AIM Still Pretending Trump Isn't A Liar Topic: Accuracy in Media
Trump defender Brian McNicoll complained in a Dec. 11 Accuracy in Media post:
Even as polls show Americans have not bought into Democrats’ attempts to impeach President Donald Trump and the Department of Justice’s Inspector General’s report confirms most, if not all, of Republicans’ worst suspicions about the conduct of the FBI, CNN pushed forward Wednesday with a story that asserted Trump is escaping punishment for his misdeeds through compulsive lying.
“Donald Trump is looking to survive impeachment the same way he built his powerful presidency – by assaulting facts and seeking to expand the limitations of the office he is accused of abusing,” Stephen Collinson wrote in a story headlined, “Trump assaults facts to survive impeachment.”
Collinson then quoted Garry Kasparov, the Russian former world chess champion and Trump critic, comparing Trump to Putin. “’I always call Putin merchant of doubt,’” Collinson quoted Kasparov saying. “’But now seeing what’s happening in America. It’s when just Republicans managed to turn the whole political process in this alternative reality. It’s like a post-truth world.’”
Trump started lying from the moment he took office, Collinson said, referring to the controversy over the size of his inaugural crowd and citing the Washington Post’s largely debunked data base of “false and misleading claims” by the president, which now totals more than 13,400.
“Trump’s incessant torrent of attacks – on Twitter and on camera, amplified by conservative media outlets – has helped to insulate him against the consequences of his actions,” Collinson wrote, not noting that it was not conservative outlets who cleared him of collusion and obstruction of justice in the Mueller probe, but Hillary Clinton-donor lawyers who spent $40 million, interviewed 500 witnesses and came away with nothing.
McNicoll's post is based on a false premise. At no point did Collinson accuse Trump of "compulsive lying" -- the words "lie" or "lying" appear nowhere in his CNN piece. One can assume Trump is deliberately spreading false and misleading claims, but intent is very hard to prove, so it can only be accurately stated that Trump is making false and misleading claims.
Further, McNicoll's claim that the Post's list of false or misleading Trump claims is "largely debunked" links to a piece he wrote in June -- which, as we pointed out at the time, features lame defenses of Trump's bogus claims (such as insisting that whole or current dollars is a "credible metric" when comparing spending from two disparate time periods) and engaging in Trump-style cherry-picking.
And Mueller hardly "came away with nothing" as a result of his investigation; there was plenty of evidence that Trump obstructed justice and some evidence regarding a conspiracy to collaborate with Russians, though Department of Justice policy taht presidents cannot be charged with a crime while in office kept Mueller from determining whether a crime was committed.
It seems McNicoll is still in denial that Trump is a "compulsive liar."
AIM Obsesses Over Alleged Bias At Obscure Media Outlet Topic: Accuracy in Media
For some reason, Accuracy in Media has been targeting NowThis News, an obscure media outlet, doing several posts on its alleged bias over the past couple months alone. And, as ever, it has trouble with the whole media-watchdogging thing.
In a Nov. 21 post, Spencer Irvine -- grandson of AIM founder Reed Irvine and son of current AIM publisher Don Irvine -- asserted that calling abortions "safe and legal," which NowThis did in an article, "can be interpreted as a partisan stance," never mind that it can also be interpreted as an objectively true statement. He then lectured: "News media should not endorse, implicitly or explicitly, political views, stances, or opinions. NowThis News took a blatant political stance and yet portrayed itself as a neutral and trustworthy news source." Never mind that NowThis hasn't exactly hidden the fact that it's a progressive-leaning outlet.
We don't recall AIM complaining that any conservative media outlet "took a blatant political stance" on an issue, or that Fox News falsely "portrayed itself as a neutral and trustworthy news source" with its "fair and balanced" slogan.
Irvine attacked NowThis again in a Dec. 2 post attacking the outlet for calling out President Trump's falsehood that 14 million jobs have been created during his presidency. Irvine not only tried to spin the numbers but also the fact that Trump lies a lot:
It is common knowledge that Trump tends to embellish the facts in public speeches, but NowThis News criticized Trump for the embellishment. It also included a tweet from a Vox journalist who called Trump’s remarks “absurd,” despite that Vox Media is far from a neutral source of news and analysis.
