CNS Misleads About Michelle Obama Commencement Speech Topic: CNSNews.com
A May 26 CNSNews.com article was dedicated to selectively quoting from Michelle Obama's commencement speech at Oberlin College to ratchet up the outrage factor among CNS's readers. And judging from the hate and racism in the article's comment thread, she has succeeded with that.
Jones claimed that Obama "equated conservative opposition with 'noise,' 'clamor' and 'polarization,' and she urged students to "rise above it.'" But in the actual excerpts of the speech Jones included, Obama did not specifically do what Jones claimed. Here's the excerpt with the apparently offending words highlighted:
"You might find yourself a little dismayed by the clamor outside these walls -- the name-calling, the negative ads, the the folks yelling at each other on TV. After being surrounded by people who are so dedicated to serving others and making the world a better place, you might feel a little discouraged by the polarization and gridlock that too often characterize our politics and civic life.
"And in the face of all of that clamor, you might have an overwhelming instinct to just run the other way as fast as you can. You might be tempted to just recreate what you had here at Oberlin -– to find a community of like-minded folks and work with them on causes you care about, and just tune out all of the noise. And that’s completely understandable. In fact, I sometimes have that instinct myself -- run! (Laughter.)
"But today, graduates, I want to urge you to do just the opposite. Today, I want to suggest that if you truly wish to carry on the Oberlin legacy of service and social justice, then you need to run to, and not away from, the noise. Today, I want to urge you to actively seek out the most contentious, polarized, gridlocked places you can find. Because so often, throughout our history, those have been the places where progress really happens –- the places where minds are changed, lives transformed, where our great American story unfolds."
So, no, Obama did not equate conservatives to "noise," "clamor" and "polarization" as Jones claimed -- indeed, Obama does not even use the word "conservative" anywhere near those terms.
But Jones wasn't done misleading. After quoting Obama urging the students to "persuade" and "compromise" in order to "move the country foward," she sneered: "Interestingly Mrs. Obama's husband is not a compromiser, starting his second term with a 'go-it-alone,' I-have-a pen-and-a-phone attitude."
Funny, the PolitiFact website has a full seven pages of examples of Obama compromising to achieve his policy goals. And Jones omits the fact that Republicans have refused to compromise with Obama.
CNS Finally Reports On Duggar Scandal -- In A Blog, Not As 'News' Topic: CNSNews.com
It's taken surprisingly long for an organization that professes to be a "news" operation, but CNSNews.com has finally gotten around to reporting on the Josh Duggar sexual molestation scandal. But, oddly, it still doesn't consider this "news."
Melanie Hunter's May 22 item on Duggar is not presented as "news" but, rather, as a blog post -- the same status also afforded to Michael Chapman's stenography of Franklin Graham and posts dedicated to the stylings of "Evan Sayet, the nation’s leading conservative, political comedian."
Hunter also presents the Duggar scandal in as perfunctory a manner as possible -- apparently finally moved to write about it only after the Duggars' "19 Kids and Counting" show was canceled because of the revelations -- keeping to reporting only statements and refusing to dig into the issue. For instance, Hunter notes that Josh Duggar's victims "live[d] in the Duggar home," but fails to note the obvious conclusing that Duggar was molesting his sisters.
Hunter also uncritically repeats a claim that Duggar was "sent to a Christian treatment program," but ignores reporting that the "treatment program" was actually some guy in the home remodeling business who was actually "more of a mentor ... kind of" rather than someone with actual counseling credentials, which you'd think would be important in dealing with a teenager who molested his sisters.
Hunter uses her dry, perfunctory writing to hide the fact that the Duggar family waited a year to report Josh's behavior to authorities. She also doesn't mention that CNS has favorably promoted Duggar in the past.
Hunter's treatment of the Duggar story is not the only sign CNS would rather ignore it. CNS' Twitter account has not promoted the story, nor have the Twitter accounts of editor in chief Terry Jeffrey and managing editor Michael Chapman. And the Duggar story is still being censored on other MRC websites, such as NewsBusters, MRC TV, and the main MRC website.
On May 1, CNSNews.com published a fluffy interview with Josh Duggar, oldest son of the Duggar family of "19 Kids and Counting" fame, in which he declared that “marriage is central to the family and every single child deserves a mother and father” and complained that "there is an agenda to silence people of faith, those who hold a dissenting opinion."
