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Wednesday, June 3, 2020
AIM Chief Fails In Attacking Newspapers As 'Hard Left,' Unworthy of Bailout
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Accuracy in Media is attempting to regain what little relevance it had and maybe create some buzz by railing against the idea of treating the media like every other business in America that is eligible for coronavirus relief money. Of course, AIM simply wants the non-conservative media to die any way it can. The latest step in this is a May 22 op-ed by AIM president Adam Guillette pubished by the Washington Examiner.

Since Guillette, like most right-wing media critics, has never worked a day in the media he attacks -- he came to AIM from the discredited right-wing provocateurs at Project Veritas -- he doesn't understand how the media busienss works; he's too caught up in his biases. He began by ranting:

If Lenin said that capitalists “will sell us the rope we use to hang them,” newspapers are saying that conservatives will fund the ink they use to smear them.

Bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress have now signed on for a proposed media bailout. This isn’t a bailout for smaller newspapers and television stations. Those businesses were already eligible for the Payroll Protection Program, and many of them took advantage of it — in a big way. 

The Seattle Times took $9.9 million tax dollars, and the Tampa Bay Times bagged $8.5 million. Two of the most hard-left newspapers in America didn’t even hesitate before grabbing their Trump Bucks.

Needless to say, Guillette offers no evidence that either of those newspapers is "hard left" -- he simply assumes so because they don't have a right-wing bias.

Guillette then attacked the newspaper chain McClatchy for filing for bankruptcy. He continued to whine:

For years, conservatives bemoaned how far left their local newspapers shifted. Little by little, the editorial boards of nearly every local newspaper were taken over by progressives. Then the editorializing started spreading to each article. In response to their complaints, conservatives were always told, “It’s a private company, they can do what they want!” 

But now we’ve learned that alienating a large portion of your marketplace isn’t a winning business strategy. Why, then, should customers be forced to pay for a product they’ve already rejected?

Of course, the newspapers claim their bias isn’t the problem. They blame the internet. Countless business models have been upended by the internet; should we bail out each of them? Should we have bailed out stone tablet makers after the invention of the printing press?

If Guillette is going to complain that newspapers' purported liberal bias are not a "winning business strategy" then he must also admit that explicitly conservative newspapers were never a "winning business strategy." As we've documented, newspapers like the Washington Times, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and New York Post have always been failures in the market and kept alive only because they were owned by deep-pocketed right-wing owners -- even in the pre-internet years when mainstream newspaper reliably turned profits. Even the publication where Guillette's op-ed appears, the Washington Examiner, is the remnant of a daily newspaper that failed after a new owner, Philip Anschutz, infused it with right-wing bias.

In order to be an effective critic, one must understand what he is criticizing. Guillette clearly doesn't.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:01 PM EDT
SHOCK: MRC Writers Stop Hating CNN For A Few Seconds
Topic: Media Research Center

The Twitter feeds of Media Research Center writer Nicholas Fondcaro and NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck are typically filled with hate and bile toward the MRC's usual targets, but particularly CNN -- they are paid well for their hate and bile after all. But they committed a minor sin in the eyes of their employer: they expressed sympathy toward CNN over the weekend when correspondent Omar Jimenez was arrested for no reason by Minnesota State Police while covering the unrest in Minneapolis following the police-custody death of George Floyd.

Houck wrote: "This is infuriating and stupid. What a horrible look for the Minnesota State Police. Absolutely inexcusable. It's pretty clear they weren't protesters. Everyone knows how blunt, possibly harsh, and maybe nasty I've been to CNN. But arresting Omar Jimenez or anyone reporting? No." Fondacaro similarly wrote: "Unbelievable! I’m not a fan of CNN but this is BS and wrong! The crew was respectfully asking police where they wanted them to move so they could stay out of the way of Minnesota State Police, and they get arrested."

None of this supposed concern made it to the pages of NewsBusters, one sign that this expression of sympathy was either utterly phony or a mistake for which they had to answer to their MRC overlords. Antoher sign: Fondacaro and Houck were soon bashing CNN as usual.

A few hours later, Fondacaro was viciously mocking CNN anchor Brian Stelter as "Pennywise" and a "clown," ranting that the channel is trying to "warp reality," and bizarrely blaming CNN for a Fox News reporter getting heckled (even though, as we've documented, he and his MRC coworkers spent years egging on people to yell "CNN sucks!" at CNN correspondents).

Houck, meanwhile, went into abusive-spouse mode a few hours later by blaming CNN itself and the media in general for losing his sympathy for the CNN reporters getting arrested:

See, this is how the media so often throw good will, which was absolutely there this morning b/c it was awful.

Perhaps the biggest lie about the news media is that their insistence that they don't like being a part of the story. They love it and relish it, especially CNN.

It's probably closer to the truth to point out that Houck has no good will whatsoever toward CNN and any sympathy was always going to be fleeting (if not entirely manufactured).

The MRC lets Houck's and Fondacaro's increasingly irrational anti-CNN rage go unabated, it's spilling over into actual MRC posts, and it seems everyone's totally cool with that.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:28 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE -- WND's Coronavirus Conspiracies: The Dubious Docs
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's stable of fringe physicians -- plus a couple new ones -- serve up the usual questionable advice (about hydroxychloroquine) and fearmongering (about a possible vaccine). Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 12:25 AM EDT
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
MRC Still Treating Lara Logan Like A Real Journalist -- But She Repeated Antifa Hoaxes
Topic: Media Research Center

Since she re-emerged last year as a conservative darling, the Media Research Center has been trying to make Lara Logan a thing again, largely by ignoring the thing that made her not a thing in the first place: the "60 Minutes" story in which she promoted the story of a purported witness to the Benghazi attack who was later discovered to have been lying about the whole thing. The MRC tried to portray Logan as a credible journalist again in a June 2 post by Kristine Marsh:

The media has not only been downplaying and ignoring the violence caused by Antifa for years, they’ve also been increasingly defending them from scrutiny. On Fox and Friends this morning, journalist Lara Logan went after The New York Times for doing exactly that, after President Trump announced he would designate the violent left-wing anarchist group as a terrorist organization.

