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Sunday, September 27, 2015
WND's Farah Forgives Coulter's Anti-Semitic Tirade, Will Keep Running Her Column Until She Stops Bringing Traffic To WND
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Looks we got somebody's attention. A few days after we raised the issue, Joseph Farah devoted his Sept. 24 WorldNetDaily column to whether Ann Coulter's "f---ing Jews" tirade will cause him to stop publishing her column.

His answer? It won't. His reason? Christian forgiveness, or something.

Farah states that since Coulter's remarks, he has "been inundated with requests and demands to exercise my authority as founder, chief executive officer and editor of to dump Coulter as a commentator" -- making sure not to mention us, of course.

He then explains: "If I believed she was truly an anti-Semite, that would be a different story. Then I would bounce her so fast it would make her blond hair flip. But I don’t think she is." He adds, "I would hope and trust the editors of WND’s commentary section would never allow her to make such an insensitive and inflammatory remark like that in our publication. I certainly would not condone it."

But WND has, in fact, published anti-Jewish commentary on its pages. In 2010, WND published a commentary by Pat Buchanan complaining there were too many Jews on the Supreme Court. And in 2012, WND columnist Burt Prelutsky argued that the so-called "war on Christmas" is a conspiracy pushed by "Jewish judges, Jewish journalists and the largely Jewish funded ACLU." So let's not pretend that the editors of WND’s commentary section have any particular sensitivity on the subject.

Farah then recounted the tit-for-tat between him and Coulter over Coulter's speaking to a group of gay conservatives and Farah dropping her as a speaker for his far-right political conference over it."People assumed I would dump Coulter’s column then," he write. "I did not. Why? I forgave her. That’s what Christians do." He suggests he's done the same for Coulter here, but he doesn't explicity say so.

Then, Farah turns the whole brouhaha into self-aggrandization, as he's prone to do:

There’s another reason I didn’t drop Coulter (and, no, it has nothing to do with traffic she brings WND).

This is the part very few people get: I actually believe in providing the broadest forum of stimulating commentary to be found in the English language. That’s what we do at WND, in addition to using our news section to uncover fraud, waste, abuse and corruption in government and other powerful institutions with WND’s team of enterprising, investigative and truly independent journalists.

Think about that.

Where else but WND do you find commentary from the far left to the far right and plenty in the middle?


It’s unheard of at any other news organization today.

It’s a value I learned a long time ago as a newspaperman. But it no longer exists today in the New Media or the Old Media. WND stands alone in presenting both sides! Think of it.

Name one other news organization that strives to do this. Believe me, you won’t find one.

This is all utter horsepuckey. As we've repeatedly highlighted, exactly two of WND's three dozen or so regular columnists are explicitly liberal -- Bill Press and Ellen Ratner, whose presence at WND is merely window-dressing for Farah to claim he has a full spectrum of columnists -- while nearly all of the rest are on the conservative/libertarian end of the spectrum. We can't think of a single WND columnist who is a centrist, despite Farah's claim that he has "plenty in the middle."

Farah's claim that "WND stands alone in presenting both sides" is a baldfaced lie as well. "Name one other news organization that strives to do this," he says? Sure! To start with, the Washington Post, whose opinion pages include conservatives like George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Kathleen Parker, Jennifer Rubin and Michel Gerson as well as liberals like E.J. Dionne, Greg Sargent and Colbert King.

There's also a little publication called the New York Times, which includes right-leaning columnists such as David Brooks and Ross Douthat.

In fact, most daily newspapers in the U.S. attempt to present a spectrum of opinions on its commentary pages. For Farah to claim WND is literally the only publication publishing a diverse spectrum of opinion is not only false and ahistorical, it allows him to deny the fact that both WND's commentary and supposed straight-news pages are heavily skewed to the right.

And while we can't prove Farah's claim that the "traffic she brings WND" played no consideration into WND's decision to keep Coulter is a lie, we're pretty sure it is. After all , it was just last year that Farah was bragging how "her column still runs in WND every week, the place more people read it than anywhere else."

Interestingly, nowhere in Farah's column does he explain why he is keeping Coulter as a columnist on the basis of the quality of the content she provides. There's not even an attempt to blather about her providing a unique point of view or a track record of being intellectually provocative and writing a series of best-selling books.

