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Sunday, October 11, 2015
CNS Won't Fact-Check Ben Carson on Guns and Holocaust

Melanie Hunter was in full stenography mode in an Oct. 9 article:

GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Thursday that the “likelihood” of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler accomplishing his goals in the Holocaust “would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed.”

“I think the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed,” said Carson.


“So just clarify: If there had been no gun control laws in Europe at that time, would 6 million Jews have been slaughtered?” Blitzer asked.

“I think the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed,” responded Carson.

“Because they had a powerful military machine, as you know, the Nazis,” said Blitzer.

“I understand that,” said Carson.

“They could have simply gone in, and they did go in and wipe out whole communities,” said Blitzer.

“But you realize there was a reason that they took the guns first, right?” Carson replied.

Hunter didn't see fit to investigate the accuracy of Carson's statement -- apparently she believes, as the rest of CNS seems to, that statements by conservatives are axiomatically true. But Carson's statements regarding gun control in Nazi Germany are fundamentally false.

The people were, in fact, armed. Alex Seitz-Wald explained in 2013 that the Nazis actually deregulated gun possession for most Germans and exempted some classes of people, such as Nazi party members. The only Germans who were subject to any sort of severe form of gun control were Jews and other persecuted classes.

What isolated incidents there were of Jews fighting back against the Nazis tended to be ruthlessly crushed, as the Huffington Post notes; the famous Warsaw ghetto uprising of 1943 resulted in the deaths of about 13,000 Jews and just 20 Nazis.

Even the Anti-Defamation League shut down Carson's line of reasoning: "Ben Carson has a right to his views on gun control, but the notion that Hitler’s gun-control policy contributed to the Holocaust is historically inaccurate. The small number of personal firearms available to Germany’s Jews in 1938 could in no way have stopped the totalitarian power of the Nazi German state."

But you won't read about any of this in Hunter's article, even though this information was available to her at the time she wrote her article. Carson has spoken, and apparently that's all that matters to her.

UPDATE: CNS is perfectly capable of fact-checking, as it does in this Oct. 12 article by Patrick Goodenough asserting that "In ‘60 Minutes’ Interview, Obama Muddles Facts on Ukraine."

Posted by Terry K. at 8:55 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, October 12, 2015 8:50 AM EDT
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
MRC Proves CNS 'Reporter' Really Is A Protester

The Media Research Center may be insisting that "reporter" Sam Dorman is a real reporter, but its actions show that he really did serve as a "protester" in asking a loaded gotcha question to Nancy Pelosi, as the Washington Post originally called him.

When a real news organization's reporter gets slighted by a public figure, it usually doesn't try to build a PR campaign off it. The MRC, by contrast, is doing just that. An Oct. 6 CNS article by managing editor Michael Chapman touts how his boss, Brent Bozell, "wrote to Pelosi, noting that good reporters 'ask tough questions,' that her answer was 'disrespectful'; and that she should apologize to the reporter,’s Sam Dorman."

Of course, Dorman's question wasn't "tough"; it was a gotcha question designed to mock her stance on abortion. Dorman had been going around to various Democratic members of Congress asking the very same question before hitting up Pelosi. Hurling the same gotcha question to multiple people is the act of a protester, not a journalist.

If Dorman's question wasn't an act of protest, the MRC wouldn't be trying to raise money off it. And that's exactly what it's doing.

An Oct. 6 email to followers contained a link to a page at CNS where it requests that readers send it money: "It costs $12,000 to fund an Intern at the MRC, and it is an example like Sam’s as to why your continued support for our MRC Internship Program is so vital!"

Wait, the internship program? Yep. It turns out that Dorman isn't even a real reporter -- he's an intern. The MRC has not admitted that until now, not even in the two stories on the situation written by his boss Chapman.

The MRC tries to elide that in its fanciful description of the Dorman-Pelosi encounter (bold in original):

Sam Dorman was excited to be the intern chosen to represent at the weekly press briefing on October 1st. Armed with a laptop, recorder, and his journalist credentials, he entered the briefing with intention to ask truthful questions directly related to public policy. When called upon, Sam addressed leader Nancy Pelosi, simply asking:

“In reference to funding for Planned Parenthood: Is an unborn baby with a human heart and a human liver a human being?”