NowThis compared Trump’s job creation numbers to Obama’s and claimed that the Trump-led economy “created fewer than 6 million jobs since Trump has taken office.” The article claimed that this was “less than what Obama created when he was in office,” and cited a Forbes article to support that claim. However, the link that NowThis News used was a broken link and the information in the Forbes article cannot be verified.
Upon further investigation, a different Forbes article pointed out that Obama created one million more jobs than Trump has at this point in the presidency, which is a significant difference. However, both Forbes and NowThis News did not take into account consumer confidence and how the U.S. economy got back on track after Trump’s election.
Irvine complained once more in a Dec. 5 post about an allegedly biased NowThis article on the impeachment hearings: "The lack of ideological balance, in addition to the partisanship and favoritism toward Democratic lawmakers and their witnesses in this recap article, illustrated NowThis News’s political bias and how it should tell its readers that it is a partisan news source, not an unbiased one." Again, Irvine did not hold conservative media outlets similarly accountable for their lack of balance.
Carrie Sheffield did the NowThis-bashing -- and Trump-defending -- honors in a Dec. 11 post:
NowThis News’ impeachment coverage omitted key facts about diplomats’ testimony on Capitol Hill, leaving false anti-Trump impressions for its readers.
“Trump and many in the GOP have called the inquiry a ‘sham’ despite the testimony of multiple career diplomats that Trump offered a quid pro quo to the president of Ukraine to investigate unfounded claims against Biden,” wrote NowThis’ Christina Cocca.
Cocca failed to mention that House Democrats based their calls for impeachment on assumptions, presumptions, and speculation from witnesses who had no interaction with the President. None of the diplomatic witnesses during the impeachment hearings had any firsthand knowledge or evidence of wrongdoing by the President.
Most of their witnesses never spoke with Trump or weren’t even involved in the events at hand. Only two people actually asked the president about this – Ambassador Gordon Sondland and Sen. Ron Johnson, and the President told both of them he was not seeking any quid pro quo.
If only AIM cared this much about the accuracy of conservative media.
AIM Misleadingly Attacks Wash. Post Article Topic: Accuracy in Media
Brian McNicoll wrote in a Nov. 15 Accuracy in Media post:
With the release of the report from Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz on the origins of the 2016 election now “imminent,” in the words of Attorney General William Barr, mainstream media has stepped forth to discredit it in advance of what are expected to be devastating findings and possibly even criminal referrals of Democrats.
The Washington Post claimed the Justice Department was not allowing witnesses to submit written feedback to the report, only to backtrack hours later and blame the confusion on Justice Department spokespeople.
The Post’s claim was refuted within hours by the Justice Department, and a later story revealed the Post had relied on anonymous sources for its claim that witnesses would not be allowed to submit written responses but could respond verbally.
McNicoll is trying to frame the Post's story as relying on allegedly unreliable anonymous sources whom the Justice Department had to "refute." Actually, the Post article detailed that the Justice Department reversed its earlier instructions to witnesses and allowed written feedback per department policy after intially declining to comment when the story first appeared:
The Post had reported hours earlier that — as is the case in most inspector general probes — witnesses were being invited to review draft sections of the report and offer comments and corrections. But — unlike most cases — they were told those comments must be conveyed only verbally, people familiar with the matter said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the political and legal sensitivity of the matter.
It remains unclear why witnesses were given that instruction initially.
Witnesses, the people said, were being asked to review their sections in a secure area, after signing nondisclosure agreements, according to people familiar with the matter. The witnesses have also been told they will not be allowed to remove any notes they make about the document, the people said.
The initial directives left some witnesses concerned that their objections might not be recorded precisely and incorporated into the inspector general’s findings, the people said. The witnesses, they said, were also concerned that the process gave the inspector general complete control in characterizing any comments witnesses make — and left witnesses with limited ability to create a paper trail that might help them show their words were captured inaccurately.
At no point did the Justice Department ever deny that witnesses were told they couldn't leave written feedback. Thedepartment was also given a chance to comment before the article first appeared but it refused. Those are important details that McNicoll didn't tell his readers.
