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Sunday, February 18, 2018
MRC Writer Falsely -- And Repeatedly -- Implies Federal Money To Planned Parenthood Pays for Abortion
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Katie Yoder loves to spread myths about Planned Parenthood -- for instance, we caught her last year pushing the canard that federal money to Planned Parenthood does pay for abortions because money is "fungible."

But Yoder also peddles the base falsehood -- refusing to specify that federal law prohibits federal money to Planned Parenthood for paying for abortions. Yoder left that false impression in a Jan. 3 post:

From 2016 to 2017, Planned Parenthood performed 321,384 abortions. That’s 6,964 fewer abortions than the year before. And Planned Parenthood can’t credit contraception for that slight decline – because it also provided fewer contraception services (from 2,808,815 to 2,701,866).

And while adoption referrals increased since last year’s report (from 2,889 to 3,889), prenatal services decreased (from 9,419 to 7,762). Still, that means that for every prenatal service given, Planned Parenthood performed 41 abortions, and for every adoption referral, Planned Parenthood committed close to 83 abortions.

Another decrease came in government funding. The abortion giant received $543.7 million (37% of its revenue) from “government health services, reimbursements & grants.” According to Planned Parenthood’s 2015 – 2016 annual report, a year earlier, the organization received $554.6 million. It’s not like Planned Parenthood is in need though, considering that its excess revenue increased from $77.5 million to $98.5 million.

"Excess revenue"? Conservatives like Yoder used to call that profit when it involves business operations they like.

On Jan. 4, Yoder wrote that "the 2016 – 2017 report showed a slight decrease in abortion (from 328,348 to 321,384) and in government funding (from $543.7 million to $554.6 million) since the last report" without disclosing that none of that money pays for abortion.

Yoder did it again in a Jan. 24 post, writing that "According to Planned Parenthood’s most recently published annual report, the organization performed 321,384 abortions and received $543.7 million in 'government health services, reimbursements & grants' for the year 2016 – 2017" without disclosing that none of that money pays for abortion.

Yoder copied-and-pasted that dishonest line into in two posts on Jan. 25 and two posts on Feb. 8. And she did it once more in a Feb. 14 post.

That's a dishonest, misleading statement repeated eight times by Yoder in just over a month's time. Apparently, the fact-checking standards at the MRC are a little on the lax side.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:17 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, February 18, 2018 9:22 PM EST
Saturday, February 17, 2018
MRC Promotes Bogus Study on Immigrant Crime
Topic: Media Research Center

When dubious pro-gun researcher John Lott issued a study claiming that undocumented immigrants commit more crime than U.S. citizens -- a finding described as an outlier, since most other studies on the issue have found the opposite -- The Media Research Center jumped right on it.

The Media Research Center's Brad Wilmouth highlighted that "liberal CNN contributor Van Jones insisted that illegal immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than the general population as right-leaning CNN contributor Rick Santorum cited a recent study by John Lott finding that illegal immigrants in Arizona commit crimes at twice the rate of the general population.

At the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, Craig Bannister touted the study:

Undocumented (illegal) aliens are far more likely to commit crimes, as well as to commit serious crimes, than are U.S. citizens, a new study of 33 years of Arizona prison data reveals.

The study, “Undocumented Immigrants, U.S. Citizens, and Convicted Criminals in Arizona,” by Crime Prevention Research Center President John R. Lott, also extrapolates that data to estimate how many additional crimes were committed nationally in 2016 by illegal immigrants, if Arizona is representative of the U.S. as a whole.

The study provides a uniquely accurate picture of illegal immigrant crime, its abstract notes, because it relies on comprehensive state records of every prisoner incarcerated over a 33-year period, delineated by citizenship status:

Well, it turns out the study wasn't so "uniquely accurate" after all. Alex Nowrasteh at the Cato Institute explains how Lott botched the study:

The variable that Lott focused on is “CITIZEN.” That variable is broken down into seven categories. Lott erroneously assumed that the third category, called “non-US citizen and deportable,” only counted illegal immigrants. That is not true, non-US citizen and deportable immigrants are not all illegal immigrants. A significant proportion of non-U.S. citizens who are deported every year are legal immigrants who violate the terms of their visas in one way or the other, frequently by committing crimes. According to the American Immigration Council, about 10 percent of people deported annually are Lawful Permanent Residents or green card holders—and that doesn’t include the non-immigrants on other visas who were lawfully present in the United States and then deported. I will write more about this below. 

Lott mistakenly chose a variable that combines an unknown number of legal immigrants with an unknown number of illegal immigrants. Lott correctly observed that “[l]umping together documented and undocumented immigrants (and often naturalized citizens) may mean combining very different groups of people.” Unfortunately, the variable he chose also lumped together legal immigrants and illegal immigrants.

[...]

