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Monday, December 5, 2016
Right-Wing Rabbi Defends White Nationalism at CNS, Doesn't Care Much About Facts

We've called Aryeh Spero the Jewish Bradlee Dean because of his propensity to lie and mislead -- despite presenting himself as a man of God -- to further the right-wing political agenda he's pushing (that, and the shared Obama derangement).

In a Nov. 17 column, Spero defends Breitbart's Steve Bannon with a bunch of ranting about the "alt-left" (whatever that is; Spero never explains what it is) and unsupported claims that ultimately go from denying Bannon is associated with white nationalists to defending white nationalism:

The ADL (Anti-Defamation League) this week accused Mr. Bannon of anti-Semitism because, in their words, he is associated with nationalistic movements and anti-Semitic white supremacist groups. I have seen no credible evidence that he is associated with any anti-Semitic groups, though he is, like me, an American nationalist. In its founding years, the ADL’s mission was to fight anti-Semitism, but in the last few decades it appears to have, like other establishment Jewish organizations, become an ideological arm of the Democrat party, carrying its water for them, and viewing all of American life through the prism of a neo-Leftist agenda no longer rooted in classical liberalism.

Thus, for them, as seen in their publications, the innocuous term “western values” becomes a code phrase for excluding non-whites, and the term America First becomes a racist code phrase. To most Americans, however, putting America and its citizens first is the most natural thing a nation should try doing— be it regarding jobs, physical security, or pride in America’s historic outlook and values, in this case our founding principles and Judeo-Christian ethos.

While the ADL considers the predilection towards nationalism a disguised attempt to exclude or persecute Jews and others, to most sane people, nationalism is pride in one’s country and her values, which in America’s case is something to indeed be proud of. Loving one’s country, its western values, or pride and comfort in one’s ethnicity or race (even if white) are not disqualifying features in a human being.

Those who see in American individuals proud of their Christian faith or their European ancestry people to be feared are themselves either very insecure or harbor a bigotry and discomfort with those in the majority. Truth be told, in liberal establishment organizational circles the feeling is that nobility and fair-mindedness resides only in minority communities while the majority, in this case Christian and whites, are automatically suspect unless they prove otherwise, with advocating liberalism and cultural self-effacement as their only redeemable option.

Spero doesn't know his history, does he? The reason why people consider "America First" a "code phrase," in Spero's words, is because that's pretty much what it was. The America First Committee was an isolationist group seeking to keep the U.S. out of World War II. But as college professor Susan Dunn writes at CNN:

Seeking to brand itself as a mainstream organization, America First struggled with the problem of the anti-Semitism of some of its leaders and many of its members. It had to remove from its executive committee not only the notoriously anti-Semitic Henry Ford but also Avery Brundage, the former chairman of the U.S. Olympic Committee who had prevented two Jewish runners from the American track team in Berlin in 1936 from running in the finals of the 4x100 relay.

Still, the problem of anti-Semitism remained; a Kansas chapter leader pronounced President Franklin Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt "Jewish" and Winston Churchill a "half-Jew."

After Pearl Harbor, the America First Committee closed its doors, but not before Lindbergh made his infamous speech at an America First rally in Des Moines, Iowa, in September 1941. After charging that President Roosevelt had manufactured "incidents" to propel the country into war, Lindbergh proceeded to blurt out his true thoughts.

"The British and the Jewish races," he declared, "for reasons which are not American, wish to involve us in the war." The nation's enemy was an internal one, a Jewish one. "Their greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our government," he contended. Booing began to drown out the cheers, forcing him again and again to stop, wait out the catcalls, and start his sentences over.

Lindbergh's unambiguous message was that Jews living in the United States constituted a wealthy, influential, conspiratorial foreign "race" that had seized "our" media and infiltrated "our" political institutions. They were the alien out-group, hostile to "us."

He put American Jews on notice that America's "tolerance" for them rested upon a fragile foundation.