Host Steve Doocy began the interview by asking Logan to respond to many in the media’s charge that Antifa couldn’t be labeled as terrorists since there was “no central leader” and they were well spread out. Logan argued this was the media aiding Antifa’s “propaganda” by criticizing a move that would “dry up” the group’s funding, citing celebrities contributing bail money.

She called out the New York Times specifically for “dismissing” what everyone can plainly see about the organized group’s nefarious role in this past week’s protests:

[...]

Logan went on to read from an Antifa document which lists their ten ultimate “goals” to achieve; essentially, to completely destroy American society by dismantling every system of order: “Liberation begins where America dies. So that is what this is about,” she summarized.

But the "Antifa document" she was reading from was a list of "points of action" from a group called the Revoluationary Abolitionist Movement, which she also posted on her Twitter account. But Logan did not explain in her Fox News appearance how this particular group is a part of Antifa or otherwise represents Antifa, or even that it has any constituency of any size.

But as Marsh posted this item presenting Logan as credible, Logan was getting destroyed on Twitter for posting two things she claimed were Antifa-related but turned out to be hoaxes. 

As Media Matters' Parker Malloy summarized, Logan posted a document claiming to prove that Antifa "have infiltrated LE (Law Enforcement)" and which detailed "communication channels, secrecy levels, codes and PROFESSIONAL AGITATORS." In fact, as Snopes documented, this document first surfaced in 2015, well before the police-custody death of George Floyd, and we can safely assume it's a hoax because "an organization that secretly organized and masterminded protests, then produced and distributed confidential documents outlining such illegal activities as their use of tax authorities and accounting firms in order to conceal their funding of those protests, would be so foolish as to emblazon the incriminating evidence with their name and logo."

Logan also retweeted a Twitter post from someone claiming to be "ANTIFA America," stating, "Tonight's the night, comrades. Tonight we say 'F--- The City' and we move into the residential areas... the white hoods.... and we take what's ours ." But as NBC reported, that account, which has since been shut down, was linked to white nationalist group Identity Evropa.

Touting a reporter who tends to get suckered by hoaxes is not the best way for the MRC to prove the credibility of the right-wing media.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:05 PM EDT
CNS Censors Stock Scandal Involving GOP Senators
Topic: CNSNews.com

In April, it was revealed that Republican Sen. Richard Burr, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, sold off much of his stock holdings -- up to $1.7 million worth -- in mid-February, a couple weeks before the stock market crashed due to the coronavirus shutdown. At the same time, he was expressing public optimism about how the country would handle coronavirus while making much more dire assessments in private. Federal investigators have since seized Burr's cell phone on the same day he stepped down as intelligence committee chairman due to the investigation.

CNSNews.com has reported none of this -- perhaps because Burr is a Republican who has been Trump-friendly on occasion. In February 2019, managing editor Michael W. Chapman repeated Burr's proclamation that based on all the facts available, there is no evidence of "collusion by the Trump campaign and Russia" which Chapman echoed in another article that month. CNS did, however, publish a May 2019 column by David Limbaugh huffing it was "nauseating that RINO Sen. Richard Burr, as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is doing the bidding of vindictive Democrats in issuing a subpoena to Donald Trump Jr."

CNS even reported on Burr after the scandal broke, yet still stayed silent. In an anonymously written April 22 article -- a week after the scandal was first reported -- highlighted how Burr "put out a statement" agreeing with an intelligence community assessment that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election -- albeit buried in the ninth paragraph of an article that began with House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi invoking the report to wonder what Vladimir Putin has on President Trump.

CNS performed the same see-no-evil service for another Republican senator caught up in the same scandal. Sen. Kelly Loeffler sold nearly $20 million in stock in the weeks before the coronavirus pandemic broke and is also under investigation. Yet in an April 17 article, Melanie Arter touted how Loeffler, "who serves on the bipartisan task force to reopen the economy, told Fox News on Friday that she’s concerned that China might be holding up test kits." Arter did not mention Loeffler's stock controversy.

If it's bad news about Republicans, it appears that CNS will not live up to its billing as a "news" organization and report facts; it will censor that news.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:06 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, June 2, 2020 1:45 AM EDT
Monday, June 1, 2020
Newsmax Columnist Clings To Conspiracy Theory Of Coronavirus As Chinese Bioweapon
Topic: Newsmax

The idea that coronavirus is a Chinese-made bioweapon is one that has been long discredited. Still, it's one that some conspiracy theorists cling to. One of them is Clare Lopez, a right-wing activist whom we saw last among other biased right-wingers (and discredited fraud Wayne Simmons) on Accuracy in Media's "Citizens' Commission on Benghazi." for some reason, Newsmax gave Lopez a May 11 column to pursue her new conspiracy theory.

Lopez ranted that "With CCP ["Commuinist Chinese Party"] propaganda efforts in full overdrive, it is important that USG [could be "U.S. government," but Lopez never explains the acronym] leadership speak openly and clearly about Beijing's advanced Biological Weapons Program (BWP). This particular coronavirus may have escaped a CCP lab accidentally, but its creation was anything but unintentional." She went on to quote speculation that a biology lab in Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus first appeared, "is linked to China's covert bio-weapons program," then concluded with more speculation and conspiracy theorizing:

To put this in perspective, it is important to understand how Xi Jinping and the CCP's top leadership think. They are steeped in thousands of years of Chinese history and warfare. Sun Tzu's 500 B.C "Art of War" is studied alongside the 1999 "Unrestricted Warfare." Let's conclude here with the secret speech of Chi Haotian, who was China's Defense Minister from 1993 to 2003 and also Vice Chairman of the CCP's Central Military Commission. In this chilling speech, translated into English in 2005, Gen. Chi openly referred to the CCP's intention to militarily defeat, occupy, and colonize the U.S. And what of 330 million Americans? The CCP will be "using special means to 'clean up' America", i.e., "new bio-weapons."