Instead, he repeatedly and personally slags her at every opportunity, at one point stating, "Coulter is brash. She is angry. She is reckless. She’s badly in need of some accountability in her life. I hope she finds it along with some peace." The nicest thing he says about her is the backhanded compliment that he doesn't believe she's anti-Semitic.

It's clear Farah doesn't respect Coulter as a person or for the quality of her opinions, which again points us to the inescapable conclusionthat the only reason WND is keeping Coulter is for the traffic she brings to the website. Which, thus, makes Farah's argument that he's forgiven her anti-Semitic tirade sound more than a little hollow.

Farah would probably be the first to argue that Christian forgiveness shouldn't turn one into a doormat, but a doormat is exactly what Farah looks like here. He's constantly forgiving Coulter's transgressions, even when she's personally attacking him. By taking her abuse, he looks weak.

It's almost as if Coulter is trying to see how offensive she can be before Farah will drop her column at WND. It's clear that this will continue until her WND traffic numbers drop -- and not before then.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:23 PM EDT
NewsBusters Blogger Again Desperately Tries to Deflect Catholic Church Sex-Abuse Scandal
Topic: NewsBusters

Dave Pierre uses a Sept. 23 NewsBusters post to complain that news reports on Pope Francis' visit to the U.S. are mentioning the sexual abuse scandal among Catholic priests, as he is prone to doing. Pierre dismissed the scandal as "stale" and "decades-old," suggesting that there's no real scandal here because most of the accused priests are dead.

Pierre might want to ask the victims of sexual abuse by priests if they think the abuse they suffered is "stale."

Pierre went on to try to smear groups that are trying to hold the Catholic church accountable for how it enabled the abuse. He sneered that the leader of one group is "cranky" -- "media research," folks! -- and he complained that Barbara Blaine, founder and president of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), "once wrote a letter of support on behalf of a child pornographer."

Pierre overstates the case and leaves out important information. The person in question, a doctor in Louisiana, was not a "child pornographer"; he had apparently downloaded images of child pornography to his computer. The doctor ultimately pleaded guilty to lesser charges after officials decided that they had concerns about evidence in the case, and a state medical board noted the doctor's health conditions making him "prone to confusion and poor judgment when stressed or after more than a half-day's work," and ruled that the evidence does not indicated that the doctor "intentionally downloaded child pornography." Further, Blaine's letter did not attempt to claim the doctor was innocent but, rather, noted that the doctor had been an advocate against sexual abuse and that the doctor's wife had founded a state chaper of SNAP.

Pierre runs the Media Report website, where he serves as an apologist for the Catholic Church on the sex-abuse scandal and attacks the church's critics, particularly SNAP.  We'd complain about someone with such a obviously biased agenda being given a platform at the Media Research Center, but that's kinda what the MRC does.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:28 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 27, 2015 8:34 PM EDT
Thursday, September 24, 2015
NewsBusters' Gwinn: Paula Deen's Use of N-Word No Different Than Tarantino
Topic: NewsBusters

Dylan Gwinn has shown himself to be one of the less sharp knives in NewsBusters' "media research" drawer. He strikes again by venturing far out of his sports expertise in a Sept. 24 post that is ostensibly a review of the season opener of the sitcom "Blackish."

The episode centers on use of the N-word, and here's how Gwinn responds to a reference to usage of the word by Quentin Tarantino and Paula Deen:

Of course, the reason why Quentin Tarantino can use the n-word 87 times in a movie and get an Oscar while Paula Deen loses her show for saying it once has more to do with the hypocrisy of the media than anything else. Quentin Tarantino is loved by the left, and as such gets a free pass. The same kind of free pass that ABC will get for having a sitcom where a black man thumps a gun on the table. Meanwhile, Paula Deen doesn’t have those kind of connections to the politically correct crowd, and gets far worse.

So Gwinn really thinks there's no differene between Tarantino and Deen in their respective uses of the N-word, huh? Let's educate him, shall we?

Tarantino is a filmmaker. His use of the word came in a film he made, "Django Unchained," where it was a least somewhat justified given the film's historical context of 19th-century slavery and discrimination.

