When a Democrat or liberal commits a politically exploitable peccadillo, CNSNews.com floods the zone. It doesn't do that for negative stories about conservatives. Read more >>
Thursday, April 2, 2020
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Is Wayne Allyn Root Disappearing From Newsmax?
It's been a bad month for Newsmax TV host and columnist Wayne Allyn Root.
He started relatively strong with a couple of attacks on Joe Biden, the latter pushing the right-wing smear that Biden has purportedly "suffered possible diminished mental capacity and cognitive decline," not to mention "senility, or early onset dementia." He wrote another column that began, "I’m the ultimate positive thinker. I’m also very cynical. You can be both. My favorite saying is, 'Expect the best, prepare for the worst.'"
But Root may not have prepared for what happened to him over the past couple weeks.
Media Matters caught Root downplaying coronavirus as "no different than the flu" on his Newsmax TV show, and he has used his TV and radio platforms to promote a scammy "therapeutic silver solution" that he and its manufacturer have suggested cures coronavirus.A few days after that revelation, the newspaper in his hometown of Las Vegas dropped his column, and the New York attorney general ordered Root to cease and desist from making misleading medical claims.
It appears he has lost his Newsmax platform as well. Media Matters' Eric Hananoki reported that Root's show had disappeared from the Newsmax TV scheduled; since then, the Newsmax TV page on Root's show has gone blank. Root hasn't published a column at Newsmax since March 20, despite articles continuing to appear on his personal website. (A post-Newsmax column appeared at the Gateway Pundit, illustrating how far he's falling.) He appears to still have his radio show as of this writing, syndicated by USA Radio Networks.
Neither Root nor Newsmax appear to have made a public statement about the apparent dissoluton of their relationship, but all evidence so far indicates it's over between them.
MRC's Graham Attcks Doc That Exposes Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories (That The MRC Helped Advance)
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Tim Graham is a terrible media critic. The main tell is that whenever anyone criticizes the conservative media that he works in, he quickly descends into deflection and whataboutism rather than responding to the criticism itself.
Case in point: Graham's March 20 post on "After Truth," the HBO documentary produced by villainous (in the MRC's eyes, anyway) CNN host Brian Stelter that examines largely right-wing conspiracy theories propagated through conservative media:
The Covington story was corrected within a day and is a non-issue everywhere but the MRC can't stop using it as a cudgel to push its agenda (not to mention the Covington kids' money-hungry lawyers suing everyone in sight for alleged defamation).
Note also that Graham, instead of responding to anything stated in the documentary, complained that he didn't follow his agenda. That's classic whataboutism.
Graham tried for whataboutism later in his post: "HBO might want to look in the mirror on spreading hateful conspiracy theories. Trump's going to declare martial law? Doesn't Bill Maher sound like Alex Jones distorting Jade Helm on that one?"
One: Maher is a talk-show host, not a journalist. Two: You really wanna go there on Jade Helm, Tim? Because your employer treated it as a real thing.
In May 2015, Ken Shepherd complained that MSNBC host Chris Matthews opened his "Hardball" show with "a 12-minute segment denouncing "The Politics of Paranoia," referring to some Republican elected officials from Texas who have voiced concerns about a U.S. military training exercise in the Southwestern United States codenamed Jade Helm." A few days later, Tom Johnson appeared to approve of a writer for the liberal journal The Nation stating that the Jade Helm conspiracy theory "validates the paranoia" of right-wingers and drives conservative vorter turnout, so it doesn't even matter if it's true. A couple days after that, Melissa Mullins referenced "Jade Helm 15 – a military training exercise taking place in Texas. There’s been a conspiracy theory, most notably by InfoWars’ Alex Jones, that Jade Helm 15 was actually the beginning stages of initiating martial law in the United States. The conspiracy theory started to spiral and raise suspicion when several politicians began voicing concern."
None of these writers bothered to tell readers there was nothing to the Jade Helm conspiracy theory (which we had pointed out the month before). The MRC tacitly let it stand without comment, apparently in the hope that anything was worth advancing if it hurt President Obama and liberals in general.