No, thanks, we'll just stick with actual, authoritataive sources who aren't so much into baseless, discredited speculation.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:21 PM EDT
Double Standard: MRC Frets Over Heckling Of Fox News Reporter -- But It Cheered 'CNN Sucks' Chants
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Curtis Houck was in high dudgeon in a May 30 MRC item, fretting that "Just before 1:00 a.m. Eastern Saturday, Fox News Channel’s America’s News HQ co-host Leland Vittert was chased, harassed, and heckled by violent, far-left rioters outside the White House and was forced to abandon the scene, having to toss back to Fox News @ Night host Shannon Bream." Houck followed up later that day, stating that Vittert was "viciously targeted and harassed than physically assaulted by far-left, Fox News-hating, rioting mob, their equipment, solely because they worked for Fox News[.]"

But Houck and his MRC colleagues would like you to forget that they are totally cool with journalists being harassed and heckled -- that is, when their employer is not Fox News. For instance, MRC writers were amused to no end when Trump supporters chanted "CNN sucks!" at CNN correspondents covering Trump events.

Let's look at how the MRC has hypocritically condoned and reveled in this threatening behavior over the years:

  • Tuesday morning’s CNN New Day CNN began by playing a clip of a Donald Trump rally yesterday where the crowd began chanting, “CNN sucks” repeatedly. The CNN panel didn’t like that one bit and blamed Trump for not telling the crowd to quit it. -- Kristine Marsh, Oct. 11, 2016
  • Why do people who lecture about the First Amendment find it unseemly for anyone to yell "CNN sucks!" Or "Lock her up!" Then the First Amendment seems like a questionable excess. -- Tim Graham, Nov. 22, 2016
  • When Barack Obama (and Bill Clinton before him) pummeled Fox News as a blight on America, did any liberals smell a whiff of authoritarianism? No. But when a Trump crowd chants "CNN Sucks," it's automatically an "authoritarian" crowd of proto-fascists. -- Tim Graham, Dec. 6, 2016
  • News analyst Kristine Marsh knocked it out of the park with a catchy headline and hilarious segment from CNN’s New Day that featured gripes that anti-CNN chants at a Trump rally frightened them. -- Curtis Houck cheering what he claimed was the third most popular post at NewsBusters in 2016, Dec. 30, 2016
  • MSNBC journalists on Thursday whined about the treatment they were getting from Americans visiting Washington D.C. for Donald Trump’s inauguration. ... He continued, “Standing on the stage with the media, we've heard chants of CNN sucks, of NBC sucks. We have heard very similar to the chants we heard during the campaign.” -- Scott Whitlock, Jan. 19, 2017
  • Even before the presidential election took place on November 8, 2016, the co-anchor joined other CNN personnel in hyperventilating after playing a clip of a Donald Trump rally where the crowd began chanting “CNN sucks” repeatedly. -- Randy Hall, Feb. 9, 2017
  • Minutes later, [Jim] Acosta ranted about how Trump “has an unhealthy attitude toward the news media” and looked back on his rallies, including crowds chanting that “CNN sucks.” ... Pause here for a second. CNN’s White House correspondent says blasting the media is un-America [sic]? -- Jim Acosta, April 12, 2017
  • Hours before President Trump arrived on Monday night at a South Carolina campaign rally with incumbent Republican Governor Henry McMaster, CNN’s chief White House correspondent and carnival barker Jim Acosta faced quite the crowd behind him during a live shot with chants of “go home, Jim” and “fake news Jim,” while one attendee moved from side to side with a “CNN Sucks” sign. ... When he returned back live, Acosta spoke without hecklers about how some illegal immigrant children had ended up being housed from the border. From there, however, the rally attendees got their acts together and rejoined shouting  “go home, Jim” while the man holding the “CNN Sucks” sign moved back and forth across the screen. -- Curtis Houck, June 25, 2018
  • Ahead of President Trump’s Tuesday night rally in Tampa, Florida, CNN’s chief carnival barker and showboater Jim Acosta was heckled yet again by the arena of Trump supporters, chanting “CNN sucks.” Of course, Acosta chose not to ignore them and asserted that it’s “false” that the Jeffery Zucker-led network “sucks.” Okay, Jim. -- Curtis Houck, July 31, 2018 (Houck later added this to a condescending year-end list of the "worst Acosta moments of 2018.")
  • To put it bluntly, April Ryan’s dislike of Sarah Huckabee Sanders or anyone opposed to her has arguably reached an unseemly territory. Appearing on Wednesday’s CNN Tonight, the American Urban Radio Networks correspondent dismissed the harassment and threats against the White House Press Secretary and melodramatically surmised that Jim Acosta’s “life...was in jeopardy” at Tuesday’s Trump rally.-- Curtis Houck, Aug. 3, 2018
  • During Wednesday’s edition of The Five, co-host Greg Gutfeld delivered a monologue highlighting the hypocrisy of the media for slamming President Trump when he goes after media outlets but looking the other way when New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio criticized Fox News during a recent interview with The Guardian. ... ["]They were silent when we were attacked although they spent all of last week crying about Jim Acosta and the “CNN sucks” chant, which, by the way, it kind of does. Okay?["] -- Ryan Foley, Aug. 9, 2018
  • But you know what else? The First Amendment also gives people the right to say “CNN sucks,” but such criticism is taken nowadays as an incitement of violence. -- Curtis Houck, April 23, 2019
  • CNN Sucks: Primetime Ratings Down 26 Percent, While Fox News Dominates -- headline on Tim Graham post, May 1, 2019
  • The liberal media pretend they are the only guardians and practitioners of the First Amendment, and slime the conservative media as “state-run TV” and worse. Saying “CNN sucks” is also a use of the First Amendment, not its repeal. -- Promotion for Tim Graham and Brent Bozell's book "Unmasked," June 4, 2019
  • From defending his showboating to admitting that he’s at times belligerent on purpose to conceding that fellow journalists loathe him, Acosta’s conceited argle bargle showcased Acosta at its worst and the dangers of the liberal media’s belief that the First Amendment only concerns them, neglecting how it also gives Americans the right to chant “CNN sucks.” -- Curtis Houck, June 14, 2019
  • The liberal media often suggest President Trump was the one with thin skin; just look at how they lionize Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s jabs at him. But during Tuesday’s Anderson Cooper 360, CNN proved themselves to be the ones with thinner skin when they cut away from Trump’s 2020 campaign launch rally in Orlando, Florida after the crowd started chanting “CNN sucks.” Trump was discussing how the 2016 election was “a defining moment in American history” and told the crowd to ask the media for confirmation of that fact. The crowd booed at first but that gave way to the “CNN sucks” chanting. “By the way, that is a lot of fake news back there. That's a lot. That's a lot,” the President quipped. ... So, President Trump and his supporters mocked the press and CNN had an absolute meltdown. All that over a “CNN sucks” chant. And isn’t CNN supposed to be the “facts first” news outlet? -- Nicholas Fondacaro, June 18, 2019
  • [John Avlon] went on to say that the President loves to “deflect, distract, and divide.” Though, wasn’t it CNN who cut their coverage of the Trump rally after chants of “CNN sucks” rang out from the crowd? Who’s really deflecting criticism here? -- Joseph Chalfant, June 19, 2019
  • Ah, yes. Unfortunately for the liberal media, even the President has First Amendment rights, just like Trump supporters have the right to chant “CNN sucks” and, no, it’s not a death threat. -- Curtis Houck, July 15, 2019

