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Wednesday, August 19, 2020
WND's Schlafly Remains Obsessed With Hydroxychloroquine
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Andy Schlafly is not a doctor -- he's an attorney who works for the fringe-right Association of American Physicians and Surgeons and is trying to trade on his being the son of conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly to build his own right-wing cred. But you'd think he has some medical background the way he rants about hydroxychloroquine being the magic bullet to cure coronavirus despite the fact that studies have been varied and inconclusive. He still won't shut up about it.

In his July 28 WorldNetDaily column, he actually demanded that President Trump issue an executive order promoting hydroxychloroquine:

Liberal, anti-Trump tech monopolies are on the rampage with their modern equivalent of book burning. Twitter suspended the account of the president's son, Don Jr., because he dared to tweet out information favorable to HCQ, and Twitter deleted retweets by the president, too.

Amid this blatant censorship, it is time for President Trump to go directly to the American people. By executive order he should command release of the more than 50 million doses of HCQ that are being withheld from the public in the Strategic National Stockpile.

President Trump should also order his secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), Alex Azar, to post updated lists of where the public can access COVID medication without interference by Never-Trumpers and comrades of Anthony Fauci, who has again disparaged the effectiveness of HCQ despite its success in numerous studies and many countries for treating COVID.

President Trump was right to retweet complaints about interference by Democrats with timely, early treatment for COVID. The election may hinge on whether people are allowed to obtain early treatment for the disease, and blocking access interferes with Trump’s reelection.

Schlafly also went on an anti-vaxxer tear, dismissing a possible coronavirus vaccine as "liberal fool's gold" and bragged about how his fellow right-wingers have claimed they won't get a vaccine -- even though a vaccine would be better protection against COVID-19 than hydroxychloroquine.

In his Aug. 4 column, Schlafly remembered the late Herman Cain, touting how he "spoke out against the political interference with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as an effective preventive and early medication for COVID-19, and despite tweets from the hospital there is no indication that he timely received that beneficial treatment." He didn't mention the possibility that Cain contracted coronavirus at a June rally Trump held in Tulsa. 

Instead, he ranted further about HCQ:

At age only 74, he was younger than the Democratic nominee Joe Biden who undoubtedly would receive essential early treatment to overcome COVID-19 if Biden ever does contract it. Biden would not languish in a hospital for weeks as Boris Johnson and Herman Cain did, with Cain tragically not surviving.

Georgia continues to interfere with the use of HCQ to treat victims of the Wuhan virus, by enforcing unprecedented regulations written especially to block access to this medication. Liberal bureaucrats in Georgia imposed an emergency regulation to prohibit access to HCQ by Herman Cain and others unless the prescription has a diagnosis "consistent with the evidence for its use."

According to the opponents of Donald Trump (and Herman Cain), that regulation prevents a prescription for HCQ from ever being filled to treat COVID in Georgia. Yet had Cain been exposed to COVID in any of dozens of foreign countries that allow access to HCQ, then he could have received it early in the course of the disease and still be with us today.

For his Aug. 18 column, Schlafly imposed his HCQ obsession on the presidential election by telling Trump to give it away like candy at his rallies:

To win comfortably in less than three months, President Trump needs to find 10 million new votes. The prospect of millions of dubious mail-in ballots adds further pressure on Republicans to attract votes.

[...]

But in fact the 10 million new votes for Trump are there for the asking, and we even know where to look. They are among the roughly 20 million Americans who watched and supported the July 27 news conference by a group of white-coated physicians who endorse early treatment of COVID-19 with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ).

That massive audience, younger and many times the size of the viewership of cable news shows, contains the votes Republicans can have for the asking. The Big Tech monopolies certainly knew how seriously that audience threatened the candidacy of Joe Biden, so they took down the video almost as quickly as it was posted.

Trump can quench the thirst of those 20 million viewers of the HCQ press conference. Neither addictive nor expensive, HCQ is reportedly consumed like water in Africa, where it is routinely used by residents and visitors alike to protect against malaria. Trump will win if he makes it available.

According to Trump's liberal opponents, attending a Trump rally could be as dangerous as visiting a malaria-infected region of Africa. Just as HCQ is prescribed for travelers to Africa, it should be prescribed as a prophylaxis for attendees at Trump rallies where liberals say that participants risk deadly exposure to COVID-19 merely by attending.

Better yet, Trump could arrange for open-minded pharmacists to be there to fill the prescriptions for HCQ on the spot. After taking this preventive medication, attendees would then rock the rally with new confidence and enthusiasm.

Imagine the twin benefits that would yield for the 20 million Americans seeking access to HCQ: They would obtain the protective medicine they want and also have the opportunity to help reelect Trump. This would be a "win-win" for everyone except Joe Biden, who would ramble incoherently against it.

[...]

Victory in November requires saying no to unreliable mail-in voting, but yes to inexpensive, preventive treatment of COVID-19. Let the Trump rallies return with confidence, and carry him to victory.

Again: Schlafly is not a doctor -- he's just parroting his equally HCQ-obsessed AAPS colleagues.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:48 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, August 19, 2020 12:49 AM EDT
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
MRC Is Mad Pelosi Deepfake Videos Accurately Identified As Deepfake Videos
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center loes manipulated "deepfake" videos designed to make Nancy Pelosi look bad, and they can't understand why social media operations want to label the deepfakes as deepfakes.

In May 2019, Alexander Hall and Corinne Weaver got mad that a Pelosi deepfake video was identified as such:

Journalists freaked out over a slowed-down video that made Nancy Pelosi look silly and have sparked a debate over what videos should and shouldn’t be permitted online. The result was a pile-on with the media calling for speech to be silenced,

[...]

Several liberal journalists from major news sources condemned the video as a sinister deep-fake threatening American democracy. One of the most prominent tech journalists,Times contributor and Recode co-founder Kara Swisher condemned Facebook for allowing the video to spread.

