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Thursday, May 26, 2016
A 'Food Desert' Fail At CNS
Topic: CNSNews.com

In a May 19 CNSNews.com article, Melanie Hunter highlights a comment by first lady Michelle Obama that "some U.S. communities are 'play deserts,' because they don’t have sufficient opportunities for kids to participate in sports and other outdoor activities, compared to wealthy communities." Hunter then adds: "As CNSNews.com previously reported, the Obama administration coined the phrase 'food deserts' to describe an urban area where a significant share of the population lives more than one mile from a grocery store."

Hunter has played into a double fail. First, the CNS article to which she links --  a 2012 article by Penny Starr -- at no point claims that the Obama administration "coined" the "food desert" term.

Second, the phrase does very much predate the Obama administration. If Wikipedia is to be believed, the "food desert" term was first documented in a 1999 report by the Nutrition Task Force Low Income Project Team of the United Kingdom Department of Health. It can also be found in a 2008 essay in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

We know CNS is always in a rush to smear the Obamas any way they can, but Hunter's complete lack of basic research here is embarrassing, even for CNS.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:17 PM EDT
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
CNS Can't Quite Admit To Readers That Syrian Muslims Are Fleeing Persecution, Just Like Syrian Christians
Topic: CNSNews.com

For months, CNSNews.com reporter Patrick Goodenough has been pushing the misleading meme that the Obama administration is deliberately blocking the admission of Christian refugees from Syria. Goodenough occasionally admits the truth -- that, in his words, Syrian Christian refugees tend not to go through U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) refugee camps, which supplies the number he uses, "due to safety fears, and tend to seek shelter instead with churches, Christian charities or with relatives in surrounding countries."

Goodenough's dishonest reporting has the imprimatur of his boss, CNS editor-in-chief Terry Jeffrey, so he too can maliciously suggest the Obama administrtation is blocking Christian refugees.

But Goodenough's reporting is even more dishonest than that -- he also buries the fact that the Muslims that are fleeing Syria for refugee status in the U.S. are fleeing persecution as well.

In his May 10 article -- he does body counts on refugees every couple weeks or so -- Goodenough plays up the fact that of 451 Syrian refugees arriving in the U.S. in the previous month, "426 were Sunni Muslims and one was a Christian."

Several paragraphs later, Goodenough obliquely writes that Syrian refugees are "escaping from the Allawite Assad regime and its Shi’ite backers, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) or other Sunni Islamist groups among the opposition, or more generally from the violence and deprivation. They include Sunnis, Shi’a, Christians, Allawites, Yazidis, Zoroastrians, Baha’i, atheists and others."

But that obscures the high number of Sunni Muslims seeking refugee status. A report from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has stated that Syria's ruling Assad regime has been guilty of crimes against humanity committed against Sunnis and others, and the BBC reports that "Christian opposition activists have accused the government of stoking sectarian tensions, including by using Alawite-led security forces and Alawite militiamen to target Sunni civilians." While Sunni Muslims make up the majority of Syrians -- and, hence, the majority of refugees -- the government of Bashar al-Assad is Alawite.

Why doesn't Goodenough make that clear? Presumably because he's more interested in portraying Christians as the real victims and is content to lump all Muslims together as a sinister infiltration.

Goodenough waited a few more paragraphs after that to tell the truth that "many Christians who leave Syria do not register with the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, for fear of their safety in U.N. refugee camps." In other words, it's not Obama's fault that more Christians are not going UNHCR, no matter how much Goodenough tries to suggest otherwise.

Goodenough's May 23 body-count article began by intoning: "The Obama administration has admitted 499 Syrian refugees so far this month, with no Christians among them." At no point does he bother to mention the fact that Sunni Muslims (which accounted for 495 of those refugees) are facing persecution, and he again buries the fact that Christian refugees avoid going through UNHCR, which skews his numbers.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:54 PM EDT
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
CNS' Right-Wing Bias Illustrated, In Two Stories
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com, the Media Research Center's "news" operation, likes to pretend it's not biased, what with its mission statement that it "endeavors to fairly present all legitimate sides of a story." That's never been true, of course.

