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Tuesday, March 21, 2017
MRC Blogger's Fake-News Fail on Trump and Russia
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Research Center blogger P.J. Gladnick has been laboring quite hard to pretend there's nothing to see in regard to Donald Trump's links with Russia. For instance, he declared in a March 8 post:

Be very careful Democrats and your mainstream media allies. The fake news story about collusion between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia is a minefield that could destroy your credibility even beyond conservative skeptics who already don't believe you.

On March 9, Gladnick asserted that "the Trump-Russia fake news story is crumbling" and complained that an Associated Press writer talked to a few spy novelists for their take on this "fake news fiction."He added: "Newsflash! If you had been following the real, not fake, news recently, the premise has definitely returned to the far-fetched category. Not one intelligence agency has provided proof of collusion between Trump and Russia. In fact the former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, flat out denied it on Sunday."

But as the AP has stated elsewhere, Clapper not signaling any evidence of collusion does not mean that none exists, or that none was discovered after Clapper left office on Jan. 20.

The next day, Gladnick ranted about a Politico report on the subject:

When reading the series of charts containing a weird labyrinth of rather tenuous connections published in the March/April edition of Politico Magazine, it is hard not to channel Inspector Jacques Clouseau trying to connect the unrelated dots to make the case that was always far off the mark. The Politico dots on the series of seven elaborate charts are chock full of oligarchs, both Russian and Ukrainian, a beauty contest, a mixed martial artist, a dossier that no one has seen, a couple of Russian energy giants not to be confused with a regular Russian oil company, and, to top it off, a mystery person. This is the laughable evidence presented by reporter Michael Crowley to desperately give the Trump-Russia fake news story an aura of validity despite no proof.

The only things that seem to be missing from Crowley's charts are Boris Badinov and Natasha.

Gladnick went on to assert that "the only ones to be shaken by the Trump-Russia fake news story are the mainstream media and the Democrats," who are in a "futile search for the Trump-Russia collusion Holy Grail."

Gladnick hasn't written anything in a few days, so we don't know what he thinks about the news that the FBI is officially investigating allegations of coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow while Russia was interfering in the presidential election.

He probably thinks that's "fake news" too.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:22 PM EDT
The MRC-Mark Levin Cross-Promotion Spectacular
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has a business relationship with Mark Levin, in which they promote each other. They both remind us of this once again, even as they fail to disclose this relationship to their respective readers and listeners.

On March 5, CNSNews.com blogger Craig Bannister touted how "Levin Uses Liberal Media’s OWN WORDS as 'Evidence' Obama Spied on Trump." (Though we doubt Levin spoke with the boldface and underlines and all-caps Bannister generously ascribes to him.) Except, well, that's not exactly what happened; Levin is desperately trying to pump up intelligence agencies' alleged monitoring of the Trump campaign's links to Russia into something he can maliciously speculate about but can't prove: that Obama personally ordered it or, at the very least, knew about it at the time. 

When CNN's Brian Stelter had the temerity to point out that Levin's conflation did not constitute actual evidence that Obama personally had Trump Tower wiretapped, as President Trump claimed in a tweet, Bannister was there to dutifully transcribe Levin's open-letter rant to Stelter sneering that he was being "thoroughly dishonest" for reporting the truth. A NewsBusters post pretty much did the same thing.

When ABC's Brian Ross called Levin "a conspiracy-loving talk show host" for pushing his conflated claims, the MRC complained about that too -- never mind that it's something he kinda does.

The MRC then gave even more space to Levin's rants on the subject.

Then Levin posted all these MRC links, and a couple more, to his Facebook page, under the headline "The week that was with our friends at MRC..."

Cross-promotion at its finest. How about behaving somewhat ethically for once and disclose that y'all are paying each other for this?


Posted by Terry K. at 12:49 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, March 21, 2017 12:52 AM EDT
Monday, March 20, 2017
MRC Defends Gay Conversion Therapy
Topic: Media Research Center
A March 17 Media Research Center post by Dawn Slusher noting that an episode of the new TV series "Greenleaf" touches on the subject of "conversion therapy" intended to turn a gay person straight feels the need to speak up for the practice:

There has been much rancor over gay conversion therapy programs for decades, but the topic has again been hotly debated as of late with Vice President Mike Pence’s support for such programs as well as Ken Blackwell, Domestic Policy Advisor to the Trump Presidential Transition Team. ABC’s 20/20 revived the debate in an exposé last week, as well. Though judging by the reviews, the exposé leaned heavily in favor of those who demonize such programs.

