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Monday, May 25, 2020
After 23 Years, WND Is Still Pretending It Doesn't Push Misinformation
Topic: WorldNetDaily

With Joseph Farah apparently still out of commission -- his only recent contribution in the past few months was a May 13 column bizarrely declaring against all evidence to the contrary that President Trump "may be the most polite and patient president America has ever had" -- it's been up to managing editor David Kupelian to promote the interests of WorldNetDaily. So it was his job to write a column on the anniversary of WND's founding on May 4. Kupelian lacks the panache and utter shamelessness of Farah, but he can whine just as well. Take this passge on alleged social media censorship:

Last week, YouTube banned the viral video of two California ER doctors after more than 5 million people had viewed it over the course of just a few days. You see, the two physicians dissented from the “approved” view of how to manage the coronavirus pandemic – the one favored by the guardians of the internet.

Censorship of dissent has become the “new normal.” In the last couple weeks, several WND stories have been singled out and labeled “Partly False Information” by Facebook, which seriously hurts our readership. When we asked Facebook’s “independent fact checkers” why one story had been labeled “Partly False Information” even though it was 100% accurately reported, they told us the viewpoint of the expert being interviewed – a New York-based Ph.D. epidemiologist who argued herd immunity would be reached faster by not locking down the whole country – was “harmful misinformation.”

This is tyranny.

Hey Facebook: What about virtually the entire output of the “mainstream media” for the past four years, from the Washington Post and News York Times to all the broadcast and cable networks (except Fox News), with their never-ending conspiracy theories contending that Donald Trump “colluded” with Vladimir Putin to steal the 2016 election from Hillary Clinton? Those stories weren’t “partly false,” they were totally false. But did they merit any attention from Facebook’s fact checkers? We all know the answer.

Kupelian seems not to understand there's one easy way to not get flagged by social media for publishing misinformation: don't publish misinformation.

As we documented, WND touted the views of the "two California ER doctors" without telling readers that actual experts found their research to be flawed and their video discredited. In the other instance, Kupelian is apparently referring to an April 7 article touting the views of one Knut Wittkowski, which was a another one-sided story that ignored the fact that experts say given how deadly coronavirus is and the overall lack of knowledge about the virus, counting herd immunity would be uncertain at best and dangerous at worst. In an apparent attempt to get the misinformation tag off the article, WND appended an "update" a week later adding the expert view.

From there, Kupelian moved on to the usual whining about alleged slights against WND, ranting that both Wikipedia and the Southern Poverty Law Center pointed out its fringe-right leanings and appetite for conspiracy theories. He responded, "Translation: WND is pro-American, pro-Christian and pro-Constitution."

No, David; nobody sane is making that translation.

Kupelian is still mad at the Washington Post's allegedly "vicious, lengthy smear article on WND's 'downfall' – published immediately after the Post's reporter learned from Elizabeth Farah that her husband and WND CEO Joseph Farah had just suffered a devastating stroke." His phrasing here is telling his that WND used Farah's stroke as a excuse to suppress the Post article -- which is a violation of journalistic ethics --  and Kupelian is still using it as an excuse not to respond to the article's claims, which includes a litany of bad business decisions (i.e. bitcoin giveaways) and financial mismanagement -- never mind that he and Farah's wife, Elizabeth, are the top two company officials behind Farah and surely have some knowledge of said financial shenanigans. To this day, WND has never refuted any claim in the Post article -- which means we have no option other than to assume it's true.

Kupelian went on to bash more critics but, as before, he refuted none of their claims. He then tried for some Farah-esque rah-rah:

But guess what, friends. On our 23rd anniversary I have bad news for Big Tech and the rest of the leftwing forces that are so breathlessly intent on "fundamentally transforming" America and silencing pro-American, Judeo-Christian news alternatives like WND.

Even though our advertising-revenue model has mostly been destroyed by Google and Facebook who together control 90% of online ad revenue; even though we are banned, censored, maligned, shadow-banned, suppressed and buried in search results; even though we are battered by lawsuits, threats, hack attacks and every other kind of attack imaginable – we’re still here! And in fact, we’re getting stronger!

Along with reporting boldly, honestly and accurately, and exposing the ubiquitous "fake news" of an establishment press afflicted with Stage 4 Trump Derangement Syndrome, we at WorldNetDaily are doing our job as "real news" journalists.

"Real news"? WND has not been associated with that, if it ever has been, and all of Kupelian's insistence that's what it does (it doesn't, even as it's fighting for its life, the details of which Kupelian is conveniently vague about) doesn't change the fact that WND is best known for spending eight years perpetuating the lie that President Obama isn't a real U.S. citizen.

Apologize for all the lies WND has spread, David, and maybe WND will be considered a purveyor of "real news."


Posted by Terry K. at 1:17 AM EDT
Sunday, May 24, 2020
MRC Handwaves Anti-Lockdown Nazi Symbolism With Lots of Whataboutism
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is totally cool with smearing abortion providers and women who have abortions as Nazis. But far-right protesters who were actually waving Nazi symbols? Not so fast -- not when there's a Democratic governor to attack.

In a May 4 post, Tim Graham took issue with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer accurately pointing out in an appearance that "there were swastikas and Confederate flags and nooses and people with assault rifles" at anti-lockdown protests in her state:

That's an awfully vague smear. Some people with swastika signs were mocking Whitmer as a Nazi (one with the words "HEIL WHITMER.") Even liberal fact-checkers noted an alleged swastika sign in Michigan...was actually a picture from Idaho. 