That's not the only tacit endorsement of right-wing conspiracy theories ther MRC has done. It passively promoted Obama birther conspiracies (at least until the birther conspiracies came to Brent Bozell's preferred 2016 presidential candidate, Ted Cruz), and effectively signed onto Seth Rich conspiracies by attacking advertisers who dropped their sponsorship of Sean Hannity's Fox News show because he pushed them.
No wonder Graham is so desperate to change the subject -- he and his employer are complicit in the things Stelter's film documents.
WND Falsely Claims Researcher Revised Coronavirus Death Estimate
Art Moore wrote in a March 26 WorldNetDaily article:
But that's not true. As an actual news organization reported, Ferguson's high death estimate was based on no government action against coronavirus and still stands; the new estimate is based on restrictions in the U.K. that have now expanded into a full lockdown of the country. Ferguson himself explained it on Twitter.
Thing is, Moore knows that. But he led with the false revision claim and waited until the 13th paragraph to note Ferguson's tweets and claim that he was issuing a "clarification." But Moore then quoted a right-wing blogger to assert that "no one in the U.S. or the U.K. was advocating at the time that no measures be taken to control the spread of the virus."
WND is well into its third year of financial crisis, and it still hasn't apparently learned its less on about publishing misleading and fake news.
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
MRC Flails In Defending Fox News Against Charges It Pushed Coronavirus Misinfomation
Topic: Media Research Center
In a Feb. 27 post, NewsBusters blogger Randy Hall gushed over how "Primetime was a great time for Fox News in February, when the channel drew its highest ratings ever and attracted an average of 3.5 million viewers during the second month of 2020.... the 44th consecutive month the FNC has been the most-watched channel in all of basic cable and a 218-month streak as the most-watched cable news network."
Since then, the Media Research Center has steadfastly defended Fox News against charges that the channel has put out misinformation on the coronavirus in service of its pro-Trump agenda -- not by refuting the charges, mind you, since they're basically true, but by playing a lot of whataboutism. Typical of that approach was Kyle Drennen's March 13 post: "MSNBC was eager to exploit the coronavirus to bash cable competitor Fox News, accusing the rival network of spreading “misinformation” about the disease and even endangering the lives of its viewers. The discussion took place on the same show that labeled the virus President Trump’s “Chernobyl” on Thursday.
A March 17 post by Curtis Houck engaged in more juvernile name-calling:
Houck added: "Someone alert Lockhart to what the likes of primetime host Tucker Carlson and straight-news reporters like Bret Baier, Shannon Bream, Bill Hemmer, Ed Henry, and Martha MacCallum. He probably views them all the same as the equivalent of news anchors on TASS, but you can’t fix ignorance." But Houck made no effort to reverse that alleged ignorance by citing any actual examples of their work.
Scott Whitlock complained on March 19:
Whitlock didn't counter the claim, nor did he explain why he felt the need to label O'Donnell a "socialist" in a post that had nothing to do with the subject.
The next day, Whitlock served up more whataboutism at another MSNBC host:
As before, Whitlock failed to explain what bringing up Williams' long-ago sins -- twice! -- had anything to do with anything now beyong gratuitous piling on. He did, however, attempt a weak defense by pointing out that Hannity said other things on that show that didn't downplay the virus. Which, of course, doesn't exactly refute the fact that he did.
But in a March 27 column, Tim Graham effectively admitted that Fox News pushed misinformation, which he reframed as not buying into alleged hype about the virus from the "liberal media":
Of course, that worst-case scenario basicaly came true. Don't expect an apology for that.
Graham and the rest of the MRC will never explicitly admit that Fox News did misinform -- that would require actual research, after all, and we know the MRC would never do anything in-depth on Fox News.
CNS Hides An Important Fact In Reporting On Rand Paul's Coronavirus
CNSNews.com has long been fans of Sen. Rand Paul over the years -- for instance, we've noted its insistence on quoting Paul on things like Syria, about which he's not necessarily known to have expertise, and we caught CNS writing around criticism of Paul to highlight his (bogus) defense of President Trump during the impeachment saga.
So when Paul announced he has tested positive for coronavirus, CNS served up sympathetic coverage -- with a certain peculiar angle. An anonymously written March 22 article made sure you know that Paul as "asymptomatic," putting it in the headline and twice in the brief article.
