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Friday, September 12, 2014
CNS Doesn't Disclose Bozell's Link to Catholic League
Topic: CNSNews.com

A Sept. 11 CNSNews.com article by Michael Chapman reports on how "Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, said he will not march in the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City." The article is almost exclusive filled with quotes from Donohue; Chapman apparently couldn't be bothered to contact any parade organizers for their response to Donohue.

Another thing Chapman couldn't be bothered to do: Disclose that his boss, Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell, is on the Catholic League's board of advisers. The MRC loves to hide Bozell's connections to right-wing Catholic groups.

Remember, Chapman is CNS' managing editor. The fact that such a high-ranking official would write an article that is completely one-sided and lacks fundamental disclosure tells you all you need to know about journalism standards -- or the lack thereof -- at CNS.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:42 PM EDT
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
CNS-Mark Levin Logrolling Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

A few weeks back, we detailed how the Media Research Center promotes the pearls of wisdom that drip from Mark Levin's mouth -- and shield him from criticism of the more offensive things that spew from it -- without disclosing that the MRC pays Levin to promote it on his radio show.

The MRC continues to show no interest in doing that basic bit of disclosure -- not even its ostensible news division CNSNews.com, which by pretending to be a journalistic organization is actually obligated to disclose such conflicts of interest.

A Sept. 4 CNS blog post by Michael Morris transcribes Levin's claim that any American who fights with ISIS automatically relinquishes their U.S. citizenship. Morris followed up with a Sept. 9 blog post in which he plays stenographer to a Levin rant about the IRS.

Neither of Morris' posts mention the fact that the MRC and Levin have a business relationship. Some things never change.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:28 PM EDT
Monday, September 8, 2014
CNS Gives Ben Carson's Obama Falsehood A Pass
Topic: CNSNews.com

When conservative darling Ben Carson dishonestly claimed that President Obama said that America is “not a Judeo-Christian nation,” CNSNews.com managing editor Michael Chapman wasn't going to correct him. In fact, he put the claim in the headline of his Sept. 2 article on Carson's remarks:

Chapman went on to present Carson's claim as fact:

Neurosurgeon and best-selling author Dr. Ben Carson said that although President Barack Obama has claimed America is “not a Judeo-Christian nation,” he is not the one to decide that point, we the people “get to decide that.”

“We as Americans have certain beliefs and cultures that led us to the pinnacle of the world,” said Dr. Carson while speaking at the 8th Annual Defending the American Dream Summit on Friday in Dallas, Texas.

“One of those things is that we are a people of faith,” he said.  “I know the president has said that we are not a Judeo-Christian nation. But guess what? He doesn’t get to decide that, we get to decide that.”

[...]

President Barack Obama has on several occasions stressed his belief that America is not a Judeo-Christian nation.

It's not ubntil the very last paragraph that Chapman hints -- but won't actually say -- that Carson's words were inaccurate and out of context:

Back on April 6, 2009, during a press conference with the president of Turkey, President Obama said, "Although as I mentioned, we have a very large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values. I think modern Turkey was founded with a similar set of principles.”

Chapman, mind you, is CNS' managing editor. The fact that he privileges a falsehood says a lot about how CNS operates and how little its journalism can be trusted.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:03 PM EDT
Saturday, September 6, 2014
CNS Unemployment Numbers Distortion Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

It's a new month, which means it's time once again for CNSNews.com to find ways to avoid reporting good news about the economy.

Instead of reading that 142,000 jobs were created and that the unemployment rate dropped to 6.1%, here's what CNS wanted to report instead:

None of these articles noted the number of jobs created or the drop in the unemployment rate.

If there's good news about the economy under a Democratic president, you'll never read about it at CNS.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:57 PM EDT
Friday, September 5, 2014
CNS Promotes Scientology-Linked Attack On Psychiatric Drugs
Topic: CNSNews.com

Barbara Hollingsworth devotes a Sept. 4 CNSNews.com article to Dr. Bart Billings, "a retired Army psychologist who has treated thousands of veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder," who claims that "there is 'a direct correlation' between the increased use of psychiatric medications to treat PTSD and the high rate of military suicides."

As per usual, Hollingsworth fails to allow anyone to rebut Billings' views. Perhaps she should have. This is how she ends the lengthy article:

Billings was the recipient of the 2014 Human Rights Award by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), which has produced a documentary, “The Hidden Agenda,” on the use of use of psychiatric drugs in the military.

