Ex-MRCer Avoids Critics In Plugging New Climate Change Denial Film, And MRC's Bozell Plays Along Topic: Media Research Center
An April 15 NewsBusters post touts how "MRC President and Founder L. Brent Bozell moderated an invitation-only panel discussion on the subject featuring former Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska, climatologist Dr. David Legates and Climate Depot’s Marc Morano, host of a new documentary from CFACT: Climate Hustle."
Legates is a climate-change denier like the rest, meaning that everyone involved in the "panel discussion" holds basically the same opinion -- which makes it not much of a discussion at all.
But also note that term appearing before "panel discussion": "invitation-only." It appears that if you held a different opinion on climate change from Morano, Bozell and the others (only one of whom has any actual background in climate science), you apparently weren't even allowed in the room.
That refusal to engage with critics, perhaps not surprisingly, has been a hallmark of Morano's promotion of his little film, as well as Morano and CFACT's apparent lying to continue to refuse engagement. Graham Readfearn writes at DeSmog about trying (and failing) to gain admission to the Paris premiere of the film:
I had previously asked a French group helping to organise the premiere, Institut Coppet, for a ticket. They had accepted my RSVP, but a few days later said I wasn’t welcome. Other reporters at DeSmog and at the Irish Times had a similar experience of having a 'yes' turn to a 'no' days later.
Morano has told sympathetic media since the premiere that there were “hundreds” of people queuing down the street and that they had to turn people away. But one person who watched the Paris premiere, but asked not to be named, told me the cinema was “half empty” during the screening. An estimated 100 people had been inside for the cocktail reception, the source said. Another attendee told DeSmog after the film let out that the theatre was at best 70 percent full.
Those being “turned away” it seems were those most likely to criticise the film’s content.
Morano also told me he would be at the Paris conference later that week, but complained that “we only have two passes for our organisation” — continuing a theme that denialists were being shut out.
According to a list of Paris conference participants, the UN actually granted passes to six representatives from CFACT. Three (Morano and his CFACT colleagues Craig Rucker and David Rothbard) were accredited with a CFACT delegation and three more were listed as CFACT representatives in a ten-strong delegation from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, another conservative think tank that pushes climate science denial.
We're guessing that Bozell and his one-sided "panel discussion" didn't mention that Morano refused a bet with Bill Nye (the science guy) on whether 2016 would be one of the ten hottest years on record and that the current decade would be the hottest on record... because he admits it's “obvious” the official records would show more global warming.
CNS' Barbara Hollingsworth did a "news" article on the "panel discussion, which ironbically quotes Legates saying, “If you can’t argue the facts, you have to demonize your opponent.” Or, you know, ignore them completely.
Oddly, while the NewsBusters post disclosed that Morano used to be a reporter for CNS -- where he used his final days there to audition for his future career as a professional climate change denier, first as a PR flak for Republican Sen. James Inhofe and then for CFACT -- Hollingsworth's CNS article did not, though CNS was the MRC division where he actually worked.
WND Wants Hillary Arrested For Riding The Subway Topic: WorldNetDaily
Hillary Clinton has committed the crime of riding the subway in New York City while a TV camera followed her, and WorldNetDaily's Douglas Ernst is on it:
Lost in media coverage of Hillary Clinton struggling to use a subway turnstile in New York City on Thursday was the fact that she broke Metropolitan Transportation Authority rules.
The ‘Stop Hillary’ campaign is on fire! Join the surging response to this theme: ‘Clinton for prosecution, not president’
MTA’s “Rules of Conduct” subject the city’s street performers to fines and possible imprisonment for taking shows on subway cars. A review of Section 1050.6(c)1 of the subway rules by the Guardian on Friday shows the presidential hopeful flouted them on her way from Yankee Stadium to 170th Street.
“The incident is all the more galling because there are actual, regular New Yorkers trying to make ends meet who are arrested for violating the same rules that Clinton disregards with impunity,” the newspaper wrote. “These regular New Yorkers are, of course, the acrobatic showtime performers and musicians – a cultural point of pride for the city – who perform legally on platforms and other areas of the transit system (not always without harassment) but are barred from playing on board subway cars by the same rules that should have prevented Clinton’s campaigning.”