Deen, on the other hand, is a TV cook who may or may not have said the N-word in regard to a group of black waiters she wanted to have tap-dance Shirley Temple style as part of a Southern plantation-themed wedding she wanted to throw for her brother -- an idea (ultimately rejected) that reminded her of southern America “before the Civil War.” Deen's brother was also accused of using the N-word in the kitchen of their restaurant.

In short: Tarantino's use of the N-word occurred in fiction. Deen's use (and overall racism) occurred in real life, involving actual black people. That's the difference.

It seems that Gwinn can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:34 PM EDT
WND Wimps Out, Keeps Running Coulter's Column
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A couple days ago, we wondered if WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah would have the courage of his conviction that Ann Coulter has degenerated into a "slur machine" and "thuggish commentator" as demonstrated by her "f---ing Jews" tirade (despite the fact that islurs and thuggish commentary are pretty much the cornerstone of commentary at WND) and do the one thing he can to directly send a message to her: cancel her column.

Well, we have our answer, and the answer is no.

Coulter's latest column appeared at WND at its appointed time, just as it has for years.

So it seems that to Farah and WND, Coulter will never be so offensive that it will stop promoting her -- she drives too much traffic to WND, and Farah is afraid to lose it. Since she is a "slur machine" and "thuggish commentator," Coulter will almost certainly continue to say offensive things in the future, and Farah and WND will have enabled her to do so by being gutless when it counted.

Once again, Farah has put money ahead of his self-proclaimed beliefs. We are not surprised.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:53 AM EDT
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch, 'Muslim Identity' Edition
Topic: Accuracy in Media

So what reason is there to believe that Obama is a Christian just because he says so? He doesn’t act or talk like a Christian, and he doesn’t go to church very often. Instead, he acts and talks like a Muslim. Obama acknowledges in Dreams from My Father that his grandfather was a Muslim (page 104) and that he spent two years in a Muslim school in Indonesia studying the Koran (page 154).

There is no evidence Obama was baptized, in any formal sense, in Jeremiah Wright’s church.  What’s more, there is no evidence that Obama ever specifically rejected Islam. Indeed, Obama could have joined Wright’s church in Chicago without disavowing the Muslim faith. Author Edward Klein notes that Wright told him that he “made it comfortable” for Obama to accept Christianity “without having to renounce his Islamic background.”


If Obama had demonstrated his Christianity through actions and statements, and if there was indisputable evidence that he was baptized a Christian and rejected Islam, the media might have a point.

In this case, they do not. The behavior of the media is far more objectionable than a simple observation, based on the facts as he perceived them, from an American citizen about the American President.

The record is clear: Obama has lied about his Marxist and Muslim backgrounds. The American people have every right to be suspicious of him.

-- Cliff Kincaid, Sept. 18 Accuracy in Media column

Posted by Terry K. at 8:39 PM EDT
MRC Defends Pope From Liberal Critics; Conservatives Can Bash Him All They Want
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is usually pretty sensive about criticism of Pope Francis -- understandable since its leadership ranks are heavily Catholic. Here's a sampling of recent headlines on the subject:

Note the one linking factor between those items: the MRC is attacking liberals (or perceived liberals) for their statements on the pope.

By contrast, conservatives are allowed to smear the pope all they want.

For instance, one writer marked Pope Francis' visit to the U.S. by claiming he "embodies sanctity but comes trailing clouds of sanctimony," offers "shrill" social diagonses and "embraces ideas impeccably fashionable, demonstrably false and deeply reactionary." This writer concluded by sneering, "He stands against modernity, rationality, science and, ultimately, the spontaneous creativity of open societies in which people and their desires are not problems but precious resources. Americans cannot simultaneously honor him and celebrate their nation’s premises."

If the writer was liberal, the MRC would be all over him. But since the writer is conservative Washington Post columnist George Will,  his column has been chosen as an "Editor's Pick" for promotion at NewsBusters, complete with the original headline, "Pope Francis’s fact-free flamboyance."

The pope's encyclical on climate change brought out much ire at the MRC. Its "news" division,, published numerous attacks on the pope, including one commentary by Jen Kuznicki claiming the Vatican is filled with "climate change wackos" and attacking the pope himselffor coming "from Latin America, where corrupt, communistic governments and dictatorships show little regard for their fellow human beings." And just this week, a CNS op-ed claims the pope's support of climate change action means he backs "a political agenda that pushes policies that directly hurt the poor and are contrary to the best science."

