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Sunday, November 15, 2015
ConWeb Censors GOP Candidates At 'Kill The Gays' Conference
Topic: The ConWeb

Last weekend, Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal all spoke at the National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa, hosted by anti-gay pastor Kevin Swanson. How anti-gay is Swanson? During his wildly ranting speech at the conference, he called for gays to be executed. Swanson also introduced Cruz, Huckabee and Jindal to the stage for their speeches.

But if you read the ConWeb, you wouldn't know anything about what happened at this conference.

There was some promotion of the speech on the ConWeb beforehand; for instance, it was advertised at WND beforehand -- and, strangely, well after it ended; the above screenshot was taken on Nov. 13. The Media Research Center attempted a little damage control before the event, with both NewsBusters and highlighting Cruz being asked on CNN if he is “endorsing conservative intolerance” by appearing at the conference. But the MRC would only describe Swanson as an "activist pastor," playing down his well-documented anti-gay history.

But after the conference? Nothing. Zip, zilch, nada.

No mention at WND, even though WND columnists Jason and David Benham spoke at it and even though WND is enough of fan of Swanson that it sells his books. No clips from the event at CNS, even though managing editor Michael W. Chapman loves posting anti-gay clips.

Not a word at NewsBusters, though it did publish a post referencing Jeremiah Wright, who did not avocate the killing of an entire group of people. Even the MRC couldn't be aroused enough to complain about Maddow highlighting the event.

Even Accuracy in Media -- home of noted homophobe Cliff Kincaid, who actually supported the proposed "kill the gays" bill in Uganda -- hasn't said a word about Republican candidates lending their support to, and receiving it from, a pastor who supports executing gays.

To demonstrate how radioactive Swanson currently is, WND columnist (and noted gay-basher) Michael Brown distanced himself from Swanson and the event -- but not at WND. He penned his distancing at fringe right-wing site BarbWire, run by professional gay-basher Matt Barber. Brown even ran to the defense of the andidates, claiming that "I also feel confident that, had they known in advance what Kevin Swanson, the conference’s chief organizer, planned to say, they would not have attended the rally."

The ConWeb's silence on Swanson's hateful remarks , and on Republican presidential candidates who are effectively condoning that hate by appearing with the man who spewed it, tells us the underlying anti-gay nature of the ConWeb. But you knew that already.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:41 PM EST
Sunday, November 8, 2015
Wash. Times Touts First-Ever Profit, Silent About Who Kept It Afloat For 30 Years Before That
Topic: The ConWeb

A few years back, we detailed how conservative newspapers lose massive amounts of money, staying in business only through the good graces of their deep-pocketed benefactors who made their money elsewhere. At the top of that list is the Washington Times, funded as a plaything for self-proclaimed messiah Sun Myung Moon to have entree to conservative Washington circles.

Well, last month the Times reported that "it achieved in September the first profitable month in its 33-year history, successfully transforming a traditional money-losing print publication into a leaner multimedia company with diverse revenue streams and a growing national audience."

Of course, print publications haven't been "traditionally money-losing" -- only the conservative ones have.

The Times plays rather coy about its historic financial situation, admitting that it piled up "losses that far exceeded $1 billion since its inception in 1982" and quoting Times president and CEO Larry Beasley quipping, "I know the owners can’t wait for us to pay them back."

Actually, the losses likely surpass $2 billion, a number forwarded by experts a decade ago. And there was never any expectation of a payback.

Article author Jennifer Harper also writes this:

The media landscape has been particularly unforgiving in recent years. Cutbacks, job losses and “newspaper death watches” have been the norm since 2009 as the Internet proved to be a profound game-changer in the news business. The Times went into reinvention mode, but never abandoned its original calling as a credible news source with a conservative backbone.

Harper avoids the actual history of the past few years at the Times that had little to do with the overall "media landscape" -- namely, that members of Moon's family got tired of paying the $35 million or so it took to keep the Times in business, setting off a power struggle in the Moon family and its Unification Church-linked business enterprises (not that the Times was actually run like a business, of course) that resulted in the paper being put up for sale in 2010. Ultimately, Moon himself bought the paper for $1.

Harper goes on to quote Beasley touting how the Times is "a digital-first business," but its website is so cluttered with ads and browser-clogging pop-ups that it's almost impossible to read.

