CNS Gives Platform to Heritage Columnist to Cheer Authoritarian Hungarian Leader Topic: CNSNews.com
We've previously noted CNSNews.com's love for right-wing authoritarian Hungarian leader Viktor Orban, painting him as merely a Trump-esque "populist" while whitewashing his racist and xenophobic traits. The whitewashing continued in a May 23 CNS column by the Heritage Foundation's Mike Gonzalez:
Hungary’s maverick prime minister, Viktor Orban, is once again stirring the pot of goulash.
Four years ago, Orban gave his critics ammunition when he said he was constructing an “illiberal democracy.” This month he doubled down, declaring liberal democracy dead and urging other European leaders to stop trying to revive the corpse.
Instead, Orban exhorted them to get busy invoking a new democracy based on Christian principles.
For many reasons, Orban deserves our attention when he says his ambition—“now we want to hunt really big game” is precisely how he put it—is to change the course of Europe.
He is flushed with an electoral victory in which his party last month captured more votes than all of the opposition combined. He has defeated German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the important philosophical debate over immigration (Orban says it should be lowered). And he has vanquished the leftist billionaire George Soros, who just announced his NGO is leaving Hungary.
Most importantly, the question of values is the fundamental issue confronting the continent. Unlike the United States, modern European states are not founded upon creedal documents that lay out the constituting character and culture of the nation, and how to preserve them.
Gonzalez waits until the 12th paragraph to concede that Orban is perhaps not an American ideal, though he whitewashes Orban's ultra-nationalism in the process:
But first it is important to note obvious downsides. Orban is no Thomas Jefferson, and his emphasis on ethnicity, not civic nationalism contained within borders, is sui generis.
If you believe that all men are created equal, are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that governments are instituted “to secure these rights” and “the blessings of liberty,” then the type of state that Orban wants to build is likely not your bag.
Most important, securing individuals’ liberties is most assuredly not the central purpose of the state he is busy creating. As he said, again, in the 2014 speech:
“The new state that we are constructing in Hungary is an illiberal state, a non-liberal state. It does not reject the fundamental principles of liberalism such as freedom, and I could list a few more, but it does not make this ideology the central element of state organization, but instead includes a different, special, national approach.” (Emphasis added.)
There is good reason why ethnic, rather than civic, nationalism gives us pause. Though ethnic nationalism is unassailable from a natural rights perspective, it does de-emphasize the individual’s agency by making citizenship (belonging) non-volitional.
Still, Gonzalez is not terribly bothered by all this, declaring that "this is less of an indictment of Orban than one would think" because "he’s building a state for Hungarians, not Americans—and we must remember that even though safeguarding freedom must be our central animating spirit, to do that, we too, must preserve America’s unique culture."
And Gonzalez concludes with a more full-throated endorsement of the authoritarian: "By attempting to reintroduce the Judeo-Christian ethic into a secularized Europe, Orban arguably is giving Europe a chance to do just that. Even if the ethnic model he and his electorate may be pursuing is irreplicable in America or most of Western Europe, the values model could have a lot to offer."
Gonzalez -- and, thus, CNS -- has to overlook a clear history of authoritarianism and anti-Semitism to reach this gushy conclusion.
CNS Does 13 Articles On IG Report, None of Which Report Finding of Anti-Hillary Bias Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com can cover stories when it feels like it (and when doing so advances its right-wing, pro-Trump editorial agenda). Upon the release of the Department of Justice inspector general's report on the FBI investigation of events regarding the 2016 election, CNS churned out a whopping 13 articles over the following day or so:
So dedicated was CNS to putting a pro-Trump spin on the IG report that none of these 13 articles reported that report also uncovered the fact that Comey acted in a biased manner that helped Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton before the election. The report specifically stated that then-FBI director James Comey made a "serious error of judgment" by announcing shortly before the election that he was reopening the email investigation against Clinton.
CNS claims in its mission statement it "endeavors to fairly present all legitimate sides of a story." That apparently doesn't apply if your last name is Clinton.
