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Saturday, August 17, 2019
Mysterious MRC Sports Blogger Dumps On LeBron-Funded School
Topic: Media Research Center

Last year, amid a fit of LeBron Derangement Syndrome at the Media Research Center, mysterious sports blogger Jay Maxson attacked the school in Akron, Ohio, that basketball superstar LeBron James is funding to help underprivileged students, then attacked the media for writing nice things about it "before the first report cards have been issued," sneering that "these young children should do well in political science class" because James has committed the offense of talking about things that don't involve sports.

A year later, Maxson is still attacking James and his school. In a July 17 post, Maxson disdained an article about the school's "emphasis on self esteem and unorthodox teaching methods," though he/she conceded that "students improved significantly from the beginning to the end of the first academic year."

After noting that the school does things that help students by engaging in "trauma-informed" practices and community service, Maxson still found a way to dismissively undercut the school's achievements:

The children are rallying behind LeBron James, [writer Hanif] Abdurraqib says, because his "drive and passion seeps into the spaces he occupies ... ." James is said to have widened the path for these children.

Very wide. Among the values stressed at the school is that everything is earned rather than given. However, students at I Promise School will automatically receive scholarships at Akron University whether they are academically earned or not.

It seems Maxson must always stay on the attack -- even a school that even he/she admits is doing good things.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:00 AM EDT
Friday, August 16, 2019
MRC's Antidote to 'Liberal' Spanish-Language Networks: A Trump Propagandist
Topic: Media Research Center

A July 31 MRC Latino post by Kathleen Krumhansl began with the usual "liberal" bashing of Spanish-language TV networks:

Since 2015, the nation's liberal media, both mainstream and Hispanic, have super-glued themselves to the same rhetoric towards President Donald Trump, using his references to the problems brought about by illegal immigration as a mantra to compel conformity to their political agenda. The latest example came on June 25th, 2019.

Spanish-language news anchors, including Jorge Ramos and José Díaz-Balart, have taken Trump's warnings about dangerous, illegal immigrants crossing the border as personal insults. Both Telemundo and Univision went about it AGAIN as recently as the launch of the Republican Party's Latino campaign in Florida on June 25, 2019, as part of their coverage of the first Democratic presidential candidate debate, which was also held in Miami.

This was followed by clips of people Krumhansl didn't like, then a transition to the actual meat of the post:

But how does the conservative Latino community feel about the constant references to the President's 2015 speech - “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best… They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

MRC Latino's Miguel Leal interviewed Bianca Gracía, Vice President of Latinos for Trump, who was also at the Republican voter campaign event in Miami where the above mentioned interviews took place.

Her answer: “They're strongly mistaken and if that's the best that they have right now, that´s pretty sad that they can't come up with a different message to combat this President,” referring to “the old stuff from 2015-2016 so often repeated by the liberals.”

Yes, that's MRC Latino's antidote to the supposedly "lliberal" Spanish-language TV networks: a pro-Trump propagandist. Leal served up softball questions, and García answered them like a pro-Trump pro, especially toward the end (bolding in original):

In the words of García, her perception, and that of members of the conservative Hispanic population, is that the current administration is delivering, securing a low unemployment rate and providing jobs. In her words “our luchador (fighter) in the White House.

Yes, she actually said that. Of course, when most modern folk -- Mexicans and Americans alike -- hear the the word "luchador," they think of masked Mexican wrestlers. Not an image anyone has ever connected to Trump.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:20 PM EDT
Thursday, August 15, 2019
MRC Hammers On Dayton Shooter's Leftist Views To Counter Trump Rhetoric Link To El Paso Shooter
Topic: Media Research Center

We noted in passing that part of the Media Research Center's playbook on protecting President Trump from fallout linked to his anti-immigrant rhetoric mirroring that of the El Paso massacre perpetrator was to play whataboutism by hyping the far-left views of the Dayton massacre perpetrator and, specifically, his alleged support for Elizabeth Warren. The extent to which the MRC beat that particular drum in the first few days after the massacres is rather amazing ... almost as if MRC writers were under orders to manufacture a specific narrative.

-- CBS This Morning hosts jumped on the Democratic effort to blame this weekend’s horrific mass slaughters on Donald Trump. ... [CBS correspondent Chip] Reid made no mention of the Ohio shooter’s alleged support for socialism, gun control and Elizabeth Warren. -- Scott Whitlock, Aug. 5

-- Monday morning following horrific, deadly mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas over the weekend, as well as Gilroy, California last week, the networks were eager to pin blame on President Trump for “fueling” the violence with his “hateful rhetoric” against immigrants. What they were not eager to do was point out that the alleged social media accounts of one of these shooters revealed he was a radical leftist, who supported socialism, antifa, and Elizabeth Warren for president. -- Kristine Marsh, Aug. 5

-- During coverage of the horrific mass shootings that happened over the weekend, on Monday, NBC’s Todayshow eagerly touted Democrats rushing to blame President Trump’s rhetoric for the attack in El Paso, Texas. ... Amazingly, none of the network morning shows on Monday mentioned reports that the shooter in Dayton, Ohio was a self-described “leftist,” Antifa supporter, and fan of liberal politicians like Elizabeth Warren. -- Kyle Drennen, Aug. 5

-- Celebrities, includingAvengersstar Don Cheadle, rapper Cardi B, Golden State Warriors Coach Steve Kerr and pop star Bebe Rexha, blasted President Trump and Republicans for inspiring the violence through “racist” rhetoric and lamented the lack of gun-control. Still no word on whether they acknowledge that the onus of the murders is on the crazies who pulled the triggers, one of whom was a self-described "leftist" who supported ANTIFA violence and Elizabeth Warren's bid for the presidency. -- Gabriel Hays, Aug. 5

-- The actual nature of the shootings that occurred over the weekend also contradicted Scarborough’s premise. One of them was committed by a white supremacist and the other by a crazed leftist who supported Elizabeth Warren, yet the blame was put squarely on President Trump.-- Gregory Price, Aug. 5

-- [Columnist Charles] Blow (pictured) tried to suggest Dayton shooter Betts was motivated by anti-black racism, ignoring his alleged Twitter account where, as NewsBusters Kristine Marsh pointed out, “he identified as a ‘leftist’ ‘atheist’ who wanted socialism, and he said he’d vote for Elizabeth Warren. -- Clay Waters, Aug. 5