Harper notes that the paper is now only by the nebulously, blandly named Operations Holdings, which appears to be a holding company for the business interests held by Moon himself when he died in 2012, an odd conglomeration of things besides the Times that include a fleet of fishing trawlers, New York's Hammerstein Ballroom and the New York TV studios where Al Jazeera -- longtime target of conservatives like the ones who run the Times for its purported closeness to Islamic terrorists -- has its New York headquarters.

Harper also repeatedly notes how "credible" a news source the Times is but she doesn't mention Moon's involvement in the paper until the 19th paragraph -- and she doesn't mention it was Moon's subsidies that kept the newspaper from feeling the effects of the free market it championed for nearly three decades.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:29 PM EST
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
The ConWeb's Big Prison Pork Freakout
Topic: The ConWeb

When the Washington Post reported last week that the federal government had decided to stop serving pork to federal prison inmates, citing unpopularity and cost, it quoted Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations saying that the decision would prompt anti-Islam groups would spin the decision into a case of the federal government acting under pressure from Muslims, adding: “This is just the kind of thing that drives them crazy. ... It will stoke the fires of Islamophobia based on the usual conspiracy theories.”

Cue the ConWeb, which used the Post story to build their own articles, done in their own biased style.

Newsmax gave its story the full top-of-front-page treatment on Oct. 9:

The article, by Greg Richter, made sure to prominently mention CAIR. gave it a " Staff" byline that also prominently featured CAIR, but took Hooper's comment out of context, claiming that he "warned that it might spark 'Islamophobia.'" Well, no, Hooper warned specifically that anti-Islam groups like CNS would do that.Curiously, CNS cited only the unpopularity angle, failing to mention the government's claim that pork was too pricey -- a strange omission given how close an eagle eye CNS normally keeps on government spending.

WorldNetDaily was a little late to the party, with an Oct. 13 article by Douglas Ernst (like fellow WNDer Cheryl Chumley, someone for whom the Washington Times apparently wasn't right-wing enough) going straight for the conspiratiorial angle:

The Obama administration wants Americans to believe federal prisoners are so unlike the rest of the world they even hate bacon.

The federal Bureau of Prisons is removing pork products from its menu. The decision will affect 200,000 inmates.

Ernst also made sure to mention CAIR but, like Newsmax, didn't mention Hooper's statement about the Islamophobia that would come from anti-Muslim groups over the decision -- you know, like WND.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:06 PM EDT
Thursday, September 3, 2015
The ConWeb's 'Porn Addiction' Defense for Josh Duggar
Topic: The ConWeb

The ConWeb is seeking to absolve Josh Duggar of responsibility for his actions -- which include molesting his sisters and having an account at the affair-facilitating Ashley Madison website -- by promoting the right-wing idea that pornography is addictive, which is what Duggar himself blamed his behavior on (until he didn't).

In an Aug. 29 WorldNetDaily article, Greg Corombos interviews professional gay-basher Matt Barber, who gets space to blame Duggar's woes on porn, declaring it "a gateway drug that leads people to act on their fantasies." and insisting that the mere act of viewing pornography is adultery.

Because Barber is also an Obama-basher, he drags politics into the issue, lamenting that "The problem in this Obama administration is there is no one at the Department of Justice who has any interest in going after obscene material and going after these pornographers and so forth."

Meanwhile, an Aug. 27 article by Penny Starr claimed that "Addiction to pornography affects millions of men and women in the United States, and many of those people identify themselves as Christians, according to a 2014 survey produced by a Christian organization dedicated to fighting pornography and sexual addiction." But the survey never defines, medical-wise or otherwise, what it means by "addiction" (other than a question to respondents if they thought they were addicted to pornography "based on your understanding of an 'addiction'") and seems to suggest that its definition of an "addict" is someone who views pornography as infrequently as once a month.

Starr's article doesn't mention Duggar, but it's clear that the article was written in response to Duggar's situation, to which CNS has devoted no original coverage.

Meanwhile, actual experts in the field generally dismiss the idea that pornography can be an "addiction," at least as we understand how addictions work. The Huffington Post reports:

A large study from neuroscientists at UCLA found that when people are shown erotic images, the brain's normal addiction reactions are reversed.

In the brain, porn "addiction" looks the opposite of addictions like cocaine, smoking cigarettes and gambling -- and therefore should be treated with different therapies.

Typically, addicts show increased brain reactions to the object of addiction. However, the new findings, which were published this week in the journal Biological Psychology, showed that people who struggled with excessive pornography consumption had decreased brain reactions when viewing porn.