Rarely will you find the Hollywood left giving facts, statistics and answers on those who have found success in conversion therapy, but the season premiere of the Oprah Winfrey Network's (OWN) Greenleaf, “A House Divided,” is providing an interesting look on the issue from the point-of-view of a married couple who are leaders in the family church facing a tumultuous time after the revelation that the husband is attracted to men.

For these "facts, statistics and answers," Slusher cites a pro-conversion therapy group that claims criticism of conversion therapyare "opinion, not science" and cites the virulently anti-gay group NARTH in support, and self-proclaimed ex-transgender woman Walt Heyer, a current fave of anti-gay activists who admits he was misdiagnosed as transgender.

Slusher goes on to rant:

If we are supposed to accept those who believe being gay isn’t a choice, why then are we not allowed to accept those who believe it is? If women in this country are allowed to take the life of their unborn child in the name of “freedom of choice,” why then can’t a gay man or woman have the right to choose conversion therapy without the threat of the government shutting down such programs?

Reparative therapist the late Dr. Joseph Nicolosi spoke to VirtueOnline.org about the left’s attempt to deny conversion therapy treatments to those who seek to change, saying, “The justification for denying the client's autonomy and self-determination is the arrogant assumption that ‘we know better what's good for you than you do.’ We will tell you what your problem is, which is to learn to enjoy gay sex. So drop your inhibitions, drop your archaic religious beliefs, forget your morality or ethic and join the gay parade.”

Yes, there have been horror stories and abuses of conversion therapy programs, but that can be said about any type of therapy. There will always be those who use it for selfish gain and profit, or for pure power and abuse. That doesn’t mean there are not good and successful programs out there for those who wish to pursue them.

Nicolosi was a founder of NARTH, which tells you all you need to know about him and his motivations. And if are "good and successful programs" for conversion therapy as Slusher claims there is, why have none surfaced during state hearings to ban the practice that use a scientifically valid, replicable method that does no harm to the client, and why did Slusher cite any in her post? Perhaps because one doesn't exist.

The MRC is being irresponsible in promoting a discredited therapy method, just as it was in promoting a certain strain of anti-vaxxer activism.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:48 PM EDT
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Maddow's Trump Tax Reveal Sends MRC Into Attack Mode
Topic: Media Research Center

After MSNBC's Rachel Maddow revealed a couple of pages of Donald Trump's 2005 tax returns, the Media Research Center went into overdrive trying to dismiss it as a "fail" and/or a "flop" and/or a "non-story":

The fact that the MRC devoted 12 posts to Maddow's tax-return reveal within 48 hours after the story aired would seem to indicate the opposite of what it's trying to tell us -- that it really wasn't the "fail" or "non-story" the MRC repeatedly insists it was.

The MRC is certainly not going to give Maddow credit for doing something no other media organization has done to date, as the Washington Post's Erik Wemple points out: get Trump to didsclose information about his taxes.

The MRC went even further into pro-Trump spin mode with a March 17 post by James Powers asserting that "Trump’s effective tax rate for 2005 was 79 percent" accounting for the $103 million in losses he took (on $151 million in income) and the alternative minimum tax he paid.

Sad, really.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:28 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, March 19, 2017 9:33 PM EDT
Saturday, March 18, 2017
MRC's Blumer Still Doesn't Understand How AP Works
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Research Center blogger Tom Blumer is obsessed with bashing the Associated Press -- yet not so obsessed with it to bother to understand how the news cooperative works.

Blumer devoted a March 5 post to complaining that the AP ran the address of a private email account Vice President Mike Pence's wife used to conduct official business while Pence was Indiana governor. Pence's account was hacked.

Blumer is huffing that the AP didn't remove the email address from the original story after Pence told the AP the account was still active (instead agreeing not to publish it in future articles), self-righteously asserting he "won't link" to the story with the address but instead linking to a Google search with the story "as the current first item listed."

Well, there's your problem, Tom. The story is not at the AP website but, rather, at the Boston Globe. And, thus, we are compelled to explain to Blumer how the AP works. 

The AP is not a news organization per se but a news cooperative, sustained by the membership fees of subscribers like the Globe that run AP content in exchange for making their own original content available to the AP for distribution. AP members are generally free to do what they will with AP's content, such as adding their own localized content to an AP story.

AP stories on the websites of other subscribing news organizations are not on AP servers but, rather, servers run by those news organizations, so there's little the AP could do on its own to retroactively redact the offending email address in question because dozens, if not hundreds, of news organizations would have to individually make that change. In  other words, the AP could demand that the Globe redact the email address from its story, but it has little power to ensure that it actually did so. Meanwhile, the AP has no power whatsoever to stop those who copy the story without its authorization.