Actually, CNS is the one who's engaged in the act of censorship, making sure no bad news about the Duggars appears on its "news" pages.
Earlier this week, news broke that Josh Duggar, as a teenager, was named as an "alleged offender" in an underage sexual abuse probe. Technicalities and other issues in the police investigation led to Duggar failing to be prosecuted in the case.
People magazine reports that the case involved Duggar molesting five underage girls as a teenager. The duggar family states that he underwent counseling and that he regrets his actions, he has since resigned from his job as executive director of the Family Research Council's political action division.
Yet none of this is newsworthy at CNS -- it has not reported a single word about Josh Duggar's scandal, even though it has been two days since the story first broke, and even though it would not hesitate to do so if the perpetrator was not a cultural conservative.
So, what is newsworthy at CNS today? Likening President Obama to Osama bin Laden. No, really.
It seems CNS would much rather do fluffy interviews to advance right-wing ideology than engage in actual journalism without fear or favor.
UPDATE: Wonkette notes that according to the police report, four of the five victims of Josh Duggar's molestation were his own sisters.And Right Wing Watch reports that Duggar has a history of claiming that gays -- not people like himself -- are a threat to child safety.
If CNS reports this at all, it will be couched in some heavy-duty spinning to highlight the power of Christian redemption or something. Again, a whitewashing that CNS would never provide to anyone who isn't a cultural conservative.
You'd think that with all the squawking the Media Research Center has done about George Stephanopoulos' conflict of interest that it would be more forthcoming (or simply forthcoming, period) about its own conflicts of interest -- like its cross-promotional business relationship with right-wing radio host Mark Levin -- particularly at its "news" division, CNSNews.com.
Well, you'd be wrong. A May 14 CNS blog post by Levin fanboy Michael Morris reads like a press release, touting how Levin "continues to gain syndication steam" and lists the new stations broadcasting his radio show. Morris fawningly notes that Sean Hannity has dubbed Levin "The Great One."
Needless to say, Morris makes no mention of Levin's business deal with the MRC.
And in an apparent bid to keep his fanboy status up-to-date, Morris wrote a May 15 post transcribing Levin's comments on Stephanopoulos' conflict of interest -- which, ironically, again fails to mention his employer's conflict of interest with Levin but does note that Levin mentioned the "Media Research Center’s wonderful NewsBusters."
Apparently, the MRC wants to make its attacks on Stephanopoulos as hypocritical as possible.
CNS Just Can't Stop Bashing John Holdren Topic: CNSNews.com
For years, CNSNews.com has been bizarrely obsessed with Obama administration science adviser John Holdren, plucking 40-year-old quotes out of context in order to attack him as an extremist. CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey -- apparently feeling it's been way too long since he's bashed Holdren -- resumes his jihad once more in his May 13 column, desperatelhy stretching to claim that Albert Einstein has proven Holdren's 40-year-old questions about sustainability wrong. Because you cannot see all the stars in the sky as Einstein claimed, Jeffrey theorizes that this somehow also means the Earth is infinitely sustainable:
Would it have been better, as Obama's future science adviser argued, to halt such net additional human beings from coming into existence in the first place?
Did God truly fail to provide sufficient material resources for the human beings He created and to whom He gave sovereignty over the material world?
The answer to the second question is found in the stars above: We cannot count them all yet, let alone survey them, so we have no idea how vast are the material resources our Creator has put within our potential reach.
The answer to the former question is found by looking back across the extraordinary and sometimes unanticipated improvements in the material well-being of the human race that have occurred just since Obama's science adviser called for inducing "the United States government to assume its responsibility to halt the growth of the American population."
Jeffrey seems to have missed the famines throughout history (Somalia, for example) that were at least in part the result of insufficient material resources for a given area.
Jeffrey has been so obessed with Holdren's purported views from 40 years ago -- from books he co-authored that may or may not reflect his actual views -- that he nor anyone else at CNS has ever bothered to ask Holdren in a thoughtful manner about whether he still holds those views. Instead, CNS cared only about ambushing Holdren with gotcha questions -- something that generates lots of clicks to the CNS website but does nothing for journalism or civilized debate.
But then, getting clicks and attacking anyone who doesn't adhere to the Media Research Center's right-wing views -- not engaging in journalism or civilized debate -- is how CNS rolls.
