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Tuesday, April 25, 2017
CNS Now Shilling for the Pizza Industry

The fossil-fuel industry is not the only conservative-leaning business lobby for which will serve as a loyal stenographer. Craig Bannister writes in an April 17 CNS blog post:

Food chains like pizza retailers are warning that an Obamacare regulation set to kick in on May 5 will overwhelm customers, raise prices and bankrupt businesses.

A costly and burdensome 400-page regulation in the Affordable Care Act (Section 4205) is set to go into effect on May 5 requiring any “restaurant” with 20 or more locations to post in-store menu boards with separate nutrition information for every food item and combination served.

Bannister regurgitates talking points from industry lobbying groups the American Pizza Community, "which represents pizza companies like Pizza Hut, Papa John’s and Dominos," and the Food Marketing Institute, "whose members operate 37,000 supermarkets." Bannister helpfully and editorializes -- something the "mainstream media" Bannister loves to criticize would never do -- by putting in underlined bold type key PR phrases "locally-produced products will be dropped" and "estimates the first-year cost of compliance at more than $1 billion."

Bannister fails to report, however, that the rules have been in the works for years, takeout-oriented chains like Domino's don't have to post calorie counts in-store, temporary items are exempt from disclosure, and other restaurant chains already comply with the standards.

Further, Bannister misstates the compliance costs. He uncritically repeats the FMI's claim that "the first-year cost of compliance at more than $1 billion"; in fact, as Media Matters notes, the Food and Drug Administration found that the $1 billion cost would actually be spread out over a 20-year period.

Bannister quotes nobody in support of the calorie disclosure rules, so slavishly is his devotion to being a stenographer to food industry interests.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:51 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 1:54 AM EDT
Sunday, April 23, 2017
CNS Reporter Jones' Trump Stenography, By The Numbers

We've repeatedly highlighted reporter Susan Jones' eagerness to serve as a stenographer for the Trump campaign and, later, his administration. Here's another number to back that up.

One of the laziest things a reporter can do is write a single-source story that simply repeats what someone said. If all you're doing is writing down what one person said and making that the entirety of your story, it's stenography, not reporting.

ConWebWatch examined all 281 articles Jones wrote during the first three months of Trump's presidency, from Jan. 20 through April 20. We counted the number of her articles that quoted only President Trump, a member of his administration or the military, versus the number of articles that quoted only a Democratic member of Congress.

By our count, Jones wrote a whopping 64 articles in which Trump or a member of the administration was the sole source, versus just 20 in which a Democratic member of Congress was the sole source (since Democrats do not control the executive branch or the military).

Further, while Jones focused her Trump articles on a wide variety of figures, a majority of the Democratic articles quoted just two people, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. That appears to be because Pelosi and Schumer are CNS' designated Democratic punching bags; for example, one of these articles serves as a way to mock Pelosi for tripping Jones' obsession with people who want Trump to release his tax returns like every other modern-era presidential candidate.

Jones has long been a biased reporter, but putting a number to it demonstrates the extent of her bias. It also demonstrates that CNS cannot be taken seriously as a news outlet.

Methodology: Count included articles based on interviews that paraphrased statements from the questioner or quoted the questioner without naming him or her, but excluded articles that quote the questioner by name.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:38 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, April 23, 2017 6:57 PM EDT
Saturday, April 22, 2017
CNS Says Goodbye to O'Reilly By Touting His Legacy, Downplaying Harassment Charges

At, the only original coverage of the departure of Bill O'Reilly from Fox News over mounting claims of sexual harassment had little to do with that -- it was about his legacy.

An April 20 article by Susan Jones is headlined "CNN Anchor: ‘Many Think That If There Was No Bill O’Reilly, There Would Be No President Donald Trump’," and leads by insisting that some of the harassment claims against O'Reilly were "very old and legally settled," followed by a statement from O'Reilly that 'It is tremendously disheartening we part ways due to unfounded claims. That is the reality many of us in the public eye must live with today."

The rest of the article touts O'Reilly's political legacy, paraticularly regarding Donald Trump. Jones doesn't mention that Trump has been accused of sexual harassment and even worse behavior toward women.

Jones sneered that CNN's Brian Stelter "covered the O’Reilly controversy diligently" -- unlike her and the rest of CNN, but Jones didn't mention that. She concluded her article quoting O'Reilly's lawyer complaining about "character assassination" and and ranting about alleged "evidence that the smear campaign is being orchestrated by far-left organizations bent on destroying O’Reilly for political and financial reasons."