The protester footage CNN aired didn't have any nooses, swastikas, or Confederate flags. The local news story showed  American flags, alongside some Trump flags and Don't Tread On Me flags:

Not only did Graham also take the whataboutism route by  ranting about CNN hosts who weren't even involved in this segment failing to hate antifa the way Graham apparently still does, he complained that one observer of the Michigan protests "spread the falsehood that Trump called neo-Nazis 'very fine people,'" citing a claim by "former CNN pundit Steve Cortes" about "what Trump actually said." But as we've previously documented, Cortes got it wrong.

Kristine Marsh tried to pile on Whitmer in a May 13 post, grumbling that an appearance by Whitmer on "The View" was "just another opportunity for Whitmer to bash critics of her harsh lockdown rules as violent racists" and insisting Whitmer was the one pushing "hateful rhetoric." Marsh failed to highlightthe Nazi and Confederate symbolism at anti-lockdown protests in the state.

Scott Whitlock's goal in a May 15 post was to minimize the extremists of the Michigan protesters and insist they weren't representative of the crowd. He first huffed:

When there is a liberal protest with signs comparing Republicans to Hitler and calling for violence, journalists tend to carefully avoid those images on network TV. But a few bigots and nuts who attend anti-lockdown protests must be representative of the group at large. That was the message on Friday’s CBS This Morning.

[...]

This time, a fight broke out between demonstrators over a doll with a noose around its neck.” She added that the organizers “quickly distanced themselves from the incident.” But CBS clearly won’t let them do that.

He too complained about Whitmer and tried to make things about her and not the extreme protesters:

Many of these rallies are stridently anti-Whitmer. So perhaps that has something to do with the governor's dismissal of “political rallies” as “not an exercise of democratic principles”? [Reporter Jerika] Duncan didn’t ask. A network graphic warned, "Anti-Lockdown Protests Concerns: Signs of Hate Spotted at Rallies Nationwide.”

Instead, she focused on isolated incidents of Nazi imagery and a noose on a doll. Obviously, these examples are disgusting and should be condemned by everyone. However liberal and Democratic protesters aren’t forced to condemn their nuts and extremists. 

And he played whataboutism as well: "They also compared Bush to Hitler."

Marsh returned to complain about another episode of "The View," where "Joy Behar in particular was upset because angry protesters harassed a local news reporter there, so she compared them to the 'white supremacists and neonazis' in Charlottesville, whose protest ended in violence." She went onto huff whataboutism: "So The View is upset by a few protesters yelling “fake news” and obscenities at a reporter. But where was their outrage when a reporter was actually physically attacked by Antifa last year? In 2017 the show defended the violent left-wing group." That's a reference to right-wing provocateur (not a "reporter") Andy Ngo, who appears to have been collaborating with the right-wing protesters that were clashing with Antifa, making him a little less innocent that Marsh would have you believe.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:37 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, May 24, 2020 10:37 PM EDT
CNS Shoots Down Its Own Bad Take On Churches And Coronavirus
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com's politicization of the coronavirus pandemic by embracing the bad take that restricting in-person worship services is a violation of religious freedom rather than the public health measure it actually is has been needlessly continuing:

  • An April 15 op-ed by Katherine Beck Johnson complained that "some local authorities have gone too far in restricting religious gatherings," declarining that "The ability to gather and practice our faith is a fundamental right" and only obliquely acknowledging that there's a public health interest.
  • Managing editor Michael W. Chapman parroted President Trump's unfounded speculation (in retweeting highly biased right-wing writer Paul Sperry, whom Chapman describes has merely a "reporter") that restrictions on Muslim religious gatherings during Ramadan would be different than those on Christians during the Easter (never mind that the Easter season occurred in a very dangerous part of the pandemic).
  • Chapman also promoted a call by the right-wing activist group Liberty Counsel (which he benignly described as a "public interest law firm and Christian ministry) for churches across the nation to reopen on May 3, 'ReOpen Church Sunday,' and to do so in accordance with CDC guidelines about social distancing and hygiene."Chapman huffed in another article: "A police officer in northern Italy interrupted a Catholic Mass on April 19 and tried to stop the ceremony, but the priest rebuffed his efforts and a subsequent phone call from the mayor. In the end, the officer fined the priest $735.00 (680 euros) and a reported 19 parishioners $300.00 (280 euros) each, for apparently violating COVID-19 quarantine rules."
  • And Chapman used a May 1 article to highlight how "Cardinal Blase Cupich, head of the Archdiocese of Chicago, declined to meet with a group of faithful Catholics who wanted to discuss with him how their churches could be reopened for Mass while still following social distancing rules.
  • A May 1 column by Rev. Michael Orsi groused that "officials have aggregated to themselves more and more power" and seemed to cheer that "resistance to these containment measures has grown, and for reasons that are perfectly understandable," adding "Done in the name of public health, and perhaps justified by the threat of contagion, this has nonetheless demonstrated how government power can be set in opposition to faith. One can only fear that this experience may have whetted the appetite of certain political figures for even more assertive anti-church efforts." Orsi added: "For the past few weeks, government has kept society pretty thoroughly locked down. Now, we have to think about locking down government power."
  • CNS positively gushed over Trump's declaration that churches are "essential" and that he would "override" governors who purportedly try to keep them closed, devoting two articles to it, plus another one on press secretary Kaleigh McEnany snarky, unfounded statement that reporters want churches to stay closed.
  • The originator of this bad take, CNS editor Terry Jeffrey, brought his own addition with a May 6 column complaining that churches would stay closed in Virginia, where CNS parent the Media Research Center is headquartered, while liquor stores could open: "In [Gov.] Ralph Northam's Virginia, 20 people can enter a store that sells beer and wine and rudely brush past one another in the narrow aisles. But if 16 people were to meet on Easter in a church that seats 225, they would be criminals."