Instead, McNicoll complained that "the media" was trying to "dirty up" the report and hype its alleged contents, gushing that "Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), said the findings would be 'stunning' and 'damning' and indicative of a “system being off the rails,” and most suspect he is on the mark." "Most suspect"? Wasn't McNicoll just ranting about anonymous sources making dubious claims?
In reality, it appears the opposite is true: The report has apparently found that investigations into the 2016 presidential election had a proper legal and factual basis, and the only apparent serious offense involved a low-level FBI lawyer caught altering a document and fired afterwards.
AIM Tries To Keep Crowdstrike Conspiracy Alive Topic: Accuracy in Media
We've documented how WorldNetDaily and the Media Research Center have completely bought into the Trtump-promoted conspiracy theory that a company called CrowdStrike is somehow involved in the Ukraine scandal because because of the 2016 hacking of Democratic emails. Now Accuracy in Media wants in on that sweet conspiracy action.
Brian McNicoll spent an Oct. 29 AIM post attacking a Washington Post fact-check by reporter Salvador Rizzo debunking Trump's claim about Crowdstrike and the Democratic server. McNicoll huffs, while also endorsing Seth Rich conspiracy theories as well:
Rizzo is wrong on virtually every count. Trump is not “fixated on the idea that Ukrainians might have hacked” the DNC. Trump is among many who suggest the murder of Seth Rich, a former Democratic National Committee aide who was killed on a Washington street on July 10, 2016, is related to the hack. DC police have called Rich’s murder a botched robbery, even though he was found with his wallet and jewelry.
The Mueller report backs the Russia theory, but its finding is based on CrowdStrike’s report, and its investigators also never examined the servers. Nor have U.S. intelligence services, which means their conclusions also are based on CrowdStrike’s report. The theory is not debunked in any way, and Trump’s advisers have not told him this.
Moreover, Rizzo goes on to contend, citing the Mueller report, that the Russians ‘stole thousands of documents from the DCCC and DNC networks …” as well as “internal strategy documents, fundraising data … opposition research into candidate Trump and … thousands of emails and attachments, which were later released by WikiLeaks in July 2016.”
The Russians and Wikileaks head Julian Assange both vehemently denied that Russia gave the information to Wikileaks, and Mueller’s team refused to interview Assange.
McNicoll doesn't mention the fact that because CrowdStrike turned over complete forensic copies of the DNC servers to the FBI, there is no need for the FBI or any other agency to examine the physical servers -- which, in fact, are not physical dedicated servers sitting in DNC headquarters but cloud-based machines located in numerous locations (and, if Trump is to be believed, Ukraine).
McNicoll refuses to admit the possibility that "Russians and Wikileaks head Julian Assange both vehemently denied that Russia gave the information to Wikileaks" because they're lying and spread conspiracies about Rich to cover for the fact that Assange was working with the Russians. The Mueller report did, in fact, find that the Russians -- not Seth Rich -- leaked the DNC emails to WiklLeaks, and Russians and hackers were visiting Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy and passing suspicious materials to him in the days before the hack was made public in July 2016.
It looks like McNicoll is trying to take AIM back to the conspiracy-mongering days it was mostly known for up until a few years ago when Cliff Kincaid departed the company.
AIM Joins MRC In Embracing Tulsi Gabbard to Bash Hillary Topic: Accuracy in Media
We've highlighted how the Media Research Center embraced liberal Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard as an excuse to engage in Clinton Derangement Syndrome yet again by bashing Hillary Clinton for criticizing her. Accuracy in Media got in on that action as well in an Oct. 21 post by Spencer Irvine:
Hillary Clinton recently floated a conspiracy theory on a podcast, insinuating that Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is a “Russian asset.” Gabbard is currently running for president on the Democratic Party ticket, although a long shot, and has been an outspoken voice against U.S. interventionist policies in places such as Syria in the Middle East.