Now, CNS has helpfully served up exactly how its right-wing bias works in practice through its treatment of two sides of the same story.

In a May 9 article, CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey begins respectfully: "In a legal complaint filed against the U.S. Justice Department today, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory asked a U.S. District Court to help his state protect the “bodily privacy rights” of people seeking to use public bathrooms consistent with their biological sex."

Throughout the article, Jeffrey painstakingly quotes and paraphrases McCrory's defense of his state's bathroom law, assertg that the complaint "explained the North Carolina law’s basic operations," as if there are no legal experts in the Justice Department. Jeffrey declared that "The complaint simply seeks that the court declare that the North Carolina governor and secretary of public safety are not violating federal civil rights law or the federal Violence Against Women Act by enforcing a law that requires biological  males to use men’s rooms and biological women to use women’s rooms."

By contrast, Susan Jones' May 10 article is filled with bias and opinion -- you'd never know it's supposed to be a "news" article from reading it -- that sneered at Attorney General Loretta Lynch's defense of the Obama administration's transgender initatives. Jones' opening paragraph is pure opinion:

The U.S. Justice Department is putting the feelings of transgenders -- men who think they are women and women who think they are men -- above the privacy rights of the vast majority of people who don't contest the biological facts of who they actually are.

Jones then ghoes on to lecture Lynch on how she's wrong about transgenders:

But Lynch was referring to people who, in fact, are pretending to be something that -- biologically -- they are not. A man "identifying" as a woman is not a biological woman. And likewise, a woman "identifying" as a man is not a biological man. Until now, that is, when the federal government has determined that biological facts matter less than wishes and feelings.

Jones lectured some more later in her article:

Lynch accused North Carolina and its leaders of creating "state-sponsored discrimination against transgender individuals, who simply seek to engage in the most private of functions in a place of safety and security, a right taken for granted by most of us."

(Much of the outcry over this issue comes from people who are not confused about their gender "as noted at birth," and who also "simply seek to engage in the most private of functions in a place of safety and security." Many women, in particular, object to sharing restrooms with men who supposedly "identify" as women.)

Remember, this is supposed to be a "news" article. But that's how CNS rolls -- complete with the lie about how it "fairly presents" the news.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:20 PM EDT
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
CNS Unemployment Numbers Distortion Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com performs its usual misleading job on the latest unemployment numbers, with Susan Jones' lead story on April's umployment once again leading with the labor force participation rate. She again fails to mention the relevant fact that the labor force number -- since it includes students and retirees who aren't looking for jobs -- is a unreliable number for discussing unemployment.

Jones also writes a sidebar noting the high unemployment rate for African-Americans without mentioning that it has always been much higher for African-Americans compared with whites.But, again, Jones' numbers for African-Americans and Hispanics are framed in the misleading and meaningless labor participation rate numbers.

This time around, CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey contributes an additional politically motivated cherry-picking of numbers with an article on how "The United States has lost approximately 191,000 jobs in the mining industry since September 2014." 

The implication, of course -- though Jeffrey carefully avoids saying it outright -- is that President Obama's environmental policies are solely to blame for this. In fact, the major driver for the current reduction in mining jobs is a slump and decreased prices in the overall energy sector.Even the conservative Washington Examiner admits that "the precipitous drop in oil prices" has driven the current loss in mining jobs.

And Jeffrey also glosses over the fact that the chart accompanying his article shows that mining industry jobs were fewer during most years of the last Republican presidency -- George W. Bush -- than currently under Obama.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:02 PM EDT
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
CNS Editor Falsely Suggests Obama Blocking Christian Refugees
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com editor in chief Terry Jeffrey writes in his April 28 column:

"Today, Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world."

Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas said that on the Senate floor March 17 after he explained what had happened six months before to a Syrian man and his 12-year-old son.

[...]

Then, on the same day Cotton gave his speech, Kerry met a congressionally imposed deadline by declaring that the Islamic State, which he called "Daesh," was committing genocide against Syrian Christians and other minorities.

Yet, even as they face genocide at the hands of the Islamic State, very few Syrian Christians are being admitted as refugees to the United States.