In the midst of all this politically motivated ranting, CNS actually did something it's not known for: offer an alternative viewpoint.It did so in a very understated way, of course, in a pair of columns by Catholic priest theologian Marcel Guarnizo, who is the kind of right-wing Catholic CNS likes because he once denied the sacrament of communion to a lesbian at her mother's funeral.

In an April 20 column, Guarnizo highlighted that "irrational agitating of the faithful seems morally suspect, adding: "This temporary suspension of attendance at the Holy Mass is not an attempt to subvert our religious freedom. This temporary shutdown has little to do with Catholicism per se. The right that is being limited is not religious freedom, but the right of association." Guarnizo pointed out that "COVID-19 is perhaps more contagious and would be many times theoretically more lethal [than the flu] if allowed to run rampant through the population" and that "Slowing down a new virus also makes sense in order not to exhaust medical resources, human and material, so that our best care for the sick may be insured. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the current measures, such large claims of persecution are unwarranted and alarmist."

Surprisingly, CNS also published an April 27 column by Guarnizo doubling down on that viewpoint, citing conflicts over the issue in New Mexico:

Not having mass associations within a confined space does not mean, as Rusty [Reno, editor of right-wing religious journal First Things] suggests, that the government suspended public worship in New Mexico. There are no government officials intimidating anyone not to worship. Bishop [Peter] Baldacchino, who carried on outdoors with public Easter celebrations, states that someone called the police and they came, and they said, “Father, this is all fine, we cannot see any problems.”

There are so-called culture wars with the state, regarding abortion and other matters, and those are very real. But these “faux” claims of oppression over a temporary limitation of association in New Mexico, are imaginary. Bishop Baldacchino is freely making prudential decisions, unimpeded by the state, and that is his call. I submit we have enough dislocation in the Church and in society at large to be inventing hills on which to die upon.

[...]

It is therefore not our right to religious freedom that is being limited, but the right of association. This is also true for others, who are limited in their right to association for secular purposes. Nothing here is aimed in particular towards the faith or the exercise of religious freedom. 

[...]

To imagine that the governor during this pandemic was putting on her theological-metaphysical hat, to tell us what is the meaning of life and what matters in that pursuit, is beyond absurd. To imagine that what embassies, governments, corporations, and others have in mind when they use the designation "essential" and "non-essential personnel" is a theological-philosophical classification of what matters, is unbelievably flawed reasoning. 

Needless to say, CNS has not referred to Guarnizo's analysis in any of its articles pushing the religious-freedom canard, and Jeffrey made no mention of it in his May 6 column. It seems CNS feels merely publishing his analysis and quickly moving on was enough -- wven though it completely undermines its entire agenda on this subject.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:19 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, May 24, 2020 12:27 PM EDT
Saturday, May 23, 2020
Reminder: MRC Is Happy To See Non-Conservative Media Die
Topic: Media Research Center

If there was any question that the Media Research Center has a goal of silencing non-conservative media and not merely doing "research" on them, Joseph Vazquez makes it clear in an April 30 post in which he huffily rants against the idea that the federal government could help media outlets hurt by the coronavirus pandemic by buying ads:

The Los Angeles Times touted a new media lobbying effort to expand federal ad spending by billions of dollars for local media companies.

In a story headlined, “Rocked by coronavirus losses, TV, radio, newspapers seek government ad dollars,” The Times pushed the case for expanded government-funding of media outlets. “Every year the federal government spends around $1 billion in advertising to promote its programs and military recruitment,” The Times said.

The outlet also pulled on the heart strings of its readers. It stated how media companies were “financially devastated by the coronavirus outbreak, “even as the hunger for news and information on the pandemic is driving up viewing and readership.”

And then came the kicker: Representatives from media companies involved in a new lobbying effort want Congress to expand “federal advertising spending to between $5 billion and $10 billion for the rest of the year.” That’s at least between a 400 percent to 900 percent spending increase. The Times even admitted that large media conglomerates like Comcast (owner of NBC News) “own television stations that would likely see some benefit from the increased spending.”

The federal government was already planning to spend “as much as $2 billion” in tax dollars on ad spending, according to The Times, but apparently that wasn’t enough.

Vazquez suddenly became concerned about the alleged "conflict of interest" in media outlets taking money from the government, even though those outlets would actually be providing a service for that money:

Instead of raising questions about what such a thing could mean for journalistic ethics, The Times instead went on to cover for the idea: “The proposal is designed to minimize the perception of the funds being a handout to media companies, as the government will be getting commercials and ads in return.”

The Times didn’t address the potential conflict of interest this sort of push entails.

But The Times wasn’t the only liberal outlet that pushed the idea for the federal government to expand funding to media outlets.

On April 20, CNN.com published a piece with this headline: “The call for federal support of local news is getting louder.”

[...]

Liberal outlet Deadline complained the Senate’s recent $484 billion small business relief package didn’t “specifically provide relief to a larger number of local media outlets.”

None of these outlets addressed the potential conflict of interest issues prevalent here in their stories.

If the liberal state-funded media operations NPR and PBS are any indication of the effects of government financial involvement in the news industry, then no thanks.