But Pelosi responded with, “I do not intend to respond to your questions”.  

Pelosi even went so far as to belittle the credentials of our intern.

Somehow, we doubt that the Capital's press office would give out credentials to an intern so easily; you might remember that a decade ago, WorldNetDaily essentially complained that the Senate Press Gallery's standards for press passes weren't low enough for WND to get one (which they eventually did). It may be that the credentials belong to CNS, and Dorman simply had access to them that day.

The MRC is just throwing the "credentials" stuff around to pump up the idea that CNS is a real news organization.

But the ultimate evidence of Dorman's intent comes from Dorman himself, in a statement underneath his picture: "At first I was nervous to ask the question, but after Pelosi erupted with anger, I knew I had pushed the right button."

Journalists try to gather information. Protesters try to push buttons. Dorman's admission that he was trying to push a button on Pelosi and provoke the response he got is all the evidence we need that he was in protest mode, not in journalist mode.

So, that settles it. Dorman is a protester, CNS is an ideological news organization, and the MRC is trying to exploit Dorman's ideological clash with Pelosi to raise money. It's almost as if the whole thing was planned this way.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:15 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, October 6, 2015 9:49 PM EDT
Monday, October 5, 2015
CNS Managing Editor Not Concerned His Reporter Acts Like A Protester
Topic: managing editor Michael W. Chapman kept up the Media Research Center's misguided defense of his alleged reporter Sam Dornan in the flap over his asking a loaded gotcha question of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, redirecting his ire toward the Washington Post instead of his own reporter. Chapman whines in an Oct. 2 CNS article:

In Kelsey Snell’s story posted at 12:14PM at The Washington Post’s PowerPost,  the headline incorrectly read, “Nancy Pelosi shut down an abortion protestor’s question in a press conference.”

There was no “abortion protestor” at the press conference; the question was asked by a reporter, who is credentialed with the U.S. Capitol.

In the lead of the story, Snell also incorrectly reported that Pelosi “was not interested in entertaining questions Thursday from an anti-abortion protestor who shouted a question to the California Democrat during her weekly press conference.”

There was no “anti-abortion protestor” and the question was not “shouted.” (See the video.) In addition, the lead is further misleading because it has changed from the headline’s  “abortion protestor’s” to “anti-abortion protestor.”

In the second paragraph of her story, Snell wrote that, “the protestor sat in the first row of the presser and spoke up over several reporters vying to ask a question of the Democratic leaders.”

Again, the reporter, Sam Dorman, was not a “protestor.”

Snell then wrote, “It was unclear who the questioner was and for which news organization they worked.”  Here the facts changed again somewhat, with Snell claiming the “questioner” – not the “anti-abortion protestor” – worked for a “news organization,” the identity of which was “unclear.”

Snell did not speak with ‘s Sam Dorman at the press conference. She did not ask for his name or his news affiliation; and she did not email him or, even later, make a telephone call to to clarify her report.

One hour after Snell’s inaccurate story was posted, CNS’s Dorman did tweet Snell, saying, “I am not an anti abortion ‘protestor.’ I am a credentialed member of the press. Please correct your story.”

Chapman seems not to understand the fact that he has to state three times in five paragraphs that his reporter is not an "anti-abortion protestor" is evidence of how unclear that was to Snell and other journalists present at the press briefing. Chapman also provides no evidence that Dorman identified himself and his employer before asking the question, thus further raising legitimate questions about whether he was a protester.

Chapman also failed to mention that, as we've pointed out, Dorman's tweet at Snell came from an account that did not identify his real name nor his occupation, so Snell could not possibly have known who he was. As of this writing, Dorman's Twitter account still does not list his real name or his occupation.

Chapman continues whining:

Snell did not name the “news organizations with an ideological perspective” to which she was referring. When asked her by Twitter Direct Message if The Washington Post was one of the “news organizations with an ideological perspective,” Snell did not respond.