CNS Dismisses Legal Argument That Contradicts Its Pro-Trump, Pro-Levin Agenda Topic: CNSNews.com
We've detailed how CNSNews.com ran with right-wing radio host Mark Levin's declaration that the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate President Trump is unconstitutional, as if the CNS and its Media Research Center had a business deal with Levin to do so. We overlooked one item from the initial blitz -- a June 4 article by Susan Jones that touted a Trump tweet echoing Levin's argument, then rehashed the entire argument.
Meanwhile, George Conway -- as it happens, the husband of Trump White House adviser Kellyanne Conway -- posted an article that effectively dismantles the argument made by Levin and conservative attorney Stephen Calebresi that Mueller's appointment is unconstitutional.
You'd think that given the amount of space CNS had devoted to advancing Levin's argument -- a whopping nine articles and columns -- it would want to give a fair and balanced airing to an opposing argument. Nope.
A June 14 article by Jones rehashed Trump's 10-day-old tweet before pivoting to an interview Fox News' Laura Ingraham did with Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani to further Levin and Calebresi's argument.It's not until the ninth paragraph that Conway's rebuttal is mentioned -- but only for the purpose of giving Giuliani the opportunity to shoot it down without specifically addressing anything Conway wrote:
In her Wednesday night interview with Giuliani, Ingraham noted that Kellyanne Conway's husband George has written an article debunking arguments that Mueller's appointment as special counsel is unconstitutional.
"Is there any concern about that at the White House?" Ingraham asked Giuliani.
"No concern about it," Giuliani said. "That is not as clear an argument as, let's say, their inability to indict, even their inability to subpoena," he added. "However, I would think it's an undecided question. So how can Conway decide the question?" Giuliani asked. "Maybe he wants to be on the Supreme Court, but I don't think he's going to get the appointment."
Neither Jones nor Giuliani address any specific points made by Conway; Jones simply regurgitates Giuliani's outright dismissal. Jones then concluded her article by repeating yet again specific arguments Calebresi made in support of his view.
CNS' mission statement claims that it puts "a higher premium on balance than spin" and "endeavors to fairly present all legitimate sides of a story." It seems to be doing all it can to violate that mission with a very unfair and unbalanced presentation of a legitimate point of view that interferes with its pro-Trump, pro-Levin agenda.
CNS Pushes Trump White House Spin on Disinvited Eagles Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com treated the controversy over the Super Bowl winner Philadelphia Eagles not visiting the White House the way it treats everything regarding President Trump: with a heavy pro-Trump spin that fudges or completely ignores inconvenient facts.
A June 4 article by Craig Bannister noted how the "planned White House reception for the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles has been canceled and replaced with an event design to celebrate America and honor its heroes" after several Eagles players planned to boycott it "in protest of President Donald Trump’s comments denouncing player protests during the playing of the National Anthem before games." Bannister added that "During the 2017 season, some Eagles players, led by safety Malcolm Jenkins, protested during the playing of the National Anthem."
Bannister is suggesting that Eagles players took a knee, but all he offers as evidence is a blog post he wrote last fall compiling one week of protests, in which he noted that "Safety Malcolm Jenkins and Safety Rodney McLeod raised a fist. Defensive end Chris Long placed an arm around Jenkins." (In fact, no Eagles players kneeled last season.)
The next day, a "news" article by Susan Jones had more information on the revised event, though she did concede that "Press reports noted that none of the Eagles kneeled when the anthem played last season, although Safetys Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod raised a fist."
Bannister touted the event itself in a June 5 post:
President Donald Trump hosted a “Celebration of America” at the White House Tuesday, replacing the originally-scheduled reception honoring the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles after team told the White House at the last minute that most of the players would not attend.
In place of the reception, Trump delivered remarks to the one thousand fans, who had been invited to the original reception. Military bands and choirs offered renditions of patriotic songs, such as The National Anthem and “God Bless America” as the crowd joined Trump in singing along.
Unmentioned by Bannister: Trump had trouble singing "God Bless America" and simply gave up on it at one point.
