ConWebBlog: The Weblog of ConWebWatch

your New Media watchdog

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

Monday, October 24, 2016
CNS Promotes False Claim That Hillary Gave Up Nuclear Secret In Debate

Susan Jones writes in an Oct. 21 article:

Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Thursday refused to answer a reporter's question about a possible intelligence disclosure by Democrat Hillary Clinton.

At Wednesday's final presidential debate, Democrat Hillary Clinton accused Republican Donald Trump of being "very cavalier, even casual about the use of nuclear weapons."

According to Clinton, "The bottom line on nuclear weapons is that when the president gives the order, it must be followed. There's about four minutes between the order being given and the people responsible for launching nuclear weapons to do so."

CNN's veteran Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr read Clinton's quote to Secretary Carter at a news conference on Thursday, then asked him, "Is it classified to discuss the nuclear launch timeframe? It's either classified or it's not."

"I'm sorry, but I'm not going to answer your first part because it is cast in terms of the ongoing presidential campaign, and I said repeatedly I'm not going to answer questions in that context. So, not going to answer on that one," Carter said.

If Jones had bothered to do any research at all before writing her article, she would know that there was an answer to whether Hillary made a "possible intelligence disclosure" during the debate by mentioning the nuclear launch window: no.

As Snopes details, Fopreign Policy magazine wrote about the four-minute window in an article two months ago. Snopes also notes that the window has been the subject of Internet chatter for years and cited a nuclear security expert pointing out that it's not classified information.

That information is not hard to find, yet Jones show no apparent interest in finding it. After all, that would have interfered with her Hillary smear job.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:03 PM EDT
Friday, October 21, 2016
CNS' Starr Attempts A False Planned Parenthood Smear, And Fails

An Oct. 17 article by Penny Starr carries the provocative headline: "Planned Parenthood Retweets Article: Founder Margaret Sanger Just Another Racist American."

Except that the article in question doesn't say that all, no matter how much Starr hints it does. She can only hint at that because she knows it doesn't.

The article in question that Starr is attacking Planned Parenthood for having retweeted comes from the Rewire site, and it debunks the right-wing idea that Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was motivated by racism and shows how anti-abortion activists use that false image of Sanger to shame black women. The part of thte article that Starr and CNS presumably think portrays Sanger as a "racist American" -- a phrase that appears nowhere in the article -- is a statement that "The United States is rooted in anti-Blackness" and most major corporations have some form of racism in their history, so "any argument that Black women in America should disavow Planned Parenthood because of some history of anti-Blackness would necessarily require that Black women disavow the very country in which we live."

It's quite a stretch to glean  "Sanger is a racist" out of that -- especially since, as even Starr concedes, the bulk of the article makes the argument that Sanger was not motivated by racism.

Curiously, she doesn't dispute the article's main contention -- perhaps because she knows her employer has engaged in promoting those very same false narratives. As we've documented, CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, used these false and misleading quotes just last year to spread lies about Sanger.

So, with its wildly misleading headline and a refusal to challenge what the disputed article actually says, it seems Starr's attempt to smear Planned Parenthood is a failure.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:13 PM EDT
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Chuck Colson Is Still The Hardest-Working Dead Guy At CNS

Chuck Colson has penned another op-ed for, an Oct. 10 piece about how "Christians – Not the Enlightenment – Invented Modern Science."

As we've noted -- and CNS hasn't -- Colson died in 2012. The bio for Colson states once again that "Chuck Colson founded BreakPoint in 1991, a daily radio broadcast that provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print," but not that Colson is dead.

An "Editor's Note" states that "On this Columbus Day, we present a classic BreakPoint commentary by Chuck Colson on Columbus and the rise of science," but that note comes straight from Breakpoint, not CNS.

Would it kill CNS to go beyond cutting-and-pasting from Breakpoint and explain to its readers why it's giving a byline to a dead guy? Apparently so.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:23 PM EDT
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
CNS Reporter Spins Hard to Whitewash Trump's Vile Misogyny

When it came to reporting on Donald Trump's vile misogyny in a video released last last week, -- the "news" division of the Trump defenders at the Media Resarch Center -- first covered it only with Associated Press articles. That's not unusual for CNS, which posts no original content on weekends, though you'd think that with a hotly contested presidential election it might try to act like the news organization it claims to be and have some weekend staffing.

But with the new week, CNS was following the lead of its parent -- the only original articles it posted on Trump's vile remarks was from those defending him or spinning what he said.