”This week, unlike YouTube, Facebook decided to keep up a video deliberately and maliciously doctored to make it appear as if Speaker Nancy Pelosi was drunk or perhaps crazy,” she wrote. 

Other journalists, if not publishing articles criticizing the video openly loathed the free-for-all nature of social media for allowing misinformation or “hate” speech.

Hall and Weaver went on to complaine that "Liberals blamed hate speech even though the Pelosi video simply mocker [sic] her."

Hall followed up in a Aug. 3 post about the treatement of another Pelosi deepfake:

Liberal journalists are once again panicking over a video that made House Speaker Nancy Pelosi look foolish.

“Facebook's fact-checkers on Sunday labeled it as ‘partly false’ a video that it said was manipulated to make it appear as if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was drunk or drugged,” CNN reported August 3. The video had reportedly circulated on Facebook for a few days and has reached more than 2 million views. 

The clip was shared with the caption, "This is unbelievable, she is blowed out of her mind, I bet this gets taken down!" The Hill summarized that the footage in question was a “55-second video from a May press conference in which Pelosi addresses comments President Trump made about MSNBC anchor Joe Scarborough, an outspoken critic of the president.”

Notoriously liberal fact-checker, Lead Stories, fact-checked the post on Sunday, commenting that the "Tempo of the video was slowed and sections edited out to make it appear Pelosi was drunk." While it has indeed been labelled as “partly false,” it has not been removed from the platform.

[...]

The August 2020 Pelosi video has also been purged from Twitter and YouTube. YouTube spokesperson Farshad Shadloo reportedly explained to CNN that the video had been removed for violating manipulated media policies.

Hall's evidence that Lead Stories is a "notoriously liberal fact-checker" was a post of his from March  complaining that it fact-check a Democratic presidential debate.

Endorsing deepfakes to own the libs? That sounds like the MRC we know all too well, siding with the worst of the internet to advance "free speech," no matter how vile or fake.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:52 PM EDT
CNS Unemployment Coverage Distortion Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

For its coverage of July's unemployment numbers, CNSNews.com makes sure to shill for President Trump. In her lead story, Susan Jones conceded that improvement has slowed, but she also wants to remind us how great Trump made things befor the pandemic:

It's been almost five months since the emerging COVID pandemic crashed what had been a strong and record-breaking employment streak under President Donald Trump.

On Friday, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics said the employment picture continues to improve, as 143,532,000 people were working in July, up 1,350,000 from the 142,182,000 employed in June. This is the third straight monthly increase in the number of employed, although it’s a smaller increase than June’s (+4,940,000) and the one in May (+3,827,000).

The number of employed broke 25 records under President Trump, most recently in December 2019 when 158,803,000 people were counted as employed.

It's not until the sixth paragraph that she gets around to mentioning the number that matters: the unemployment rate.

Craig Bannister served up his usual sidebar on the Hispanic unemployment rate, while editor in chief Terry Jeffrey did the same on government employment.

And, as it has refused to do since Trump took office, none of these CNS articles report the "real unemployment rate" -- the U-6 rate that includes "marginally attached" employees as well as part-time workers seeking full-time work -- despite the fact it was a favorite metric when President Obama was in office. (It was 16.8 percent in July.)


Posted by Terry K. at 12:52 AM EDT
Monday, August 17, 2020
MRC Concedes Trump Is A Racist
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Nicholas Fondacaro ranted in a July 22 post:

After once dubiously omitting his answerto a question about his senility, CBS Evening News via political correspondent Ed O’Keefe acted as a campaign surrogate for Democratic candidate Joe Biden on Wednesday, boosting his lie that President Trump was America’s “first racist president.” NBC Nightly News also got in on the act. Between pushing the lie and praising a new campaign video, does this mean the networks committed federal election violations?

As CBS anchor Norah O’Donnell pivoted to the segment, she was clearly excited to be talking about Biden teaming up with former President Obama to trash Trump.

The funny thing here is that Fondacaro doesn't dispute that Trump is racist, beyond noting that one network offered "the White House’s response" in the form of Trump claiming that he's "done more for black Americans than anybody with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln. He did dispute that Trump was tghe first, huffing that "The U.S. has had racist presidents such as Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson, and FDR (all of them Democrats). Boosting the claim also disproved their decades of smears against Republican presidents George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan."

Note that Fondaaro partakes in his usual rhetorical dishonesty -- calling something a "lie" when he can't possibly know Biden's statement was deliberate, and pretending he can read O'Donnell's mind by claiming she was  "learly excited to be talking about Biden teaming up with former President Obama to trash Trump."

The next day, Kyle Drennen complained about Biden's statement in a dubiously factual "Facts Feared By The Leftist Media" piece. Like Fondacaro, he didn't dispute that Trump is racist, only that he was the first as he went on to rehash "the facts about the Democratic Party’s abhorrent history of racism."

So it seems that Biden won the argument here. The MRC was so busy trying to score points against Democrats for their long-ago racism that they effectively admitted that Trump is being a racist right now. So much for the MRC being crack "media researchers."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:18 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, August 17, 2020 9:29 PM EDT
WND Repeats Roger Stone-CNN Conspiracy Theory
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An anonymously written July 26 WorldNetDaily article rehashed an interview increasingly extreme Christian conservative radio host Eric Metaxas did with sleazy political dirty trickster Roger Stone, who's currently flaunting his self-proclaimed conversion to Christianity in right-wing circles. WND also gave space to Stone to push a conspiracy theory:

Stone was indicted Jan. 24, 2019, by a federal grand jury for obstruction, false statements and witness tampering in the special counsel investigation by Robert Mueller probing alleged Trump campaign collusion with Russia. Mueller found no such collusion. And he couldn't find evidence of the claim that Stone collaborated with Wikileaks to release emails damaging to Hillary Clinton's campaign.