The AP's stance, then, is a prudent one that recognizes that the Internet is forever and it cannot purge every single instance of the address off the web.

While Blumer rants at the AP for taking a "Karen Pence's privacy be damned" approach to the issue, he gives a pass to Pence's wife for stupidly insisting on continuing to use an email account that was 1) hacked, or at least exposed in the hacking of her husband's account; 2) exposed as having been used for official business in contradiction of ethics if not the law (to which Blumer also gives a pass), and 3) published by a news organization and given wide dissemination.

And AP is the irresponsible one here? Only in Blumer's fevered brain.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:24 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, March 18, 2017 10:26 AM EDT
Friday, March 17, 2017
MRC Writer Can't Stop Pushing 'Fungible' Canard About Planned Parenthood Funding
Topic: Media Research Center

Back in January, we shot down Media Research Center writer Katie Yoder's assertion that federal money given to Planned Parenthood is "fungible" -- an argument that conveniently ignores the fact that this federal money is provided for specific services and cannot be shifted elsewhere.

In keeping with the current MRC tradition of ignoring facts that counter its political agenda, Yoder keeps making the same false argument.

In a March 7 post, Yoder hammered on a certain false theme (bolding is ours):

These are the questions the networks refuse to fully address: If abortion is just three percent of Planned Parenthood’s “services,” why doesn’t it stop for the sake of federal funding? Or, if federal funding doesn't go towards abortion, why would the administration halt Planned Parenthood funding?

Answers: It isn’t only three percent and money is fungible.

[...]

While the Hyde Amendment, a legislative provision approved annually by Congress, bars federal funding (aka taxpayer funding) for abortion except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother, pro-life leaders argue that the government money is fungible.

But the networks won’t tell viewers that.

[...]

She failed to address the argument that money is fungible, or that Planned Parenthood could offset costs with public funds to free up other resources for abortion. Another point highlighted by pro-life groups.

The only evidence Yoder provides for this is an unsubstantiated assertion by Republican Sen. James Lankford that "The money is fungible," as well as her and fellow MRCer Sarah Stites' ridiculous analogy that "imagine giving your teen $20 to use specifically for gas. Although he can’t buy beer with that $20, he can now use his own $20 to purchase alcohol since the gas was covered by you."  

Someone forgot to tell Yoder and Stites that teens can't legally buy alcohol. And it still doesn't take into account the fact that federal money to Planned Parenthood isn't intermingled with other funds and Planned Parenthood must account to the feds their spending on the programs the money is designated toward.

But hey, the truth no longer matters at the MRC.

UPDATE: Yoder makes the assertion again in a March 17 post, though she tones down her certainty: "pro-life leaders and politicians argue money is fungible – or that Planned Parenthood could offset costs with federal funds to free up other resources for abortion." And "money is fungible" is again linked to her and Stites' dumb teen-buying-alcohol argument.

At least she sort of concedes that "money is fungible" is just something right-wingers "argue" and not actually based in fact.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:00 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, March 17, 2017 6:47 PM EDT
Thursday, March 16, 2017
MRC's Graham Thinks Right-Wing Reporters Aren't Biased
Topic: Media Research Center

Right-wing snob (and terrible media critic) Tim Graham is at his lame ways again, this time over the influx of right-wing media outlets in the White House briefing room.

In a March 11 Media Research Center post, attacked the Washington Post for highlighting that a right-wing partisan, Fred Lucas of the Heritaqge Foundation-operated Daily Signal, served as a pool reporter.

Graham then uses a March 13 post to rant about "the leftist snobs at The New Yorker" for noting the right-wing influx in "a snide piece full of anonymous whiners." Graham whined that the Post accurately referred to the DailySignal as a partisan outlet:

Let that sink in. The Washington Post, describing itself as somehow outside the “partisan press.” MSNBC, outside the “partisan press”? The New York Times, with the front-page essay on the need for “oppositional” media to defeat Trump and elect Hillary, outside the “partisan press”?

But the Times and the Post have walls between editorial and opinion. Can the Daily Signal say that? Can Graham say that about any right-wing outlet? Indeed, Graham merely regurgitates Daily signal editor Rob Bluey's unsubstantiated assertion that there's "a hard firewall" between Heritage's partisan operations and the Daily Signal.

Graham does eventually get around to a bit of relevant disclosure: "Fred Lucas is a friend and a veteran of MRC’s news outlet, CNSNews.com. So is Rob Bluey, who runs the Daily Signal."

