MRC Still Trying to Push Gay Conversion Therapy Topic: NewsBusters
The Media Research Center has a thing about insisting that gay conversion therapy works, despite the lack of any scientific evidence to back it up. The latest to try it is Robert Oscar Lopez, an instructor at Southern Baptist Seminary, in a Jan. 18 NewsBusters post complaining about coverage of the issue.
Lopez complained about the "cliched and vague styles" used by critics of the therapy, then pushes the unsupported claim that apparently all gay people were sexually abused:
The U.S. Dept. of Justice reports that 17% of males are sexually abused as minors, overwhelmingly by other males. Nobody claims that 17% of all men are gay, so tens of millions of men will have homosexual history but not necessarily a homosexual future. One must wonder if “authentic” or “loving” policies should silence discussion with such men about their conflicted feelings and anger over what has happened. Many, including therapists and former homosexuals whom I have interviewed (see here, here, here, and here) see a valuable message to offer such individuals: the act of abuse does not define them forever.
Nor should a entire group of people be dismissed as abuse victims as a way to deny their sexual identity, but Lopez missed that part.
From there, Lopez attacked a Univision report on conversion therapy for not conforming to anti-gay attitudes:
[Anchor Ilia] Calderón’s characterization of the issue starts out by implicitly accepting the often-repeated claim that homosexuality is an “orientation” - a part of a person’s identity like race, sex, or religion. Experts still have no strong evidence from science or cultural history. Direct testimonials vary. Some people never changed their sexual patterns while others who engaged in homosexual activity went on to live normal heterosexual lives (I count among the latter.) Neither Calderón nor Univision correspondent Danay Rivero acknowledge in their reporting the fact that many who seek “conversion therapy” suffered trauma or want to overcome obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors that are themselves harmful.
Univision’s Rivero interviews Dr. Lisset Ivery, who contends that reparative therapy is “very harmful” since “from infancy as a child you already begin to form your gender identity…and if the person is having some psychological disorder, then what you do is identify the disease that the person is suffering.”
Rivero also interviews pro-gay conversion ban Arianna Linto, a “Trans-Latina activist” who in her interview mentions that almost 41% of suicides by LGBTs are by people who have mental problems.
Both Ivery’s and Linto’s claims are disputable. Even if we accepted them, the Broward ban makes little sense. Such a high rate of mental problems co-existing with LGBT lifestyles looks rather like co-morbidity. It would seem that new policy actions should focus on changing whatever this network of individuals does that causes so much dysfunction and unhappiness.
Interestingly, Univisión’s report centers around the case of a self-described trans schizophrenic, Kathy Morón who says she has tried to kill herself twice. It is unclear why Broward County would in effect want to only surround Morón with people whose suicide rates and mental health pose so much danger.
Missing from Univision’s report? Perspective from experts like David Pickup, a well-known reparative therapist in Dallas and co-plaintiff in the federal case, Vazzo v. the City of Tampa, suing over a similar ban. In an interview with MRC Latino, Pickup said Americans cannot promote inclusion, protection, authenticity, or love by banning and penalizing people who help clients deal with unwanted homosexual feelings. Instead, Pickup sees such laws as violations of free trade, parents’ rights, patients’ rights, and religious rights.
Lopez doesn't seem to consider the possibility that gays have more mental problems because of societal ostracization for their orientation, not to mention people like himself who would like to force highly questionable conversion therapy on them.
Lopez goes on to claim that "Pickup describes himself as an authentic reparative therapist, as opposed to the quackery so often reported and vilified by the liberal media." Actually, Pickup does engage in quackery; not only is he a board member of the virulently anti-gay group NARTH (as highlighted on his own website), he was (and maybe is) a senior staff member for the Mankind Project, which runs a purported "New Warriors Training Program" conversion therapy program that involves participants going naked at one point to affirm their masculinity, or something.
Lopez then insists -- again without basis -- that Hispanic boys are more likely to turn gay because there aren't enough men around, thus purportedly making them prey for gay recruiters:
Also lost in their coverage is the special risk to their target audience: Latinos are more likely than non-Latino whites to be fatherless, incarcerated, or in placement by Child Protective Services. These are situations that tend to coincide with less than constant supervision and potential misconduct by a high-risk individual who can get them alone (for example, a mother’s boyfriend).
In other words, they are more likely to be in situations where they could experience same-sex abuse and might need a therapist like David Pickup to assist them in avoiding lifelong behaviors that would allow their abusers to force on them a homosexual life they do not, and should not, want for themselves.
MRC Blogger Gets Vague About Why People Are Calling Tennis Player Alt-Right Topic: NewsBusters
The mysterious Jay Maxson tried to work up a little anger in a Jan. 24 MRC NewsBusters post:
Tennys Sandgren, the 97th-ranked men's tennis player in the world, just pulled off the greatest victory of his life in the Australian Open. He took out No. 5 seed Dominic Thiem in five sets Monday. The huge upset moved Sandgren into the quarterfinals with some of the great names of tennis, including Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. That alone should have been the big story, but instead liberal media checked out his social media, branded him "alt-right" and ganged up on him.