Hollingsworth doesn't mention that CCHR was created by the church of Scientology with the goal of attack the field of psychiatry. Despite the name, as Stephen Wiseman points out, it's not a human rights organization at all.

And the CCHR has returned the love, reprinting Hollingsworth's article on its own website.

Ironically, earlier this year CNS' Penny Starr criticized U.S. Health and Human Services and Planned Parenthood officials for holding an event about birth control at the Church of Scientology’s National Affairs Office in Washington, D.C.

CNS certainly knows what Scientology is all about. So why is it promoting a Scientology-linked attack on psychiatry?


Posted by Terry K. at 10:38 AM EDT
Thursday, August 21, 2014
CNS Rehashes 2-Month-Old Anti-Transgender Attack
Topic: CNSNews.com

It's either a slow news week, or CNSNews.com managing editor Michael Chapman was feeling particularly hateful. Those are pretty much the only logical explanations for Chapman's Aug. 20 CNS article, in which he rehashes "a recent commentary in the Wall Street Journal" by "Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry," who claims that "transgenderism is a 'mental disorder' that merits treatment, that sex change is 'biologically impossible,' and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder."

Note Chapman's vaguery about McHugh's commentary being "recent." That's because it originally appeared more than two months ago, on June 12.

Since McHugh's op-ed has been sitting around for two months, you'd think that Chapman would have had more than enough time to go beyond stenography and note the fact that some commentators disagree with McHugh's analysis. One of these is from Mari Brighe, who points out that "McHugh has decided to ignore the growing body of neurological and genetic research providing evidence of a biological basis for gender dysphoria" and is "selectively reading the literature to support his own agenda." Brighe also notes that "Missing entirely from McHugh’s analysis is any understanding or even mention of the tremendous discrimination, harassment, violence, and economic stability faced by the transgender community" and then "goes on to attempt to break down transgender individuals into three wide and poorly defined categories- with absolutely zero research or evidence other than his own personal say-so." Brighe concluded by noting that "the opinions of Dr McHugh fly in the face of currently accepted medical practice and the positions of many major medical associations" and "do not represent the views of the mainstream medical establishment, rather they are the erroneous, bigoted beliefs of a scientist who appears far too invested in his own antiquated, disproven theories and his anti-LGBT political position than the current state of medical affairs."

But Chapman can't be bothered to include a fair and balanced view -- he simply summarizes McHugh's op-ed. Which suggest that Chapman's view of transgenders mirrors that of McHugh.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:39 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, August 21, 2014 10:40 PM EDT
Monday, August 18, 2014
CNS, Where Speculation Is 'News'
Topic: CNSNews.com

This is the main substance of an Aug. 14 CNSNews.com article by Brittany M. Hughes:

Reports show thousands of unaccompanied illegal alien minors, some of them identified as obvious gang members by U.S. Border Patrol agents, have been transferred to several of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States, including Baltimore, Los Angeles, New York City, Houston and the Washington, D.C. area – cities that all rank among the top strongholds of the Latin American gang Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13.

A 2008 report by the Congressional Research Service lists several major U.S. cities as having some of the heaviest MS-13 presence in the nation. These cities include Washington, D.C. and the surrounding area in Northern Virginia, Los Angeles, Houston, New York City, Baltimore and Nashville.

Since October of last year, more than 57,000 unaccompanied minors have flooded across the Southwest U.S. border illegally, with most of them having come from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, all countries with strong ties to MS-13 and various other Latin American gangs and drug operations.

Completely lacking in Hughes' article: any actual evidence that unaccompanied minor gang members are actually being sent to cities with an MS-13 presence.

In other words, this article is nothing but speculation and guessing. That is apparently what passes for "news" at CNS these days.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:43 PM EDT
Friday, August 15, 2014
CNS' Starr Is Still Cranking Out Propaganda For Corporate And Oil Interests
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com's Penny Starr has long been a propagandist for fossil-fuel interests, uncritically repeating the claims of industry lobbyists as though they were the gospel (as befits an organization that has received hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding from oil interests).

Starr phones it in again in an Aug. 8 article in which she dutifully regurgitates the latest corporate claim:

A study commissioned by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) on the impact of a proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation shows that it could be the costliest federal rule by reducing the Gross National Product by $270 billion per year and $3.4 trillion from 2017 to 2040 and adds $2.2 trillion in compliance costs for the same time period.