So if porn functions differently from other addictions, as the findings suggest, it would be logical for them to be treated differently.

"Some people clearly struggle to regulate their porn viewing habits, but it is important to know why," Dr. Nicole Prause, a neuroscientist at the university and the study's lead author, told The Huffington Post in an email. "Calling it an 'addiction' may be harming patients, so we should require healthcare workers to provide treatments supported by research."

What, actual research on the subject? The ConWeb won't cotton to that.

But articles avoid the idea that Duggar may not actually be "addicted" to porn after all, despite what he sorta claims. As Bill Maher suggested, maybe he's "just horny" and isn't "cut out to be married."

The ConWeb won't buy that either -- not as long as it needs to get prominent Christians off the hook for their sex-fueled behavior  by blaming it on a mythical "addiction."

Posted by Terry K. at 3:24 PM EDT
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
NEW ARTICLE -- 2014 Slanties: 11 Years A Slantie
Topic: The ConWeb
The war of ConWeb aggression has continued unabated. It's time to once again honor the biased and bizarre from the past year. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 8:32 AM EST
Thursday, November 14, 2013
NEW ARTICLE: Begging Off A Benghazi Bungle
Topic: The ConWeb
The ConWeb promoted the "60 Minutes" story on Benghazi. After its implosion, they try to spin the issue -- or, in the case of the Media Research Center, ignore it entirely. Read more>>

Posted by Terry K. at 10:04 AM EST
Sunday, September 15, 2013
ConWeb's Climate Change Deniers Get It Wrong on Arctic Ice
Topic: The ConWeb

Reports of increased Arctic Sea ice brought out the usual climate change deniers in the ConWeb to trumpet the news:

  • NewsBusters serial misinformer Tom Blumer touted "the cold, hard fact of growing Arctic ice cover, as well as its possible implications," as reported by British newspapers like the Daily Mail, adding: "As is all too often the case, in certain matters affecting things here in the United States, if we didn't have news from Britain, we wouldn't have any real news at all."
  • Newsmax's Melanie Batley similarly promoted how "An unusually cold Arctic summer has resulted in almost a million more square miles of ocean covered with ice compared to the same time last year, bucking predictions that global warming would result in the disappearance of the ice cap by 2013." She also cited the Daily Mail.

But as Media Matters documents, Arctic ice was at a record low last year, so a large percentarge increase of the kind conservative outlets are reporting is not unexpected, and the recent historical trend shows that Arctic ice is in decline and this year's numbers still fall short of the average over the past 30 years. Neither Blumer nor Batley mentioned the historical trend.

Further, Blumer might want to widen his British newspaper reading horizons to include the Guardian, which points out that "When it comes to climate science reporting, the Mail on Sunday and Telegraph are only reliable in the sense that you can rely on them to usually get the science wrong." The Guardian adds: "Every year when the weather acts to preserve more ice than the previous year, we can rely on climate contrarians to claim that Arctic sea ice is 'rebounding' or 'recovering' and there's nothing to worry about."'s Barbara Hollingsworth --  who we last saw at the Washington Examiner promoting bogus statistics about tea party rally attendance -- devoted a Sept. 13 article to attacking Al Gore for repeating a prediction that Arctic ice could disappear by this year, repeating claims that there is "a 60 percent increase in the polar ice sheet. "Hollingsworth made no mention of the Guardian's statement that given the historical trend, "an ice-free Arctic appears to be not a question of if, but when."

Posted by Terry K. at 8:25 PM EDT
Monday, August 5, 2013
What The ConWeb Ignores About Fired Newspaper Editorial Writer
Topic: The ConWeb

Drew Johnson -- the Chattanooga Times Free Press editorial writer who was fired after publishing an Obama-bashing editorial headlined "Take your jobs plan and shove it, Mr. President" -- has been making the tour of the right-wing media, where his unsubstantiated claim that political pressure caused his firing have found a receptive audience. WorldNetDaily and Newsmax have uncritically repeated Johnson's claims, and even the Daily Caller's Jeff Poor (a former Media Research Center staffer) has given Johnson a pass. The result: creation of the impression that Johnson is a victim of the "liberal media."

But these ConWeb sources have all failed to report a couple of pertinent facts that back up the Times Free Press' claim that Johnson was fired for violating newspaper policy, not because of politics.