Lott’s controversial empirical findings regarding the high admission rate of illegal immigrants to Arizona prisons, a finding that contradicts virtually the entire body of research on the topic, stems from his simple misreading of a variable in the 1985-2017 ADC dataset. Lott thought that “non-U.S. citizens and deportable” describes only illegal immigrants but it does not. There is no way to identify illegal immigrants with precision in the 1985-2017 ADC dataset and their population can only be estimated through the residual statistical methods that Lott derides as “primitive.” Using another variable in the June 2017 ADC dataset that Lott did not analyze reveals that, at worst, illegal immigrants in Arizona likely have an incarceration rate lower than their percentage of that state’s population.

The MRC and CNS have so far failed to correct the record so their readers know the truth.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:52 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, February 17, 2018 9:57 AM EST
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
NEW ARTICLE: Another Fox News-Shaped Blind Spot
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center continues to avoid scrutinizing -- let alone condemning -- Fox News personalities accused of sexual harassment, even as it obsesses over non-conservative harassers. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 5:41 PM EST
Sunday, February 11, 2018
MRC's Houck Viciously Maims the Art of Headline-Writing
Topic: Media Research Center

Curtis Houck is the Media Research Center's new king of nonsensically hyperbolic headlines.

Last September, Houck huffed: "Ben Shapiro Eviscerates Jimmy Kimmel’s Health Care Tirades; ‘Egregious’ to Exploit His Son."

Houck used the word "deranged" in a headline twice in three days, broken up by the use of the word "nutso."

Houck's headline on Jan. 17 was "Limbaugh Torpedoes ‘Childish,’ ‘Unstable’ Liberal Media as ‘Unfit’ for ‘Their Constitutional Duties’."

In a Jan. 26 item, Houck declared, "Haley Obliterates Sexist Michael Wolff’s ‘Disgusting,’ ‘Highly Offensive’ Rumors About Sleeping With Trump." Haley strongly rebutting the rumors is hardly an "obliteration," given that Wolff was still alive the last time we checked.

For a Feb. 2 item, Houck's headline blared: "Blitzer Viciously Maims GOP Congressman Over Memo; It’s Your Fault ‘Putin Has Succeeded’." Yet that congressman was appearing from Salt Lake City, not in CNN's studio, so he couldnot possibly have been"viciously maimed" by Wolf Blitzer.

Apparently, a conservative politician being asked challenging questions by a reporter is tantamount to "vicious maiming" in Houck's world.

And on Feb. 8, Houck asserts, "Limbaugh Torpedoes CNN’s Brownstein, Lemon Over Their Supposed ‘Objective Journalism’." Apparently Limbaugh is Houck's go-to torpedoer.

Houck is starting to sound like liberals who overenthusiastically touted clips from the Jon Stewart-era "Daily Show." But even Stewart made fun of that.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:33 AM EST
Friday, February 9, 2018
MRC's Graham Gives Pro-Trump Book A Positive Reception
Topic: Media Research Center

After Michael Wolff's unflattering book about the Trump White House was published, the Media Research Center fired off a fusillade of posts denouncing it. By contrast, a book written by an employee of the MRC's favorite TV channel, Fox News, got a much more favorable reception.

In a Jan. 24 post, the MRC's Tim Graham cheerfully touts Howard Kurtz's book "Media Madness" and his claim that reporting critical of President Trump has "radicalized" him. Graham did not raise the question of why eight years of anti-Obama reporting and commentary at Fox News somehow did not "radicalize" Kurtz.

Graham did note that New York Times reporter Jonathan Martin challenged a claim Kurtz made about him in the book, then framed the possible false claim as just desserts:

How many times have anonymous sources said ridiculous things that Trump thinks are "fake news"? But the New York Times and The Washington Post think their anonymous digs at the president are what keeps "democracy out of darkness." A spokesman for Regnery, which published the book, said the publisher and author “absolutely stand by everything reported in the book.”

Graham didn't identify Kurtz as a conservative, nor did he point out that Kurtz's publisher, Regnery, is in the business of publishing conservative books.

And the book can certainly be criticized; Mediaite's Lloyd Grove points out that the book does have decided pro-Trump slant, that Kurtz is apparently close enough to Trump that the president calls him "Howie," and that Kurtz never bothered to talk to most of the journalists he spends his book atacking.

A few days later, Graham attacked Washingotn Post media writer Margaret Sullivan for doing what he wouldn't -- acknowledge that Kurtz and his employer have a definite bias:

Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan unleashed a personal attack on Fox News host Howard Kurtz in a Sunday book review at the most transparent “Pot, meet kettle” level of criticism. She attacked Kurtz as an insincere creature of Fox News and as a tool of White House adviser Kellyanne Conway. Dear Margaret: Has your column ever boldly attacked The Washington Post, or strayed from its everyday spin?