The next morning, at 6 a.m., 29 heavily armed FBI agents in 17 armored vehicles arrived at Stone's home, with a helicopter overhead and frogmen jumping off boats in the canal in his back yard.

CNN "just happened" to be on hand to record it all.

[...]

The 73-year-old woman [Stone's wife], who has rheumatoid arthritis, was then "frog-marched out in the middle of the street in her nightgown and bare feet."

She wasn't charged with any crime, Stone noted, but apparently "it was important that CNN got great footage of all that."

Stone's implication is that CNN was tipped off to his arrest, possibly by Mueller or his investigators, to make Stone look bad in the media. This conspiracy theory is so pervasive in right-wing media that even CNSNews.com has embraced it. CNN has denied being tipped, pointing out that the investigation left public clues about what could happen, and Mueller has denied tipping off anybody.

Things like this, David Kupelian, are why people accurately portray WND as the home of conspiracy theorists.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:53 PM EDT
Sunday, August 16, 2020
Lies: MRC Keeps Portraying Media Settlements With Sandmann As Victories -- Though It Can't Possibly Know For Sure
Topic: Media Research Center

We've documented how the Media Research Center's rage against any media outlet that's not reflexively pro-Trump led it to wholehearedly embrace lawsuits against media outlets filed on behalf of Nick Sandmann, a Catholic high school student caught in a 2019 protest whom the MRC wants you to believe was libeled by initial reports of the protests that were all ultimately corrected as the full picture. As some of those media outlets reached settlements with Sandmann's grandstanding lawyers, the MRC is lying to you by portraying those settlements as victories, since the terms of the settlements have not been disclosed and the outlets were not required to issue any additional apology or correction.

After Sandmann's lawyers settled with CNN in january, Curtis Houck cheered how "despicable" CNN was somehow forced to settle after "CNN decided to falsely tar and feather Sandmann and his fellow students as racist rascals" and "comes as the Jeffrey Zucker-led left-wing activist network faced yet another year of pathetic media coverage." Houck concluded by sneering, "So, congrats were in order to Baldwin, Briggs, Cuomo, Cupp, and Marquez for this lawsuit being settled...or something."

As even Houck conceded, the terms of the settlement are confidential, so it's entirely possible that Sandmann's lawyers didn't get anything more than a token amount to just go away.

Nevertheless, a few days later Houck huffed that CNN "all but ignoted" the settlement in on-air coverage "and had help with blackouts from ABC, CBS, MSNBC, and NBC," while gushing over the minutes of attention Fox News lavished on the settlement. He quoted one Fox News commentator calling the settlement a "legal win" despite the fact there's no way to know.

In March, Houck again played the go-to MRC "media outlets we hate won't report news that advances our right-wing agenda" card by ranting that the media won't report that "Sandmann and his legal team intend to keep up the fight against the liberal media that tried to ruin his life" by filing more specious lawsuits.

When Sandmann's lawyers reached a settlement with the Washington Post -- again, a confidential settlement in which the terms were not disclosed and the Post was not made to issue any correction or apology -- the MRC again rushed to falsely portray this as a victory. In a July 24 post, Houck cheered that "Sandmann racked up another legal win against these same partisan tools that tried to ruin his life," adding, "With Sandmann having been both a minor and private citizen at the time of the incident and the liberal media’s reports being completely false, Sandmann looks poised to add more settlements before things are all said and done.

MRC chief Brent Bozell joined in on the false "victory" celebration. He first tweeted: "Congratulations to Nick Sandmann on his victory against The Washington Post! These reporters are lying scum who tried to destroy a teen just because he was pro-life. Big mistake. He just beat the crap out of them like he did to CNN. I hope it costs the Post millions of dollars." This got expanded to a full press-release statement in which he repeated the bogus "victory" claim and the "millions of dollars" payout wish.

But the MRC does seem to suspect that Sandmann's "victories" aren't that at all, as a July 28 post by Kristine Marsh suggests:

After recent Covington Catholic High school graduate Nicholas Sandmann won yet another lawsuit against a media giant this week for their defamatory coverage of him, bitter CNN journalists took to Twitter to try to dunk on the eighteen-year-old with gossipy tweets as an act of revenge. But Sandmann’s eagle-eyed lawyer Lin Wood caught the tweets and called them out for breaking the two parties’ confidentiality agreement.

Even though CNN already settled with Sandmann back in January Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter was clearly still reeling from the suit, as he decided to weigh in on the Post's payout. He retweeted a liberal attorney, also not involved in the court hearing, who mocked Sandmann getting a “nuisance value settlement.”

Actually, lawyer Wood would seem to be the one violating the confidentiality agreement by getting so riled up over this speculation. After all, if Wood had gotten anything more than "nuisance value" for his client, it would have been substantial enough to get a public concession regarding it from CNN or the Post. Remember, when WorldNetDaily rather abruptly settled the lawsuit filed against it by Tennessee car dealer Clark Jones, who claimed defamation in a series of WND stories attacking Al Gore during the 2000 presidential election, the terms of the settelement were confidential but WND had to state publicly that the smears it published about jones were not true.

Nevertheless, Marsh declared, "Looks like CNN might be facing another lawsuit from Sandmann’s attorney. " She did not explain why speculation presented as nothing else but speculation could be considered potentially libelous. Nor did she explore why, at the time he was ranting about this, Wood has in his Twitter bio the hashtag #WWG1WGA -- short for "where we go one, we go all," the slogan for the far-right-fringe QAnon conspiracy theory, or why Sandmann would have such a fringe extremist as his lawyer.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:44 PM EDT
CNS Serves Up Pro-Barr Bias In Reporting On Barr Testimony
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've noted before the abject bias CNSNews.com has in covering congressional hearings: playing up questions asked by Republicans and ignoring Democrats unless they can be cherry-picked in a way that reinforces CNS' anti-Democrat narrative. That happened again when Attorney General William Barr testified before the House Judiciary Committee on July 28.