As Patrick Goodenough has reported in a series of stories for CNSNews.com, their number has not been in proportion to their representation in the Syrian population.

[...]

Cotton has offered the "Religious Persecution Relief Act" to help fix this problem. It would permit up to 10,000 Christians and members of other religious minorities in Syria to be admitted to the United States as refugees each year for the next five years. These refugees could apply through U.S.-backed resettlement centers and would not need to go through the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. But they would go through the same security vetting as other refugees from Syria.

The House of Representatives voted unanimously last month to declare that the Islamic State is committing genocide against Christians and other religious minorities in Syria and Iraq. Secretary of State John Kerry had no choice but to concur.

Will they now find no way to allow Middle Eastern Christians fleeing that genocide to find refuge in our land?

Jeffrey is effectively suggesting that the Obama administration is actively blocking Christian refugees from Syria -- something he offers no evidence for, because he knows (or should know) that it's not true.

As we've documented, Goodenough -- the CNS reporter whose work Jeffrey is citing as the basis for his column -- has inconsistently reported on the nature of the alleged refugee imbalance. Goodenough himself reported that Christian refugees from Syria tend to rely no Christian churches and agencies instead of the United Nations, which the U.S. uses to bring in refugees.Goodenough's latest article on the subject, headlined "220 Syrian Refugees Admitted Over Past 2 Weeks Include 1 Christian," again failed to explain that process.

That makes the number of Christian refugees reported to the government artificially lower -- something Jeffrey doesn't mention.

Jeffrey also suggests that the Syrian Muslims admitted as refugees are not facing religious persecution -- a suggestion Goodenough has also made. Jeffrey further complains: "Since Oct. 1, 2014 (the beginning of fiscal 2015), the United States has admitted 3,312 refugees from Syria. Just 38 were Christians. But 3,147 were Sunnis. That equals about 1.1 percent Christian and 95 percent Sunni. The Syrian population, according to the CIA World Factbook, is 10 percent Christian and 74 percent Sunni."

But neither Jeffrey nor Goodenough, in his most recent article, mention the fact that Sunni Muslims are victims of persection. A report from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has stated that Syria's ruling Assad regime has been guilty of crimes against humanity committed against Sunnis and others.

That means Cotton's proposed bill is superfluous -- unless the goal of it is to fearmonger about Muslims and advance the right wing's Christian victim narrative. In which case, Jeffrey and Goodenough are all in, even if it means hiding inconvenient facts to advance it.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:13 PM EDT
Thursday, April 28, 2016
CNS Frames Volunteers' Emotional Support As 'Abortion-Related Care'
Topic: CNSNews.com

Melanie Hunter tries to make it sound as scary and offensive as possible in an April 26 CNSNews.com article:

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) found that members of AmeriCorps, a federally funded service organization, were allowed to provide abortion-related care to pregnant women at three New York City clinics operated by the Institute for Family Health (IFH) between 2013 and 2015.

But what is this "abortion-related care" that Hunter finds so offensive? She doesn't tell us until the fifth paragraph:

According to the report, NACHC [National Association of Community Health Centers, an AmeriCorps grantee] in Bethesda, Md., allowed “a few AmeriCorps members to provide emotional support (doula care) to women during abortion procedures” at three IFH clinics in New York.

Wait ... providing "emotional support" is the offense? Apparently.

Since Hunter doesn't bother to explain what "doula care" is -- all the better to make it sound more sinister, as if AmeriCorps was directly providing abortions -- we had to go elsewhere on the internet. Here's how one abortion doula provider explains what they do:

We provide nonjudgmental, compassionate and empowering support focused solely on nurturing your needs during your experience with pregnancy. Having a Full Spectrum Doula during your experience can alleviate anxiety and help with healthy aftercare. We listen to you and respond compassionately without judgment. We honor your unique needs and feelings throughout your experience. Your well-being is our only concern.

Apparently, the anti-abortion activists at CNS don't want anyone involved in providing "nonjudgmental, compassionate and empowering" support.