An Oct. 10 article by Melanie Hunter featured right-wing strategist Mary Matalin doing some heavy spin by insisting that Trump merely had a "private conversation about sex he’s not getting," while the Democratic Party stood behind President Bill Clinton during his sex scandal with a White House intern. Hunter quotes others in her article critizing Trump, but the fact that she made Matalin's defense the lead means that's what the CNS spin will be on Trump -- presumably as dictated by editor in chief Terry Jeffrey, managing editor Michael W. Chapman or even MRC chief Brent Bozell himself.

Later that day, Hunter followed up with another article reinforcing the official CNS spin, this one uncritically quoting Mike Pence, Trump's vice presidential candidate, spinning even harder by saying that "while he doesn’t condone what GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump said in controversial remarks that that surfaced over the weekend, he believes in forgiveness and grace."

In both articles, Hunter rather benignly whitewashes the extent of Trump's vile misogyny, not bothering to quote any of Trump's actual words but, rather, merely claiming he was caught on tape "bragging about kissing and groping women."

It looks like Hunter had her marching orders: hide the truth and spin for Trump. And that's exactly what she did. It makes her a good right-wing apparatchik, but not that good -- or honest -- of a reporter.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:44 AM EDT
Sunday, October 9, 2016
CNS Unemployment Numbers Distortion Watch
Topic: keeps doing the unemployment shuffle, with Susan Jones' article on September's job numbers fixated as usual on the labor force participation rate, which is meaningless as an indicator of employment since most of the people who aren't employed are retired or students.

That's something Jones once again fails to explicitly acknowledge in her reporting. This time, though, she serves up a bland dictionary definition: "The labor force participation rate is the percentage of people in the civilian noninstitutionalized population, age 16 or older, who are either working or actively seeking work. People who are no longer looking for work, for whatever reason -- retirement, school, family, or they've just given up -- are not participating in the labor force."

Farther down in her article, Jones offers up further elaboration:

[Federal Reserve Chair Janet] Yellen told Congress last month that the participation rate is feeling "significant downward pressure" from the aging of the population, as more and more Baby Boomers retire and leave the labor force.

"Aging of the population maybe one factor," Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) told Yellen at the hearing of the House Financial Services Committee. "The other factor is that unemployment is coming down, not for a good reason, but for the wrong reason -- namely, that there's a frustrated workforce out there that's completely given up looking for work."

But this doesn't appear until the 13th paragraph of her article, while the second paragraph asserts that "94,184,000 Americans were not in the labor force in September, 207,000 fewer than in August, and the nation's labor force participation rate" without elaboration.

Is it too much to ask for Jones and CNS to explain the truth about the labor force participation rate in a straightforward manner early in the article, when it counts? Apparently so. 

Posted by Terry K. at 11:08 PM EDT
Friday, October 7, 2016
CNS Managing Editor Gives A Forum to Spokesman for Rabidly Anti-Gay Group
Topic: managing editor Michael W. Chapman loves to give a platform to gay-bashers like Franklin Graham. He does it again in an Oct. 3 post:

World Congress of Families spokesman Don Feder, during a discussion on Kenya's Crosstalk program about the LGBT agenda in Africa and the United States, said that civil society cannot allow homosexuals "to be the role model" because it is "dangerous" and, he added, "if Africans look seriously" at how homosexuality is affecting the United States, "they should be horrified." What's happening with transgender bathroom policy "is absolutely insane," he said.

“The problem is this is a way people are living and they’re demanding that it be respected," said Feder in reference to LGBT persons in America on the Sept. 28 edition of Crosstalk, an affiliate of TBN. "They’re demanding that all of society be changed for their comfort and their convenience."

"We’re not saying that these people have to be persecuted," said Feder, an author and former Boston Herald columnist.  "We’re not saying that you can’t have compassion for them -- of course, you can. But you can’t let this be the role model. And you can’t allow Christians and other religious people to be persecuted because they refuse to go along with this agenda.”

“You know, other people have demanded minority status based on their religion, based on their race," said Feder, a graduate of Boston University Law School. "This is the first group that demands minority status based on what they do in their bedrooms. And that’s what makes it so dangerous."

"And if you look at the United States, I mean if Africans look seriously at the United States, they should be horrified by what’s going on," he said.

You might rembember the fundamentally dishonest Feder from a few years back when he was promoting a film about "demographic winter"-- fear that white Christians aren't having enough babies and will soon be overrun with brown Muslims.

His current gig is being spokesman for the World Congress for Families, a notorioiusly anti-gay group. For instance, it supported a Russian law banning homosexual "propaganda" -- that is, anything positive about homosexuality.