but Houck somehow forgot to mention that time when, yes, that effectlvely was a death threat.

When a man who drove a van plastered with anti-media bumper stickers that in part echoed the MRC's anti-media narrative -- including one that said "CNN Sucks" -- Houck and the MRC couldn't work hard enough to try and separate the hateful rhetoric from the hateful bombing:

  • Despite [Brian] Stelter’s insistence that he’s not blaming Trump, he spent nearly 10 minutes blaming everyone from Trump to conservative media for Wednesday’s violence [of a man sending mail bombs to CNN]. ... ["]Just one more point to make about that. Oftentimes at these rallies, you hear chants of “CNN sucks,” chants of “fake news,” chants “lock her up” about Hillary Clinton. Everytime that happens, he could tamp it down or he could cause it to get louder and oftentimes he wants it to get louder.["] -- Curtis Houck, Oct. 24, 2018
  • CNN’s Inside Politics host John King insisted on Thursday’s show that he wasn’t blaming President Donald Trump for this week’s mail bombs, but did exactly that. On Friday, King did it again, declaring that the pro-Trump bumper stickers on the suspects van (including “CNN sucks”) “does not make the President responsible for this,” even though he used the word “but” to then do not only that, but directly lecture Trump supporters. -- Curtis Houck, Oct. 26, 2018
  • Weekday morning CNN Newsroom co-host, chief national security correspondent, and former Obama administration official Jim Sciutto offered a repulsive piece of analysis Friday night on the suspect arrested in this week’s mail bombs, comparing the President to Islamic terrorists like ISIS peddling online propaganda to help lone wolves become “self-radicalized” and carry out attacks. Of course, Sciutto received zero pushback on his asinine and ugly comparison. Instead, he was teed up by Situation Room host Wolf Blitzer, who remarked how the suspect “advertis[ed] on that van” with “all those stickers....where he stands politically” in addition to holding a “CNN sucks” sign at a Trump rally, so it was no surprise he decided to target them.-- Curtis Houck, Oct. 26, 2018

In addition, Nicholas Fondacaro got mad when the hosts on "The View" pointed out the "CNN Sucks" bumpter sticker and added, "Can you honestly say President Trump's words and actions didn't inspire this guy?"

Houck and the MRC are crying crocodile tears over the treatment of Vittert -- Fox News is its favorite channel, after all -- even though it egged on heckling and attacks on CNN reporters. A clear double standard if we've ever seen one.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:20 PM EDT
WND Mysteriously Deletes Alyssa Farah's Article Archive
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Alyssa Farah -- daughter of WorldNetDaily founder Joseph Farah -- has been working her way up through the Trump administration, first as Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary, then as Pentagon press secretary; last month, she was named White House director of strategic communications. We were the first to report Farah's connection to the birther and conspiracy theory site, noting stories she wrote for WND while studying journalism at homeschooler-friendly Christian school Patrick Henry College.

But a strange thing has happened recently: Alyssa Farah's name has been all but purged from WND.

Farah's archive was intact as recently as July 2019, showing dozens of articles with her byline. But sometime between July and December 2019 -- based on links in the Internet Archive -- her archive was purged, leaving just an author page with only her name and her onetime status as a "special Washington correspondent for WND."

For instance, a 2013 article by Farah in which she channeled anti-vaxxer conspiracy theorists by claiming that a vaccine against the human papillomavirus that has been shown to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer "has caused thousands of adverse reactions ... and even death" now carries only a generic "WND Staff" byline.

Similarly, a 2010 article in which Farah pushed misleading claims about then-Supreme Court candidate Elena Kagan also carries a "WND Staff" byline.

It's easy to speculate on why this happened -- her dad runs the joint, after all, and even if he is continuing to recover from a stroke, her stepmother, Elizabeth, was her husband's lieutenant and could easily make that happen. One can easily presume that Alyssa is treating this as an old shame now that she's a Whtie House bigwig and would rather not remind people that she once worked for her dad's (questionably run) conspiracy-theory operation.

But she and WND forget that the internet is forever, and not only do old shames get memorialized, attempts to scrub them do as well.

(Thanks to an alert ConWebWatch reader who informed us about this.)


Posted by Terry K. at 12:36 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, June 1, 2020 12:56 AM EDT
Sunday, May 31, 2020
No, MRC, Michael Flynn Was Not 'Exonerated'
Topic: Media Research Center

Last year, we pointed out how the Media Research Center hypocritically proclaimed that the lack of proposed charges against President Trump in the Mueller investigation meant that he was completely exonerated -- despite years of lecturing the media (and yours truly) that the fact that the Clintons have never been charged with anything doesn't mean they're guilty of something. The MRC is indulging in that hypocrisy again in the Michael Flynn case.

The MRC is actually promoting the idea that Flynn, President Trump's ever-so-brief national security adviser, was "exonerated" on charges of lying to the FBI -- even though he admitted twice to doing so -- when all that happened was that Trump's Justice Department asked to stop pursuing the case.

