About Now? Topic: Media Research Center
Media Research Center sports blogger Jay Maxson is as mysterious as ever (since he/she has no social media presence outside the MRC, we don't even know if that's his/her real name or even his/her gender, since "Jay" can work both as masculine and feminine). So what has he/she been freaking about lately?
Any and every media mention of Colin Kaepernick triggers him/her, so there's a post ranting about Kaepernick writing his memoir, prompting Maxson to declare that the book will "serve up the same garbage that turned off 32 NFL teams and alienated countless sports fans across America," adding, "The audio version could be particularly revealing if the tone of Kaepernick's voice reflects his hatred for country."
In Maxson's view, the only political opinion an athlete is allowed to speak publicly is a conservative one in general and support of President Trump in particular, so the 1980 Olympics hockey team gets praise for appearing on stage with Trump, and washed-up NFL quarterback turned washed-up minor-league baseball player Tim Tebow gets fawned over for "saying he'd rather be known for saving babies from abortion than as a Super Bowl-winning quarterback."
Following in the MRC tradition of jealously hating any journalist whocommits the offense of winning an award for their journalism, Maxson attacked USA Today writer for winning an award,huffing that "To win the Red Smith Award for sports writing is tantamount to having one's left-wing credentials enshrined by the Associated Press" (though he named no other examples of this happening). Maxson complained that "Brennan helped perpetuate the LGBT narrative" of pointing out that conservatives like Maxson hate gays in sports, which seems pretty accurate to us.
Even though he's a member of the conservative Mormon Church, Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young is very San Francisco. Young just bucked his LDS church and his alma mater, Brigham Young University, by tweeting support for LGBTQ students at the school where people are protesting the church's opposition to same-sex relationships.
This is no new revelation for Young (seen during his 2005 Hall of Fame induction in photo), a descendant of Brigham Young himself, but nevertheless much in tune with Speaker Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco social values.
The brother of Young's wife Barbara is homosexual, and they have been opposed to marriage as the union of one man and one woman for several years. In 2008, California voters affirmed that ideal by passing Prop 8. Despite the LDS position on marriage and sexuality, the Youngs posted a sign in their yard in opposition to that ballot proposition.
Maxson offers no evidence that Young is "opposed to marriage as the union of one man and one woman"; he does appear to support the expansion of marriage rights and benefits to same-sex couples.
Similarly, Maxson freaked out that retired NBA star Dwayne Wade brought his transgender child to an awards ceremony for an "LGBT pressure group," sneering, "Rather than address their child's gender confusion, father and step-mother have both chosen to become folk heroes to the LGBT agenda by celebrating a child's confusion."
Maxson was quick to adapt his/her schtick to the coronavirius era, complaining that the NBA's Utah Jazz was criticized for having the entire team and many team employees were tested for the virus when they were in Oklahoma City for a later-canceled game, at a time when few regular people could easily obtain tests.Macson whined: "Oklahoma should get credit for doing some things right though. It's not exactly the epicenter of the pandemic, and when out-of-staters brought the virus into the heartland state, Oklahoma jumped on that group and started testing. Sounds like pretty good strategy ... that just got in the way of the agenda of a writer for a progressive blog."
CNS Lets A Bunch Of Trump Falsehoods Stand Uncorrected Topic: CNSNews.com
As a loyal pro-Trump stenographer, CNSNews.com lovestorepeat falsehoods from President Trump without bothering to fact-check or correct them. He's been talking a lot during the coronavirus pandemic, and CNS remains happy to just scribble down whetever he says without telling readers it's false.
"I always treated the Chinese Virus very seriously, and have done a very good job from the beginning, including my very early decision to close the 'borders' from China - against the wishes of almost all. Many lives were saved. The Fake News new narrative is disgraceful & false!"
President Trump issued that tweet shortly before 8 a.m. Wednesday, after listening to negative coverage from the morning news shows.