While Chapman noted that Feder was in Kenya, he didn't say why. That occasion was the African Regional Conference of Families in Nairobi, which was designed to perpetuate discrimination against the LGBT community -- note Feder's statement that "We’re not saying that these people have to be persecuted," which does not explicitly rule out persecution of gays.

As Right Wing Watch notes, Kenya is hardly in need of encoragement on the anti-gay front: "Same-sex intimacy is currently illegal in Kenya, though there is an active movement to change that. Nigeria enacted a harsh anti-gay law in 2014 that has sparked vigilante violence; some American Religious Right groups backed that law or have spoken out against the Obama administration’s efforts to oppose similar legislation around the world."

Posted by Terry K. at 2:16 PM EDT
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Blatant Headline (And Reporting) Bias at CNS

As we've noted, is effectively the Media Research Center in inverted-pyramid "news" form.CNS helpfully provided a blatant example of its right-wing bias by playing these two headlines side by side for easy screencapping:

The bias extends to the articles themselves. Susan Jones begins her biased article on Clinton this way:

At Monday night's presidential debate, Democrat Hillary Clinton embraced climate change as the crux of her job-creation plan.

"Take clean energy," she said. "Some country is going to be the clean-energy superpower of the 21st century. Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. I think it's real."

"I think the science is real," Clinton repeated. "And I think it's important that we grip this and deal with it, both at home and abroad. And here's what we can do. We can deploy a half a billion more solar panels. We can have enough clean energy to power every home. We can build a new modern electric grid. That's a lot of jobs; that's a lot of new economic activity.

In fact, according to the clip accompanying Jones article, at no point did Clinton claim that climate change was "the crux of her job-creation plan" -- it was an example she cited from her overall economic plan as a response to one question. Later on, Jones does concede that Clinton also said her economic plan includes "jobs in infrastructure, in advanced manufacturing, innovation and technology, clean, renewable energy, and small business, because most of the new jobs will come from small business."

Jones also wrote the article on Trump. But in contrast to her Clinton-focused article -- in which she devotes eight of her article's 18 paragraphs to Trump countering Clinton's claims -- only three of this article's 16 paragraphs quote Clinton countering Trump's claims.

Isn't this the kind of media bias the MRC was founded to fight when it comes from the "liberal media"? Apparently, there's no swuch thing as right-wing media bias, which gives people like Jones free rein to

Posted by Terry K. at 11:04 PM EDT
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
CNS' Starr Whitewashes Benham Brothers' Extremist Views Again
Topic: reporter Penny Starr is an apologist for the right-wing Benham brothers who likes to whitewash the extremity of their anti-gay views.

Starr does this again in a Sept. 13 CNS article giving themspace to baselessly rant that "if one disagrees with the 'sexual revolution' in Hollywood that promotes homosexuality and same-sex marriage they will be 'persecuted.'"She adds that the Benham's planned house-flipping reality show was canceled "after their stance on abortion was revealed and that they supported traditional marriage as the union of one man and one woman."

In fact, the Benhams are on record calling homosexuals "destructive," "vile," and controlled by "demonic forces," and they have said that Satan is behind gay marriage. As for abortion, the brothers are the sons of notorious anti-abortion activist Flip Benham, who was convicted of stalking an abortion doctor and effectively condoning calls for their murders. The brothers have never distanced themselves from their father's views and tactics, as far as we know.

Those are not mainstream views -- they are fringe, hostile and potentially threatening and violent. Starr is being dishonest to her readers by pretending otherwise.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:39 PM EDT
Monday, September 19, 2016
CNS Maliciously Attacks Obama As Insensitive By Not Speaking Publicly on Weekend Attacks
Topic: serves up a particularly odious bit of Obama derangement in the form of a Sept. 19 article by Susan Jones portraying Obama as, at best, callous and insensitive to the detonation of a bomb in New York and other violent incidents over the weekend and, at worst, celebrating them.

Jones' article has the out-of-context headline "Obama Tells Black Lawmakers, 'There's an Extra Spring in My Step Tonight'," which -- precisely because it's placed there devoid of context -- suggests that Obama is saying the spring in his step is because of the weekend's incidents.

Jones then maliciously frames Obama's speech to the Congressional Black Caucus as insensitive to the weekend's events:

As of early Monday morning, President Obama had made no public comment on a series of weekend bombings, attempted bombings and stabbings in three states, but he did make time to address a Congressional Black Caucus awards dinner Saturday night and a Democrat fundraiser Sunday night.

At Saturday's event, Obama thanked the assembled guests, then joked: "There’s an extra spring in my step tonight. I don't know about you guys, but I am so relieved that the whole birther thing is over.