Nicholas Fondacaro privileghed the falsehood in a May 7 post:

“What happened to General Michael Flynn, a war hero, should never be allowed to happen to a citizen of the United States again,” Trump declared on April 30. Neither ABC News, CBS News, nor NBC News mentioned Trump’s comments on Flynn being “exonerated” nor the underlying reason why.

Perhaps because Flynn was not, in fact, "exonerated."

The next day, Curtis Houck uncritically quoted White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany touting "the exoneration Michael Flynn got today," gushing that McEnany "ended her passionate defense of Flynn and torching of the Deep State with a quote from Montesquieu and a nod to" the above Fondacaro post.

Jorge Bonilla, however, went fully in on the falsehood in a May 10 MRC Latino post, starting with his headline: "Univision, Telemundo Uninterested In Covering Flynn Exoneration- Covered Plea Deal 26X As Much." He continued (needless bold italic in original):

At least Univision took 26 seconds to fume over the DOJ’s decision to drop the charges against Flynn. Telemundo did not even acknowledge Flynn’s exoneration, despite devoting a staggering six minutes and 50 seconds to the plea deal on December 1st, 2017. When added to Univision’s two minutes and 49 seconds on the same day, this amounts to nine minutes and 39 seconds against Univision’s 26 seconds on Flynn’s exoneration by the DOJ. 

Put simply, the Spanish-language networks gave 26 times as much coverage to Flynn’s plea deal with the FBI as they did to the DOJ’s dismissal of charges against Flynn.

Bonilla concluded by insisting that "the market continues to cry out for an alternative" for a Spanisgh-language network that, apparently, is a Spanish-language Trump sycophant like Fox News. One could also say the market is crying out for a conservative "media research" organization that doesn't spread lies.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:33 PM EDT
CNS-Mark Levin Stenography Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

It seems that CNSNews.com was so busy playing defense for the Trump administration over the coronavirus pandemic that there wasn't much time to provide its usual fawning stenography of right-wing radio host Mark Levin. It found time to do only eight articles on Levin or his guests during March and April:

That's a total of 21 articles for the first four months of 2020, a little bit off CNS' usual pace, publishing at least 96 Levin articles annually the past three years. CNS will have to step it up to demonstrate the one-sided and un-fact-checked love Levin has come to expect (per a possible cross-promotoin deal) from his favorite "news" outlet.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:53 AM EDT
Saturday, May 30, 2020
What LGBT Stuff Is The MRC Freaking Out About Now?
Topic: Media Research Center

Just because there's been a global pandemic doesn't mean that the Media Research Center has stopped hating on the LGBT community. They made sure to create space for that.

Alexa Moutevelis cheered the end of the TV series "Will & Grace": NBC's obnoxious LGBTQ sitcom Will & Grace has somehow lasted two iterations over 11 seasons and 22 years. Along with pushing homosexuality mainstream, the show has demonstrated a deep antipathy towards Republicans and conservatives. Thankfully, at long last, it is over." Moutevelisthen made her deep antipathy toward people who don't think like her quite abundant.

Moutevelis returned to rage against the purported existence of too many gay characters on TV:

Every human being possesses inherent dignity and deserves the right to life, but we’re talking about fictional television characters.

And the point holds true, almost every single tv show has a token LGBTQ character randomly inserted because the SJWs scream, “Representation matters!” On MRC Culture’s On TV blog we don’t even keep track of regular adult gay characters anymore, we only focus on when the targets children and teens or is over the top.

[...]

As for tv representation, according to GLAAD, there is already “10 percent LGBTQ inclusion among broadcast series regular characters on primetime scripted series” – that’s over double the 4 percent of the population that claims to be LGBTQ. These sexualities are already over-represented on television, but GLAAD demands representation increase to 20 percent by 2025! No wonder Americans wildly over estimate the number of LGBTQ people, thinking they make up 25 percent of the population.

Thanks for making your bigotry so unambiguous, Alexa.

Mysterious sports blogger Jay Maxson is relieved that coronavirus disrupted the baseball season, otherwise "LGBT advocates were about to engulf minor league baseball with their propaganda this season. The number of pride nights was going to explode to an all-time high, and the resultant 'service to humanity' by LGBT pressure groups was going to be off the charts." After noting someone stating that the purpose of pride nights was to "hook a younger LGBTQ generation on baseball," Maxson conspiratorially added: "Or is that to hook baseball fans on the LGBT? No answer needed." Maxson didn't explain exactly how that's supposed to work.

The latest installment in MRC writers freaking out over the mere existence of gay cartoon characters was enacted by Elise Ehrhard, who melted down over the character of She-Ra being an "open lesbian." Of course, she couldn't do so without a condescending lecture over how children should be shielded from the existence of gay people:

Throughout the '80s and '90s, "family-friendly" entertainment grew more and more sexualized. The one space children and families still had that was not fraught with sexual innuendo was the realm of same-sex friendship. That all changed in the last decade as the LGBT movement took over children's entertainment.

This is tragic for children on many levels because the development of platonic same-sex friendships is a critical aspect of healthy early childhood development. It is a staple of child psychology that "prior to the onset of adolescence, boys and girls become socialized primarily within same-sex contexts" and "same-sex friendship dominates the childhood peer socialization experience from preschool through grade school." Therefore, children's stories which overtly sexualize or romanticize same-sex friendship deliberately sow confusion. But the sexual revolutionaries do not care. They are determined to project their own narcissistic need for "queer visibility" onto children's spaces.

[...]

Sadly, in today's day and age parents cannot click on a cartoon, even a re-make of a childhood favorite, and presume it is agenda-free. After the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationally came into full force, same-sex romance is considered no different from the male/female romance that children recognize as "mom and dad." Therefore, the rights and well-being of children to healthy early development free of unnecessary sexual confusion is no longer in force. Hollywood culture is not on a "slippery slope." It has already gone off a cliff.

Maxson returned to rant about Nike "turning running shoes into symbols promoting the LGBT agenda," further whining that "Adidas is also jostling for position in the rainbow market, offering 22 Pride products, including the NMD R1 Pride shoes. So is New Balance.