Of course, Jones knows a thing or two about engaging in character assassination for political and financial reasons.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:52 AM EDT
Thursday, April 20, 2017
CNS Lends Its Stenography Skills to Judicial Watch

The Trump administration is not the only group for which serves as a committed and loyal stenographer. Right-wing legal group Judicial Watch also benefits from CNS' stenography services to the point where CNS is effectively Judicial WAtch's PR shop.

In the past few months, CNS has churned out these press releases -- er, "news" articles for Judicial Watch's benefit:

All of these articles quote only Judicial Watch officials or things taken from Judicial Watch press releases. No attempt is made to obtain reaction to Judicial Watch's actions.

As if that wasn't enough -- and it apparently wasn't -- CNS also gave Judicial Watch chief Tom Fitton his own column in which the tone is little different from the "news" articles about most of the same things. Fitton has written these for CNS since the beginning of the year:

Fitton hardly needs to write columns for CNS, since its "news" articles are pretty much the same thing.

Of course, such stenography work will eventually dry up for CNS because Judicial Watch has little interest in holding the Trump administration accountable in the same way it went after the Obama administration.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:51 AM EDT
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
At CNS, Trump's Flip-Flop on NATO Is Just A 'Policy Shift'

When President Trump declared that NATO is "no longer obsolete" -- a complete reversal from a position he had articulated just three months earlier -- most news organizations pointed it out as the flip-flop it was.

And then there's the loyal Trump stenographers at, who would never be so gauche as to report that their dear leader was caught in a flip-flop.

Melanie Arter's April 12 article on his NATO remarks doesn't even mention the reversal; instead, like a loyal stenographer, she simply repeats Trump's statement that "I said it was obsolete; it's no longer obsolete" and made the lead of her story about Trump calling on NATO "to work together to resolve the disaster currently taking place in Syria."

Two days later, Arter wrote a follow-up article that spins Trump's numerous flip-flops as "policy shifts" by, yes, uncritically quoting Trump press secretary Sean Spicer:

When asked to explain some of President Donald Trump’s recent policy shifts, the White House said Thursday that in some cases - NATO, for example - the issue is evolving towards the position that the president articulated.

“I think you can look at what you're referring to as a shift in a lot of ways,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in response to a question about what the American people should make of the policy shifts the president has made on issues such as labeling China as a currency manipulator and asking Congress to do away with the Export-Import Bank.

“By that I mean I saw a couple instances with respect to NATO being one of those shifts yesterday, and if you look at what’s happened, those entities, or individuals in some cases, are issues evolving towards the president’s position. And NATO, in particular, he talked about the need of countries to pay their fair share, to live up to their commitments of 2 percent of GDP. He talked about the need for NATO to focus more on terrorism. NATO has done just that,” Spicer said.

“And it's something that he pointed out in the debate -- the first debate in September of last year. He talked about the fact that NATO is moving towards what he has been calling for, and I think in some cases, the issues evolve -- that it's not just a clear and fast statement that this is -- the entity itself is moving towards his -- or the issue is evolving towards the position that he articulated,” Spicer said.

But as Politico pointed out, NATO has been focusing on terrorism for decades, which means any "evolution" Trump claims happened always exists.

Again, a Trump stenographer like Arter simply wouldn't be so gauche as to commit journalism by noting that.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:11 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 6:15 PM EDT
Sunday, April 16, 2017
CNS Editor Admits Iraq War Was A Failure

How much does editor in chief Terry Jeffrey not want President Trump not to get involved militarily in Iraq -- thus splitting CNS from the rest of the rah-rah bombers at the Media Research Center? He admits what few conservatives do: admit that the Iraq War was a mistake.

Jeffrey writes in his April 12 column:

When President George W. Bush decided he wanted to remove and replace Saddam Hussein, he made a bad decision to go to war in Iraq but a good one to seek congressional authorization first.

Large bipartisan majorities in both houses approved the resolution authorizing Bush to use force.

In the House, it won 296 to 133. Rep. Adam Schiff, now the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, voted for it.

In the Senate, it won 77 to 23. Future Democratic presidential candidates John Kerry and Hillary Clinton joined future Republican presidential candidate John McCain in supporting it. So, too, did Harry Reid, the future Democratic majority leader.

