CNS' Starr Just Can't Stop Shilling for the Oil Industry Topic: CNSNews.com
Part of Penny Starr's job as a CNSNews.com reporter is to be a reliableshill for the oil industry, which has provided funding over the years to CNS parent the Media Research Center. Starr once again proves she knows which side her bread's buttered on with a Jan. 9 CNS article filled with unquestioning stenography:
Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, said last week that opening up offshore production of oil and natural gas could create more than 800,000 U.S. jobs and provide some $200 billion in revenue to the federal Treasury.
In his keynote speech last week in Washington, D.C., Gerard referenced these and other statistics in the trade association’s annual State of American Energy report, including a call to revise or repeal regulations that have been put in place by the Obama administration, which he said have stifled the production of the abundant domestic oil and gas resources.
“We must examine the regulatory onslaught of the last few years that has proposed or imposed some 145 new regulations on the oil and gas industry and other executive actions on our industry and instead work to implement smart energy regulations that are focused on the consumer, that help to grow our domestic economy, protect our workers and continue to improve the environment,” Gerard said.
“It is our view that regulations that do not align with those basic and commonsense goals should be reexamined, revised or removed to make way for smarter and forward-looking energy policies,” he said.
Starr quotes nobody else in her article, which means she's presenting Gerard's claims as undisputed fact. That's not reporting -- that's lazy stenography. Then again, she seems quite aware she's not getting paid to do reporting.
The only straight-news article out of the bunch was a Jan. 11 piece by Susan Jones saying that secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson called for an "open and frank dialogue with Russia regarding its ambitions." Jones didn't, however, mention the controversy over Trump's (and Tillerson's) links with Russia that make such a "open and frank dialogue" necessary.
Beyond that, however, the selection of subjects on which CNS did hearing articles on other appointees made its bias clear.
For the hearing for HUD secretary-designate Ben Carson, CNS did an approving article on Carson saying he would "absolutely not play favorites for anyone," but also an article on Carson defending HUD's rental assistance program. Given that CNS has previously criticized rental assistance programs -- especially when it means poor people of color could live in more affluent, white-dominated suburbs -- that article was meant as a warning shot.
While CNS wrote in a mocking tone about how "Newly elected Sen. Kamala Harris, a California Democrat, repeatedly pressed Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) at his confirmation hearing on Wednesday for assurances that he will not discriminate against homosexuals and Muslims if he is confirmed as CIA director," it also wrote with a more disapproving tone over secretary of state-designate James Mattis not being opposed to gays in the military or women in combat. CNS, like the rest of the MRC, is rabidly anti-gay.
And while CNS had touted Republican Sen. Marco Rubio saying flattering things about Sessions, it censored Rubio's tough questioning of Tillerson, since doing so didn't advance Tillerson's, or Trump's, prospects or CNS' right-wing agenda.
CNSNews.com's cheerleading for the nomination of Jeff Sessions for attorney general is almost embarassing in its utter bias -- the kind that CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, would be screming bloody murder about if a "liberal media" outlet acted like this.
CNS churned a whopping eight articles on Jan. 10, the first day of Sessions' confirmation hearing, designed solely to lionize him and promote his right-wing bona fides:
All but two of these articles focus either on statements by Sessions solely or answers to questions from Republican senators.
CNS mostly ignored the second day of the hearing on Jan. 11, refusing to devote an article to testimony critical of Sessions from Democratic Sens. Cory Booker and John Lewis. Instead, an article portrays as whining the complaint from another Democratic senator complaining that Booker's and Lewis' testimony was pushed to the end of the day.
This was joined by an article in which CNS reporter Penny Starr goes the ambush route in trying to get a Democratic senator to agree with her that Sessions is "a man of high character" and "a kind and decent man who has worked relentlessly for desegregation and justice."
Starr followed up with an article the next day touting how African-Americans testifying at the hearing "praised the senator as a man who has helped people regardless of their race." She didn't mention the testimony of African-Americans Booker and Lewis.
CNS managing editor Michael W. Chapman contributed an article citing a 2016 speech in which Sessions attacked Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor as having a "post-modern, relativistic, secular mindset" that is "directly contrary to the founding of our republic."
The cherry on the top of this bias is CNS editor Terry Jeffrey's column -- tonally similar to his website's biased "news" reporting -- in which he touts Sessions' hard anti-abortion stance and declares that "Sessions' views on abortion and same-sex marriage are right" and anyone who disagrees with him is "wrong."
That bias is reflected throughout CNS' Sessions articles -- which, again, if it involved a news outlet other than one the MRC didn't own, the MRC would be all over it.