-- So far, broadcast networks ABC, CBS, and NBC have spent a combined 77 minutes on their flagship morning and evening newscasts covering Sunday’s horrific shooting in Dayton, Ohio. However, as these networks on Tuesday morning delved into the alleged shooter’s disturbing past and personal life, none of them spent even a second of air time discussing his apparent “leftist” political views. -- Bill D'Agostino, Aug. 6

-- CBS This Morning on Tuesday scored an exclusive interview with the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. So, of course, co-host Anthony Mason used the opportunity to push Kevin McAleenan on Donald Trump’s culpability for this weekend’s mass killings. ... One question that didn’t come up was the Dayton shooter’s alleged support for Elizabeth Warren, Antifa, socialism and other left-wing causes. -- Scott Whitlock, Aug. 6

-- As NewsBusters research analyst Bill D’Agostino exposed Tuesday afternoon, the liberal broadcast networks were doing their best to avoid telling their viewers that the gunman behind the Dayton mass shooting was an admitted ‘leftist.’ But hours later, ABC’s World News Tonight was the first flagship network news program to break that trend when they footnoted that fact. Meanwhile, the flagship CBS and NBC newscasts were still avoiding it like the plague. ... Unfortunately, ABC still didn’t mention the fact that the shooter was a big fan of 2020 presidential hopeful Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Antifa, or his anti-gun stance. -- Nicholas Fondacaro, Aug. 6

-- The journalists at CBS This Morning on Thursday resorted to the “critics” say line of attack to link Donald Trump the mass slaughter seen this past weekend. ... No mention, of course, was made of the Dayton, Ohio shooter who endorsed Antifa violence and Elizabeth Warren and called himself a "leftist."-- Scott Whitlock, Aug. 8

-- While [Bill] Maher had no problem tying the El Paso shooter to President Trump, he remained mum on the political beliefs of the Dayton shooter; who described himself as a “leftist” and supported liberal Senator Elizabeth Warren. -- Ryan Foley, Aug. 10

That's what's called a narrative.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:55 PM EDT
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
MRC Defends, Deflects From Blaming Trump's Rhetoric After Massacres
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has had some weird freakouts in the aftermath of the El Paso and Dayton massacres, blaming Dr. Seuss and melting down over a planned CNN townhall (and let's not forget that pre-massacre post denying that white supremacy was an issue). But protecting President Trump is Job 1 at the MRC, and it tried its best to spin away the fairly obvious link between Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric and that in the El Paso shooter's manifesto.

Scott Whitlock whined that CBS "uncritically parroted talking points from the 2020 contenders on how the President should is [sic] responsible" -- thus invoking the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy that assumes any action reported on a newscast is automatically an endorement of that action. Nicholas Fondacaro took a similar tack, ranting that by repeating what Democratic presidential candidates said, ABC was "spewing the liberal hate that demanded that President Trump be considered the cause of the violence." He didn't mention the shooter's manifesto, even though it had been reported on before his item was posted. Kyle Drennen kept this narrative alive, complaining that "the Today show eagerly touted Democrats rushing to blame President Trump’s rhetoric for the attack in El Paso, Texas."

In another post, Fondacaro declared that "The liberal media hate machine was running at full steam on Sunday in the wake of two mass shootings the left wanted to blame President Trump for" and that "the liberal media has taken every opportunity to smear and label Trump voters as racist and worthy of contempt." Fondacaro didn't mention the double standard of how he and his employer treat Democratic politicians and voters as worthy of contempt.

From there, it was time for massacre whataboutism. Cue Kristine Marsh:

Monday morning following horrific, deadly mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas over the weekend, as well as Gilroy, California last week, the networks were eager to pin blame on President Trump for “fueling” the violence with his “hateful rhetoric” against immigrants. What they were not eager to do was point out that the alleged social media accounts of one of these shooters revealed he was a radical leftist, who supported socialism, antifa, and Elizabeth Warren for president.

[...]

While it is the media’s responsibility to share unverified information responsibly, they’ve already shown they don't care about acting ethically or responsibly when it comes to these tragedies, by immediately blaming Trump for any violent act that happens in this country.

Whitlock reacted badly to a reporter who pointed out that the shooter's language on immigration was "almost identical" to Trump's, huffing: "Almost identical? In his manifesto, the alleged killer offered support for the mass murder in Christchurch, New Zealand. He ranted about the “great replacement” of white people and discussed the best way to pull off a mass killing. That’s identical?" Whitlock is being dishonest here; the reporter specifically referenced the language similarly "with regard to illegal immigration" -- as he quoted the reporter saying earlier in his piece.

Whitlock went on to suggest Trump's post-massacre speech critical of white supremacy somehow indemnified him from criticism over his previous racially charged remarks, lamenting that the speech "wasn't enough" for some.Marsh took a similar tack, lamenting that some "slammed Trump’s words as 'empty' and 'lacking self-reflection' on how his 'rhetoric contributed' to these shootings."

Bill D'Aogstino followed by complaining that the speech didn't stop some in the media from assigning blame to Trump. He then tried a lame whataboutism: "Since Sunday, supposedly objective reporters have framed the President’s supposed culpability as established fact. If these members of the press truly believe that the President’s rhetoric is responsible for the deaths of dozens of innocents, one wonders how they would like us to assess their own rhetoric about him and his administration."

Fondacaro similarly complained: "Despite President Trump’s full-throated denunciation of racism and white supremacy on Monday, NBC Nightly News was determined to place the weekend’s mass shootings at his feet."

Marsh whined again that an MSNBC correspondent was "sounding more like a Democrat [sic] politician" by claiming he said "it was 'clear as day' he was to blame for this weekend’s shootings."

Under the hyperbolic headline "Mulvaney RIPS INTO Chuck Todd Over Atrocious Shooting Blame Game," Drennen cheered a servile Trump White House official doing his job by defending the president.