But as an actual news outlet pointed out, Trump has a history of comments showing he did not, in fact, take it verious seriously:
In late January, when a CNBC reporter asked if there were “worries about a pandemic” spreading from China, where it was first reported in December, he replied, “No, not at all. We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”
While speaking about the first cases of COVID-19 reported in the U.S. at a White House news conference on Feb. 26, he claimed that "pretty soon" there could only be one or two people affected.
“We’re going to be pretty soon at only five people,” Trump said. “And we could be at just one or two people over the next short period of time. So we’ve had very good luck.”
The next day, at a White House meeting, he said, "It's going to disappear. One day -- it's like a miracle - it will disappear." He has suggested, without firm scientific evidence, that warmer weather would stop the spread.
In a March 19 article, Melanie Arter uncritically repeated:
President Donald Trump said Thursday that his administration was prepared to deal with the pandemic of the coronavirus, but he wasn’t prepared to deal with the media.
The president complained that the press, and specifically NBC News, called him “racist” for banning foreign nationals traveling from China from entering the United States.
But Trump did not offer a specific example of anyone at NBC calling him "racist" over that decision -- and, thus, neither did Arter. YOu'd think an example could be easily found if that actually happened.
President Donald Trump announced “exciting progress” Thursday in finding therapy drugs to fight the coronavirus.
Not only has a drug that’s used to fight malaria and treat arthritis shown promise in fighting COVID-19, but the administration is looking at drugs used overseas to treat the virus.
The president pointed to chloriquine, a drug that has been shown to be effective in treating arthritis and malaria, as a potential treatment for COVID-19.
["]They've been trying for many decades to get this approved. It sounds simple, but it's not, because there is liability involved in lots of other things. I was able to get it approved, working with Congress. Right to try. This is beyond right to try. What we are talking about today is beyond right to try.["]
Arter didn't tell her readers that chloroquine has, in fact, not been approved to treat coronavirus.
Arter returned on March 24 for another false claim from Trump:
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had a chance to order 16,000 ventilators five years ago for a discount, but he opted for death panels and lotteries instead, President Donald Trump said Tuesday.
During his press conference on Tuesday, Cuomo complained that the federal government only sent 400 ventilators, when they needed 30,000.
Trump was referring to an op-edby former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey published March 19, 2020 by the New York Post:
In fact, McCaughey -- a longtime misinformer on the subject of health care -- appears to have misread a state report on pandemic preparedness, falsely interpreting a worst-case scenario that might require thousands of ventilators as a "chance" to buy them; the report does not even make a ruling on the optimal number of ventilators the state should have stockpiled. The "death panels" reference is to recommended procedures in the report regarding triage.
If CNS is going to be nothing more than a Trump stenography website, it should stop calling itself "news."
Bad Coronavirus Takes: CNS' Jeffrey Cares Only About Christians Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com editor in chief Terry Jeffrey begins his March 25 column this way:
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued an executive order on Monday that is aimed at stopping the new coronavirus — and, in the process, makes it a criminal offense to hold a church service attended by more than 10 people.
Yes, his order makes it a crime for more than 10 people to gather in a church.
That's misleading -- as Jeffrey concedes in the next few paragraphs, in which he admits that what was criminalized was all gatherings of more than 10 people, not just church services.
Yet Jeffrey spends the rest of his column falsely pretending that only church services were targeted. So much so, in fact, that he pestered Northam's press secretary demanding "a simple yes or no" to whether church services fall under the ban, even though it's obvious they are. ANd he wasn't done ranting:
Virginians now live in a state where holding a church service attended by 11 people has been unilaterally declared a crime by the governor.
The same executive order that creates this church-attending crime also declares that Virginia's state-owned liquor stores are "essential retail businesses" that "may remain open during their normal business hours."
How can a person walk into a liquor store, exchange a glass bottle of whiskey and money with a clerk and keep his social distance? Could 11 people in a church — praying the rosary together — stay further apart physically than the buyers and sellers at a Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control store?
What would St. Thomas More think of a government that made it a crime to gather and pray in church?
What would the framers of the First Amendment think?
What future "emergencies" will inspire future governors to act on Northam's precedent?
