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Friday, December 13, 2019
CNS Is Sad Chick-fil-A Stopped Hating Gays As Much As CNS Does
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com used to love fast-food chain Chick-fil-A -- mainly because it hated gays as much as CNS does. It was just earlier this year that it gave Hans Bader column space to claim that the chain was facing a "First Amendment violation" because it was barred from opening a branch in an airport because of the company's support of groups like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army who in Bader's words "support and defend marriage as defined by the natural law and Christianity -- one man and one woman for life." And just a couple months ago that managing editor Michael W. Chapman was cheering how "continues to experience tremendous sales and growth despite opposition and boycotts from LGBT activists" over the company's financial support for groups that oppose "gay marraige" (scare quotes are his), adding that "Despite the protests from the homosexual left, Chick-fil-A is doing well.

But a month after Chapman touted Chick-fil-A's gay-hate, the company pulled back on its gay-hating, restructuring its charitable donation strategy to focus on specific causes such as hunger, homelessness and educationand no longer giving to other groups including FCA and the Salvation Army.

As you might imagine, CNS is very sad about this. A Nov. 20 article by Chapman misconstrued the policy to claim that Chick-fil-A made a "corporate decision to stop donating to groups that support marriage between one man and one woman and quoting right-winger Mike Huckabee accusing the chain of having "made a "very big, big mistake" in thinking it could appease the left and LGBTQ activists," going on to quote right-wing activist Tony Perkins ranting that the chain "helped legitimize the Left's labeling of these groups." Chapman also lazily copy-and-pasted Bader's description of FCA and the Salvation Army.

CNS also published a torrent of commentary attacking Chick-fil-A for the change in his funding strategy and justifying the gay-hate:

  • Daniel Davis declared that "many loyal Chick-fil-A supporters feel betrayed, and they’re letting Chick-fil-A know" and the change in strategy "tells [LGBT activists] they can win, if they just bully Christian organizations for long enough."
  • John Horvat II huffed that the change in donation strategy "shocked many conservatives" and that "With Chick-fil-A’s fateful decision, it became clear that even those who do not sympathize with the LGBTQ+ agenda are expected to bow to pressure and fear."
  • The Heritage Foundation's Kay Coles James insisted that "Christians do not hate gay people; our faith teaches us to love everyone" -- even as she criticized Chick-fil-A for "caving to the bullying of a minority of radical activists" and "bullies who will never be satisfied with compromise." (The Heritage Foundation knows a thing or two about not being satisfied with compromise.)
  • JP Duffy complained that the company "cut off future donations to the Salvation Army and sent a check to the Covenant House, a group that has hosted a local Drag Queen Story Hour and celebrates LGBTQ pride." He wants the company to go back to hating gays: "I would say follow the example of three of the most courageous biblical figures — Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They refused to bow to King Nebuchadnezzar’s image and as a result were thrown into a fiery furnace where God protected them from any harm. Their reverence for God was so strong that it overwhelmed fear. By following their example, you will be better equipped with the courage to glorify God in all you do."

Chapman wasn't done grousing, though, writing in a Nov. 27 article: "The number three fast-food chain in the United States, Chick-fil-A, which prides itself on being founded on biblical principles, donated $2,500 to the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The SPLC maintains a "hate map" on its website and its listing of the Family Research Council (FRC) as an"anti-LGBT" hate group was cited by domestic terrorist Floyd Corkins in his FBI interview after he shot-up the FRC in August 2012." Actually, it turns out that the donation was made by a volunteer for the company's charitable foundation, not by the foundation itself; Chapman has not corrected his article.

Chapman was still sad that Chick-fil-A stopped hating gays as much as he does, lamenting that "Chick-fil-A has made donations to the pro-abortion group The Pace Center for Girls; the pro-LGBTQ YWCA; the pro-LGBT child welfare service Chris 180; and the left-wing New Leaders Council."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:59 AM EST
Thursday, December 12, 2019
CNS Is Still Publishing -- And Promoting -- Increasingly Extremist Michelle Malkin
Topic: CNSNews.com

In August, we noted that CNSNews.com published Michelle Malkin's dishonest defense of the white nationalist group VDARE, while its sister site NewsBusters did not. Interestingly, NewsBusters skipped a few other Malkin columns after that before stopping completely; the last one at NewsBusters appeared on Oct. 30.