It seems that if the MRC is going to be a defender of the pope, it should defend him from all attacks, not just ones from liberals. But that would be too logical; instead, it actually openly encourages conservative attacks on him. 

Are Brent Bozell and his fellow followers in faith at the MRC being good Catholics by taking part in such hypocrisy? It doesn't seem so.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:35 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 2:37 PM EDT
Tuesday, September 22, 2015
NewsBusters Conspiracy-Monger Mocks Someone Else's Conspiracy Theory
Topic: NewsBusters

We got a chuckle out of Mark Finkelstein's Sept. 18 NewsBusters post:

Maybe next week, Chris Hayes will share his views on Area 51, whether fire can melt steel, and if the moon landing happened in a Hollywood studio . . .

On his MSNBC show this evening, Hayes floated the notion that the guy at a New Hampshire town hall who told Donald Trump that President Obama is a Muslim might have been a plant. According to Chris, although the moment seemed to have happened "organically"  [yes, but was it free range?], "who knows?" Proclaimed Chris: "until they find the guy I'm going to reserve judgment on the origins of the question."

What makes this doubly hilarious is the fact that it's Finkelstein mocking conspiracy theories here. You might recall that Finkelstein used a NewsBusters post to forward the conspiracy theory that NBC host Matt Lauer wasn't just wearing a checkered scarf, he was wearing a "Palestinian support scarf." Because any checkered scarf must be seen as support for the Palestinian cause, you see.

And he has the temerity to mock the conspiracy theories of others? The hell, you say.

UPDATE: Talking Points Memo has compiled a list of people engaging in the same speculation as Chris Hayes -- and surprise, surprise, most of them are conservatives like Laura Ingraham and Greg Gutfield. We're sure Finkelstein will get around to mocking them like he did Hayes any minute now.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:13 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 2:49 PM EDT
Monday, September 21, 2015
WND Writer Admits His Obsession With U.S. Spending in Kenya Is A Fraud
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've noted how WorldNetDaily's Steve Peacock has rather obsessively documented U.S. spending in Kenya under the Obama administration, suggesting that the president is directly ordering it to help his ancestral homeland -- all the while failing to prove Obama is directly involved in any of it, or that U.S. spending in Kenya has increased significantly under Obama.

Now we've gotten the answer to one of those questions in a Sept. 17 WND article in which Peacock complains once more that "The Obama administration yet again is expanding one of its aid initiatives to Kenya."

But you have to go to the 17th paragraph of the 20-paragraph article to see the truth: that the U.S.' overall aid to Kenya "dropped from a high of $830 million in FY 2009 to $460 million in FY2013."

In other words, Obama is spending less in Kenya than President Bush did.

But because that doesn't further the conspiracy, Peacock then complains about the "rise in aid to Kenya" -- which he admits is still only "$630 million in spending planned for FY 2016." In other words, it's still about 25 percent less than was spent under the final budget approved under Bush.

So, basically, Peacock and WND's entire  obsession with U.S. money spent under Obama " ... in Kenya!" is a fraud. You know, like a lot of things WND has reported about Obama.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:20 PM EDT
Sunday, September 20, 2015
WND's Farah Laments Coulter's Anti-Semitic Tirade, Ignores His Role In Boosting Her
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah devoted his Sept. 17 WorldNetDaily column to criticizing Ann Coulter's "f---ing Jews" tirade, calling it "a staggeringly inappropriate and ugly comment" that's likely anti-Semitic and puts her in league with Iranian mullahs.

What Farah didn't do is admit his role in perpetuating her work as a right-wing bombthrower -- just like the Media Research Center did -- nor did he say he would do the one thing he could to send a meaningful message by canceling her column.

Farah rather laughably laments that "It’s sad to see Coulter degenerate into a slur machine, one who seems so desperate for fame at any cost that she will say anything and possibly do anything to maintain a career as, frankly, a thuggish commentator." But thuggish commentary is what WND is all about -- from Mychal Massie to Jesse Lee Peterson to, well, Farah himself.

Besides, Farah is on record as encouraging Coulter's thuggishness and her transformation into the "slur machine" he now purportedly despises. In 2005, WND proudly re-edited a Coulter column to restore a description of Helen Thomas as an "old Arab" that her syndicate had removed.