Things kicked off with a preview by Melanie Arter from Republican committee member Jim Jordan ranting on Fox News about how Democrats have been out to get Barr. For the first article on the hearing itself, Barr got an article to himself from Craig Bannister to push Trump administration talking points "defending the presence of federal marshals in Portland, Oregon during the ongoing riots, where violent mobs are using industrial-grade fireworks and kerosene-filled balloons to try to set federal property ablaze." He also was given a second article by Arter to announce (complete with transcript excerpt featuring Jordan) that he had named an attorney to investigate the "unmasking" of Michael Flynn regarding the conversations with Russia he lied about (never mind that his name was never "masked" in the first place).

Arter also served up some right-wing suck-up in an article featuring Republican Rep. Kelly Armstrong telling Barr "to tell federal courthouse employees - the prosecutors, clerks, judges, courthouse personnel, and public defenders “thank you” for still conducting business despite rioters attacking federal courthouses in cities like Portland, Ore."

The only time a Democratic member of Congress got mentioned regarding the hearing came in an article by Bannister featuring Jordan whining to committee chariman Jerrold Nadler about how "Democrats used their time [to] level accusations at Attorney General Barr – then, reclaimed their time before he was able to reply," to which Nadler responded to Jordan that "what you want is irrelevant." Bannister pushed the talking point again in an article the next day, claiming that "Even though House Judiciary Committee Democrats repeatedly cut him off, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) criticized Attorney General Barr for being 'not forthcoming' in his testimony Tuesday."

And that's how CNS violates its mission statement to "fairly present all legitimate sides of a story."


Posted by Terry K. at 11:30 AM EDT
Saturday, August 15, 2020
MRC Still Silent On Dershowitz Link to Epstein While Obsessing Over Clinton's
Topic: Media Research Center

We've documented how the Media Research Center (and its "news" division, CNSNews.com) effectively censored the fact that Alan Dershowitz -- the "liberal" lawyer whose pro-Trump analysis during the impeachment of President Trump was absoultely adored by the MRC -- was not only a lawyer for notorious child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, he has been accused by one of Epstein's victims, Virginia Giuffre, of having sex with her while she was underage.

With new Epstein-releated allegations popping up, the MRC went into full Clinton Derangement Syndrome mode by hyping claims that Bill Clinton was reportedly on Epstein's island. Duncan Schroeder enthused in a July 31 post:

On Friday’s New Day, CNN co-host Alisyn Camerota and reporter Kara Scannell committed random acts of journalism in discussing the newly released documents from a 2015 civil lawsuit brought by Virginia Giuffre against Jeffrey Epstein.

The documents detailed the alleged sexual abuses perpetrated upon Guiffre by Epstein and some his powerful friends, which may help to clarify the relationship between Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. Shockingly, Camerota and Scannell acknowledged Giuffre’s claim that Bill Clinton visited Epstein’s Caribbean island where much of the sex trafficking purportedly occurred.

[...]

While CNN has helped to protect Clinton from accountability, it deserves a pat on the back for covering this story. Better late than never!

But when other channels failed to do the MRC's bidding, it threw a tantrum. Scott Whitlock huffed:

New documents in the Jeffrey Epstein sex abuse case dropped late on Thursday with a potential bombshell. A second person now places Bill Clinton at the pedophile’s private sex island. The three networks on Friday devoted a total of 7 minutes and 26 seconds to the case and Ghislaine Maxwell in general, but NEVER mentioned that the former Democratic president has been named. 

[...]

Yet, ABC, CBS and NBC explicitly skipped this part of the story. On NBC’s Today, which offered four minutes, reporter Keir Simmons talked to Miami Herald reporter Kevin Hall. Hall vaguely explained, “They name very influential political types, business leaders. Some Hollywood A-listers. They are all mentioned in the documents.” 

Yet, while Clinton wasn’t mentioned, Simmons managed to include Donald Trump’s name: “Virginia Roberts Giuffre said she met Ghislaine Maxwell while working as a locker room attendant at President Trump's private estate Mar-a-Lago 20 years ago.” 

Adam Burnett ranted that MSNBC's "Morning Joe" was "complicit" in a "cover-up" Clinton's alleged involvement:

The mainstream media will go to any lengths to cover for a Democrat's misdoings, no matter if they are currently in office or not. They did it for Ted Kennedy, now they are doing it for Bill Clinton. Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre is now the second person to place Clinton at Epstein’s so-called sex island in the Caribbean. But instead of focusing on that, the media are currently covering it up by trying to create a connection between Epstein and President Trump. 

Morning Joe is just the latest media program to be complicit in this cover-up, when on Thursday they brought on the authors of a new book about Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort to try and invent an Epstein connection, with co-host Willie Geist starting things off by turning it to Trump: 

[...]

Despite the fact that Trump has never been to Epstein’s island, never been pictured with young girls of any kind, Geist and Morning Joe are still trying to cover for Bill Clinton, who was allegedly there, according to Giuffre and a tech worker on the island. It is worth noting that Geist did not mention Clinton one time during this segment. 

[...]

Not mentioning Clinton and Epstein, trying to cover it up by talking about Trump and NFL cheerleaders, smells like a cover-up in the making on behalf of Democrats, they did not mention that Trump said about Epstein “I’m not a fan of his.” But the media will do whatever it takes to protect Democrats, even lie.

Note that both Whitlock and Burnett stated that the new accusations come from Giuffre. You know who else these new Giuffre documents implicate? Alan Dershowitz. They stated that "“Epstein required Jane Doe #3 [Giuffre] to have sexual relations with Dershowitz on numerous occasions while she was a minor, not only in Florida but also on private planes, in New York, New Mexico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

Meanwhile, the MRC is still touting Dershowitz's expertise. In a July 14 post attacking the New York Times for publishing a piece by Peter Beinart arguing that the idea of a "Jewish state" for Israel and that the goal in the regions should be "equal rights for Jews and Palestinians," Clay Waters highlighted how "Alan Dershowitz warned in Newsweek that Beinart’s piece is willfully ignorant and fatally flawed." Waters made no mention of Dershowitz's ties to Epstein and Giuffre.

