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.
AIM Writer Defends Trump's Tariffs As A Good Thing Topic: Accuracy in Media
Accuracy in Media's Brian McNicoll has shown himself to be little more than a Trumpshill, defending and promoting him at every opportunity. he did so again in a May 16 column, trying to defend President Trump's trade war with China as a good thing that has "benefits" for the U.S.
"It has become common practice among the mainstream media every time news erupts in the current tariff war with China to produce stories about the negative impact of the moves but ignore the positives," McNicoll wrote in a May 16 column about an Associated Press story pointing out that American soybean farmers are being hurt by Chinese tariffs launched in retaliation for U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods. McNicoll then wrote: "But are the tariffs really the problem in farm country? To some extent yes, which is why Trump is pushing for a cash bailout for some farmers." Then it was time for pro-Trump spin mode:
What [AP reporter David] Pitt or others rarely point out is what the U.S. gets from these trade negotiations. For one example, the U.S. just raised tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods. The Chinese retaliated with $60 billion in tariffs on US goods. We simply have much more to place tariffs on that they do.
But tariffs are not "trade negotiations," as McNicoll seems to think. And pretending that farmers won't be hurt by tariffs -- and if they are, that farm subsidies will make it all better -- isn't helping.
AIM Tries To Dismiss Prosecutors' Letter As Having 'Far-Left' Motivation Topic: Accuracy in Media
Brian McNicoll huffs in a May 14 Accuracy in Media post: "Protect Democracy, a far-left activist group, found more than 450 former federal prosecutors and political types to sign a letter that said they would have charged President Donald Trump with obstruction of justice based on actions described in the Mueller report." But McNicoll provides no evidence that Protect Democracy is a "far-left" group.
Protect Democracy states that its mission is "to prevent our democracy from declining into a more authoritarian form of government. We do this by holding the President and the Executive Branch accountable to the laws and longstanding practices that have protected our democracy through both Democratic and Republican administrations." It was founded by "a group of former White House and Administration lawyers and experienced constitutional litigators, all with a deep understanding of how the federal government works." We're not seeing the "far-left" connotation that McNicoll does.
McNicoll also tries to dismiss the signatories as"anti-Trump," also without evidence (unless you assume, as McNicoll apparently does, that taking a legal stance that does not favor Trump equals being "anti-Trump"). The Washington Post article to which McNicoll links notes the bipartisan nature of the signatories:
Among the high-profile signers are Bill Weld, a former U.S. attorney and Justice Department official in the Reagan administration who is running against Trump for the Republican presidential nomination; Donald Ayer, a former deputy attorney general in the George H.W. Bush administration; John S. Martin, a former U.S. attorney and federal judge appointed to his posts by Republican presidents; Paul Rosenzweig, who served as senior counsel to independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr; and Jeffrey Harris, who worked as the principal assistant to Rudolph W. Giuliani when he was at the Justice Department in the Reagan administration.
McNicoll also claimed "political types" signed the petition; in fact, the statement says the signatories "served under both Republican and Democratic administrations at different levels of the federal system: as line attorneys, supervisors, special prosecutors, United States Attorneys, and senior officials at the Department of Justice."
It seems McNicoll is so blinded by his love for all things Trump that he assumes the worst motivation of anyone who dares to criticize him.
AIM Does A Lame Resume Defense of Barr Topic: Accuracy in Media
Accuracy in Media's Carrie Sheffield spent a May 2 post being mad that Democrats have criticized Attorney General William Barr, and she defends him by ... copying his resume and repeating nice things people said about him 29 years ago:
The mainstream media has been repeating calls by Democratic lawmakers for Attorney General William Barr to resign, yet they are ignoring Barr’s long career of being esteemed in high regard by both parties – having been confirmed twice as attorney general on bipartisan votes.
Earlier this year, Barr was confirmed by the Senate 54-45, with multiple Democrats voting in his favor, and in 1991, Barr was unanimously confirmed as attorney general under President George H.W. Bush by a Democrat-controlled Senate by voice vote. Barr was also confirmed to the positions of Deputy Attorney General and Assistant Attorney General under Democrat-controlled Senates. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) called Barr an “independent voice for all Americans” and then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) referred to Barr a “heck of an honorable guy.”
Even as MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski questions Attorney General Barr’s physical and mental health (something which senators approving him this year weren’t concerned about), Barr is unquestionably qualified to lead the Department of Justice, having previously serving as attorney general – a qualification above all others. Barr is also a widely respected legal mind with unrivaled experience, having held multiple positions in the Department of Justice and earned the respect of the career attorneys who served with him. During his previous stint leading the Justice Department, Barr was praised for establishing innovative programs to combat violent crime and illegal immigration.
Barr has practiced law at the highest levels, including serving as General Counsel and Executive Vice President for Verizon and its predecessor company for over a decade. The Attorney General has litigated cases before the most influential courts in the world, including the United States Supreme Court and the European Commission.