First, the Times Free Press is one of the very few newspapers, if not the only one, that runs two separate editorial pages each day -- the liberal-leaning Times page and the conservative-leaning Free Press page. That's a legacy from when there were two separate newspapers in Chattanooga. Johnson was editor of the conservative page, and his departure does not mean any diminishing, let alone the end, of conservative opinion in the Chattanooga newspaper.

Second, the ConWeb has been utterly loath to mention who owns the Chattanooga paper. It's WEHCO Media, which also owns the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The head of WEHCO is Walter Hussman Jr., who made his biggest splash in the newspaper industry in the 1980s by engaging in a newspaper war in Little Rock, ultimately defeating and merging with his own newspaper the rival paper owned by deep-pocketted giant Gannett. It was under Hussman that the two newspapers in Chattanooga -- the Free Press and the Times, the latter formerly owned by the Ochs family of New York Times fame -- were combined and allowed to keep their separate editorial pages.

As the Arkansas Times points out, "Hussman's sympathies — indeed much of his game plan for his own newspaper building strategies came from the former Free Press owner — are not generally with those of the New York Times." Indeed, the Democrat-Gazette's editorial page is headed by Paul Greenberg, a conservative who's perhaps most notorious for his Clinton-bashing during the 1990s.The American Journalism Review has reported that Hussman says the best part of his day is "proofing the paper's stridently conservative editorial page."

It's lazy and dishonest for the ConWeb to shove Johnson's firing into its tired "liberal media" narrative. A conservative-leaning newspaper owner, after all, doesn't fit their agenda.

(Disclosure: I'm a former employee of the Democrat-Gazette.)

Posted by Terry K. at 12:39 AM EDT
Thursday, June 27, 2013
NEW ARTICLE: Getting Schooled On Context
Topic: The ConWeb
The ConWeb takes President Obama's remarks on religious schools in Northern Ireland out of context -- and they find themselves getting called on it by an unlikely critic. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 10:09 AM EDT
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
ConWeb Takes Gay Marriage Decisions Poorly, As Expected
Topic: The ConWeb

The ConWeb reacted to the Supreme Court decisions overturning the Defense of Marriage Act dismissing a challenge to the overturning of California's anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 pretty much the way you'd expect.

Accuracy in Media chairman Don Irvine tweeted, "The country just went to hell in a handbasket.'



Purportedly objective reporter Penny Starr ranted: "Sad day for our nation --  already on the path to a fallen civilization. If Obama gets another left-wing SCOTUS judge America is doomed."

WorldNetDaily responded with a heavily biased article by Bob Unruh, with the demeaning headline "Black robes 'delegitimize' Supreme Court," that quotes a plethora of anti-gay activists lamenting the decisions.It's not until the final four paragraphs of his 39-paragraph article that Unruh bothers to quote anyone expressing support for the decision.

And WND editor Joseph Farah whines:

In fact, there was no real effort at making a constitutional case against a duly enacted piece of legislation, passed overwhelmingly by the House and Senate with strong bipartisan support and signed by a Democratic Party president, Bill Clinton.

What actually happened at the Supreme Court was that five justices decided – and wrote in their opinion – that anyone who opposes same-sex marriage does so for no other reason than bigotry against homosexuals.


What’s next?

It’s obvious, isn’t it?

The Supreme Court virtually declared an open season on those with whom the 5-4 majority disagree.

We are no longer relevant. What we think no longer counts. We are, after all, bigots who only want to demean homosexuals.

But Farah is a bigot who demeans homosexuals (except for that one he hired to cheerlead for the Iraq War). Remember his paranoid rant about "the forced homosexualization of America" that came in response to a critic who called him out on WND's dishonest reporting on LGBT-related bills in California?

Farah appears to be demonstrating one again that there's no reasoning with a person who thinks anyone who issues a legitimate criticism of his and WND is out to get him.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:43 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 10:44 PM EDT
Saturday, April 13, 2013
The ConWeb Ignores, Buries Rand Paul's Flip-Flop on Civil Rights Act
Topic: The ConWeb

During an April 10 speech at Howard University, a historically black school, Republican Sen. Rand Paul said that he has "never wavered" in his "support of civil rights or the Civil Rights Act." Which is simply not true. Paul has argued that the public acommodations clause of the Civil Rights Act shouldn't apply to private businesses -- in other words, he thinks that business should be able to discriminate by race.