Now, Dershowitz has vehemently denied Giuffre's allegations. And there's the issue: If Giuffre is lying about Dershowitz, it arguably means she's also lying about Clinton. But if Guiffre is telling the truth about Clinton, that likely means she's telling the truth about Dershowitz. If the latter case prevails, the MRC gets an own on Clinton -- but also have to admit that they relied on a child molester as a pro-Trump legal expert.

Given that it's remained silent about Dershowitz's connection to Epstein and Giuffre, the MRC seems to be in fear of that possibility.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:23 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, August 15, 2020 9:30 AM EDT
WND's Brown Is Still Apologizing for Trump While Denying He's Doing So
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily columnist Michael Brown's specialty these days is helping his fellow evangelicals get past President Trump's odious, amoral behavior by repeatedly pointing out how Trump has advanced the political agenda of right-wing evangelicals like himself. Yet, he still pretends to agonize over the conflict between the two.

In his July 6 column, Brown leans into the divine-Donald narrative, which posits that Trump was elected in 2016 due to divine intervention (and which WND has embraced):

All in all, Trump will have to navigate a very difficult path to reelection, and at this moment in time, without divine intervention from the Lord for His sovereign purposes, his chances do not look good.

But what if God does have a special plan? What if this is yet another setup to underscore the impossibility of Trump's presidency by natural means alone?

In my new book, "Evangelicals at the Crossroads: Will We Pass the Trump Test?", I devote an entire chapter to the question, "Did God uniquely raise up Donald Trump?"

In the chapter, I state the case against divine intervention, offering naturalistic explanations or even noting that, according to some, any president is divinely chosen by God. I then lay out the case for divine intervention, explaining the meaning of the King Cyrus parallel, which means something different than many think. (I'll cover the Cyrus question in another article.)

In the end, I believe a good case can be made for sovereign intervention in Trump's 2016 election, as I explain in the book. (Again, this doesn't vindicate everything Trump does; it simply underscores a divine purpose. If anyone can play "4D Chess" – or 4,000 D Chess – it is the Lord!)

To Brown's credit, he did broach what few others pushing the divine-Donald narrative have done, in raising the possibility  that God did this to judge America rather than bless America," but begs off by saying, "that's another subject entirely."

In his column the next day, Brown promoted his new book again, claiming to have read much of the anti-Trump literature and responding to it, which led him to ask: "Is Donald Trump a spiritual danger?" Of course, he finds a way to handwave that by rehashing what he has done for evangelicals and setting an artificially high bar by claiming the consequences for Trump's actions were not as dire as feared:

The simple answer is: 1) only if we put our trust in him rather than in the Lord (see my recent article, "Christ, Not Trump, is the Solid Rock on Which We Stand"); 2) only if we defend him when he is indefensible; and 3) only if we are known more as Trump supporters than as followers of Jesus.

Otherwise, I do not believe he is a spiritual danger, either to the nation or to the church.

After all, with the constant concerns we have heard about his alleged instability for the last four years, has he provoked an international war? Did his relocation of our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem spark a massive response in the Muslim world? Did he start a nuclear battle with North Korea?

As for him keeping his promises to evangelicals, has any president in recent history been as loyal to this constituency? Has any president stood up more for our freedoms? Has any president kept the door open to us the way Trump has? Has any president dared to take the public, pro-life stands he has taken, including speaking at the annual March for Life in D.C.? Has any president appointed as many quality judges to the federal courts?

As for the predicted mental breakdowns, they have not happened yet. (If you want to brand him "crazy," then he's as "crazy" today as the day he was elected.)

As for him asserting dictatorial powers over the nation, he has done no such thing, even during the current pandemic.

To be sure, to the extent we have looked to Trump as some kind of savior or defended him at every turn, we have tarnished our witness. That, to me, is undeniable and something we must correct.

On the other hand, evangelical leaders have not sided with Trump in a cult-like, blindly loyal manner. Just think of the backlash he received from leaders like Pat Robertson and Franklin Graham when he pulled our troops out of Syria, thereby endangering our Kurdish allies. The warning from some of these evangelical leaders was quite intense.

That's why I am fully convinced that, should Trump abandon the values of his evangelical base, we would not stand with him. We are not part of his cult.

The problem here is that Brown is assuming Trump has any "values" that cause him to push an evangelical agenda beyond trying to get evangelicals to vote for him. If you stick with an amoral man whose hollowness you give a pass to because he advances your agenda, then you are part of his "cult."

Then, on July 14, WND published an excerpt from Brown's book, which purports to be "aimed at evangelical Christians who are put off by Trump’s faults." In it, Brown returns to his ends-justify-the-means approach to excusing Trump's amorality (while, yet again, pretending to agonize over it):

This is not to minimize his faults or the negative fruit of his words. As a follower of Jesus, I abhor some of his behavior, and, from a pragmatic viewpoint, he is his own worst enemy. My purpose here is to put Trump’s strengths and weaknesses into a larger global context.

[...]

As an American whose own family was being threatened with terrible loss, what specialist would you want at the helm? Would you want the nice family guy who had a poor track record in combatting similar plagues? Or would you want the nasty-tongued, prideful, oft-married man who was known for stopping these diseases in their tracks?

More specifically, from a Christian perspective, who would be the better choice? In a case like this, would God be more concerned with the person being nice yet inept, resulting in the deaths of tens of millions of Americans? Or would He be more concerned with the saving of all these lives, despite the man’s carnality?

[...]

To be sure, when it comes to our choice of president, morality does play an important role, just as, say, sobriety would play an important role with a heart surgeon. If you knew the surgeon was an alcoholic, would you still trust his or her track record?