Starr didn't bother to mention that NAM's official position is opposing EPA regulations, so it's  not a surprise that it would commission a study that backs up its claims.

Starr's old friend, the American Petroleum Institute, also makes an appearance:

At an event for reporters on Friday, the American Petroleum Institute introduced a map it has produced showing how the new regulation would harm the economy in states across the country.

API also claims that the nation’s air quality is improving and health benefits from the lower ozone standards are not backed by the science.

As you would expect from such a dutiful stenographer, Starr made no apparent effort to talk to any actual environmentalists about the claims made by NAM and API.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:16 AM EDT
Monday, August 11, 2014
CNS' Starr Unhappy That U.S. Promotes 'Homosexual Rights Agenda'
Topic: CNSNews.com

Penny Starr declares in an Aug. 6 CNSNews.com article:

The president, vice president and a former State Department official with the Obama administration took advantage of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit this week in Washington, D.C., as an opportunity to advance the homosexual rights agenda.

And what is this supposed "homosexual rights agenda" the U.S. is trying to advance? Starr identifies nothing beyond "human rights" and "respect." Starr doesn't explain why she considers such an "agenda" to be so distasteful that she feels she must call it out.

Starr, however, makes sure to tell us that "homosexuality is illegal in 38 of the 57 countries on the African continent – or almost 67 percent." She adds, with an apparent tinge of regret:

On Aug. 1, a Ugandan panel of five judges ruled that Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act was not valid, because it had been passed by Parliament without a proper quorum. The ruling does not preclude the law from being reconsidered and put in place with the proper quorum requirement.

Starr failed to mention that right-wing American anti-gay activists like Scott Lively are the driving force behind Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:07 PM EDT
Thursday, August 7, 2014
CNS Still Pushing Birth Control 'Abortifacient' Myth
Topic: CNSNews.com

Brittany Hughes writes in an Aug. 5 CNSNews.com article:

While advocates of religious freedom and the sanctity of life have hailed last month’s Hobby Lobby decision in the U.S. Supreme Court, the ruling did not liberate health insurance companies from being required to provide coverage for abortifacient drugs in their plans.

The Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby, which is a Christian family-owned company, could not be required to provide cost-free coverage for two types of IUDs and two abortifacient drugs because the owners believed doing so violated their religious beliefs.

As CNS so frequently does, it's falsely portraying birth control as abortifacients. In fact, birth control methods that prevent implantation of a fertilized egg are, by medical definition, not abortifacients.

CNS management is aware of this medical fact. In a July 2 column CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey grumbled that the conservative Supreme Court justices who wrote the majority opinion in the Hobby Lobby case pointed out the medical reality that such birth control methods are not abortifacients. He then tried to create his own reality by snarking: "OK, so do not call it an 'abortion.' Just call it a 'killing'."

So, it appears that CNS has chosen to deny reality because it conflicts with its political agenda. So much for journalism.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:12 PM EDT
Monday, August 4, 2014
CNS Unemployment Numbers Distortion Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

It's a new month, which means it's time once again for CNSNews.com to find ways to avoid reporting good news about the economy.

In July, 209,000 jobs were added, but that's not what you read at CNS. Instead, CNS played another round of talking down the economy:

Number of Unemployed Women Increased in July by 227,000

11,472,000 Americans Have Left Workforce Since Obama Took Office

Neither article mentions that 227,000 jobs were created. That last article, by Ali Meyer, fails to mention one significant factor in the dropping labor participation rate: baby boomers are retiring.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:22 PM EDT
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
CNS Promotes Levin Lawsuit, Doesn't Disclose MRC's Business Deal With Him
Topic: CNSNews.com

Susan Jones writes in a July 25 CNSNews.com article:

A conservative legal group is asking a federal judge to punish the Environmental Protection Agency for destroying or failing to preserve emails and text messages requested in August 2012 under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Landmark Legal Foundation believes the requested -- but never delivered -- messages to outside groups would have revealed EPA attempts to influence the 2012 presidential election.

"The EPA is a toxic waste dump for lawlessness and disdain for the Constitution,” said Landmark Legal President Mark Levin. 

CNS neglects to mention that CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, has a business relationship with Levin, in which the MRC pays Levin on his radio show and uses Levin's endorsement on its own websites.