Melanie Arter, meanwhile, dutifully transcribed White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders accusing the Eagles of pulling a "political stunt." Arter also dutifully transcribed Trump's blather at the event while also noting that a man attending it kneeled during the National Anthem.
No, CNS, Ireland Is Not 'Running Out Of People' Topic: CNSNews.com
A June 6 CNSNews.com "news" article by Jonathan Mizrahi -- apparently an intern, since he only started writing for CNS a couple weeks ago -- carries the ominous headline "Ireland Is Running Out of People." Mizrahi then immediately discredits the headline with the numbers:
Only one week after Ireland voted to legalize abortion, a report from the Central Statistics Office stated that not enough babies were being born to replace the population.
In 2017, there were 62,053 births and 30,484 deaths in Ireland. The birth rate decreased 0.6 from 2016 while the death rate increased 0.3 percent from 2016.
If twice as many people are being born than dying, doesn't that show that Ireland is, in fact, not running out of people and that the population is, in fact, being replaced?
Mizrahi does eventually get around to explaining that the birth rate in Ireland is somewhat below the replacement rate. But given that, again, more people are being born than dying, Ireland won't be "running out" of people anytime soon.
Mizrahi also admits that the birth rate in Ireland has been declining since 2007, thus proving it has nothing whatsoever to do with the recent vote to legalize abortion.
Finally, Mizrahi ignores that one way to keep Ireland from "running out" of people is to permit increased immigration into the country. Even though Ireland could easily accomodate twice its current population, it has a generally negative attitude toward immigrants.
NEW ARTICLE: CNS' Managing Editor of Gay-Bashing, Part 2 Topic: CNSNews.com
Michael W. Chapman is still using his Media Research Center-provided platform to rage against the LGBT community. Read more >>
After the British Embassy in Belarus flew a rainbow-gay flag above its front door on May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia, the Interior Ministry issued a statement denouncing the U.K.'s actions as contrary to the "traditional family" and the "Christian" values of Belarusians.
The Interior Ministry also stressed that "same-sex relationships" are "fake" because only a man and a woman together can produce children, and added that the Belarus government will protect traditional marriage and give it exclusive rights in the law.
In a May 17 Instagram post showing the rainbow flag, the U.K. Embassy said that it had posted "a rainbow flag today to support the LGBT community and draw public attention to the discrimination that LGBT people are constantly facing."
In reaction, the statement by the Belarus Interior Ministry said that Britain was challenging the country's "traditional values," reported the BBC.
"The overwhelming majority of Belarusians stick to traditional family values, including Christian ones," said the Interior Ministry. "And such statements [by the British] are a challenge to these values."
Relationships between men and women are the "only way of reproduction," said the Ministry. "No matter which way you look at it, a same-sex relationship is a fake. And the essence of the fake is always the same -- the erosion of the truth."
"The LGBT community and the whole struggle for its rights and this community’s [homophobia] day itself are all just fake!” said the Interior Ministry.
Chapman curiously didn't mention something that was in the BBC article: "In a report last year, human rights group Amnesty International said the LGBT community faced growing discrimination in Belarus as a result of repressive government policies." Then again, he's probably down that that type of repression.
Mark Levin Dictates CNS' Editorial Agenda, Apparently Topic: CNSNews.com
The Media Research Center is close buddies with right-wing radio host Mark Levin -- so much so that in the first four months of this year, the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, publishced 33 articles that simply transcribe what Levin said on his radio show. Now, it appears that the MRC has decided to hand over partial control over CNS' editorial agenda to Levin.
Craig Bannister dedicated a May 26 CNS blog post to Levin's latest crusade, insisting that "the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller is unconstitutional – and he’s not the only constitutional scholar to make the case." Bannister enthusiastically touted how "Levin credits Northwestern Law School Professor Steven Calabresi for raising many of these points with him over the weekend. 'I agree completely with his analysis,' Levin says."
Two days later, CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey devoted his column to parroting Levin's claims:
Calabresi concluded that those targeted by Mueller "should challenge the constitutionality of his actions on Appointments Clause grounds."