Clay Waters returned to the massacre whataboutism narrative, claiming a New York Times columnist "tried to suggest Dayton shooter Betts was motivated by anti-black racism, ignoring his alleged Twitter account where, as NewsBusters Kristine Marsh pointed out, 'he identified as a "leftist" "atheist" who wanted socialism, and he said he’d vote for Elizabeth Warren. In his tweets, he supported antifa using violence against "white supremacists" and "right wingers" even calling the antifa terrorist who attacked an ICE facility in Tacoma, Washington, a "martyr."'"

Whitlock returned to grouse that "The Daily Show" made a compare-and-contrast video between the shooter's manifesto and rhetoric on Fox News, calling it "ugly" and "a pure political attack on Fox." At no point did Whitlock dispute the similarities between the two.

(Ironically, in another example of a post that didn't age well, Brad Wilmouth complained in a July 24 post -- just 11 days before the El Paso massacre -- that a CNN guest suggested that Fox News gave racists and white supremacists a platform. Wilmouth then tried an incredibly lame bit of whataboutism by claiming that a chart showing that right-wing violence is a threat "manages to overlook the substantial amounts of violence committed by Americans who go on to register as Democrats after being released from prison.")

And Drennen was appalled that anyone would like a commentary that pointed out flaws in American culture that ought to be addessed:

On Tuesday afternoon, MSNBC hosts Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle marveled at an unhinged diatribe delivered by left-wing Princeton University professor and MSNBC contributor Eddie Glaude during Monday’s Deadline: White House. In the nasty rant, Glaude dismissed the “myth” of American “goodness,” referred to the conservative Tea Party movement as the “ugly underbelly of the country,” and labeled President Trump the “manifestation of the ugliness that’s in us.” 

[...]

Rather than challenge a single portion of Glaude’s racially-charged rhetoric, on Tuesday, host Ali Velshi simply praised the incendiary remarks: “Powerful words from Eddie. Hard to fathom, hard to sort of digest. But there is nothing I can debate him on that one. There is nothing I could tell him he’s wrong about.” Ruhle chimed in: “If it’s hard to digest, I recommend watching it again.”

It’s bad enough that MSNBC brings on left-wing rhetorical bomb throwers like Glaude, let alone that supposedly objective journalists like Ruhle and Velshi then endorse such language.

Meanwhile, nobody at the MRC has offered any criticism whatsoever of Trump's racially charged rhetoric.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:41 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, August 15, 2019 6:14 PM EDT
Tuesday, August 13, 2019
MRC Unhappy That Dead Conservative Is Remembered As A Biased, Terrible Person
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Scott Whitlock complained in a July 20 post:

The Washington Post on Friday couldn’t let old rivalries go, even in death. The paper’s obituary for long time Washington Times editor Wesley Pruden dripped with contempt for the “defiantly abrasive” conservative and his paper. In fact, the paper offered nicer coverage to Fidel Castro, hailing the dead dictator as a “romantic figure in olive-drab fatigues and combat boots.”

Whitlock didn't link to the Post obituary on Castro but, rather, his bosses Tim Graham and Brent Bozell's column complaining about it. They -- and, thus, Whitlock -- didn't mention that the obituary also stated that Under [Castro's] reign, Havana eventually became something of a Marxist Disneyland — a shiny, happy veneer over something much uglier," pointing out that "impoverished Cubans lived in crumbling homes on rationed food. Teenage prostitutes openly offered their services to tourists." It also stated that some Cubans "clearly feared a leader who imprisoned tens of thousands of his enemies over the years, often on little more than a whim. ... Many Cubans would not offer criticism of their leader for fear of being overheard by government informants, who lived on practically every block."

Anyway, back to Pruden. Whitlock complained that the Post obituary "had to warn readers of how dangerously conservative the Times is" --  in fact, all the obituary did is point out that the Times is a highly biased newspaper and that Pruden played a key role in that by editing stories to make them even further right-wing than they may have already been, a process that's been called "Prudenizing."

We though Whitlock and the rest of the MRC opposed media bias. Apparently, bias is OK as long as the MRC approves of the bias being offered.

Whitlock went on to grouse that the obit "cited notable liberal outlets and journalists." One of which was David Brock, who wrote for the Times as a dedicated conservative before turning liberal, so that was actually germane; the other he pointed out was the left-leaning journal The Nation, which had done an expose on the paper. Whitlock clipped a short ellipsis-beginning segment pointing out that The Nation found that Pruden and then-managing editor Fran Coombs "had fostered an atmosphere that was 'profoundly demeaning and abusive to women and minorities.'"

It seems that Whitlock decided that describing Pruden as a acting in a racist and sexist manner to subordinates was less damaging than describing him as a neo-Confederate.

But the part before the ellipsis, which Whitlock made sure not to clip, highlighted how The Nation echoed reporting from the Southern Poverty Law Center that Pruden ran a weekly Civil War page in the paper that the SPLC said helped "to popularize extremist ideas and neo-Confederate sympathy." Whitlock similarly ignored the obit's statement that Pruden's namesake father was a white supremacist in Arkansas who led a group that "tried to block the desegregation of Little Rock High School."

Whitlock by the way, did not challenge the accuracy of these claims -- only complained that they were reported. He did, however, complain about one other claim, that Pruden had been fired by a publication in the 1970s for manufacturing quotes, scoffing at the Post's attribution of this to "some accounts." If Whitlock had bothered to do a quick internet search, he would have found that this was apparently first reported by the SPLC in 2003.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:16 PM EDT
Monday, August 12, 2019
MRC Thinks Dr. Seuss Is To Blame For El Paso Massacre
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Reserach Center loves to attack media outlets that put the blame on President Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric for the El Paso massacre, in which the whtie supuremacist suspect has expressed anti-immigrant sentiments and said he was targeting Hispanics. But the MRC weirdly has no problem going farther afield to assign blame -- namely, Dr. Seuss.

Corinne Weaver ranted in an Aug. 6 MRC post:

You can’t buy a Confederate flag on Amazon, but you can read literature that helped inspire one of the deadliest shootings in the United States. 

The Lorax, a children’s book by Dr. Seuss, was a recommended title in the El Paso shooter’s alleged manifesto. In fact, it was the only title referenced in the entire four-page document. And while an Amazon user can’t buy guns or Confederate flags, the book is readily available. 

