ConWebBlog: The Weblog of ConWebWatch

your New Media watchdog

ConWebWatch: home | archive/search | about | primer | shop

Friday, January 24, 2020
Terry Jeffrey Trump Deficit Blame Avoidance Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

The last time we checked in with CNSNews.com editor in chief Terry Jeffrey's obsession with documenting federal budget deficits and refusal to call out President Trump for his role in creating them over the past few years, we noted that Jeffrey had yet to write an article about $1.4 trillion spending bill that was approved by a Republican-controlled Senate and signed by Trump.

Well, it's been over a month now, and Jeffrey still hasn't written a story on the budget deal. He has, however, written two more articles about federal deficits. The first, on Dec. 31, asserted:

The federal debt increased by a record $10,796,419,662,320 in the decade that is coming to a close today, according to data published by the U.S. Treasury.

This was the first decade in the history of the nation when increases in the federal debt averaged more than $1 trillion per year.

As usual, Jeffrey did not mention Trump's name, though he also did not mention President Obama's or that the large amound of deficit spending under his presidency was done to help pull the country out of a serious recession. He did, however, accompany his story with a picture of both Trump and Obama.

Jeffrey followed up in usual form in a Jan. 14 article:

The federal government spent a record $1,163,090,000,000 in the first three months of fiscal 2020 (October through December), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released Monday afternoon.

That was up $48,008,200,000 from the $1,115,081,800,000 (in constant December 2019 dollars) that the federal government spent in the first three months of fiscal 2019.

While spending a record amount of money in the first quarter of fiscal 2020, total federal tax collections were only the third highest in the nation’s history.

[...]

With the record spending in the October-through-December period exceeding the third-highest tax collections in history, the federal government ran a deficit of $356,578,000,000 during the period.

Again, Jeffrey failed to mention under whose presidency all this record spending and mounting deficits are taking place. And, as usual, he used a picture of Trump and Nancy Pelosi to illustrate it, as if the two are equally responsible. But Trump's head is facing backwards so you can't see his face, while Pelosi is easily recognizable, falsely suggesting that Pelosi is mostly to blame.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:50 AM EST
Thursday, January 23, 2020
CNS Offer More Same-Day Service On Recycling Pro-Trump Talking Points
Topic: CNSNews.com

Blanketing its website with the Republican talking point du jour across multiple articles is apparently CNSNews.com's raison d'etre these days. it did that again on Jan. 8.

First, under the headline "Trump: 'Iran Went on a Terror Spree Funded by the Money From the Deal' With Obama," Susan Jones uncritically transcribed how President Trump  "recounted some of Iran's bad behavior, noting that its "hostilities substantially increased after the foolish Iran nuclear deal was signed in 2013, and they were given $150 billion -- not to mention $1.8 billion in cash," quoting Trump as claiming that "Iran went on a terror spree funded by the money from the deal and created hell in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The missiles fired last night at us and our allies were paid for with the funds made available by the last administration."

The same day, under the headline "Sen. Cruz: Obama Administration Paid for the Missiles Fired at U.S. Bases Tuesday Night," Jones also uncritically transcribed Republican Sen. Ted Cruz saying that "In a very real sense, the missiles that we saw fired on U.S. servicemen and women tonight (Tuesday night in Iraq) were paid for by the billions that the Obama administration flooded the ayatollah with. And if history teaches anything, it's don't give billions of dollars to people who hate you and want to kill you."

But as we documented, that talking point lacks substantiation at best and is false at worst. There's no way to know if those missiles were paid for by money returned to Iran under the nuclear deal, and even if there was, it's not likely the money was used for that purpose because Iran had a missile program for years before the nuclear deal was signed.

But then, reporting facts isn't exactly CNS' prime directive these days; promoting pro-Trump talking points is.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:39 PM EST
Tuesday, January 21, 2020
CNS Still Promoting Dershowitz Without Mentioning His Epstein Ties
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've noted how, like its Media Research Center parent, CNSNews.com likes to quote Trump defender Alan Dershowitz without noting the fact that he's a former lawyer for convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and has been accused of having sex with one of Epstein's underage victims. CNS has continued its promotion of Dershowitz's arguments -- and stayed silent about his sleazy side gig.