Meanwhile, CNS is sticking with the increasingly extremist Malkin -- well, mostly. It declined to publish her Nov. 27 column in which she went full anti-vaxxer by ranting about "government-coerced immunization" regarding mandates for children to get immunized against human papillomavirus, dismissing it as "usually harmless" despite the fact that it's a leading cause of cervical cancer and obsessing over isolated cases of adverse side effects to falsely smear it as unsafe.

CNS apparently embraces Malkin's increasing vicious anti-immigrant rhetoric, such as her Dec. 5 column huffing that the U.S. is being "fundamentally and permanently transformed into United Nations refugee camps full of welfare dependents and tax burdens."

Shockingly,  CNS remains so infatuated with the extremist Malkin that it touted an award she received. A Dec. 6 article by Craig Millward gushed:

Upon receiving an “Impact Award” from United in Purpose on Wednesday, Dec. 4, syndicated columnist and best selling author Michelle Malkin said, “I am an extremist when it comes to telling the truth.”

Malkin was one of 10 conservative leaders to receive an “Impact Award” in a ceremony held at Trump International Hotel in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.

[...]

“Because we all share a common zeal, an extreme zeal -- I embrace that word – yes, I am an extremist when it comes to telling the truth,” said Malkin. “And I know that each of the honorees here has been able to effectively use their powers of communication to do good and make an impact.”

Millward didn't mention that Malkin is also an extremist when it comes to white nationalism and anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories.

CNS should explain why it's continuing to align itself with such an extremist, even though its sister publication has stopped doing so.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:16 AM EST
Tuesday, December 10, 2019
NEW ARTICLE -- CNS On Impeachment: Cleanup Mode
Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com is so pro-Trump that it not only tried to spin away the worst aspects of President Trump's Ukraine entanglement, it tried to retcon the most incriminating statements about it made by the president and his surrogates. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 8:53 AM EST
Sunday, December 8, 2019
CNS Lazily Reprints Press Release On Roger Stone's Conviction
Topic: CNSNews.com

When Trump confidante and sleazy political operative Roger Stone was arrested on various on a warrant from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation earlier this year, CNSNews.com was quick to embrace the bogus conspiracy theory that Mueller tipped off CNN to the arrest so it could have cameras there. Even Mueller himself pointed out this was not true, but CNS never told its readers about it.

Despite that obsession over Stone's arrest, CNS' interest in the case didn't extend to his trial, not even bothering to offer daily coverage of it. And when Stone was found guilty, CNS did the absolute minimum: an anonymously written Nov. 15 article stating that "Political consultant Roger Stone was found guilty today by a jury that convicted him of obstructing a congressional investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, according to a statement put out by the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia," followed by a copy-and-paste job of the entire statement.

No mention of the conspiracy theory it once embraced, no mention of any statement by Stone or his attorneys on the verdict -- just an grudging acceptance that maybe Stone is as terrible as everyone outside the Trump orbit CNS occupies has said, and the ultimate in lazy stenography.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:35 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, December 8, 2019 8:40 PM EST
Friday, December 6, 2019
CNS Follows MRC's Narrative By Calling Impeachment Hearings Boring
Topic: CNSNews.com

The Media Research Center has tried to delegitimize the impeachment hearings by portraying them as boring and poorly rated (as if excitement and good ratings was a measure of justice), so it was inevitable that the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, would push that same narrative. And that's exactly what Susan Jones does in a Nov. 19 CNS article:

Four witnesses will testify in the House intelligence committee's impeachment inquiry today, beginning with Alexander Vindman (member of the National Security Council since 2018) and Jennifer Williams (Vice President Pence's advisor) at 9 a.m.; and Kurt Volker (special envoy to Ukraine) and Tim Morrison (National Security Council official) at 2:30 p.m.

But who will be watching?

It's "boring television," Rep. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), a Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee, told Fox News’s Laura Ingraham Monday night.