That probably sounds ludicrous, banning a book because it was cited by a terrorist. But that’s the media mindset. Only they aren’t pressing Amazon over The Lorax.

USA Today wrote that “white supremacist ideologies” and “white power manifestos” are one click away on Amazon and Amazon products. The article never even referenced the only title mentioned in the manifesto. 

[...]

Nothing is sacred. But if the media and tech platforms are so interested in taking down the inspirations for mass shootings and crimes, then why aren’t Jodie Foster films like Taxi Driver banned? 

In a written statement to the MRC, Amazon stated, “We’re committed to providing a positive customer experience and have policies that outline what products may be sold in our stores. We invest significant time and resources to ensure our content guidelines are followed, and remove products that do not adhere to our guidelines-- which can be found here for books. We are always listening to customer feedback and evaluating our policy.”

8chan was taken down because it was called “lawless.” The platform where the shooter published his manifesto was punished on August 5 when two network providers refused to host the site any further. 

Yes, Weaver is really agitating for Amazon -- and, presumably, bookstores and libraries all over America -- to censor and ban "The Lorax." And she actually contacted Amazon for comment. (Weaver, by the way, doesn't understand that Google is not a retailer.)

Oddly, Weaver seems much more conciliatory toward 8chan, putting "lawless" in scare quotes and lamenting that it was "punished" for being chock full o' racists like the El Paso shooter. (Weaver also thinks that Gab, another haven for white supremacists, is merely about "free speech.")

The MRC is weirdly committed to this talking point, by the way. Joseph Vazquez huffed in a post the same day:

Following the murder of 20 people by a racist terrorist in El Paso, Texas, the liberal media cherry-picked portions of his alleged manifesto to connect him to the right. But some ignored portions that cited The Lorax as an inspiration for his views — a book and movie the liberal media used to love to promote because of its environmental agenda.

[...]

It cited the Dr. Seuss’ fable writing, “This phenomenon is brilliantly portrayed in the decades-old classic ‘The Lorax.’ Watersheds around the country, especially in agricultural areas, are being depleted. Fresh water is being polluted from farming and oil-drilling operations.” He attacked “consumer culture” for plastic and e-waste, complained about urban sprawl, the use of paper towels and the unwillingness of people to change their lifestyles.”

Many of those environmental attitudes are promoted by the liberal media. In 2012, it fawned over the updated Lorax movie adaptation was released. NBC’s Today, CBS New York, Huffington Post and others celebrated its environmental messaging.

Strangely (or maybe not so strangely), neither Weaver nor Vazquez cited any particular passage in "The Lorax" that could possibly be interpreted as encouraging a white supremacist to murder Hispanics. Perhaps because, you know, there isn't any and the MRC is just trying to spin away Trump's much closer connection to the attitudes in the shooter's manifesto. 


Posted by Terry K. at 5:27 PM EDT
Sunday, August 11, 2019
MRC Mad Media Won't Embrace Fox News' Favorite Mueller Conspiracy Theories
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Rich Noyes complains in a July 23 post:

Weeks before he was even subpoenaed, Special Counsel Robert Mueller signaled his testimony before two House committees would not go beyond the conclusions of his already-released report. If true, it will disappoint liberal journalists still hoping for smoking-gun testimony that might rejuvenate the faltering cause of impeaching President Trump.

But there’s at least one way this nationally-televised forum can make news, and that’s by a highly public airing of controversies that aren’t even addressed in the Mueller Report, namely, the lingering questions of bias regarding how the probe began in 2016 and how Mueller’s team subsequently handled the investigation.

Noyes goes on to serve up one of his extremely narrowly tailored "studies," complaining that the nightly network newscasts "have barely mentioned some of the crucial unresolved questions surrounding the investigation’s bias." These include "the Strzok-Page text messages," "the Democratic-funded dossier," and "allegedly misleading the FISA court." Noyes also cited "other accusations of bias," such as President Trump's complaint that "the investigation was the result of bias within the Obama Justice Department and FBI."

But Noyes is simply repeating Fox News-inspired right-wing conspiracy theories (whiich may be one reason why he didn't include Fox News in his "media reserarch"). Media Matters summarizes this very well:

But Fox’s counternarrative is based on falsehood and fantasy. It claims a dossier assembled by a former British intelligence officer and funded by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee kicked off the probe (it didn’t), cites a FISA warrant against a former Trump campaign aide as evidence of an anti-Trump conspiracy (it isn’t), misreads text messages between FBI officials to suggest they show an all-out effort to stop Trump’s election (they don’t), and smears Mueller and members of his team as having conflicts of interest (they don’t).

The MRC, however, isn't moved by the facts, only by the determination to prop up right-wing narratives. For instance, a post by Kristine Marsh after Mueller's testimony linked back to Noyes' post in whining that the media "kept ludicrously characterizing Mueller as an apolitical player, ignoring all the anti-Trump controversies attached to his investigation.

Marsh wrote another post bashing NBC's Andrea Mitchell for highlighting how Republicans are trying to attack Mueller's nonpartisan investigation as a partisan exercise: "Mitchell didn’t come up with this line of attack on her own. ABC and CNN journalists also employed the same tactic in their post-hearing analysis of deflect, deflect, deflect from the Mueller team’s partisan controversies to slam Republicans as the partisan ones."

To coin a phrase: Marsh didn't come up with that line of attack on her own.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:40 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, August 11, 2019 6:54 PM EDT
Saturday, August 10, 2019
MRC's Graham Has A Sad That Covington Kids' Dubious Lawsuit Got Thrown Out Of Court
Topic: Media Research Center

We've documented how the Media Research Center served as the unpaid (we think) PR agent for the lawyers for the Covington teens in their overheated, greedy $250 million defamation lawsuit against the Washington Post, despite said lawsuit being more of a right-wing manifesto than a credible legal action.

Well, that lawsuit got unceremoniously tossed out of court last month -- and, of course, the MRC whined about the purported injustice.

In a July 27 post headlined "Freedom of Smear," Tim Graham was unhappy that the First Amendment protects opinion: "This is standard First Amendment stuff: the Post is free to report false things to please their liberal readers, and claim that they're the truth."