Spero also repeats the malicious slander that George Soros was in "collaboration with the Nazis in Hungary during WW II."

Spero further whines that critics of Trump "have not, and will never genuinely accept the results of the election" -- ironic because it's obvious Spero never accepted the election of President Obama.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:47 PM EST
Sunday, December 4, 2016
CNS Unemployment Numbers Distortion Watch

November's job numbers were reasonably good -- 178,000 new jobs were created and the unemployment rate dropped to 4.6 percent. -- as is its partisan mission -- had to distract from that good news.

As usual, the main story by Susan Jones emphasized the labor force participation rate, which is not a reliable measure of unemployment. She didn't report the number of jobs created until the 10th paragraph, and she waited until near the end of the article to allude to why focusing on the labor force participation rate is meaningless: much of it is made up of students and the retired, who are not looking for jobs.

But CNS also churned out four more articles to downplay the good news:

Michael W. Chapman wrote about the high black unemployment rate, yet again failing to put the number into context -- black unemployment has always been double that of white unemployment.

Chapman also touted what he called was "real unemployment rate ," a factual misnomer since that particular number counts people are employed part-time but seeking full-time work.

Jones wrote an article about how "The economy lost 4,000 manufacturing jobs between October and November," but she ignores CNS' own research showing that manufacturing jobs have been on a steady overall decline for about 30 years.

Chapman tossed out one last bit of cherry-picking with an article claiming that "the number of American workers unemployed for 15 weeks or more was 2,933,000." But Chapman omits the fact that this is the first time sinceJune 2008 that this number has been below 3 million, and that the number is one-third of that in April 2010, at the height of the recession. But that would have been good news, and Chapman doesn't want to report any of that while Obama is president.

Mesnwhile, the Media Research Center at large is apparently getting into the distrction business as well. A Dec. 2 post by Sam Dorman highlights how Fox Business' Stuart Varney called the numbers "weak" and how his Fox Business colleague Ashley Webster criticized the weakness of the Obama recovery, arguing that the country was seven years into a recovery and the labor force participation rate continued its decline."Dorman then cited the CNS article touting the high labor force participation rate -- but not that baby-boomer retirees are helping to drive up that number.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:09 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, December 4, 2016 9:44 PM EST
Saturday, December 3, 2016
CNS' Other Dead-Guy Columnist: George Washington

It turns out Chuck Colson is not the only hard-working dead columnist at

On Thanksgiving, CNS reposted a Thanksgiving proclamation from George Washington it had originally published in 2010. As with fellow dead guy Colson, Washington is given the byline.

It turns out Washington has a CNS author archive. It includes two copies of his farewell address and the selective quoting of a single paragraph from his 1783 farewell address to the Continental Army emphasizing that Washington "warned that the United States could 'never hope be a happy Nation' unless its citizens imitated Christ" (which notes it had been published the year before).

CNS' granting of bylines to dead people (though, unlike with Colson, it doesn't need to explain to readers that Washington is dead) demonstrates how unprofessional the "news" organization is being run -- it's all about pushing an ideology and not about "news" at all.

Of course, CNS loves Washington for other reasons. A 2011 "news" article by Penny Starr marked the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy by touting how Washington "approved the dismissal of a soldier for 'attempting to commit sodomy,' with 'abhorrence and detestation of such infamous crimes.'"

Posted by Terry K. at 10:23 AM EST
Friday, December 2, 2016
CNS Gets It Wrong In Mocking 'Feminist Glacier' Study

Lauretta Brown, as a good CNS reporter, is in full stenography mode for a Republican senator promoting alleged examples of government waste in a Nov. 28 article, singling one particular case out for mocking:

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) released his second “Federal Fumbles” report on Monday, citing 100 examples of the misuse of taxpayer dollars through government spending and regulation.

One example: The National Science Foundation (NSF), the report said, spent $412,930 to fund a study that argued "that scientists should use femnist theories and a feminist point of view to sudy glaciers and the relationship between glaciers and humans."