Mark Levin, who served with Calabresi in the Reagan Justice Department, agrees.
"Every defendant, suspect and witness, etc., in this matter," Levin said on his website, "should challenge the Mueller appointment as a violation of the Appointments Clause."
But that wasn't enough. With the coming of summer comes a new crop of interns to the MRC, some of which got assigned to CNS. So the interns harassednofewerthansixsenators with the exact same question: "Professor Steven Calabresi of Northwestern Law School and Mark Levin have argued that Robert Mueller’s appointment violates the Appointments Clause because he is a principal officer exercising at least the authority of a U.S. attorney but was not appointed by the president or confirmed by the Senate. Do you agree that Mueller’s appointment is unconstitutional?"
That's not reporting -- that's doing the bidding of a right-wing radio host.
CNS Managing Editor Freaks Out After Pope Refuses To Hate A Gay Man Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com managing editor Michael W. Chapman thinks he's more Catholic than the pope. But he's also a raging homophobe, so he loves it when right-wing Catholic clerics hate gays as much as he does. So when Pope Francis reportedly refused to condemn a gay man, Chapman was on it.
Juan Carlos Cruz, who as a boy was sexually abused by the Chilean priest -- abuse that reportedly was covered up by the bishops of Chile -- said that in a recent meeting with Pope Francis, the Holy Father told him that God made made him gay and "loves you like this." The Pope apparently did not say that Cruz should seek to avoid homosexual behavior, which is "intrinsically disordered" and a serious sin, according to the 2,000-year-old teaching of the Catholic Church.
The Church also teaches that sodomy -- homosexual behavior, not the inclination -- is one of the four sins that cry to Heaven for vengeance.
Apparently, the Pope did not advise Cruz to try to avoid homosexual behavior and seek therapy that could help him to live a celibate life or be healed from his affliction.
The next day, Chapman complained that "several LGBT activists have praised the pontiff" for his reported remarks, huffing that "The Catholic Church does not teach that God made certain people homosexual." He also quoted a right-wing cardinal ranting that homosexuality "defiles everything, stains everything, pollutes everything. And as for itself, it permits nothing pure, nothing clean, nothing other than filth.…"
On May 23, Chapman had another follow-up quoting Cardinal Timothy Dolan calling for a "clarification" of what the pope said, adding that he does not think the Pope "would feel competent to speak" on whether one is born a homosexual. Chapman wrote that "It is the teaching of the Catholic Church that persons with same-sex attractions must be treated with the same dignity and respect accorded to all people" -- then quoted St. Bernardine of Siena calling homosexuality a sin that "has always been detested by all those who live according to God" that reduces people to "vile and useless and putrid things." He then quoted another saint calling sodomy "disgustingly foul."
Chapman didn't explain how these statements mesh with that whole "dignity and respect" thing.
CNS Spreads A Lie -- And MRC's Bozell Signs Off On It Topic: CNSNews.com
A May 29 CNSNews.com article by Melanie Arter touted a letter by "a coalition of pro-life leaders" objecting to Starbucks donating to Planned Parenthood. As per usual for this stenographer, there's no fact-checking of things like this from the letter as quoted in her article:
Planned Parenthood Founder Margaret Sanger once said, ‘We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population,’” the pro-life leaders noted in their letter.
In your April statement responding to the arrest of two African-American men sitting in one of your stores, you declared that Starbucks’ ‘founding values are based on humanity and inclusion.’
As men and women who fight for the value and dignity of every human life, we ask:
“Where is the ‘humanity’ and ‘inclusion’ when your company matches employees’ donations to Planned Parenthood, whose founder Margaret Sanger was an outspoken racist with genocidal intentions?
King is lying. As we've documented, experts on Sanger know that while she was a eugenicist, she was not a racist, let alone one with "genocidal intentions." Further, the "We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population" quote is taken out of context, as many anti-abortion activists love to do; fact-checkers have demonstrated that the full context of the letter from which that quote was ripped -- describing Sanger's "Negro Project" to make birth control available to blacks -- sought to recruit black leaders for the effort to allay suspicions blacks might have had about whites like Sanger being involved.