[...]

She writes "Kurtz’s allegiance to his masters at Fox News is evident right from the start, when he offers something I never thought possible: a heartfelt defense of Kellyanne Conway’s coining of the infamous phrase ‘alternative facts’...He takes Conway’s side (as he does so often and so sympathetically that you may be tempetted to look for a Conway co-author’s credit)....”

The headline on B-5 of the Sunday Outlook section even bluntly accuses “Did Kellyanne Conway ghostwrite this book?”

If she hadn’t kicked Kurtz in the shins enough, Sullivan repeats her thesis near the end: “Overall, you can best understand Media Madness by considering the source: Despite his long history in journalism, Kurtz is a creature of Fox News now, as the host of a show called Media Buzz.

It’s a shocking personal attack on Kurtz, and self-refuting in that Margaret does it while at the same time kissing up to the man who hired her at The Washington Post, with the apparent task of defending the liberal media at their most aggressively liberal: “For the most part, though, they (the media) are trying to cover him, not take him down. (As Post editor Martin Baron put it, ‘We’re not at war. We’re at work.’)”

[...]

Liberals like Baron (and his admiring employee Margaret Sullivan) think journalism and liberalism are the same thing. Sullivan concluded: “Although Kurtz emphasizes he is a journalist, through and through, with printers’ ink running through his veins, Media Madness clearly is meant to reinforce Fox Nation’s disdain for legitimate journalists who are trying to hold a norm-busting president accountable.”

In his book, Kurtz offers an entirely different conclusion on who is busting norms: "A common refrain among Trump's antagonists in the press is that they must resist normalizing his presidency. But in the process, they have abnormalized journalism."

Pointing out the indisputable fact that Kurtz is toeing the pro-Trump party line of his employer in his book is a "shocking personal attack"on him"? Maybe Graham should just rename the MRC -- which uses much harsher language against the people it hates -- the Shocking Personal Attack Center.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:02 PM EST
Thursday, February 8, 2018
When The MRC Wasn't So Bothered By Nazi Comparisons
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Curtis Houck cranks up the hyperbole in a Jan. 29 post:

On Monday afternoon, CNN political commentator and liberal Republican Ana Navarro ghoulishly paraphrased a quote by World War II-era pastor Martin Niemöller to equate embattled current and former Justice Department officials to those murdered by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis (aka President Trump) during the Holocaust.

Navarro’s referenced President Trump as “he” in her mock poem with James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Rod Rosenstein, and Robert Mueller making appearances in each stanza of the following tweet:

[...]

This demonic comparison between law enforcement officials to people murdered during World War II and Trump to Nazis is beyond the pale. Just imagine the reaction if a Fox News contributor did such a thing during the Obama years[.]

Well, we don't have to imagine it. A Fox News contributor did do such a thing, and the MRC's reaction to it was -- well, let's just start by saying that nobody used the word "demonic."

In 2011, conservative country singer Hank Williams Jr. appeared on "Fox & Friends" to claim that then-Speaker of the House John Boehner's recent golf game with President Obama was "one of the biggest political mistakes ever," adding, "It's like Hitler playing golf with [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu." Obama, of course, is the Hitler in that analogy.

The MRC's first reaction came from Tim Graham, who seemed more offended that Williams' offensive analogy got his theme for ESPMN's "Monday Night Football" taken off the air than by the analogy itself.

Ken Shepherd dismissed William's remarks as nothing more than a "bad joke," then played whataboutism: "Yet to our knowledge, we at NewsBusters are unaware of any similar edict by ESPN to prevent former boxer and convicted rapist Mike Tyson from returning on the network's programming or of any disciplinary action against the radio hosts who allowed Tyson to [Sarah] Palin 'met the wombshifter' when she allegedly had a fling with basketball player Glen Rice." Shepherd made the same "bad joke" claim in a later post in another flurry of whataboutism.

Noel Sheppard whitewashed Williams' statement as merely "intemperate remarks" and a "stupid comment" made by "a country singer with no prior history of inflammatory remarks," while also playing the whataboutism card. A year later, Sheppard proudly touted "another comment about Barack Obama that could get him in some hot water" made by Williams, saying his earlier comment was just a "joke."

And less than a year ago, Jay Maxson cheered the return of Williams Jr.'s theme song to "Monday Night Football" without explaining why it was pulled in the first place. Maxson described Williams as only "a critic of Barack Obama."

It's clear that the amount of invective the MRC is willing to hurl at someone making allegedly unfortunate Nazi references depends entirely on the offender's political affiliation -- and that of the person being likened to a Nazi.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:38 AM EST
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
MRC Misses the Point On Both Ends of the Cross-Dressing Spectrum
Topic: Media Research Center

We know the Media Research Center hates transgender people, so it's probably not a surprise that it also freaks out about a much milder variant of that in the form of cross-dressing.