During the press conference after upsetting Theim, an unidentified Aussie reporter ambushed Sandgren about his alleged social media ties to the alt-right:
“Tennys, the rise in your profile has drawn attention to your social media output, which includes some political figures who might be considered outside the mainstream. Yeah, there was a #Pizzagate exchange at some point, and I just wondered if you were concerned about having yourself connected to some of these controversial figures.”
Sandgren found the question amusing and laughed. The reporter continued the questioning, asking him about various conspiracy theories and people identified as alt-right. Sandgren denied he's alt-right and responded:
"I mean, no. I'm not concerned about it. It's fine, it's fine. Look, who you follow on Twitter I feel like doesn't matter even a little bit. What information you see doesn't dictate what you think or believe. I think it's crazy to think that. I think it's crazy to assume that, to say, 'Oh well he's following X person so he believes all the things that this person believes.' I think that's ridiculous."
Sandgren added that he's "a firm Christian" whose allegiance is for "Christ and following Him and that's what I support."
Maxson, however, is a little on the vague side about exactly what Sandgren tweeted that made the media (correctly) think he's alt-right, stating only that his Twitter account had "numerous links to right-wing ideologues" and that he "had engaged with people spreading misinformation portraying Hillary Clinton as a Satan-worshiping occultist, and 'Pizzagate, a similarly baseless conspiracy theory hoax that Clinton was connected to a pizzeria child sex ring.'"
In fact, Sandgren said in a tweet that he had read "everything" about Pizzagate and concluded: "It's sickening and the collective evidence is too much to ignore." And he went far beyond merely "engaging with" people spreading the occult stuff about Hillary (which may be the first time the MRC admitted something bad about Hillary is "misinformation"); he effectively endorsed it by claiming that people don't know what to do with it. Or they are concocting a way to make it sound not so bad."
Instead of telling us the full details of Sandgren's tweets, Maxson whined that he was "ambushed" with questions about it and that one blogger "is now labeling Sandgren a 'Pizzagate Truther' and castigating him for believing in 'fake news.'"-- a contention Maxson never disputes.
NewsBusters Blogger Gives Trump Credit for Black Unemployment Trend Started Under Obama Topic: NewsBusters
We've noted how NewsBusters blogger Tom Blumer is loath to give President Obama credit for creating the economy whose coattails President Trump is currently riding. He does so again in a Jan. 12 post:
The seasonally adjusted black unemployment rate in December was 6.8 percent, the first time that rate has ever fallen below 7 percent. A look at the monthly detail for all 46 years of available data shows that the previous lows were 7.0 percent, seen in both April 2000 and September 2017.
No other month during 1999 or 2000, the last time black unemployment dipped to historically low levels, came in under 7.3 percent. Almost no one knows that 2017 contains four of the five lowest reported monthly black unemployment rates on record: June's 7.1 percent, September's 7.0 percent, November's 7.2 percent, and December's 6.8 percent.
Digging further, December's raw unemployment rate of 6.3 percent (before seasonal adjustments) is by far the lowest December on record. The previous December low was 6.9 percent in 2000.
It's hard to imagine that the Big Three networks would have failed to report this remarkable story if it had occurred during Barack Obama's presidency.
Blumer fails to acknowledge, however, that most of that did happen under Obama. As the graph of seasonally adjusted black unemployment that illustrates Blumer's post illustrates, black unemployment has been on a steady downward trend since 2012.
Nevertheless, Blumer continued ranting:
The black unemployment rate in January 2009, the surveys for which were conducted a week before his inauguration, was 12.7 percent. Despite trillions of dollars of so-called stimulus from record federal budget deficits and over $4 trillion in unprecedented "money-from-nothing" quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve, the black unemployment rate at first just kept on rising, peaking at 16.8 percent in March 2010. It didn't move permanently below 15 percent until early 2012, didn't stay below the 12.7 percent Obama "inherited" until November 2013, and didn't get below 11.3 percent, the previous decade's pre-recession peak, until September 2014, almost seven years after Obama he was inaugurated. By that time, white unemployment was only 5.1 percent. That's a lot of suffering.
Blumer doesn't mention it despite his inclusion of another graph partially illustrating the fact, but black employment has always been roughly twice as high as white unemployment, and that gap typically increases in times of recession, which the first part of the Obama presidency inarguably was. Yet Blumer just can't credit Obama for the drop in black unemployment in the last half of his presidency.
As before with the economic numbers, Blumer cites no specific policy that has earned Trump the right to take credit for the current low in black unemployment.