If Vazquez is really concerned about conflicts of interest at media outlets, he can start a little closer to home -- specifically, down the hall at MRC headquarters. Ther MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, is not only not an independent news organization -- it's simply another outlet for its parent's right-wing, anti-media agenda -- it has conflicts of interest as well, the most blatant one being its dozens of articles promoting Mark Levin, so many that it seems there is a cross-promotion agreement going on.

Further, Vazquez sticking "HECK NO" in the headline tells us what his (and the MRC's real agenda is: to kill non-conservative media outlets. He and the MRC probably couldn't be happier that the internet and the pandemic have struck a double blow to the viability of legacy media operations, and they oppose anything that might extend their life.

That's not "media research" -- it's hatred, pure and simple.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:04 PM EDT
WND Columnist Barry Farber Dies
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily columnist and radio host Barry Farber died earlier this month. WND managing editor David Kupelian gave him quite a sendoff:

On a personal note: Barry Farber was a friend, colleague and hero. He was a longtime weekly columnist for WND. Moreover, having had the opportunity to be a guest on his show dozens of times over the years, I can honestly say Barry Farber was my favorite talk show host in the whole world to be interviewed by, and I told him so more than once. The best talk hosts have the mysterious ability to draw the very best out of their guests, and that was Barry. He was unfailingly warm, gracious, knowledgeable, fresh, and effusively but genuinely enthusiastic about and interested in his guests. I am also grateful to have had the chance to talk to Barry just a day before he died. 

Farber fell into pro-Trump sycophancy in his later years, at one point likening him to Michelangelo. He also tarnished his reputation by embracing discredited anti-vaxxer activist Andrew Wakefield and the documentary film he made (which WND, of course, was totally cool with).

Even so, Farber wasn't one of the worst WND columnists, which tells you all you need to know about the history of WND columnists.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:30 AM EDT
Friday, May 22, 2020
MRC's Graham Predictably Melts Down Over Pulitzer Prizes Again
Topic: Media Research Center

One thing you can count on from the Media Research Center is regular meltdowns anytime a journalist it despises wins an award. With the awarding of this year's Pulitzer Prizes, Tim Graham comes through again. He ranted in a May 4 post (bolding in original):

They handed out the latest Pulitzer Prizes on Monday, and once again, the liberal tilt was all over the selections, and the ceremony itself.

[...]

While many awards had a liberal tinge, two were obviously awarded for resisting Trump. In the newly created Audio Reporting category, NPR's This American Life won for an episode called “The Out Crowd” — which "illuminated the personal impact" of the Trump Administration’s policy to make immigrants “Remain in Mexico” until they can be admitted.

In the Editorial Cartooning category, the winner was Barry Blitt of The New Yorker, “for work that skewers the personalities and policies emanating from the Trump White House with deceptively sweet watercolor style and seemingly gentle caricatures.”

Over the previous three years, four Pulitzer Prizes for reporting were handed out for exposing Donald Trump's apparently shady deeds, from alleged Russian collusion to tax evasion. In the previous eight years, there's not a single reporting prize handed out for exposing anything about Barack Obama or his team. Democracy was never in darkness back then.

Graham does not identify what about Obama needed to be "exposed" in such a way that would warrant a Pulitzer.

Graham was particularly incensed that "the widely criticized fake-history '1619 Project'" from the New York Times won an award, even after the Times felt pressed to publish an 'update,' a 'clarification' on its central idea that slavery was 'one primary reason the colonists fought the American Revolution.' It turned out their point was not true."

That change -- more accurately stating that preserving slavery was a motivation of "some" colonists and not "all" of them -- was actually relatively minor and, despite the insistence of Graham and his right-wing media cohorts, doesn't particularly undermine the fact that racism influenced the creation of the United States and the Constitution and played a role in perpetuating the racial inequity that still plagues America today. (Graham devoted a March column to whining about this as well.)

If Graham and his MRC was as scrupulous as the Times in correcting the record when it gets something wrong -- which it's not -- Graham might have a leg to stand on. Instead, he's in "do as I say, not as I do" mode again.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:03 PM EDT
CNS Tries To Play Gotcha With A Golfing Obama
Topic: CNSNews.com

Craig Bannister thought he had a gotcha in an April 30 CNSNews.com blog post:

Last Friday, Michelle Obama debuted two PSA videos urging African-Americans to stay safe from the coronavirus by staying home – and the very next day her husband Barack was spotted out on the links playing golf.

As the Chicago Sun-Times reported in its article titled “Michelle Obama urges African Americans to stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” two PSAs by Mrs. Obama were released on Friday, April 24, telling African-Americans to stay home, even if they’re not exhibiting any symptoms of the virus, because they can still spread the disease to others.

Then, on Saturday, her husband, former President Barack Obama, was outside enjoying a round of golf in Virginia, Politico Playbook reported on Sunday, April 26[.]

What Bannister didn't tell you: Golf courses in Virginia were open for play, and the state's stay-at-home order at the time permitted "outdoor activity, including exercise, provided individuals comply with social distancing requirements" (and golf is technically exercise). Even Tucker Carlson noted that Obama was engaging in social distancing while playing.

The photo accompanying Bannister's blog post is an Getty image lacking a date or description, which tells us it's a file photo and not of the golf outing in question. That's a mildly dishonest thing for Bannister to do.

Further, Bannister is almost certainly not going to tell you that President Trump played golf in January and February as the coronavirus was gaining hold in the U.S. That would seem a more relevant issue than playing a lame, politically motivated gotcha game with a former president whom CNS has always despised.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:51 AM EDT
Thursday, May 21, 2020
AIM Can't Figure Out Conservative Media Is Biased On Tara Reade
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Spencer Irvine wrote in a May 5 Accuracy in Media post:

Data journalism site FiveThirtyEight discovered that the mainstream media covered Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden less than conservative media.