Gabbard is an Iraq war veteran and currently a major in the Hawaiian Army National Guard, and has served in Congress since 2013. Yet, she has fought back against claims that she is a Russian asset, primarily against the New York Times in the recent primary debate. Clinton’s insinuation agreed with the New York Times’s comment, when the newspaper wrote, “She is injecting a bit of chaos into her own party’s primary race, threatening to boycott that debate to protest what she sees as a ‘rigging’ of the 2020 election. That’s left some Democrats wondering what, exactly, she is up to in the race, while others worry about supportive signs from online bot activity and the Russian news media.”
As much as Never Trump and Democratic Party lawmakers criticized President Donald Trump for conspiracy theories, there is little outcry over Hillary Clinton joining in on the conspiracy theory bandwagon. It is hypocritical that Trump is blasted for conspiracy theories, but Clinton is left unscathed. Yet the mainstream media will focus on Gabbard, instead of the broader picture that Clinton engaged in a conspiracy theory about a current presidential candidate, even though that candidate is a longshot to become the party nominee.
Irvine never actually tries to disprove Clinton wrong, beyond citing Gabbard's military experience. Even the MRC conceded Clinton has a point (albeit before Clinton made her comment, after which it too went on a Clinton-bashing spree).
Of course, AIM is no stranger to promoting conspiracy theories -- we haven't forgotten the CliffKincaidyears, even if AIM currently wants to.
It has been an incredible 50 years for Accuracy in Media. Founded in 1969 by the legendary Reed Irvine, we have successfully educated millions of Americans about radical bias in the mainstream media.
However, fake news is proliferating more than ever, and not just among traditional media outlets. Social media titans like Facebook and Twitter have become the most popular places to consume news — but they are openly blocking freedom-oriented viewpoints from being shared. For that reason, our organization is making a change of direction, and we are thrilled to announce a change of personnel.
We have hired Adam Guillette, the new president of Accuracy in Media. Adam previously served as a vice president for James O’Keefe and Project Veritas. In that capacity, he helped grow their budget from $5.5 million to more than $11 million in just two years, while also enabling Project Veritas to expose CNN, Google, Facebook and Twitter. Prior to that Adam launched the Florida chapter of Americans for Prosperity; defeating over $320 million in tax increases.
This is not too much of a surprise, given that AIM has promoted and defended Project Veritas' questionable antics for years-- even defending O'Keefe's biggest screw-ups.
A 2010 post by the pseudonymous "Jonah Knox" (who also wrote anti-Obama screeds for AIM) tried to whitewash a notorious incident in which O'Keefe planned to lure a female CNN correspondent onto a boat filled with sex toys and film his attempted seduction of her. Knox at first dismissed it by claiming that "O'Keefe never actually did anything," adding that "There are legitimate questions one could ask O’Keefe about what he may have intended to do. But these are all questions about what did not occur." Knox then justified it anyway because CNN was working on a program about young conservative activists and "CNN clearly has a left-wing agenda that has no place for conservative ideas or conservatives themselves—other than when they can use conservatives to push the leftist narrative of right-wing 'hate'"; he then attacked conservatives for backing away from O'Keefe over the incident and insisting that "James O’Keefe deserved our support in the face of the CNN assault against him."
So, yeah, Guillette will likely fit in well at AIM.
AIM Gets The New Deal Wrong Topic: Accuracy in Media
A Sept. 4 Accuracy in Media item by Brian McNicoll tries to rebut a piece in Salon claiming to debunk right-wing objections to the Green New Deal. He takes particular offense to a claim regarding the Green New Deal's reference to Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal to lift America out of the Great Depression in the 1930s:
Only, the New Deal legislation did not pull the American economy out of the Great Depression. U.S. GDP had fallen 39 percent below its trend levels before the stock market crash of 1929 and was still 27 percent below trend levels in 1939. Likewise, unemployment bottomed out at 25.2 percent in 1929 but was still 19 percent in 1939.
McNicll's source for these claims is an Investopedia article -- which he misread for one key number; unemployment topped out at 25.2 percent in 1933, not 1929. But Investopedia itself misleads by not telling the full story.