She also did not answer numerous questions that sent to her by Direct Message, including who told her that the questioner was “an anti-abortion protestor”? Also, if it was “unclear who the questioner was,” then why did Snell report that it was a “protestor”? Where did she get this information?  And is she credentialed as a reporter at the U.S. Capitol?  Snell did not reply.

Is Chapman actually denying that CNS has an ideological perspective? Dorman's question alone -- whether "an unborn baby with a human heart and a human liver a human being" -- should answer any questions about intent and ideology.

Curiously, Chapman recites Snell's journalistic background (Medill, Politico, NPR) but not that of his own reporter, while still complaining Dorman was labeled as an "anti-abortion protestor." Does Dorman have an anti-abortion background Chapman doesn't want to mention, or some other activities in his past that betray Chapman's attempt to portray him as a straight-news reporter?

We'd ask Chapman about this, but he has blocked us from following him on Twitter, and questions we've previously sent to CNS through its "Contact Us" page have routinely gone unanswered. So Chapman should perhaps not whine about Snell not answering his questions unless he can start handling his own queries.

And instead of complaining about how the Post reporter misidentified Dorman, Chapman should be asking why his reporters are indistinguishable from protesters.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:03 PM EDT
Saturday, October 3, 2015
CNS Unemployment Numbers Distortion Watch

CNS' monthly distortion of unemployement numbers -- an Oct. 2 article by Susan Jones -- follows its recent pattern of cherry-picking by obsessing over the labor force participation rate.

But the number of jobs created in September gets bumped up to the second paragraph, instead of being buried in a bullet point at the end as per usual. Why? Because the number was "disappointing."

CNS is so committed to obsessing over the labor participation rate, in fact, that Jones wrote a companion article focusing just on the participation rate for men.

Prediction: If a Republican is elected president in 2016, CNS will start caring a lot less about the labor participation rate unless it can somehow blame bad news regarding it on Obama.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:16 AM EDT
Thursday, October 1, 2015
CNS Gotcha-Question Hurler Insists He's A 'Credentialed Member of the Press'

Meet Sam Dorman. He works for It's unclear exactly what he does -- he's not on the CNS staff list, and his archive page lacks a bio. We are guessing he's a reporter of some kind, but we're not sure.

Anyway, Dorman has been running around D.C. to various members of Congress this week to hurl a single gotcha question at them: “Is an unborn baby with a human heart and a human liver a human being?”

Of course, if all you're doing is running around asking important people a single gotcha question with the sole purpose of advancing a political cause, you're not really a reporter -- you're an activist. Given that Dorman has mostly been going targeting Democratic congressmembers with his gotcha question, one could also  say he's making a political statement by doing so. Acting as a protester, if you will.

When the Washington Post did an article on Dorman hurling his gotcha question at House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, the reporter, Kelsey Snell, referred to Dorman as an "anti-abortion protester."Snell didn't identify Dorman by name, noting that "It was unclear who the questioner was and for which news organization they worked."

For some reason, Dorman got all huffy about this. He tweeted at Snell: "I am not an anti abortion 'protestor'. I am a credentialed member of the press. Please correct your story."

But one does not have to have "credentials" to act as a journalist in America; he may be referring to what it takes to get into Pelosi's press conference, but the fact he has them means the standards are low enough that his insistence that he has them is a laughable attempt to pull rank.

And, again, if you're just asking a single gotcha question to your ideological enemies, you are, in fact, a protester, not a reporter.

Another curious thing about Dorman" His Twitter account fails to identify his real name (it lists only @blah2k as the handle and "freedorman" as the name) or his employer; there' no description of the use at all. Thus, Dorman's tweet to Snell was a complete failure because she has no idea who's tweeting her.

Further, it appears from Snell's description of the Pelosi encounter and from the accompanying video that Dorman never announced who he was or who he was with before hurling his gotcha question at Pelosi. For a self-proclaimed "credential member of the press," Dorman sure doesn't want many people to know about it -- or maybe he just wants it known when he gets caught acting more like an ideological protester than a journalist.