And Moutevelis served up one more tantrum, in which she once again complains there's too many gay people on TV:

June has become “Pride Month,” so get ready for everything to turn rainbow colored as pop culture celebrates alternative genders and sexualities even more than usual. This has become big business as brands attempt to cash in on their wokeness and LGBTQABCDEFG inclusivity all month long.

The latest example of corporate virtue signaling comes from the USA and SYFY Networks, owned by NBCUniversal/Comcast, which announced plans Wednesday to partner with GLAAD for Pride Month.

[...]

Of course, this kind of pandering propaganda is nothing new. Television has been very influential in increasing public awareness and acceptance of LGBTQ issues – purposefully so – and GLAAD has been at the forefront of pressuring networks to increase gay visibility. Don’t forget, GLAAD is the organization that wants to double LGBTQ representation on TV from 10 to 20 percent by 2025 – which would be 5 times higher than the 4 percent of the population that identifies as such.

So get ready for your TV to explode rainbows -- in June and in the many years to come!

Of course, Moutevelis is the one who's pandering to the MRC's gay-hating audience by spewing such venom.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:16 AM EDT
Dubious WND Doc Clinging To Hydroxycloroquine
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The last time we checked in on WorldNetDaily's coterie of dubious docs linked to the fringe-right Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, they had thoughts about coronavirus, which leaned heavily on pushing hydroxychloroquine to cure it despite the fact it hadn't actually been proven to do so. One of those docs has continued to cling to the unproven drug.

In an April 29 column, Elizabeth Lee Vliet touted how chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine have been "FDA-approved for safety and effectiveness in 1934 and 1955, respectively," though not for coronavirus. She went conspiratorial (and randomly italic) pretty quickly:

So, CDC has said CQ and HCQ are safe and well tolerated for years to prevent and treat malaria. FDA later approved HCQ for treating lupus and RA, with millions taking much higher doses over decades, not days.

[...]

Critics claim we have "no evidence" for use in coronavirus. They willfully ignore that we DO have data from 2002-2005 showing HCQ has potent antiviral action early in the illness of SARS-CoV. Why don't FDA, CDC, WHO, Dr. Fauci, the American Medical Association and most media tell you about this?

Dr. Fauci, FDA and CDC have up to the minute, country by country data on number of cases, number of deaths and number of deaths per million population. Their failure to allow, and even encourage, physicians to offer HCQ as an option to COVID-19 patients early in the disease is causing more deaths in America compared to countries using HCQ at the earliest onset of infection.

On May 7, Vliet attacked a competing drug that shows promise against coronvirus, remdesivir, for having been quickly given emergency use authorization by the FDA, declaring that "such rapid authorization is quite unusual with the FDA." Again, Vliet went conspiratorial, attacking remdesivir's maker, Gilead Sciences:

Is someone stacking the deck in Gilead's favor? Nine of the experts on the NIH COVID-19 Panel recommending treatment options have disclosed financial support from Gilead. Why did these nine experts not recuse themselves? Did financial conflicts of interest affect the recommendation against HCQ, the older, safer, cheaper medicine, and for use of remdesivir, the new, expensive experimental medicine, based on weak, not-yet-peer-reviewed evidence?

[...]

Patients' lives are being sacrificed on the altar of financial interests and elite D.C. powerbrokers, instead of being entrusted to the judgment of patients' own physicians. We are witnessing the deadly consequences of bureaucrats and governors practicing medicine.

Vliet spent her May 20 column having a fit that an "FDA bureaucrat," Rick Bright, had tried to delay broad use of hydroxychloroquine against coronavirus due to lack of scientific evidence that it worked.And it was quickly rant time:

Rick Bright's dictatorial decree limits the use of chloroquine (CQ) and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) from the National Strategic Stockpile in COVID-19 to hospitalized patients only. States are using Bright's fiat to impose broad restrictions limiting the drugs' availability for physicians to use for outpatients to help them recover without hospitalization.

[...]

How does one non-physician bureaucrat have such power with impunity? How can one person brag about blocking physicians' attempt to reduce hospitalization and deaths during a national emergency?

It is a falsehood to say that the administration promoted HCQ as a "panacea" or that this medicine "clearly lacks scientific merit." Both statements are contradicted by video recordings of presidential briefings, by NIH/CDC studies going back 15 years, and by U.S. and worldwide clinical outcomes studies in COVID-19.

[...]

Bright's disastrous bureaucratic decision may well be remembered as one of the worst preventable medical tragedies in our time. Never again should one government employee be allowed unrestrained power without oversight, and be allowed to make a sweeping order interfering with the prescribing authority of front-line physicians trying to save lives.

Vliet's AAPS compadre, Jane Orient, turned her attention to trying to undermine the efficacy and safety of a possible coronavirus vaccine. She complained in a May 7 column: "What to do now? Let the collapse continue until "we have a vaccine"? Does that mean "until (unless?) everybody is vaccinated with a safe and effective vaccine"? There is NO vaccine for most viruses. The influenza vaccine may be only 30% effective, and many serious side effects are reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)."

In a May 18 column, Orient freaked out over President Trump's "Operation Warp Speed" to quickly develop a vaccine and,as befits the AAPS executive director, went conspiratorial:

One reason for hurry is that the epidemic might be gone later, and the vaccinators couldn't take the credit. We have no vaccine for the "Spanish" flu of 1918, the "Asian" flu of 1958, or the "Hong Kong" flu of 1968, all of which killed far more than the current pandemic, and all of which went away. A speedy vaccine, which was developed for the predicted 1976 mass extinction/swine flu pandemic that never was,resulted in deaths and Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Humanity survived many waves of far more deadly pestilence before vaccines existed.

Of course, we have vaccines now, which all much larger swathes of humanity to survive pestilence.

(Vliet also fearmongered about vaccines in her April 29 column: "Dr. Fauci's focus has been that we need to wait for a vaccine to safely re-open the country. Why? He knows vaccines take months to years to develop. Surely, he is also aware of the safety issues of vaccines rushed to market without adequate testing.")