On Dec. 9, managing editor Michael W. Chapman promoted how "Famed defense lawyer, constitutional scholar, and best selling author Alan Dershowitz said that through the impeachment inquiry House Democrats are acting like the KGB under Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Evidence does not matter to them, he said, and like KGB henchman Laverntiy Beria, all they declare is 'show me the man,' President Trump, and we'll 'find you the crime.'" Ten days later, Craig Bannister transcribed Dershowitz's rant that "If House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) withholds articles of impeachment from the Senate as a negotiating tactic, it would be both unconstitutional and destructive." (It's not, and it wasn't.)

When Dershowitz was named to Trump's defense teeam for the Senate impeachment trial, Bannister gushed on Jan. 17 that he was an "iconic liberal civil and human rights defense attorney" and highlighting that Dershowitz said that "even though he voted for Hillary Clinton for president, he is non-partisan regarding the Constitution."

The promotion baton was then handed to Susan Jones, who touted on Jan. 20 how Dershowitz "made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows to discuss his upcoming role in the Senate impeachment trial" and that his "mandate is to determine what is a constitutionally authorized criteria for impeachment."

None of these articles mention Dershowitz's ties to Epstein. By contrast, CNS has obsessed over minor, possibly unflattering details involving people it doesn't like, such as suddenly caring about what Pete Buttigieg's husband has to say and mentioning in two articles the utterly irrelevant fact that the two met on a dating app.

So, CNS clearly has an eye for detail -- except when that detail interferes with its pro-Trump agenda.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:50 AM EST
Sunday, January 19, 2020
CNS Unemployment Coverage Distortion Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

Susan Jones kicked off her lead story on December's employment figures with a little pro-Trump rah-rah from the man himself:

“As we begin this new year, our economy is booming,” President Trump told a rally in Toledo, Ohio Thursday night. “Wages are soaring, workers are thriving, and America’s future has never looked brighter.”

Friday brought more good news, as the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the number of employed Americans -- 158,803,000 -- set a 25th record under President Trump.

Year to  year -- since December 2018 -- 1,858,000 more workers have been added to American payrolls.

In December, the number of unemployed Americans, 5,753,000, matched the Trump-era low set in September 2019. The unemployment rate remained at its 50-year low of 3.5 percent.

Jones later found a way to spin bad news into good news, admitting the 145,000 jobs created in December were below the previous numbers, adding that "after revisions for October and November, job gains have averaged 184,000 over the last 3 months.

Jones also excused the stagnant labor force participation rate by invoking the history of how the rate "has never been higher than 67.3 percent, a level achieved in the early months of 2000" and that "Economists say retiring baby boomers account for some of the decline since the turn of the century" -- something she rarely did when attacking President Obama for effectively the same trend.

The usual sidebars also appear, but with a dose of reality. Terry Jeffrey had to admit that the number of manufacturing jobs dropped in December and that the total yearly number was well below 2017 and 2018 figures. Craig Bannister conceded that the Hispanic unemployment rate didn't change as "both the number employed and the number unemployed fell from November’s level, as did the number participating in the labor force," though he did attempt some spin by claiming that "Fully 85% of Hispanics believe that their lives will get better in 2020 – topping the optimism of both Whites (79%) and Blacks (73%), a national USA Today/Suffolk University survey finds.

Melanie Arter, meanwhile, served up an article about how "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday downplayed news that the number of employed Americans reached a record-setting 158,803,000 in December, instead saying that the December jobs report 'caps a year of growing uncertainty' and 'surging costs of living for hard-working families.'"


Posted by Terry K. at 11:02 AM EST
Friday, January 17, 2020
CNS Spoils Its Sympathy For Catholic Abuse Victims By Publishing Another Bill Donohue Column
Topic: CNSNews.com

Around the time we caught CNSNews.com with clashing messages on the Catholic Church -- managing editor Michael W. Chapman repeating a bishop's claim that sex education is "CHILD ABUSE" vs. Bill Donohue's dismissing the severity of actual child abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy -- it suddenly got serious about the issue of sexual abuse in the church.