Tom Blumer, in a Dec. 29 NewsBusters post, is very upset that a Politico article would point out the obvious and note that the good economic numbers President Trump is taking credit for are a continuation of the grtowing economy under President Obama:
So Trump supposedly inherited reasonably strong or tolerable growth, job creation, wages, and stock market performance. That's all so wrong it's very hard for me to keep from laughing.
Let's also be clear, because the Politico pair aggressively tried to muddy the waters with meaningless comparisons to Obama's first year: What matters is what kind of momentum and accumulated damage Obama bequeathed to his successor. It's clear that Trump got an unprecedented amount of the latter, principally a mountainous national debt, massive over-regulation, and the monstrosity known as Obamacare, and very little of the former, which will be discussed in the rest of this post.
Start with growth. Our 44th president's economy turned in average annualized growth of 1.5 percent during his administration's final six quarters:
Exactly how is the growth of above 3 percent seen in the second and third quarters of this year "squarely built" on six quarters of growth which averaged barely half of that? The obvious answer is that it isn't. (Who "owns" the first quarter of 2017 is subject to debate, but if one thinks it belongs to Obama, then the seven-quarter average rounds down to 1.5 percent.)
We also should not forget that several economists were trying to manage expectations for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's continuation of Obama's high-regulation, slow-growth economy by claiming that the best level of growth the U.S. economy could achieve would be 2 percent from here on out.
Now let's look atjob creation. The Politico pair overlooked two important things.
The first is that there has been a decided change in the mix of full-time and part-time jobs added this year compared to 2016 — and it has been towards full-time employment:
The clear shift towards full-time employment is an indication of greater business confidence in the Trump administration after it inherited a business environment sorely lacking it.
The second is that the government may be understating this year's level of job creation. That's because ADP's private-sector jobs estimate shows 2.296 million jobs added during the first 11 months of the year, which is 422,000 more than the 1.874 million reported by the government's Bureau of Labor Statistics. If ADP is right — and it may very well be, because its methodology appears to give it a better chance of detecting job creation at startup and emerging companies on a timely basis than BLS — the difference of roughly 38,000 jobs per month would bring Trump's monthly average per the Establishment Survey of employer payrolls to 212,000, well above the 2016 average of 187,000.
As to wages, increases in average hourly pay haven't improved, but thanks to the heavier concentration of full-time jobs, the average work week has nudged up a bit, leading to a larger increase in average weekly pay during the past 12 months than that seen during calendar 2016:
To be clear, this year's performance in this area hasn't been satisfactory, but it's an improvement, especially compared to the 2.3 percent compound growth in weekly earnings seen during the last six years of the Obama administration.
Thus, it's obvious that Donald Trump inherited no meaningful "legacy" of economic momentum from Barack Obama. Though Politico reporters White and Cook, and others in the establishment press, will no doubt continue brazenly pretending otherwise, no one should be fooled.
For all of Blumer's bluster, at no point does he name any specific economic policy detail Trump has implemented that he can directly attribute to the improved 2017 numbers. That tells us Blumer just can't admit that it really is Obama's economic momentum for which Trump is taking credit.
NewsBusters Blogger Wants To See IRS Non-Scandal Drag On, Just Because Topic: NewsBusters
Tom Blumer just doesn't know when to give up on a scandal.
he devoted a Nov. 24 NewsBusters post to being outraged about a Bloomberg View op-ed by Francis Wilkinson proclaiming the IRS controversy over alleged targeting of right-wing groups seeking tax exemptions to be nothingburger it was. Blumer first goes the ad hominem route, denigrating the op-ed's writer as a "career leftist" who once worked for a "Democratic media firm." But the evidence he cites comes from an anonymous "longtime Tea Party activist" and a guy so obsessed with the non-scandal that he posted articles about itfor "1,353 striaght days." Blumer offers no evidence why his partisans are any more trustworthy than the op-ed writer.
Never mind that the so-called scandal effectively ended four years ago, when the IRS admitted that the groups were targeted -- not for their political bias, but because of a flood of applications for tax-exempt status between 2010 and 2012. Blumer rants insteadabout alleged stonewalling that led several congressional committees to fail to find evidence:
The failure to produce evidence occurred because, as just noted, they made every attempt to either destroy it or withhold it. Of course, Wilkinson never mentioned the IRS's obstruction and evidence destruction.
Enough evidence to matter is still available, which explains why the IRS scandal's conspirators are still stonewalling and attempting to enlist the assistance of the courts to keep that evidence under wraps.
Blumer didn't mention that those congressional committees are controlled by Republicans, and if there was actually something there, they could have easily found something -- anything -- to destroy the IRS with. But Obama's not president anymore, and raging against the IRS doesn't have the same political juice when there's a Republican in the White House.
Curiously, Blumer didn't mention the report issued in September by the Treasury Department's inspector general, which pointed out that liberal-leaning groups were also singled out for more scrutiny and that the IRS had changed its procedures in that area.