"I mean, ISIL, North Korea, poverty, climate change -- none of those things weighed on my mind -- (laughter) -- like the validity of my birth certificate.  (Laughter.)  

Jones then complained that "all three attacks had happened by the time Obama attended a Democrat fundraiser in New York on Sunday night, and a transcript shows he made no comment on the attacks at that event. A fourth attempted attack, on a train station in Elizabeth, New Jersey, was discovered after Obama had left the fundraiser."

Indeed, portraying Obama as deliberately ignoring the weekend's events was Jones' directive and obsession this morning. She quickly followed up two hours later with an article whining that White House spokesman Josh Earnest didn't commit to a time that Obama would speak on the events of the weekend, emphasizing that "As of Monday morning, Obama has made no public comment on the series of bombings and stabbings in three states -- Minnesota, New York and New Jersey -- that took place on Saturday and Sunday."

In neither article does explain when Obama should have spoken on the weekend's events, given that few details were available immediately after they happened.

This is just sleazy Obama derangement at its worst, from a right-wing "news" outlet trying to score cheap political points after a potentially tragic event. Jones and her bosses Terry Jeffrey and Michael W. Chapman, should be ashamed.

UPDATE: Obama spoke about the weekend incidents later in the morning. Jones did not consider this newsworthy enough to write about story about, despite the fact that she wrote two articles complainingthat Obama was too slow to speak out. And even though CNS considered Jones' articles worthy of the front page, Obama's statement did not appear there in any form.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:29 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, September 19, 2016 6:42 PM EDT
Thursday, September 15, 2016
CNS Hints At Pushing Zika Conspiracy

We've noted how medical misinformer Jane Orient of the far-right-fringe Association of American Physicians and Surgeons has been pushing the idea that the Zika virus really isn't anything to worry about by insisting without credible evidence that Zika is hardly to blame for birth defects. It seems that wants to further that conspiracy.

In a Sept. 8 CNS article, Penny Starr complains that "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are collecting data on women who are pregnant and infected with the Zika virus and the number of children born with birth defects, but they are not reporting the number of children born from virus-infected mothers who have no birth defects." Starr seems a bit annoyed at this: asked the CDC if it could provide the number of children from mothers infected with the virus who were born without birth defects.

A spokesman responded that the voluntary “registry” created by the CDC does not track those babies.

“We are only reporting the number of pregnant women in the registry and [the] number of adverse outcomes,” the spokesman said via email. “Bottom line is we're not reporting other outcomes because we are just beginning to understand the full spectrum of adverse outcomes associated with Zika infection in pregnancy.

“The decision was made to only report [the] number of pregnancies and adverse outcomes at this point,” the spokesman said.

Starr then cited a study showing that "12,000 Zika-infected women gave birth to children without microcephaly" in Colombia, but also that there is "an impending microcephaly epidemic in Colombia" due to Zika.

This was followed by Starr citing the tabloid TV show "Inside Edition" about a baby born to a  Zika-infected mother taht didn't have microcephaly but appears to have other signs that the virus has affected the baby.

Starr seems to be following in Orient's steps in downplaying the threat of Zika, even though all the risks and consequences of the virus aren't known yet. Since Starr is an anti-abortion activist, we can assume that her story is linked to, or inspired by, the fight over a federal bill to fight Zika that's being held up in part because Republicans inserted a clause that prohibits funding from the bill to Planned Parenthood (though Starr doesn't mention the battle in her article).

Because if Zika doesn't really harm fetuses, there's no need to fund Planned Parenthood because (in Starr's mind) the only possible thing they would want to do is an abortion. That's how the right-wing mind works.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:14 PM EDT
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Compare and Contrast
Topic:, Sept. 9:

CNS, three hours earlier on Sept. 9:

CNS, Sept. 12:

Posted by Terry K. at 10:45 PM EDT
Friday, September 9, 2016
CNS Still Plugging Mel Gibson, Hiding His Ugly Past
Topic: "blog reporter" Mark Judge must really love Mel Gibson a lot to censor news of his anti-Semitic, woman hating past.

We've detailed how Judge makes a habit of promoting Gibson's new and upcoming film projects while remaining silent about Gibson's ugly personal history -- something his Media Research Center co-workers would criticize if it involved someone in the "liberal media." But Gibson made "The Passion of the Christ," so he apparently gets a free pass.

Judge strikes again in an Aug. 31 post:

The Christian Post is reporting that Mel Gibson recently addressed rumors that he is making a sequel to his 2004 blockbuster “The Passion of the Christ.”