But it's not just them; this was apparently a Republican-led provision that AmeriCorps violated, given how Hunter provides ample space for Republican Rep. Diane Black to rant that AmeriCorps "broke trust with the American people" and provided "support of abortion" (even though, again, it provided emotional support for those having one, not for the procedure itself).

But Hunter doesn't explain why volunteer compassion is forbidden when it comes to abortion. Which tells us she's more interested in pushing an agenda than being an actual reporter.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:36 PM EDT
Thursday, April 14, 2016
CNS Unleashes Army of Op-Eds to Defend Right-Wing Think Tank
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com' response to Virgin Islands attorney general Claude Walker subpoenaing the right-wing think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute about its relationship with ExxonMobil, and that company's alleged suppression of evidence that climate change is driven by fossil fuels, was not to do any reporting on it -- surprising, since it claims to be a "news" organization and all.

No, what CNS did is publish a bunch of op-eds defending climate change denialism in general and CEI  in particular. This week alone, CNS has published at least four op-eds.

Hans Bader -- identified only as someone who "practices law in Washington, D.C." -- declared the the subpoena is "raising red flags under the First Amendment" and the investigation of ExxonMobil itself is "a threat to climate science and the First Amendment."

Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation ranted that "a truly outrageous abuse of his authority and a misuse of the law," asserted that "CEI is well-known for its high-quality, objective research on energy and climate issues," went Godwin by calling Walker a part of the "Axis," and declared that " What is happening to ExxonMobil and to the Competitive Enterprise Institute is persecution." Von Spakovsky slobbered over Exxon:

Walker is using a criminal statute designed to go after major drug dealers and mob organizations to go after a company that produces the gasoline and diesel fuel that Americans (and the rest of the world) use in their cars, trucks, boats, lawnmowers, and other equipment of every kind. And ExxonMobil and CEI are being targeted for having taken what these legal barons consider the wrong side of a scientific theory that is being actively debated and questioned.

The fact that ExxonMobil produces a relatively cheap, reliable energy source that helps power our world but is disfavored by Progressives and their political representatives like Walker seems to be what the company is really guilty of.

The Heritage Foundation's Kim Holmes asserted that the subpoena and other actions against Exxon are "blatant attempts to bend the law ... to shut down free and open research. It is but another example of the new illiberal attempt by progressive liberals to use the power of the law to intimidate and coerce those with whom they disagree." Holmes ignores that there's precedent for such action: As Media Matters' Denise Robbins notes, then-Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Republican, demanded that the University of Virginia provide emails and other documents from climate scientist Michael Mann, which were also sought by the American Tradition Institute, whose senior director of litigation, Chris Horner, was also a senior fellow at CEI.

Holmes also claimed that "It is possible that CEI was being targeted by Walker precisely because one of its attorneys, Hans Bader, had criticized New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman who was leading the campaign." Funny, Bader did not disclose his relationship with CEI in his CNS op-ed.

CNS, finally, published an op-ed from a disclosed CEI employee. Kent Lassman, CEI's president, ranted:

It is not and cannot become a crime to disagree with a government official. Somewhere along the line, dissent from orthodoxy has transformed from a uniquely American virtue to a crime. This subpoena is a blatant attack on CEI’s First Amendment rights of free speech and association. It threatens the rights of anyone who holds opinions different from those with the power of the federal or state governments behind them.

What other issues are next on the taboo list? If the attorneys general succeed, we can be assured this list will vary from election to election—something for all people of good conscience to dread.

The audacity of this legal action is profound. George Orwell’s dystopian novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” described “crimethink” as entertaining thoughts unacceptable to the government. 

And, of course, Lassman tries to spin away climate change:

While global warming could pose challenges, we do not believe it is a planetary emergency. We are deeply concerned that national and global campaigns to tax, regulate, and ban fossil fuels are an expensive exercise in futility. Our policy work rests on the scientifically supported view that affordable, plentiful, and reliable fossil fuels make the world safer and the environment more livable. Further, we hold the humanitarian view that affordable energy should be accessible to those who most need it, especially in developing economies.

[...]