Lucas (pictured above) was a highly biased reporter during his time at CNS, fearmongering about the alleged hazards of fluorescent light bulbs, peddling anti-Obama conspiracies and maliciously attacking Obama's family. Bluey, meanwhile, did misleading reporting on the anti-John Kerry Swift Boat Vets (that benefited the Swift Boaters) while at CNS.

With such biased people running the Daily Signal, let's not pretend there's any meaningful "firewall" between it and the rest of Heritage -- just as there is no meaningful fifewall between CNS and the rest of the MRC. If the jobs of Bluey and Lucas were not to push Heritage's agenda, they wouldn't be working there.

Of course, Graham's playing a zero-sum game here: He thinks any reporter who's not reliably right-wing is "liberal."

Graham seems to also take offense at the title of the New Yorker piece, "Is Trump Trolling The White House Press Corps?" But he's curiously silent about, nor does he excerpt, the part of the piece that answers the headline's question: a captured conversation between Jim Hoft, head of right-wing blog Gateway Pundit and the stupidest person on the internet, and his new White House reporter, Lucian Winritch, who said that a conservative-media friend told him "You were brought in to troll the press corps, and you’d better troll hard." Hoft himself is quoted saying of Winritch: "He's there to troll."

Graham, of course, is too busy smugly hurling insults like "'Smug Little Cartel' is an excellent summation of The New Yorker" to say anything intelliggent about this. Perhaps because he wants right-wing trolls in the White House press corps to be tossing softballs to Sean Spicer.

Need proof? Just six hours before Graham's rant was posted, an MRC post by Kyle Drennen touted one of those softball questions from a right-wing reporter:

Responding to a question from The Daily Caller’s Kaitlan Collins during Monday’s White House press briefing about slanted media coverage of ObamaCare, Sean Spicer accused journalists of ignoring the failures of the health care law and instead portraying it as “all rainbows and puppies.”

Collins wondered: “How is the press making ObamaCare look good?” Spicer began his response by observing: “Well, I think when you see some of these comparisons [between ObamaCare and the GOP replacement plan] that occur in they talk about who’s gonna win and who’s gonna lose, it misses a lot of the competition that's going to take place. It doesn't talk about the increased choice [in the GOP plan].”

That's exactly the kind of right-wing propaganda that Graham wants to hear.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:36 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE -- Out There, Exhibit 66: Against History
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center spent a good part of the Obama years complaining that the media described historic events as "historic." Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:05 PM EDT
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
MRC Researcher Puts Rants Ahead of Facts
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Research Center research Nicholas Fondcaro is channeling his inner Brent Bozell andgoing well beyond the "research" that's supposed to be his job and into lecturing and insulting ahead of facts.

For instance, Fondacaro huffed in a Feb. 23 post: "President Donald Trump sent ABC and CBS off the rails Thursday when he made public statements about the efficiency of this deportation operations. Trump described the program as running like a 'military operation,' which any normal person would understand was a figure of speech." Fondacaro is simply channeling White House press secretary, who laughably insisted Trump was using "military" as a "adjective," and both are ignoring that "military operation" means a very set thing to "any normal person."

Fondacaro also has a hypocritical thing about anonymous sources. On Feb. 26, Fondacaro cheered over Republican Rep. Tom Cotton so-called "schooling" of NBC's Chuck Todd about how "the claims of anonymous sources should be taken with a grain of salt," adding: "Todd seemed befuddled as Cotton continued to caution about relying on such sources, 'You cannot credit stories that are based on anonymous sources. You should look into them especially if you're in a position of responsibility, but you can't simply credit them.'" Funny, the MRC showed no reservation when it demanded coverage of a Fox News story before the indictment claiming the imminent indictment of Hillary Clinton that was based on anonymous sources --a false story the MRC has yet to correct.

On Feb. 28, Fondacaro grumbled that CBS "hyped anonymous sources that suggested President Donald Trump was playing up the threat from the Middle East" and that it "turned a blind eye to similar accusations that were levied against President Obama." He then cited a 2015 New York Times report about an investigation into allegedly "skewed intelligence assessments about the United States-led campaign in Iraq against the Islamic State" based on -- wait for it -- anonymous sources. So apparently anonymous sources are OK when used against Democrats but not against Trump.

Fondacaro did this again on March 5, touting how White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders "chastised" ABC's Martha Raddatz over citing of anonymous sources, once more forgetting the hypocrisy of himself and his employer.

