A couple of weeks ago, the Media Research Center declared NBC to be "state run TV" for airing what it considered an insufficiently hateful profile of President Obama.
But a new administration has taken power, and there are new "state-run" media outlets. One of them is the MRC's own "news" division, CNSNews.com.
CNS' coverage of President Trump's order stopping immigration from seven mostly-Muslim countries was, as usual, extremely Trump-friendly.
First CNS hammered the Trump talking point that it was not a "Muslim ban," as with the Susan Jones article headlined "Priebus and Conway Echo Trump: ‘This Is Not a Muslim Ban’." Jones failed to mention that Rudy Giuliani said that Trump told him he wanted a Muslim ban and that he asked Giuliani to form a commission to show him “the right way to do it legally.”
An article by CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey dutifully transcribed White House press secretary Sean Spicer complaining that "some people are misinterpreting President Donald Trump’s executive order on protecting the United States from foreign terrorists seeking to travel here because they have not read the order themselves and are instead basing their understanding of it on 'misguided media reports.'" He didn't mention that the Trump White House has only itself to blame for that since, as CNN reported, administration officials took several hours to publicly release the text of Trump's action, and administration officials themselves were initally confused about what was in it.
Another article by Jeffrey reads like Spicer dictated it directly: "The order does not single out or specify any religion. It does not call for either advantageous or disadvantageous treatment of individuals belonging to any particular religious sect or denomination when the seek U.S. visas or admission as refugees." Jeffrey not only doesn't mention Giuliani's statement, his article is illustrated with a picture showing how "A member of the Islamic State removes the cross from atop a Christian church in Mosul, Iraq, in 2015." That image was also used to promtoe Jeffrey's article on the CNS front page (image above). It seems Jeffrey is trying to send a different message that the one he's writing about.
Jeffrey also wrote a column defending Trump's order, asserting yet again that it does not "mention or single out Muslims, Christians or any religious sect," adding "This could be a Sunni in a Shiite-majority country. Or it could be a Shiite, or, yes, a Christian in a Sunni majority country — like Syria." Jeffrey didn't mention that for well over a year, his reporter Patrick Goodenough has been attacking the Obama administration for letting in more Muslim Syrian refugees in comparison with Christians -- and rarely bothering to tell CNS readers that Muslims who oppose the Assad regime are being persecuted in Syria.
CNS also sided with Trump on the firing of acting attorney general Sally Yates for declining to enforce Trump's order amid questions about its legality. Jones wrote an article headlined "Trump WH Fires Sally Yates, Who 'Betrayed' DOJ 'By Refusing to Enforce a Legal Order'." which was illustrated by a protester holding a "Drain the Swamp" poster, indicating CNS' editorial approval of Yates' firing.
Michael Morris was on Trump-shilling patrol as well with an article about how "A recent Rasmussen Reports survey finds that 57% of likely U.S. voters favor President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on refugees from seven Middle Eastern and African terrorist havens." He waited until the sixth paragraph to mention that the Rasmussen poll was taken before Trump actually issued his order.
Manwhile, CNS was trying to disparage any critic of Trump's order. One article by Jones seemed to mock Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer for crying during his criticism of it, while another Jones article obsessed over microphone problems at a rally led by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
CNS also made sure to play stenograph for all praise of, and spin for, Trump and his order:
- Trump’s Refugee Order Balances Compassion and Security
- McConnell: 'I Think It's a Good Idea to Tighten the Vetting'
- Ryan on Trump's Immigration Order: 'What Is Happening Is Something We Support'
- DHS Secretary: ‘This Is Not a Travel Ban – This Is a Temporary Pause’
- Ex-AG Gonzales: 'It Would Have Been Appropriate for Sally Yates to...Resign'
- Rep. Gohmert: Acting AG Yates Was a ‘Political Hack, And Hacks Have to Be Jacked’
CNS also played its old game of gotcha with Democratic members of Congress, ambushing them with the question of whether "the U.S. should prioritize refugee admissions for persecuted religious minorities" as stated in Trump's order.
CNS' Penny Starr, who's been doing the ambushing, got into an argument with House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer for calling Trump's order a Muslim ban "even though the executive order does not mention a specific religion":
“It is a religious test,” Hoyer said.
CNSNews.com told Hoyer at the briefing: “It doesn’t say Muslim, Jew, Christian in the actual executive order.”
“The seven nations are all Muslim nations,” Hoyer said. “If it were nonspecific as to religious minorities, it would say anybody that’s religiously persecuted.
“But [the order] says all persecuted religious minorities,” CNSNews.com responded.
“I understand,” Hoyer said. “I do not rationalize that distinction, nor do most people who have – legal scholars who have reviewed it.
“They believe it is, in fact, a religious test, which is unconstitutional, in my opinion under the First Amendment,” Hoyer said.
Starr couldn't be doing this any better if she was on the Trump White House payroll. Is she?