UPDATE: We forgot one -- a Jan. 11 article by Melanie Hunter touting U.S. Commission on Civil Rights member Peter Kirsanow -- whom Hunter doesn't identify as a conservative -- fawningly declaring that "Sessions’ approach to civil rights is consistent, is legally sound, intellectually honest, and has an appreciation and understanding of the historical bases for civil rights laws."
CNS Unemployment Numbers Distortion Watch, Last Licks Edition Topic: CNSNews.com
The jobs report for December was the last one to come out under the Obama administration, so CNSNews.com had to get their last cherry-pickingdistortion of the numbers in while they could.
The main story by Susan Jones focuses, as usual, on the labor force participation rate, telling us that "the number of Americans not in the labor force has increased by 14,573,000 (18.09 percent) since January 2009, when Obama took office." Jones surprisingly concedes the dishonesty of that number, admitting that it is "continuing a long-term trend that began well before Obama was sworn in." It's not until the seventh paragraph that Jones reports that there is also a record number of Americans who are employed, and she buried in the 17th paragraph the fact that 156,000 jobs were created in December.
The first sidebar, by editor in chief Terry Jeffrey, bemoaned that manufacturing jobs continued to decline, glossing over the fact that -- as the chart accompanying his article illustrates -- manufacturing jobs have been on a general downward slope for a good 30 years. Jeffrey further bemoaned that there are more government jobs than manufaturing jobs.
The second sidebar, by managing editor Michael W. Chapman, once again played up relatively high black unemployment, implicitly blaming Obama while leaving out the important contextual fact that black unemployment has always been roughly double that of white unemployment.
Theh final sidebar, also by Chapman, repeats his imaginary claim that the U-6 number is the "real unemployment" figure, grousing that "it is not often reported by the mainstream media." As we've explained, it's a factual misnomer since that particular number counts people are employed part-time but seeking full-time work.
Next month will bring the first report of job numbers under Donald Trump. Will CNS be as diligent at cherry-picking numbers under Trump as it has been under Obama? We shall see.
CNS Still Shilling for Trump -- and Russia -- on Russian Election Meddling Topic: CNSNews.com
We've noted how the Trump stenographers at CNSNews.com have been heavily spinning for Trump -- and, thus, for Russia -- on the issue of Russian meddling in the presidential election, treating blanket denials from Trump lackeys as undisputed despite evidence to the contrary and even cheering on a "Russian reporter named Andre" slagging President Obama. Well, CNS is still at it, even as the evidence becomes more indisputable.
On Dec. 29, CNS managing editor Micahel W. Chapman proudly quoted Republican Rep. Trent Franks declaring that the Russians "merely did what the media should have done." Chapman quickly added that Franks meant "reported accurate information to the American people" instead of hacking into other people's email, though the full context is unclear since Chapman included only a 9-second clip of Franks saying those words instead of the entire conversation he had on MSNBC on the subject.
But the full segment reveals what Chapman didn't report that would place things in context -- Franks calling Vladimir Putin a "KGB thug" who should be punished for his involvement in the election, as well as backing away from sharing Trump's criticism of the intelligence community.
In a Jan. 3 article, chief stenographer Susan Jones uncritically quoted Trump spokesman Sean Spicer suggesting that President Obama's expelling Russian diplomats in response to the Russian meddling was a "political retribution" instead of a "diplomatic response."
CNS' pro-Republican, anti-Hillary response to the Russian meddling continued in a Jan. 5 article by Melanie Hunter approvingly quoting Republican Rep. Paul Ryan declaring that while Russia “clearly tried to meddle in our political system,” they did not put the server in Hillary Clinton’s basement or tell her not to campaign in Wisconsin or Michigan.
In covering Director of National Intelligence James Clapper 's congressional testimony on the meddling, CNS did what it usually does: quote only Republican congressmen asking questions and ignoring Democrats. Hunter pushed Trump-approved spin in another Jan. 5 article, leading with Clapper's statement that no "vote tallies" werealtered by the Russians and focusing on Republican Sen. Tom Cotton spinning that Vladimir Putin would not want to help Trump get elected because Trump proposed increasing the defense budget "to accelerate nuclear modernization, to accelerate ballistic missile defenses, and to expand and to accelerate boosting missile defenses, and to expand and accelerate oil and gas production, which would obviously harm Russia’s economy" and other "contrary evidence despite what the media speculates that perhaps Donald Trump is not the best candidate for Russia."
Jones followed the template with an article quoting Republican Lindsey Graham saying he's "ready to throw a rock" at Russia, but framed it as criticism of Obama, who only threw a "pebble."