The biggest problem with proposals to address alleged, rapid warming is that there is no realistic implementation plan. Taken out of the context of international meetings and put to the practical tests of real-world economics, they do not work. Coal, oil, and natural gas supply 80 percent of the world's energy. Finding substantial emissions reductions from these three fuels using available technologies, such as wind and solar power, is a very expensive dead end.

As we have seen for hundreds of years, modern societies develop the technologies and resources to address environmental challenges, whatever the cause. Unlike some of our climate-alarmist friends, at CEI we think the record of human ingenuity is pretty strong. Innovation and adaptation can surmount the largest challenges when individuals are provided circumstances to promote human flourishing.

None of these op-eds address the actual reasoning behind the subpoena. As InsideClimate News explained, Exxon had an "emerging understanding of climate change science in the 1970s," but then subsequently worked to "undermine the scientific consensus, in part by financing research organizations including CEI."

Why would CNS do any actual reporting when it can published opinion pieces, two of whom are by interested parties?


Posted by Terry K. at 10:46 PM EDT
Monday, April 11, 2016
CNS Mocks Report On Climate Change With The Day's (Completely Unrelated) Weather
Topic: CNSNews.com

Climate change deniers tend to believe that any bit of cold weather somehow debunks the reality of climate change. It doesn't, but it's gotten to the point that Fox News only discusses climate change when it's cold.

The fact that weather is not climate isn't going to stop CNSNews.com from suggesting otherwise. For instance, this April 4 article by Barbara Hollingsworth:

The White House published a report Monday warning that “extreme heat can be expected to cause an increase in the number of premature deaths”--the same day the National Weather Service issued winter weather advisories for April snowstorms.

“From children to the elderly, every American is vulnerable to the health impacts associated with climate change, now and in the future,” said administration's report.

It was released by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and John Holdren, head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the same day the National Weather Service predicted “another round of wintry precipitation” for the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes region that could dump up to 10 inches of snow on upstate New York.

Southern New England also remained under a Winter Weather Advisory until 8 pm on Monday with sub-freezing temperatures and up to six inches of snow predicted for some areas.

Another April snowstorm with 60 mph winds slammed into Massachusetts on Sunday, killing two people and downing power lines for tens of thousands of residents.

See what she did there? Juxtaposing a discussion of a heating climate with the day's weather in southern New England, a very tiny area of the earth.

That's ConWeb logic for you.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:39 PM EDT
Sunday, April 10, 2016
CNS Gives Right-Wing Architecture Critic A Platform
Topic: CNSNews.com

Did you know there's a right-wing political movement in architecture? We didn't either until we came across an April 4 CNSNews.com article by Barbara Hollingsworth.

The article stars Justin Shubow of something called the National Civic Art Society ranting over the idea that a government office building in Washington, D.C., is being considered for the National Register of Historic Places because it's among the first such modernist-style buildings in the city. Shubow declares that he "would like to see the building torn down and replaced" because it's "unpleasant and unliked," like apparently all modern architecture is:

Shubow pointed out that a National Register listing “makes it more difficult to make alterations to it and also affects development in the neighborhood.

“So one of the results could be the encouragement of building other Modernist buildings around it, as opposed to beautiful, inspiring classical buildings - the sorts of buildings we all associate with Washington, D.C.,” he said.

That seems like a lot of energy and hate to waste over a government building, which suggests there's something deeper happening.

Indeed, there is. The National Civic Art Society is apparently some sort of right-wing group; two of its leaders are officials with the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (a rather plain rendition of the Goddess of Democracy created by the Tiananmen Square protesters), and only about half have any sort of stated art or architecture background. (Shubow himself is a lawyer by training.) Its advisers include representatives of right-wing think tanks such as the Ethics and Public Policy Center, the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute.

The society's main job right now is hating the proposed Eisenhower Memorial for being designed by modernist architect Frank Gehry and not being being part of the "classical tradition" in Washington. Shubow demands that the design competition for the memorial be reopened and that it be dominated by "a classical design, one that comports with the best of our memorial tradition."