Feminist Glaciers

The NSF has spent the last several years funding a $412,930 study that culminated in a paper entitled “Glaciers, Gender, and Science: A Feminist Glaciology Framework for Global Environmental Change Research.” The report quotes the authors’ belief that “the feminist glaciology framework generates robust analysis of gender, power, and epistemologies in dynamic social-ecological systems, thereby leading to a more just and equitable science and human-ice interactions.”

"In other words," the report said, "the authors argue that scientists should use feminist theories and a feminist point of view  to study glaciers and the relationship between glaciers and humans. The authors also argue that 'the feminist lens is crucial given the historical marginalization of women, the important of gendera in glacier-related knowledges, and the ways in which the systems of colonialism, imperialism, and patriarchy co-instituted genderered science."

Except that's not what really happened at all. As Gawker pointed out, that NSF money went for the entirety of this particular researcher's work on glaciers, only one part of which is the paper Lankford and Brown are mocking.

And because Brown is only interested in right-wing stenography, she makes no effort to go beyond Lankford's biased report and see if he's telling the truth. (He's not.) The magazine Science did what Brown couldn't be bothered to do: talk to the paper's author, who points out that his purpose was to stimulate a conversation about who's doing research on glaciers and posits the idea that viewpoints from women on the subject, and female researchers in particular, are important.

Brown continues her stenography on Lankford's behalf:

Gas Station Tofu

The report documents a 2016 Department of Agriculture regulation that requires stores that accept food stamps to double their selection of “healthy food items,” suggesting “businesses that want to meet the new regulations begin selling items like almond milk, tofu, fresh or frozen catfish, goat’s milk, and shrimp.”

The report notes that 195,000 small gas stations and convenience stores would be impacted by the rule and that “many small gas stations have already stated they would be forced to stop accepting food stamps, thus eliminating an option to buy food for many food stamp recipients in rural areas and inner-city food deserts.”

Lankford -- and, thus, Brown -- obscure the fact that the regulation has not yet been put into effect, meaning that no "misuse" of federal money has taken place (no evidence is provided that studying the effects of the proposed regulationis "misuse"). And sneeringly dismissing the idea as "gas station tofu" ignores the fact that many urban convenience stores don't sell gas and that tofu was only a suggestion, not a mandate.

Finally: Neither Brown nor Lankford disclose how much federal money Lankford spent compiling his mocking, biased report. Taht would seem to be relevant given the whole focus on misusing federal funds.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:43 PM EST
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
CNS' Starr Keeps On Shilling for the Oil Industry
Topic: reporter Penny Starr has long been a reliable shill for the fossil-fuel industry, as one would expect from an employee of an organization that gets significant funding from fossil-fuel interests and has an endowed fellowship named after oilman T. Boone Pickens.

She's at it again. Starr writes in a Nov. 22 CNS article:

President Obama’s Interior Department announced last week that no offshore leases for oil and gas development in Alaska will be granted for a five-year period, prompting criticism that the decision could have a detrimental effect on local communities.

Lucas Frances, a spokesperson for the Arctic Energy Center (AEC), called the decision a “body blow” for the communities.

“Today’s announcement is a body blow for the Native communities, businesses, elected officials, military experts and other Alaskans who repeatedly have pleaded with the White House to allow offshore energy development in the Arctic,” he said in statement after the decision was announced on Friday.

“Having been told that local views would take priority, they have now seen that the exact opposite is true and their wishes have been ignored in the name of legacy-building,” he said.

“As a result of this decision, people across Alaska will be looking to the Trump administration to quickly tear up the lease plan and implement an entirely new schedule, which includes the Arctic and helps secure the state’s future.”

Starr makes sure not to disclose that the Arctic Energy Center is not a local grassroots group but, rather, an advocacy group for the oil industry founded by the Independent Petroleum Association of America and the Alaska Oil and Gas Association. The center claims that part of its mission is to highlight " long history of exploration and development in the region, and the scientific and technological advancements that allow for safe energy development today." In September, it launched a PR campaign to build support for offshore drilling in the Arctic that was scheduled to include a "six-figure television buy" in the Washingtion, D.C., TV market.