You know who else has the freedom to smear people? The Media Research Center. And it does that all the time -- most notoriously when Graham's boss, Brent Bozell, called President Obama a "skinny ghetto crackhead." Does Graham think Obama should have sued Bozell over that bit of defamation? Unlikely. Does Graham think the MRC should be sued because one of its writers told a delliberate falsehood about CBS it refuses to correct? Even more unlikely.

Graham then moved quickly to whining:

But the Post's statement after the victory was obnoxious.  "From our first story on this incident to our last, we sought to report fairly and accurately the facts that could be established from available evidence, the perspectives of all of the participants, and the comments of the responsible church and school officials." 

This is not true in the slightest. We gave the Post a grade of "Ugly" for its reporting:

The MRC is hardly an objective arbiter of others' reporting, and it has shown an unambigous hatred for everything Post-related.Indeed, one of the purportedly "ugly" things the MRC claims the Post did was that it "published a nasty blog post on 'The Catholic Church’s shameful history of Native American abuses.'" The MRC did not disprove the accuracy of that post, only complain that someone wrote it.

The MRC revels in that "freedom of smear" that Graham purportedly decries -- but only as long as nobody holds it accountable for doing so, even as it demands that others be sanctioned.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:59 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, August 11, 2019 12:53 PM EDT
Friday, August 9, 2019
Bad Timing: Before El Paso Massacre, MRC Dismissed White Supremacy As Liberal 'Strawman'
Topic: Media Research Center

Some right-wing attack pieces don't age well. For instance, a July 25 Media Research Center piece by Gabriel Hays attacking HBO's upcoming "Watchmen" series for focusing on white supremacy. Hays writes:

What’s one more woke comic book action series in the litany of woke comic book action series? HBO is set to premiere its new mainline superhero series based on the legendary Watchmen graphic novel in the fall, and guess what societal threat our crime fighters will be dealing with this time: White supremacy.

Good heavens, we get it.

The original Watchmen (written in 1986) was part crime-fighting action epic, part political commentary with its characters having to operate in a world dealing with the existential threat of nukes and Cold War politics. HBO’s new version of Watchmen is a reimagination of the crime fighting saga, set around the sociopolitical currents of modern America. Since this is the ever-woke entertainment industry, the main political struggles have to revolve around racism.

Hays then attacked Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose work apparently informed the writers for the series, as a "radical race author" and a "premier race-baiter" (and, for good measure, a "Trump-hater"). After the series' creator David Lindelof pointed out how the anti-black Tulsa race riots had been mostly suppressed from history, Hays huffed:

The power of being embarrassed by something he’d never done was so strong for Lindelof that he made sure the new iteration of Watchmen would be about the “formidable” power of white supremacy, a premise that makes older sci-fi/action villains look like kiddie material, apparently. Lindelof stated, “In a traditional superhero movie, the bad guys are fighting the aliens and when they beat the aliens, the aliens go back to their planet and everybody wins. There’s no defeating white supremacy. It’s not going anywhere, but it felt like it was a pretty formidable foe.”

How tense, how thrilling! White supremacy will never not be a viable strawman for these progressive showrunners. Their idea that “there’s no defeating it” allows for an eternity of depicting white men as brutal overlords.

Nine days after Hays dismissed the issue of white supremacy as a "strawman" invoked by "progressive showrunners," a man who cited white supremacist ideas murdered more than 20 people in El Paso, many of them Hispanics, for whom the killer declared his hatred.

Nope, this didn't age well at all.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:49 PM EDT
Thursday, August 8, 2019
MRC's Claim That CBS Lied Is A Lie
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is going off the deep end in its desperate campaign to protect President Trump and the gun lobby in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton massacres. So much so, in fact, it's actually spreading lies.

The MRC's Nicholas Fondacaro went on a tirade against CBS in an Aug. 5 post, attacking the CBS Evening News for featuring survivors of the Parkland massacre, then smearing the Parkland survivors as whiners for highlighting the lack of progress in "their efforts to push gun control."Fonbacaro's attack then devolved into outright falsehoods (extraneous bolding in original):

Diaz began by introducing the audience to Delaney Tarr, who she noted was a “Parkland survivor-turned social activist.” After Diaz reported that Tarr “helped start March for Our Lives, the national movement against gun violence that grew out of last year’s school massacre,” she erroneously declared that “566 mass shootings” have occurred since the group was founded.

That statistic was an absolute lie. By no reliable and/or reasonable measure have there been that many mass shootings. It was a statistic cooked up by anti-gun special interest groups trying to scare people into banning guns. If that number were true, then CBS News would be failing to do their jobs because they’ve only reported on a fraction of a fraction of them.

Actually, the absolute liar here is Fondacaro. The number is not a lie -- and it is a reliable and reasonable measure. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel details:

As lawmakers mulled over how to prevent more gun violence after 17 students and teachers were killed in Parkland early last year, 566 more mass shootings have devastated the country since.

Two of the deadliest incidents traumatized El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, this weekend when 31 people were shot and killed in the two cities in less than 24 hours.

The horrifying attacks brought to 608 the number of people who have died from mass shootings across the country since the Feb. 14, 2018, Parkland shooting — equal to more than one per day, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that tracks gun-related incidents.

The data goes beyond the highly-publicized mass shootings at malls and schools, and includes accidental shootings, domestic disputes and gang violence. It defines a mass shooting as four or more people killed or injured. The casualty numbers include the shooter.

Since Fondacaro lied about the number, the rest of his screed discredits itself. It didn't have to be "cooked up," and the purported agenda is irrelevant -- indeed, contrary to Fondacaro's rant, the Gun Violence Archive says it "is not, by design, an advocacy group" and only seeks to provide "independent, verified data." Why does Fondacaro have a problem with such data?

Fondacaro's assertion that CBS failed to do its job by not reporting on every single one of those 566 mass shootings is a disingenuous, bad-faith attack. He might want to check down the hall with with the MRC's "news" division, which also didn't cover every single one of those shootings. Would he ever say out loud that CNS didn't do its job? Not if he wants to keep his.

Fondacaro is proving that the MRC has pretty much abandoned anything resembling "media research" and cares only about making partisan attacks and forwarding pro-Trump narratives.