Jones did not allow anyone to rebut Biggs' claims or to point out the obvious fact that TV ratings are not a measure of justice. Instead she repeats an attack on impeachment inquiry witness Alex Vindman by claiming that his former supervisor at the National Security Council "had raised concerns about Alex's judgment." That attack, of course, comes directly from the Trump White House.

But Jones never told her readers that Vindman rebutted this claim by reading from a performance evaluation of him by Hill that called him "a top 1% military officer and the best Army officer I have worked with in my 15 years of government service." Or that Hill herself later testified that she never had any issues with Vindman's judgment but, rather, was concerned about how a military man like him would handle the increasingly political direction the Ukraine issue was turning.

Remember: At CNS, reporting the facts doesn't matter -- adhering to the narrative does.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:49 AM EST
Updated: Friday, December 6, 2019 12:51 AM EST
Thursday, December 5, 2019
CNS Editor's Double Standard On Federal Spending
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com editor in chief Terry Jeffrey spent his Nov. 20 column lecturing members of Congress that the longtime practice of paying a year's salary to the surviving spouse of a congressmember who dies in office is a waste of money:

The members of Congress who have enacted previous bills that included language directing the Treasury to provide the equivalent of a full year's salary to the spouse of a deceased colleague were not giving that person their own money.

They were giving that person your money — or your children's and your grandchildren's money.

And this, of course, is exactly how the Washington establishment has long shown how compassionate it is: It takes money from one group of people and gives it to another.

[...]

Since Congress plans to run annual deficits in every fiscal year for the foreseeable future, this "gift" might alternatively be paid with borrowed money — adding to the $1.1 trillion deficit the Office of Management and Budget had previously estimated the Treasury would run this year.

In that case, the Treasury will issue bonds to secure the cash needed to fund that "gift" and then roll those bonds over and over — unless the federal government actually pays off its debt someday.

Jeffrey, however, is much more cavalier when it comes to spending tax money on causes he approves of -- and he was just two weeks before his lecture to Congress.

As he has before, Jeffrey devoted a Nov. 7 article to touting how building a border wall would take up an infintesimal amount of the federal budget, then complaining that Congress isn't funding it to his satisfaction:

The $5,000,000,000 that President Donald Trump has requested Congress appropriate for border-wall construction along the southwestern border in fiscal 2020 equals just 0.1 percent of the $4,745,573,000,000 that the Office of Management and Budget estimates the federal government will spend in total during the fiscal year.

The fiscal 2020 Department of Homeland Security funding bill that the House Appropriations Committee has approved, however, provides $0 for the wall.

[...]

The $5,000,000,000 President Trump has requested for construction of the border wall in fiscal 2020 equals 0.1 percent of the $4,745,573,000,000 that the OMB estimates the federal government will spend in total in fiscal 2020.

By contrast, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved and sent to the full Senate a DHS funding bill that says: “$5,000,000,000 is for the construction of pedestrian fending.”

Unlike in his lecture over survivors' payments, Jeffrey did not mention the federal deficit at all or fret that the wall would be paid for with borrowed money. It's as if he has different standards based on things he would like to see money spent on.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:44 AM EST
Tuesday, December 3, 2019
CNS' Impeachment Stenography Files Continue
Topic: CNSNews.com
For pro-Trump talking points on impeachment, it's hard to find a more devoted regurgitator of them than CNSNews.com. Craig Bannister made his stenographic contribution in a Nov. 19 article:

While Democrats are now accusing President Donald Trump of bribery, the thirty-five hundred pages of sworn deposition testimony released so far reveal only one mention of the word “bribery” – and it’s used to describe the alleged conduct of former Vice President Joe Biden, Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) said Tuesday.

During Tuesday’s House Intelligence Committee impeachment inquiry, Rep. Ratcliffe noted how Democrats’ charge against Trump has morphed, from “quid pro quo” to “extortion” to, currently, “bribery”:

[...]

Ironically, the only time word “bribery” is used, it’s used to describe the behavior former Vice President Joe Biden, Rep. Ratcliffe explains:

“In fact, in these thirty-five hundred pages of sworn deposition testimony and just these ten transcripts released thus far, the word ‘bribery’ appears, in these thirty-five hundred pages exactly one time.