The next day, another anonymously written article made that claim again in stating that Paul, "who—although asymptomatic--has tested positive for the coronavirus, put out a statement this afternoon explaining that he had taken the test because he is at higher risk of complications from the disease because his lung was damaged a few years ago when he was attacked by a neighbor." It went on to quote Paul (twice) saying he was asymptomatic.
There's just one problem with that emphasis, though: A person can spread the coronavirus while asymptomatic, and it's entirely possible that Paul did just that before his diagnosis, since he failed to self-quarantine while waiting for test results to come back. Paul was defensive about it, insisting that he "did not meet the criteria for quarantine," then lectured, "Instead of hounding people who got tested and then quarantined themselves, perhaps we need to broaden the testing and quit the finger-wagging."
CNS didn't mention any of that stuff, of course; the latter article simply repeated his insistence that he didn't meet the quarantine criteria.
Monday, March 30, 2020
AIM President Puts Fake News In Rant Against Fake News
Topic: Accuracy in Media
It's never a good look when your rant against "fake news" contains fake news. But Accuracy in Media (ironic!) president Adam Guillette pulled off that feat in his March 17 column:
In fact, WHO declared coronavirus a pandemic on March 11 -- six days before Guillette's column was posted. It's not clear that the CDC even issues such a declaration.
Guillette went on to defend President Trump against criticism of his reaction to the coronavirus outbreak, declaring that "Trump is the head bureaucrat, not the head of medicine. Would you expect him to be toiling away in the West Wing in desperate search of a cure?"
For all of his ranting over "fake news," Guillette didn't actually cite any examples; even if he had, it's a certainty that Fox News' downplaying of the threat wouldn't have been mentioned. Still, he was eager to try and politicize the situation: "If we’re lucky, fake news will kill demand for nationalized health care. These bureaucratic bozos can’t get testing kits into the hands of doctors; they can’t manage a supply chain of face masks and Lysol. Would you really trust them if your loved one had cancer?"
MRC Attacks Abortion During Coronavirus -- But Defended Man Who Advocated Letting Elderly Die
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's already strident rhetoric against abortion has only gotten more so as the coronavirus pandemic spread. In addition to obsessing over whether a public health expert was identified as a former Planned Parenthood official despite that being irrelevant to the issue, the MRC has freaked out over the following:
But when someone actually advocated letting the sick and elderly die from coronavirus as an expeditious way to save the economy, the MRC ran to his defense.
In a March 26 post, Curtis Houck complained that a man who advocated letting the elderly and infirm die during the pandemic since they are "not productive" and are "generally expensive to maintain" had a Washington Post article done about him. At no point does Houck express offense at the man's views, despite his employer's pro-life; he merely calls the "harsh and unpopular." The greater offense, according to Houck, is that aPost reporer called the man's elderly parents for their views on the subject:
Yep -- according to Houck, the "poor soul" and victim here is the man getting criticized for expressing an unpopular opinion -- despite it being one that he and the MRC should be opposed to as supposed "pro-life" activists. And Houck's concern that theperson's life was being "ruined" for expressing said opinion rings hollow considering that he very much wants to ruin the life of the Post reporter for the supposedly "unpopular" action of calling the guy out. Some targets are much more acceptable than others, it seems.
It's doubly hypocritical given that the MRC has come out against the view the tweet expressed elsewhere -- albeit only when media figures accused conservatives of supporting it. A March 23 post by Scott Whitlock complained that "the hard left in the media" like MSNBC's Chris Hayes are accusing President Trump and conservatives of being "ready to kill a 'million' senior citizens as a way of saving the economy from the coronavirus" (while making sure to note that Hayes is "a staunch supporter of abortion"), while a March 26 post by Whitlock accusing MSNBC's Joe Scarborough of claiming conservatives support "the mass death of the elderly population" to presreve "Boeing's corporate earnings."
So is it cool to let the elderly die, or nah? The MRC should perhaps get on the same page on that.
Bad Coronavirus Takes: Prisoners Make Great Guinea Pigs!
It's still early, but we may already have a winner in our nascent Bad Coronavirus Takes sweepstakes. In a March 25 WorldNetDaily column, lawyers Richard Kibbey and David Lamos not only advocate using prisoners as guinea pigs for prospective coronavirus treatments, they cite World War II Japan and the Nuremberg Trials not as cautionary tales but as guidelines for what you can get away with:
Yep, they went there. Even by WND standards, that a pretty callous column.