Chapman wrote in a Dec. 18 article about how "at least seven victims of clergy sexual abuse have filed a lawsuit in a Manhattan federal court alleging that the Vatican and the Pope knew about many priests who were abusing young people but covered it up, shuffling the abusive priests around and ignoring the victims," adding: "Instances of bishops and pastors keeping silent about clerical sex abusers, not warning families or parishes, and constantly assigning (and reassigning) the abusers to youth ministries and youth sports programs are well-documented in the research of Dr. Leon Podles, author of Sacrilege: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church."

The next day, CNS published an op-ed by Janet Patterson, described in an editor's note as a Catholic woman "whose son Eric Patterson (1970-1999) reportedly was sexually abused multiple times by Rev. Robert K. Larson. Larson spent 5 years in jail for sexually abusing altar boys and died in 2014 at the age of 84; Eric Patterson died at age 29 after shooting himself in the head." Patterson wrote: "Let your diocese know how you feel about the clergy sexual abuse scandal. Be willing to support survivors in their difficult task of recovery. Hold diocesan church officials accountable for allowing perpetrators to continue molesting in parish after parish, excusing these actions by saying they received 'poor medical advice.'"

On Dec. 27, Chapman wrote about a report finding that "Since the 2018 release of a grand jury report on Catholic clergy sexual abuse, the dioceses of Pennsylvania have paid $84 million to 564 victims." He quoted Podles claiming that "unless American priests are uniquely sinful, there were something like 35,000 to 100,000 abusive priests worldwide with anywhere from 100,000 to 2,000,000 victims."

But CNS undid all that public service by publishing another column by Donohue attacking those trying to hold the Catholic Church accountable over the abuse. He complained that an article noted "pedophile priests," retorting: "Wrong. Most of the abusers were homosexuals. This is indisputable." Actually, as we've documented, the people who actually investigated the abuse found this quite disputable, and Donohue is being dishonest again.

Donohue then targeted the victims themselves:

The second error is saying that "victims and their families" were "intimidated or shamed into silence," which is why they signed confidentiality agreements. No doubt some were. But many insisted on confidentiality. Saul never mentions this. Nor does he mention the fact that unlike Hollywood molesters, the Church has had a ban on such agreements for many years.

Donohue concluded with his usual complaint:

Like many practicing Catholics, I contribute to my parish, as well as to my diocese. When my diocese is hit with a lawsuit for past cases of abuse—most of the molesting priests are either dead or out of ministry—I want justice done. That means reasonable compensation for victims. It does not mean breaking the bank.

Therefore, any legal tactic that the diocese can use to limit its liability, is entirely justified. Not to do so would be to punish those who are  counting on diocesan funding today (many of whom are sick, disabled, or poor) so that lawyers can skim a third of the cash right off the top for old cases of abuse.

As usual, it is the Catholic Church, and the Catholic Church alone, that is under the microscope of reporters. We know why.

Because the Catholic Church alone had a systematic, widespread campaign of protecting abusers?


Posted by Terry K. at 3:56 AM EST
Thursday, January 16, 2020
CNS Remains Happy Refugee Numbers Are Low, Most of Them Are Christians
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've documented how CNSNews.com was long distressed that more Muslim refugees than Christian ones were supposedly being allowed in the U.S. under President Obama (though that really wasn't the case), only to express joy that President Trump was letting in even more Christians, at least until he stopped admitting any refugees at all some months.

That trend continued in a Dec. 2 CNS article by Patrick Goodenough, in which he highlighted how the paltry 1,488 refugees allowed in November, "were the lowest for the month since 2001, when in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks on America just four refugees were resettled in the U.S.," and that most of them were Christians:

A total of 1,143 of the refugees admitted in November (77 percent) self-identified as Christians, with larger contingents including 254 Christians (no denomination specified) from Burma, 153 Pentecostalists from DRC, 102 Seventh-Day Adventists from DRC, 74 Catholics from DRC, and 62 Baptists from Moldova.

Two hundred and ninety-nine of the November arrivals (20 percent) were Muslims, including 55 Shi’ites from Afghanistan, and 32 Sunnis from Syria.