The April unemployment numbers were good enough that CNSNews.com's Ali Meyer had to at least acknowledge them before burying them in cherry-picked bad news, as is the CNS mandate.
Meyer's May 8 CNS article grumbled that "The unemployment rate dropped from 5.5 percent in March to 5.4 percent in April even as the number of people in the labor force increased from 156,906,000 to 157,072,000 and the labor force participation rate increased from 62.7 percent to 62.8 percent."
Mayer complained that unemployment rates for blacks "showed little or no change in April," but she's downplaying the situation. In fact, black unemployment dropped 0.5 percent, falling under 10 percent for the first time in nearly seven years.
Even though CNS has previously highlighted higher African American unemployment rates, this decrease did not merit its own article from Meyer. Instead, she cherry-picked a different number more favorable to CNS' anti-Obama agenda and dedicated an entire article to how "A record 56,167,000 women, age 16 years and over, were not in the labor force in April."
Just another reminder that CNS isn't really into "news" -- it has fully become the propaganda arm of the Media Research Center.
CNS' Chapman Finds A Franklin Graham Utterance He Won't Repeat Topic: CNSNews.com
We'vedocumented how CNSNews.com managing editor Michael Chapman has a peculiar obsession with documenting every last word right-wing evangelical Franklin Graham says. But it turns out Chapman's fixation with Graham has its limits -- when his words conflict with the agenda of Chapman's employer.
On the May 6 edition of "Fox & Friends," Graham denounced the Muhamma-cartoon exhibit in Texas where two would-be gunmen were killed, saying the attendees "were wrong" to mock Muslims:
"As a Christian, I don’t like it when people mock my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ, and what this event in Garland, Texas, was doing was mocking the Muslims. And I disagree with Islam, I don’t believe in Islam, but I’m not going to mock them and make fun of them," Graham said on "Fox and Friends."
Graham said that the cartoon contest, organized by Pam Geller's anti-Islam group, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, was offensive.
"I’m discouraged that people would do this. We live in a society now where there’s no civility, there’s no respect, we don’t honor people who have differences. We only attack each other. And so I agree that the folks in Garland, Texas, were wrong," he said. "They had the right to speak. I have free speech, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to go around and cuss people just because I have the freedom to do that."
He later added that even though he did not approve of the event, responding with violence was "wrong."
Even though Chapman has devoted dozens of articles in the past several months to Graham's various utterings over the past several months, he has yet to report this one, according to his article archive.
Why? Presumably because it runs counter to the expressed agenda of the Media Resarch Center, which own CNS, to support Geller.
The same day Graham made his remarks, CNS published a column by Chapman's boss, Brent Bozell, and Tim Graham expressing their support for the "exercise of free speech" at the Muhammad cartoon contest, insisting that while it was "provocative... it wasn't meant to result in two Islamic extremists showing up with assault rifles."
They don't know that, of course; it's entirely possible Geller wanted to provoke a violent response in order to justify her anti-Muslim agenda. Instead, Bozell and Graham complain that some in the media described Geller as "relentlessly shrill and coarse in her broad-brush denunciations of Islam." They don't dispute the accuracy of the claim, however.
Bozell and Graham go on to blame the Southern Poverty Law Center for an "assassin using their "hate map" to go to FRC's building and open fire, seriously wounding a security guard, with the intent to kill as many staff as possible, before being subdued." They add: "The leftist media know that. And still use SPLC as their source."
Funny, we don't recall Bozell or Graham running away from the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue after Scott Roeder had contacts with the group and later murdered abortion doctor George Tiller. In fact, the MRC has pretended there was no link at all between Roeder and the anti-abortion movement, and Bozell himself effectively endorsed Tiller's murder, calling him "a monster who personally murdered 60,000 babies."
If the MRC can't be bothered to unequivocally denounce a group for its links to a murder, Chapman certainly isn't going to challenge that sort of agenda.
UPDATE: Chapman added a post quoting Graham bashing ISIS. He's still ignoring Graham's statement denouncing Geller.
CNS Managing Editor Keeps Up His Work As Franklin Graham's PR Guy Topic: CNSNews.com
Franklin Graham doesn't like that a comic book superhero is gay, and CNSNews.com managing editor Michael Chapman is ON IT:
Marvel Comics outed its X-Men character "Iceman" as gay in its latest issue, a cultural step that is designed "to indoctrinate our young people to accept this destructive lifestyle," said Reverend Franklin Graham, who added that God Himself in the Bible says that "homosexuality is a sin" and we are to be on guard against all sin."