Fondacaro has also been quick to serve as a pro-Trump shill regarding allegations of Russian links to the Trump campaign and Russian meddling in the election. In that March 5 post, he insisted that there has been "no evidence of collusion," ignoring that there has been no official congressional investigation of it.

Fondacaro tried to spin things further in another March 5 post complaining that NBC's Todd brought up the issue:

Give that the FBI’s months-long investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and the Russian government has yielded no fruit at all, it’s very premature for NBC and Todd to dedicate a whole show to the idea that it’s true. So far, all the information we have about these alleged connections seems to have been coming from those with close ties to the investigation. And those leaks has even said that they have found no connections. It just exposes who the media is cherry-picking what facts they want to chase.

Fondacaro cannot know that the FBI investigation "has yielded no fruit at all," let alone that there is indeed an FBI investigation at all, given that FBI director James Comey has not publicly admitted that one exists.

When "Daily Show" host Trevor Noah said he didn't know what an "extreme liberal" was, Fondacaro went on an extended rant about it in a March 9 post:

For as educated and intellectual as Noah likes to portray himself as his claims of the far left being tame are ignorant.

An “extreme liberal” is someone who takes the stage at a woman’s rally and declares that the President’s daughter is his “favorite sex symbol.” It’s when a famous liberal singer gets on that very same stage and announces her fantasy about “blowing up the White House.” It’s those who firebomb the election headquarters of their Republican opposition.

It’s the radical college students who rioted during the inauguration, injuring police officers and setting fire to Muslim’s limousine. It’s similar college students who use physical violence to shut down free speech to force conformity of thought on their campuses, and actually have a serious discussion on how ethical it is to punch the face of someone they disagree with. It’s those same students who proudly adorn themselves with the face of a mass murderer on their shirts because they believe in the same radical leftist ideology.

Those are just some of the people Jones is cautious of and doesn’t want in charge. Noah’s assertion that “extreme liberals” just want to give people free stuff is just ridiculous. To use Noah’s own words: that’s what “extreme liberals” have “shown us that they're capable of repeatedly.” Noah’s comments only drive more division and hurt the mission of the show he was a guest on. 

No, Nick, Madonna did not say she was planning to blow up the White House. And whatever "sex symbol" remark Ashley Judd said about Ivanka Trump pales in comparison to what her father has said about her (not to mention other women, which certainly has not terribly bothered Fondacaro or any other MRC employee).

Unmentioned by Fondacaro, of course, was how he and his employer recklessly throw around labels like "far left" at anything they don't like -- for instance, a sports blog -- to the point that the MRC continually loses credibility for putting partisanship before "research."

And research, remember, is the thing Fondacaro was supposedly hired to do.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:23 PM EDT
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
MRC's Bozell & Graham Try to Dance On Grave of Gay-Rights Miniseries
Topic: Media Research Center

Hate-watching the ABC miniseries "When We Rise," about the gay-rights movement, was apparently not enough for the Media Research Center. The MRC's Brent Bozell and Tim Graham devoted an entire March 10 column to cheering that the show got bad ratings:

They say network television is a profit-oriented business, but that's obviously not the case when it clashes with Hollywood's sexual politics. Last week, ABC tried to lecture America with a four-part miniseries on the radical gay left called "When We Rise," and it tanked in ratings despite heavy promotion throughout the Academy Awards broadcast the night before the premiere.

Nightly ratings were cracking just below three million viewers. The cable network FX drew far larger numbers for its O.J. Simpson miniseries last year. The History Channel drew almost two million viewers recently for its miniseries "SIX" about Navy SEAL Team Six. Those are obscure cable channels next to ABC.

Of course, lack of popularity does not necessarily equal lack of quality, and these two are indulging in a fallacy to suggest otherwise.

Bozell and Graham also complain:

Then there's just the corrosive hatred. On the first night, the main character Cleve Jones tells one of his lovers: "I say we just get rid of all the heterosexuals. They're so boring."

Can you imagine the outcry if a straight character were to say, "Let's get rid of all the homosexuals"?

That phraseology sounds strangely familiar. Here's the MRC's Alexa Moutevelis Coombs from her hate-watch of the series:

Cleve tells one of his lovers, “I say we just get rid of all the heterosexuals. They're so boring.” Can you imagine if a straight character said, "Let's get rid of all the homosexuals?"

Aside from ripping the quote out of context -- in neither post is it stated what the motivation is for this character to say this, presumably all the better to manufacture anti-gay outrage -- it seems Bozell and Graham are just lazily copying-and-pasting from their own employees.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:27 PM EDT
MRC Demands Coverage of Meaningless Climate Denier Petition
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Aly Nielsen complains in a March 1 post:

The liberal media love to report on climate change so long as the story affirms an alarmist, man-caused climate change narrative. When scientists question that, the media fall silent.

