Russia's New ConWeb Comrades, Part 2
CNSNews.com and Accuracy in Media joined WorldNetDaily in defending Donald Trump -- and, thus, Vladimir Putin -- over allegations that the Russians meddled in the U.S. presidential election.
By Terry Krepel
(Editor's Note: This is a two-part article. Part 1, covering WorldNetDaily, is here.)
WorldNetDaily was not the only ConWeb outlet trying to give Donald Trump -- and Russia -- a pass on allegations Russia meddled in the presidential election to boost Trump. CNSNews.com showed its pro-Trump bias once again, not to mention demonstrating the growing WND-ization of CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, and ran to Trump's defense.
CNS morning managing editor Susan Jones, a biased reporter and loyal Trump stenographer, took a crack at it as well. On Dec. 19, Jones churned out a couple of stenography specials to try and deflect attention from the growing scandal:
Jones, meanwhile, skewed her transcription job on Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta discussing the issue, framing it as him evading a question on whether he thought the election was "free and fair."
Jones even gave space to someone she identified only as a "Russian reporter named Andre" slagging President Obama in a Dec. 16 article:
A Russian reporter named Andre challenged President Obama's leadership Thursday, running down a list of problems that have worsened on Obama's watch, including relations with Russia and racial tensions in America. "Does he feel any responsibility for all this?" the reporter asked.
Jones undoubtedly approves of the reporter's attack on Obama. If he was saying the same thing about Trump, it would never make the CNS front page.
CNS kept up the shilling, even as the evidence became more indisputable. On Dec. 29, CNS managing editor Michael W. Chapman proudly quoted Republican Rep. Trent Franks declaring that the Russians "merely did what the media should have done." Chapman quickly added that Franks meant "reported accurate information to the American people" instead of hacking into other people's email, though the full context is unclear since Chapman included only a 9-second clip of Franks saying those words instead of the entire conversation he had on MSNBC on the subject.
But the full segment reveals Chapman omitted information that would place things in context -- Franks calling Vladimir Putin a "KGB thug" who should be punished for his involvement in the election, as well as backing away from sharing Trump's criticism of the intelligence community.
In a Jan. 3 article, Jones uncritically quoted Trump spokesman Sean Spicer suggesting that President Obama's expelling of Russian diplomats in response to the Russian meddling was a "political retribution" instead of a "diplomatic response."
CNS' pro-Republican, anti-Hillary response to the Russian meddling continued in a Jan. 5 article by Melanie Hunter approvingly quoting Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan declaring that while Russia “clearly tried to meddle in our political system,” they did not put the server in Hillary Clinton’s basement or tell her not to campaign in Wisconsin or Michigan.
In covering Director of National Intelligence James Clapper 's congressional testimony on the meddling, CNS did what it usually does: quote only Republican congressmen asking questions and ignoring Democrats. Hunter pushed Trump-approved spin in another Jan. 5 article, leading with Clapper's statement that no "vote tallies" were altered by the Russians and focusing on Republican Sen. Tom Cotton spinning that Vladimir Putin would not want to help Trump get elected because Trump proposed increasing the defense budget "to accelerate nuclear modernization, to accelerate ballistic missile defenses, and to expand and to accelerate boosting missile defenses, and to expand and accelerate oil and gas production, which would obviously harm Russia’s economy" and other "contrary evidence despite what the media speculates that perhaps Donald Trump is not the best candidate for Russia."
Jones followed the template with an article quoting Republican Lindsey Graham saying he's "ready to throw a rock" at Russia, but framed it as criticism of Obama, who only threw a "pebble."
(In contrast to Jones' stenography, actual reporters at the Washington Post noted that Cotton was among the GOP senators who "seemed keen to avoid drawing links between President-elect Donald Trump and the Russian government.")
The shilling continued: A Jan. 7 article by editor in chief Terry Jeffrey repetitiously recycled the claim that "Russia did not target or compromise systems used in counting votes in U.S. elections," a Jan. 9 article by Jones uncritically quoted a Republican congressman (though curiously not identified as a Republican) bashing Obama for purportedly not doing anything about the hacking sooner, and another Jones article played stenographer for Mitch McConnell insisting that Trump's national security picks are "clear-eyed people who understand fully that the Russians are not our friends."
Then it was time for Trump stenography:
CNS then called in country singer Charlie Daniels to opine on the situation. He did what you'd expect from a right-wing entertainer (or a writer for CNS): ignoring the previous month's news and declaring, according to the headline on his Jan. 11 column: "If Trump Does What He Says, It Will Be Bad News for Russia."
Finally, CNS columnist Mark Meckler not only changed the subject, he blamed it all on Obama. In his Jan. 17 column, Meckler ranted that "there isn’t a single shred of proof that Russia hacked the election and changed votes from Clinton to Trump" and accused the outgoing Obama administration of creating a "manufactured crisis" over the issue and of "pushing aside the constitutionally mandated sovereign status of all 50 states" when Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson declared that state and local election devices "pieces of critical infrastructure"
Meckler ignored that Johnson emphasized "This designation does not mean a federal takeover, regulation, oversight or intrusion concerning elections in this country," but is simply a statement that the U.S. will protect election systems as it does other critical infrastructure.