UPDATE: In a Twitter exchange, Fondacaro defended his false attack, citing a lower number from another source that used a different formulation and failing to understand that this does not render the existence of the 566 number to be an "absolute lie."He then went on to demand that we issue a correction, even though we proved him wrong.

As of this writing, Fondacaro's false claim remains uncorrected.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:15 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, August 9, 2019 2:27 PM EDT
Wednesday, August 7, 2019
NEW ARTICLE: The MRC's Soccer Shenanigans
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center heaped scorn on women's soccer star Megan Rapinoe for the offense of being gay and criticizing Trump -- but it loves another soccer player for her anti-gay hate. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 2:56 PM EDT
Tuesday, August 6, 2019
MRC Goes On Unhinged Attack On CNN Over Upcoming Townhall On Massacres
Topic: Media Research Center

It wouldn't be the Media Research Center if it wasn't trying to exploit last weekend's massacre to push its anti-media agenda, and it lives down to that.

When CNN announced it would host a townhall later this week like it did after the Parkland massacre in 2017, the MRC's Nicholas Fondacaro went unhinged -- after all, a big part of the MRC's anti-media narrative is to attack CNN at every possible opportunity. "CNN Announces New Anti-Gun Show Trial, Hosted By Antifa Backer," he sneered in the headline of an Aug. 5 piece. He whined:

The victims of the El Paso and Dayton mass shootings were set to become the next soapbox for CNN to stand on and shout at Second Amendment supporting Americans. On Monday, CNN announced they will host yet another anti-gun town hall on Wednesday to emotionally exploit grieving families. If that wasn’t slimy enough, the town hall was going to be moderated by Prime Time host and Antifa supporter Chris Cuomo.

[...]

The last time CNN hosted one of these town halls, for the school shooting Parkland, Florida, it immediately degenerated into a show trial with “moderator” Jake Tapper sitting back while loudmouth students assailed Republican Senator Marco Rubio (FL) and then-NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch.

Really, Fondacaro was just mad that pro-gun activists like Loesch were in the unusual position of being criticized to their faces. In his post on that townhall, Fondacaro attacked Parkland survivor Cameron Kasky with pejoratives, claiming he "smeared" and "spat" and "browbeat" and "chided" -- seemingly obliviious to the fact that he had just survived a massacre and arguably earned the right to be a tad upset. Fondacaro huffed at the end of his post: "This is CNN. No objectivity. Just a naked ratings grab and gun ban push."

But Fondacaro wasn't done pre-ranting about the upcoming townhall. He then aimed his venom at the moderator, Chris Cuomo:

The other disgusting thing about CNN hosting this new town hall was the fact that the “moderator” was going to be Chris Cuomo. He’s the same CNN host that insisted last year that the left-wing terrorist group known as Antifa was “morally” superior. He also equated the terrorists with the soldiers who stormed the beaches at Normandy in WWII.

“There's a lot of about what-aboutism and spin going on. And it's kind of sickening to me,” Cuomo argued, “But I argue to you tonight, all punches are not equal morally." He would go on to suggest that there was no "moral equivalent" between Antifa and those they were targeting. "And in a clash between hate and those who oppose it, those who oppose it are on the side of right," he proclaimed.

Fondacaro is deliberately taking Cuomo's words out of context to suggest that Cuomo supports recent violent events involving Antifa, which Cuomo has not said he supported (something Fondacaro undoubtedly knows). As the link supplied by Fondacaro shows, Cuomo was speaking about Antifa activists at an alt-right "Unite the Right" rally last year who, the MRC gleefully reported, attacked an NBC reporter covering it. (Funny how the MRC cares only about a journalist's safety when non-conservatives are inciting violence against them.) Weirdly, Fondacaro offered no condemnation at all of the alt-right neo-Nazis who created the rally that Antifa was protesting in the first place -- you know, kind of like the person who perpetrated the El Paso massacre. Does his silence equal approval? You be the judge.

Needless to say, Fondacaro's boss, Brent Bozell, is fully on board with this unhinged hate, puling his own publicity stunt to call the townhall "a partisan political ratings stunt" that will "politicize this tragedy for ratings." As if Bozell isn't going to be all over right-wing media in the next 24 hours screeching these attacks and bashing the townhall afterwards no matter what actually happened during it.

To paraphrase Fondacaro: This is the MRC -- not letting a couple dozen murders get in the way of getting on Fox News to push its anti-media narrative.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:17 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, August 6, 2019 8:18 PM EDT
Monday, August 5, 2019
MRC Doesn't Understand Anime
Topic: Media Research Center

What happens when someone writes abgout something they clearly know nothing about? You get a July 10 NewsBusters post by Matt Norcross:

Most Japanese animation, or “anime,” that comes out is weird, but it can be very fun to watch. Other movies and shows made in this technique, however, may make you want to take a shower once you’re finished watching. The Netflix re-release of the influential 1995 series Neon Genesis Evangelion on June 21 started off as the former, but then turned out to be the latter in one of the most nihilistic shows I've ever seen.

The show focuses on three teenagers struggling with mental illness, Shinji Ikari (Casey Mongillo) with daddy issues, Asuka Langley Soryu (Stephanie McKeon) with depression and mommy issues, and Rei Ayanami (Ryan Bartley) who realizes she’s a God-like being. All three have been tasked by a division of the United Nations (of course the UN is made a hero) called NERV to save the world from monsters (called Angels) with giant robots known as the Evangelion.

It starts off as your standard giant robot cartoon, only with the robots bleeding. But after episode 18 it all goes downhill in terms of content by getting darker and more cynical as it progresses. It’s no wonder many reviewers have compared it to the graphic novel, Watchmen. Episode 19, titled Introjection, actually begins with Shinji threatening to kill everyone at NERV after his estranged father forced him to injure his friend.

But the 26-episode series is nothing compared to the confusing and trippy theatrical movie which serves as the show’s conclusion, The End of Evangelion. That movie has body dismemberments, blood splatter, sexual content (the film actually begins with the young teenage main character masturbating), brief showings of drawings of body dismemberments done by abused children, and ends with Shinji destroying the world by wishing everyone would die.