“And, ironically, it appears, not in the description of President Trump’s alleged conduct – it appears in the description of Vice President Biden’s alleged conduct.”

Weirdly -- or not, considering that he's in slavish-stenography mode and Ratcliffe apparently didn't elaborate or bookmark the reference -- Bannister never tells his readers the full context of that alleged reference to Biden and "bribery." Perhaps because that reference is irrelevant; as an actual news organization reported, it came "in a question one attorney asked about unfounded bribery allegations against former Vice President Joe Biden."

In uncritically repeating Ratcliffe's rant, Bannister is just repeating the apparent mandate from his Media Research Center overlords to frame discussion of "bribery" as merely a question of semantics driven by Democrats, as his MRC co-workers have similarly done. He continued to be Ratcliffe's mouthpiece, asserting that "The American people need to be aware of these facts, because the Democrat-controlled Judiciary Committee is likely to approve articles of impeachment against Pres. Trump based on the charge of bribery – even though not a single witness has characterized it as such – Ratcliffe said."

But as political analysts have detailed, "bribery" is not an inaccurate word for what Trump is accused of doing, and a quid pro quo is an usually a component of bribery. Bannister won't tell you that, of course, because he's not being paid to report the full truth.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:25 AM EST
Sunday, December 1, 2019
CNS Dutifully Repeats More GOP Anti-Impeachment Talking Points
Topic: CNSNews.com

The loyal Trump-bots at CNSNews.com have been slavishly repeating pro-Trump talking points in its "news" coverage of the impeachment hearings against President Trump. Here are a couple more examples.

CNS has dutifully regurgitated the claims of Republican congressmen, particularly Devin Nunes, trying to build a Ukranian conspiracy theory around a woman named Alexandra Chalupa:

  • Nov. 11: Susan Jones quoted Rep. Ron Johnson dropping Chalupa's name as an example of "connections between Democrats" and Ukraine.
  • Nov. 12: Jones cited as one witness Republicans would like to call at the hearings "Alexandra Chalupa, former Democratic National Committee staffer, who has admitted to providing anti-Trump dirt to the DNC and the Clinton campaign."
  • Nov. 13: Melanie Arter copied-and-pasted transcript of Nunes asking one witness about Chalupa, who he claimed "admitted to Politico that she worked with officials at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, D.C., to dig up dirt on the Trump campaign, which she passed on to the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign."
  • Nov. 15: Jones quoted Nunes ranting that "Democrats on this committee ignore Ukrainian election meddling, even though (DNC operative Alexandra) Chalupa publicly admitted to the Democrats' scheme."
  • Nov. 21: Jones served up another rant from Nunes huffing that Democrats "got caught covering up for Alexandra Chalupa, a Democratic National Committee operative who colluded with Ukrainian officials to smear the Trump Campaign by improperly redacting her name from deposition transcripts and refusing to let Americans hear her testimony as a witness in these proceedings."
  • Nov. 22: Jones repeated a letter by House Republicans requesting records on alleged Obama White House meetings with Demomcratic and Ukranian officials including "Alexandra Chalupa, a contractor for the DNC, who reportedly worked with Ukrainian government officials to undermine the Trump campaign."
In none of these articles, however, did Jones or Arter tell the full story of Chalupa -- presumably because that would expose the truth that anything Ukraine did regarding election interference was small potatoes compared to the systematic, large-scale interference conducted by Russia on behalf of Trump.

As that 2017 Politico article explained, Chalupa played a key role in helping to expose Trump adviser and campaign manager Paul Manafort's work in Ukraine. She stopped working for the DNC in mid-2016, but continued to pass along information about Manafort to other journalists. Chalupa has since said that the Ukranian government did not engage in a Russian-like interference campaign, and that efforts to attack her like the Republicans are doing originally began with Russia.

Given that Manafort was later convicted and sent to prison for bank and tax fraud regarding the millions of dollars he was paid for his work in Ukraine, Chalupa's work could hardly be called "anti-Trump dirt" -- no, more like in-depth reporting. CNS won't tell its readers that, of course, since keeping the allegations vague makes her sound more sinister than she is.