Matthew Christian of BuskNY, an advocacy group for New York subway performers, said Clinton should not have been allowed to operate by a different set of rules.
“When performers are playing music they are thought to be committing a crime and arrested,” Christian told the newspaper by phone. “Apparently, when Hillary Clinton does public speaking on a train car that is not considered a violation of the statute.”
Performers who do not keep acts to subway platforms may be subject to civil fines up to $100 and imprisonment of up to 10 days.
The former secretary of state was joined by Rubén Díaz Jr, the president of the borough of the Bronx, and a gaggle of reporters.
Ernst doesn't mention that the Guardian piece he's regurgitating is opinion, not reporting, and the author, Ali Gharib, offers no evidence of politicians arrested for politicking on the subway.
Further, neither Ernst nor Gharib seem to understand there's a difference between a politician and a busking musician.
MRC Whines About Boston Globe's Trump Front-Page Satire Topic: Media Research Center
The Boston Globe's opinion section recently published a fake front page projecting what might happen if Donald Trump is elected president. And even though the Media Research Center despises Trump and supports Ted Cruz, it hates the "liberal media" expressing an opinion even more.
Tim Graham dismissed the page as an "enormous prank" and declared himself arbiter of "serious" news: "A serious newspaper doesn't satirize the news. It leaves it to The Onion." Graham doesn't mention that the fake front page didn't replace the actual front page; it ran on the front of its "idea" section well inside the paper.
The MRC's Rich Noyes sneered at the "sophomoric anti-Donald Trump parody" and complained that "liberal newspapers have published a spate of obnoxious, over-the-top covers that the broadcast networks immediately picked up as meaningful contributions to political discourse." (This from the same website that does a post every time Tim Allen makes fun of liberals on his sitcom "Last Man Standing.") Noyes later ran to Fox Business (of course) to rant that the fake front page was "sophomoric" (again) and "absurd."
MRC division CNSNews.com -- which has had itsownproblems with making up the news -- ran an April 14 story by Susan Jones under the headline "Boston Globe Defends Its 'Unconventional New Approach' to Making Up the News." Jones does later explain that it did not run as the actual front page but in the opinion section -- which means it was not "making up the news" at all.
WND Columnist's Baal Temple Arch Freakout May Be Unfounded Topic: WorldNetDaily
Ben Kinchlow writes in his April 10 WorldNetDaily column:
Well, the newest wrinkle in our trek to insanity is that to sympathize with, or to show support for, a particular group of people, America and England are going to have full-size, 48-foot temple entrances of the god “Baal” erected in New York’s Times Square and Trafalgar Square in London.
The organization behind this is the Institute of Digital Archaeology, which is a joint venture between Harvard University, the University of Oxford and Dubai’s Museum of the Future.
While ISIS has recently destroyed, among many other sites, the ancient ruins of the Temple of Baal in Syria, I think those behind this latest project to erect reproductions of the arches of Baal’s temple are taking matters a little too far trying to compensate for what they perceive is an egregious disregard for ancient history.
Let me get this straight: In America we have court decisions banning most public Christian activities, persecution of Christian business owners, LGBT parades, child sacrifice (abortion), no prayer or teaching of the Bible in schools, no prayer at public events, no public displays of the Ten Commandments, no Christian crosses …
But we can erect symbols of Baal worship in Times Square?!
Kinchlow's concern over spreading "symbols of Baal worship" may be unfounded. As Right Wing Watch details, the Institute for Digital Archaeology has apparently changed its plans; it is building the Triumphal Arch from Palmyra, Syria, for display in London and nothing in New York for now.
Glenn Beck was freaking out about it, Right Wing Watch notes, which is probably where Kinchlow picked it up. But as we know, Kinchlow isn't always into researching before he writes his column.
Newsmax Columnist Forgets That Waterboarding Doesn't Work Topic: Newsmax
Fred Fleitz writes in an April 12 Newsmax column headlined "Here's What CIA's Brennan Forgets About Waterboarding":
CIA Director John Brennan is in the news lately because of comments he made over the weekend that he will not permit CIA officers under the next president to use "waterboarding," a controversial enhanced interrogation technique that has been successfully used to extract information about potential terrorist attacks from al-Qaida members.