(In contrast to Jones' stenography, actual reporters at the Washington Post noted that Cotton was among the GOP senators who "seemed keen to avoid drawing links between President-elect Donald Trump and the Russian government.")
UPDATE: There's even more shilling: A Jan. 7 article by editor in chief Terry Jeffrey repititiously recycles the claim that "Russia did not target or compromise systems used in counting votes in U.S. elections," a Jan. 9 article by Susan Jones uncritically quotes a Republican congressman (though curiously not identified as a Republican) bashing Obama for purportedly not doing anything about the hacking sooner, and another Jones article plays stenographer for Mitch McConnell insisting that Trump's national security picks are "clear-eyed people who understand fully that the Russians are not our friends."
CNS' Jones Takes Another Snide Swipe at Liberals Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com morning managing editor and snide reporter Susan Jones endeavors to interject bias into her articles any way she can -- whether it's slavish stenography for conservatives or snarky asides for liberals.
That explains Jones' Dec. 21 article, which telegraphs her partisanship right in the lede: "In these waning days of the Obama administration, the Department of Housing an Urban Development announced on Tuesday that it has awarded a record $1,953,210,272 to thousands of homeless assistance programs across the nation, including some in Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands."
Does HUD awarding this money have any connection to "these waning days of the Obama administration"? Jones never explains. But it's a setup for her third-paragraph zing:
More than half of the money is going to programs in the 20 "blue" states plus the District of Columbia that voted for Hillary Clinton in November.
Excluding Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the total amount going to the 50 states and the District of Columbia is $1,933,264,877. And of that total, 59.00 percent -- $1,140,698,805 -- went to states won by Clinton.
But does that have anything to do with anything? Nope, as Jones concedes: "The awards have nothing to do with Clinton, but they do indicate that homelessness is more of a problem in blue states, some of them large and some of them small."
Shorter Jones: Just kidding! Suck it,b lue states!
And CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, has the gall to criticize other reporters for bias? The MRC should clean up its own house first.
CNS' Managing Editor Still Hates Gays, Loves Franklin Graham Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com managing editor Michael W. Chapman is perhaps known for two things: keeping CNS as biased as possible and an obsessive love for the hateful words of Franklin Graham. It's been a while since we checked in on his biased work, so we thought we'd take a look at his output over the last three months of 2016.
To nobody's surprise, Chapman's Franklin Graham obsession is still alive and well, with 15 of the 102 articles he wrote during that time dedicated to regurgitating Graham's words (and an additional post quoting Graham's father, Billy Graham).
The bigger surprise, though, is Chapman's embrace of virulently anti-LGBT rhetoric, with 13 posts quoting right-wing ministers and activists attacking gays and transgenders (two of which quoted Franklin Graham). A sampling:
Chapman's veering to the far-right fringe is perhaps best illustrated by two posts that uncritically quote the Zionist Organization of America, a far-right group that tolerates no criticism of Israel or its supporters and may be best known for promoting boycotts against its perdceived enemies that seem to have the unintended consequence of hurting Israel.
In a Nov. 23 post, Chapman highlighted how the ZOA demanded an apology fromHoward Dean for calling right-wingerand Trump adviser Steve Bannon "anti-Semitic." Chapman didn't mention ZOA's ideological bent (though he and the rest of his CNS employees are quick to identify the ideological leanings of liberal groups), nor did he mention that Bannon's ex-wife reportedly quoted Bannon during their divorce hearing as saying that Bannon didn't want his children "going to school with Jews." Bannon has denied this, but it's pertinent enough to this particular discussion that Chapman sould have mentioned it.
A Dec. 29 post by Chapman uncritically quoting ZOA ludicrously asserting that President Obama and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power "have anti-Semitic hatred for Israel and the Jewish people" for failing to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution criticizing Israeli settlements in disputed areas of Jerusalem.
Trump's victory means we can expect CNS, under Chapman's leadership, to pull further to the right -- and since Chapman cares nothing about journalistic balance, it will pretend even more that non-right-wing opinions don't matter.
CNS censored the fact that a poll it touted feating results friendly to anti-abortion activists was condicted by an anti-abortion group and a right-wing polling firm run by Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway.
CNS censored a statement by President Obama on persecuted Christmas because it contracted its partian agenda of attacking Obama for purportedly not caring enough about Christians.
CNS attacked Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer's criticism of Senate Republicans obstructing President Obama's final Supreme Court pick but censored the fact that Schumer's suggestion of a similar obstruction to a potential Bush pick, but censored the fact that Schumer was speaking hypothetically and that Repubicans attacked Schumer's suggestion just as Shumer criticized Republicans' obstruction.