In the same way, when it comes to the president, we don’t want a hothead who could needlessly start World War III. We don’t want a liar who can’t be trusted. We don’t want someone who is so divisive and mean-spirited that he tears the nation in two. Character does count and morality does matter.

It’s just that character and morality are multifaceted, and for many of us, a president who will fight for the life of the unborn demonstrates good character. The same with a president who will combat Islamic terrorism. Or stand for religious liberties. Or push back against a dangerous globalism (aka the New World Order). Or stand up to the repressive regime of China.

And while we regret many of the president’s words and actions, knowing they do real damage as well, in balance, we think he’s the best man (among possible current candidates) for the job.

[...]

As for the alternatives to Donald Trump, Farias opines, “I must honestly say: I cannot imagine how any true Christian or Messianic Jew could be a Democrat today. It is quickly morphing into a Marxist socialist, violently atheistic party with great greed for power. One cannot read his Bible and be a leftist liberal democrat. You have to feed on humanistic ideologies and go to humanistic schools to be one.”

Again, I don’t write these things (or, really, anything in “Evangelicals at the Crossroads”) with the goal of minimizing Donald Trump’s failings. Rather, I write this to explain why so many God-fearing, morality-loving, Bible-believing Christians can enthusiastically vote for Trump. The picture is much bigger than the man himself.

Actually, Brown is very much trying to minimize Trump's failings as a way to keep evangelicals interested in keeping political power. He wouldn't have written this book if he wasn't.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:22 AM EDT
Friday, August 14, 2020
MRC Sucks Up To Accused Sexual Harasser
Topic: Media Research Center

We've documented how the Media Research Center tends to whtiewash or outright censor sexual misconduct claims against Fox News personalities -- one of whom was Fox Business host Charles Payne, whom once-prominent right-wing talking head Scottie Nell Hughes said had coerced her into a sexual relationship. Fox News placed Payne on hiatus for two months in 2017 after the accusations surfaced, but he was reinstated a couple months later and has stayed on the air since, even after Hughes accused him of rape. In 2018, Fox News settled a lawsuit filed by Hughes.

Not only have MRC people continued to appear on Payne's Fox show, Payne paid the MRC to rent its mailing list for the purpose of shilling his stock-pick newsletter to MNRC readers. But the MRC took that love of a credibly accused sexual harasser to the next level with an July 29 "EXCLUSIVE" interview with Payne fawningly conducted by Joseph Vazquez:

Fox Business host Charles Payne has had enough. He’s fed up with the anti-Trump media and their one-sided coverage of the stock market and economy. 

The Making Money with Charles Payne host hammered the liberal media negativity in an exclusive interview. Payne concluded that the media spends “big rally days openly wondering (dare I say hoping) when the market will get it right (crash).” He even nuked New York Times economist Paul Krugman on his ongoing doom-and-gloom narrative: “The Krugmans of the world always bet on America staying down.”

Payne’s message to the media? “Park as much of your political animosity at the door.”

Vazquez gushed at the end: "The media could learn quite a thing or two from Payne’s critiques. If they have any sense left, they’ll do well to heed them."

Vazquez was even more obsequious on his Twitter account, where he effused: "It was an honor and privilege of mine to conduct this interview with @FoxBusiness's @cvpayne. He's a great American. If the media has any sense left, they'll do well to heed his spot-on criticism. Thank you Charles."

Needless to say, Vazquez was not about to let reality intrude on his right-wing fantasy by mentioning the facts of Payne's controversial personal life.

This is just another reminder that the MRC cares nothing about journalism -- it's an arm of the Trump re-election campaign. And it will suck up to the worst people in order to push its right-wing, pro-Trump narrative.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:21 PM EDT
CNS Tries, Fails To Mask-Shame Dr. Fauci
Topic: CNSNews.com

An anonymously written July 24 CNSNews.com article tries to play gotcha with Dr. Anthony Fauci over wearing masks:

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, dropped his face mask to below his chin while sitting with two other people in the stands at Nationals Park during Thursday night’s Nats game against the New York Yankees, according to a photograph published by WTOP.

The day before the Nats game, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser had issued an order requiring people to wear masks in most circumstances when they are outdoors in Washington, D.C.

[...]

The 30th photo in the series shows Fauci sitting in the stands with individuals sitting in the seats immediately to his left and right.

These other two people, a man and a woman, are both wearing masks over their mouth and nose.

Fauci has a mask draped over his ears, but the face covering is pulled down so that his nose and mouth are both exposed.

The caption does not identify the people sitting with Fauci.

Needless to say, CNS wasn't interested in telling the full story. That duty felll to an actual news outlet:

Dr. Anthony Fauci, America's top infectious disease expert, fired back at those who criticized him for pulling his face mask down while seated next to his wife and a friend at Tuesday's season-opening Major League Baseball game. He called the critiques "mischievous," and said he pulled the mask down because he was drinking water.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game, then sat in the nearly empty stands to watch the Washington Nationals host the New York Yankees.

An image taken by The Associated Press showed Fauci seated directly between his wife and another man with no spacing between them. Fauci had his phone in his hand. A bottle of water could be seen between his legs. He was looking at the other man and smiling.

[...]

When asked about it Friday on Fox News, Fauci told John Roberts he had tested negative for COVID-19 the day before the game and that the other man in the photo is a close friend.

"I think this is sort of mischievous with this thing going around. I had my mask around my chin, I had taken it down. I was totally dehydrated and I was drinking water trying to rehydrate myself," Fauci said.

“I wear a mask all the time when I'm outside -- to pull it down, to take some sips of water and put it back up again, I guess if people want to make something about that, they can. But to me, I think that’s just mischievous," Fauci added.