Brennan's comments came in response to statements by Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Donald Trump that they may use waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation methods against terrorist suspects to protect the American people and the U.S. homeland.
Actually, waterboarding was not "successful" against al-Qaida members. A Senate report found that the waterboarding used against three al-Qaida captives in the wake of 9/11 yielded no useful intelligence and lots of fabricated information. One captive, Abu Zubaydah, was waterboarded 83 times in one month, and the Senate report disputes CIA claims that he was a senior al-Qaida official and that he provided actionable information as a result of the waterboarding.
But never mind the facts: Fleitz goes on to sneer that Brennan is "partisan tool of the Obama administration" and his comments that he would not permit waterboarding again "are an obvious attempt to keep his job if Hillary Clinton wins in November."
Fleitz used to be managing editor for LIGNET, a "global intelligence and forecasting" service operated by Newsmax that appears to have gone defunct; the group's website is currently inaccesible.
WND Columnist Touts Discredited Anti-Vaccine Film Topic: WorldNetDaily
Barry Farber begins his April 12 WorldNetDaily column by likening what he's about to write to Woodward and Bernstein taking down Nixon and Lech Walesa defeating communism. But then he writes about ... an anti-vaccine film:
Can you believe our beloved America has degenerated into a place where media are perfectly free to write what follows – but nobody does? Or, better said, nobody did until a controversial film implicated Big Pharma and the Centers for Disease Control in lying and falsifying the figures that show shocking connections between the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, rubella) administered to infants as young as 18 months – and autism! The documentary, “Vaxxed: From Coverup to Catastrophe,” was viewed by Robert De Niro, who has an autistic child, praised repeatedly by Robert De Niro, and finally withdrawn from the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival by Robert De Niro under pressure from some very stupid tyrant-types, who are apparently too stupid to realize their censoring days are over thanks to a sleepless Freedom Fighter known as the Internet!
I was taken by my investigative-reporter-daughter Celia Farber to the New York premiere. You will have a chance to see “Vaxxed” despite the frantic efforts by Big Pharma and the Centers for Disease Control to make sure you don’t. Children yet unborn will thank you.
Uh, yeah. Farber continues:
Here’s what’s known, incontrovertible, stomp-down truth beyond contradiction. In the 1950s autism was almost unknown. There was a clinic in California with maybe half-a-dozen cases. Then along came one case of autism for every ten thousand children who’d undergone the MMR vaccine. Then came one such case out of every 250. The latest figure is one out of 50!
And the proud defenders of Big Pharma and the CDC still refuse to yield a centimeter. And that’s what interests so many of us non-doctors and non-scientists. There’s the pungent fragrance of “body-panic” as more and more anguished parents and alarmed Americans ask what’s going on here. The CDC’s cooking of the books has befouled the air thousands of kitchens away. Dr. Andrew Wakefield, distinguished research gastroenterologist, had his license revoked for the high crime of suggesting the MMR vaccine needed more study! CDC internal whistleblower Dr. William Thompson has more and more frightened onlookers hopeful that truth will prevail. The MMR loyalists, however, defend it like the fanatical war-time Japanese defended their Emperor Hirohito. The cause of this skyrocketing surge in autism, Big Pharma and the CDC assure us, “cannot be vaccinations, must not be vaccinations, will not be vaccinations!”
Hoo boy. Where to begin:
First, the reason there were so few autism diagnoses in 1950 is because it wasn't recognized as its own disorder then. The word "autism" itself wasn't coined until 1943, and until the 1970s it was considered a form of schizophrenia.
Second, the autism rate among children is not "one out of 50": it has leveled off at 1 in 68, and increasing diagnosis rates in previous years likely had much to do with a "learning curve" among doctors when it came to properly diagnosing autism spectrum disorders, not necessarily an increase in the disorder itself.