The society's "about us" page includees even more ranting against modern architecture. Just as right-wing jurists think the only good Constitution is a dead one, the society believes the only good architectural style is the dead, rigid form that was good enough for Rome, Athens and the Founders:

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson consciously chose the classical style to physically embody the new nation's form of government and political aspirations--architecture they intended to be a model for the entire country. The Founders understood that the classical tradition, harkening back to democratic Athens and republican Rome, is time-honored and timeless. It is unparalleled in its dignity, beauty, and harmony, not to mention its legibility to the common man.

Needless to say, Hollingsworth made no effort whatsoever to seek out the view of any other architect to counter Shubow's anti-modernist rantings, making this yet another unbalanced work from the decidedly unbalanced reporter.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:24 PM EDT
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
CNS Reporter Is Sad Poor Blacks Will Get To Live In White Suburbs
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've noted how the Media Research Center has slowly been turning into WND. Now it's creeping into WND-esque race-baiting.

In a March 25 CNSNews.com article, Susan Jones sounds the alarm about a "landmark" settlement in suburban Baltimore that means "low-income housing" (read: black people) will be coming to "affluent" suburbs (read: white people). She grumbles: "The goal is to move low- and very-low-income people out of the city and into the suburbs." As she's wont to do, Jones adds a little editorial snarking to her "news" article:

The county must, within 180 days, introduce (and keep trying to pass) legislation that prohibits housing discrimination based on a person's lawful source of income. This means a landlord can't refuse someone housing if he or she plans to pay the rent with Social Security or other public assistance instead of a paycheck (job!).

As WND did when it tackled the issue of housing inequality in the Baltimore suburbs a few months earlier, Jones ignores the history of racial discrimination in Baltimore and its suburbs that keep blacks in the inner city and out of the suburbs.

While Jones mocks the idea that the Baltimore suburbs must pass a law prohibiting discrimination against the type of income used to pay rent, she doesn't explain why such discrimination is a good thing. And her sneering that people who have housing vouchers don't have "jobs!" -- and, therefore, are lazy bums who aren't even white -- ignores the fact that people who are on disability and cannot work are also eligible to receive housing vouchers.

Jones is simply engaging in lazy reporting that caters to her right-wing (and, we can presume, mostly white) CNS audience.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:28 PM EDT
Sunday, April 3, 2016
CNS Unemployment Numbers Distortion Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

As has been the pattern at CNSNews.com for the past few months, Susan Jones' lead story on March's umployment leads with the labor force participation rate. She fails as usual to mention the relevant fact that the labor force number -- since it includes students and retirees who aren't looking for jobs -- is a unreliable number for discussing unemployment.

Instead of recruiting Michael Chapman to write another article about how the black unemployment rate is double that of whites (which it has always been since statistics began to be kept, and which is referenced in Jones' article), Terry Jeffrey weighs in with an article on new data show "The United States lost 29,000 manufacturing jobs in March while gaining jobs in retail trade, food services and drinking establishments." Jeffrey's implication that this is somehow President Obama's fault is undermined by a chart accompanying his article that shows not only retail jobs eclipsed manufacturing jobs around 2003 -- under a Republican president -- but that manufacturing jobs were at their lowest levels since the 1940s in 2009, and that employment in the manufacturing sector has mostly been on the increase since then.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:34 PM EDT
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
CNS Promotes Fringe, Foreign Medical Groups' Anti-Gay Attacks
Topic: CNSNews.com

Penny Starr writes in a March 16 CNSNews.com article:

The American College of Pediatricians issued a position statement last month entitled “Gender Ideology Harms Children,” which will be followed by a peer-reviewed statement on the subject that’s expected to be released by summer, the college told CNSNews.com.

“The American College of Pediatricians urges educators and legislators to reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex,” the statement issued on Feb. 2 stated. “Facts – not ideology – determine reality.”

The statement – written by Dr. Michelle A. Cretella, president of the American College of Pediatricians, Dr. Quentin Van Meter, vice president of the American College of Pediatricians and a pediatric endocrinologist, and Dr. Paul McHugh, university distinguished service professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical School and the former psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital – cites eight reasons why “gender ideology” instead of treatment based on biological facts is harmful to children.