We'll start working on the award to give them.
Sunday, March 29, 2020
MRC Silent On Management Turmoil At Its Media Partner
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center brags that "Since late January of 2012, the Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard has once a week featured a 'Mainstream Media Scream' selection in his 'Washington Secrets' column." That gives the Examiner protection from criticism by the MRC -- it touted stories from the Examiner that used anonymous sources despite regularly attacking other media outlets for their reliance on anonymous sources, it gave a pass to an Examiner writer who posted a nasty tweet about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and it's certainly never going to critique Bedard himself for being a pro-Trump shill.
Last month, Toby Harnden was forced out of his job as Examiner managing editor after being accused of mistreating staffers and making sexist and homophobic comments about employees, documented through email and recorded conversations. Ironically, they were documented by an editor who had been fired the week before for sending a lewd video to colleagues. That editor also exposed some winghut welfare at the website, including one editor who gets a salary plus a $40,000 "sweetener" from a conservative nonprofit and another editor who is not terribly productive.
Then, earlier this month, another top editor quit the Examiner, citing how Examiner leadership enabled Harnden's abusive behavior, specifically citing current Examiner editor in chief Hugo Gurdon for doing nothing about it, and failing to conduct a promised internal investigation after Harnden's departure. The editor also cited a graphic purporting to identify "rape victims" at the top of a "privilege pyramid."
The Examiner also apparently stopped doing stories on Fox News that could be considered negative in an effort to get the network to reverse a ban on Examiner writers appearing on it.
This is whom the MRC is partnering on content with. No wonder they won't say a word about it.
CNS On Coronavirus: Blame China!
Later on March 19, Chapman complained that "the liberal media continue to scold President Trump for calling the coronavirus the "Chinese Virus," and that one reporter "took the issue a little further by reporting that it is "a bat virus" and "not a China virus." He then lectured:
Chapman did not note that if Trump was actually following that nomenclature, he'd be calling it the "Wuhan virus," not the "Chinese virus,"nor did he ask why Obama and other officials didn't blame the entire country where the Ebola virus originated by calling the "Democratic Republic of Congo virus."
CNS' commentary side also reinforced the talking point: A column by Steven Mosher was headlined "Remember that the Coronavirus Was 'Made In China'," followed by Ben Shaprio's similarly headlined column "For the Last Time, Coronavirus Is the 'Chinese Virus'." CNS contributed to the rah-rah by touting a poll showing that "55% of Americans approve of the way President Donald Trump is handling the response to the coronavirus pandemic."
Meanwhile, biased pro-Trump coverage continued elsewhere. A March 18 item by Jones using the coronavius crisis to promote her political agenda is headlined "Democrats Use Coronavirus Crisis to Push Their Political Agenda." Arter did her duty by uncritically repeating treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin declaring that "the United States is “still the greatest place to invest” despite the current stock market crash amid the coronavirus pandemic."
Speaking of pushing a political agenda -- as well as serving up a unlabeled press release from his employer -- Bannister touted how "the Media Research Center released an open letter to President Donald Trump on behalf of 39 leaders in the conservative movement demanding "a more formal investigation to uncover the truth"behind the origins of the coronavirus that came from Wuhan, China and specifically the actions of the Chinese government."
Saturday, March 28, 2020
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:
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:
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
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:
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":
"Leftist anarchists in league with Muslim terrorists" as the villain? Sounds exactly like the kind of book Cashill would write. But wait ... that premise -- and that title -- sound familiar. Is Cashill trying to confuse people by suggesting his book inspired a certain controversial, recently released film with the same basic plot? Wouldn't put it past him.
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.
Friday, March 27, 2020
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.
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
As a loyal pro-Trump stenographer, CNSNews.com loves to repeat 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.
Susan Jones transcribed in a March 18 article:
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 a March 19 article, Melanie Arter uncritically repeated:
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.
The same day, Arter served up more stenography:
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:
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."
Buy through this Amazon link and support ConWebWatch!
Accuracy in Media
Capital Research Center
Free Congress Foundation
Media Research Center
The Daily Les
Western Journalism Center
Support Bloggers' Rights!