Jeffrey is so obsessed with pushing his right-wing agenda that he only cares how he and his fellow Christians are impacted and doesn't seem that interested in how anyone else is, and he apparently believes that he and his friends should be exempted from the rules that apply to everyone else because they're Christian.
MRC Attacks CNN For Not Noting Coronavirus Expert's Irrelevant Link To Planned Parenthood Topic: Media Research Center
Count on the Media Research Center to cling to its agenda in the midst of a national emergency. Curtis Houck ranted in a March 16 post (needless bolding in original):
It’s well-established that CNN has refused to act as a serious news organization. So, it came as no surprise when a Media Research Center study found that CNN featured Dr. Leana Wen 16 times from March 2 to 16 for a total of 73 minutes and 29 seconds to discuss the coronavirus. However, there were zero seconds verbally acknowledging her past as Planned Parenthood’s former president.
Instead, CNN has labeled her as either a former Baltimore City Health Commissioner, emergency room physician, or Visiting Professor of Health Policy & Management at the George Washington University. (Updated chart forthcoming)
only 10 seconds of the total featured chyrons noting how, less than a year ago, she was leading the nation’s leading aborter provider.
At no point, however, did Houck explain why it was important for Wen to be labeled as the former head of Planned Parenthood. She was on CNN to talk about coronavirus, not family planning or pro-choice activism, so her Planned Parenthood experience was irrelevant to the issue. Fuyrther, she was only head of Planned Parenthood for less than a year before being ousted last July, so there wasn't much of that experience to bring to the table.
It appears Houck was invoking the MRC's ancient hatred of Planned Parenthood and anything that smacks of being supportive of abortion. He was also trying to figure out a way to dunk on CNN and serve up a whataboutism deflection for criticism of Fox News, as the end of his post indicates:
For CNN’s near-daily assault on the Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, CNN has refused to keep its own house in order.
Whether it’s refusing to disclose guests as former Obama officials, firing off snarky statements, or making sophomoric facial expressions, perhaps they should worry about doing “the small stuff” right first.
Actually, CNN did get the small stuff right by not inserting something that was utterly irrelevant to the issue at hand.
Houck already hates CNN's Jim Acosta, and that hatred appears to have spread to CNN as a whole, so he's looking for any excuse to go on the attack, no matter how irrelevant.
NEW ARTICLE: The Talking Point Two-Step Topic: CNSNews.com
While the Media Research Center mocks the argument that funding for public broadcasting shouldn't be cut because it's an infinitesimal amount of the federal budget, the head of its "news" division demands funding for the border wall for the exact same reason. Read more >>
A March 9 column by Lance Voorhees -- whose WND bio begins with the claim that he's "an American Mensa member" -- tried mightily to drag the Muslims into it because ISIS once "called for 'viral warfare' against the West," prompting him to declare: "My fellow Americans, be forewarned: The coronavirus is surely on ISIS' radar to be weaponized as well." Voorhees went on to rant about "students and tourists from Muslim-majority countries" who come to the U.S." then goes on to suggest that all Muslims are potential terrorists: "Viral jihad is a clear and present danger – an inexpensive terrorist strategy Americans cannot afford to ignore. Please join me in flooding the State Department by calling the recorded comments service at: 202-647-6575 and press "8" to record your concerns … and be polite."
In a March 20 column, James Zumwalt -- who's already prone to believing conspiracy theories -- served up another one, citing an interview with "biological warfare (BW) expert professor Francis Boyle," who purports to have "definitive evidence a biowarfare lab at the University of North Carolina (UNC) was the initial catalyst for the virus," and the lab then worked with "a top Chinese biowarfare expert" to develop "biowarfare DNA genetic capability" for the virus.
MRC Thinks Facebook Is 'Backsliding' And 'Caving' Because It Has Standards Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has a narrative that Facebook is irredeemably liberal despite all the evidence to the contrary (secret dinners with Brent Bozell, anyone?), and it has to cling to that narrative. It also feels it has to continue to bully Facebook if it ever looks like it won't be a right-wing shill. In December, for example, the MRC's Alexander Hall accused Facebook of "backsliding" on "free speech" by scrutinizing political ads (beause conservatives like consider it "restricting free speecn" to political ads to any sort of standard of truth and accuracy).