It wasn't until 2010 that Farah took offense to anything Coulter had said or written -- and that was only because she wasn't being extreme enough. Farah dropped Coulter as a keynote speaker for WND's "Taking America Back National Conference" that year because she spoke to a gay-Republican group, sparking a war of words between Farah and Coulter.

But if Farah was really mad about Coulter, he could have canceled her column. But he didn't, presumably because it's reportedly a driver of traffic to WND's website.

As of this writing, Coulter's column remains in the lead spot in the list of WND columnists that appear on Thursday.

Farah can rant all he wants to about Coulter, but he has the power to harm her pocketbook. That he has so far refused to do so -- and in fact has helped her to become the person who would refer to "f---king Jews" -- demonstrates he doesn't have the courage of his convictions.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:40 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, September 21, 2015 12:21 AM EDT
Saturday, September 19, 2015
Logrolling In Our Time: Trump and Newsmax
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax is already all in on Donald Trump's presidential bid -- has been since 2011, actually. Now there's a new form of logrolling going on between the two: Newsmax's Trump-loving audience votes Trump the winner in post-debate polls -- the opt-in polls are not scientific -- Newsmax gives the results to Trump, Trump cites that poll in public, and Newsmax touts Trump's citing of Newsmax.

This first happened after the Aug. 6 GOP debate, when Trump touted the Newsmax poll claiming Trump won, and Newsmax touted how "Trump pointed to the Newsmax poll while blasting RedState leader Erick Erickson for revoking an invitation for Trump to speak at the conservative group's gathering in Atlanta.

It happened again after the Sept. 16 debate, as Greg Richter is more than happy to inform you in a Sept. 17 Newsmax article:

Presidential front-runner Donald Trump drew cheers on Thursday from a New Hampshire town hall audience when he touted his dominance in the post-debate online polls.

Among them was the Newsmax poll, in which Trump took 46 percent. Carly Fiorina was a distant second at 20 percent.

"Time magazine, they did votes as to who won the debate last night," Trump noted. "114,000 votes as of 6 p.m. Trump 56. Carly Fiorina, 19, Rubio 7, Ben Carson 4. The rest not doing too good."
Special: New Probiotic Fat Burner Takes GNC by Storm
The Drudge Report poll found Trump favored by 66 percent.
Latest News Update

"Second Fiorina much less, like much," he said. "And then Rubio, then Cruz. I'm not going to mention the next name because I don't like him very much."

"Then Newsmax, way up ahead, Newsmax. You like Newsmax? The great Chris Ruddy. I like it, too. Donald Trump, first place by a lot."

The fact that both Newsmax polls are still open for voting (here and here) testifies to the utter meaninglessness of the results.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:43 PM EDT
Friday, September 18, 2015
MRC Silent on MRC Friend Ann Coulter's Anti-Semitic Tweet
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is a longtime friend of Ann Coulter, having served as a judge and/or presenter for its annual "dishonors awards" several times. And in the last year alone:

  • MRC leaders Brent Bozell and Tim Graham devoted an entire column to promoting Coulter's new anti-immigration book, touting how she bashes the media and "Lord knows Coulter understands they deserve the hectoring."
  • Coulter served as a presenter last month of the MRC's "Noel Sheppard Media Blogger of the Year Award."
  • The MRC made a supercut of Coulter's scenes in "Sharknado 3" because, as MRC VP Brent Baker explained, it knew its readers' preferences about "what you know you want to see, but didn’t want to spend two hours to catch."

As you might guess from that chummy releationship, the MRC is also a defender of Coulter, unable to identify anything she says that might be offensive. We've detailed how the MRC rushed to aggressively defend Coulter after she was credibly accused of homophobic rhetoric, so aggressive that we wondered if Coulter had some blackmail thing going against MRC chief Brent Bozell.

All of this made us wonder how the MRC would react to Coulter's Twitter rant complaining about Republican presidential candidates pandering to Israel, adding, "How many f---ing Jews do these people think there are in the United States?"