The website’s findings confirmed Accuracy in Media’s reporting that the mainstream media ignored Reade’s allegations longer than it should have.

[...]

Fox News “has devoted the most attention to Reade so far” and intensified its Reade-related coverage. It has mentioned Reade 371 times, compared to CNN’s 35 clips that mentioned Reade. FiveThirtyEight said that MSNBC “barely mentioned her” until last week. But FiveThirtyEight pointed out that conservative online outlets “accounted for most early coverage” of Reade’s allegations from websites such as The Blaze, Daily Caller, and Breitbart.

FiveThirtyEight’s media analysis on Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden confirmed that media bias played a significant role in dictating media coverage. The mainstream media was slow to respond to the allegations and ignored them longer than it should have, while the conservative media covered the story early and often.

Note how Irvine assumes that the conservative media's coverage of the Reade story is his default, cheering how they covered it "early and often" and criticizing the "mainstream media" for waiting "longer than it should have." But he's ignoring the fact that the conservative media have a motivation for covering Reade "early and often": it's biased.

Irvine seems not to have considered that the conservative media pushed the Reade story "early and often" because they believe the story will hurt Biden and help President Trump. If Irvine thinks the "mainstream media" held off "longer than it should have" because it's purported biased for Biden, then the opposite must be true.

There's simply no reason for Irvine to assume that the conservative media is the standard of political coverage when it actually is as biased as he likes to think the "mainstream media" is.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:49 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, May 21, 2020 8:54 PM EDT
Yes, Tim Graham, NewsBusters Did Push The Climategate Hoax
Topic: NewsBusters

The most thin-skinned right-winger when it comes to criticism of his operation (behind WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah, of course) is the Media Research Center's Tim Graham. He can't admit his own errors, and he's certainly not about to admit when the MRC operation for which he serves as executive editor, NewsBusters, screws up.

Graham spent an April 30 post complaining about "one of those dramatically one-sided climate fearmongering-documentaries" hosted by CNN's Bill Weir. He went on to complain:

Weir ripped conservatives as part of a "machinery of denial" funded by the oil companies. As he promoted climate activist/scientist Michael Mann, he presented the 2009 scandal known as "Climategate" as a "malevolent hoax" created by, among others, the late Noel Sheppard of NewsBusters and other conservative bloggers, like Ed Driscoll and Geoff Metcalf. There was zero rebuttal offered to Mann's "malevolent" spin. 

When Weir pointed out that "Multiple investigations from the EPA to the UK's House of Commons cleared them and declared Climategate was a malevolent hoax," Graham went on a tirade (bolding in original):

Weir failed to explain that the House of Commons inquiry took only one day of oral testimony and said it was not an inquiry into the science issues. I can't find the words "malevolent hoax" in there, or in the EPA press release. But Weir could always show us where he got that loaded phrase.

If you were to read the actual NewsBusters blog by Noel Sheppard -- as the scandal was breaking -- it's a very straightforward summary of what the hacked e-mails said. This is one of the "cherry-picked" phrases from Mann: "I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline." 

In other words, Mann was fudging numbers.

No, he didn't. As actual researchers documented:

"Mike's Nature trick" refers to a technique (a "trick of the trade") by Michael Mann to plot recent instrumental data along with reconstructed past temperature. This places recent global warming trends in the context of temperature changes over longer time scales.

There is nothing secret about "Mike's trick". Both the instrumental and reconstructed temperature are clearly labelled. Claiming this is some sort of secret "trick" or confusing it with "hide the decline" displays either ignorance or a willingness to mislead.

[...]

The common misconception that scientists tried to hide a decline in global temperatures is false. The decline in tree-ring growth is plainly discussed in the publicly available scientific literature. The divergence in tree-ring growth does not change the fact that we are currently observing many lines of evidence for global warming. The obsessive focus on a misquote taken out of context, doesn't change the scientific case that human-caused climate change is real.

So, yes, Climategate was a cherry-picked hoax pushed by right-wing activists -- the fact that it was malevolent would seem to be self-evident, even if Graham can't find the actual word in any of the debunkings he cites -- and Sheppard and NewsBusters indisputably pushed it.

We've documented Sheppard's lengthy history of climate change bamboozlement -- to the point where he pushed the bogus idea that back-to-back blizzards in Washington, D.C., somehow proved there was no global warming. Needless to say, the MRC has never corrected Sheppard's original "hide the decline" post where he deliberately misinterpreted the information, despite his similarly lengthy history of pushing falsehoods in general. So maybe Graham shouldn't be so aggressively defending Sheppard's original work.

Then again, Graham is in full deflection mode. He won't concede that Sheppard and NewsBusters got it wrong, so he attacks studies that showed the hoax, then tried to misdirect by complaining that "these supposedly fact-based scientists worked to censor opposing viewpoints from the scientific literature."

Weir is not wrong, and Graham knows it. But Graham -- rather pettily and selfishly -- is not going to give Weir the satisfaction of admitting that.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:01 PM EDT
CNS Unemployment Coverage Distortion Watch, Pre-Reporting Edition
Topic: CNSNews.com

You know the unemployment situation under President Trump is bad when CNSNews.com has to do pre-reporting to soften the blow. It did that before March's coronavirus-spiked numbers came out, and it did so before the even more spiked numbers for April.