If CNS is only interested in doing partisan hit jobs, it's not really a "news" outlet, is it?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:24 AM EDT
Thursday, August 13, 2020
MRC Melts Down When Truth Is Told About Herman Cain And Coronavirus
Topic: Media Research Center

When right-wing activist Herman Cain died July 30 from coronavirus, there was one truth the Media Research Center didn't want to hear: Cain was not a fan of wearing masks, and he attended President Trump's sparsely attended rally in Tulsa in June, where most participants didn't wear masks -- which likely contributed to a surge in new cases in the city shortly after the rally.

Brent Baker posted a remembrance of Cain, including a video of him "present[ing] 'funny clips' at the Media Research Center’s 20th anniversary gala," and Joseph Vazquez rehashed a Fox Business tribute to Cain, telling readers at the end to "Share this story on social media in honor of the memory of the MRC’s friend Herman Cain." But as the sad truth about Cain's death became clear, the MRC turned into Trump-defending rage-bots, attacking anyone who acknowledged that truth.

Gabriel Hays ranted that "Radical lefties couldn’t just wish Mr. Cain a peaceful passing, they had to lecture him beyond the grave about how his death due to coronavirus was something he could have avoided by not listening to Trump’s “misinformation” about the virus, by wearing a mask, and by not attending Trump’s Tulsa rally." His first example of these "radical lefties": Ana Navarro, a [checks notes] Republican strategist, albeit a never-Trumper.

Hays then bizarrely argued that George Floyd deserved to die at the hands of police much more than Cain did: "It’s amazing how much respect many of these folks afford for lifelong criminals like George Floyd, who had Covid and wasn’t wearing a mask in public when he was arrested. But when an accomplished African American like Cain dies, they just throw him peanuts at best, or say he was asking for it at worst."

Nicholas Fondacaro -- who seems to spend most of his waking hours in a frothing rage at people named Cuomo --  complained that CNN's Chris Cuomo "blamed President Trump for the death of conservative businessman and former presidential candidate Herman Cain  from the virus, even claiming the President felt no remorse for his friend's death." Fondacaro offered a weak defense, claiming "there was no evidence that Cain contracted the virus at the rally. Cain’s team has said he traveled around the country before falling ill."

Curtis Houck huffed: "MSNBC’s The ReidOut did its part on Thursday night to contribute to the liberal media’s shameless dancing on the grave of the late Herman Cain, suggesting that a sizable segment of the right don’t believe he died from the coronavirus and used him to trash Americans living 'in that bubble' of 'stupidity' who’ve refused to take the pandemic seriously." houck echoed Fondacaro's weak denial of a link between the Tulsa rally and Cain contracting the virus, whining that "Reid smugly insinuated he may have contracted the virus at the Tulsa rally (despite there being no official word on whether that was the case)."

Duncan Schroeder took the whining even further:

On Friday morning’s New Day, CNN co-host Alisyn Camerota and guest host Jim Sciutto brought on New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman to take ghoulish shots at President Trump over the death of former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain due to coronavirus. Proving that nothing is sacred to the partisan hacks at CNN, Camerota nastily asked if there is “any feeling inside the White House of responsibility, of guilt, of connection” to the death, since Cain attended Trump’s Tulsa rally last month.

Schroeder was heavy on the adjectives, rifling through his thesaurus to add descriptors as "nauseating," "obnoxious " and "disgusting," -- he also stuck "ghoulish" in the headline -- finally huffing that "CNN has become so sick and twisted in its desire to bash Trump and help the Democrats that it will even use the death of one of Trump’s close friends to attack the President."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:22 PM EDT
CNS Still Letting Liberty U. Interns Write About Falwell
Topic: CNSNews.com

Last fall, we caught CNS letting an intern from Liberty University write an article about school president Jerry Falwell Jr. defending himself and the school from a bout of criticism -- a clear conflict of interest, even more so given Falwell's propensity for cracking down on any dissent about the school frm its students, even from the school newspaper.

Well, another CNS intern from Liberty has been giving her school even more favorable publicity. A July 20 article by Bailey Duran -- whose CNS bio describes her as "a rising senior at Liberty University" -- served up more uncritical praise of her school's president:

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. said more Evangelical Christians are in support of President Donald Trump in 2020 than in 2016, adding, “It wouldn’t surprise me if it was higher than 90 percent.”

Falwell has been a vocal Trump supporter since 2016. He said that although some Evangelicals may have thought he was crazy to back Trump in 2016, he believes the Evangelical vote will be much higher this election year.

Durn even does some sucking up to Falwell about the political climate on campus:

Falwell vocally supports the president on the campus of Liberty University.  Students are able to register to vote and vote in-person on campus.

In addition, Falwell urges students to educate themselves about politics, policy, and government, and he usually invites political speakers to the school’s convocation, which reportedly is the largest weekly gathering of Christian young people in the world.

What Duran doesn't mention, however, is that the convocation guests are not politically diverse -- they are usually either Christian or conservative; one convocation last November featured Donald Trump Jr. and Fox News host-turned-Junior's girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle, where they discussed "President Trump’s success in the face of media attacks, the administration’s fight to support constitutional and conservative values, the pro-life movement, and support for the nation’s military" and "The incivility and hostility of the political Left Liberals are rarely invited to take part.

The article did not disclose that Duran is a Liberty student.

She followed this with an Aug. 4 article about alumni from the University of Lynchburg -- located in the same city as Liberty --  "calling for the removal of Pastor Jerry Falwell, Sr.’s name from one of the school’s dormitories -- which Falwell’s Liberty University donated money to build – because of allegedly 'offensive' statements made by the late pastor nearly 20 years ago," as well as to "stop receiving money and gifts of any kind from Liberty." Duran quoted Falwell Jr. responding that "“We had a deal. We struck the deal and it’s done. If they want to give the money back, they’re welcome to give it back," as well as adding a complaint that the petition asking for a severing of ties "is open to the public to sign, not just U of L alumni."