As mainstream media liberals decry a lack of civility and bipartisan comity, it appears their criticisms are one-directional, choosing to attack the attorney general through the politics of personal destruction.
Actually, the 54-45 vote to confirm Barr was hardly "bipartisan," as Sheffield insists it was; only three Democrats voted to support him. And the same day that Sheffield touted Biden's decades-old praise of Barr, Biden was calling for Barr to resign, accusing Barr of caring more about defending the president than fairly evaluating the Mueller report.
If all Sheffield can do is rehash Barr's resume as a defense, that is very lame indeed.
AIM Tries To Brand Synagogue Shooter As A 'Left-Winger' Topic: Accuracy in Media
Accuracy in Media's Brian McNicoll was in spin mode in an April 30 post, asserting that John Earnest -- accused in the shootings at a synagogue in California -- is "a left-winger who despises Trump."
Not so much. Actually, Earnest expressed hatred of Trump only regarding his relationship with Jews, denouncing him as a "Zionist, Jew-loving, anti-White, traitorous c*cksucker." And far from being a "left-winger," he was a devout church-goer associated with the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, a right-wing evangelical group founded to counter liberalism in the mainline Prebyterian church.Earnest's manifesto spouted "cogent Christian theology" alongside his virulent anti-Semitism, with one pastor calling it "a frighteningly clear articulation of Christian theology in certain sentences and paragraphs."
But McNicoll didn't mention any of that. The remainder of his column is dedicated to bashing a New York Times article on right-wing extremism in California and complaining that Earnest "did not belong to any of the right-wing hate groups law enforcement officials have identified."
AIM Not Accepting That Trump Wasn't Completely Exonerated Topic: Accuracy in Media
In a March 26 Accuracy in Media post, Brian McNicoll responded to a Washington Post news quiz about the Mueller investigation with the usual pro-Trump talking points. And, like Trump, McNicoll couldn't accept the fact that even Attorney General William Barr's summary concluded that Trump was not exonerated on the question of obstruction:
To the question: “Did Mueller conclude that Trump obstructed justice?” the reply was “Right, but it’s also a bit more complicated …”
To the question: “Did Mueller conclude that Trump DID NOT obstruct justice?” the response was: “Though Trump tweeted ‘Total EXONERATION’ following the release, Mueller did not come to a conclusion on the question and Barr’s summary of Mueller’s report said it ‘did not exonerate’ Trump. Citing ‘the public interest in the matter,’ Barr said he planned to release more of Mueller’s full report, though significant portions may be missing.”
It then supplied a quote from Barr’s summary: “While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”
It never mentions that Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded Trump did not obstruct justice and would not be charged, or that they were likely on sound legal footing.
McNicoll also complained that the news quiz pointed out that Trump-connected individuals have been found guilty of crimes in the Mueller investigation, grumbing that "none of the crimes for which they were found guilty involved Trump or collusion or obstruction." In fact, at least one was: Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his communications with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition after Trump named him national security adviser.
McNicoll also involed a right-wing conspiracy theory that the Post claimed "without evidence" that "Flynn pleaded guilty to lying about conversations with Russians – although it doesn’t mention even the FBI now doubts he is guilty." But as we've noted, Flynn was being investigated on numrous other charges of making false statements, and in his plea agreement, Flynn pledged to cooperate with Mueller in exchange for the rest of the charges against him being dropped.
AIM Justifies Right-Wing Attacks on AOC Topic: Accuracy in Media
In a March 25 Accuracy in Media post, Brian McNicoll took offense to a writer, Zach Beauchamp, who believes that repeated right-wing media attacks on Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are driving down her popularity numbers. McNicoll huffed in response with, yes, right-wing attack lines:
It’s not that she has threatened to recruit primary opponents for Democrats not sufficiently socialist for her taste. It’s not that she has proposed a massive government takeover of the energy and construction industries that could cost as much as $94 trillion in the first decade – the entire U.S. federal budget now is less than $5 trillion – and that could not garner a single vote in the U.S. Senate.
Or that early drafts of the deal called for people to be paid with taxpayer dollars if they are “unable or unwilling to work” and that all jobs should be unionized.
Or another bizarre line of questioning when she tried to get a Wells Fargo Bank executive to admit responsibility for a spill on a pipeline that had not even opened.
When Beauchamp noted that Ocasio-Cortez has gotten "disproportionate attention" for a first-term congresswoman in right-wing media -- and garnering more mentions then Democratic presidentical candidates -- McNicoll insisted right-wingers are just scrutinizing her more closely because she's a "threat":
A more likely explanation is Republicans have paid better attention to her policy proposals and realize the threat they pose to the U.S. economy. Beauchamp points to the fact she has been mentioned more on Fox News than Democrat presidential candidates, such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
But Warren and Sanders largely have stuck to their scripts in terms of policy. It has been Ocasio-Cortez who has proposed measures that pose the most serious threat.
McNicoll conclued by insisting that right-wingers like him attack Ocasio-Cortez not because they "hate and fear her" but because she "has the most disturbing policies."