An April 30 article by managing editor Michael W. Chapman featured a Fox Business report (of course) noting that there have been more than 30 million jobless claims filed since the pandemic shutdowns began and "unemployment is expected to hit between 18% and 20%, which is a 'Depression-like' number." Chapmanthen served up those Depression-era numbers: "During the Great Depression, the national unemployment rate peaked at 24.75% (of the labor force) in 1933. The U.S. population then was 92,950,000.  The unemployment rate stayed in the high teens from 1935 to 1940."

When the actual numbers came out on May 8, Susan Jones reverted once again to looking at the labor force participation rate, while also trying to remind readers that Trump was doing great before the pandemic:

The nation's labor force participation rate reached a 47-year low of 60.2 percent in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as the number of people not in the labor force jumped by 6,570,000 to a record 103,415,000.

The participation rate has now dropped 2.5 percentage points since March, and it is the lowest it has been since the 60.0 percent recorded in January 1973.

[...]

The number of employed Americans had broken 25 records under President Trump, something he has frequently repeated on the campaign trail.

At the same time, a record 23,078,000 Americans were unemployed in April -- 15,938,000 more than in March.

The unemployment rate of 14.7 percent didn't get mentioned by Jones until the eighth paragraph of her article.

In his designated sidebar, Craig Bannister had the grim duty of reporting that "The 18.9% national, seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for Hispanics and Latinos in April more than tripled from March’s 6.0% level, as the number employed plummeted by more than five million (5,093,000) and the number unemployed jumped by more than three million (3,492,000) from March’s levels." Editor Terry Jeffrey's designated sidebar complained that "As overall employment in the United States was dropping dramatically in April, the federal government added 1,000 jobs."

Chapman followed up on May 12 with a little pre-reporting for the next report, noting that "Kevin Hassett, the senior economic adviser to President Trump and former chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, said that in the next report on jobless claims he expects the national unemployment rate to be 'close to 20%,'" and that it likely won't get back below 10 percent until late next year.

Not a lot of distortion this time -- it seems even CNS can't spin numbers this bad.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:11 AM EDT
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
NEW ARTICLE: The MRC's Silver Linings Playbook
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center gets mad whenever someone notes a bright side to the coronavirus pandemic -- but writers for it and its "news" division CNS have touted their own favorite bright spots. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 9:31 PM EDT
CNS Pretends Trump Writes All Of His Own Tweets
Topic: CNSNews.com

Patrick Goodenough wrote in a May 4 CNSNews.com article:

Confronted by a tweet from former Vice President Joe Biden criticizing his response to the coronavirus pandemic, President Trump said Sunday the tweet was not written by Biden but “by a young man that got very good grades at a very good school.”

Trump, a prolific tweeter himself, was speaking during a “virtual town hall” event broadcast by Fox News.

Host Bret Baier drew his attention to a recent tweet on Biden’s Twitter feed responding to Trump’s criticism of the Obama administration.

“We left a playbook. He ignored it,” the tweet read. “We created an office for pandemics. He gutted it. We had CDC officials in China to detect and contain outbreaks. He pulled them out. Trump can try and shift blame all he wants, but the fact is his actions left us unprepared.”

“First of all, Joe Biden didn’t write that,” Trump retorted. “That was written from a young man that got very good grades at a very good school. That was not written by him. I promise you that.”

But Goodenough didn't tell you that Trump doesn't write all of his tweets either. As an actual news organization detailed, White House social media director Dan Scavinois believed to write about half of Trump's tweets:

If you look at Trump's Twitter page, you'll see, for one thing, a few sort of anodyne things: "I'll be at such-and-such a place at 1 o'clock." Trump's not writing that; Dan Scavino is.

Then you'll see other things that will say, "I'm not the corrupt one; Hillary Clinton is corrupt." And it will list three or four reasons why Hillary Clinton is the corrupt one, not Trump. Well, that's Trump, but it's Trump in "collusion," as it were, with Scavino, who will supply the litany of examples.

There are also some tweets that Trump will dictate to Scavino and Scavino will then polish them up, make sure there are no grammatical errors or anything like that. Trump will look at them and then say, "OK, that looks good," or "No, no. I want you to put this back in." Then he'll say, "Go ahead and hit send," and Scavino will do so. ...

There certainly are tweets that Trump himself writes in the dark of night or first thing in the morning that Dan Scavino sees when the rest of the world sees. That's probably about half of the tweets overall. But of the 37,000 or so tweets that Trump has sent out, Dan Scavino is responsible for — at least as a "co-conspirator" to — about half of those.

Goodenough did tiptoe toward doing a fact-check on Trump, which his employer is usually too dedicated to stenography to touch:

Trump then said that after he restricted travel from China in early February – doing something that nobody had wanted to do – “Joe Biden said, ‘he’s xenophobic. He’s a racist.’ They called me a racist.”

“And I saved hundreds of thousands of lives. And he actually apologized with a letter on a Friday night saying ‘he made the right move.’ It wasn’t well played by the press, but he said I made the right move.”

The Biden campaign has disputed in the past that the Democratic presidential candidate had written a letter and apologized.

Biden’s campaign did issue a statement a month ago, on a Friday, saying the candidate supported the travel ban that barred entry to any non-U.S. national who has visited China in the previous 14 days. He did not apologize.

Oh, so close. Actually, not only is there no evidence whatsoever that Biden ever apologized to Trump for anything regarding to Trump's attempt to stop travel from China , it's false for Trump to claim that Biden branded him "xenophobic" or "racist" for doing so; the Biden campaign says his reference to xenophobia was about Trump's long record of scapegoating others at a time when the virus was emerging from China.