More than 300 scientists, engineers and meteorologists, led by MIT Meteorology professor Dr. Richard Lindzen, signed a petition asking President Trump to “withdraw from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)” on Feb. 23, 2017. But ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news shows never once mentioned the letter between Feb. 23 and March 1.

Nielsen glosses over the fact that it seems a small minority of those 300-plus signatories to the petition have any expertise in climatology -- hence her adding "scientists" and "engineers" to the list -- which would seem to show that the list is made up of activists who put politics ahead of science.

Indeed, the very first signature on the petition is Habibullo Abdussamatov, whose climate-denier work has been discredited. Also on the list for some reason is Ted Baehr, who's much better known as a professional prude for the film-review site Movieguide and who apparently hasn't done any environmental research work in decades.

Another signatory is denier and birther dead-ender Christopher Monckton.

The premise behind this petition is the same as one circulated for years by climate denier, questionable homeschool curriculum creator and friend of WorldNetDaily Art Robinson. It's been pointed out that well over 10 million college graduates with science degrees have been churned out by universities in the past 40 or so years. Add engineering graduates to that, as Nielsen wants to do, and there are millions more.

Putting the petition's 300 signatories in that perspective exposes what a fringe effort this is. That, and not the old "liberal bias" boogeyman, is why the media isn't covering the petition.

Nielsen also goes on to note the outlets that gave the petition favorable -- "The Washington Times, The Hill, Climate Depot, Fox Nation, The Free Beacon, and climate blog Watts Up With That" -- but she failed to identify them as conservative or denier. By contrast, the sole outlet she cited as critical of the petition, DeSmogBlog, she makes sure to label as "liberal."

DeSmogBlog, by the way, also helps makes our point about the lack of relevant expertise among the petition's signataories: "There are medical doctors, mystery men, coal executives, petroleum engineers, economists, and think tank members. Only a small handful could be considered even remotely 'qualified' or 'eminent' — but not in the field of climate science."


Posted by Terry K. at 1:19 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, March 14, 2017 8:53 AM EDT
Saturday, March 11, 2017
MRC Finds No Humor In Sitcom's "Thanks, Obama" Running Gag
Topic: Media Research Center

How utterly humorless are the folks at the Media Research Center? A recent episode of the CBS sitcom "Man With A Plan" featuring a "Thanks, Obama" running gag had Justin Ashford frowning:

President Barack Obama ruined so many things in America and CBS’s Man With a Plan hysterically takes this to the extreme by blaming him for every bad thing that happens, from potholes to bankrupt businesses to running out of juice.

On Monday’s episode, “Assisted Living,” Adam’s parents, Joe and Bev, visit the family in their RV. It's made apparent that Adam’s dad certainly did not approve of Obama’s administration, as he blames him for the potholes during their road trip, saying "Thanks, Obama." We also find out Joe thinks Andi “accidentally” voted for Obama. No surprise there as we’ve seen her liberal stance on same-sex couples.

Later, Obama gets blamed again when the company Bev uses for lard goes out of business.

[...]

Joe's antics get passed on to the youngest of Adam and Andi’s kids, Emme. She opens the fridge and slams the door, saying, “Thanks Obama!” because they’re out of juice. This doesn’t sit well with Andi, as she states, "He turned our little girl into Bill O'Reilly.”

Though it's said in jest, there are many terrible things we have Obama to "thank" for such as the rise of ISIS, rising health care costs, a crippling national debt, and being a more divided nation than ever before.

All together now: #THANKSOBAMA

Ashford seems to be unaware that the show is mocking humorless people like himself who blamed everything wrong with the country on Obama and are too committed to their right-wing ideology to admit that just maybe Obama was an actual human being who was not the manifestation of pure evil Ashford insists that he is.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:12 AM EST
Friday, March 10, 2017
The MRC's 'Far-Left' Fascination
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Curtis Houck used a March 3 post to come to the defense of right-wing author Charles Murray, who was "chased ... from far-left Middlebury College by an angry mob" where he was planning to give a speech. He further complained that the Associated Press cited "the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center, touting their belief that Murray is a 'white nationalist' using 'racist pseudoscience and misleading statistics to argue that social inequality is caused by the genetic inferiority of the black and Latino communities, women and the poor.'"