Starr also quoted one of her favorite industry sources, the American Petroleum Institute, criticizing the lease decision as well.

Unusual for her, Starr actually balanced the story with a statement from the environmental group EarthJustice. But she showed her bias again by labeling it as an "activist group" -- a descriptor she did not apply to the Arctic Energy Center though it too is activist (as if a six-figure TV ad buy isn't activist).

Posted by Terry K. at 2:18 PM EST
Monday, November 28, 2016
CNS Columnist Cheers Dissing of SCOTUS Nominee As Revenge For Obama Not Attending Scalia's Funeral

In his Nov. 17 column, Lynn Wardle claims that Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland will not receive a Senate hearing not because of Republican senators making a political power play -- as has been widely admitted -- but because of "the rude, disrespectful behavior of the very person who nominated him for the Supreme Court – President Barack Obama." How so, you ask? Wardle explains:

President Obama disrespected Justice Antonin Scalia and was very rude (discreetly, of course) regarding his sudden death earlier this year.  President Obama ignored (i.e., chose not to attend) the funeral for Justice Scalia. He failed to demonstrate the minimal courtesy of just showing up to pay respects to a man who had given decades of his life in service to his nation.

Since Scalia was one of nine justices at the top of the judicial branch of the United States, it was incumbent upon the President to attend Justice Scalia’s funeral as a matter of decent respect for of that co-ordinate branch of our federal government and for the members of the Supreme Court.  Yet Obama turned his back on Justice Scalia and simply skipped his funeral.

The funeral for Justice Scalia was held in Washington, D.C., within a stone’s throw of the White House, so travel distance was not a factor in the President’s missing the funeral of Justice Scalia.  President Obama simply chose to ignore the funeral of Justice Scalia – a man whose judicial views the President did not like.

However, President Obama claimed the right to nominate someone to replace Justice Scalia and to fill his seat on the Supreme Court.  That nominee is Merrick Garland.

Somehow, it seems just and fitting that since President Obama was unwilling to show minimal respect to the passing of Justice Scalia that he be denied the right to have his preferred nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, confirmed to fill that vacancy on the high court. And it appears that that is exactly how this strange scenario is playing out. 


The Republicans in the Senate did not steal the Court.  Rather, President Obama forfeited his opportunity to reshape the Court.  He lost that privilege because of his arrogant disrespect of Justice Scalia and for his remarkable career of public judicial service.

His imperial attitude has cost President Obama good will and has diminished the office of the President of the United States. 

In fact, a president declining to attend Scalia's funeral is not unheard of. PolitiFact details that Dwight Eisenhower attended one of two funerals for justices who died while he was in office, while Harry Truman attended one of the three funerals for Supreme Court justices who died during his presidency.

There was no mandate by tradition or anything else that Obama attend Scalia's funeral, and Wardle conveniently fails to mention that Vice President Joe Biden did attend the funeral, let alone explain why that was not sufficient for him.

Revenge, however, is a sufficient motive for Wardle.

Wardle also huffs that "Our outgoing President has long had difficulty dealing respectfully with persons who disagree with him," while failing to comment on how the incoming president has an even bigger superiority complex than Obama has ever been accused of.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:29 PM EST
Sunday, November 27, 2016
More Trump Stenography at CNS
Topic: spent much of its original pre-election coverage about Donald Trump simply transcribing what he said -- effecting acting as a campaign PR shop -- instead of providing any sort of balanced or analytical coverage of his campaign. That's been continuing since Trump's win, and it's still going on.