Arter may have extra motivation to stay in stenography mode: One of the signatories to the letter is Brent Bozell, described only as chairman of ForAmerica (Arter misidentifies Bozell as ForAmerica president; that would be his son, David Bozell, also a signatory to the letter) and never identified as the head of the Media Research Center, where he is Arter's boss. Don't want to make the boss look bad by pointing out he signed on to a lie.
(Hey, at least Arter managed to refrain from giving King that bogus "Dr." honorific, so that's a slight step toward honest journalism. If only CNS paid her to do that instead of lazy stenography.)
CNS Still Perpetuates Misinformation About Planned Parenthood Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com has spent a decade perpetuating the lie that federal funding to Planned Parenthood pays for abortions. The Trump administration's decision to cut off Title X funding to facilities that perform abortions gave CNS a new opportunity to publish that misinformation once again.
In her article on the decision, CNS' Melanie Arter lies by juxtaposition: "In its latest annual report, Planned Parenthood said that it did 321,384 abortions in fiscal 2016 and that in the year that ended on June 30, 2017 it received $543,700,000 in "government health services reimbursements and grants." In fact, since federal funding is already prohibited from paying for abortion, there is no connection whatsoever between those two numbers, despite what Arter implies.
Arter also gives a pass to false statements she quotes from anti-abortion groups applauding the decision:
"Americans should not be forced to have their tax dollars fund abortion" -- Knights of Columbus.
"Americans don't want their hard-earned tax dollars paying for abortions, a fact polling consistently confirms" -- Ashley McGuire of the Catholic Association.
"Americans are well aware that the $50-60 million pouring into Planned Parenthood annually through Title X grants are subsidizing its main business, abortion" -- Grazie Pozo Christie of the Catholic Association.
"Planned Parenthood’s smoke and mirror accounting has been allowed to divert the 50-60 million dollars it receives yearly in taxpayer funds away from authentic healthcare for low income women for far too long" -- Andrea Picotti-Bayer, legal adviser for the Catholic Association Foundation.
But why would Arter correct them when, as we've seen, she has no interest reporting factually when the facts confict with her employer's right-wing agenda?
The employment numbers for May were good, so needless to say, CNSNews.com wasted no time in pegging the pro-Trump rah-rah-meter.
Susan Jones cheered that "The number of employed Americans, 155,474,000, has broken another record -- for the ninth time since President Trump took office, in fact. At the same time, the number of unemployed Americans dropped to 6,065,000, a low not seen since January 2001." Jones did go on to concede that the labor force participation rate has not changed much, which she attributed to "the increasing number of Baby Boom retirees" -- a fact that was largely missing when Jones reported on the labor force participation rate under Obama.
CNS then took a partisan hit at Nancy Pelosi in an anonymously written article, framing her as being critical of "record employment" when she was pointing out that poorer Americans face higher health care costs because of Republicans' dismantling of the Affordable Care Act and tax cuts that favored the rich.
Irony: Anti-Gay Columnist Demands That Gays Respect Christians Topic: CNSNews.com
Bill Donohue huffs in a May 17 CNSNews.com column:
Gay rights activists have been on a collision course with traditional Catholics, evangelical Protestants, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and Mormons for some time.
All of these religious groups, and others, hold to the traditional understanding of marriage: it is the union of a man and a woman. Moreover, they believe that children need a father and a mother to serve as role models. They don't need, nor deserve, two members of the same sex as parents.
LGBT activists disagree. That is their right. But they have no right to portray these religious persons—they include tens of millions of Americans—as bigots for simply practicing their faith.
Individual rights cannot always be allowed to trump what is in the best interest of society. A free society needs to be undergirded by more than just democratic institutions—it requires social stability and the wellbeing of its citizens. Those attributes are best met when the only two people who can procreate, a man and a woman, are granted the exclusive right to marry, and where the intact family of father, mother, and children is awarded a privileged position.