In other words, there's really nothing left to investigate. Yet Blumer wants it to drag on anyway for no apparently reason other than political retaliation and pursuit of a nonexistent conspiracy. Sad, isn't it?
MRC's Double Standard on News Outlets Using Fusion GPS Topic: NewsBusters
NewsBusters' Tom Blumer uses a Nov. 4 post to go on a major tirade over oppo-research group Fusion GPS and its hiring by the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign:
Now that Hillary Clinton has admitted that her campaign and the Democratic National Committee — which we now know her campaign totally controlled beginning in August 2015 — paid Fusion GPS for the infamous Trump-Russia dossier, it's long past time that people understand the full scope of what that firm, which has been serially misrepresented as just another "opposition research" outlet, has done to change the media landscape.
Don't count on the establishment press to do it, because, as we'll see, Fusion has played a major role in corrupting their determination of what "news" is, how it gets covered — and how it gets covered up.
Fusion doesn't just hand over what it finds to its clients. It actively works to place stories with reporters desperate for scoops they'll never find on their own. Their related dispatches almost invariably claim that their stories came from anonymous sources.
The overarching point here is that when a political campaign or a client engages Fusion GPS, it is not merely looking for "opposition research."
Hillary Clinton outsourced a key component of her campaign's communications effort to a group of news manipulators and smear merchants. Her campaign concealed that arrangement, and intended to keep it permanently away from public scrutiny, by funneling payments to Fusion GPS through the campaign's law firm. (In the Venezuelan matter noted above, "Fusion GPS says being paid by a law firm means all paperwork about their work ... (was) covered by attorney-client privilege.")
The very act of hiring Fusion GPS indicates that Hillary Clinton and her campaign intended to smear Donald Trump and his campaign with accusations — even if false — about their involvement or "collusion" with Russia. This determination, apparently shared by the lame-duck Obama administration's FBI, continued even after she lost the general election a year ago.
For all this ranting about Fusion GPS' media work, exactly none of his ire is directed at the right-wing media outlet that hired Fusion GPS to look into Republican presidential candidates, including Trump, in the first place: the Washington Free Beacon.Blumer only referenced it in passing by quoting from an article admitting that Republican funder Peter Singer "hired the firm on behalf of the Washington Free Beacon to do research on all of the GOP candidates during the primary, including Trump."
Despite Blumer effectively conceding this inconvenient fact, he does not criticize the Free Beacon for laundering the work of an oppo-research firm through its "journalism" operation. He does not call out the Free Beacon for being among the "news manipulators and smear merchants" who made use of Fusion GPS research while failing to disclose it was hired to do exactly that. And Blumer does not declare the Free Beacon to be a political operation hiding behind a scrim of "journalism."
Just another example of how the Media Research Center has different standards for right-wing media than it does for regular media.
MRC Blogger Doesn't Know Who John Legend Is Topic: NewsBusters
Media Research Center blogger Jay Maxson already has a severe case of Colin Kaepernick Derangement Syndrome -- and it's getting worse.
Maxson went on a tirade in a Sept. 24 NewsBusters post against a post at Slate defending football players' kneeling protests, written by John Legend:
NFL protests have given the liberal media a newfound "appreciation" of patriotism and the Constitution. Media covering this movement suffer from selective amnesia about U.S. history, however. Slate's John Legend is a protest apologist and historical revisionist as well who strains credibility.
In his blog today, Legend argues "The NFL Protests are Patriotic." He writes, "The president of the United States loves to drape himself in the symbols of patriotism, but fails to respect the ideals at the core of our Constitution and national identity. Trump may love the flag, but he doesn’t love anything it’s supposed to stand for."
Legend then proceeds to launch into historical revisionism, if not downright fantasy.
The Slate progressive asks if there would have been a Civil Rights Act without the Birmingham protests when Bull Connor unleashed dogs and firehoses on Black children. Legend skips over the fact that Connor was a Democrat. Would the Act have passed without Republican support? No. Democrats Al Gore Sr. and Robert Byrd were among the 21 Democrats who voted against civil rights, but Legend gives credit for it anyway to President Kennedy and President Johnson.
Maxson seems to be unaware that Legend is not a staff writer at Slate. As the bio link to his name states: "John Legend is a 10-time Grammy Awards winner, an Academy and Tony awards winner, philanthropist, and founder of the FREEAMERICA campaign."
Also, in trying to hang Bull Connor and opposition to civil rights in the 1960s on the entire Democratic Party, Maxson conveniently fails to mention that this opposition was the last gasp of anti-integration southern Democrats in the party, and that Democrats who opposed the party's endorsement of civil rights eventually became Republican.
In other words, the Democratic Party of the 1960s is not the party of today. So who's engaging in historical revisionism again?
If Maxson can't figure out something as basic as who John Legend is, we can probably assume that the rest of his hateful ranting is just as ignorant.