True to form, Hall got mad in a March 6 post when Facebook cracked down on Trump campaign ads that falsely presented themselves as linked to the upcoming census, under the headline "Facebook Caves":
A liberal journalist blasted Facebook until it removed certain Trump campaign ads as the 2020 Census approaches.
Founding Editor-in-Chief of the now defunct outlet Think Progress Judd Legum scorched Facebook for “running more than 1,000 ads on Facebook promoting” what he called “a fake 2020 census.” The piece written for his liberal news outlet Popular Information seems to have caused Facebook to change its mind, removing the Trump campaign’s census ads. “Just hours after this piece published,” Legum tweeted, “Facebook reversed course and said they would take all of the Trump census ads down.”
In the update at the top of Legum’s Popular Information’s coverage, it declared victory. “Facebook abruptly reversed course and said they would take down the Trump campaign’s ads about the Census,” it wrote. Facebook reportedly disclosed the decision via email to The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights president Vanita Gupta. Gupta had reportedly contacted Facebook over the accusations made in Popular Information’s article on the Trump ads.
Facebook allegedly wrote: "Upon further review, these ads are currently being taken down given the policies in place to prevent confusion around the official U.S. Census."
Hall doesn't even bother to defend the ad's content -- perhaps because he knows he can't. Nor did he bother to describe for his readers exactly how those ads were misleading. As the above image shows, the ad presented itself as the "Official 2020 Congressional District Census," coming from the "Certified Website of President Donald J. Trump," complete with a survey number "For Official Use Only."
Instead, Hall invoked Robert Epstein, whose usual schtick is hating Google, calling this "censorship," adding "Whether u know it or not, #Google-&-the-Gang will decide who our next president will be. #BeAfraid."
Four days later, Hall played the "Facebook Caves" card (and headline) again, upset that Facebook accurately pointed out that a misleading right-wing edit of Joe Biden tweeted out by Trump was, in fact, misleadingly edited, blaiming the Biden campaign and the "liberal media" fo rpurportedly forcing Facebook to make that ruling "under liberal pressure after Twitter labeled the video clip as 'manipulated media.'"
Hall conceded that the video actually was misleadingly edited -- cutting off immediately after saying "We can only re-elect Donald Trump" where he said that could happen "if in fact we get engaged in this circular firing squad here. It's gotta be a positive campaign.'" But then, he seemed to be suggesting the video was flagged because it showed Biden "stammering" -- a word he put in the headline and used three times in his item.
CNS Devotes Four Articles To Democratic Congresswoman Retweeting A Swear Word Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com these days is mostly just pro-Trump stenography and negative news about non-conservatives, with particular emphasis on flooding the zone on the latter. And it's done the latter again.
When Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib -- whom it already despises and targets with highly biased reporting -- retweeted Parkland massacre survivor David Hogg criticizing a national day of prayer regarding coronavirus and calling for "immediate comprehensive action" instead, using a swear word in doing so, CNS was quick to flood the zone. Under the headline "Rep. Tlaib Retweets: ‘F**k a National Day of Prayer’," Patrick Goodenough highlighted the tweet and noted that Hogg's original tweet included a clip of HUD secretary Ben Carson lecturing that "we’ve gotten away from prayer and faith a lot in this country."
Goodenough didn't mention the fact that Hogg is a survivor of a mass shooting that killed several of his high school classmates, but he made sure to link to an earlier attack he wrote on "Muslim congresswomen" Tlaib and Ilhan Omar. CNS also made sure to use the most unflattering photo of Tlaib it could find.
Goodenough followed up the next day with an article featuring CNS friend (and dishonest Catholic) Bill Donohue attacking Tlaib and demanding that the House of Representatives reprimand her.