As we've documented, unemployment numbers at the time did not count those employed through government work programs as actually "employed," meaning that actual unemployment was lower than the official numbers. It also glosses over the fact that higher unemployment numbers were not a product of the New Deal but, rather, of a recession in 1937 and 1938 -- which, according to economixt Paul Krugman, was a result of the Roosevelt administration cutting spending and raising taxes, even though New Deal-related spending had driven down unemployment rates.
It's unclear where Investopedia got its "1929 trend levels" number from, since 1929 is the first year government GDP statistics were kept. And according to those numbers, GDP bottomed out in 1933 at 56 percent of the 1929 number, then steadily increased every year except 1938, growing to 89 percent of the 1929 number in 1939.
Of course, what pulled the U.S. out of the Great Depression for good was another massive federal spending program: World War II.
AIM Feels Some Clinton Derangement Over Epstein's Death Topic: Accuracy in Media
WorldNetDaily and the Media Research Center are among the ConWebWatch outlets expressing outrage that coverage of Jeffrey Epstein's sex-trafficking charges and subsequent apparently suicide in jail emphasized his ties to the current president over someone who hasn't been president for nearly two decades. Add Accuracy in Media to that list. Marissa Martinez complains in an Aug. 12 item:
CNBC, the Washington Examiner, and many other news outlets have been reporting that then-private citizen, Donald Trump flew on Epstein’s private plane in January of 1997, from Florida to New Jersey.
Not only do reports show the real estate mogul and now current president on Epstein’s plane one time, but the mainstream media continues to cover Donald Trump’s involvement with Jeffrey Epstein rather than highlighting former President Bill Clinton’s as well.
However, the only outlet found reporting President Bill Clinton being seen on Epstein’s private jet and helicopter is the Washington Examiner. The original report by the Examiner read, “Former President Bill Clinton’s Press Secretary, Angel Urena, claimed that ‘in 2002 and 2003, President Clinton took a total of four trips on Jeffrey Epstein’s airplane: One to Europe, one to Asia, and two to Africa.”
Martinez didn't mention that the Washington Examiner, like AIM, has a conservative bias and would obviously be obsessed with Clinton-Epstein links.
Martinez also complained that not enough media attention was paid to a claim by one of Epstein's trafficking victims, Virginia Giuffre, that her accusations of powerful men she was allegedly forced to have sex with included two Democratic politicians, George Mitchell and Bill Richardson. But Martinez omitted -- even though it was in the CNN article she cites for the other claims -- that Giuffre's list of alleged abusers also includes Alan Dershowitz, who was not only an attorney for Epstein but has also been a prominent defender of President Trump. (Dershowitz has denied any contact with Giuffre.)
AIM Touts PragerU Video Making Discredited Claim About Trump and Charlottesville Topic: Accuracy in Media
Accuracy in Media's Carrie Sheffield writes in an Aug. 6 post:
In the wake of the El Paso shooting, liberal media commentators have brought up President Donlad Trump’s response to the violent protests of Charlottesville, Va., to claim the president praised racist neo-Nazis and created a climate for El Paso.
Cortes outlines what Trump said, acknowledging there were at least four groups of people around the chaos of Charlottesville: two separate groups of peaceful protesters from both sides disagreeing about a statute of Robert E. Lee — people who were not part of either the violent white supremacist neo-Nazis (who the president condemned in his 2017 speech: “Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”) or the violent Antifa counter-protesters.
But that claim -- which undergirds Cortes' video -- is not true, as others have reported even before the video was made. Even other conservatives concede that as well. Here's Quin Hillyer at the Washington Examiner blowing up the video:
Cortes (see the 1:56 mark, and following) and other conservatives have emphasized “another group” of “peaceful protesters,” and said “lest you have any doubts that there were good people in Charlottesville …, the New York Times confirmed it in a story they published the next day.”
What was the evidence? A quote from one woman, and only one, named Michelle Piercy, who said she and a conservative group had traveled from Wichita, Kansas to protest the statue’s removal.
So, who was that group? Well, Piercy herself identified it as an outfit called “American Warrior Revolution.” They were there supposedly as “neutral protesters” who traveled all that way to, get this, “talk to antifa and Black Lives Matter and let them know that the way they were protesting is the wrong way to go about it.”