Strangely, Houck didn't actually challenge the SPLC's description of Murray (other than that it was expressed), nor does he defend Murray's views let alone explain why they would be considered controversial enough to protest; he just benignly describes Murray as a "longtime conservative author, columnist, and think tank scholar." The full SPLC profile of Murray is here, since Houck couldn't be bothered to link to it.

But let's look at something else: Houck's overuse of the "far-left" descriptor. That's just cheap and lazy heat on Houck's part; neither the SPLC or the entirety of Middlebury College can plausibly be dismissed as "far left" by a neutral observer.

Indeed, attacking anything and everything as "far left" is something of an avocation at the MRC. Here are the things have attacked as "far left" so far in 2017 alone:

(And here's a bonus entry from late December: Walter Cronkite.)

Not all of these things are "far left." In fact, most of them aren't.  They only look "far left" if you're a right-winger like Houck and his MRC stablemates. It's as if the MRC doesn't understand that words mean things.

Except they do. In 2015, the MRC's Rich Noyes complained that the broadcast networks "have gone out of their way to relentlessly paint House Republicans, especially the Freedom Caucus, as ideologues who are outside the American political mainstream" by using labels such as "far right." Noyes went on to huff that "The media’s repeated labeling of conservatives as outside-the-mainstream is something that liberals don’t have to face."

Except from the right-wing ideologues at the MRC, who again refuse to hold themselves to the same behavior they demand from others.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:55 AM EST
Thursday, March 9, 2017
MRC Hate-Watches Miniseries On Gay-Rights Movement
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has been attacking "When We Rise," an ABC miniseries on the history of the gay-rights movement, since it was first announced.

In a December 2015 post, Sarah Stites huffed that "It’s no secret that ABC pushes the gay agenda," adding that the miniseries was written by "openly gay screenwriter Dustin Lance Black," who is "not new to activism through media," and that "His new 8-hour miniseries is likely to be similarly acclaimed by the major media."

Stites also claimed that "The ABC network has also promoted its bias more subtly through support of LGBT events," desperately citing "the 2015 DC Pride Parade. WJLA channel 7, ABC’s local news station, was listed under the Capital Pride Alliance’s Rainbow sponsorship level." But WJLA is not owned by ABC; at the time of the 2015 parade, it had just been purchased by right-wing TV station owner Sinclair Broadcast Group -- something the MRC failed to mention in its original post on that subject. (By the way, WJLA and its sister station, News Channel 8, remains a Capital Pride Alliance sponsor, somsething the MRC is unlikely to bring up lest it offend its fellow conservatives at Sinclair.)

The MRC ramped up the hate as the miniseries' airdate neared. A Feb. 14 post by Matt Norcross repeated a claim from the right-wing, Rupert Murdoch-controlled blog Heat Street that the miniseries "glorifies violence against police officers,"based apparently on nothing other than a cursory view of the "When We Rise" trailer. Norcross went on to denounce the series as "potential propaganda" and argues that "perhaps it’ss time for Disney to let go of ABC and sell it to another party."

Norcross also complains that the miniseries "stereotypes Americans in Republican-controlled states as homophobic" -- again, based on only the trailer. Of course, Norcross doesn't admit that's hardly an out-of-the-mainstream viewpoint.

When it came time to hate-watch the show proper, Alexa Moutevelis Coombs was given the task. Her post on part 1 lived up to the hate by immediately declaring it "ABC's eight hour gay propaganda event," further ranting that the series "immediately gets into the leftist activism with a montage bashing Republicans and comparing gay rights to the fight against Nazism and the Civil Rights movement -- and it all goes down hill from there." She took particular exception to "all the gay characters kissing and hooking up in various states of undress within the first 10 minutes" and whined, "There are so many leftist tropes checked off in the first two hours, I can only imagine what’s coming in the next six."

Coombs then wrote: "LGBT sacred martyr Matthew Shepard is referenced, 'Those who truly hate us…are trying young men to fences in Wyoming and cracking their skulls open.' Of course, we now know that Shepard’s murder, horrific as it was, was not a hate crime." Coombs is clinging to right-wing revisionist history that insists that we take the word of Shepard's killer now that it was merely a drug deal gone bad and igore the fact that he mounted a gay-panic defense during his trial.

Coombs' review of part 2 again calls the show a "gay propaganda miniseries," expressing anger that President Reagan was depicted as insenstive to the burgeoning AIDS crisis during his presidency. Coombs rushed to his defense by citing something that didn't happen during his presidency: how Reagan "took a risk by publicly opposing" a 1978 California initiative that would legalize firing any gay teacher or support staff in California public schools. She then grumbled, "I suppose it was too much to ask that this series give a little credit where credit is due to a conservative legend."