Other refugees included 13 Buddhists from Burma, five Yazidis from Iraq, one Hindu from Sri Lanka, and one Zoroastrian from Iran. Twenty-one refugees, mostly from Afghanistan, El Salvador and Guatemala, self-identified as having “no religion.”

That's a weirdly obsessive breakdown unless you know that Goodenough has freaked out about Muslim refugees for years.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:48 AM EST
Tuesday, January 14, 2020
CNS, MRC Team Up to Promote And Defend Tulsi Gabbard, For Some Reason
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've previously highlighted CNSNews.com's sudden love for Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, giving her opinions a platform now that she's attacking other Democrats and offering support to President Trump. That bizarre show of support has continued.

After the November Democratic debate, CNS granted Gabbard two articles by Melanie Arter despite her polling in the low single digits. In the first, Arter touted how Gabbard "criticized South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg for comments he made about sending troops to Mexico to fight drug cartels, saying his comment speaks to the “inexperience” he has in national security and foreign policy"; in the second, Arter featured Gabbard's attack on Kamala Harris and accusing her of "trafficking 'in lies and smears and innuendos' after Harris took Gabbard to task for criticizing the Democratic Party."

Then, in a Dec. 20 article, Arter highlighed Gabbard's defense of "her decision to vote 'present' during the House’s impeachment vote, saying she does not believe 'in good consciences' she could vote 'either yes or no,'" adding that "fhe congresswoman said Democrats have also not been impartial."

Allen West gushed over Gabbard in his Dec. 9 CNS column:

Then something happened on the road to [Kamala Harris] being christened. Her name was Tulsi Gabbard. Congresswoman Gabbard of Hawaii got to be on stage with Kamala Harris for the second Democrat debate and destroyed Senator Harris. And yes, it was a sin for which the left, the Democrat party, has not forgiven the now-described agent of Russia.

And how interesting, Gabbard is also a woman of color, US Army veteran, and articulate, but she was not the identity politic chosen one. What Tulsi Gabbard did was to expose the flaws and weaknesses of Kamala Harris, deficiencies she never overcame.

Meanwhile, CNS' parent, the Media Research Center -- which also promoted Gabbard as an excuse to indulge in a little Hillary Derangement Syndrome -- also continued to run to her defense:

In a Nov. 6 post, Kristine Marsh wrote that "The View" co-host Joy Behar "attacked Rep. Tulsi Gabbard when she came on the show Wednesday for daring to appear on 'state TV' Fox News, but Gabbard pushed back against Behar’s nasty attacks," adding that she "slammed the notion that she worked for Russia as 'offensive' and 'outrageous'" -- even though a month earlier Marsh's MRC colleague Curtis Houck had pointed out how "Russian bots and Russian media have praised her."

Speaking of which, Randy Hall lamented in a Nov. 12 post that "when Hillary suggested Tulsi Gabbard was a Russian asset, PolitiFact wouldn't rule it was 'False.'" 

On Nov. 21, Houck complained that "failed McCain/Palin campaign head Steve Schmidt" had "trashed her as 'just awful,' 'dishonest,' 'spectacularly bad,' and 'made a legitimate run” at “Prince Andrew, Jim Jordan and Devin Nunes' for being this week’s worst person ever." Two days later, Tim Graham perked up over a blog post claiming that some critics loved Hillary Clinton wearing white pantsuits, but that Gabbard wearing one looked like a "cult leader."

In a Dec. 8 post, P.J. Gladnick huffed that one writer urged "the all white qualifying Democrat candidates to boycott the next debate unless the "candidates of color" are allowed on the stage even if it means including the one candidate he doesn't like who has actually displayed some diversity of thought by criticizing Hillary Clinton, namely Tulsi Gabbard who unlike either Booker or Castro is now just one poll away from qualifying for the debate."

And on Dec. 26, Graham cheered that CNN's Chris Cillizza put Hillary Clinton on his "naughty list" for criticizing Gabbard, but then attacked him for  criticizing Hillary for harming Democratic Party unity: "CNN seems very concerned about damage to the Democratic Party, even from within. Democrat 'party building' is on their wish list."