Here's the latest Trump stenography from CNS, as well as other uncritical endorsement of Trump's agenda:

Meanwhile, CNS managing editor Michael W. Chapman is vouching for the Muslim-hating credentials of Michael Flynn, picked by Trump to be his national security adviser (Chapman is quoting all of this approvingly, not as criticism of Flynn):

Trump stenography  may not be any actual journalists' definition of journalism, but CNS doesn't seem to mind as long as it's clickbait-y enough to get them those sweet Drudge Report links.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:55 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, November 29, 2016 8:46 PM EST
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Bias (And Poor-Shaming) In Action At CNS

Huffington Post reporters wrote a pretty straightforward story about the food items that people on food stamps buy:

Though people like to complain about food stamp recipients using their benefits for unhealthy things like soda and extravagances like crab legs, new data show they buy basically the same food as everyone else.

Households participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and households that didn’t get benefits both bought a lot of junk food, according to a new study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the program.

About 40 cents of every dollar went to basics like bread, milk, meat, eggs, fruits and vegetables for both types of households. And 20 cents of every dollar went to sodas and salty snacks. As a percentage of their spending, soft drinks were the top individual commodity among food stamp households, and they came in second place among non-SNAP households.

Run that information through the right-wing bias filter at, however, and you get this story by editor in chief Terry Jeffrey:

Soft drinks were the top commodity bought by food stamp recipients shopping at outlets run by a single U.S. grocery retailer.

That is according to a new study released by the Food and Nutrition Service, the federal agency responsible for running the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly known as the food stamp program.

By contrast, milk was the top commodity bought from the same retailer by customers not on food stamps.

In calendar year 2011, according to the study, food stamp recipients spent approximately $357,700,000 buying soft drinks from an enterprise the study reveals only as “a leading U.S. grocery retailer.”

That was more than they spent on any other “food” commodity—including milk ($253,700,000), ground beef ($201,000,000), “bag snacks” ($199,300,000) or “candy-packaged” ($96,200,000), which also ranked among the top purchases.

The important fact that the SNAP recipients' grocery cart was very similar to that of non-SNAP recipients was buried in the 10th paragraph of Jeffrey's article.

The implication of Jeffrey's bias -- much of his article obsesses over how much SNAP money went to soda and snack foods even though, again, the amount is similar to what non-SNAP households buy -- is that he wants SNAP recipients to be punished for being poor  and for behaving exactly like their not-as-poor neighbors.

Poor-shaming seems to becoming a thing at CNS. In July, CNS reporter Susan Jones fretted that an Obama administration fair-housing initiative would help "move inner-city minorities, for example, into subsidized housing in wealthier, whiter suburbs."

Posted by Terry K. at 3:56 PM EST
Saturday, November 19, 2016
CNS Joins WND In Pushing Idea Trump's Election Was An Act of God

WorldNetDaily isn't the only ConWeb outlet eager to credit God for Donald Trump's presidential victory. managing editor Michael W. Chapman wants to push that idea as well.

On Nov. 10, Chapman featured his favorite right-wing minister, Franklin Graham, declaring that "I believe that God’s hand intervened Tuesday night to stop the godless, atheistic progressive agenda from taking control of our country."

Then, on Nov. 15, Chapman wrote this:

The unexpected and seemingly miraculous election of political novice Donald Trump to the presidency last week was a sign of "God answering the prayer of His people," said Sam Rohrer, president of the American Pastors Network, who added that even Trump's opponents were stirred to think that God intervened, calling the event "historic" and "unbelievable."

"[T]his was an answer to prayer in my opinion," said Rohrer, a former member (1993-2010) of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, in a Nov. 11 interview on "Focus Today."

"We said, God have mercy on us," explained Rohrer. "And, if You choose in Your providence to overrule the manipulations of man, [then] make a win so clearly, so clear, that even its opponents would have to say somebody like God, or God, did it."

As with WND, neither of Chapman's posts mention the possibility that Trump's election may be a punishment from God.