Third, Andrew Wakefield (who made the film Farber watched, though Farber doesn't tell his readers that), is not a "distinguished research gastroenterologist," nor did not have "his license revoked for the high crime of suggesting the MMR vaccine needed more study." He conducted the study published in the medical journal The Lancet claiming that MMR vaccines cause autism -- a study that has never been replicated by other researchers and which the Lancet itself retracted and renounced as a fraud. He lost his medical license in Britain because he behaved unethically in conducting the experiments , testing a vaccine on a child without consulting the child's doctor and bribing children to provide blood samples.
Fourth, as we've noted, Thompson's claims have been discredited. He claimed that the CDC hid and/or destroyed evidence that the MMR vaccine caused increased rates of autism in African-American children; in fact, the data were never destroyed, and they don't show what Thompson claims they do.
Fifth, Farber invokes a weird form of Godwinism by likening vaccine defenders to "the fanatical war-time Japanese defended their Emperor Hirohito." Actually, vaccine defenders are defending science.
Nevertheless, despite the facts being against him, Farber insists they are actually on his side, with a dash of more classic Godwinism:
Big Pharma and the CDC will dismiss all of us who demand truth as “those lunatics who want to stamp out vaccinations altogether!”
Nice try. They’ll claim we’re medical primitives who seek the end of all vaccinations. How about a moratorium on the MMR “triple-header” vaccine and a return to the single “M” injections (measles), followed after a suitable interval by the second “M” (mumps) and later the “R” vaccine (against rubella)? Then let’s have an honest count of autism results.
You’d think after the autism rate soars from virtual zero to one per 250 the Big Pharma and CDC folks themselves would have said, “Come, let us reason together. Something is clearly wrong here!”
That’s a bit like hoping Heinrich Himmler would call upon his aides to improve the menu for the upcoming Jewish High Holy Days at Auschwitz!
The key tenet of Godwin's Law is that you've lost the argument when you invoke Nazis (or, we'd add, the World War II version of Hirohito). Farber apparently doesn't know that.
Oh, and reviews have dismissed Wakefield's film as "a grab-bag of charts, theories and anecdotal evidence that would never pass muster by the editors of any major scientific journal" that "too often resembles the kind of one-sided, paranoia-stoking agitprop that political activists construct to sanctify true believers and assault infidels." Farber has fallen in line with Wakefield's intent.
MRC's Bozell Still Pushing Trump-Media Conspiracy, Still Won't Call Out Conservative Trump Promoters Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's pet conspiracy theory -- that the so-called "liberal media" is deliberately slanting news coverage to make Donald Trump the Republican presidential nominee -- is still alive. Brent Bozell and Tim Graham push it in their April 13 column:
But if democracy was organized to give everyone a fair and equal shot to impress the voters based on their knowledge and experience, then this system has been rigged for Donald Trump for the last nine months. The media – not just the liberal media, but some “conservative” media, too – have been the gale-force wind beneath Trump’s wings.
On the nightly network news on ABC, CBS, and NBC, Trump has far outpaced anyone else for attention.
Note that almost parenthetical admission that conservative media outlets -- which somehow earns scare quotes from Bozell and Graham in a subtle form of Heathering -- are promoting Trump as well, which is undoubtedly a factor in Trump's popularity. But the writers won't call them out by name.
Why? Because the right-wing media leader in creating Trump's presidential campaign is Fox News. Bozell and Co. regularly appear on shows on Fox News and Fox Business -- Bozell has had a weekly spot for years on Sean Hannity's Fox News show -- and holding Fox specifically to account for their Trumpophilia could jeopardize that airtime.
To that end, the MRC focuses only on the broadcast TV networks and exempts Fox News from similar scrutiny.
Bozell and Graham even concede that most of the media coverage of Trump is negative -- which you think would please them, but it doesn't: "Anyone who watches is aware that the network coverage is often negative, but it still denies air time to opponents."
One of those opponents is Ted Cruz, and Bozell and Graham have a vested interest in him, something they wait until the very last paragraph to mention: "Let's have full disclosure here. We have personally endorsed Ted Cruz, which for some might cast doubt on this column. We challenge you to dispute any of what is above."
If Bozell and Graham were truly interested in "full disclosure," wouldn't they have disclosed their endorsement of Cruz at the beginning of their column?