Most of Washington's elected elite joined in making perhaps the most imprudent foreign policy decision of this century.

The House passed the authorization on Oct. 10, 2002; the Senate, the next day. Fifteen years later, the battle for Iraq continues. But the adversary is no longer the secular dictator Saddam Hussein — whom U.S. forces captured less than 11 months after entering Iraq — it is the Islamic State.

Jeffrey making other members of Congress complicit in passage of Bush's use-of-force resolution omits the fact that it wasn't sold as a means to go to war. As Hillary Clinton's speech in support of the resolution details, she expected Bush to exhaust all diplomatic avenues first, adding:

I take the president at his word that he will try hard to pass a United Nations resolution and seek to avoid war, if possible. Because bipartisan support for this resolution makes success in the United Nations more likely and war less likely—and because a good faith effort by the United States, even if it fails, will bring more allies and legitimacy to our cause—I have concluded, after careful and serious consideration, that a vote for the resolution best serves the security of our nation. If we were to defeat this resolution or pass it with only a few Democrats, I am concerned that those who want to pretend this problem will go away with delay will oppose any United Nations resolution calling for unrestricted inspections.

Nevertheless, Jeffrey touts Bush's seeking authorization; otherwise, "if he had not, his action would not only have been unwise, it would have been unconstitutional." He goes on to surprisingly huff given that CNS has been a slavish Trump stenographer:

When President Donald Trump ordered military action against the Assad regime last week, he had no more constitutional authority than President Washington had in 1793 to order military action against the Chickamaggas.

Washington did not act unilaterally. Trump did. Which one was the constitutional originalist?


Having acted unconstitutionally in using force against the Assad regime without prior congressional authorization, the question now is whether Trump will act unwisely in seeking to remove Assad's regime without weighing the long-term consequences.

Will Trump, like Bush, unleash a greater threat than the one he seeks to destroy?

This is, by the way, something of a flip-flop on Jeffrey's part. In a 2006 appearance on CNN, Jeffrey argued that pulling out of Iraq was a bad idea because the U.S. needs to "use our military in such a way as we optimize the outcome in terms of our own security interests and also what happens on the ground."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:09 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, April 16, 2017 10:11 PM EDT
Thursday, April 13, 2017
CNS Editor Discloses (One) Conflict of Interest In Pushing Malkin's Crusade
Topic: editor in chief Terry Jeffrey devoted an April 6 blog post to rehashing a crusade his website and and its Media Research Center parent have been pushing recently:

CRTV’s “Michelle Malkin Investigates” and ABC’s “20/20” have both produced reports on the criminal investigation and conviction of former Oklahoma City Policeman Daniel Holtzclaw. But Malkin’s report brought to light some facts and questions that “20/20” did not.

Creators Syndicate Chairman Rick Newcombe, having viewed both reports, wrote a column that published on March 27, pointing to the serious questions Malkin’s report raised.

Surprisingly, Jeffrey did include a bit of disclosure at the end of his post: "Disclosure: Creators Syndicate publishes Terence P. Jeffrey’s column."

That's the least of the disclosures Jeffrey should have made, and not just because we (and you) weren't aware until now that Creators syndicated Jeffrey's column. As we pointed out, Creators also syndicates the column ostensibly written by his boss, Brent Bozell, and Newcombe rushed to Bozell's defense when the truth slipped out that Bozell's column was actually written by his lieutenant, Tim Graham. Malkin's weekly column is also published twice by the MRC, at CNS and at NewsBusters

In other words: It still looks a bit like some kind of quid pro quo is going on here, and Jeffrey and Bozell should fully disclose their business relationship with Malkin and Creators before writing about this story any further.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:10 PM EDT
Monday, April 10, 2017
CNS Unemployment Numbers Distortion Watch

As she did last month, reporter Susan Jones' lead story on the new unemployment numbers touts the record number of people in the workforce. By contrast, Jones' unemployment reports under a Democratic president focused on how many people were not in the workforce.

Another thing Jones is doing under Trump that she largely failed to do under President Obama: explain why the workforce participation rate is so low. 

This is all to cover up the fact that only 98,000 jobs were created in March, which she didn't get around to mentioning until the fourth paragraph of her article and which even she had to concede was a disappointing number.