First, it hates cross-dressing as played for laughs (even though it's been a comic trope since forever). When the Disney XD cartoon "Star vs. The Forces of Evil" has the main character cross-dress for an episode, NewsBusters blogger Matt Norcross could not find the humor in it:

Maybe the episode was done as a joke, similar to the cross-dressing jokes seen in the classic Looney Tunes cartoons. If that’s the case, so be it.

However, there is no doubt that this cartoon has been used by creator Daron Nefsy to push a progressive point of view. Keep in mind, this is the same show that has had multiple gay and lesbian couples kiss at once.

All of this is thanks to Disney-ABC Television Group chief Ben Sherwood and Disney Channel’s chief creative officer Gary Marsh (the latter being a Hillary Clinton supporter). Both of whom have completely destroyed the television division by using it to push a left-wing agenda.

There is no excuse to socially engineer very young children of both Disney XD and the Disney Channel. There’s nothing wrong with LGBT-themed content, as we’ve had to accept to the results of the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges case at the U.S. Supreme Court. But, when it goes as far as jamming this way of life in front of an audience as young as 10, that’s where things go too far.

On the other end of the spectrum, Lindsay Kornick watched an episode of the miniseries "The Alienist" and missed the point of the "several uncomfortable minutes of underage boys (some played by underage actors) wearing dresses with makeup and offering themselves for sexual pleasure":

It’s honestly hard to imagine that in a time where complimenting women can be seen as harassment, dressing boys up like female prostitutes, having them act and speak like girls, can somehow be considered good television. The show clearly paints the act as sad and pathetic, but apparently it’s fine when it’s done for art. That is, if degrading young boys can still be considered art. Somehow, I doubt there will be any Twitter movements regarding this unsightly treatment. After all, that would have to acknowledge two things modern-day feminists refuse to consider. One, that boys can be mistreated, and two, that boys can be (way too) oversexualized.

Kornick was apparently too busy hate-watching the show to figure out that the scene was supposed to be uncomfortable. As an actual reviewer points out, the miniseries is set in late 19th century New York City around the murder of a transgender prostitute, and the cross-dressing boys selling themselves is emblematic of the bleak existence of the immigrant underclass doing what they had (or were forced) to do to provide for their families.

If Kornick is squicked out by this, good. That's the whole point -- prostitution of this sort is supposed to be rather squicky.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:37 AM EST
Sunday, February 4, 2018
MRC Denies Russian Bots' Influence on #ReleaseTheMemo Campaign
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center really, really, doesn't want you to believe that the who #ReleaseTheMemo Twitter meme had no connection whatsoever to the Russian-linked Twitter bots that promoted it.

In a Jan. 20 NewsBusters post, P.J. Gladnick dismisses a Rolling Stone story about how Russian-controlled Twitter accounts heavily promoted the hashtag as nothing but a "Boris & Natasha bot fantasy," adding: "Even if there were 500 'Russia-influenced' Twitter accounts posting that hashtag, it would only be an infinitesimally small number of the total. Of course, [Rolling Stone writer Bob] Moser could do what I did and check out at random the authenticity of those posting the hashtag but it would ruin the premise of his fantasy."

Gladnick concluded: "So go ahead Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Investigate these supposed Russian bots tweeting on Twitter for evidence of collusion. Somehow I think he would be just as lucky proving Russian bot collusion as he has so far for proving Russian collusion in general."

Tom Blumer followed up in a Jan. 26 NesBusters post, attacking the Rolling Stone article as "a bogus report from the far-left media fever swamp." He highlighted a Daily Beast report citing "a knowledgeable source" about Twitter's internal analysis who claimed that "authentic American accounts, and not Russian imposters or automated bots, are driving #ReleaseTheMemo."

Blumer admitted that the Daily Beast noted "skepticism" about the finding, but he downplayed the extent that skepticism was stated. The Daily Beast pointed out that "Russian troll farms use cutout accounts to launder their message in order to appear authentically American" and that "Measuring engagement on a hashtag shows influence that may indeed be authentically American – but can simultaneously obscure the origin of that message." It also admitted that "Russian influence accounts did, in fact, send an outsize number of tweets about #ReleaseTheMemo—simply not enough for those accounts to reach the top of Twitter's internal analysis."

Further, as Politico has since reported, the second Twitter account to retweet the #ReleaseTheMemo hashtag is an apparent bot of undetermined origin, and the third account to retweet it as a suspected Russian bot. It also references an earlier Politico article about "Twitter rooms" in which pro-Trump activists coordinate messages and then retweet each other, creating an online groundswell that doesn't really exist. Politico makes it clear that, in its words, "#releasethememo is carried forward by automated accounts overnight after it begins to trend. It continued to do so from its appearance until the memo was released," adding that the bots target "key influencers with these messaging campaigns—media personalities, far-right brand names, and elected officials who might pick up the info or hashtag and legitimize it by repeating it."