The answer so far is: not at all. Stone silence at CNSNews and MRCTV, and no mention at all on the Twitter feeds of either Bozell or the MRC. NewsBusters does link to a Mediaite article on Coulter under the headline "Coulter unleashes anti-Semitic bile on Twitter," but no NewsBusters writer mentions it in a blog post, let alone passes judgment on it.

Why the silence? Are Bozell and Co. simply that clueless about how Coulter's words hurt the conservative brand? Or do they know it's offensive but are afraid to speak out against her? That would make them either ignorant or gutless.

The problem with the MRC's silence is that because it's been so close to Coulter in the past, they have ownership in her anti-Semitic remarks. In this case, silence can only be interpreted as assent. The MRC's longtime defense of Coulter and embrace of her as a mainstream conservative is a major reason why she is in a position today to make such an offensive statement.

As we've noted with MRC's wishy-washiness over birthers, its refusal to use its position as a leader in the conservative movement to unequivocally denounce extremism in its ranks allows the so-called "liberal media" to show how that extremism is part of conservatism.  The MRC repeatedly insists that the portrayal is unfair, but it won't police its ranks the way it lashes out at conservatives who move even the slightest bit to the left.

In short, the MRC must speak out on Coulter so the public knows where it stands on right-wing extremism: will it denounce her, or will it continue to embrace her as it has in the past?

Your move, Mr. Bozell.

(Updated to note NewsBusters mention.)

Posted by Terry K. at 3:45 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, September 18, 2015 5:03 PM EDT
At CNS, 10 Articles on GOP Debate, But Candidates' Vaccine Misinfo Is Censored
Topic: churned out a whopping 10 articles on the Sept. 16 Republican presidential debate -- a main article by Patrick Goodenough, and eight more highlighting various statements made by candidates during the debate by Goodenough and three other CNS writers (count 'em: here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here), plus a blog post highlighting the "most tweeted moment" of the debate.

All the CNS articles were stenography -- there was no fact-checking or analysis of the statements the candidates made. Even Carly Fiorina's factually dubious attack on Planned Parenthood was merely dutifully transcribed by Goodenough, making sure to note the "enthusiastic applause" it received, without any mention of the fact that -- as even CNS' parent organization is conceding -- she did not speak fully accurately.

And none of the articles the misinformation the Republican candidates spread about vaccines, from Donald Trump's assertion thatvaccines cause autism to Ben Carson's insistence that children need only "certain" vaccines to Rand Paul's claim that childhood vaccinations shouldn't be "bunched up."

Since CNS won't hold Republicans to the same level of scrutiny it holds Democrats -- even when the misinformation being provided is dangerous, as it is with the Republicans' misinformation about vaccines -- it falls to legitimate news organizations to do the job of fact-checking. The Washington Post does the fact-check that CNS won't:

Here's the truth: there are vaccines for 14 different diseases given in the first few years of a child's life, according to a carefully vetted schedule. These may be for diseases, like measles and diphtheria, that we generally don't think of as killers today -- but that's largely because vaccines have been so successful in preventing people from getting sick in the first place.

Those vaccines are scheduled so that they can be given to children before they come into contact with the pathogens that cause disease. When they are given in combinations, or "bunched" at the same time, it's only after they are carefully tested in "concomitant use" studies to make sure the vaccines don't interfere with each other or cause harm.


Indeed, experts say, when doctors stray from the bunching of vaccines, they fall into unknown territory where the harms and benefits are less clearly understood.

"It’s not like the CDC makes it up. They give these vaccines in combination only when proven to be safe and effective," [professor of pediatrics Paul] Offit said. "When you choose what Ben Carson or Trump or Rand Paul is arguing for, you’re making up a schedule. You don’t know whether that’s safe or effective."

We've documented how the MRC will only criticize anti-vaccine conspiracy-mongers when it conflicts with its right-wing political agenda. Admitting that Republican presidential candidates are not telling the truth would certainly be one of those conflicts.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:48 AM EDT
Thursday, September 17, 2015
MRC Walks Back Its Defense of Fiorina on Planned Parenthood Videos
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center was outraged that anyone would dare to fact-check Carly Fiorina's attack on Planned Parenthood during the Sept. 16 Republican presidential debate.

Kyle Drennen complained that an MSNBC guest pointed out that there were "serious misstatements" made by Fiorina, immediately running to her defense:

Despite MSNBC’s desperate attempt to deny the horrific reality of the Planned Parenthood videos, one of them does in fact show “a fully formed fetus on the table. Its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain,’” just as Fiorina described in the debate.