It was two days after that that CNS finally got around to telling more than one side of the story, in a blog post by Craig Bannister on Tlaib's "response to backlash over her retweet of a vulgar condemnation of the Sunday’s National Day of Prayer for coronavirus victims declared by President Donald Trump." He also touted Donohue's demand for the House to reprimand her.
Finally, Donohue was granted his own column to rant further about Tlaib, insisting her walkback was not sincere:
Let me be clear, Rep. Tlaib: You are fooling no one. You not only have a record of offending people, your anti-Semitic comments have mobilized friends of mine like Rabbi Aryeh Spero to hold a sit-in at Rep. Nancy Pelosi's congressional office to protest your bigotry (and that of your fellow "Squad" member, Rep. Ilhan Omar). Your record of hate speech is incontestable.
You say your retweet "was not an attack on prayer." How lame. What you manifestly chose to do is attack the one day when Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Mormons, Muslims, and others come together in a national day of prayer. Your point was to insult us. Mission accomplished.
By contrast, when then-candidate Trump sent out a tweet with a picture of Hillary Clinton accompanied by a six-pointed star with the phrase "most corrupt candidate ever!" -- widely viewed as anti-Semitic -- CNS did only a single article (that apparently is no longer online) dedicated to Trump denying the image was anti-Semitic.
AIM Pretends PragerU Is Merely An 'Education Non-Profit' Topic: Accuracy in Media
Like the Media Research Center, Accuracy in Media tried to apply spin to the federal appeals court that upheld YouTube's right to monitor its private property against the "censorship" charges from right-wing content mill PragerU. Being the current iteration of AIM, though, it came with a focus on its new obsession, the obsucre online-only media outlet NowThis News.
In a Feb. 28 post, Spencer Irvine complained that NowThis accurately identified PragerU -- which he benignly described as "creat[ing] videos on topics across politics, philosophy, and economics and hav[ing] various guest speakers narrate the videos from a right-leaning political or cultural perspectiv" -- eas a right-wing content mill:
NowThis News claimed that YouTube “has been fertile ground for PragerU’s founders and funders to reach young people without traditional gatekeepers like parents and schools.” The website’s word choice insinuated that PragerU was circumventing young people’s parents and school staff, which was an odd choice of words. There should not be problems with companies directly communicating their messages to their consumers or clients, which is what PragerU is doing.
Also, NowThis News called PragerU a “right-wing media machine” instead of using the organization’s official definition as an education non-profit. The phrase that NowThis News used was misleading because it presented an opinionated phrase as factual and correct.
In fact, as we noted, PragerU admitted that it does target students around school and parental authority. Also, conservatives have plenty of problems with "companies directly communicating their messages to their consumers or clients" when those consumers are students and the message is considered "liberal."
Further, Irvine accepted PragerU's claims of YouTube "censorship" at face value when there is in fact no actual censorship going on. YouTube merely assigned some videos as restricted, which are in fact only restricted when the user has turned on restricted mode.
Finally, PragerU may be the "education non-profit" Irvine claims it is, but it doesn't meant that it is also a right-wing media machine -- you know, not unlike AIM itself.
MRC Pretends To Read Major Garrett's Mind (And Does Another Bogus Trump Coverage Study) Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center likes to pretend it can read the minds of journalists and correspondents in order to perpetuate its notion of a biased "liberal media." It did so again in a March 4 post by Rich Noyes headlined "CBS’s Garrett Hopes Bloomberg’s Millions Might at Least Have Damaged Trump."
But even Noyes doesn't actually claim that CBS correspondent Major Garrett expressed "hope"; instead, he repeats the old MRC complaint that Garrett reported something he didn't like:
On Wednesday’s CBS This Morning, correspondent Major Garrett suggested a silver lining (for liberals) after Michael Bloomberg’s massive campaign spending failed to produce any meaningful boost for his presidential hopes on Super Tuesday.
Garrett wondered if the past three months of Bloomberg’s TV advertising might somehow accomplish what years of extremely negative news coverage could not, i.e., put a significant dent in President Trump’s support.