If that sounds suspicious — if you doubt that a group with the martial name American Warrior Revolution is a peace-loving dampener of tensions — your doubts are justified. A little Internet research shows that they consider themselves a militia. Lest their outlook be misunderstood, they provide a helpful video as self-advertisement. Please watch it, here.
The kicker is that Trump insisted that the very fine people specifically were at the rally the night before Heyer was killed by a neo-Nazi. He said it twice. That is howlingly false. The night before was the rally in which white nationalists by the hundreds marched in paramilitary order, bearing weapons, holding aloft tiki torches, yelling racist and anti-Semitic epithets.
AIM Article Reads Like A Trump Campaign Press Release Topic: Accuracy in Media
Marissa Martinez's Aug. 2 Accuracy in Media post begins as if it was written as a Trump campaign press release:
Since the launch of President Donald Trump’s official campaign, rallies have continued to sell out. In fact, each rally has been over the full capacity limit, thus forcing hundreds of supporters to outside of the stadium/area.
On Tuesday, at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, it was no different. The arena was at full at 17,500 supporters, many from different racial groups.
Actually, tickets to Trump's rallies don't "sell out" -- if the tickets are free, no selling is involved.And if you're giving away tickets, it's not that hard to "sell out" venues.
Most of Martinez's post, though, was complaining about a HuffPost item about Trump supporteers denying that they, and he, were racists. She then went back into Trump campaign mode:
Present at the rally was a coalition of African American supporters wearing “Trump & Republicans Are Not Racist,” and “Blacks for Trump.” None of the individuals were quoted in Huffington’s piece.
There was also no mention of black unemployment, which sits at 6 percent — a near-record low and below the rate under any previous administration in the article.
In addition, there was no mention of the Latino unemployment rate (4.3 percent, which is near the historic low of 4.2 percent). Asian-American unemployment is also at an all-time low of 2.1 percent as of June 2019, but that statistic was also negated.
AIM Mad That Strip Club's Event At Trump-Owned Golf Club Was Exposed Topic: Accuracy in Media
Stephen Colbert postulated that "reality has a well-known liberal bias." Accuracy in Media's Brian McNicoll seems to be offering up a corollary: If the facts make your side look bad, it's a hit job.
"Strip Club Rents Doral, Setting the Stage For Another Fahrenthold Hit Job" was the headline on McNicoll's July 10 piece. His complaint: The Washington Post's Blake Farenthold wrote a story about a strip club hosting an ostensible charity golf tournament at a Trump-owned course in Florida. McNicoll cited no factual errors in Farenthold's story; instead, he complained that "Fahrenthold stuck to the Trump-bashing angle and seemed not to notice a more troubling aspect of the story."
The "more troubling aspect" is apparently not, according to McNicoll, that a strip club is involved, or even that "the Trump organization has stooped to holding such events because of financial reasons." It's that the beneficiary of the event was to be a youth basketball club, which apparently wasn't all that bothered by the strip-club involvement.
McNicoll didn't bother to update his story to note that the basketball club pulled out of the event and the Trump club subsequently canceled it.
No "hit job" here -- just solid, factual reporting that had consequences. Not that McNicoll will ever admit that fact, of course.
AIM To Mark 50th Anniversary With C-List Conservatives (Minus Scaramucci?) Topic: Accuracy in Media
A July 9 post by Carrie Sheffield announced that Accuracy in Media "is celebrating its 50th anniversary at a black-tie gala dinner November 13 at the National Press Club." The "special guest" list was a bit on the motley side, though, dominated by conservative C-listers like Diamond and Silk, Ben Carson, Daily Caller publisher Neil Patel and ever-so-brief Trump White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci.
The article gushed over founder Reed Irvine, but it was silent on longtime staffer Cliff Kincaid, who served AIM for three decades with his Obama derangement, white nationalism and homophobia until leaving abruptly in 2017 for reasons that have still yet to be explained publicly (Kincaid has claimed he left because it was "mismanaged").
But it appears there is now one less conservative C-lister on the guest list. A July 18 tweet touted the dinner again -- but without Scaramucci's name. When we responded to the Twitter post by asking what happened to Scaramucci, not only did AIM not respond, it went back to Sheffield's July 9 post to scrub Scaramucci's name from it and replace the faux invitation with a Mooch-free viersion. But as you can see, we saved a copy of the original Scaramucci-laden invite.