Appearing Sunday as a surprise guest at the Christian gathering SoCal Harvest in Anaheim, California, Gibson was asked by Pastor Greg Laurie about the rumors of a sequel – and that the film would be written by Randall Wallace, who also penned Gibson’s Oscar-winning epic “Braveheart.”

Once again, there's no mention of Gibson's ugly past.  But Judge made sure to work in a plug for Gibson's "upcoming film 'Hacksaw Ridge' about Desmond Doss, a pacifist medic in World War II who saved as many as 75 soldiers during the Battle of Okinawa. It releases November 4."


Posted by Terry K. at 3:47 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, September 9, 2016 3:48 PM EDT
Sunday, September 4, 2016
CNS Unemployment Numbers Distortion Watch
Topic: keeps up the unemployment shuffle in reporting on August's employment numbers, with the lead article by Susan Jones once again putting undue emphasis on the labor force partcipation rate and using it to declare there was "little or no improvement from the prior month" -- while burying the fact that 151,000 jobs were created, waiting until the fifth paragraph of her article to mention that fact.

Jones' article is joined by a sidebar from CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey, who laments that "Government employees in the United States outnumber manufacturing employees by 9,932,000." He does concede, however, that this is not a new phenomenon -- government employees started exceeding manufacturing employment in 1989 -- but he doesn't concede that this has occured under Republican administrations as well as Democratic ones.

A couple days before the government numbers came out, however, CNS managing editor Michael W. Chapman wrote an article with a headline declaring, "Real Unemployment 9.7%." The "real employment" number Chapman is promoting is from Gallup, which claims that "Widely reported unemployment metrics in the U.S. do not accurately represent the reality of joblessness in America."

But as pollster John Zogby points out, Gallup CEO Jim Clifton is using the "real employment" number to push the idea that the government's numbers are nothing but a "big lie." That thinking is in line with the right-wing media, which has similarly tried to undermine unemployment statistics.

Indeed, Donald Trump has followed in CNS' footsteps by falsely potraying the labor force participation rate as the unemployment rate.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:50 PM EDT
Friday, September 2, 2016
At CNS, Another Op-Ed From A Dead Guy

A couple weeks back, we noticed that had made Watergate criminal Chuck Colson a semi-regular bylined columnist, not letting the fact that he died in 2012 stand in his way of getting published.

Well, CNS let Dead Chuck Colson write another column on Aug. 26. It was introduced as a "classic BreakPoint commentary" and it's parenthetically noted at the end that "This commentary originally aired June 30, 2010."

Nowhere is it mentioned, however, that Colson died four years ago.

We can't decide whether Colson is CNS' Bernie or the character in "Space Mutiny" who just couldn't stay dead. Any thoughts on the matter, CNS?

Posted by Terry K. at 3:24 PM EDT
Thursday, August 25, 2016
CNS Columnist Brings Back 'Demographic Winter'

Several years back, we wrote about the ConWeb's focus over what they called "demographic winter" -- veiled racism that effectively boiled down to the concern that white Christians weren't having enough babies and brown Muslims were having too many. It was rarely put in those terms, of course; it's usually framed as "Western countries" having their "traditional values" squeezed out by "immigrants."

Well, has brought it back with an Aug. 19 column by John Stonestreet. He engages in the usual eupemistic language as his headline shows: "America’s Looming Demographic Winter: Can We Avoid a Fertility Free Fall?" He does change things up, however, by throwing Japan and China into the discussion, but he makes it clear he's worried mostly about Christians' apparent failure to procreate:

Which brings me to what Christians should think about this: As my colleague Warren Cole Smith points out, the solution is obvious: Start making babies again. It’s easy. It’s fun. It’s good for America. And it brings great joy!

But you might be surprised at how resistant many Christians are, including young people, to this counsel. Twice this summer, I’ve made students cry just by suggesting that marriage and babies are biblically a package deal. Though Christians disagree about the morality of artificial birth control, we should agree that the contraceptive mindset, which treats children as optional only if we want them, runs contrary to God’s intention for marriage.

The demographic winter is coming. In fact, the first snows have already fallen. Will we make what is already “disaster” even worse?

Stonestreet's implied but unspoken subetxt: Non-Christians in the U.S. should perhaps be breeding less.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:01 PM EDT

Newer | Latest | Older

Bookmark and Share

Get the WorldNetDaily Lies sticker!

Find more neat stuff at the ConWebWatch store!

Read my blog on Kindle

Support This Site

« October 2016 »
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31

Bloggers' Rights at EFF
Support Bloggers' Rights!

News Media Blog Network

Add to Technorati Favorites

Add to Google

Subscribe in Bloglines

Add to My AOL