Wait, wasn't it just yesterday that Dorman's boss, Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell, was ranting about media transparency? Yes, he was.

Bozell might have a little credibility on the issue if his own so-called reporters weren't so determined to hide their identities in public.

UPDATE: It took two MRC staffers -- Kristine Marsh and Katie Yoder -- to write about this for NewsBusters. They insist that Dorman is a "journalist" and a "reporter" despite him offering no proof of it, and they ignore the fact that Dorman apparently never identified himself before hurling his gotcha question at Pelosi. They also tout his tweet to Snell despite the fact there's nothing at Dorman's Twitter account that would identify him as Dorman or as a CNS employee.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:51 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, October 1, 2015 6:43 PM EDT
Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A few weeks back, we wrote an item for the Huffington Post summarizing the dishonest attacks on Margaret Sanger pushed by right-wing professor Paul Kengor at places like WorldNetDaily. Kengor responded in a column at the American Spectator, which was reprinted at

We've taken to HuffPo to show why Kengor is still dishonest, at least up to the point where he finally admits Sanger wasn't a rabid racist who wanted to kill blacks.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:04 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 30, 2015 10:08 PM EDT
Monday, September 28, 2015
CNS Asserts O'Malley Wants To 'Kill Babies'
Topic: loves to put biased and misleading headlines on articles, but it's reached a new low in a Sept. 28 article by Melanie Hunter, in which she summarized an interview with Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley, in which he expressed his opposition to the death penalty and explains why he's pro-choice.

Here's how CNS headlined Hunter's article: "Martin O'Malley: Kill Babies Not Murderers." No, really.

At no point in Hunter's article does she quote O'Malley saying he wants to "kill babies." How did CNS find a frothing O'Malley screaming "KILL BABIES!" out of a sit-down Sunday morning interview?

We have no idea. It's just making up stuff -- not a good image for a place calling itself a "news" website.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:59 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, September 28, 2015 5:38 PM EDT
Friday, September 18, 2015
At CNS, 10 Articles on GOP Debate, But Candidates' Vaccine Misinfo Is Censored
Topic: churned out a whopping 10 articles on the Sept. 16 Republican presidential debate -- a main article by Patrick Goodenough, and eight more highlighting various statements made by candidates during the debate by Goodenough and three other CNS writers (count 'em: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), plus a blog post highlighting the "most tweeted moment" of the debate.

All the CNS articles were stenography -- there was no fact-checking or analysis of the statements the candidates made. Even Carly Fiorina's factually dubious attack on Planned Parenthood was merely dutifully transcribed by Goodenough, making sure to note the "enthusiastic applause" it received, without any mention of the fact that -- as even CNS' parent organization is conceding -- she did not speak fully accurately.

And none of the articles the misinformation the Republican candidates spread about vaccines, from Donald Trump's assertion thatvaccines cause autism to Ben Carson's insistence that children need only "certain" vaccines to Rand Paul's claim that childhood vaccinations shouldn't be "bunched up."

Since CNS won't hold Republicans to the same level of scrutiny it holds Democrats -- even when the misinformation being provided is dangerous, as it is with the Republicans' misinformation about vaccines -- it falls to legitimate news organizations to do the job of fact-checking. The Washington Post does the fact-check that CNS won't:

Here's the truth: there are vaccines for 14 different diseases given in the first few years of a child's life, according to a carefully vetted schedule. These may be for diseases, like measles and diphtheria, that we generally don't think of as killers today -- but that's largely because vaccines have been so successful in preventing people from getting sick in the first place.

Those vaccines are scheduled so that they can be given to children before they come into contact with the pathogens that cause disease. When they are given in combinations, or "bunched" at the same time, it's only after they are carefully tested in "concomitant use" studies to make sure the vaccines don't interfere with each other or cause harm.


Indeed, experts say, when doctors stray from the bunching of vaccines, they fall into unknown territory where the harms and benefits are less clearly understood.

"It’s not like the CDC makes it up. They give these vaccines in combination only when proven to be safe and effective," [professor of pediatrics Paul] Offit said. "When you choose what Ben Carson or Trump or Rand Paul is arguing for, you’re making up a schedule. You don’t know whether that’s safe or effective."