Yet the MRC -- and its "news" division -- doesn't mind that Gabbard might be harming party unity with her attacks on fellow Democrats. Funny how that works.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:30 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, January 14, 2020 12:38 AM EST
Sunday, January 12, 2020
CNS-Mark Levin Stenography Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

The last time we checked in, CNSNews.com was on pace for a third straight year of more than 100 artices uncritally repeating alleged pearls of wisdom from Mark Levin, his guests or his guest hosts. But the throttling back in October, when CNS published only three Levin items, continued for the rest of the year.

Surpisingly, CNS published only five Levin stenography items in the last two months of 2019:

That makes for a total of 96 Levin stenography items in 2019. While still a lot -- that's a pace of one article every 3.8 days --  it's down from the 2017 total of 105 and 2018's total of 135. Further, there was a one-month gap between the Nov. 18 "coup" item and the Dec. 18 "SCOTUS pick" item -- perhaps the longest period of time between Levin posts since CNS started transcribing him in earnest.

CNS, meanwhile, didn't stop promoting Levin otherwise. A Nov. 5 post by Craig Bannister touted how "Mark Levin’s Fox News Channel program, which dominated Sunday night cable news despite its 10 p.m. air time, has been rewarded with a new time slot," further gushing that "In addition to being an iconic conservative commentator, Levin is also a nationally-syndicated radio host, Constitutional scholar, and author." This was followed by an item by Melanie Arter -- since deleted without explanation -- that carried the headline "Mark Levin’s ‘Life, Liberty & Levin’ #1 Rated Show on Sunday."

Will CNS mend its Levin-promoting ways to get that number back into triple digits for 2020? We shall see.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:38 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, January 12, 2020 1:39 PM EST
Friday, January 10, 2020
CNS Suddenly Interested In The Opinions of Buttigieg's Husband
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com's pattern of gay-obsessed and biased coverage of Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has not really abated all that much. For instance, a Dec. 26 article by managing editor Michael W. Chapman on criminal justice reform included for no apparent reason the irrelevant statement that "Pete Buttigieg, 37, is openly gay and is 'married' to Chasten Glezman, 30, a high school teacher. The two men met on the dating app Hinge." This is the second time that Chapman has irrelevantly referenced that Buttigieg and his husband met on a dating app.

Curiously, though, CNS has become suddenly interested in the views of Chasten Buttigieg over the past couple weeks through anonymously written articles:

  • Dec. 27: "Chasten Buttigieg, the husband of South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, currently refers to himself as the 'First Gent of South Bend' on Twitter and refers to himself as the 'First Gentleman' when he discusses what he will do if husband Pete becomes president of the United States."
  • Jan. 2: "When John Dickerson visited South Bend, Ind., to interview Pete Buttigieg and his husband, Chasten Buttigieg, for the April 21 edition of 'CBS Sunday Morning,' he asked Chasten when Pete first mentioned the possibility of running for president. Chasten said it happened 'when we were getting ready for bed and I was folding some laundry.'"
  • Jan. 3: "In an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, Chasten Buttigieg, husband of presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg explained why he became a school teacher. 'There’s just something magical about working with kids and getting them to believe in themselves,' Chasten Buttigieg said in response to a question from host John Dickerson.

CNS served up other weirdness in an anonymously written Jan. 8 article, which covered something Buttigieg said on a talk show... four months earlier. The only apparent news hook in the article is a note that Buttigieg is tied for first place in Iowa caucus polling.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:02 PM EST
Thursday, January 9, 2020
CNS Defends Trump Meeting With Russian Foreign Minister
Topic: CNSNews.com

Patrick Goodenough -- who is probably the closest thing to a real reporter CNSNews.com has these days -- was curiously quick to rush to President Trump's defense over a meeting last month with the Russian foreign minister, effectively writing a post for CNS parent the Media Research Center instead of an actual "news" article:

As an MSNBC host and on-air analyst pondered what President Trump and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov could have been talking about in their Oval Office meeting on Tuesday, the analyst – a former State Department official – wanted to know why a president was meeting with a foreign minister at all.

“Why is a head of state meeting with the Russian foreign minister?” former Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy Richard Stengel wondered. “Vladimir Putin doesn’t meet with Mike Pompeo when he comes to Moscow. So it’s very curious and very strange.”