The Politico article concludes:

Regardless of how much of the campaign was American and how much was Russian, it’s clear there was a massive effort to game social media and put the Nunes memo squarely on the national agenda—and it worked to an astonishing degree. The bottom line is that the goals of the two overlapped, so the origin—human, machine or otherwise—doesn’t actually matter. What matters is that someone is trying to manipulate us, tech companies are proving hopelessly unable or unwilling to police the bad actors manipulating their platforms, and politicians are either clueless about what to do about computational propaganda or—in the case of #releasethememo—are using it to achieve their goals. Americans are on their own.

This is the truth Gladnick and Blumer -- and the rest of the MRC -- want to deny.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:44 PM EST
Thursday, February 1, 2018
MRC Pushes Bogus Attack on 'Jerry Springer: The Opera' Production
Topic: Media Research Center

Apropos of apparently nothing, the Media Research Center published a curiously worded Jan. 23 press release:

Media Research Center President Brent Bozell delivered remarks at the National Press Club on Tuesday calling on the National Endowment of the Arts to withdraw its funding of the "gleefully profane" Jerry Springer: The Opera in New York City. He issued the following statement at the conclusion of the press conference:

“The NEA must withdraw its funding of the wildly anti-Christian, especially anti-Catholic, hate-filled production entitled Jerry Springer: The Opera. As Bill Donohue of the Catholic League has pointed out, this so-called ‘opera’ receives the majority of its funding from public sources, including the NEA. This is an outrage which must end.

[...]

The play is ugly, unadulterated hate. The current tenure of the NEA chair ends in April and President Trump must appoint a new chairman who will once and for all put an end to taxpayer funding for anti-Christian ‘art’ such as this piece of garbage.”

You have to follow the embedded link to fingure out what, exactly, Bozell is so worked up about. It's a production of "Jerry Springer: The Opera" put on by a theater company called The New Group.

Bozell's mention of Donohue obscures the fact that this whole kerfuffle is spearheaded by Donohue and his right-wing Catholic League. Bozell fails to disclose that he's a member of the Catholic League's board of advisers, which would seem to be important and relevant.

Beyond that, however, the whole thing starts to fall apart. Donohue is attacking the musical and its producers because, according to his own press release, "the New Group receives most of its funding from public sources, led by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)." But he doesn't identify exactly how much funding its gets from the NEA, nor does he identify whether any of that NEA funding went toward this production.

Donohue has since been trying to milk this evidence-free story -- with the MRC's help, of course. Donohue sent a letter to President Trump about it, but again he offered no proof to back up his claim, vaguely stating only that "The New Group is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts."

A Jan. 25 CNSNews.com blog post by Craig Bannister regurgitates another letter Donohue sent to a House committee claiming "potential guideline violations by the NEA." This is all Donohue has to offer:

The nexus between NEA and the New Group is more than disturbing: it is so incestuous that it is in violation of NEA’s own strictures. In 2009, the NEA gave the New Group $50,000, "To support the preservation of jobs that are threatened by declines in philanthropic and other support during the current economic downturn." Yet under NEA guidelines, "General operating or seasonal support" is explicitly prohibited.

That's apparently the only "evidence" Donohue has -- a small donation nearly a decade ago that has nothing whatsoever to do with the group's current production. That's the opposite of "incestuous."

But the MRC will never admit that emperor Donohue has no clothes here -- he's just a hateful old man with some money to throw around to push his right-wing agenda and a few friends in the media (and on his board) who will help him spread his bogus claims.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:13 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, February 1, 2018 1:16 AM EST
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
MRC's Bozell Falls for O'Keefe's Bogus Twitter 'Shadow Ban' Story
Topic: Media Research Center

James O'Keefe screwed the pooch when he got busted for trying to fool the Washington Post with a bogus sexual harassment "victim" of Roy Moore -- and even then, the Media Research Center's Brent Bozell was slow to denounce O'Keefe, if only to preserve his self-proclaimed "moral standing" in the conservative media and hide the fact that the MRC has been an enthusiastic promoter of O'Keefe's previous charades.

When O'Keefe did another goofy sting -- in the form of secretly recorded videos of a random Twitter employee who said something about "shadow banning" conservatives -- he managed to un-screw the pooch in Bozell's eyes. Cue Bozell's usual pop-eyed freakout mode:

I have been a critic of some of James O'Keefe's work in the past, so I have the credentials to say the following: What O'Keefe has produced is not just extraordinary but it demands national attention. If social media is the communications vehicle of the future —  and it is —  then this represents the most sinister threat to free speech in history. That is no exaggeration. The radical left is out to censor the voices of all with whom they disagree. O'Keefe has proven it. Every American needs to watch this —  if, of course, Twitter will allow it.