Right-wing movie critic Christian Toto writes in a June 24 NewsBusters post:
The media's liberal bias keep getting worse in the Age of Trump.
The Motor City Madman has had a change of heart.
Ted Nugent said he wants the country’s political rhetoric to soften in the wake of the June 14 shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise by a Bernie Sanders fan. And he’ll do his part by shelving his own ugly comments regarding the modern Left.
“At the tender age of 69, my wife has convinced me I just can’t use those harsh terms,” he said on the 77 WABC radio program Thursday. “I cannot and will not and I encourage even my friends, slash, enemies on the left, in the Democrat and liberal world, that we have got to be civil to each other.”
The media lapped it up. Outlet after outlet trumpeted the news, from smaller newspapers to the biggest media organs in the country. Type “Ted Nugent rhetoric” into Google News. You’ll see the blanket coverage his comments generated.
And, along the way, reporters recited some of Nugent’s previous, unexpurgated rants. They also mentioned Nugent’s politics. He’s unapologetically conservative.
Nugent’s conversion makes for good copy, no doubt. It also highlights the blaring hypocrisy at work in today’s media.
Toto spends the rest of his post complaining that the Hollywood press didn't cover controversial tweets by George Takei.
Well, as long as we're going to talk about hypocrisy, let's talk about Toto's own. He concedes Nugent's comments about "the modern Left" were "ugly" -- actually, they were borderline death threats against President Obama and Hillary Clinton -- but he doesn't reproduce them the way he served up screenshots of the Takei comments that offended him. Why?
Most of Nugent's offensive comments were made in 2008 and 2012. Where was Toto at the time? Was he quick to condemn them, did he condemn them later, or did he stay silent? A search of Toto's personal website, Hollywood in Toto, turns up just one post carrying a Ted Nugent tag -- and that this very same one he ported to NewsBusters.
And how about his Media Research Center publisher? Well, there are NewsBusters posts that promoteNugentinterviews. The MRC's first reaction to the 2012 comments in which Nugent disgracefully called Obama a "subhuman mongrel" and invited him to "suck on my machine gun" was to play the equivocation game, whining that the media "ignored foul-mouthed comedian Bill Maher's $1 million donation to an Obama super PAC" and merely calling Nugent's hate-filled tirade "controversial." Another MRC post took equivocation even further by complaining that the media "failed to mention that Obama has his own history of using violent metaphors."
That was followed by the MRC uncritically posting a CBS interview with Nugent denying that he's extreme, except to grumble that "CBS made sure to emphasize that Nugent is not a moderate." A 2013 post cheered Nugent calling Michael Moore and Piers Morgan "subhuman punks."
It's not until Toto's post that the MRC has offered a judgment of Nugent's hate that went beyond the bland "controversial."
NewsBusters' Sports Blogger Spews Hate At Obama And Non-Conservative Pro Athletes Topic: NewsBusters
Mysterious NewsBusters sports blogger Jay Maxson has a knack for oozing contempt for anyone who doesn't hold the same right-wing views that he does. He (or she; Maxson's gender is not immediately clear, since his/her NewsBusters bio has no photo and includes no personal information) does so again in a June 8 post cmplaining about a Politico article on former President Obama's closeness to pro athletes. Maxson dismissed the article as "Kool-Aid" being dispensed to a "politics lite audience" and huffed that the article "demonstrates how Obama used jocks to further his agenda. And the gullible athletes were all too willing to be used."
Maxson's contempt for Obama and the pro athletes who like him drips from every word of his post:
Bryant says the ex-prez helped make locker rooms more “politically aware” (worth a separate wing in the Obama Presidential Library?) and he “did help athletes progress beyond just asking questions or just being angry, and asking why something is the way it is.” It’s unsaid in the article, but Obama unwittingly taught athletes the art of the boycott. At times Obama spent more time with them than meeting with his President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, which he boycotted for at least a year.
Obama was famous for his love of basketball, even scrimmaging with pro players on occasion.”Wow, those scrimmages rank right up there with President Reagan’s fame for ending the Cold War and demanding and getting the destruction of the Iron Curtain.
Strauss touted LeBron James for doing a PSA video encouraging people to enroll in the failure that became ObamaCare.
As Americans gave up seeking employment by the tens of millions, basketball and being “cool” became “critical” to Obama’s political image, Strauss writes. Pickup games on the campaign trail “undermined Republican efforts to portray Obama as foreign, suspicious, or someone who ‘pals around with terrorists.’” Nothing like style over substance.
Obama also used NFL players for political purposes, too, Strauss pointed out. Richard Sherman and Russell Wilson recorded propaganda videos for Obama’s socialized health care. And some former football players are running for political office now (and losing).
Strauss also gave love to Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, which “promoted sports and brought partnerships with pro leagues.” It’s about time we had an administration in Washington that did so much for the world of sports, especially amid the terrorism around the world – and the violence in Detroit and Chicago.