We at ConWebWatch are anime nerds, and at the risk of sounding like obsessive fanboys (though we are not huge fans of this show), Norcross has completely missed the entire point of "Evangelion." It's a messed-up show in many ways, just not in the way Norcross thinks it is.

The reason there's a lot of "bleeding" is that the Evas are biological in origin, not the giant robots we are led to believe they are at the beginning of the series. Also, Rei is not a "God-like being"; she's the reincarnation of Shinji's mother whose soul is transferred to a different body (several clone bodies are kept in a vat) every time she dies. And while NERV is nominally a U.N. agency, it faces much more influence from a separate organization called SEELE, which has a separate agenda. Reducing Shinji and Asuka to their respective "daddy issues" and "mommy issues" also misses the point; it's in part about the show's creator working thorough his own depression, and in part about what happens when kids with such issues are forced to save the world.

But understanding the story isn't why Norcross hate-watched "Evangelion"; it's to attacking anyone who praises the show. but he has to go far afield to find that, bashing an anime fan magazine for "gushing over the show’s love for the UN and misuse of Christianity." Of course, given that Christianity is a small minority in a Japan that's dominated by Shinto Buddhism, it's misused in anime in general. But Norcross overlooked another line in that same fan magazine article that counters his view of the show:

Still, it’s too easy to read Evangelion as pure nihilism. Yes, Anno created Evangelion while battling depression, and Shinji’s self-hatred, timidity, and frequent refusal to “just pilot the robot” will feel all too familiar to anyone who’s experienced depression. But in the end, all of the robots and the monsters and the allusions to Christianity exist to guide Shinji out of his spiral of self-hatred. In one scene Shinji’s father is described as being “not adept at living,” and it’s a concept that rings out throughout the series. Ultimately, Evangelion is about learning to live, even when things seem utterly bleak. Even at the end of the world.

(This may be the first time that the MRC has painted an anime fan magazine as a purveyor of "liberal bias.")

Again, Norcross has no interest in understanding "Evangelion," concluding his piece by glibly dismissing it as "an ultraviolent Japanese animated cartoon with mentally ill teenagers as heroes" and huffing: "Overall, if you don’t like confusing content, flashing lights (there are a LOT of them throughout the show), bizarre imagery, ultraviolence, glorification of mental illness, and getting depressed, this is definitely not the series for you."

Nor is the series for you if, like Norcross, you have absolutely no interest in spending time understanding why its story is the way it is, or you refuse to break out of your right-wing media bubble to understand even the basics of anime.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:32 PM EDT
Sunday, August 4, 2019
MRC Complains That Trump Social Media Summit Coverage Noted Extremists In Attendance
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center had high hopes for the "social media summit" at the White House -- after all, the MRC took part in it. Alexander Hall gushingly previewed the summit in a July 10 post, while also hitting the MRC's narrative that social media discriminates against conservatives:

The Thursday Social Media Summit at the White House will rally supporters of free speech. 

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who plans to attend the summit, has commented that he is “concerned there are people who work at the major technology platforms who want to put their thumb on the scale.” 

“All we want is a fair fight,” said Gaetz. “I guess in a sense if highlighting experiences and instances of bias will result in fewer moderations that present as bias, all the better.”

Hall ignored the fact that social media outlets routinely suck up to conservatives to counter the narrative, which, strangely, doesn't stop the narrative.

Hall weirdly added at the end of his article: "According to The Wall Street Journal, attendees will include high profile free speech advocates like the Media Research Center’s Brent Bozell, Prager U, the Claremont Institute, and more." Hall had to cite a news article to confirm that his own boss was attending? Didn't he know that already?

Meanwhile, the summit itself had little impact. The MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, didn't even bother to cover it, despite its employees taking part in it. doing only a preview article featuring President Trump touting how "Fake News is not as important, or as powerful, as Social Media." How important could the summit have been if its own "news" division didn't consider it to be news? Even the MRC's video site, MRCTV, offered nothing but clips of a couple of speeches at the summit (only one of which disclosed that the MRC took part in it).

Having offered up no coverage of its own, the MRC was left to attack the coverage others did. Alex Christy served up defensiveness about the extreme views of some of the invitees, combined with whataboutism:

On Thursday's MSNBC Live host Ali Velshi was joined by NBC reporter Ben Collins and Syracuse Professor Jennifer Grygiel to talk about the social media summit President Trump had at the White House. Just like conversations on the news media, the liberals insist there is no bias against conservatives in social media. Collins denounced the summit as a a gathering of "disinformation peddlers writ large" and " This isn’t about censorship. This is about building a coalition of dirty tricksters on the internet to get ready for 2020."

The Media Research Center was among the groups invited to the summit, since our TechWatch project exposes bias and censorship in social media. Smearing everyone in the room as a disinformer is....disinformation.

Collins began by stating that nobody at the summit has actually been banned from social media -- which is only true if it means a permanent ban. It doesn't count censorship like Prager U has experienced where they're put in a "restricted" backwater, or count temporary account takedowns (which has happened to people at MRC). He condemned the White House for inviting people such as Jim Hoft to the summit because Hoft is a spreader of false information. Collins declared that "This is the kind of thing that they are trying to protect at the White House going to 2020. This allows them to create innuendo against specific candidates they don’t like, against parties they don't like."

[...]

Trump should not have invited conspiracy peddlers to the White House, but it would be nice if NBC held itself to similar standards on disinformation. MSNBC has employed racial hoaxster Al Sharpton for eight years now. 

Christy then surprisingly admitted that there's no actual evidence conservatives are being systematically discriminated against, then spun this lack of evidence as not being "the point":

Velshi later asked Collins if conservatives have any proof of social media bias. Collins declared that, "No. They don't have data and they will say this." Here Collins misses the point. It is not detailed spreadsheets that are proof of social media bias, but the rules that govern their terms of service that again bring up the age-old problem of what constitutes"hate speech." In a day where everyone that disagrees with the left is deemed this-ist or that-phobic, the rules of the game are inherently slanted against people who diverge from left-wing orthodoxy.

In other words, the narrative is set, it must be adhered to, and the MRC isn't going to let a little thing like lack of evidence get in the way.