"Today the Marvel comic character Ice Man, from the 'X-Men' series, is coming out as gay," said Rev. Graham in a post on Facebook. "This is another attempt to indoctrinate our young people to accept this destructive lifestyle."
"God’s Word says homosexuality is a sin, and we are to be on guard against all sin," said the reverend. "God calls us to repent, turn from our sins, and put our trust in His Son Jesus Christ who died and rose again to pay the penalty for sin."
This is the sixth blog post in April that Chapman has dedicated to the musings of Graham (the others are here, here, here, here and here). That's on top of the 25 articles Chapman dedicated to him in the first three months of 2015 -- more than one-third of Chapman's CNS output during that time.
Chapman has yet to publicly explain why he considers Graham's anti-gay, anti-Muslim and anti-Obama views so newsworthy that he presents them without permitting anyone to respond.
Regarding Chapman's other evangelical-extremist man-crush, he has published three more articles (here, here, and here) featuring the comments of Rafael Cruz, better known as Ted Cruz's dad, since we checked in last.
As with Graham, Chapman has not explained why Cruz's hateful comments are so important as to be presented without comment or criticism. That would seem to violate CNS' mission statement "to fairly present all legitimate sides of a story."
CNS Is Mad More People Aren't Covered Under Obamacare, For Some Reason Topic: CNSNews.com
The right-wingers at CNSNews.com have consistently grumbled about Obamacare, so it's odd to see them complain that it's not successful enough at covering people. Brittany Hughes writes in an April 13 CNS article:
Nearly 12 percent of American adults still do not have health insurance, according to a Gallup poll published Monday.
This is despite the fact that the individual mandate in President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), AKA Obamacare, took effect at the beginning of 2014.
According to Gallup 11.9% of American adults were uninsured in the first quarter of 2015. That was down one percentage point from the previous quarter and 5.2 points since the end of 2013, just before the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate went into effect.
The Gallup survey shows the ACA falling far short of the president’s statement that the law would be "about making sure that all of us, and all our fellow citizens, can count on the security of health care."
But Hughes doesn't mention one key reason why coverage isn't higher: the refusal of Republican governors to expand their Medicaid rolls.
As Bloomberg details, one key component of the Affordable Care Act is federal funding for states to expand Medicaid -- if they decide to take advantage of it. But 20 states haven't, the vast majority of them run by Republican governors like Florida and Texas. Those two states together have 1.6 million people who could qualify for Medicaid under the wider eligibility criteria, according to estimates from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Hughes might want to consider pointing the finger of blame where it actually belongs instead of engaging in kneejerk Obama-bashing.
CNS'Just Can't Stop Obsessing Over LGBT-Related Federal Spending Topic: CNSNews.com
It appears that CNSNews.com deputy managing editor Melanie Hunter has farmed out her obsession with portraying any and all federal spending on LGBT-related issues as wasteful to an underling, Rudy Takala. Thus, we have Takala's April 20 article:
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is devoting $156,929 to study the best ways to convince gay Latino men to wear condoms and get tested for HIV.
“Latinos are diagnosed with HIV at a rate that is three times that of non-Latino whites and they tend to be diagnosed later,” according to NIH’s description of the six-month project that “will focus on promoting sexual health and be positioned as an outreach intervention that promotes HIV testing in an accepting environment.”
And as usual with such articles, the comment thread at the end is starting to fill up with anti-gay and homophobic commenters. Encouraging such comments seems to be the main point of such articles at CNS, since very few, if any, of the most offensive comments ever get deleted.
CNS (And Brent Bozell) Latches Onto Another Fringe Religious Figure Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com sure loves its fringe, extremist religious figures all of a sudden, doesn't it?
Driven by CNS managing editor Michael Chapman, the "news" site already uncritically promotes the extreme anti-Muslim, anti-gay and anti-Obama views of Franklin Graham and Rafael Cruz (better known as Ted Cruz's dad).
The latest fringe figure to get approval (and a platform) from Chapman is John Zuhlsdorf, a Catholic priest considered a "traditionalist" and who is the president of the Tridentine Mass Society, a group of Catholics who cling to the Latin version of the Catholic church service that was conducted before the Second Vatican Council declared that church services should be conducted in the language spoken by local church congregants.