The presence of non-pediatrictian McHugh in this statement is a huge red flag that this is more of a political statement than a medical one. McHugh --  whose anti-transgender rantings CNS managing editor Michael W. Chapman has promoted -- is an old man trading on his former affiliation with Johns Hopkins to create credibility on the right for his out-of-the-medical-mainstream anti-gay beliefs.

Starr waits until the end to quote the mission statement of the American College of Pediatricians, which also reveals it to be a political organization masquerading as a medical one, declaring that "we recognize the basic father-mother family unit, within the context of marriage, to be the optimal setting for childhood development."

But Starr doesn't mention that the group is a bit of a sham. Hemant Mehta writes that the group has maybe a couple hundred members and banks on confusion with the much larger -- and legitimate -- American Academy of Pediatrics.

Needless to say, Starr doesn't bother to talk with any actual peditricians who might offer an opposing view -- because balanced "news" articles are not what she's into writing.

This isn't even the only recent anti-gay attack on CNS invoking a so-called medical organization. A March 18 article by Chapman highlights how "The Indonesian Psychiatric Association (IPA) has officially announced that homosexuals and bisexuals are 'people with psychiatric problems,' and that transgender people have 'mental disorders,' conditions that can be treated."

'Chapman didn't explain why this group's alleged expertise should be trusted, but hetried to boost the group's credibility by claiming "The announcement was reported in several media outlets, including The Jakarta Post, The Guardian, and The Christian Post."

But Chapman made sure not to mention that the Guardian also pointed out that "For almost half a century, the global medical profession’s consensus is that homosexuality is a healthy variation of sexual orientation. The medical community also rejects the idea that transgender people suffer from a mental health disorder."

Chapman also failed to mention that, according to the Guardian, Human Rights Watch "had documented arbitrary arrests, harassment, threats, and violence against LGBT people in Indonesia this year" and that it called on the Indonesian government to "take a leadership position by stating publicly that the rights of all Indonesians need to be respected, including those of LGBT people, and by committing to reforms that protect instead of persecute this marginalised minority."

The fact that CNS must resort to fringe and foreign "medical" groups to find backing for its anti-gay agenda show just how far out of the mainstream it has become.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:25 PM EDT
Sunday, March 20, 2016
CNS Reporter Tells Only One Side of Flint Hearings
Topic: CNSNews.com

Last week, a House committee hosted two days of testimony on the Flint, Mich., water crisis. CNSNews.com reporter Melanie Hunter wrote four articles about it:

  • An article on the former Flint mayor testifying that "he trusted the guidance he received from then EPA regional administrator Susan Hedman that the high levels of lead in the water in Flint, Mich., were 'limited to very particular cases' of lead service lines and plumbing in individual houses."
  • An article on EPA administrator Gina McCarthy allegedly [sidestep[ping] a question on whether she would have fired a regional administrator for her purported role in the crisis. McCarthy pointed out that the  regional administrator resigned on her own so "that was an issue I didn’t need to face."
  • An article featuring a internal EPA email suggesting that "the federal agency might not want to 'go out on a limb for' the community of Flint, Mich."
  • An article featuring a Republican congressman's call for McCarthy to resign.

How biased is Hunter's reporting? Not only does quote only from Republican members of the committee, she almost completely disappears the fact that among those testifying was Republican Michian Gov. Rick Snyder. Only one of Hunter's four articles even mentions Snyder, a passing reference noting only that Snyder testified.

And because Hunter is interested only in parroting right-wing bashing of the EPA and protecting a Republican governor, her readers don't get the full story -- that Michigan officials under Snyder played a significant role in creating and extending the crisis, and that the EPA's hands were tied to a certain extent. The Washington Post's Dana Milbank summarizes:

Now members of Congress are blaming the EPA for failing to stop the problem — oblivious to the irony that they and their predecessors were the ones who denied the federal government the ability to enforce drinking-water standards in the first place.

It’s a vicious cycle: Washington devolves power to the states. When states screw up, conservatives blame the federal government, worsening the public’s already shaky faith. Having tied the hands of the feds — in this case, the EPA — they use the failure as justification to restrict federal power further, thus giving more control to the states, which caused the problem in the first place.

[...]