But the source Drennen provides to back up his assertion -- a Federalist post by right-wing activist Mollie Hemingway --  is not as clear asDrennen claims. Hemingway actually never directly backs up Fiorina's claim that the scene she described was committed by Planned Parenthood officials in the secretly recorded, dishonestly edited "Center for Medical Progress" videos; she fudges things by stating that "she is likely referring to the entirety of the 10 videos, including the seventh video released by the Center for Medical Progress" and never actually ascribing the scene to Planned Parenthood.

But about five hours after Drennen's post, the MRC's Ken Shepherd was walking back the idea that anyone who says Fiorina was wrong is lying. In his NewsBusters post complaining about more people on MSNBC calling out Fiorina, Shepherd essentially admits the CMP videos are dishonestly edited by citing a Wall Street Journal item pointing out that the scene Fiorina described was actually that of "a different fetus that came from other antiabortion groups," not anything Planned Parenthood did.

But Shepherd won't actually say out loud that the CMP videos were dishonestly edited by the addition of outside footage, even though he's basically conceding the point. He instead admits the Journal's explanation is "charitable" to Fiorina, then runs with it:

In other words, the most charitable and rather likely explanation is that Fiorina conflated the imagery and the testimony of the procurement technician and essentially mis-remembered it as seeing actual footage of a live aborted baby. At any rate, it's undeniable that abortion itself is a grisly and violent taking of a human life, and if coupled with the deliberate harvesting of organs for profit, well, it just heightens the heinous nature of the act.

Shepherd then takes that position to ludicrous extremes:

Left-wing critics of CMP have sought refuge in the claim that the shorter videos are deceptively edited, yet they have the full videos for comparison and, if they were in fact deceptively edited, they could easily build their case for why by contrasting exculpatory footage that was edited out of the shorter pieces. That no one has done so, it seems to me, is a case of the dog that didn't bark.

SHepherd is simply lying when he claims "no one" has highlighted exculpatory footage CMP edited out its pieces. Here's one quite comprehensive guide to what Shepherd claims doesn't exist.

The fact that the MRC must be so dishonest about the Planned Parenthood videos shows the shaky ground they are on.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:53 PM EDT
WND Columnist Who Declared Obama A Psychopath Gives Trump A Clean Bill of Mental Health
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Last year, WorldNetDaily columnist Gina Loudon was not shy about playing armchair psychologist to declare that President Obama is a psychopath, largely on the false claim that "Obama has golfed more than any other president." Of course, all Loudon was doing was dressing up her own borderline-psychopathic hatred of Obama as a purpored psychatric evaluation.

Now Loudon is training her armchair-diagnosis skills at Donald Trump, who arguably displays signs of mental disorders -- and she can't find a thing wrong with the guy.

In her Sept. 13 WND column, London concedes an obvious issue -- Trump's narcissism. But, she assures us, Trump is no sociopath like Hitler, and besides, Reagan was a narcissist too:

The important distinction here is that those who lead through strength to achieve evil are deranged. Hitler was sociopathological. Trump seems mentally sound. Though mental assessment is impossible without true clinical testing and diagnosis (and is even then, very elusive), I haven’t observed, nor have I heard of any other mental health professionals observing that Trump is in any way unstable.

Were great leaders like Ronald Reagan, Teddy Roosevelt and Margaret Thatcher just as narcissistic and driven as Trump? Likely yes. Were they better at hiding it? Certainly. Decorum was different then. And that was before political correctness had become the major enemy of the American people. Trump intuitively saw the frustration of Main Street over the tyranny and oppression of political correctness, and he capitalized on it, masterfully.

Yet if you go back to her Obama-bashing 2014 column, the psychopathic qualities she ascribes to Obama certainly apply to Trump as well:

Psychopaths often act audaciously, without regard for those affected. They get away with actions that others in their positions haven’t, because of their ability to remain calm even when committing atrocities, and their ability to manipulate whole groups of people.

But Loudon gives Trump's audaciousness a pass, declaring that "Trump takes the hits for the heretofore 'unspeakable truths,' while other conservatives in the race have the luxury of looking composed, deliberative, presidential."