Jones also grumbled that "The Democrat Party [sic] is giving Donald Trump no credit for the good news in Friday’s jobs report," sneering that "The DNC is offended that Trump, a successful job-creator himself, has taken credit for tens of thousands of jobs saved or created on his watch." Jones doesn't mention that Trump played no role in creating most of those jobs.

The only sidebar, again, is CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey touting the creation of more manufacturing jobs while bemoaning that more government jobs were created as well. Unike his articles in the Obama era, though, the number of government jobs didn't make the headline.

AWOL again is CNS managing editor Michael W. Chapman, whose job during the Obama era was to tell us the "real" unemployment rate and highlight the number of unemployed blacks.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:17 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, April 10, 2017 3:42 PM EDT
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
CNS' Starr Bolts to Breitbart

In case you missed in our full-length article last week on's continued fawning coverage of fossil-fuel interests, CNS reporter Penny Starr -- the site's leading fossil-fuel stenographer -- has flown the coop, leaving in March to take a new job at Breitbart.

The oil industry cheerleading she purveyed at CNS has continued in stories like "Donald Trump’s State Department Gives Green Light to the Keystone XL Pipeline" and "EXCLUSIVE: Navajos Celebrate End of Obama’s Job-Killing Energy Policies: Trump Offers ‘Unwavering Support’ for Coal."

Indeed, a skim through her archive shows that Starr is doing pretty much the same thing at Breitbart she did at CNS, though for a larger audience and (presumably) a bigger salary -- heavy on single-source items designed to promote a right-wing, pro-Trump agenda.

Of course, as a Breitbart employee, she's now a part of the "state-owned media" of the kind her former employer, the Media Research Center, loved to rail against when the president was a Democrat.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:04 PM EDT
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
More Pro-Trump Spin: CNS Touts How 'GOP Protects Trump’s Tax-Return Privacy'

We've noted how CNS' chief Trump stenographer, Susan Jones, has obsessed over (and defended against) calls for Donald Trump to release his taxes ... but was curiously silent when MSNBC's Rachel Maddow actually did release details of one year's return.

Well, she's at it again, in a March 29 article under the spin-heavy headline "GOP Protects Trump’s Tax-Return Privacy: ‘No Single Individual Has Ever Been Targeted in Such a Manner’." In it, Jones simply blockquotes one Trump defender while his critics get the normal "news" treatment, and she once again makes sure to point out that "there is no law requiring" Trump to release his taxes.

That's life in the Trump stenography lane at CNS.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:05 PM EDT
Monday, April 3, 2017
CNS' Top Tebow-Touter Takes Another Swing

We've documented how writer Michael Morris was lavishing praise on Tim Tebow's nascent baseball career while ignoring the fact that he's not exactly major-league material at this point.

Morris takes another swing at it in a March 20 blog post, touting New York Mets manager Terry Collins' noncommittal assessment that Tebow is "getting better."

Morris did make a passing reference to "minor league spring training," but he ignored one notable bit of news that occurred the same day his article was published: Tebow was sent to play for a Mets affiliate in Class A ball, the lowest rung of Major League Baseball.

Morris hasn't written about Tebow since. Of course, minor-league baseball isn't that exciting, even when Tebow is playing it.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:07 PM EDT
Thursday, March 30, 2017
CNS' Jones Declares Obamacare To Be 'Failing'

Chief Trump stenographer at Susan Jones is stenographying again -- and going beyond established facts as well.

In a March 14 article mostly devoted to lengthy block-quotes of President Trump opining on how great the Republican health insurance plan was, Jones adds: "Trump was meeting at the White House with people who have suffered under the failing Obamacare law."

Except, well, it's not, according to people who have actually researched it and not just planted an unsubstantiated opinion in a "news" article.

NBC, for example, reports that while there are issues with the Affordable Care Act, they're not serious in and of themselves to create the "death spiral" conservatives claim is happening. NPR adds that "The law has its problems — but it is far from 'exploding,' using any reasonable definition of the word."

And Vox points out that even the Congressional Budget Office does not see the ACA as failing, and that the recent wave of premium hikes and insurers dropping out of state markets will likely fix itself if Trump does nothing.