Meanwhile, WND has been giving space to another (though apparently not AAPS-affiliated) doc, Scott Magill, to opine about coronavirus despite his being a retired gynecologist and obstetrician. We previously noted his May 5 column, in which he ranted about infectious disease expert (which Magill is not) Anthony Fauci, asserting that "Fauci, in his role as longtime federal immunology bureaucrat, paid $3.7 million to the Wuhan laboratory for coronavirus development after the U.S. declared a moratorium on such funding." That's a lie; the money -- which was renewed by the Trump administration last year -- was granted to a research group called the EcoHealth Alliance, which was doing research on coronaviruses in bats and working with, among others, the Wuhan Institute of Virology; the institute receoved only $600,000 since 2014 for its role.

Magill also asserted that China owns the patent for remdesivir; that's not true either. He further portrayed coronavirus as a bioweapon that escaped from the Wuhan lab; that's also false.

Magill also asserted that Fauci "and his pharmaceutical partners stand to make huge profits from any expensive COVID-19 vaccine developed later, while they earn nothing from cheap hydroxychloroquine cure available right now." Again, not true.

Lies and conspiracy theories? That's our WND! And the reason, David Kupelian, why WND continues to get tagged as "harmful misinformation" on social media.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:47 AM EDT
Friday, May 29, 2020
The Latest MRC Narrative: Bashing Facebook's Oversight Board
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has to keep up its failing jihad against Facebook somehow -- an utterly hypocritical fight, by the way, since MRC chief Brent Bozell just loves using Facebook Live -- so it's latched on to Facebook's proposed oversight board, attacking for not being stacked with conservatives.

The MRC kicked off its attack with a statement from the "Free Speech Alliance," the right-wing group it created to push the dubious narrative of rampant discrimination against conservatives in social media. It ranted that the board is "too international" -- despite the fact that Facebook operates in nearly all countries on the planet -- and would be "embracing an internationalist construct pleasing to the radical left and likely to make Facebook’s restrictive content policies even worse." The statement complained that one member “does not believe in eternal life, salvation or heaven and hell,” three "have ties to leftist billionaire George Soros," and most "are as left-wing as you might expect," finally huffing, "We find no one supportive of Trump."

Corinne Weaver whined in a May 7 post:

The liberal media met Facebook’s announcement of its first 20 members of its new Oversight Board with praise and applause. But for some, the lefty choices made were not liberal enough.

“Some see the board as a valuable check on Facebook’s power to control the speech and behavior of billions of users,” wrote Columbia Journalism Review’s (CJR) Chief Digital Writer Matthew Ingram. Tech journal Protocol referred to the board as “Facebook’s audacious experiment.” Recode podcast host Kara Swisher called the members “diverse and politically balanced.” CNBC described the board members as a “globally diverse group.”

If there's anything the MRC hates, it's "diversity." Weaver named no board member she thought was too "liberal." Indeed, a few days later, Weaver returned to attack one board member for being a Muslim, digging up a years-old interivew in which she allegedly "supported the Muslim Brotherhood."

Weaver did, however, find someone who was apparently conservative enough there to mine for scoops: oversight board chairman Michael McConnell. She cheered when McConnell told her in an "exclusive interivew" that Facebook would audit its fact-checkers  -- Weaver falsely attacked one of those fact-checkers earlier this year -- and pouted when McConnell pointed out in another "exclusive interview" that the oversight board would only get a couple more explicitly conservative members. She lied about one board member, Pamela Karlan, claiming that she "mocked 13-year-old Barron Trump during the House impeachment proceedings" (she didn't).

Weaver then cranked out a hit piece on the purported "radical views" of oversight board members, in which she repeated her attack on the Muslim board member and her lie that Karlan "mocked" Barron Trump.

Because no right-wing attack on Facebook would e complete without Brent Bozell weighing in, we have the MRC chief demanding in an "official press conference" (does Bozell ever appear at unofficial press conferences?) because it has only "five members from the United States" (again, Facebook operates in nearly every country on the planet). Bozell had right-wing members of Congress joining him, implying there would be Trump administration harassment if Facebook didn't cave to his demands.

Weaver seemed to have soured on McConnell by the time of a May 19 post, in which she noted that, in an Aspen Institute forum, McConnell accurately pointed out that conservatives (like Weaver and her employer) were attacking the oversight board for being insufficiently conservative, further complaining that he "tried to dismiss conservative criticisms" by claiming that a commitment to civil liberties is more important than a "red and blue" debate. (Of course, the red vs. blue divide is everything to the MRC.)

So Weaver typed up a new rant on May 22: "Facebook’s new Oversight Board promises to be committed to freedom of expression. But that principle might better reflect an international standard, rather than a First Amendment-based American one." Weaver didn't mention that Facebook operates in nearly every country on the planet, so international standards could perhaps supercede parochial concerns.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:32 PM EDT
Bad Coronavirus Takes: Blame The Hippies Somehow!
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com published a May 6 column by Jeffrey Tucker of the right-wing American Institute for Economic Research headlined "Woodstock Occurred in the Middle of a Pandemic," making a quick bend to the conspiratorial by comparing that to the coronavirus pandemic:

Which raises the question: why was this different? We will be trying to figure this one out for decades. 

Was the difference that we have mass media invading our lives with endless notifications blowing up in our pockets? Was there some change in philosophy such that we now think politics is responsible for all existing aspects of life? Was there a political element here in that the media blew this wildly out of proportion as revenge against Trump and his deplorables? Or did our excessive adoration of predictive modelling get out of control to the point that we let a physicist with ridiculous models frighten the world’s governments into violating the human rights of billions of people?

Maybe all of these were factors. Or maybe there is something darker and nefarious at work, as the conspiracy theorists would have it.

[...]

If we used government lockdowns then like we use them now, Woodstock (which changed music forever and still resonates today) would never have occurred. How much prosperity, culture, tech, etc. are losing in this calamity?

What happened between then and now? Was there some kind of lost knowledge, as happened with scurvy, when we once had sophistication and then the knowledge was lost and had to be re-found? For COVID-19, we reverted to medieval-style understandings and policies, even in the 21st century. It’s all very strange. 