CNS touted a Republican congressman's denouncing of the purported findings in the Center for Medical Progress' misleadingly edited attack videos on Planned Parenthood, but censored the fact that the congressman knew about the videos weeks before he spoke out about them.
CNS censored the Josh Duggar sex scandal when it first broke, later covering the scandal involving the right-wing-friendly family only when the story became too big to ignore.
CNS censored flaws in a study attacking immigrants to the U.S, then censored arguably racist statements by one of the study's co-authors.
CNS touted the Benghazi movie "13 Hours," but censored the fact that the film tanked at the box office.
Too bad CNS isn't so sick of censored news that it can be moved to do anything about its own.
CNS Reduces George Michael's Life To Arrest, 'Video Showing Two Cops Kissing' Topic: CNSNews.com
After singer George Michael's death, the Associated Press sent out an article with a feature-oriented angle under the headline "Pop superstar George Michael dies of heart failure at 53." It began by noting how Michael turned his embarassing 1998 arrest for lewd behavior in a public toilet into an artistic statement through the video for the song "Outside" and how its "memorable image of the two uniformed policemen kissing in the video -- both funny and outrageous at the time -- helped Michael come out as a proud gay man."
CNSNews.com ran that AP article as well, but as it has many times before, it decided the original article wasn't biased enough. CNS' new headline for the article: "After Arrest for Lewd Conduct in Public Toilet, George Michael Made Video Showing Two Cops Kissing."
No, really. CNS really did reduce the career of a man who sold 100 million albums and was a worldwide superstar to an arrest and a video for one of his less popular songs.
And CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, has the temerity to complain about the alleged bias of other media outlets?
The WND-ization of the MRC, Part 87 Topic: CNSNews.com
Nominee Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil, not only has been supportive of the abortion industry, through his company’s donations to abortionists, but also played a key role in opening the Boy Scouts to homosexuality.
Those accomplishments have left Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council appalled at the idea of Tillerson continuing the pro-abortion, pro-homosexual agenda outlined by Hillary Clinton and followed by John Kerry at the State Department.
“The left, which doesn’t usually need a reason to oppose Trump’s choices, won’t find many here, since the ExxonMobil executive may be the greatest ally liberals have in the Cabinet for their abortion and LGBT agendas,” Perkins said.
“That should be particularly alarming to conservatives, who’ve spent the last eight years watching the State Department lead the global parade for the slaughter of innocent unborn children and the intimidation of nations with natural views on marriage and sexuality,” Perkins continued.
President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, lobbied for the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to change its rules on youth membership and allow homosexuals to join the organization, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Commenting on Tillerson as Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said, “The Left, which doesn't usually need a reason to oppose Trump's choices, won't find many here, since the ExxonMobil executive may be the greatest ally liberals have in the Cabinet for their abortion and LGBT agendas.”
“That should be particularly alarming to conservatives, who've spent the last eight years watching the State Department lead the global parade for the slaughter of innocent unborn children and the intimidation of nations with natural views on marriage and sexuality,” said Perkins.
-- Michael W. Chapman, Dec. 15 CNSNews.com article
CNS Censors Biased Nature of Anti-Abortion Poll Topic: CNSNews.com
Lauretta Brown writes in a Nov. 21 CNSNews.com article:
A poll released Friday by the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) shows that a majority of voters, 64%, support legislation such as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act that would prohibit abortions nationwide after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
The poll was commissioned by the SBA List and conducted by the polling company, inc./WomanTrend.
What Brown doesn't report: The Susan B. Anthony List is an anti-abortion group, and the polling company (lowercase is cq) is operated by Kellyanne Conway, manager for Donald Trump's presidential campaign and works on behalf of right-wing causes. Indeed, Conway's firm cashed in big during the 2016 campaign even before she joined Trump's team through her company's work for the campaigns of both Trump and Ted Cruz.
That ideological bent makes the poll results unreliable since we can assume that the questions were skewed to provide the desired result.
Brown goes on to tout that "The results mirror a Marist poll commissioned by the Knights of Columbus in July." The Knights of Columbus is a Catholic fraternal orghanization that reflects Catholic tenets, one of which is opposition to abortion. Marist College, which operates a polling center that the K of C utlized, is a Catholic university; while its polling generally has a good reputation, one cannot discount the possibility of skewing questions to achieve desired results.