It's unclear why Goodenough thought it was important to note that the Biden campaign's statement was issued "on a Friday."


Posted by Terry K. at 4:05 PM EDT
Mychal Massie Meltdown Watch, 'Fat Prof' Edition
Topic: WorldNetDaily
I remember my late mother's saying: "Give a monkey a show, and it will always perform." There's a mountain of truth in her timeless axiom – especially when it comes to Brittney Cooper, who proves you can be as undesirable as a fat, greasy pig at a Muslim dinner party and still get a paycheck from Rutgers University.

It used to be that basket weaving was the most meaningless course one could take in higher education. During my undergraduate and graduate years, we laughingly referred to certain degree pursuits as being such because the degree wasn't worth the paper the ink was printed on.

Today basket weaving has been replaced by degrees in women's and gender studies, equally as useless as basket weaving unless, of course, the so-called professor teaching same is a wannabe commie loser enjoined to a plexus of hatred, crafted and controlled by parathion neo-Leninists.

If I were a black woman who was supposedly "down with the struggle" and committed to "keeping it real," the last area of academia I would seek degree in would be women's and gender studies. It's a more worthless curriculum of study than afro-centrism and pan-Africanism. It's a degree program for women, specifically black women, who are uncouth and intellectually incapable of pursuing real academic curricula.

[...]

Cooper has proven time and again that she's only marginally qualified to have a career in those areas of academic idiocy. She maintains credentialing based upon skin-color affirmative action and the lack of propriety that bigoted, white liberals expect and applaud from their in-house simians.

[...]

When Cooper was blaming President Trump for black women being obese, she should have been challenged pursuant to whether said claim was born out of jealousy for the countless number of beautiful black women who have the magnificent figure she does not.

Perhaps she was just angry that someone didn't tell her to put down the box of Twinkies and step back from the cupcake aisle. I can understand a person being embarrassed about being overweight. But, just because she wears what appears to be a 6X clothing and has jowls that cover her neck and the top of her chest, she doesn't get a pass to blame her appearance on President Trump.

[...]

COVID-19 ultimately will be looked back upon as the gateway for what is biblically prophesized to come. With that said, in the moment COVID-19 is a hard sell for those of us who are of sound mind and capable of thinking for ourselves. 

However, in order to promote the agenda of forced vaccination and social monitoring, which will usher in the zeitgeist necessary for the antichrist to thrive, there must be victims who fit into the Hegelian Dialectics bag of tricks skillfully deployed by Fabian Democratic Socialists.

[...]

Cooper is nothing more than a tool in the employ of nefarious globalists and population-control Lucifarians. I could pity her; because the one chance she has to find completeness and value she has blasphemed, calling God a white supremacist driven by patriarchy. She has railed that "God [Almighty] isn't the God [she] serves." Speaking of Jehovah, she said: "He might be 'biblical' but he's also an a**hole." 

-- Mychal Massie, May 4 WorldNetDaily column

(Unsurprisingly, Massie has issues with women who don't think like he does.)


Posted by Terry K. at 12:18 AM EDT
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
MRC Remains Angry & Jealous That Obamas Are Having Success
Topic: Media Research Center

Even though Barack Obama has been out of the White House for more then three years, he and wife Michelle are still living rent-free in the collective heads of the Media Research Center.

On April 20, Elise Ehrhard ranted, perhaps a bit jealous of the Obamas' post-presidency success:

The Obamas have created a very lucrative post-presidential life in the entertainment industry. Barack and Michelle Obama currently have a $50 million Netflix contract which they acquired with the help of a campaign contributor. Obama's former national security advisor, Susan Rice, is on Netflix's Board of Directors. The New York Post has even called Netflix "a propaganda machine for the Obamas."

So perhaps it is not surprising that the new Netflix series, BlackAF, from Kenya Barris, the creator of Black-ish, Mixed-ish and Grown-ish,praises the Obamas in about every other episode. Even the series' opening mixes images of the Obama family with African American heroes like Martin Luther King, Jr.

Ehrhard ranted further after it was noted on the show that the Obama daughters can't get away with anything:

Actually, the only presidential daughters who faced any serious consequences for their teenaged mistakes were Jenna and Barbara Bush. Both Bush daughters were arrested and charged with underage drinking. Their arrests ended up on the covers of newspapers and weeklies across the country. Jenna appeared in court for underage drinking and using a false ID. The Bush daughter was ordered to undergo counseling and serve community service. The clothes she wore in the courtroom -- including Capri pants, sandals and a toe ring -- were mocked and ridiculed all over the news. Malia Obama, on the other hand, faced no consequences for appearing to smoke marijuana.

You might recall that the ConWeb tried to blame everyone but the Bush daughters for the crime they committed.

In an April 21 post, Gabriel Hays suggested without evidence that there was a direct link between allegedly Democratic-arranged money to public broadcasting in a coronavirus stimulus bill and Michelle Obama having a new show reading classic children's books on a PBS subchannel:

One also might wonder whether there’s a bit of PBS/Democrat quid pro quo that got Mrs. Obama her PBS KIDS deal after the station’s parent company, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, received a massive bailout from the government, a provision stipulated by Democrats in Congress.

As Newsbusters pointed out, CPB received more government funding this year than ever before. It received $75 million in March on top of the $465 million already granted to the CPB, which was already $20 million more than it received last year.

CPB must sure be grateful to those Democrats. Giving Michelle Obama a cute kids show would certainly be a nice expression of their appreciation.