Can you be an effective and viable media critic when all you have to offer is hate and contempt? The MRC needs to ask this question about Maxson . And while they're at it, they should also supply information about Maxson to prove he/she is an actual person and not a coward hiding behind a fake name like former NewsBusters blogger "Bruce Bookter."
NewsBusters Co-Creator Now Writing At Liberal Website Topic: NewsBusters
Matthew Sheffield, along with brother Greg, created the NewsBusters blog for the Media Research Center in 2005. Before that, the Sheffields had run a blog attacking Dan Rather, which led to the MRC job.
Sheffield left the MRC in 2014 to work on other projects, which include a media strategy consulting firm. But one other project is unlikely to be mentioned -- or, if so,c ertainly not in a positive way -- when MRC employees are talking about him these days.
Sheffield is currently writing about media, politics and technology for the liberal-leaning site Salon, which Sheffield's former compatriots at NewsBusters like to dismiss with intended epithets as "far-far-left" and "uber-liberal." What's more, some of his articles are calling out the behavior of his fellow conservatives.
In April, for example, Sheffield reported on the network of sock-puppet blogs controlled by former Fox News chief Roger Ailes, which were used to attack Fox News critics, and that this Fox News black-ops group helped subsidized the work of pro-Fox News blogger Mark Koldys and his Johnny Dollar's Place blog.
He's also written about the financial woes of iHeartMedia, the radio station owner that syndicates the shows of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity; the protest by torch-wielding alt-right folks opposing the removal of Confederate monuments; how the never-Trump rantings of Louise Mensch, former editor of the right-wing, Murdoch-owned blog Heat Street, may just be an act to trap gullible liberals; and the creeping moderation at generally liberal-leaning MSNBC, which has added conservative commentators and former Fox News host Greta Van Susteren.
You'll never be reading about any of this at any MRC website. And for all we know, that may be why he left. We've noted a previous attempt to sneak in (albeit perhaps not intentionally) a little truth at NewsBusters, in a 2013 post implicitly conceding -- by begging conservative billionaires to invest in media outlets -- that conservative newspapers need deep-pocketed, ideologically driven sugar daddies to stay afloat. This was proven further last year when the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review shut down its print edition to become an online-only publication following the death of conservative benefactor Richard Mellon Scaife, who had sunk $300 million into the paper's operation.
So, congratulations to Sheffield for discovering balanced journalism. It's too bad he had to leave the MRC to do it -- for both him and the MRC.
No, MRC Blogger, 'Leftists' Did Not 'Confirm' Protesters Are Paid Topic: NewsBusters
Media Research Center blogger P.J. Gladnick declares in an April 27 NewsBusters post:
Have you noticed how the mainstream media has recently mocked the notion that leftwing protesters are being paid? The idea is ridiculous they claim and only Trump and his supporters are making that silly charge. Well, guess what? A pair of leftwingers have confirmed in the April 26 Washington Post that protesters are indeed paid.
Except, well, that didn't happen at all.
At no point in the Post column Gladnick is referencing do authors Leo Gertner and Moshe Marvit state that anti-Trump protesters are being paid. They do argue that even if some protesters were paid, doing so would not necessarily delegitimize the movement for which the protests are taking place.
Gertner and Marvit noted the example of Rosa Parks, who had been involved in the civil rights movement for years and was trained in resistance tactics prior to her refusal to give up a bus seat to a white person, asking whether Parks' protest would be "worth less" if she was thought of as a paid protester. Gladnick curiously omits that example from the excerpt of the column he includes in his post (which, again, never backs up Gladnick's claim that protesters are paid).
Gladnick includes in his post an alleged screenshot of a Craigslist ad seeking paid protesters. Fox News wrote about it last November but, crucially, apparently never verified the legitimacy of the ads -- it only notes that groups allegedly linked to the ads "have not returned phone calls seeking comment" -- or if anyone was ever, in fact, paid for protesting.
You'd think that given how purportedly rampant pay-for-protest is, Gladnick would be able to easily find someone who got paid instead of having to extrapolate conjecture from an op-ed and pretend that it's definitive proof.
MRC's War on the Truth Continues, Starring Tom Blumer's Failure Topic: NewsBusters
While Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell was defending the lies of Donald Trump and reflexively bashing the "liberal media" by ranting that "This is not a press that has any interest in objective truth," his organization was once again attacking the idea of objective truth.
NewsBusters blogger Tom Blumer -- who has a lengthyrecord of not understanding how the media works despite being a self-proclaimed media critic -- is the latest batter up in bashing fact-checkers for, you know, checking facts.
Posts over the next several days will show that certain left-leaning websites and existing left-leaning news organizations have figured out that they can employ the technique of "fact-checking," perhaps once nobly intended, as a handy device to advance a left-supporting, right-bashing agenda.