Later in the show – Lawrence O’Donnell’s “The Last Word” – Stengel said the Russians “love having Trump meeting with the foreign minister. He’s not even opening the door to Putin, he’s – foreign minister.”

“And, and surely Trump doesn’t understand that – that status imbalance that he’s engaging in?” suggested O’Donnell.

“Apparently,” Stengel added.

In fact, President Obama met with Lavrov, also in the Oval Office, on May 7, 2009 – two months after his administration declared a “reset” on relations with Moscow – and again on July 13, 2011.

And, despite Stengel’s assertion that Russian President Vladimir Putin “doesn’t meet with” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Moscow, Putin has held meetings with not only Pompeo but every secretary of state since Madeleine Albright – most of them at the Kremlin. 

But Goodenough curiously omitted the context of this meeting -- and he omitted the context of Stengel's comments. As the full "Last Word" segment shows, Stengel also said of the Lavrov meeting:

By the way, if you were writing the screenplay version of the Trump presidency and you said on the day that President Trump was indicted by the House on impeachment charges, on the day that the Inspector General released a report that saying the Russia investigation is fine, that he was meeting with the Russian foreign minister, you'd say, that's just too unlikely, it couldn't possibly happen. And the fact is he has no NSC, nobody to say, "Sir, I don't think it's such a good idea for you to meet with the foreign minister."

Goodenough can't possibly say that about the circumstances surrounding those other meetings.

Goodenough also complained that O'Donnell and Stengel doubted that Trump brought up Russian election meddling with Lavrov, despite the president and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserting that was the case and Lavrov quasi-denying the subject came up.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:10 PM EST
Tuesday, January 7, 2020
CNS Now Offers Same-Day Service On Recycling GOP Talking Points
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've documented how CNSNews.com is so dedicated to advancing pro-Trump, pro-Republican talking points that it dedicates multiple articles to pushing the exact same talking points. While there's usually a few days between those articles parroting each other, it recently beat that by running both articles on the same day.

Susan Jones wrote in a Dec. 23 article headlined "Sen. Graham: 'I Want to Know How Far Up the Chain' the Trump-Russia Investigation Went":

"The Horowitz report is the first step in a long journey regarding FISA abuse," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told "Sunday Morning Futures."

[...]

Yes, there's two questions I want to ask these people. When you signed the warrant application, how much time did you spend trying to figure out if it was actually true? And how far up the chain did this go?

Did President Obama know about the counterintelligence surveillance of the Trump campaign? Did Vice President Biden know? How much information was provided to Susan Rice? I want to know how far up the chain the investigation went. I want to know why so many people could sign a warrant application so flawed.

"Up the chain" was clearly the Republican talking point of the day, and CNS apparently received marching orders to hammer it. Literally just 18 minutes later, Jones wrote another article headlined "Sen. Cruz on FBI Abuse: 'How High Up the Chain Did This Go?'"

"One of the worst legacies of the Obama administration is the corruption of law enforcement and the intelligence community," Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told "Sunday Morning Futures."

He was talking about the Justice Department inspector-general report, which detailed 17 serious misrepresentations the FBI and the Justice Department made to the FISA court to get a warrant to spy on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page.

[...]

And, by the way, the big unanswered question is, how high up the chain did this go? We know that the deputy director of the FBI, McCabe, was read in and authorized this. We know the director of the FBI, James Comey, was read in and authorized this.

CNS even promoted the articles next to each other onits front page, as the screenshot shows, as if getting "up the chain" in the minds of its readers was the only (mandated?) goal.

Same-day service on recycled GOP talking points appears to be about all that CNS is good for these days.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:21 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, January 7, 2020 12:28 AM EST
Sunday, January 5, 2020
CNS Managing Editor Still Doing Copy-And-Paste Defense of Trump
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've detailed how CNSNews.com has leaned on Republican copy-and-paste defenses of President Trump's phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky. Managing editor Michael W. Chapman took another stab at it in a Dec. 17 article:

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) challenged the skewed reporting of CNN's Jake Tapper on Sunday, calling out his misrepresentation of President Trump's July 25 phone call with the president of Ukraine and noting that what Tapper "said is completely untrue." Paul later added, "you guys are not being honest with the facts here."