Jones uncritically repeated another GOP talking point in a Nov. 14 article, this time copying-and-pasting testimony from Republican Rep. John Radcliffe emphasizing that Ukranian president Volodymyr Zelensky (whose first name Jones once again failed to use in her article) has denied feeling pressure in that notorious phone call with Trump:

I think everyone knows that House Democrats have made up their mind to impeach one president. The question that we've just learned is, whether or not they're prepared to impeach two.

Because to be clear, if House Democrats impeach President Trump for a quid pro quo involving military aid, they have to call President Zelensky a liar. If they impeach him for abusing his power or pressuring or making threats or demands, they have to call President Zelensky a liar to do it. If they impeach President Trump for blackmail or extortion or making threats or demands, they have to call President Trump (he meant President Zelensky) a liar to do it.

But as an actual journalist reported, Zelensky's words are more nuanced than CNS and the GOP are portraying:

Zelensky ran for the presidency on an anti-corruption platform, and won in a landslide. Admitting to giving in to pressure — or admitting to pressuring independent members of his government to conduct investigations — would mean not only losing bipartisan support from the U.S. Congress but also destroying his credibility among Ukrainians.

After the Sept. 25 meeting with Trump, Zelensky met with Ukrainian journalists, who immediately asked him for clarification. He said that for him, it was simple: He didn’t want his words to be interpreted to mean that Ukraine would interfere in another country’s elections. Still speaking Ukrainian, he added: “That’s why I said, ‘No one canpressure me. And no one will pressure me.’ ”

In both colloquial Ukrainian and in colloquial Russian, “he pressured me” does not mean merely “I felt pressured.” Instead, it implies you’ve actually been compelled to do something. In Ukrainian politics, “pressure” (tysk) means not just applying pressure; it usually means that the person being pressured cooperated. In Zelensky’s statement to Ukrainian journalists that “no one can pressure me,” he was not commenting on Trump’s action; he was clarifying his own response.

If Zelensky had wanted to convey that there truly was no pressure involved, he could have said, “No one tried to pressure me.”

But CNS won't tell you that either, because it undermines the pro-Trump agenda its impeachment coverage is centered around.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:31 AM EST
Friday, November 29, 2019
CNS Trump-Defending Piece Undercut By CNS Story The Day Before
Topic: CNSNews.com

Susan Jones devoted a Nov. 13 CNSNews.com article to pushing a pro-Trump talking point as impeachment hearings were about to begin:

According to witnesses quoted in the Mueller report, even before he was elected president, Donald Trump was leery about the United States getting too involved with Ukraine.

During platform committee meetings in July 2016, before the Republican National Convention, a proposed amendment endorsing "lethal assistance" to Ukraine was watered down to read "appropriate assistance."

According to the Mueller report, J.D. Gordon, a senior Trump campaign advisor on policy and national security, diluted the proposed amendment. Instead of supporting "lethal" assistance to Ukraine in response to Russian aggression, Gordon requested that the platform committee revise the proposed amendment to state that only "appropriate" assistance be provided to Ukraine.

Gordon said he sought the change because he believed the proposed "lethal" language was inconsistent with Trump's position on Ukraine.

This talking point might have been more effective if CNS hadn't undercut it the day before by touting Trump surrogates bragging about Trump giving that "lethal assistance" to Ukraine. Patrick Goodenough wrote in a Nov. 12 article:

The fact that President Trump – unlike his predecessor – sent lethal military aid to Ukraine in the face of Russia’s aggression is “the real story that’s been lost in all this,” National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said Sunday, in reference to Democrats’ drive to impeach the president.

Appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” O’Brien recalled visiting Ukraine as an election monitor in 2014 and being asked by Ukrainians why “the arsenal of democracy” would not provide their country with military aid.

[...]

O’Brien said “the Obama-Biden administration” had provided “no military aid” to Ukraine, but “when President Trump got into office, he sent military aid.”

“So I think what people ought to be focusing on is the president has been helping the Ukrainians defend themselves by sending them lethal – lethal military aid to stand up to the Russians,” he said. “That’s the real story that’s been lost in all this.”

At the center of the impeachment push are allegations that Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine, in an attempt to pressure President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden.