Zuhlsdorf is such an extremist that he expressed his opposition to Pope Francis washing the feet of females as part of a Catholic ritual, insisting that only man may have their feet washed. He also engages in the tacky practice of providing "blessed holy cards" to people who donate money to him.
But Chapman is apparently down with that, because he likes Zuhlsdorf's anti-gay attitude. On April 10, Chapman touted Zuhlsdorf's "simple solution" to the issue of "gay activists" who are "attacking Christian bakeries and wedding planners and filing lawsuits to put them out of business because of their religious beliefs": to "show up at the gay wedding wearing a Cross necklace, a Bible-pin on your lapel, and a Bible verse embroidered on your uniform that expresses your morality, such as Mark 10:6-7, 'But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife.'"
The same day, CNS gave Zuhlsdorf a column to rant about "how homosexualists target Christian businesses for destruction" and advises Christian who cater gay weddings to be "wearing crucifixes and have the Holy Family embroidered on their uniforms. ... When the truck pulls up, speakers will be playing Immaculate Mary. Show them the truck and play the music."
Chapman's Media Research Center bosses, Brent Bozell and Tim Graham, apparently liked Zuhlsdorf's mean-spirited solution so much they touted it in their April 17 column, adding that "if gay couples want to force their lifestyle on others, it naturally follows that religious believers should push their beliefs more elaborately as well.
The MRC's continued movetoward the right-wing fringe usually inhabitted by the likes of WorldNetDaily apparently has Bozell's approval.
The leading Roman Catholic exorcist is calling out the Islamic State, naming it as Satan manifested on Earth.
Father Gabriele Amorth, 90, founder of the International Association of Exorcists, has taken to Facebook to confront the Muslim group terrorizing Syria and Iraq and rapidly spreading its influence throughout the Muslim world, reported the Catholic News Agency.
“ISIS is Satan,” the priest posted on the social-media site.
“Things first happen in the spiritual realms, then they are made concrete on this Earth.
The shocking truth about ISIS – Eye-opening new e-book on maniacal ‘Islamic State’ FREE to WND readers!
“There are only two spiritual realms: The Holy Spirit and the demonic spirit,” Father Amorth said, adding the demonic enters in “because evil is disguised in various ways: political, religious, cultural, and it has one source of inspiration: the devil.
“As a Christian I fight the beast spiritually,” he said.
CNS' Lauretta Brown apparently saw that story and decided to do her own version the next day:
Father Gabriele Amorth, a high-profile exorcist for the diocese of Rome, Italy, said in a Facebook post last week that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) “is Satan.” He also lamented the West’s lack of response to the threat of ISIS.
"ISIS is Satan. Things first happen in the spiritual realms, then they are made concrete on this earth,” Amorth wrote on April 8, according to a translation provided by Catholic News Agency (CNA).
“There are only two spiritual realms: The Holy Spirit and the demonic spirit,” he continued.
Amorth said the demonic spirit enters “because evil is disguised in various ways: political, religious, cultural, and it has one source of inspiration: the devil. As a Christian I fight the beast spiritually.”
Chapman is silent about the elder Cruz's history of saying incendiary and hateful things. Instead, Chapman touts how Cruz "fought against the Communists in Cuba, was arrested there and tortured," as if that was an excuse.
As with Graham's utterings, how any of this qualifies as "news" in Chapman's eyes is anyone's guess. Plus, note that both of these Cruz posts appeared after his son announced his presidential bid; it could be argued that Chapman is engaging in a little bit of unethical electioneering for Ted Cruz by promoting his father.
Not only is what Chapman doing unethical in a journalistic context, it may also be illegal, given the nonprofit status of CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, and the restriction on political activities that status confers. The "brink of destruction" post can be read as an implicit endorsement of Ted Cruz's campaign, given how Chapman dutifully quotes how the elder Cruz complains that "We have the most lawless administration we have ever had, where the rule of law, the Constitution is trampled every day."
CNS, it seems, is merely an arm of the MRC's political operation and not any sort of independent "news" organization, and Chapman appears determined to keep it that way.
For those keeping track at home, of the 72 articles Chapman has written for CNS since Jan. 1, 29 of them focus on Graham.
Chapman has yet to publicly explain why he thinks apparently everything Graham says is newsworthy. Nor has he said whether he has any sort of agreement with Graham in which he's compensated for giving so much attention to Graham's utterances.