Indeed, CNS regularlypromotespolls conducted by Marist-K of C since they provide results they like to push on its readers. Most recently, Brown used a Dec. 23 article to tout a Marist-K of C poll finding that "Americans prefer ‘Merry Christmas’ to ‘Happy Holidays’ by 20 percentage points."
CNS' Jones Plays Stenographer to Distract from Russian Meddling Topic: CNSNews.com
WorldNetDaily's not the only ConWeb outlet trying to give Donald Trump -- and Russia -- a pass on allegations Russia meddled in the presidential election to boost Trump. CNSNews.com's Susan Jones is taking a crack at it as well.
On Dec. 19, Jones churned out a couple of stenography specials to try and deflect attention from the growing scandal:
Jones dutifully transcribed Reince Priebus spinning: "Even this question is insane. Of course we didn't interface with the Russians. I mean, this whole thing is a spin job. And I think what the Democrats ought to do is look in the mirror and face the reality that they lost the election. And they lost the election because they're so and completely out of touch with the American people that they're so shell-shocked and they can't believe it."
Jones also transcribed John McCain saying, in her words, that there's no reason to think that Russian activity changed the outcome of the election.
Then, on Dec. 20, Jones played stenographer for Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher actually excusing Russian meddling in the form of stealing emails from Hillary Clinton's campaign because "The e-mails were factual, and thus the American people, it did not hurt the American people to have more factual information available to them."
Jones, meanwhile, skewed her transcription job on Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta discussing the issue, framing it as him evading a question on whether he thought the election was "free and fair."
Jones, of course, is known for her stenography for Trump and for her snide skewing of the news regarding non-conservatives.
Jones even gave space to someone she identified only as a "Russian reporter named Andre" slagging President Obama in a Dec. 16 article:
A Russian reporter named Andre challenged President Obama's leadership Thursday, running down a list of problems that have worsened on Obama's watch, including relations with Russia and racial tensions in America. "Does he feel any responsibility for all this?" the reporter asked.
Jones undoubtedly approve of the reporter's attack on Obama. If he was saying the same thing about Trump, it would never make the CNS front page.
CNS Is 5 Months Late In Issuing Biased Attack On State Dept. Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com managing editor Michael W. Chapman writes in a Dec. 12 article:
According to the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), the State Department gave $349,276 in U.S. taxpayer-funded grants to a political group in Israel to build a campaign operation, which subsequently was used to try to influence Israelis to vote against conservative Benjamin Netanyahu in the March 2015 election for prime minister.
And like WND, Chapman de-emphasizes the fact that the State Department's funding of the Israeli group One Voice had nothing to do with the group's anti-Netanyahu campaign and involved a separate project. Chapman unprofessionally puts in bold italic statements like "OneVoice used the campaign infrastructure and resources built, in part, with State Department grants funds to support V15" but not statements like "no evidence that OneVoice spent grant funds to influence the 2015 Israeli elections."
Chapman also uncritically quotes Republican Sen. Rob Portman saying, "American resources should be used to help our allies in the region, not undermine them." But Israel as a whole is the ally in question, not just Netanyahu. Is Portman saying that any Israeli politician who opposes Netanyahu is an enemy of the U.S.
If so, Chapman apparently agrees with the sentiment.
CNS' Mel Gibson Fanboy Strikes Again Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com blogger Mark Judge has proven himself to be a serious Mel Gibson fanboy, promoting his new and planned film projects while remaining utterly silent about his ugly personal history of anti-Semitism and viciousness toward an ex-girlfriend.
Judge performs this feat again in a Dec. 12 CNS blog post touting how Gibson's new film "Hacksaw Ridge" was nominated for three Golden Globe awards. Judge obsequiously added: "Gibson won the Golden Globe for best director in 1995 for “Braveheart,” then went on that year to win the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director."
What he doesn't mention, of course, is that ugly past, even though "Hacksaw Ridge" is considered to be something of a comeback film for Gibson from all of that.
CNSNews.com has made its journalistic stand clear: It will be a lapdog and stenographer for Donald Trump and his administration. Here's the latest examples of CNS' stenography for Trump and his supporters and spokespeople, where its reporters uncritically transcribe what they say and call it "news" or present their view as the only reasonable one:
CNS' Trump boosterism isn't limited to stenography. Barbara Hollingsworth managed to find the "Democrat Leader of Alabama Senate" who will vouch for attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions' lack of racism and conducted a lengthy interview with him.
So, yes, CNS is totally on the Trump bandwagon -- a position that works if CNS wants to portray itself as the inverted-pyramid division of a right-wing activist organization it actually is, but not as the independent journalisitic organization it wants people to think it is.