CNN's Tapper has made it abundantly clear that he believes the Democrats' version of the July 25 phone call, often asserting that Trump was calling on the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe Biden in exchange for foreign aid. Tapper calls this interpretation "a fact."

However, as Sen. Paul explained, it is not a fact. If you read the transcript in context, Trump first asked about alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election and then asked about alleged corruption involving Hunter Biden, who was put on the board of a Ukrainian gas company in 2014, the Burisma Group, which paid him a reported $50,000 a month for five years (until April 2019), totaling at least $3 million. 

Focusing on corruption from 2016, Hunter Biden -- who has a long history of drug abuse -- and Joe Biden's demand (in late 2015) that a Ukrainian prosecutor investigating corruption be fired before loan guarantees to Ukraine were okayed is not an unreasonable interpretation of the phone call.

[...]

During the July 25, 2019 telephone call, President Trump alluded to corruption in Ukraine, possible interference with the computers of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and possible corruption involving Hunter Biden and perhaps Joe Biden.

This was followed by a copy-and-past transcript of the Tapper-Paul exchange with selective bits from Paul bolded, a selective excerpt from the Trump-Zelensky phone call (like his reporter Susan Jones, Chapman apparently thinks Zelensky's first name is too difficult to spell to be included in his article) and a transcript of Biden's statement that he got the Ukranian prosecutor fired.

Despite Chapman's protestations, it is increasingly clear that Trump intended to link U.S. aid to Ukraine to an announced investigation of Hunter Biden (whose purported "long history of drug abuse" is irrelevant to this scandal). It's since been revealed that Trump ordered military aid to Ukraine to be put on hold less than two hours after his phone call with Zelensky, and newly released emails show that the order to block aid to Ukraine came directly from Trump.

Further, Chapman's claim that Joe Biden demanded the firing of a "Ukrainian prosecutor investigating corruption" is false; the prosecutor was fired because he was not investigating corruption, and the international community joined Biden in this demand.

So not only has Chapman's article not aged well as his boilerplate defense of Trump crumbles, it contains a blatantly false statement as well. Not a good look for a "news" operation.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:05 PM EST
Friday, January 3, 2020
CNS' Jones Privileges Another Bogus Claim By Trump
Topic: CNSNews.com

We know that CNSNews.com writer Susan Jones is a loyal Trump stenographer, dutifully transcribing every utterance from the president's mouth without regard to the veracity of the claims. nJones once again failed in fact-checking Trump in a Dec. 11 article.

Jones began by gushing, "Clearly enjoying himself at a rally in Hershey, Pa., Tuesday night, President Trump lauded House passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, which Democrats delayed for months, until the day they announced two articles of impeachment against Trump." In addition to uncritically repeating Trump's evidence-free conspiracy theory that Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats waited to announce the trade deal until the same day a House vote on Trump's impeachment was announced because "it plays down impeachment because they're embarrassed by the impeachment," Jones also repeated Trump's assertion that "our poll numbers have gone through the roof because of her stupid impeachment."

In an apparent attempt to bolster the claim, Jones embedded a link to a Real Clear Politics running list of polls -- which explains nothing, since it is just a list of polls and their results and offers no tracking. By contrast, actual news organizations that do actual analysis found Trump's claim less than factual.

The Washington Post reported that Trump's approval rating actually decreased since the impeachment inquiry was announced, while support for impeachment showed "a big surge since the inquiry began — and relative flatness since." Even a Fox News poll taken shortly before Trump uttered his claim shows polling numbers on impeachment to be stable, with Vox noting that this mirrors other polling, while "one thing they do not show is the surge of support that Trump has been hyping as Democrats have moved toward impeaching him."