So, no, Obamacare is not "failing." Jones is just doing more stenography.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:03 PM EDT
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
NEW ARTICLE: CNS' Fossil-Fueled Bias, Part 2
The Media Research Center gets a lot of money from oil interests, so its "news" division is appropriately eager (or perhaps contractually obligated) to parrot the industry's agenda. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 3:19 PM EDT
Friday, March 24, 2017
CNS Managing Editor Endorses Anti-Gay 'Satanic' Slander
Topic: managing editor Michael W. Chapman has a thing for publishing hateful far-right commentary on his website, with anti-gay attacks a particular interest. Chapman ramped up the hate with a March 16 post:

Peter LaBarbera, founder of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, gave a talk on Saturday about the destructive agenda of the LGBT movement and how it manipulates language in particular to disguise its evil intentions and spin them in a positive light -- darkness to light -- which, he added, is truly "satanic."

LaBarbera presented his talk at the Wisconsin Christian News Ministry Expo and Conference in Wausau, Wisc., on March 10. In a discussion about how "Words Lose their Meaning" when adopted and manipulated by the LGBT movement, LaBarbera gave the example, "Come Out of the Closet."

"This is one people don’t think about," he said.  "But think about it – come out of the closet. Come out of the dark closet of lies and self-hatred into the light of truth, right? You come out."

"But what is it really?  said LaBarbera. "You come in, into darkness. You’re embracing spiritual darkness as a personal identity, as who you are. Then you’re selling it to everyone you know. You’re doing Satan’s work in the name of light.”


For some reason, homosexuality has become the issue for the left,” said LaBarbera. “The issue. It’s satanic.”

Homosexuality is satanic because it is a complete rejection of nature -- the natural design, order of one's body, male or female -- and an attack on the natural world (biology) that was created by God to function in a specific way. The principal entity that rejected God and His creation from the start was Satan, Lucifer. As he said, "I will not serve."  

LaBarbera's NARTH is a leading promoter of anti-gay hate and junk science.

Chapman presents this post as fact, without offering a countering opinion (and you'd think it wouldn't be hard to find someone to point out that gays aren't, in fact, satanic).

Here are some of the other anti-LGBT attacks Chapman has posted to CNS over the past few months, with a heavy emphasis on the rantings of his favorite right-wing minister, Franklin Graham:

In that time period, Chapman wrote nothing that was positive about the LGBT community, so we can assume that Chapman wholeheartedly endorses the hate he regurgitates.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:10 PM EDT
Friday, March 17, 2017
CNS' Jones Obsesses Over Calls to Release Trump's Taxes -- Then Ignores Actual Release
Topic: has been weirdly obsessed lately with media mentions of calls for Donald Trump to release his income taxes.

We noted that on March 2 and March 6, CNS' Susan Jones made a point of bringing up how Sen. Al Franken said that Trump should release his tax returns, even though the subject at hand was some other Trump-related controversy.

In another March 6 article, Jones quoted Sen. Susan Collins noting that any investigation of claims that members of the Trump campaign collaborated with Russia before the election or Trump's still-unsubstantiated claim that  President Obama wiretapped Trump campaign headquarters might require a look at Trump's tax returns.

On March 9, Jones devoted yet another article to it, this time based on comments by Nancy Pelosi and framed as Pelosi wanting to rummage through them for something that caused "personal embarrassment to the president." Jones huffed: "Democrats, including Pelosi, say Trump is the only president since Gerald Ford not to release his tax returns. There is no law saying he must do so."

Another March 9 article by Jones touched on it as well, which noted a proposed Democratic amendment to the Republican health care bill "that would allow the [House Ways and Means] committee to review Trump's tax returns in closed session." Again, Jones grumbled that "there is no law requiring Trump to release his tax returns."

Jones still wasn't done. She began a March 13 article this way:

As more and more Democrats angle to see Donald Trump’s tax returns, believing they may contain information that could be used against him, the ranking member of the House intelligence committee took a more measured approach on Sunday.

Jones didn't mention that Trump's abject refusal to release his tax returns like every other major presidential candidate in modern history invites this kind of speculation. As the saying goes, if you have nothing to hide, you hide nothing.

That six articles in 11 days on Democrats wanting to see Trump's taxes. A little obsessive, perhaps?

Here's the capper, though: When MSNBC's Rachel Maddow released a two-page summary of Trump's 2005 tax return on March 14 -- information that was confirmed by the White House -- Jones didn't see that as news, for she did no story on it.

It looks like Jones has once again exposed her bias for all the world to see.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:56 PM EDT

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