We've documented how the MRC will only criticize anti-vaccine conspiracy-mongers when it conflicts with its right-wing political agenda. Admitting that Republican presidential candidates are not telling the truth would certainly be one of those conflicts.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:48 AM EDT
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
CNS' Chapman Ignores History of Anti-Catholic Sentiment Toward JFK To Attack Sanger
Topic: managing editor Michael W. Chapman turns in another one of his "news" articles that put a right-wing political agenda before facts in pursuit of the Media Research Center's dishonest war on Margaret Sanger.

In that Sept. 7 "news" article, Chapman obsesses over Sanger's criticism of Catholics, highlighting that "Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger opposed the Catholic Church for decades because of its moral teachings and its theology in general, to the point that in 1960, when John F. Kennedy, a Catholic, ran for president, Sanger said if he were elected, she would “find another place to live.”

But Chapman is a curiously incurious "reporter": Completely missing from his article is the fact that Sanger was far from alone in opposing to Kennedy's election on the basis of his Catholicism. Indeed, two of the most prominent people in invoking anti-Catholic sentiment against JFK in the 1960 presidential election was his Republican opponent, Richard Nixon, and Billy Graham.

As detailed in the book “The Making of a Catholic President: Kennedy vs. Nixon 1960″ by Shaun A. Casey, major Protestant denominations and influential Protestant leaders teamed with the Republican Party and Nixon to feed anti-Catholic prejudice among the large Protestant voting majority to try and prevent JFK's election. One reviewer summarizes:

Famous names like the Rev. Billy Graham and Norman Vincent Peale are uncovered as joining in, nay, leading the charge, in order to keep the Catholic Kennedy from the White House.

Casey’s research shows how Protestant ministers and church leaders used their pulpits and their printing presses to blatantly state that no Catholic could ever be trusted to uphold the U.S. Constitution as president.


In going after the anti-Catholic vote, Nixon took up a suggestion from Rev. Billy Graham, who wrote in a letter to the then vice president, “when the chips are down I think the religious issue would be very strong and might conceivable work in your behalf.” Graham in fact shared his mailing list with the anti-Kennedy efforts.

Graham even lied to Kennedy about not being involved in anti-Catholic efforts against him. Randall Balmer writes:

On August 10, 1960, for example, Graham sent a letter to John F. Kennedy, the Democratic nominee for president and only the second Roman Catholic to run on a major-party ticket. Graham assured Kennedy in no uncertain terms that, contrary to rumors, the evangelist had no intention of raising the “religious issue” during the course of the campaign.

Eight days later, however, Graham convened a gathering of American Protestant ministers in Montreaux, Switzerland, to discuss how to derail Kennedy’s campaign. The follow-up to the Montreaux meeting was a closed-door gathering of 150 Protestant clergy at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington on November 7—the purpose of which, once again, was to sound the alarm about the dangers of a Roman Catholic in the White House.

None of this makes Chapman's article -- possibly because he's an admirer and sycophant of Graham's son, Franklin Graham, and would rather hide the truth than dare to make his idol mad. But then, hiding facts to advance a political agenda is what Chapman's CNS is all about these days.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:33 PM EDT
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Kengor Pushes More Anti-Sanger Falsehoods

WorldNetDaily is not the only place where Paul Kengor is given free rein to spread his dishonest attacks on Margaret Sanger.

An Aug. 21 column by Kengor -- originally appearing at the Heritage Foundation's Daily Signal website -- repeats his cherry-picked, distorted version of Sanger's talk to a Ku Klux Klan women's group in 1926. As he did in recounting the talk at WorldNetDaily, Kengor omits the fact that Sanger called the talk "one of the weirdest experiences I had in lecturing" and -- contrary to Kengor's claim that her audience was uniformly "enthusiastic" -- Sanger wrote that she feared if she "uttered one word, such as abortion, outside the usual vocabulary of these women they would go off into hysteria." Sanger also omitted the fact that the thing that kept Sanger from making the last train to New York, as a result of conversations she had afer her speech, was a local curfew meaning that "everything" in the town "shut at nine o'click."