Even though the EPA should have acted faster once it learned of Flint’s troubles, there is no dispute that the state was solely responsible for the changes that caused the lead poisoning. 

But you won't find any of that being reported by Hunter -- it's not part of her agenda.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:04 PM EDT
Thursday, March 17, 2016
CNS Reporter's 'News' Article Turns Into Anti-Obama Rant
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com reporter Susan Jones loves to inject opinion into her "news" articles. This time, her "news" is mostly a right-wing anti-Obama rant.

Jones starts off a March 16 CNS article by ostensibly reporting on President Obama's criticism of "vulgar and divisive rhetoric" on the campaign trail, but the last portion of her article is a full-on anti-Obama rant:

The core values of the country we love have changed dramatically under President Obama's watch.

While campaigning for president in April 2008, President Obama alienated many small-town Americans, when he explained their frustrations over job losses and broken political promises this way: "And it's not surprising then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Later that year, in October, Obama told a plumber at a campaign event that he planned to raise taxes on successful Americans "to spread the wealth around."

Throughout his presidency, he has pitted "millionaires and billionaires" against the middle and lower classes, insisting in 2011, "This is not class warfare. It’s math...The money is going to have to come from someplace."

With support only from Democrats, President Obama signed a government health care mandate in 2010, breaking his repeated promises to let people keep the plans they liked. He also offended the deeply held religious beliefs of Americans who opposed Obamacare's birth control/abortifacient mandate.

At the National Prayer Breakfast in 2015, Obama reminded the faithful that just as some people "profess to stand up for Islam but in fact are betraying it," so people have "committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ." He suggested that the Christians in the audience should exercise "some basic humility...Not being so full of yourself and confident that you are right, and that God speaks only to us and doesn't speak to others."

With a weak and ineffectual Republican Congress standing by, Obama applied his uncompromising attitude to major issues of the day, including homosexual marriage and illegal immigration, leaving Americans angry, divided and feeling powerless to reverse the tide rolling over the border and steamrolling traditional values.

Under the Obama administration, racial tensions were exacerbated to the point where one Democrat running for president was forced to apologize for saying that "all lives matter."

In 2015, the Gallup polling organization declared Obama one of the most polarizing presidents ever.

As we've previously pointed out when Jones has made the accusation, Obama is not "uncompromising"; quite the opposite, in fact (something Jones apparently cares little about). 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.

And Jones conveniently fails to hold her side of the political aisle responsible for the country's political polarization, nor does she mention that Republicans have refused to compromise with Obama from the beginning of his administration.

Again: This rant is presented as "news." CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, would be screaming to high heaven if Jones was an employee of the so-called "liberal media."

But remember, there's no such thing is conservative media bias in the MRC's eyes, so Jones' job is quite safe -- even if no actual journalism organization would employ her.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:34 AM EDT
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Heritage Foundation Columnist Published by CNS Invokes Discredited AAPS
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNS picked up a column by the Heritage Foundation's Sarah Torre in which she defends Texas' attempt to regulate abortion out of business by using possibly the worst argument to do that: invoking the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

Torre benignly describes the AAPS as a group "whose membership includes thousands of physicians working in a variety of medical specialties," but offers no other description of the grou. In citing an AAPS amicus brief in the case, Torre includes three lengthy quotes, making sure to introduce the group by its full name each time, as if to enhance its credibility as a prominent medical organization.

But the AAPS has no credibility. It's a fringe-right-wing group whose members and officials have advanced medically unsound views such as opposing vaccinations and defending doctors who prescribe thousands of addictive pain pills, as well as dishonest fearmongering about immigrants and Clinton conspiracy theories.

As a fringe-right group, the AAPS has an anti-abortion agenda Torre didn't disclose. In a press release on the Supreme Court taking up the Texas case, the AAPS effectively portrayed all abortion doctors as either current or future Kermit Gosnells, suggested data showing the safety of abortion procedures were somehow doctored, and claimed that critics of the Texas law want "a constitutional right to potentially unsafe abortions."

The fact that Torre cites the AAPS completely discredits her piece. It's disappointing she did no apparent investigation of the group before deciding to build her column around its claims.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:05 PM EST

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