Donohue might have had a point if he didn't have his ownlengthy history of demonizing the LGBT community.
As we've documented, Donohue dishonestly misinterprets the John Jay report on child abuse by priests in the Catholic Church, insisting on blaming homosexuality when the report actually found no connection between homosexual identity and sexual abuse and the report's authors cautioned against linking identity and behavior.
A couple years back, Donohue -- in a horrified reaction to Pope Francis' call for Christians to apologize to gays -- demanded that gays apologize to him because "I've been assaulted by gays." How about you stop lying about them first, Bill?
Respect has to be earned. Donohue hasn't earned it.
The Jewish Bradlee Dean has struck again, and CNSNews.com has him.
We've documented how loopy right-wing Rabbi Aryeh Spero has previously embraced equally loopy anti-Obama conspiracy theories a la Mr. Dean, the onetime WorldNetDaily columnist, failed evangelist (and current crazy guy ranting on the internet). Well, CNS insists on giving him a forum, so we've been treated to more Spero loopiness.
In his May 10 column, Spero is further emulating WND by going the Divine Donald route under the headline "President Trump Is Fulfilling Prophecies":
In a few moments ancient prophecies will be fulfilled and veritable truths realized when the United States moves its embassy to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem. It will also be a day when we will remember the strength and courage of the man who made it happen: President Donald Trump.
Many good-willed American presidents pledged to move our embassy to Jerusalem, but out of fear of Arab riots and backlash, they allowed themselves to put off the decision for a later date. The United Nations and virtually all of the countries of the world were either afraid to relocate their embassies, or in their ultimate negation of the right for Israel to exist as a Jewish state, never even considered moving their embassy to Jerusalem. They were either afraid or were rejectionists. Many organizations spoke the proper words, but when push-came-to-shove, they chose to accept the delays and kick-the-can down the road. What makes President Trump different from all previous presidents is that beyond speaking positively about the move, he actually is doing it.
Trump is a man of action. And he is a man of conviction and fortitude who acts upon what he knows to be right. He is refreshingly fearless. He believes in Israel, indeed seems to love the country. He knows the centrality of Jerusalem in the scheme of Zion and is making truth happen. He understands symbolism and knows there is no greater sign of support and symbol of friendship than moving America’s embassy to Israel’s capital city of Jerusalem. He will not be cowed by threats of jihad.
Spero even pulls a full WND and likens Trump favorably to biblical hero King Cyrus.
Then, in his May 16 column, Spero actually defends waterboarding as necessary and totally not torture, with a little of that old-time Obama derangement:
Unlike what is happening in the Islamic and Palestinian world, we Americans do not torture for sheer barbaric enjoyment, or as a means of revenge, nor even as a way of frightening foes. We employ momentary and isolated acts of physical or psychological coercion for the exclusive purpose of eliciting information we are convinced will save lives, thousands of lives. These are important distinctions. Our enemy’s torture incapacitates and causes excruciating pain for the remainder of that person's life. Water boarding is far from that. It is momentarily frightening, but does not fall within the historic category of torture.
Beyond our duty to prioritize on behalf of innocent life over momentary pain,self-defense is a biblical and moral duty, necessary for the sustainability of any society. Individuals as well as nations must be able to defend themselves from aggressors, from those pursuing them. Self-defense is a right. We calibrate our interrogation to a level we feel needed to secure that self-defense.
Former President Obama disapproved of the technique and often moralized to us about doing that which “reflects our values and who we are as a nation.” He used to intone: “That’s not who we are.” Most often he meant we should sacrifice our basic needs and forfeit our rights to fulfill certain social and political agendas he considered more important than our right to self-protection, nationhood, or selfhood. Mr. Obama seemed to forget that protecting our women and children, as well as all innocent Americans, is one of our values and indeed constitutes “who we are.”
Apparently, Spero didn't get the memo that the jury is still out on whether waterboarding suspects post-9/11 resulted in actionable intelligence, and a Senate investigation found that it did not.