It was reported earlier in the day that Scaramucci had been disinvited from a Florida county GOP gathering because he (accurately) called President Trump's tweets attacking Democratic congesswomen of color "racially charged."
This isn't the first time AIM has disappared someone who suddenly became inconvenient. In 2015, AIM convened a "Citizens' Commission on Benghazi" that was stacked with right-wing Obama-haters, birthers and conspiracy theories -- and one total fraud. In the midst of the so-called investigation, commission member Wayne Simmon's self-proclaimed career as a CIA operative was exposed as a fabrication; AIM moved quickly to scrub him from any reference to the commission while issuing only a brief statement arguing that "As with everyone charged with a crime or crimes in this country, he is innocent until proven guilty." (He was proven guilty, and AIM was silent about that too.)
As we've noted, the post-Kincaid AIM changed from conspiracy-obsessed craziness to just another boring pro-Trump website, which may not be an improvement. If the AIM gala's low-end guest list is any indication, it may not survive much beyond its 50th anniversary.
AIM Cherry-Picks To Pretend Trump Isn't A Liar Topic: Accuracy in Media
Accuracy in Media's Brian McNicoll is enough of a Trumpophile that he labors to find loopholes to prove that President Trump doesn't lie. He does this again in a June 19 piece claiming that the Washington Post "featured some of the claims of Trump lies that were among the 1,400 claims of 'false and misleading statements' that were debunked in Accuracy in Media’s 10,000 Lies in 10 Days series."
McNicoll runs into an immediate veracity problem, in that there really is no such thing as a "10,000 Lies in 10 Days series" at AIM, at least that we could find in the form McNicoll claims it exists. There areafewarticles in which McNicoll attacks the Post for tracking Trump's falsehoods, but only one of those appears after the Post reached the 10,000-falsehood milestone, and McNicoll doesn't link to any of them. Also, the Post doesn't call them "lies" -- which claims intent to lie on the part of Trump that the Post can't prove in many cases -- sticking instead to "false and misleading statements."
McNicoll's defense of Trump is rather lame. For instance:
The Post took issue with Trump’s claim that his tax cuts and reforms were the largest in American history.
“This is a Bottomless Pinocchio claim, our worst rating,” [Post reporter Salvador] Rizzo wrote. “Trump’s tax cut amounted to nearly 0.9 percent of gross domestic product, meaning it was far smaller than President Ronald Reagan’s tax cut in 1981, which was 2.89 percent of GDP. Trump’s tax cut is the eighth-largest on record – smaller eve, than two tax cuts passed under Obama.”
But as pointed out in “10,000 Lies in 10 Days,” Trump’s tax cuts were the largest in whole dollars in U.S. history, and whole dollars is a credible metric.
Well, not really. Whole, or current, dollars are always higher than dollars in the past, and adjusting for inflation is the only way to make a credible comparison between past and present monetary claims.
McNicoll did even more pro-Trump spinning:
It also claims Trump was lying when he said, “In the eight years before I took office, on average we lost 2,000 manufacturing jobs a month. Since my inauguration, we’ve added 16,000 manufacturing jobs a month. That didn’t happen by accident.”
Rizzo’s response was that Trump was lying because he chose January 2009 – the month President Obama took office – as his baseline, and that at this point, the U.S. was “smack-dab in the middle of the longest U.S. recession since World War II.”
Rizzo says manufacturing employment began a “slow but steady recovery in April 2010, during Obama’s second year in office. That steady rate of growth has continued and accelerated under Trump.”
This is false. In June 2016, President Obama gave a speech in which he accused Trump of having a “magic wand” because manufacturing jobs “are just not going to come back.” The U.S. had lost 31,000 manufacturing jobs from January 2016 till June of that year, and manufacturing jobs grew by 96,000 over the last 26 months of his presidency.
But the first 26 months under Trump brought 479,000 more manufacturing jobs – 399 percent more than Obama’s record.