Advancing the not-radical concept that Bloomberg's advertising may have hurt Trump's popularity is not "hope"; it's reporting. Of course, the MRC collectively think that everyone in the non-conservative media are constantly scheming to destroy Trump -- mostly by, you know, reporting facts -- so that sort of paranoia is not a surprise.
In the middle of this post, though, Noyes dropped the results of the MRC's latest bogus "study" of Trump coverage (needless bolding in original):
According to the MRC’s ongoing tracking, the spin of ABC, CBS and NBC evening news coverage of the Trump presidency has been 92% negative during the past six months (September 1 through February 29). For the entire Trump administration (beginning January 20, 2017), the coverage on those networks has been 90% negative.
Those broadcast network statistics do not include the oceans of cable TV airtime devoted to the Russia investigation, the Ukraine investigation and impeachment, as well as hour upon hour of general complaints about the President’s policies and personal style.
Asisusual, Noyes extrapolates its so-called examination of "evaluative comments" about Trump of a tiny sliver of coverage as something much larger (though he admits it doesn't include cable news, which means it doesn't include Fox News), and he doesn't provide the actual statements so we can judge for ourselves.
WND Bashes Mosque For Allegedly Violating Law It Wants Repealed (When Used Against Christians) Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've documented how WorldNetDaily has attacked mosques for making use of the same legal protections that it has cheered Christian religious organizations for using. WND took that to the next level in a March 9 article by Art Moore:
Ahead of Tuesday's crucial Democratic primary, a prominent Michigan mosque is distributing to worshipers campaign material for Sen. Bernie Sanders targeting Muslim voters, which is a violation of the non-profit mosque's tax-exempt status.
A campaign leaflet obtained by David Gaubatz, known for his investigation of mosques that promote terrorism, urges Muslims to vote for Sanders on Tuesday.
With text in both English and Arabic, it concludes with: "Yalla! Vote for Amo Bernie this Tuesday, March 10!"
The so-called Johnson Amendment passed by Congress in 1954 prohibits 501(c)(3) organizations, such as houses of worship, from engaging in any political campaign activity. The Sterling Heights mosque states at the bottom of the home page of its website that it is registered as a 501(c)(3).
The guidance publication, 1828, makes clear: "Under the Internal Revenue Code, all IRC Section 501(c)(3) organizations, including churches and religious organizations, are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office."
Violation of the code "may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of excise tax."
Ah, the Johnson Amendment. The law that, um, WND has been demanding repeal of for years.
Editor Joseph Farah wrote a 2008 column insisting on its repeal, declaring that churches "have every right to take a position on who should be our next president without risking the church's tax status." In a 2017 column, Chuck Norris cheered President Trump's partial rollback of the Johnson Amendment, calling it an example of how "the American people are granted more freedoms and choices, and fewer restrictions, which is exactly what our founders had in mind for the great experiment of our republic."
The very same day Moore's article appeared, Scott Lively used his column to denounced the amendment, introduced by "the reprobate senator and soon-to-be President Lyndon Baines Johnson," because it "effectively neutralized the church as a political force. Today the majority of congregations totally avoid political and cultural involvement in fear of running afoul of the IRS."
WND -- in a further contrast with its current stance -- also cheered when churches deliberately flouted the amendment.
A 2009 article by Bob Unruh promoted the right-wing Alliance Defense Fund's "Pulpit Freedom Sunday," calling the Johnson Amendment "an Internal Revenue Service rule that anti-Christian activists often invoke when they want to silence the message of churches."
In 2011, Unruh cheered another ADF-led effort to break the law: "Hundreds of Christian pastors across the United States have knowingly spoken out from their pulpits about political candidates and have gotten virtually no response from the Internal Revenue Service, whose job it is to enforce the 1954 Johnson Amendment banning such speech from pulpits."
Unruh did it again in 2014, gushing that "in open defiance of agency rules, thousands of pastors have told their congregations what the Bible says about the positions held by electoral candidates."