Aiden Jackson, meanwhile, was slavishly devoted to the narrative. A Jimmy Kimmel joke about the extremism of the attendees was deemed a "vicious attack" and "nasty rhetoric" against "the silencing of ideas that dissent from social media companies’ liberal worldviews." When Kimmel pointed out that no representatives from social media companies were invited, Jackson huffed: "The truth of the matter is the liberal media are only too happy to censor conservative speech while freely promoting a left-wing agenda and coarsening the public discourse."

Jackson did not, however, mention his colleague's admission that there's no actual evidence to back up the narrative, nor did he disclose that the MRC took part in it.

Hall, meanwhile, returned to claim that the accurate claim that summit participants included conspiracy-obsessed extremists like Hoft was itself a "narrative," effectively denying that anyone there was extreme. Hall praised the work of anonymous troll CarpeDonktum, gushing that "CarpeDonktum has been retweeted by the president multiple times for his cartoonish meme videos which often lionize Trump and or make the media look foolish," and that criticism of him was merely the media's "spiteful way of showing they are still salty over being hilariously parodied." Hall did disclose that "The Media Research Center also attended the summit, as the organization's purpose has been to expose biases among liberally dominated platforms and media."

Ryan Foley whined:

MSNBC host Chris Hayes devoted a two minute-long monologue to trashing President Trump’s social media summit on Thursday’s edition of All In. According to Hayes, “instead of social media companies like Twitter and Facebook, they invited a pack of Trump-supporting, race-baiting conspiracy theorists.” Hayes also described the event as an “ice cream social for trolls.”

For the record, attendees at the event included Lila Rose of the pro-life group Live Action, Senator Marsha Blackburn, Congressman Matt Gaetz; all well-established voices in the conservative movement.

For the full record -- which Foley does not want to acknowledge -- the attendees also included Hoft, notorious hoaxer James O'Keefe (who even the MRC has denounced), extremist Bill Mitchell. Far-right cartoonist Ben Garrison had also been invited to the summit, but was disinvited after someone realized that someone who trafficked in anti-Semitic tropes wouldn't help things -- something unmentioned in any of the MRC's defense of the summit's participants.

Foley also repeated Rose's suggestion that Pinterest shut down Live Action's account because it shared "pro-llife content"; in fact, it was because Live Action used the account to push health misinformation.

It also included the MRC's Christian Robey and Ed Molchany -- which, curiously, no MRC post on the summit identified as attending. In other words, Hall cited fake news in his preview post, which he could have easily corrected by asking around the office.

The MRC's resident New York Times basher, Clay Waters, complained about the Times' story on the summit because it accurately described many of the attendees as "right-wing trolls," which Waters euphemistically insisted were just "conservative social media activists." Waters also whined that the reporter failed to adhere to the right-wing narrative because he "didn’t question whether conservative accounts are being banned, suppressed, or otherwise treated unfairly by the liberal-dominated social media platforms."

P.J. Gladnick went full whataboutism in a post that responded to Vox pointing out that the summit disproved itself by getting a lot of social coverage by ... devoting half his post to attacking Vox writer Carlos Maza for prompting YouTube's "demonetizing not only Steven Crowder's YouTube channel but many other conservative-oriented channels as well." Gladnick didn't mention Crowder's homophobic attacks on Maza, which forced Maza to take action. (Remember, the MRC thinks Crowder's nasty attacks on Maza are totally cool because he's allegedly a comedian.)

Even chief MRC partisan snarker Tim Graham weighed in with an Aug. 4 post cheering that Playboy reporter Brian Karem had his White House press pass suspended for "his behavior at Trump's social media summit on July 11, where he verbally attacked Trump's conservative guests:"This is a group of people that are eager for demonic possession." He snarkily added: "Two executives of the Media Research Center attended, and neither needed an exorcism." Weirdly, Graham didn't identify who those "executives" were so we could judge the state of their souls for ourselves.

Yet for all these complaints about the coverage of others, the MRC offered up none of its own to hold up as a "fair and balanced" view of it. Which, arguably, gave it little basis on which to complain.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:16 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, August 4, 2019 6:11 PM EDT
Saturday, August 3, 2019
Newsbusters Sports Blogger: If Rapinoe Did Feel Bulling By Trump, He Couldn't Have Been Trying To Bully Her
Topic: Media Research Center

Jay Maxson, the Media Research Center's mysterious sports blogger, absolutely hates the U.S. women's soccer team in general, and star player Megan Rapinoe in particular, for being too gay -- which is to say being gay at all, not a surprise given Maxson's anti-gay activism. Now he's serving up perhaps the most bizarre attack on Rapinoe he could conjure. In a July 29 post, Maxson complains that because Rapinoe says she didn't fell bullied by President Trump's tweets attacking her, Trump thus could not have been trying to bully her:

The truth is coming out. Soccer firebrand Megan Rapinoe is not the poor little victim of presidential bullying that her media enablers have been making her out to be. In a Vox Recode interview with Kara Swisher (in photo) she goes to the extreme of claiming membership in the "Squad" as a victim of President Trump's bullying. Trying to have it both ways, Rapinoe tells Swisher that Trump's tweets made her famous and spurred Team USA onto World Cup victory.

Rapinoe is a Colin Kaepernick-inspired social justice warrior who said this spring she refuses to honor America during the playing of the national anthem as a ''big F-you" to President Donald Trump. During the World Cup, she told a reporter she would not go to the "fucking White House" if the U.S. won the championship. Trump responded on Twitter that she should win first before talking White House, then invited the team win or lose. To many in the media, Trump was the villain, Rapinoe the damsel in distress.

Of course, whether Rapinoe ultimnately felt bullied is irrelevant to the apparent intentions of Trump in attacking her.

Obsessing again over Rapinoe's sexuality and triggered by Colin Kaepernick Derangement Sydrome, Maxson went on to huff that  "Rapinoe the role model indicates her inspirations are Kaepernick and wine. And her significant other, WNBA player Sue Bird, whose virtues were extolled by CNN's commie Van Jones," adding further freakout-level annoyance at a writer who noted that "This power couple has surpassed Ellen DeGeneres and her partner."

Anti-gay freakouts, sadly, are very much on-brand for Maxson and the MRC.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:54 AM EDT

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