Butr McNicoll is cherry-picking numbers just like Trump did. Manufacturing jobs under Obama did, in fact, grow at an overall steady pace from their lowest recession-driven number in March 2010, and over 900,000 manufacturing jobs were created from that point until January 2017, when Obama left office. McNicoll is not about to give any credit to Obama for that.
AIM Cites Biased Tweets To Attack Article's Alleged 'Biased Framing' Topic: Accuracy in Media
Carrie Sheffield spends a May 29 Accuracy in Media post complaining that "The Washington Post relied on anonymous sourcing and biased framing in its reporting that “President Trump’s new executive order giving the attorney general broad authority to declassify government secrets threatens to expose U.S. intelligence sources and could distort the FBI and CIA’s roles in investigating Russian interference in the 2016 elections.'" Her idea of rebutting things was to cite a partisan figure's tweets that are, yes, filled with biased framing:
Former George W. Bush White House spokesman Ari Fleischer called out the Post’s Shane Harris for his framing and assertions:
“Flynn was unmasked and the info leaked,” he tweeted. “Hillary’s campaign funded a false dossier that the FBI used to justify a FISA warrant. Comey’s briefing to Trump about the dossier was leaked. But Barr is the problem?!”
Fleischer called out the unprecedented nature of questionable actions taken by Obama officials.
“The headline on the story should be ‘Obama officials exposed secrets, politicized intelligence with Russia probe,’” Fleischer tweeted. “The subtext here is that if Trump does something, it must be wrong. If Obama does something, it must be right.”
In fact, corrupt Trump official Michael Flynn was "unmasked" -- a revealing of the identity of the person communicating with a foreign entity who intelligence sources were monitoring -- because, according to then-national security adviser Susan Rice, she was trying to understand why the United Arab Emirates was trying to establish a back channel of communication to the incoming Trump administration without alerting U.S. officials of the effort. Despite right-wing insistence to the contrary, there's no evidence the unmasking was done for political purposes. There's no evidence Rice leaked Flynn's identity or that the Obama administration "politicized intelligence."
Of course, Fleischer doesn't explain why Flynn's secret communications with Russian and other officials should have been kept secret -- and Sheffield doesn't either.
Further, while some details of the Steele dossier of raw intellligence remain unproven or have apparently turned out to be false, its overall message -- that Russia worked to help Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election -- is true and was arguably confirmed by the Mueller report. That's far from the "false dossier" claim Fleischer makes.
P.S. Someone at AIM should probably be alerted that the stock photo of the Washington Post building it used to illustrate Sheffield's post is wildly out of date; the Post sold the building and moved its offices elsewhere a few years ago, and the building has since been torn down and replaced.
AIM Stop Talking About The Mueller Report! Topic: Accuracy in Media
Accuracy in Media really, really wants to move on from the Mueller report, if an anonymously written May 30 post (credited only to "AIM Staff") is any indication:
With special counsel Robert Mueller holding a press conference Wednesday to discuss the infamous Mueller Report, expect to see the mainstream media obsessing over every single word Mueller said.
Expect lots of news stories that ignore the facts – especially that after almost two years of investigating, Mueller found no collusion on the part of the President – and instead misrepresented the facts in order to fit their own narrative.
Never mind that the Mueller Report makes it clear there was no collusion. Never mind that Mueller had almost two years to find something and found nothing. Never mind that the Department of Justice has determined this matter has been thoroughly investigated and is now considered closed.
The media will use this press conference as an excuse to write another series of articles calling into question the investigation – the same investigation they championed when they thought it would hurt President Donald Trump.
While the national media continues to obsess over Mueller, most are ignoring the real news of the day, including a new poll from Monmouth University showing that public support for tariffs and the trade war are waning.
Trump’s talk on trade helped him win some of those Midwest states in 2016 like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Gordon’s home state of Wisconsin. But with these new numbers coming out, the Trump campaign will likely be reconsidering whether that same message will work again in 2020.
So AIM wants us to stop focusing on one Trump mess (no, AIM, Mueller never said there was "no collusion," just that it didn't rise to a level of criminality -- even conservative Fox News anchor Bret Baier agrees) and focus on a new Trump mess? Got it.