Further, the KKK was a pretty mainstream organization at the time Sanger spoke to it, embracing fundamentalism and patriotism in ways that resemble today's conservative movement. And as PolitiFact points out, the women's division of the KKK was not the KKK itself, and biographers note that Sanger was never a supporter of the KKK or even a racist. PolitiFact mentions a writer critical of the eugenics movement Sanger was involved in in the 1920s admits that Sanger was not virulently racist or anti-Semitic.

None of that makes Kengor's column, of course. He does, however, uncritically repeat the anti-Sanger attacks of a group of right-wing black pastors, including a quote about Sanger's Negro project that a Washington Post fact-checker points out "is frequently taken out of context to suggest Sanger was seeking to exterminate blacks."

Kengor even asserts that the pastors "show that 70 percent of Planned Parenthood abortion clinics are located in minority neighborhoods" -- which we've documented is not only a false claim, it's not even what the pastors actually claimed (which was itself less than true).

Kengor is a professor of political science at Grove City College, but his research skills seem to be a level of a lazy, dishonest undergrad who cares more about pushing an agenda than telling the full truth.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:21 PM EDT
Saturday, September 5, 2015
CNS Unemployment Numbers Distortion Watch
Topic: has apparently given up on the multi-article attack in promoting bad news and burying or censoring good news about unemployment rates.

As it did last month, CNS' coverage of the latest unemployment numbers is a single article by Susan Jones that spends several paragraphs obsessing over labor participation rates and buying the actual news -- that 173,000 jobs were added and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.1. percent -- to a bullet item at the end of the article.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:23 PM EDT
Friday, September 4, 2015
CNS Editor Endorses Violating The Rule Of Law

Terry Jeffrey's Sept. 2 column carries a headline in the form of an extremely dumb question? "Can a Christian Be a County Clerk in America?"

To any reasonable person, the answer to that is an unqualified yes -- in fact, we can probably take it as a given that the vast majority of county clerks in America are Christian.

But the actual issue here is whether a self-proclaimed Christian in public office has the right to deny public services based on her personal religious beliefs. And Jeffrey has apparently decided that only a Christian who denies the existence of gay rights, or gays period, is the only true Christian, and everyone else is not a real Christian at all.

Which, of course, means that Jeffrey is defending Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk Kim Davis for denying a marriage license for a same-sex marriage, even though it is legal across the country.Jeffrey presents Davis as "a devout Christian, with a moral problem," making sure not to mention the fact that she has been married four times. (Davis' lawyers claim her past doesn't matter.)

Jeffrey whines: "The crusade against Davis aims to establish that if you are a Christian, who believes in Christ's teachings on marriage and will not act against them, you are no longer qualified to serve as a county clerk in the United States."

Jeffrey ignores the fact that Davis' personal preferences are denying the civil rights of others, not to mention violating the rule of law -- something that conservatives normally oppose. Indeed, anti-gay conservatives like Jeffrey have not been rushing to defend Davis:

  • Anti-gay activist Maggie Gallagher states, “There is no way to maintain the rule of law if public officials can ignore direct court orders.”
  • Ryan Anderson, who just wrote a book on "the future of marriage and religious liberty," admits: "The citizens of Rowan County have a right to receive in a timely and efficient manner the various government provisions—including licenses—to which they are entitled. ... Saying your religion requires your entire office to stop issuing marriage licenses to everyone, while perhaps a sincere belief, cannot be reasonably accommodated without placing undue hardships on the citizens unable to receive their licenses in their county and forced to drive to another."

Jeffrey also has a rigidly dogmatic view of Christianity, one that many other Christian denominations do not share. Most Christian denominations do not teach their believers to deny gays civil rights that have been granted by the state. nor do they demand that parishoners who hold public office use that office to enforce church policy.