But fact-checking was not on Jones' agenda -- stenography was. She went on to rehash all his worn attack lines bashing impeachment and the media.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:41 AM EST
Thursday, January 2, 2020
CNS Wants You To Believe That 'Tabloid Media' -- Not Conservatives -- Pushed Hillary-Is-Lesbian Smears
Topic: CNSNews.com

Writing in a Dec. 5 article about an interview Hillary Clinton did with Howard Stern in which she "denied that she had ever had a lesbian affair and stressed that she really likes men," CNSNews.com managing editor Michael W. Chapman stated that "Over the years there have been several unfounded claims, mostly in the tabloid media, that Hillary Clinton is a homosexual."

Well, that's not exactly true: those claims were largely pushed by Chapman's fellow conservatives.

Conservative Clinton-haters -- not the tabloids -- have pushed this never-substantiated rumor for as long as Hillary has been in the national public eye. Former Bill Clinton campaign aide turned conservative Clinton-hater Dick Morris has long promoted the idea that Hillary is a closet lesbian, as has Clinton-hating conservative author Edward Klein. Roger Stone, Larry Klayman and Matt Drudge have pushed it. As recently as 2013, radio host and Fox News contributor Sandy Rios -- who signed a letter pushed by CNS' owner, the Media Research Center, alleging that Facebook was censoring conservative content --  argued that Clinton's expressed support for same-sex marriage hinted at her sexual identity. Conservative websites were pushing these rumors during the 2016 presidential campaign.

These people are not working for the tabloids; they made their money in the conservative movement.

As Raw Story explained, right-wingers insist on portraying Hillary as a secret lesbian because she is a powerful woman who doesn't conform to the conservative stereotype of a female, despite the fact that she "has been married to the same man for her entire adult life while raising a successful daughter."

This is not an new story, by the way; Hillary has been denying this since at least 2007. Where was CNS' story on that then?

There is more reporting on this issue Chapman could have done, but didn't. He probably thinks Hillary is a secret lesbian too.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:23 AM EST
Tuesday, December 31, 2019
CNS Parrots Cruz's Pushing of Ukraine Conspiracy Theories
Topic: CNSNews.com

Susan Jones was in full stenography mode in a Dec. 9 CNSNews.com article:

Chuck Todd, host of NBC's "Meet the Press," almost laughed at Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) when Cruz told him he believes Ukraine did try to influence the 2016 election.

Cruz said the liberal media is complicit in suggesting that only Russia interfered.

After Cruz cited how "The sitting ambassador from Ukraine wrote an op-ed blasting Donald Trump during the election season" was evidence that "Ukraine blatantly interfered in our election." Jones added:

Todd indicated that Ukraine ambassador was upset about Trump's comments about Ukraine and Crimea.

"So," Cruz told Todd, "You're saying they had disagreements with Donald Trump and they wanted Hillary Clinton to get elected."

Todd responded that an op-ed by the Ukrainian ambassador is nothing compared with what the Russians did.

[...]

Todd said Russia is trying to use the story of Ukraine interference to deflect attention from its own activities:

Because Jones was so in the stenography zone, she failed to explain further what  "Trump's comments about Ukraine and Crimea" or "what the Russians did."

According to the op-ed by Ukrainian ambassador to the U.S. Valeriy Chaly cited by Cruz -- the only evidence he cited to back up his claim that Ukraine "blatantly interfered" in the election -- Trump was suggesting he might give Russia a pass for its seizure of Ukranian land in Crimea. As Todd accurately pointed out (but Jones failed to give him credit for), an op-ed is not remotely equivalent to the Russian campaign of systematic interference in the election such as hacking Democratic National Committee servers, which ultimately served to get Trump elected.

Jones also failed to note that Todd was similarly correct in pointing out that Cruz insisting that there's no difference between Russian election interference and Ukrainian interference serves Russia's interests. Former White House Russia adviser Fiona Hill testified during the impeachment hearings that this "is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services."

Despite CNS' mission statement to "fairly present all legitimate sides of a story," it has little interest in doing so, and that's certainly not Jones did here.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:56 AM EST

Newer | Latest | Older

Bookmark and Share

Get the WorldNetDaily Lies sticker!

Find more neat stuff at the ConWebWatch store!

Buy through this Amazon link and support ConWebWatch!

Support This Site

« January 2020 »
S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31

Bloggers' Rights at EFF
Support Bloggers' Rights!

News Media Blog Network

Add to Google