Further, these "fact checkers" have taken advantage of their platforms to select and evaluate politicians' and pundits' claims in a decidedly unfair and unbalanced manner. Finally, thanks to the willing cooperation of the world's dominant search engine and the leader in social media, "fact checkers" are transitioning into roles which could ultimately position them as de facto news censors.
Blumer then proclaims right-wing reporter Sharyl Attkisson the official arbiter of all things ideological in journalism by touting her spectrum chart of media outlets, which is done pretty much the way you'd expect from a right-winger. For instance, UPI is somehow listed as "centrist" despite the fact that it's owned by the highly biased (and Moonie-owned) Washington Times. And curiously missing is Attkisson's own employer, Sinclair Broadcast Group, which has a decidedly conservative bias.
Needless to say, Blumer heartily approves: "Readers can and certainly will quibble over how far to the right and left of center certain outlets are. But with the exception of Reuters, which has no business being placed in the center, the chart generally places these entities on the correct side of center." He then whined that "Almost all of the major sites holding themselves out as 'fact-checkers' lean decisively left."
Blumer further touted Attkisson as being "formerly of CBS News until her superiors decided she was actually doing her job in covering the Obama administration's various scandals." His link to support the claim was to a National Review article that uncritically peddled her assertion that her computer was hacked, which actual computer experts diagnosed as just her backspace key getting stuck. Blumer also didn't mention that Attkisson likes to peddle anti-vaccine conspiracy theories.
The next day, Blumer tried again, this time complaining that fact-checkers "overwhelmingly select facts presented by Republican and conservative politicians and pundits, while ignoring similar howlers generated by the left." Blumer highlighted a claim from the blog Powerline (whose right-wing bias Blumer curiously failed to identify despite being quick to label every outlet he doesn't agree with as "liberal" or "left") that most of thte last 25 fact-checks the Associated Press conducted were of claims made by Trump and his administration.
Perhaps Blumer hasn't noticed that Trump is president and, thus, dominates the media.
Blumer then ranted:
The AP is not an isolated example. Readers going to the first few pages compiling recent "fact checks" by Politifact will see a clear tendency to go after Republicans and conservatives combined with a stubborn reluctance to give them the benefit of the doubt.
A comparison which looks at the number of times the Politifact has evaluated the statements of certain well-known politicians demonstrates how obvious the lack of balance is:
Scott Walker, Republican Governor of Wisconsin: 175 Chuck Schumer, Democratic Senator from New York: 9 Rick Scott, Republican Governor of Florida: 148 Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York: 12
The three governors listed above have been in power since the 2010 elections, and Schumer's national profile, which has never been low, thanks to his attention-seeking nature, rose at roughly the same time.
What Blumer didn't mention: Thge reason why there are so many PolitiFact items on Walker and Scott is because PolitiFact has newspaper affiliates in Wisconsin and Florida that wrote those posts -- as should have been obvious by the "PolitiFact Wisconsin" and "PolitiFact Florida" tags on them. By contrast, PolitiFact set up an affiliate in New York, the Buffalo News, only in March 2016 and that hasn't resulted in may posts yet; most of the posts on Schumer and Cuomo were written have the "PolitiFact National" tag.
Apparently oblivious to this fact, Blumer continued to rant: "To believe that Politifact doesn't have a selection bias, one has to defend the absurd notion that Walker and Scott have consistently made controversial or questionable statements or claims worthy of evaluation at a rate 15 times greater than Schumer and Cuomo (323 for Walker and Scott combined compared to 21 for the two New Yorkers)."
How does someone so incapable of understanding how the media works -- or doing basic research before ranting -- continue to be an MRC blogger? Apparently, assuming his readers are dumb is a big part of that.
MRC: Don't Blame Ailes for Fox News' Culture of Sexual Harassment Topic: NewsBusters
Matt Norcross -- who fancies himself to be the "Carolina Culture Warrior" -- has a new post at the Media Research Center's NewsBusters blog attacking the idea of CBS-owned Showtime making a miniseries about Roger Ailes' final days as head of Fox News.
Norcross complains that the series "will draw on reporting from far-left New York magazine writer Gabriel Sherman, who had several major scoops related to the sexual harassment scandal that led to Ailes’ ouster last summer." At no point does Norcross support his assertion that Sherman is "far-left" (another example of the MRC indiscriminately tossing around the descriptor) beyond him reporting on Fox News, and even then he offers no evidence Sherman has ever gotten anything wrong.
Norcross then grumbles:
One of the reasons you know this is going to be a hit-piece on the only news organization that – unlike CBS – reports stories that Middle America cares about, such as political corruption, illegal immigration, and terrorism threats from radical Islamists. Another reason is because one of the writers and executive producers is Tom McCarthy, the director of the anti-Catholic film Spotlight.
Norcross' assertion that only Fox News covers "political corruption, illegal immigration, and terrorism threats from radical Islamists" is stunningly ignorant, especially given that just a few days earlier on his own blog, he apologized for writing posts that were "over the top, and ... generalized a group of people" and said he would have to clean up his act in writing for the MRC.