Thus, Jeffrey's defense of Davis breaks down because it's extremely situational. It doesn't apply to anyone who doesn't share his personal beliefs -- that is, anyone not as rigidly dogmatic, Christian, or anti-gay as he and Davis are. We suspect that a person in public office who was not a dogmatic Christian -- say, a Muslim -- who was using the office to forward his religious views would get quite a different reaction from Jeffrey.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:45 AM EDT
Monday, August 31, 2015
Deception: CNS Hides MRC's Links To Anti-Sanger Rally It Promoted
Topic: covered the bejeezus out of a tiny rally of "almost two dozen black pastors and leaders of the pro-life movement" demanding that a bust of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger be removed from a Smithsonian exhibit. There was a main article by Penny Starr and Lauretta Brown and five more articles isolating comments by rally speakers.

What's missing from those articles: full disclosure of how much CNS' parent organization and its president contributed to the rally.

The main article identifies rally speaker Brent Bozell only as "chairman of For America." But Starr and Brown failed to mention the important fact that Bozell is also president of CNS' parent, the Media Research Center and is, in fact, at the top of CNS' masthead. (The two articles focused on Bozell's comments do not this, but not until the end of the article.)

Further, none of the six CNS articles mention the fact its parent organization is leading a campaign to get the bust removed.

An Aug. 26 email by the "MRC Action Team" cherry-picked "controversial statements" by Sanger that are ripped out of context, adding:

[A] coalition of black pastors has petitioned the Smithsonian Institute to remove a prominent bust of Sanger from the Congressionally-funded National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. The bust of Sanger appears as part of their “Struggle for Justice” exhibit along with baseball player Jackie Robinson and Martin Luther King, Jr.

However, the National Portrait Gallery has refused to comply with this request and continues to memorialize someone who is highly controversial and extremely offensive.

That is why we need your help by calling the Smithsonian Institute directly and asking them to remove this bust!

This was followed by a phone number for the Smithsonian where people can "be sure to let them know that our taxpayer dollars should not be used to honor a woman who wanted to exterminate everyone that she deemed 'unfit'."

The next day, the MRC sent out another email describing how "MRC Action launched a campaign" to remove Sanger's bust, proudly proclaiming that "Over 700 calls poured into the office of the head of The Smithsonian yesterday, prompting them to call and ask that we stop."

That was followed on Aug. 28 by a third email touting more alleged phone calls (it'snever stated how the MRC knows how many people called) and stating, "We cannot stop these calls until the taxpayer-funded bust of Margaret Sanger is removed!" (The MRC offered no evidence that the existence of the Sanger bust is "taxpayer-funded.")

Meanwhile, the Bozell-led For America -- which purports to be a separate organization from the MRC but appears to share the MRC's office address in Reston, Va. -- promoted its role in the rally: "The concerted effort joined ForAmerica with a coalition of black pastors and included a protest in front of the gallery this morning as well as a social media campaign that made “#BustRacism” a trending hashtag."

It looks to us that the MRC and For America, which shares a leader with the MRC, collaborated with the small group of black pastors -- who, as we've noted, appear to already be collaborating with CNS and reporter Penny Starr by uncritically promoting their lie-filled attacks on Sanger -- to manufacture a small event for the main, if not sole, purpose of giving CNS something to cover as "news," which it proceeded to do well beyond its importance.

If true -- and it sure looks that way; the MRC is free to speak up and untangle all of the behind-the-scenes self-dealing that appears to be going on -- CNS is engaging in a serious breach of journalistic ethics, and its failure to fully and honestly disclose its relationship to the rally's organizers makes the situation worse.

As a result, it's painfully clear that CNS is not an independent news organization, it's not a news organization at all -- it's just another cog in the MRC's right-wing propaganda machines. There's simply no reason to any sane person to treat it as legitimate.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:52 AM EDT
Saturday, August 29, 2015
CNS Helps Anti-Discrimination Foes Advance Transgender Bathroom Myth

Reading an Aug. 26 article by Melanie Hunter on right-wing efforts to repeal an anti-discrimination ordinance in Houston, you'd think it was only about bathrooms:

A group opposed to a proposed ordinance that would allow transgendered people to use any bathroom they consider consistent with their gender identity has launched a radio campaign in Houston, Texas, to defeat the so-called “bathroom ordinance.”