For part 3, Coombs is joined in her hate-watching by Karen Townsend, and they complain that "The slander of President Ronald Reagan’s legacy by liberal gay activists continues," insisting that Reagan really did care enough about AIDS to fund research into it.

Townsend took over completely for the final installment -- apparently, Coombs ran out of hate to hurl -- and she complained that Christians are now becoming the victims of gays:

I wonder if the show’s creator, Dustin Lance Black, understands that people of faith also feel under attack for not falling in line with the gay agenda pushed in today’s entertainment world and that Christians are being persecuted for their religious beliefs. The left fails to understand that it is not because of hate that people of faith oppose same sex marriage – it is because of their belief in religious principles. Christian bakers, photographers, and function hall owners are being forced to choose between violating their conscience or losing their livelihood.

When We Rise doesn't seem to recognize - or care - when others fall.

Townsend forgets that anti-discrimination law forbids denial of service to anyone by those who offer their services to the public.

When the ratings for "When We Rise" didn't go well, the MRC called in a longtime professional hater, Matt Philbin, to gloat over the alleged failure:

The truth is, When We Rise was as self-absorbed and entitled as the LGBT movement it chronicled – utterly lacking empathy for anyone who’s convictions don’t allow them to fall in line with the agenda. Thus, gay marriage wasn’t enough, they had to make Christians bake the cakes for those weddings. Rather than persuade, Black et al used the opportunity of When We Rise to slander Middle Americans as benighted cretins brimming with hate for gays.

The truth is, Dustin, we’re benighted cretins who just aren’t that into you – one way or the other. 

Hey, at least Philbin admits he's a cretin. Of course, if the MRC really didn't care "one way or the other" about "When We Rise," it wouldn't have sent three writers to make sure every night of it got hate-watched.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:56 PM EST
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Another Bogus MRC Coverage Study
Topic: Media Research Center

A March 2 post by Rich Noyes and Mike Ciandella describes the Media Research Center's latest so-called media research:

A new American President is always a big story, but TV news is obsessed with the Trump administration — and not in a good way.

In the first 30 days (January 20 to February 18), our analysts determined that the President and his team were the subject of 16 hours of coverage on just the Big Three evening newscasts. This equates to more than half (54%) of all of the news coverage during this period.

While most new presidents enjoy a media honeymoon, the tone of Trump’s coverage was nearly as hostile (88% negative) as we found during last year's presidential campaign (91% negative).

Our measure of media tone excludes soundbites from identified partisans, focusing instead on tallying the evaluative statements made by reporters and the non-partisan talking heads (experts and average citizens) included in their stories. In their coverage of Trump’s first month, the networks crowded their stories with quotes from citizens angry about many of his policies, while providing relatively little airtime to Trump supporters.

That last paragraph is the only described methodology used, and no further detail about the results are provided -- which are big warning signs that this study is bogus.

Another sign: the binary nature of the provided choices. "Negative" and "positive" are inherently subjective descriptions, and it defies logic that the coverage the MRC covered could only be described as one or the other. There's a high likelihood that Noyes and Ciandella are portraying negative news reported neutrally as "negative," which skews their study.

Actual media researchers Stephen Farnsworth, S. Robert Lichter and Roland Schatz pointed out that Trump news coverage has skewed negative even from the Trumpophiles at Fox News. Their study also conceded that the majority of Trump coverage was neutral -- again, a category the MRC failed to include.The MRC, of course, would never conduct such "research" on Fox News because 1) it would prove the channel's right-wing bias, and 2) doing so would likely jeopardize MRC employees' regular appearances on it and sister channel Fox Business.

The researchers also note tha Trump's attacks on the media as the "enemy of the American people" also contributes to the negative coverage as well: "This puts journalists in a difficult position. If they challenge Trump at every turn, they may appear to be the opposition he claims they are. But if they conduct business as usual, this could simply let Trump be Trump at their expense."

Media Matters' Eric Boehlert adds that most experts agree that the first month of Trump's presidency has been unusually chaotic, an environment that leads to news that the MRC is predisposed to describe as "negative." In other words, a significant amount of that "negative" coverage was created by Trump himself -- something else for which the MRC fails to account.

Instead, Noyes and Ciandella engage in the MRC's rote media-bashing, whining about the supposed "anti-Trump editorial tone" after CBS anchor Scott Pelley accurately reported that Trump made "statements divorced from reality."

In sum: This is more unscientific partisan-motivated bogus "research" from an organization sadly known for it.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:27 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 8:28 PM EST

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