The contrast between 1968 and 2020 couldn’t be more striking. They were smart. We are idiots. Or at least our governments are.

CNS, needless to say, did no fact-check. That was left to an actual news organization, Reuters, which pointed out that while there was a flu epidemic in the winters of 1968-69 and 1969-70, there was not one in the summer of '69:

It is true that the Woodstock festival fell between those dates – it took place in August 1969 at a dairy farm in upstate New York. However, a closer look at the timeline of the disease shows why it is misleading to suggest that Woodstock happened “in the middle of a pandemic”. The peak for most U.S. states was December 1968 and January 1969 (Dec 28, 1968 in New York state). See article here . The first season of the pandemic had ended in the U.S. by early March 1969 and it did not flare up again until November of that year, several months after Woodstock, as can be seen in figure 1 here . The diagram shows the pattern of the Hong Kong flu in six countries, of which only Australia was experiencing epidemic activity in August 1969. 

In other words, Woodstock happened between the first and second waves in the United States of the H3N2 Hong Kong flu that emerged in 1968, but not during a peak in infections and months after the first season of the flu had ended in the U.S.

Reuters even quoted Woodstock organizers, who pointed out there was no outbreak at the festival.

A bad take getting proven false does not stop it from being repeated; thus, James Hirsen touted Tucker's op-ed in his May 18 Newsmax column, claiming that the media was "triggered" but it and asserted without evidence that "Tucker’s Woodstock article was not received well by the dominant media, likely because its content is at odds with the narrative that is being spun by a majority of the elite." Hirsen then attacked Reuters' factcheck.

Both Tucker and Hirsen ignored the simple observation that coronavirus is not the flu and is, in fact, much worse, in part because we know so little about it.

Hirsen went from there to bizarrely attack the Woodstock generation for trying to stop the coronavirus pandemic:

It's literally shocking that leftists of today who espouse the philosophical global view of the 1960s are the same individuals who are now utilizing authoritarian tactics to strip away freedoms and stifle expression.

Ironically, they have become everything they never wanted to be:

“We are stardust, we are golden. We are caught in the devil’s bargain. And we got to get ourselves back to the garden . . ."

Which has nothing to do with trying to enforce public health measures, but you be you, Jim.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:26 AM EDT
Thursday, May 28, 2020
MRC Writer Is Apparently Too Cowardly To Criticize Trump Where It Counts
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Research Center writer and NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck has been doing a lot of complaining about President Trump's tweets arguing that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough murdered an intern, Lori Klausutis, while serving as a Florida congressman -- on his Twitter account anyway, and mainly to insist that conservatives really do think he ought not be doing that.

In one post, Houck tried equivocation and whataboutism:

Multiple things can be true:

Trump should shut the hell up and stop tweeting about Joe & Loris Klausutis.

Joe and Mika should do the same and, along with the rest of the liberal media, stop saying Trump has committed murder with this pandemic.

Former is WORSE. Latter is dumb.

Then, replying to CNN anchor Jake Tapper's claim that Trump supporters "sit silently" while Trump falsely and maliciously maligns a critic and harms the family of the dead intern, Houck huffed: "This is pants-on-fire lie and I'm betting Jake knows this. I've seen people from the following sites call Trump out: Blaze, Daily Wire, RedState, Twitchy, NRO, Resurgent, Free Beacon, the Examiner, and a few of my NB colleagues."

Finally, Houck complained that the media newsletter put out by CNN's Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy "didn't note the droves of conservative media peeps who've expressed disgust with Trump." He later cited a Washington Examiner editorial criticizing Trump as evidence of this.

But Houck is being very disingenuous. It may be true that Houck and his "NB colleagues" have criticized Trump's actions, but they didn't do so where it counted: in a NewsBusters post.

The only actual criticism at NewsBusters of Trump is a May 26 post by Houck in which he called Trump's tweets "vile" -- but this came in the 16th paragraph of post that was otherwise smearing CNN's Dana Bash as a "lackey" for doing an allegedly "softball" interview of Joe Biden. Not exactly a profile in courage here.

Meanwhile, the other NewsBusters posts that addressed Trump's tweets regarding Scarborough and Klausutis did the opposite of what Houck says he and his "NB colleagues" were doing -- they attacked anyone who criticized Trump.

In a May 21 post, Alexander Hall began by being mad that Scarborough's wife and "Morning Joe" co-host criticized Trump, blaring, "MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski has called for Twitter to deplatform a sitting president." Hall did not criticized Trump's tweets.

The next day, when Scarborough criticized Trump's tweets about him, Mark Finkelstein went full whataboutism:

Maybe Joe should consider how he's done on spreading false information. Like saying it was a "lie" that Hillary Clinton received dirt on Donald Trump from foreign sources....like the Russians cooking up a dossier with Christopher Steele. Or spreading the Trayvon Martin "armed with Skittles" defense, suggesting conservatives wanted him shot. Or wisecracking the Republicans wanted to include "chaining women to a radiator in the kitchen" in the 2012 platform. 

Far from criticizing Trump, Finkelstein appears to be arguing that Scarborough deserves to be lied about; instead, he cheered that she got "torched by Ted Cruz."

And a May 27 post by Corinne Weaver repeating Trump's whining that Twitter fact-checked one of his tweets noted in passing in the ninth paragraph that "According to the Washington Examiner, Twitter apologized Tuesday to the family of a former Joe Scarborough intern Lori Klausutis because of a Trump tweet that speculated MSNBC host and onetime Republican congressman had something to do with her death in 2001." Of course, Trum[ didn't just "speculate"; he unambigously declared that Scarborough "got away with murder."

Houck is simply being a coward here. Not only won't he explain why he refuses to commit his thoughts about Trump and Scarborough to a prominent NewsBusters post (or, if he's prohibited by MRC management from criticizing Trump on its its websites, explain why he can't), the website he manages has attacked Trump's victims.

If it seems like we're having a hard time understanding why Houck would be so utterly disingenuous, this is why.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:01 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, May 28, 2020 9:07 PM EDT

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