Yes, Bozell really did claim that this purported "shadow banning" was "the most sinister threat to free speech in history."

Bozell followed this with an open letter to Twitter's CEO insisting that "Project Veritas’s videos provide evidence which cannot be disputed."

Well, actually, it can. As tech news site Ars Technica details:

If you talk to enough people at an organization with thousands of employees, it's inevitable that you'll catch some of them saying stuff that at least sounds bad. We don't know how many Twitter employees O'Keefe's organization talked to who didn't say anything embarrassing—or even directly contradicted O'Keefe's thesis that Twitter is systematically censoring conservatives.

[...]

The group definitely established that Twitter's workforce is predominantly liberal—something that will be unsurprising to anyone familiar with the politics of the Bay Area. Given the power of Twitter's content moderators and engineers, there's an obvious danger that the company's liberal biases will cause them to treat conservative content more harshly than liberal content.

What Project Veritas hasn't uncovered, however, is any evidence that Twitter is systematically using its platform to silence conservative voices. When an engineer talked about "banning a way of talking," he was clearly not referring to conservatives. The same is true of another former engineer's discussion of "shadow banning"—and it's not even clear if Twitter still engages in shadow banning at all.

[...]

Project Veritas did find one person involved in Twitter's content moderation policy who said he saw the policy being used more strictly against conservatives than liberals. But that's about it. O'Keefe didn't find any evidence of systematic anti-conservative bias in Twitter's policies or filtering algorithms.

Which might explain why we haven't heard much about this non-scandal from Bozell and the MRC since his initial rage. Bozell probably doesn't want to admit he got burned by someone he should never have trusted in the first place.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:37 AM EST
Sunday, January 28, 2018
MRC Thinks April Ryan 'Gushed' About Receiving Death Threats
Topic: Media Research Center

Given the revelations of a man who ranted about "fake news" and threatened to kill (which it just can't seem to get worked up enough about to criticize), an Jan. 18 Media Research Center post by Kristine Marsh seems even more harsher in hindsight.

In it, Marsh mocks journalists -- including, ironically, CNN's Jim Acosta, as "crazy" for being concerned about his safety and seems to suggest Acosta deserves anything that might be coming to him for being such a purportedly biased reporter (bolding is hers):

As if their biased outbursts on CNN weren’t enough, chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta and political analyst April Ryan got the chance to unleash more of their rage at President Trump, in a friendly event hosted by the Newseum in Washington D.C., January 17, called “Journalism in the Trump Era.”

The left-wing Committee to Protect Journalists also sponsored the event, and set the tone for the anti-Trump ranting to come, declaring that it was “abundantly clear” that President Trump “[was] doing serious damage to the U.S. standing globally, and embolden[ing] autocrats around the world.”

After that insane claim, Acosta and Ryan tried to keep the crazy flowing, while answering questions about how dangerous Trump was to freedom and democracy.

The Newseum’s Gene Policinski moderated the panel, and first asked if anyone had ever felt threatened while doing their job.

Acosta answered first, automatically going to the most extreme, saying he “absolutely receives death threats,” as do his other colleagues at CNN. Sighing heavily, Ryan agreed, gushing:

It’s very real for some of us...For me it’s real. I’ve been getting death threats just for asking a question. A logical question...the FBI is on speed dial, so is the Secret Service and local police department.

Acosta added that he read a book recently whose cover art showed a t-shirt with a journalist, a rope, and a tree, reading, “Some assembly required.” Acosta complained the tacky t-shirt was somehow proof that we would soon be seeing dead journalists on the side of the road:

I remember seeing that t-shirt at Trump rallies, during the campaign. We have to get through our minds, that that is un-American. We don’t kill journalists in this country. The moment that that happens, the moment that there’s a dead journalist on the side of the highway, because of the rhetoric coming out of the White House from the President of the United States, is a day that we become something less than the United States of America. Full stop. End of story.

Acosta worried that it would take “an intervening event” to “shake people’s consciousness, to sort of snap them out of this...some folks are under a spell where they think it’s okay to go after us like this, and they’re going to have to get it shocked out of their system,” he ranted.

Yes, Marsh actually claimed that Ryan "gushed" about receiving death threats. That's not how that works.

Marsh then huffed that "Acosta then rebuked his 'friend' John Roberts’ network, saying Fox, by contrast, 'had an agenda, which is to turn people off of the press. It’s determined, it’s purposeful, and it’s bad for our democracy,' ther CNN journalist slammed." Only at the MRC is it a "slam" to point out the indisputable fact that Fox News is biased.