“President Trump is the first president to send lethal military aid to Ukraine,” O’Brien reiterated. “I think it’s very important. And I think that’s something that’s been lost in – in all the hullabaloo about the – about the telephone call [between Trump and Zelensky on July 25].”

Jones did reference Goodenough's article in the final paragraph of her article -- even highlighting the O'Brien "hullabaloo" statement excerpted above -- but she did not address the fact that his surrogates promoting the aid Trump gave to Ukraine undercuts her talking point about Trump being "skeptical" of foreign aid. And it doesn't make for a suitable excuse for Trump putting a hold on that aid when it's become increasingly clear that he did so over his scheme to force Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:40 AM EST
Thursday, November 28, 2019
CNS' Jones Still Leaning On Trump-Zelensky Transcript
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've already highlighted how CNSnews.com writer Susan Jones has leaned heavily on the infamous July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky inserting excerpts of the released transcript of the conversation into several CNS articles in an attempt to defend Trump.

Jones used a Nov. 13 CNS article to lecture Rep. Adam Schiff for trying to keep the impeachment hearings focused on Trump's actions and not Republican obsessions over the Bidens:

Schiff, by shutting down questions about the Bidens and Ukraine’s alleged interference in the 2016 U. S. election, is refusing to allow Republicans to explore what Trump apparently believed when he spoke with Zelensky on July 25.

Certainly Trump’s personal attorney and close friend Rudy Giuliani believed Ukraine corruption impacted his client.

Giuliani has told various media outlets he spent months investigating "corruption at the highest levels of the Obama administration, which included illegal impact from Ukraine on the 2016 election. I was investigating this as an attorney to vindicate my client," Giuliani tweeted on Oct. 1. "It began and was largely done before Biden announced his run for President."

Giuliani alleges that Joe Biden "obstructed an investigation of Dem 2016 election interference" by forcing the firing of a former Ukraine prosecutor general.

Jones then spent several paragraphs once again summarizing the Trump-Zelensky call (as she did before, Jones once again omitted Zelensky's first name). She did, however, add a minor correction; after stating that Trump asked Zelensky to look into "a supposed Ukrainian link to the hacking of the DNC server," she parenthetically added, "The U.S. intelligence community blamed Russia, not Ukraine, for the hacking."

But she also wrote:

In 2018, Biden bragged that as the sitting vice president, he threatened to hold up a U.S. loan guarantee to Ukraine unless that country's prosecutor-general was fired. Biden and other witnesses have said Biden was carrying out U.S. and international efforts to get rid of a corrupt prosecutor.

But at the time, Biden's son Hunter was earning big money by sitting on the board of Burisma, a Ukraine energy company owned by an allegedly corrupt oligarch whom the Ukraine prosecutors had been investigating.

That is false. In fact, the corrupt prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, was not investigating Burisma or much other corruption in the country, which is why the U.S. and the international community wanted him gone. Not only that, the prosecutor had actually been shielding the head of Burisma by refusing to hand over documents in a British probe of the company.

That seems like important information for Jones to tell her readers. But defending Trump is her first priority, not reporting all relevant facts.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:22 AM EST
Tuesday, November 26, 2019
NEW ARTICLE: Spinning for Trump on Syria
Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com's main job when President Trump abruptly pulled U.S. troops out of Syria, allowing Turkey to attack U.S. allies in the region, was to portray Trump as correct and downplay criticism. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 12:19 AM EST
Sunday, November 24, 2019
CNS Writes Around Criticism of Rand Paul
Topic: CNSNews.com

In a Nov. 11 CNSNews.com article, Susan Jones touted how Republican Sen. Rand Paul, on NBC's "Meet the Press," "said it's not fair to impeach President Trump for doing "the same thing that Joe Biden did" -- threatening aid to Ukraine if some kind of corruption was not investigated":

Chuck Todd, the host of NBC's "Meet the Press," said he wanted to "set aside what Vice President Biden did." He asked Paul if it's "appropriate" for President Trump to withhold U.S. military aid until the Ukrainians agreed to publicly announce corruption investigations involving the 2016 U.S. election and the Bidens:

"I think there is a real question whether you think the president should specifically go after one person, but there is a real question whether Joe Biden should have gone after one prosecutor. It's exactly the same scenario," Paul responded.