Campaign for Houston, which was organized to defeat the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), kicked off its campaign, called No Men in Women’s Bathrooms!, on Monday.

The bathroom ordinance was part of Houston Mayor Annise Parker’s effort to extend discrimination protections to the LGBT community through HERO. It specified that “no business open to the public could deny a transgender person entry to the restroom consistent with his or her gender identity,” the Houston Chronicle reported on May 14, 2014.

“Parker’s Bathroom Ordinance would force businesses and public establishments to allow troubled men, or men who want to start trouble, to use women’s public bathrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities. This endangers women and girls and places them in harm’s way,” Campaign for Houston spokesman Jared Woodfill said in a press release.

“There are 8345 registered and convicted sexual predators in Harris County. This just scratches the surface of this dangerous problem. These men could use this ordinance as a legal shield to threaten our mothers, wives and daughters,” Woodfill added.

Funny how Hunter refers to the law as the "so-called 'bathroom ordinance,'" then adopts the terminology herself two paragraphs later.

This being another CNS propaganda effort, Hunter talks only to Woodfill and can't be bothered to contact any supporter of the ordinance. Thus, she deprives her readers of the facts regarding the ordinance -- namely, that the bathroom fearmongering she lets Woodfill engage in is a myth.

There simply is no evidence -- and Hunter certainly never quotes Woodfill offering any -- that similar anti-discrimination ordinances elsewhere have resulted in any increase in male sexual predators exploiting the laws to sneak into women's bathrooms.

Futher, the day before Hunter's article was published, Houston Chronicle columnist Lisa Falkenberg pointed out what Hunter wouldn't: that as Richard Carlbom with the pro-ordinance Houston Unites campaign told the Chronicle: "Nothing in the equal rights ordinance changes the fact that it is -- and always will be -- illegal to enter a restroom to harm or harass other people."

Now, why wouldn't Hunter or Woodfill mention that important fact? Because they're working together to advance propaganda, not to report news. 

Posted by Terry K. at 10:31 AM EDT
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
CNS' Hollingsworth Turns In Another One-Source Wonder

Just as Penny Starr is a propagandist for the anti-abortion industry, fellow "reporter" Barbara Hollingsworth is a reliable propagandist for climate change deniers, as we've documented. She's at it again in an Aug. 20 article regurgitating the claims of another climate denier:

We have a “moral imperative” to burn carbon dioxide-emitting fossil fuels because the energy they provide is a “liberator” of humanity, says Dr. John Christy, a climatologist and director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama, Huntsville.

“We are not morally bad people for taking carbon and turning it into the energy that offers life to humanity in a world that would otherwise be brutal,” Christy wrote in a recent oped. "On the contrary, we are good people for doing so."

He also challenged what he says are contradictions in Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si, in which the pontiff called climate change “one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.”

The pope’s encyclical “displays a lack of understanding of how the real world works,” Christy told According to microwave data from satellites going back to 1978, which are precise to within .08 of a degree, “very little warming is taking place,” he pointed out.

(Weirdly, Hollingsworth pulls her version of Christy's "recent oped" for an Alabama newspaper out of the Internet Archive, even though it's still live on the newspaper's website.)

This being a Hollingsworth special, she breaks CNS' mission statement to "fairly present all legitimate sides of a story" and offers no views in her article other than Christy's and quotes nobody other than Christy.

Thus, Hollingsworth's readers will never learn that Christy's claims about climate change -- many of which she repeats in her article -- have been repeatedly discredited.

But instead of pointing that Christy's claims are disputed at best, Hollingsworth presents them as undisputed truth -- ironic, since the gist of the article is to dispute facts about climate science.

A longtime rallying cry of climate deniers is to "teach the controversy." Hollingsworth doesn't want her readers to know there is one, at least on the denier side -- otherwise, she would have talked to someone to rebut Christy's claims.

Thus, she's acting like deniers claim climate change advocates act. Ironic, isn't it?

Posted by Terry K. at 8:50 AM EDT

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