But who needs facts -- or even concern about foreign influence in an American election -- when there is a Republican president to protect?
CNS' protection for Trump over Russian matters extends well beyond election concerns. A Feb. 7 article by Jones touted Trump spinning away his Super Bowl interview with Bill O'Reilly -- when he responded to O'Reilly's claim that Putin "is a killer" by saying, "We've got a lot of killers. What, you think our country's so innocent?" -- by ranting about President Obama making a deal with Iran.
Accuracy in Media
Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaid is normally staunchly and reliably anti-communist, but in October, he actually cheered Russia's intervention in the election since it shared his own partisan goal of electing Donald Trump and stopping Hillary Clinton. He proclaimed that "the Russians, if they are responsible, have performed a public service" by stealing Democratic emails, adding that "I want to publicly thank those Russian hackers and their leader, Russian President Vladimir Putin, for opening a window into the modern workings of the United States government-corporate-media establishment."
As accusations of Russian meddling continued to mount, Kincaid's defense of Russia got more aggressive. On Dec. 12, Kincaid asserted that the CIA confirming Russian meddling in the election meant that it -- the CIA, that is -- was "out to get" Trump. He huffed: "Clearly, having an 'intelligence' connection doesn’t mean you are intelligent or have good judgment. Making 'America First' is not a requirement for serving in the CIA and other intelligence agencies. You can have numerous skeletons in your closet and even be a transgender." Kincaid further complained:
After he takes office, Trump should immediately clean house in the CIA and other intelligence agencies. But it may be the case that the charges being directed against him at the present time are designed to prevent just that. If Trump cleans house, he will be accused in the press of trying to purge intelligence officials with evidence of a Russian plot to elect Trump!
The next day, Kincaid continued his blame-the-messenger strategy:
Common sense tells you that Moscow was perfectly content to let Hillary win, and probably thought she would win. After all, Hillary sold out America to Moscow’s interests with a Russian reset that failed and opened the door to more Russian aggression. Her State Department also sold American uranium assets to Moscow. She was the perfect Russian dupe.
We suspect Kincaid would not have a problem with the CIA purportedly trying to overturn an election if Hillary Clinton had won.
In a Dec. 18 column, Kincaid went deeper into conspiracy mode, declaring that "the CIA is currently interfering in the results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election" and adding, "We do know that CIA Director Brennan is a far-left extremistjust like Obama himselfwho once voted for a Communist Party candidate, and whose sympathies for radical Islam are well-known. Questions persist about whether Brennan, an alumnus of Catholic Fordham University, converted to Islam and why he took his oath of office on a copy of the U.S. Constitution and not the Bible."
As ConWebWatch noted when WorldNetDaily raised the allegation, there's no evidence whatsoever that Brennan has converted to Islam. Further, there's no requirement that a Bible be used for swearing in people to federal positions, and then-White House press secretary Josh Earnest said at the time that Brennan used an original draft (not a copy) of the Constitution for his swearing-in "to reaffirm his commitment to the rule of law as he took the oath of office as director of the CIA."
On Dec. 22, Kincaid defended Trump's national security adviser-designate Michael T. Flynn for allegedly meeting with "a leader of the Austrian Freedom Party": "It would be a dereliction of duty for Flynn not to meet with such a figure and try to understand the nature of the political upheaval in Europe." Kincaid makes sure not to mention that the Austrian Freedom Party is a far-right party founded by former Nazis.
Kincaid then ranted: "Liberal Democrats have been so busy accusing Donald J. Trump of being a Russian agent that they have missed the real Russian agent on the international sceneGermany’s Angela Merkel. Her pro-Muslim immigration policies have not only destabilized Europe and increased terrorism but have also facilitated the rise of the right-wing political parties our media have expressed alarm about."
Kincaid continued to attack Merkel by, yes, defending Russia:
More than two years ago we asked, “Is the German Chancellor an Agent of Russia?” Among other things, she had made Germany more dependent on Russian oil and gas by terminating Germany’s nuclear energy program. The refugee crisis adds to the suspicions about her real agenda.
But as others have noted, Obama did bring up Russian hacking before the election, but if Obama had been more forceful on the issue before the election, he would have been accused of interfering with the election -- something Kincaid would undoubtedly have been at the front lines on.
Kincaid was still at it in a Jan. 13 column, ironically complaining -- just a couple months after cheering the Russians for illegally leaking Democratic emails -- about the intelligence community's alleged use of "illegal leaks to damage an elected President who has been critical of their work product," suggesting that such leaks "seem to be more damaging to the idea of American self-government than anything the Russians have been accused of doing."
On Jan. 19, Kincaid was still spinning, insisting that "Historically, the Russians have always found the Democrats to be friendlier to their global ambitions" and that "Putin may have preferred that Clinton become the U.S. president because her failed Russian “reset” had facilitated Russian military intervention in Ukraine and Syria, and he believed he could continue to take advantage of her."
Kincaid also repeated his unsubstantiated smears of Brennan and claimed: "It certainly looks as if the CIA interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Perhaps blaming the Russians was an attempt to get the attention off the agency."
To sum up: Kincaid will always bash Obama and defend Trump -- even if he has to praise a foreign dictator to do it. That's how messed up Kincaid's loyalties are.