Marsh ended with a final slam at Acosta in order to portray him as a raving lunatic (havaing already claimed he was "ranting" and expressing "rage" in a "tirade"): We’ve seen this behavior before from Acosta. Last year, at another media event held by the Newseum,he declared that it was “un-American” for Trump to attack CNN, while it was perfectly acceptable for him to scream at the president during press conferences."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:20 PM EST
Saturday, January 27, 2018
MRC's Graham Defends Pro-Trump Commentator, Downplays His History of Offensive Remarks
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham is in reflexive CNN-bashing mode at the start of his Jan. 19 post:

CNN is beginning to look like it can’t abide paying a CNN contributor for pro-Trump analysis. Ed Martin, the Missouri GOP official who replaced Jeffrey Lord as the channel’s die-hard Trump analyst, was dumped on Thursday after a brief four-month stint.

CNN confirmed the move to The Hollywood Reporter.Lord told them in September that Martin was a "smart guy" who will "go against the grain" on the air....and "After a while, it will add up and there will surely be those pushing to get rid of him."

"CNN terminated me today for cause," Martin said in an emailed response to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Thursday night. "Strange since they told me my ratings were great."

In a subsequent email, Martin said the network didn't say why he was fired. He hasn't appeared on the network since mid-December, when, on his radio show after a contentious night at CNN after Roy Moore was defeated in the special election in Alabama, he referred to fellow panelists as "racists" and "black racists." That would appear to be Ana Navarro and Symone Sanders.

Graham seems to have overlooked the "for cause" part of Martin's statement -- where he smeared his CNN colleagues as racists for disagreeing with him -- which seems to put the lie to Martin's subsequent claim that he doesn't know why he was fired. Further, Martin has a long history of offensive remarks that CNN should have perhaps looked into before hiring him in the first place.

Graham then whines:

Leftist sites like Right Wing Watch oppose the very idea of a paid pro-Trump contributor slot at CNN. It's awfully difficult to work for CNN and defend Trump when CNN wages 24/7 war on Trump, asserting it's "Facts First," so anyone defending  Trump is apparently....Lies First? CNN loads the panels so that everyone mocks the Outlier...who they pay to be a target.

Funny, we don't remember Graham complaining about Fox News doing the exact same type of panel-stacking -- butr then, it's to promote a conservative agenda and mock liberals and the paid "outlier" (there's a reason "Fox News Democrat" is an actual thing).

Also: His link to Right Wing Watch that  purportedly proves that liberals "oppose the very idea of a paid pro-Trump contributor slot at CNN" goes to a link roundup, and the only one of those links that relates to CNN is a Media Matters item detailing Martin's "black racists" smear. Graham also missed the part in the Hollywood Reporter report confirming Martin's departure in which Media Matters CEO Angelo Carusone explained that Martin, like Lord before him, cared only about "dishonesty and disruptions during on-air discussions," adding: "Hopefully now CNN will finally recognize that they'll better serve their audience by hiring an inclusive group of honest brokers representing a wide range of perspectives rather than someone dedicated to defending one person, Donald Trump, no matter what."

In other words, Graham is falsely framing the issue to advance his own conservative -- and pro-Trump right or wrong -- agenda. Not a surprise.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:29 AM EST
Friday, January 26, 2018
MRC's Bozell Still Mad That Jeff Flake Stole A Book Title From His Father
Topic: Media Research Center

Last August, Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell turned his MRC, ostensibly a nonprofit operation, into a vehicle for his personal grievances by attacking Sen. Jeff Flake over the title his book "Conscience of a Conservative," which is the same title as the book Bozell's father ghost-wrote for Barry Goldwater in the 1960s.

When Flake delived a Senate floor speech  arguing that some of President Trump's actions were akin to those undertaken by dictators such as Josef Stalin, Bozell ran to his favorite TV channel to level even more personal insults at Flake, as lovingly documentted in a Jan. 15 NewsBusters post:

Media Research Center President Brent Bozell was on fire ripping Republican Senator Jeff Flake (Ariz.) during Monday afternoon’s Cavuto: Coast to Coast, telling FBN host Neil Cavuto that Flake is an “intellectual fraud” “who is working overtime to curry favor with” the liberal media.

Bozell’s comments were directed at Flake in reaction to an upcoming speech in which Flake will compare President Trump to the evil, murderous, and communist Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. 

“I think it's stunning. If this were anybody else saying this about the President of the United States, and I think he would be thrown out of his office...But this is a man, Jeff Flake, who is working overtime to curry favor with the national press corps that despise Donald Trump and they’re loving that he says it,” Bozell began. 

He wasn’t done though, adding that Flake is not only “an intellectual” and “political fraud,” but someone who “stole the title of Conscience of a Conservative, the best-selling polemic in history and made it his own” despite having been “elected by the Tea Party and immediately stabbed them in the back.”