Though CNS presents itself as a news operation presumably subject to journalistic codes of ethics, it regularly publishes stories about Levin while failing to disclose that he's a paid spokesman.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:20 PM EDT
Monday, July 28, 2014
CNS' Hollingsworth Dutifully Transcribes More Right-Wing Talking Points
Topic: CNSNews.com

Barbara Hollingsworth has yet another fit of lazy journalism in which she decides to serve as stenographer for a right-wing activist group in a July 22 CNSNews.com article. This time, she uncritically repeats attacks from the Institute for Energy Research that a new report warning of the dangers of climate change "is just another attempt by economic and political elites to impose a carbon tax on Americans."

Hollingsworth not only fails to obtain response to IER's criticism, it fails to disclose that IER has strong ties to the energy industry, including donations from ExxonMobil and Koch-affilated interests.

Such ties and funding would seem to counter Hollingsworth's implication that IER's criticism is objective and not agenda-driven, but she doesn't want you to know about it.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:18 PM EDT
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
CNS Claims Global Warming Has Ended Because Of Cool Weather In U.S.
Topic: CNSNews.com

Can you spot the major science failure in the headline of Penny Starr's July 21 CNSNews.com article, "Global Warming? U.S. Temps Up 0.1 Degrees above 20th Century Average, 2014 Coolest Since 1993"?

That's right -- suggesting that global warming has been disproved because of a few cool months in the U.S. is utterly dishonest.

Starr herself confuses with her article:

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) 2014 weather highlights show that from January to June, the temperature in the U.S. has risen by only 0.1 degrees Fahrenheit compared with the average temperature for the 20th century.
 
NOAA highlights also show that recorded temperatures in the U.S. for the first half of 2014 are the coldest since 1993.

Starr doesn't tell you, however, that globally, last month was the hottest June in 134 years of record-keeping. That would seem to be an important fact to note in an article about climate -- especially since it's in the same NOAA data from which she pulls her U.S. weather data -- but Starr doesn't think so.

What Starr has done is written an article that is technically accurate but so absurdly narrow in focus as to be useless for anything other than political propaganda. Just the way CNS likes it, we presume.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:50 PM EDT
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Terry Jeffrey's Immigration Metaphor Misfire
Topic: CNSNews.com

Terry Jeffrey writes in his July 16 CNSNews.com column:

Sam, the wealthiest man in his neighborhood, lives in a big beautiful house with a massive backyard punctuated by a large, deep swimming pool.

While Sam is personally not very fond of children — he supports abortion on demand and believes the government should force all employers to offer female workers free sterilizations — he nonetheless lives in a neighborhood that teems with little ones.

The children are particularly attracted to Sam's beautiful pool — and, on those rare occasions when Sam is actually in his backyard, he frequently finds himself shooing these children away.

Worried relatives have repeatedly warned Sam that he ought to build a fence around his yard — or at least around his pool — to guard against the awful possibility that a neighborhood child might otherwise drown.

But Sam does not want a fence. He objects that it would mar the aesthetics of his yard, and that if some kid really wanted to get into the pool he could climb over the fence.

So, should Sam build one? If he went out one morning and found a boy had drowned in his pool, would he have some culpability for that child's unnecessary death?

The answers are yes and yes.

And, although it is not a perfect analogy, Sam's pool is a little like Uncle Sam's territory near our border with Mexico.

There is no doubt people are tempted to enter U.S. property without the permission of the U.S. government. There is also no doubt this can be a dangerous, even deadly, thing to do.

No, Mr. Jeffrey, your analogy isn't perfect -- heck, it's not even remotely analogous. The act of crossing the border isn't deadly, and America is not an "attractive nuisance" like an unfenced pool where something could go wrong simply by being in the presence of it.

Jeffrey goes on to cite the example of a teenager from Guatemala whose body was found in Texas. But the United States didn't kill him; the trip from Guatemala likely played a factor.

If Jeffrey wants a more perfect analogy, he should have that unfenced pool surrounded by miles of barbed wire, thorns and a few land mines thrown in for good measure.

If Jeffrey thinks America is an unfenced pool in need of a double-layer fence with armed border guards, he clearly doesn't understand anything about immigration. But given his previous attempt at analogy, we already knew that.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:49 PM EDT

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