"There is a real question about that. But if it were me, I wouldn't give them the aid, because we don't have the money. We have to borrow the money from China to send it to Ukraine, so I'm against the aid. And I think it's a mistake to do the aid, so I wouldn't have played any games. But I think the American people think it's unfair to treat Trump under one standard and Joe Biden under a different standard."

An hour later, Jones wrote another article based on the same edition of "Meet the Press," this time focusing on Democratic Rep. Jim Himes saying that testimony in the impeachment hearings would feature "immensely patriotic, beautifully articulate people telling the story of a president who -- let's forget quid pro quo, quid pro quo is one of these things to muddy the works -- who extorted a vulnerable country by holding up military aid"and arguing that Trump "acted criminally and extorted in a way a mob boss would extort somebody, a vulnerable foreign country."

Jones added: "Himes argued that "what the president did was wrong and impeachable," nothing at all like Joe Biden holding up a loan guarantee until Ukraine fired the prosecutor-general; and nothing at all like Hillary Clinton using foreigners to do opposition research on Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign."

Jones did not, however, write an article on what happened between those two segments: Himes destroyed Paul's argument that Biden acted no different that Trump is alleged to have done, specifically articulating why that's the case in a way that Jones' one-paragraph summary glossed over, and criticized Todd for not pointing out that fact:

Chuck, if you'll, if you'll grant me one second here, my head is only now decombusting from the exchange you had with Rand Paul. I've spent 11 years in public service defending the press, and when Senator Rand Paul comes on and says that what Donald Trump did -- and the transcript is there -- extorting a foreign government for his personal political gain, and that's exactly the same thing as Joe Biden, "Exactly the same thing," is what he said [...] When Joe Biden is acting in consistency with American foreign policy and back then we had a whole list of things that had to be done and this was American foreign policy, it was European Union policy, it was IMF policy that this prosecutor needed to go. When Rand Paul says that that's exactly the same thing as the president of the United States saying, "You need to find dirt on my political opponent," and with all due respect, Chuck, when you say, "Well, do two wrongs make a right?" Let's be very clear. The president of the United States demanding, extorting a vulnerable country to do his political bidding, to go after his opponent, has nothing to do with Joe Biden executing the foreign policy of the United States or Hillary Clinton, who is a private citizen, doing opposition research on her, on her presidential opponent. Those are radically different things. What the President did is wrong and impeachable.

If Jones was a fair and balanced reporter, she would have provided this information to her readers in the same manner that she gave Paul an uncritical platform to spin his bogus claims. But, of course, we know she's not.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:06 AM EST
Friday, November 22, 2019
CNS Reporter Loves Her Pro-Trump Boilerplate
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've documented how CNSNews.com's most aggressive defender of President Trump, Susan Jones, has copied-and-pasted her pro-Trump defenses, heavy on transcript excerpts from the notorious phone call between Trump and Ukranian President Volodomyr Zelensky. But she does good condescending pro-Trump boilerplate too.

In a Nov. 14 article, Jones hurls pro-Trump talking points at Nancy Pelosi after reporting her statement that Trump engaged in "bribery" in withholding military aid to Ukraine in exchange for a promise that the country would conduct an investigation into the Ukranian company Joe Biden's son worked for:

For the record, the summary of Trump's July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president does not show that President Trump threatened to withhold military aid in exchange for anything, although he did say the Ukraine president would be doing him a favor by looking into alleged Ukraine efforts to work against Trump in 2016. Later in that conversation, Trump brought up the Bidens, saying that their dealings with Ukraine sounded "horrible."

Unfortunately for Jones' boilerplate, it's since been revealed that Trump moved to withhold the aid as early as the beginning of July, and that Ukraine was likely aware of it at the time of the Trmp-Zelensky phone call -- making the question of whether that was discussed during the call irrelevant.

Jones had some more talking points to spread around after repeating another quote from Pelosi:

"The president used power and violated his oath by threatening to withhold military aid and a White House meeting in exchange for an investigation into his political rival -- a clear attempt by the president to give himself the advantage in the 2020 election."

As Republicans have noted, the aid eventually flowed; President Zelensky never made a public statement about investigations; and both presidents said they were very satisfied with the phone call in which Democrats insist a bribe was made.