And a 2012 article by Dave Tombers asserted: "The number of pastors standing up for their right to preach from their pulpits on politics is surging. They call a ban on such speech a 'cultural myth.'"
So, if the Johnson Amendment is a "cultural myth" that's designed to silence churches when it's applied to Christians, but it's suddenly a serious violation when Muslims are accused of doing it? Neither Gaubatz nor Moore explained -- but we're guessing that it has a lot to do with Muslims being held to a different standard and both of them disagreeing with the candidate allegedly being endorsed.
(Gaubatz, by the way, is an anti-Muslim activist best known for recruiting his son to work at the Council an American-Islamic Relations for the express purposes of stealing allegedly incriminating documents from the group. CAIR accused the younger Gaubatz of violating a confidentiality agreement; the Gaubatzes have apaprently never denied signing one, but planned to use the defense that CAIR doesn't legally exist. The lawsuit was still going on as of 2017.)
No, MRC, Court Did Not Rule That 'YouTube May Censor Conservatives' Topic: Media Research Center
The headline of Alexander Hall's Feb. 28 Media Research Center item states, "Ninth Circuit Rules That YouTube May Censor Conservatives." That is a lie.
First, a little background: The MRC has been talking up the lawsuit that ended in this ruling for quite some time. corinne Weaver supplied a biased summary in an August 2019 post:
PragerU, a conservative media outlet known for its academic videos that explain traditional values and beliefs, will argue its appeal in a federal court on August 27. After a court dismissed the case on March 28, 2018, the company filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court against Google and its sister company, YouTube. PragerU accused Google of “targeting ideological differences and engaging in unlawful censorship and discrimination.”
In a previous ruling, a federal court stated that “Google has no obligation to equally apply its services, or in this case, its ostensible penalties.” PragerU filed another lawsuitin January 2019.
As of August 26, more than 100 videos produced by PragerU have been placed on YouTube’s restricted list. According to YouTube, videos that “contain potentially adult content” are not available to viewers who have the restricted mode turned on. Content that falls under certain categories are automatically restricted, including material that talks about drugs and alcohol, sexual situations, violence, mature subjects such as terrorism, war, crime, and political conflicts that resulted in death or serious injury, profane language, and incendiary and demeaning content.
YouTube’s restricted mode is used in places such as libraries, schools, and public institutions. So students trying to find a conservative point of view online in schools will not be able to access PragerU’s content.
So YouTube is not actually "censoring" PragerU -- it's just age-restricting some of its content, and only for those who turn on YouTube's restricted mode. All one needs to do is turn off restricted mode and you have full access to PragerU videos. Yet somehow this has turned into a politically motivated lawsuit.
The motivation was clear in a separate August post by Hall, serving up more bias by calling PragerU "a popular conservative media outlet known for its academic but easy to understand videos which explain conservative ideas" and "are well known for their calm and measured tone." But Hall quoted PragerU officials exposing their real agenda -- they want to propagandize children and they want to be exempt from YouTube rules and scrutiny:
PragerU’s Chief Marketing Officer Craig Strazzeri was one of a handful of speakers who spoke. He pointed across the street to the library as an immediate example of a place where PragerU would be restricted. “If a student walks into that public library, goes on the computer, and searches for PragerU videos,” he said “there are over 200 that they will not be able to see” later adding for emphasis that five of those videos are on the Ten Commandments.
PragerU personality Will Witt declared the importance of remaining on YouTube. “We don't wanna just start our own platform, right? Because we’re trying to reach everyone. There’d be so many leftists, people like me when I was in college, who we’d never reach.”
Restricting these videos can mean that their target audience may be unable to watch for themselves. YouTube’s restricted mode is used in locations such as libraries, schools, and public institutions.
So rather than editing content to remove the restricted-mode tag or simply leaving for another video platform, of which there are many, PragerU played victim and sued YouTube.
In short, no evidence is provided that YouTube is censoring conservatives exclusively -- that, of course, is the central claim of victimization by the tech industry that the MRC has been spouting for quitesometime.