But the ConWeb really doesn't want you to know about any of that.

A Newsmax article by Todd Beamon highlighted Paul statement on the Civil Rights Act, obliquely following that by noting, "He added that he did 'question some of the ramifications' of the act on business."

By contrast, a article by Melanie Hunter made no mention whatsoever of Paul's statement or the fact that it contradicts his previous stance. 

A WorldNetDaily article by Taylor Rose mentioned Paul's contradiction, but only in the final paragraph of his 24-paragraph article. For some reason, Rose devoted part of his article to Peter Brimelow, "financial journalist, author and founder of the immigration restrictionist website VDARE," calling Paul's outreach a waste of time because "Republicans will cut the programs so many blacks [and other minorities] are dependent on."

Rose's description of Brimelow's VDARE as "immigration restrictionist" is misleading -- in fact, it's basically a white supremacist website. The Southern Poverty Law Center notes that VDARE "regularly publishes articles by prominent white nationalists, race scientists and anti-Semites." 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:21 AM EDT
Friday, March 22, 2013
ConWeb Latches Onto Misleading Claim About MSNBC
Topic: The ConWeb

The ConWeb readily embraced a too-good-to-check statistic from a Pew Research Center study of the media: that 85 percent of MSNBC's airtime is devoted to "opinion."

WorldNetDaily's Drew Zahn dishonestly rounded up the number to "nearly 90 percent" -- of course, it's equally near to 80 percent, but Zahn clearly didn't want to go there. Newsmax's Bill Hoffmann asserted, "If you’re looking for straight and unbiased news reporting, you may want to avoid MSNBC."

And the number was practically made for the Media Research Center, and indeed, Brent Bozell issued a snotty press release on the subject:

“Pick any Orwellian nickname you want: the Ministry of Truth, the Department of Agitation and Propaganda, but don’t dare call MSNBC a news organization. No legitimate news outlet spends 85% of its airtime pushing leftist commentary. Pravda would be proud.

“Both CNN and Fox News have close to a 50/50 news/commentary split. We have said time and time again that MSNBC in not a news network. Their absurd 15/85 split is a vindication of every single criticism we’ve leveled against them.

“MSNBC is a deeply unserious organization and should never have been placed under the ‘news’category on any cable system’s guide. They’ve Lean[ed] Forward right off the cliff of credibility. What a farce.”

Since that number was too good to check, the ConWeb couldn't be bothered to do one simple thing: find out how Pew made this determination.  Salon's Alex Pareene did:

That’s a bit of a misuse of the word “opinion,” which does not, in this case, refer to liberal punditry, but rather to all interviews and other segments that involve people talking instead of live reports or reported “packages.” That kind of programming is common because it’s cheap, and MSNBC and Fox do not actually pay many people to do “reporting” — they are cable “talking about the news” channels, basically. But don’t assume reported pieces are intrinsically superior to commentary. Some of that “opinion” programming is informative and useful in a way that live shots of, say, poop boats are decidedly not. And some of that programming is “Morning Joe,” the talking head equivalent of a poop boat.

It also overlooks the fact that, even though Pew gives Fox News credit for 45 percent of its content being "factual reporting," that does not equal unbiased reporting. Fox's ostensible "news" anchors are prone to spouting biased opinions, and it has a history of shortchanging the Obama administration on airtime.

But thte ConWeb doesn't care about facts, not when it has an official-sounding number.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:49 AM EDT
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
ConWebWatch On Reality Check Radio Tonight
Topic: The ConWeb

Programming note: ConWebWatch's Terry Krepel will be on Reality Check Radio tonight starting at 9 p.m. ET, talking about WorldNetDaily's long record of failure in trying to destroy President Obama.

Listen here.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:49 PM EST
Friday, February 8, 2013
NEW ARTICLE -- Out There, Exhibit 57: The Jefferson Freakouts
Topic: The ConWeb
The ConWeb just can't deal with the idea that Thomas Jefferson may have fathered a child with one of his slaves. Plus: WorldNetDaily's Ellis Washington embraces a discredited book about Jefferson. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 2:15 PM EST
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
NEW ARTICLE -- 2013 Slanties: Oppa Slantie Style
Topic: The ConWeb
Biased reporting, wild claims, bizarre conspiracy theories -- it must be time to review the year in the ConWeb. Hey, sexy lady, let's do this! Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 10:37 PM EST

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