Jones conveniently leaves out the fact that the aid "eventually flowed" only after a Politico story revealing that Trump had blocked the aid, which blew up the negotiations with Ukraine to get an investigation announced. And it turns out Zelensky may not have been telling the full truth about the call; it's since been reported that he did indeed feel pressure from the Trump administration even before the call, and it's likely that Zelensky is publicly denying feeling pressure in an attempt to not upset Trump and keep U.S. aid flowing.

But as with its parent, the Media Research Center, perpetuating Trump-friendly political narratives comes before reporting the full truth at CNS.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:58 AM EST
Thursday, November 21, 2019
CNS Lazily Recycling Repubican Attack Lines
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com is so slavishly devoted to the pro-Trump narrataive on impeachment that it's just lazily rehashing the same Republican talking points.

For instances, an Oct. 31 article by Melanie Arter is headlined "McCarthy: This Is an Attempt to Undo the Last Election and Influence the Next One" and states: 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Thursday the impeachment is not just an attempt to undo the last election, it is an attempt to influence the next one as well.

Speaking on the House floor, McCarthy said “elections have consequences” and Americans “used their vote to choose who will work for them.”

[...]

“It is about the integrity of our electoral process. Democrats are trying to impeach the president, because they are scared they cannot defeat him at the ballot box. That's not my words. That's the words of my colleagues from the other side of the aisle that has offered impeachment three different times,” McCarthy said.

“This impeachment is not only an attempt to undo the last election, it is an attempt to influence the next one as well. This is not what Democrats promised when they entered the majority 11 months ago,” he said.

Then, on Nov. 4, Susan Jones wrote an article headlined "McCarthy: Democrats Trying to Change Outcome of 2016 Election and Influence the Next One," stating:

The Democrats' impeachment inquiry is a partisan effort to undo the last presidential election and influence the one coming up, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

"Never in our history have we ever moved through with what's such a partisan impeachment movement. This is unheard of," McCarthy said.

"And what they're trying to do -- remember, what is today? November 3. We are exactly one year away from Americans going to the polls to vote for the president. They're trying to change the outcome of 2016 and influence the next one."

That's right: CNS devoted two articles five days apart to pushing the same exact talking point by the exact same Republican politician, albeit in two different places.

That's some serious dedication to pushing a narrative. Or is it just that CNS editors don't actually read the website they work for before posting stories to it?


Posted by Terry K. at 3:43 PM EST
Tuesday, November 19, 2019
CNS Touts How 'Pelosi Caves' On Impeachment Vote -- But Much Less Cheering About The Vote
Topic: CNSNews.com

When House Democrats agreed to hold a formal vote on an impeachment inquiry into President Trump, CNSNews.com immediately found a pro-Trump angle by arguing capitulation to the president. The headline on an Oct. 28 post by Craig Bannister read, "Pelosi Caves to Republican Demands for Impeachment Vote, Transparency, Due Process, Rules." He continued:

Even though President Donald Trump’s call for a full House vote on Democrats’ impeachment inquiry “has no merit,” the vote will take place, anyway, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) declared Monday.

“Multiple past impeachments have gone forward without any authorizing resolutions,” Rep. Pelosi said in a letter to her Democrat [sic] colleagues announcing that a full House vote will be held this week, reportedly, on Thursday. The resolution “affirms the ongoing, existing investigation that is currently being conducted by our committees,” Pelosi writes. But, as The Wall Street Journal reports, "This isn't a vote to authorize starting an impeachment inquiry."

But when the actual vote took place, there was much less enthusiasm, even though its passage in the Democratic-controlled House was never in doubt. So unenthusiastic was CNS that editor in chief Terry Jeffrey couldn't even be bothered to add much of his operation's trademark bias and wrote a longish, relatively straight and balanced Oct. 31 article on the vote.

But don't worry -- Melanie Arter served up a much more biased version focusing on Trump White House complaints about a purported lack of due process, despite the fact that due process is generally not granted during the investigation phase of any criminal proceeding (which, of course, Arter failed to mention).


Posted by Terry K. at 12:34 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, November 19, 2019 12:35 AM EST

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