Back to the current article, in which Hall huffed:
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that YouTube may censor whomever it chooses, and is not bound by the First Amendment.
The ruling in Prager University v. Google dealt a blow to PragerU’s cause this past Wednesday, according to The Hollywood Reporter’s coverage. The decision upheld the district court’s dismissal of an action brought by PragerU against YouTube and its parent company Google despite PragerU's claim that YouTube acts much like a public forum and therefore was obligated to uphold First Amendment protections for freedom of speech.
"Despite YouTube's ubiquity and its role as a public-facing platform, it remains a private forum, not a public forum subject to judicial scrutiny under the First Amendment," wrote Circuit Judge Margaret McKeown.
The Ninth Circuit explained that a key part of its reasoning in ruling against PragerU’s First Amendment claim was that “PragerU does not dispute that YouTube is a private entity that operates its platform without any state involvement.” Indeed, the Court noted that “private property does not ‘lose its private character merely because the public is generally invited to use it for designated purposes.’”
You'd think that organizations that claim to care about constitutional rights like PragerU and the MRC would be happy that a court upheld the principle of private property rights against those who were trying to federalize it for their own purposes. Instead, Hall complained: "And while YouTube and Big Tech leadership have made claims that they support free speech in theory, they are not necessarily legally bound to fulfil them. ... In short, when Big Tech companies make hollow corporate platitudes about free speech and protecting your voice, don’t expect much."
You might remember Rabbi Daniel Lapin as the willingtool of sleazy lobbyist and convicted felon Jack Abramoff -- as we've noted, Abramoff served as chairman of Lapin's organization Toward Tradition and used the group to funnel money around in his lobbying efforts. These days, Lapin runs something called the American Alliance of Jews and Christians, and he still insists that he's "America's Rabbi" (but his bio mentions nothing about Abramnoff and Toward Tradition).
Apparently, he has some bad arguments he wants to share with us, and CNSNews.com gave him a March 4 column to do it in. It's the old "Christianity is being attacked" argument, and he denies he's likening it to the way Hitler acted (and 9/11) even as he refers to it as a "blitzkrieg":
I am not going to argue that what is happening now is on the same scale as the examples I cite above, but a serious war is being waged against a group of Americans. I am certain that if we lose this war, the consequences for American civilization will be dire.
Phase one of this war I describe is a propaganda blitzkrieg that is eerily reminiscent of how effectively the Goebbels propaganda machine softened up the German people for what was to come.
There is no better term than propaganda blitzkrieg to describe what has been unleashed against Christian conservatives recently.
Consider the long list of anti-Christian books that have been published in the past few years.
Lapin then offers a list of book titles that, in fact, focus on "the Christian Right" and "Christian fundamentalism" -- not Christianity as a whole. Lapin can't be bothered to engage in the arguments in in any of those books; instead he goes Godwin (and whatever the Muslim equivalent of Godwin is) again:
What is truly alarming is that there are more of these books for sale at your local large book store warning against the perils of fervent Christianity than those warning against the perils of fervent Islam. Does anyone seriously think America is more seriously jeopardized by Christian conservatives than by Islamic zealots? I fear that many Americans believe just that in the same way that many pre-World War II Western intellectuals considered Churchill a bigger threat to peace than Hitler.
Lapin then served up another dishonest argument: "Second, major movements that changed the way Americans felt and acted came about through books, often only one book. Think of Rachel Carson’s 1962 error-filled Silent Spring that resulted in the pointless banning of the insecticide DDT and many unnecessary deaths." Needless to say, Lapin never outlines thesupposed errors in Carson's book; as we documented, Carson didn't actually advocate for the banning of DDT in "Silent Spring" -- she criticized its overuse -- but the chemical does have a detrimental effect on the environment, and it has been so overused that many mosquitoes have become resistant to it, bearing out Carson's claims about it.
The rest of his column is little more than scare tactics, warning that if "they" succeed, "Christianity will be driven underground, and its benign influence on the character of America will be lost," resulting in "a long night of barbarism" in the West.