But when Falwell Jr. posted a photo of himself on Instagram with his pants unzipped joined by a woman who wasn't his wife also with unzipped pants -- an act that was the final straw for the Liberty board of trustees, which forced him to take an indefinite leave of absence from his Liberty duties -- neither Duran nor anyone else at CNS thought this was newsworthy, even though Duran is still writing other articles for CNS, with her most recent articles published yesterday.

So it appears that Falwell Jr. gets the Trump treatment at CNS -- only good news is reported.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:09 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, August 13, 2020 9:41 PM EDT
Wednesday, August 12, 2020
MRC Gives Mark Levin A Platform To Attempt Cancel Culture
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center thinks "cancel culture" is a bad thing -- unless it's the ones trying to do it. Tim Graham tried to pull some cancel culture in a July 26 post, complaining that the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation's request that President Trump stop using a commemorative coin set featuring him and Reagan as a giveaway for donations to his re-election campign is somehow illegitimate because the head of the foundatioon's board, Frederick Ryan, is also the publisher and CEO of the Washington Post.

Graham quickly pushed for canceling Ryan: "This raises the question: why didn't the Post insist that Ryan drop his Reagan Foundation responsibilities when he became publisher of this very anti-Trump, anti-Reagan newspaper? And why didn't the Reagan Foundation see a liberal-media conflict?" He then sneered: "This makes about as much sense as the CEO of Fox News running the Jimmy Carter Center." This may be the first time Graham has admitted that Fox News has a right-wing bias.

Graham then called for cancel-culture backup from MRC buddy Mark Levin, who ranted of Ryan's employment that "given the Washington Post's leftist agenda, and the conservative legacy of the great Ronald Reagan, this appears to me to be a huge conflict" and huffing, "Mr. Ryan, decide who and what you want to be, but it's obvious you cannot be both the Washington Post publisher/CEO and the Reagan Library board chairman when there's a clear conflict."

What neither Graham nor Levin bothered to do, however, was  contact anyone who's actually close to the Reagan family or foundation for their opinion. Newsmax talked to the guy who's best known these days for keeping the Reagan flame alive, his adopted son Michael, and found that his view was different from the MRC cancel culture:

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute is "100% correct" in its pushback against President Donald Trump's campaign for its use of a photograph of President Ronald Reagan and Trump shaking hands to market an embossed coin for prospective donors, the late president's son Michael Reagan told Newsmax TV on Monday.

"If you're going to use Ronald Reagan's likeness, you have to go to the [Reagan] library and get permission to use the likeness," Reagan said on Monday's "Greg Kelly Reports." "Nobody got permission to use that likeness."

Further, Reagan told Kelly, it would be illegal for the Reagan Foundation, as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to become involved in a political campaign and look as if it is offering a "tacit endorsement" of a campaign.

Trump, he added, is "absolutely wrong" with his use of the likeness and even if one would "like to see them together," and even if the late president might have endorsed him, "you can't" use the likeness to imply an endorsement, Reagan told Kelly.

Trump and others have also complained the move from the Reagan Foundation to block the use of the image was spurred by The Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan, who chairs the foundation and was the late president's chief of staff after he left the White House, but Reagan told Kelly that Ryan is not the issue.

"There's a million people who have taken photos of my father shaking hands," said Reagan, but those cannot be used as endorsements for political campaigns.

So  Ryan is not just some random guy at the foundation -- he was Reagan's post-presidency chief of staff. That's a connection neither Graham nor Levin noted.

Meanwhile, Ryan's Post bio shows he's eminently qualified for both jobs. Not only does it note that before he became Reagan's post-presidency chief of staff, he worked in the administration from 1982 until its end -- something that Levin, whom Graham touted as a "Reagan administration alumnus," almost certainly knows but chose not to mention in his rant -- he was for nearly 20 years president and chief operating officer of Allbritton Communications, which owned several TV stations, including one in Washington D.C., before selling them a few years back and also operates politically-obsessed publication Politico, for which he served as president and CEO.

We don't recall a whisper of complaint from conservatives about Ryan in either of those positions when he held them, or his current job at the Post until now -- and he's been at the Post since 2014. But now that it's been revealed, the MRC's cancel-culture squad has come for him.

The fact that absolutely nothing has happened on this front since -- even the MRC hasn't done anything further with it -- shows how weak the MRC's game is on this front.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:22 PM EDT
Newsmax Columnist Gets His German History Wrong
Topic: Newsmax

James Walsh -- who in the past has been Newsmax's chief immigrant-basher -- wrote in his July 20 Newsmax column:

The death of George Floyd was the latest catalyst to provide an excuse for the leftist/communist/socialist/anarchist cadres to take to the streets in riot-mode. With the newsmedia support, academia support, Democrat support — naive, impressionable and malleable young people joined the hard-core, professional and well paid leftist/communist socialist/anarchist street-brawlers.

The street-brawlers are small in number, but have big results.

The news accounts by television, radio, or newspaper of July, show America in crisis — an un-American crisis. America of 2020 looks like and acts like a country at war with itself. To many citizens, America of 2020 is much like Germany in the years after World War I.

German street brawlers were the National Socialists — the Nazis, the communists, the anarchists, the regular socialists and plain criminals. Today, in America, it is the Socialist/communist faction that will win out. This faction has the money people, the news media and now the Democrat party as the pillars of its support.

Walsh clearly doesn't know his post-WWI German history. "The Nazis, the communists, the anarchists, the regular socialists and plain criminals" were not all the same thing, and were not all "National Socialilsts."

There were communist uprisings shortly after the end of the war, but they were crushed by something called the Freikorps, right-wing bands of former soldiers whose actions were effectively endorsed by the German government. The Freikorps -- after their own attempt to overthrow the government -- eventally saw many of its members and leaders join Hitler's Nazi party.

Walsh is trying the old right-wing trope of using the former "national socialist" name of the Nazi party as evidence that Hitler was a socialist, which isn't true.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:04 PM EDT

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