Also, "Spotlight" was not "anti-Catholic" -- if it's anti-anything, it's anti-child abuse and anti-covering up said abuse. (The MRC whined about the film's mere existence.) It's "anti-Catholic" only in the sense that it was Catholic Church officials who were doing the covering up.
After noting that former Fox News hosts Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson had lodged harrassment complaints against ailes, Norcross wrote: "To be fair to Carlson and Kelly, their cases against Mr. Ailes are chilling. No woman deserves to be treated like they say they were in the work place. With that said, Ailes was one person. And what he did should not be painted on the network as a whole."
Norcross hasn't been watching Fox News very closely, has he? Fox News was Ailes' brainchild, and it brought us innovations like female hosts in short skirts, the "leg cam" and, yes, a culture that clearly condoned sexual harassment. Ailes created all of this, so it's nonsensical to separate him from it and dismiss his behavior as the work of a mere employee.
You know who else blames Ailes for all this? Fox News media critic Howard Kurtz, who explicitly states Fox News is trying to "change the culture" post-Ailes.
Norcross curiously doesn't mention Bill O'Reilly's history of paying millions of dollars to settle sexual harassment claims, even though that's very much in the news right now and something that was obviously condoned under Ailes.
Norcorss added: "Before she signed off from her job to join NBC, Kelly actually thanked the network, and even said that her colleagues were like a second family to her, especially the Murdochs – the controlling family of parent company 21st Century Fox." As if that somehow made Ailes' alleged harassment of her all better.
Norcross then ranted:
CBS, Showtime, Tom McCarthy, and others are still furious that Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election. As a result, they are taking it out on the majority of the American public they are supposed to cater towards, and especially the only major news organization that had the courage to cover it all without favor or prejudice.
Hollywood has now proven itself as doing anything it can to destroy the conservative movement in the United States, including the one news network that treats it without prejudice.
Norcross forgets that if Fox News didn't have this extensively documented culture of sleaze and harassment, there would be no miniseries to make.
MRC's Blumer Pushes Obama Unemployment Stats Conspiracy Theory Topic: NewsBusters
White House press secretary Sean Spicer tried to handwave the double standard between Donald Trump's pre-elecction assertions that the government's unemployment numbers were somehow rigged with the Trump administration's embrace of positive numbers in February by declaring, "They may have been phony in the past, but it's very real now."
The one person who didn't think that was a ridiculous statement? Media Research Center blogger Tom Blumer. Why? He has a conpsiracy theory for that.
Trump's apparent belief in the jobs numbers as relayed by his press secretary may be defensible, despite his campaign rhetoric.
The AP reporters failed to note that former BLS head Erica Groshen's four-year term expired on January 27, six weeks before yesterday's release.
Groshen's appointment was delayed for 11 months before she was confirmed in January 2013, likely because of Republican senators' and others' concerns over appointing a far-left partisan with "ties to decidedly left-wing political groups" into a technical position with the potential to spin or even alter underlying data.
During Groshen's reign, as the reported unemployment rate dropped from 8.0 percent to 4.8 percent during her term, there was reason to believe that BLS may have changed its criteria for whether a person was in the labor force and began excluding more people who were legitimately looking for work. Doing so in a manner inconsistent with previous practices would artificially reduce the officially reported unemployment rate.
Groshen has been gone for six weeks. With new leadership, it's at least possible that Team Trump has gained confidence in the BLS data, and has had the opportunity to correct any major flaws which the previous director might have allowed into its processes.
Those alleged "ties to decidedly left-wing political groups" Groshen had, according to the Daily Caller article Blumer cites as evidence? She co-authored an article "urging an end to small businesses’ exemption from expensive federal regulations," and her husband donated $20 to "the far-left Working Families Party."
Really, that's it.
Also, Blumer provides no evidence that Groshen ever falsified unemployment data or even, as he suggests, "changed its criteria for whether a person was in the labor force and began excluding more people who were legitimately looking for work." Indeed, Groshen has pointed out that the agency has used the same method for calculating the unemployment rate since 1940.
In fact, there was no reason to believe Groshen would manipulate the unemployment figures, despite Blumer's rant. There is, however, reason to believe that whomever Trump appoints to replace Groshen -- and he hasn't done so yet despite Groshen leaving in January -- might be ordered to do so, given Trump's obsession with appearances and his baseless attacks on jobless stats under Obama.
Apparently, neither Trump nor Blumer can accept the indisputable fact that the economy improved under Obama. So it seems Obama Derangement Syndrome never dies.
NEW ARTICLE: NewsBusted: The Blumer File, Part 2 Topic: NewsBusters
NewsBusters blogger Tom Blumer is as clueless as ever about how the media works -- which he topped by justifying the racism of Trump supporters. Read more >>