Meanwhile, WND is not done claiming to divine God's political preferences: Craige McMillan used his Nov. 17 column to crow that "I wrote in previous columns that Donald Trump would be the next president because God had ordained it," continuing to purport to speak for the Almighty: "The world’s leaders are falling like dominoes. Brexit, America, next the European Union. God is installing the final leaders and nation states. Satan is seeing generations of work crumble around him. His anger and rage will be substantial. You can see it in the faces of the protesters on the streets."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:33 AM EST
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
CNS Whines 'Ouija Board-Using Gay Poet’s Home' Named A Historic Site

See if you can spot the anti-gay bias in the headline and lead paragraph of this Nov. 10 article by Penny Starr:

Feds Name New National Historic Landmarks: Ouija Board-Using Gay Poet’s Home, ‘Under World’ Relic and ‘Utopian Society’

The Department of Interior (DOI) and the National Park Service (NPS) have announced 10 new national historic landmarks, including the home of a homosexual poet, a relic from Shamanism, and the location of a “utopian society.”

Notice Starr's fixation on the poet in question, James Merrill, being gay, and plays up his onetime fixation on a Ouija board to make him even more evil. Starr repeats that later in the article, making sure to also note he died of AIDS complications:

The poet James Merrill’s house in New London, Connecticut is on the list. Merrill, who died of AIDs [sic] in 1995, also wrote novels, plays and a memoir. He is described by the DOI and NPS this way: “Over time, he introduced more radical material into his poetry, including well-crafted examination about homosexuality, art and spiritualism. He wrote with subtlety and sympathy of gay life, illuminating its anxieties and fulfillments.”

Much of Merrill’s later writing, such as The Changing Light of Sandover epic, was based upon his use of the occult Ouija board and poetic expression of otherworldly voices.

This, of course, is all of a piece with CNS' anti-gay agenda. But Starr also complains that other things that are not right-wing Christian are being protected: The "Man Mound" in Wisconsin, a prehistoric effigy mound that likely depicts "either a shaman or a Lower World human/spirit transformation," and a historic district in Ohio that once was the center of a "utopian society,both of which she outlines at length.

By contrast, one of the new landmarks that warranted only a mention on a bullet list was the Mississippi State Capitol. She didn't mention that it was the seat of a state government that perpetuated racism for decades. You'd think that might be a tad more offensive than a gay poet, or at least merit mention as part of its history, but apparently not in Starr's eyes.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:35 PM EST
Saturday, November 12, 2016
CNS Keeps Up Post-Election Stenography for Trump

As we've documented, thinks that simply regurgitating whatever Donald Trump has to say is the same thing as "reporting." With Trtump's victory, the stenography continues.

A Nov. 9 article by Susan Jones repeats Trum's victory speech, uncritically claiming that "He offered reassurance to racial, ethnic and religious minorities, promising that his movement will be 'comprised of people from all races, religions, backgrounds and beliefs who want and expect our government to serve the people -- and serve the people it will. Working together we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding our nation and renewing the American dream[']." Jones, who loves to inject snide editorial comments about President Obama and other things she doesn't agree with into her "news" articles, didn't see fit to note that Trump's claim of "reassurance" directly contradicts the rhetoric of his campaign, in which he insulted racial, ethnic and religious minorities (Muslims and Mexicans among them).

CNS Patrick Goodenough did slightly better in a Nov. 9 article noting Trump's post-election claim that "We will get along with all other nations, willing to get along with us." But instead of noting that it diverges from the much harsher tone of his campaign rhetoric, Goodenough states that Trump's "views on issues ranging from free trade to climate change to the Iran nuclear deal were sharply at odds with those of the Obama administration and many of its international partners."

But it was back to fawning stenography for a Nov. 11 article by CNS managing editor Michael W. Chapman that reads like a three-month-old Trump campaign press release: 

As presented on the campaign trail and detailed on the Trump-Pence website, President–elect Donald Trump wants to implement school choice programs in all 50 states that will allow students and their parents to pick the school that works best for them, and the money to pay for it will follow the student, not the school bureaucracy.

“If we can put a man on the moon, dig out the Panama Canal, and win two World Wars, then I have no doubt that we, as a nation, can provide school choice to every disadvantaged child in America,” said Trump in a Sept. 8 speech in Cleveland, Ohio.