If you'll recall, the MRC tried to exploit the pandemic by using that money to CPB as a cudgel to demand that people's careers be destroyed by cutting off federal funding to public broadcasting entirely.

Hays returned for another meltdown on April 28, appalled that anyone would make a documentary based on a book that sold more than 10 million copies:

What many people are probably considering the lamest surprise reveal in modern history, the upcoming “top-secret” Michelle Obama Netflix documentary is coming sooner than expected and some in the media are dying of excitement to say the least.

Really though, who are they trying to convince?

The Hollywood Reporter revealed that the wait is almost over for the film adaptation of the Former First Lady’s best-selling memoir Becoming. The project, which the outlet indicated had been kept “top-secret for months” will debut on the streaming platform on May 6.

[...]

It’s quite clear that Michelle and her husband are cultivating a media empire at the moment. Not only have Obamas come out with Michelle’s number one book and this new documentary, their production American Factory won the Academy Award for best documentary earlier in 2020. She’s also the new smiling face of children’s public television, having just started a PBS KIDS show where she reads books to America’s youngsters.

Did we mention that the book has sold more than 10 million copies? Because Hays didn't.

Tim Graham -- who has a longstanding issue with being jealous of the Obamas' success --  complained about it again in his May 1 column:

So let’s get this straight. The Obamas were awarded a book deal worth an estimated $65 million for their memoirs, hers and then his. They also struck an estimated $50 million production deal with Netflix. (We don’t have actual numbers. Could someone in the media ask for a tax return?)

Now, with this self-aggrandizing documentary, the second deal is being used to accentuate the profits for the first. The buck-raking here is intense. Donald Trump surely admires their self-promotional moxie.

The Obamas quickly became super-rich. Vanity Fair celebrated these "Obamoguls" even as Mrs. Obama was hailed for her “saintly popularity.” This so-called saint doesn’t spurn the finer things. Last August, TMZ reported the Obamas were buying a $15 million mansion on the coast of Martha's Vineyard to match their $8 million D.C. mansion. Non-Fox network coverage? Zero. In December, they actually bought said mansion for $11.75 million. Non-Fox network coverage? Again, zero.

Graham is further annoyed that Ivanka Trump wrote a badly reviewed book (which he apparently hasn't read to back up his apparent view that it's secretly better than Obama's):

Not everyone famous is praised for self-help books for women. The current president’s daughter Ivanka Trump wrote one in 2017, and the New York Times was brutal: “It reads more like the scrambled Tumblr feed of a demented 12-year-old who just checked out a copy of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations from the library.”

There are never any Republican critics of Michelle Obama in the “news” these days. Sonia Rao’s Washington Post story on the documentary quoted Anita McBride, chief of staff to previous First Lady Laura Bush, who said Michelle was a “reluctant” First Lady, but then formed lasting public connections through her “extraordinary use of media and pop culture and television.”

Is that Michelle’s gift to the media? No, it’s the media’s gift to Michelle. The infatuated titans of “news” and entertainment media appear to have granted her every “extraordinary” wish in building this “billion dollar brand.”

The cheers are always presumed to be unanimous. Dissent from this party line is ignored. And no one asks about the profits. Greed, for the Obamas, is cast as just another inspiring voyage of self-discovery.

We suspect Graham has never talked about the Trump family's more obvious greed in this same disparaging manner.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:14 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, May 21, 2020 9:17 PM EDT
CNS' Highly Biased Flynn Obsession
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com is pretty much on board for whatever will advance President Trump's re-election. The fight over former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn is one thing it has decided is relevant.

After Flynn's attorney released notes from FBI agents that she claimed showed them trying to catch Flynn in a lie -- you know, like the one Flynn pleaded guilty to -- CNS flooded the over the next couple days:

That's six stories in two days devoted exclusively to pushing a pro-Flynn (and, thus, pro-Trump) narrative. They were followed a few days later with a couple more articles, one of which, "'Where's Chris Wray Been?' Rep. Jordan Asks Why Wray Didn't Tell Congress About 'FBI Misconduct'," follows in CNS' history of pushing the same exact pro-Trump talking point over multiple articles.

None of them even hinted that there's another side to the story:  that giving Flynn an opportunity to tell the truth or lie about his dealings is standard lawa enforcement procedure and that it was not entrapment. After all, if Flynn had simply told the FBi agents the truth, he could have avoided all this trouble.

When Trump's Justice Department announced that it would seek to dismiss its case against Flynn, CNS flooded the zone again:

That's eight more articles over another two-day span designed to push a pro-Flynn (and, thus, pro-Trump) narrative. This time, though, CNS did actually publish two articles noting that there's an alternate viewpoint:

Still, the bias is clear -- 14 articles pushing one viewpoint vs. two articles noting a different one.

And when the Trump White House began pushing the notion that then President Obama was behind all this, the CNS pro-Trump hype machine roared to life once again, with added Flynn-related content and attacks on the judge who won't immediately drop the Flynn case:

That's 13 pro-Flynn (and, thus, pro-Trump) "news" stories between May 11 and 15. By contrast, just four that offer a different viewpoint:

So, to sum up: Between April 30 and May 15, CNS published 33 articles related to the Flynn case, only six of which didn't push pro-Flynn (and, thus, pro-Trump) narratives. That would seemm to be a violation of its mission statement that it "endeavors to fairly present all legitimate sides of a story."

To whom does one complain at CNS about this violation?


Posted by Terry K. at 1:12 AM EDT

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