Loudon caps off her column with this ringing endorsement:

Trump has eviscerated the predictions of those who have traditionally been good at guessing the rise and fall of presidential candidates. I am going to take a stab anyway. My prediction is this: As long as he is loyal to the three principles he has made clear in his run thus far, his supporters will be loyal to him, and he can win. If he does win, or he is part of a winning team, the world could see a return of Reagan's "Shining City on a Hill." It has been a rough road back to America's rugged exceptionalism, but it could come back. And that could be huge.

Somehow, the things that made Obama a psychopath to Loudon make Trump a lovable potential president. Go figure.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:26 PM EDT
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
NewsBusters Writer Bashes 'Liberal Media Narrative' With False Conservative Media Narrative
Topic: NewsBusters

Jeffrey Lord -- who thinks it's a "legitimate conservative" tactic to smear people as Nazis -- spends his Sept. 12 NewsBusters column complaining about the purportedly dishonesty-laden "Liberal Media Narrative." He explains:

How does the Liberal Media Narrative game work? Like this.

Reported the New York Post of then-Senator Barack Obama during the fall campaign of 2008 in a remark that was instantly seen by Republicans as an attack on Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

“You know, you can put lipstick on a pig,” Obama said, “but it’s still a pig.”

….Many in the Obama crowd leaped to their feet in delight – apparently taking the “pig” comment as a direct slam at Palin.”

The liberal media of  the day was outraged. From the New York Times to the Washington Post to MSNBC, Obama was pilloried for being a sexist and a misogynist. His poll numbers tanked.

Just kidding. The media didn’t care a whit, Senator Obama was not only elected president he was re-elected.

Except, well, that's not how that happened at all -- starting with what Obama actually said.

Obama was criticizing John McCain's policies by referencing a common saying, and Obama's full statement in context shows that he didn't reference Palin at all. The New York Post made up the part about the statement being a "direct slam at Palin."

Contrary to Lord's claim, MSNBC did, in fact, promote the idea that Obama was attacking Palin. Even the Associated Press, whhich Lord would most certainly count among the "liberal media," did it as well.

Media critic Howard Kurtz, now with Fox News, pointed out at the time that the right's narrative on the "lipstick" quote was a "manufactured story that was pushed by the right ... pushed along and made up by Drudge, Sean Hannity, and the New York Post," and yet the media did "segment after segment on it."

That's what you might call the Conservative Media Narrative -- and Lord fell for it.

Why is Lord doing this? To deflect from Donald Trump's recent misogynistic remarks toward Carly Fiorina and Fox News' Megyn Kelly. He's following the MRC playbook as Ted Cruz did by insisting that any criticism of Trump is, by definition, liberal:

Now comes the media dust-up over Trump’s remark’s about Carly Fiorina. And unlike the media’s treatment of then-Senator Obama’s attack on Sarah Palin with his “lipstick on a pig” comment, Trump gets no pass. As he did not with his comments on Fox’s Megyn Kelly after the Fox debate. The Liberal Media Narrative game is in play.

And it isn’t working.

What is the lesson here?  It’s an easy lesson, an old lesson and a lesson that has nothing whatsoever to do with Donald Trump on Carly Fiorina’s looks or Ted Cruz on a government shutdown beyond the fact that they are Republicans. The fact is that no Republican - no matter who he or she is - will get a pass on anything the media decides is “controversial.” The Liberal Media Narrative must be served  come hell or high water.

Despite the fact that Obama was definitely not referencing Palin in his remarks while Trump was directly and unambiguously directly his remarks at Kelly and Fiorina, Lord insists that Trump's fans -- himself apparently among them -- "understand why comments about the physical looks of a woman are bad if coming from Donald Trump, irrelevant and dismissed if coming from Barack Obama."

At no point, however, does Lord breathe a word of what Trump actually said about Kelly and Fiorina in his defense of them; he simply declares any atempt to hold Trump accountable for his words (never mind the fact that even conservatives criticized his nasty jabs at Fiorina and Kelly) is part of the "Liberal Media Narrative."

But if there is a dishonest "liberal media narrative" that Lord believes exists, then there is also a conservative media narrative that is just as dishonest -- and Lord's column is all about furthering that dishonesty.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:33 PM EDT

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