Remember that as the Media Research Center criticizes journalism that criticizes Trump, it runs a "news" division that is an arm of the Trump campaign.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:35 AM EST
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
CNS Plays Key Role In MRC's Echoing of Trump's 'Rigged Media' Ranting

Part of the Media Research Center's synergy with the Donald Trump campaign in building and then echoing Trump's "rigged media" strategy took place at the MRC's "news" division There, as part of its stenography work for Trump, CNS writers gave special attention to uncritically repeating the Trump campaign's complaints (as well from as their surrogates) about the media. Note these headlines:

Russian Hackers? 45% Call News Media 'Primary Threat That Might Try to Change Election Results'

Those first five articles are by Melanie Hunter, who wrote nine Trump-stenography articles in October alone. The last two are from CNS managing editor Michael W. Chapman.

CNS was also quick to forward media criticism of anything that made Trump look bad, in addition to dutifully printing the latest rants from boss Brent Bozell. For example, an Oct. 14 article by Barbara Hollingsworth, for instances, touted how "Conservative leaders are calling out NBC for the network's apparent attempt to 'time' the release of an 11-year old videotape of a lewd conversation between Donald Trump and former Access Hollywood host Billy Bush in order to inflict maximum damage on Trump’s presidential campaign." Hollingsworth made no effort to contact actual media professionals outside the circle of MRC-friendly folks with an obvious interest in the election's outcome, to also comment on the media's handling of the damning Trump tape.

Hollingsworth also actively tried to deflect from allegations of Trump's closeness to Russia -- as well as the fact that Russian hackers are widely blamed for stealing the clinton campaign emails posted by WikiLeaks -- by ranting about the media in a Nov. 2 article asserting that "More people see the news media--as opposed to Russian hackers or political bosses--as the "primary threat that might try to change the election result," according to a recent Suffolk University/USA Today poll."

And CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey made sure to let us know in a Nov. 3 article that "Fifty-two percent of registered voters say that the media is biased in favor of Hillary Clinton in this presidential election, according to a poll released today by Gallup."

If Trump loses, look for CNS to reliably and uncritically parrot anyone and everyone who will blame the media for it. It's what they do.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:51 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, November 8, 2016 4:55 PM EST
Sunday, November 6, 2016
CNS Unemployment Numbers Distortion Watch

For October's unemployment numbers, resorted to its usual tricks of distortion. Its main story, by Susan Jones, once again plays up the labor force participation rate, even though it's not a meaningful measure of employment, and obscures the fact that most people who do not have a job are retired baby boomers and students who aren't looking for one. Michael W. Chapman contributes the usual sidebar touting the high black unemployment rate without mentioning the fact that black unemployment has historically been double that of whites.

Chapman repeated a twist this month he first introduced in September: an article claiming a "real unemployment rate." Unlike in September, when Chapman asserted that a misleading number provided by Gallup was the "real" one, Chapman this time declares the U-6 rate to be the "real" rate.

In fact, it's not an unemployment rate at all because it counts people who are employed -- as Chapman himself notes, the U-6 rate includes "marginally attached workers plus total employed part time for economic reasons."

While the U-6 rate may offer a more nuanced picture of the employment situation, it's not an "unemployment rate" as Chapman insists.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:29 PM EDT
Saturday, November 5, 2016
Stenography: CNS Transcribes Melania Trump's Anti-Cyberbullying Speech, Ignores Her Husband's Cyberbullying

As we've noted, much of CNS' election coverage of Donald Trump's campaign has mostly consisted of dutifully transcribing whatever he says in speeches and on TV -- as if CNS was a direct arm of the Trump campaign. That fawning so-called reportage gets applied to his wife as well.

Melanie Hunter is the dutiful transcriber in this Nov. 3 article:

In her first solo appearance on the campaign trail, Melania Trump told supporters at a rally in Berwyn, Pa., that if her husband is elected president, her focus as first lady will be on cyberbullying.