Cavuto took particular issue with Flake’s comparison, arguing that “I think you lose an audience of things at the Hitler comparison, I would say the Stalin comparison” because “[t]here’s no one to compare Hitler to except Hitler, no one to compare Stalin except Stalin, so stop it already.”

Yep, he's still abusing his own organization to deal with personal grievances.

Regarding Bozell's claim that "If this were anybody else saying this about the President of the United States, and I think he would be thrown out of his office": When Republican Rep. Randy Weber likened President Obama to Hitler in 2015, the MRC didn't not demand that Weber "be thrown out of his office"; rather, it attacked anyone who criticized the comparison by playing the whataboutism card.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:05 PM EST
Thursday, January 25, 2018
Sick: MRC Mocks CNN For Reacting To Death Threats Against It
Topic: Media Research Center

How sick, cynical and hafe-filled is the Media Research Center? Its first reaction to the arrest of a man who issued death threats against employees at CNN was to mock CNN for reacting to it.

On Jan. 22, it was reported that a Michigan man was arrested for making 22 calls to CNN headquarters in Atlanta threating violence against its employees, stating at one point, "Fake news. I'm coming to gun you all down." 

You'd think that the MRC -- despite hating CNN with the passion of a thousand suns -- would issue a statement that violence or threats of violence against the news media is frowned upon. But for two days it was silent -- even MRC officials Brent Bozell and Tim Graham said nothing.

Finally, a Jan. 24 NewsBusters post by Randy Hall addressed the issue -- but only through attacking CNN anchor Don Lemon for reacting to it. Lemon suggested that President Trump's repeated attacks on CNN as "fake news' may have spurred thte death threats, and Hall wasn't having it, declaring that Lemon was engaging in "a pathetic act of self-sanctimonious behavior" by raising the issue.

Hall quoted Lemon saying "When you tweet a doctored video of you body slamming CNN, people are watching," followed by political analyst Brian Karem stating to Trump, "You're complicit in any harm to any journalist anywhere in the United States by encouraging the violence that you encourage."Which you'd think would be self-explanatory, but apparently it wasn't toHall; instead, he retorted: "Wait, so Brian, would that mean that you'd agree that James Hodgkinson was inspired by Rachel Maddow and Bernie Sanders to try and murder Republican congressmen in June at a Virginia baseball field?"

Hall offered no evidence that Maddow or Sanders ever encouraged violence against any Republican congressman.

Meanwhile, Graham broke his silence on the CNN death threats by retweeting Hall's post with the embellishing insult of "SOUR Don Lemon." Yeah, well, when one's life has been threatened, it does tend to make one a bit sour.

This, by the way, is the same MRC that can't stop blaming the Southern Poverty Law Center for a 2012 shooting at the right-wing Family Research Council, even though the SPLC never encouraged violence or had any personal contact with the shooter beforehand (he admitted looking at the SPLC's list of anti-gay hate groups, of which the FRC is one, before the shooting).


Posted by Terry K. at 9:51 PM EST
MRC Promotes Accused Sexual Harasser's Stock Picks To Its Readers
Topic: Media Research Center

We've detailed how the Media Research Center has studiously overlooked allegations of sexual harassment against Fox Business host Charles Payne, as well as a subsequent lawsuit from a woman, onetime Fox News commentator Scottie Nell Hughes, who says he coerced her into having a sexual relationship with him.

Now, the MRC is actually taking money from Payne.

A Jan. 24 email sent to members of the MRC's mailing list from InvestorPlace, a financial news website that pays Payne for a branded newsletter containing stock picks as well as something called "Charles Payne's Smart Investing," described as "a once-in-a-lifetime, 12-month journey to help you reclaim your American Dream" open to "a small number of individual investors." The email touts "5 New Trump Trades" promoted by Payne in a very ribght-wing-friendly manner:

Fellow American,

The fake news media is lying to you—again.

And this time, it could cost you a fortune.

In their desperate attempt to knock down President Trump at every turn, they want you to believe that his Make America Great Again agenda is floundering.

But you and I know better.

My name is Charles Payne, and you may know me from my show on Fox Business News or my regular appearances on Fox News.

And today I want to make sure you know the truth about President Trump’s progress and how to profit from it in 2018.

President Trump has quickly slashed regulations that were crushing businesses, killing jobs and holding back spending.

And now he’s about to push through the biggest tax reform our country has seen since Ronald Reagan.

His ambitious plans for America have unleashed corporate spending, fueled a raging bull market and sent consumer confidence soaring to 17-year highs.

And that is creating huge profits for smart investors.

The message includes a disclaimer: "Please note that the following message reflects the opinions and representations of our advertiser alone, and not necessarily the opinion or editorial positions of CNSNews.com or the Media Research Center." But given how (selectively) offended the MRC got over the sexual harassment issue, it's just not a good look when someone has rented its email list to promote an accused sexual harasser.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:01 AM EST

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