“As adults, many of us are able to handle mean words, even lies. Children and teenagers can be fragile. They’re hurt when they are made fun of or made to feel less in looks or intelligence. This makes their life hard and can force them to hide and retreat,” Mrs. Trump said.

“As we know, now social media is a centerpiece of our lives. It can be a useful tool for connection and communication. It can ease isolation that so many feel in the modern world. Technology has changed our universe, but like anything that is powerful, it can have a bad side. We have seen this already,” she said.

“Our culture has gotten too mean and too rough, especially to children and teenagers. It is never okay when a 12-year-old boy is mocked, bullied or attacked. It is terrible when that happens on the playground, and it is absolutely unacceptable when it’s done by someone with no name hiding on the internet,” Mrs. Trump added.

“We have to find a better way to talk to each other, to disagree with each other, to respect each other. We must find better ways to honor and support the basic goodness of our children, especially in social media. It will one of the main focuses of my work if I’m privileged enough to become your first lady,” she said.

“We need to teach our youth American values – kindness, honesty, respect, compassion, charity, understanding, corporation. I do worry about all of our children,” Mrs. Trump said.

Hunter apparently thought it would be too gauche (not to mention possibly jeopardizing her paycheck) to mention, as real news organizations have, that Melania's husband is the country's cyberbully in chief, known for his meanness and roughness on social media and for mocking, bullying and attacking his enemies, real and imagined.

CNS, of course, is not a real news organization -- it's merely the Media Research Center's right-wing agenda in inverted-pyramid form.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:27 AM EDT
Friday, November 4, 2016
CNS Reporters Spend More Time Touting Trump Than Reporting His Scandals

The Media Research Center's "news" division,, claims as its mission to "fairly present all legitimate sides of a story." But if that story is bad news about the Republican presidential nominee, there are few legitimate sides worth reporting.

ConWebWatch went into the CNS archives to examine the output of its three main news reporters, Susan Jones, Melanie Hunter and Patrick Goodenough. We looked at stories they wrote between Oct. 1 and Nov. 1 in which the main subject as indicated by headline was in three categories: the Wikileaks controversy in which emails were stolen from the Hillary clinton campaign; stories  about any controversy related to Donald Trump; and stories that uncritically quote Trump or his running mate, Mike Pence. 

Here's what we found:

Susan Jones

  • WikiLeaks: 10
  • Trump controversy: 0
  • Uncritically quoting Trump/Pence remarks: 10

Melanie Hunter

  • Wikileaks: 1
  • Trump controversy: 1
  • Uncritically quoting Trump/Pence remarks: 9

Patrick Goodenough

  • Wikileaks: 4
  • Trump controversy: 1
  • Uncritically quoting Trump/Pence remarks: 1

Between them, these three reporters wrote only two stories in which the main focus was on Trump-related controversies: an Oct. 13 article by Hunter on women accusing Trump of touching them inappropriately (and even then, all Hunter does is uncritically repeating Trump's blanket denial) and an Oct. 31 article by Goodenough accusing the FBI of whithholding evidence of Trump's alleged ties between Trump and Russia (a balanced article that surprisingly examines the depths of Russian links to Trump).

That's two stories in an entire month in which there was no shortage of Trump controversies to report on, what with further accusations of sexual harassment, questions about how Trump's foundation raises and spends its money and his extensive record of falsehoods.

By contrast, these same three reporters churned out 15 stories regarding a Hillary Clinton controversy and a whopping 20 articles that uncritically quote the words of Trump or Pence.

While CNS is a subscriber to the Associated Press and publishes many AP stories on its website, including those about Trump controversies, very few of those stories make it to the CNS front page, which tends to prioritize the work of its own writers. Of course, the AP has published Wikileaks stories as well, but that doesn't keep CNS from redundantly writing their own versions.

If the Media Research Center is serious about combatting bias in the media, it should start within the halls of its own headquarters.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:14 PM EDT

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