WND (Grudgingly) Reports On Cruz Birther Challenge Topic: WorldNetDaily
It's been a long time, but WorldNetDaily has finally gotten around to assigning its reporters to cover Ted Cruz's eligibility issues again.
An April 11 WND article by Bob Unruh previewed a New Jersey hearing on Cruz's eligibility. In a contrast from WND's usual Obama birtherism coverage, Unruh covers the issue of eligibility with something approaching fairness, admitting that the Vattel standard is the "strictest definition" while the 1790 Naturalization Act is "more flexible." Of course, Unruh loses his fair-and-balanced stance when he starts talking about Obama, touting "The only official law-enforcement review of Obama’s documentation" without mentioning it was a shoddy, unfair joke, and adding: "Obama has yet to release many of the ordinary documents valued by presidential historians, such as his passport records, school records, undergraduate records and thesis, Harvard Law School records, Harvard Law Review articles, University of Chicago articles, Illinois State Bar Association records, Illinois State Senate records and schedules, medical records, parents’ marriage license and adoption records."
The story actually got a follow-up: On April 12, Obama birther extraordinaire (yet loath to touch Cruz birtherism) Jerome Corsi highlights the conclusion of the hearing: Cruz is eligible. Corsi noted that the judge "relied on the 1898 Supreme Court case Wong Kim Ark" to make his decision -- a case WND has largely ignored as governing precedent and which Corsi himself has denied is directly applicable -- as well as the 1790 Naturalization Act, which Corsi asserted in 2012 granted citizenship only to "a child born of two American parents" because that's what lawmakers of the time "regarded" it to be.
Corsi didn't mention his 2012 interpretation in his new article. He too reports the issue as straight as he's apparently capable of, refusing to admit that by his own previous standards, Cruz is even more ineligible than he claimed Obama was.
CNS Unleashes Army of Op-Eds to Defend Right-Wing Think Tank Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com' response to Virgin Islands attorney general Claude Walker subpoenaing the right-wing think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute about its relationship with ExxonMobil, and that company's alleged suppression of evidence that climate change is driven by fossil fuels, was not to do any reporting on it -- surprising, since it claims to be a "news" organization and all.
No, what CNS did is publish a bunch of op-eds defending climate change denialism in general and CEI in particular. This week alone, CNS has published at least four op-eds.
Hans Bader -- identified only as someone who "practices law in Washington, D.C." -- declared the the subpoena is "raising red flags under the First Amendment" and the investigation of ExxonMobil itself is "a threat to climate science and the First Amendment."
Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation ranted that "a truly outrageous abuse of his authority and a misuse of the law," asserted that "CEI is well-known for its high-quality, objective research on energy and climate issues," went Godwin by calling Walker a part of the "Axis," and declared that " What is happening to ExxonMobil and to the Competitive Enterprise Institute is persecution." Von Spakovsky slobbered over Exxon:
Walker is using a criminal statute designed to go after major drug dealers and mob organizations to go after a company that produces the gasoline and diesel fuel that Americans (and the rest of the world) use in their cars, trucks, boats, lawnmowers, and other equipment of every kind. And ExxonMobil and CEI are being targeted for having taken what these legal barons consider the wrong side of a scientific theory that is being actively debated and questioned.
The fact that ExxonMobil produces a relatively cheap, reliable energy source that helps power our world but is disfavored by Progressives and their political representatives like Walker seems to be what the company is really guilty of.
The Heritage Foundation's Kim Holmes asserted that the subpoena and other actions against Exxon are "blatant attempts to bend the law ... to shut down free and open research. It is but another example of the new illiberal attempt by progressive liberals to use the power of the law to intimidate and coerce those with whom they disagree." Holmes ignores that there's precedent for such action: As Media Matters' Denise Robbins notes, then-Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Republican, demanded that the University of Virginia provide emails and other documents from climate scientist Michael Mann, which were also sought by the American Tradition Institute, whose senior director of litigation, Chris Horner, was also a senior fellow at CEI.
Holmes also claimed that "It is possible that CEI was being targeted by Walker precisely because one of its attorneys, Hans Bader, had criticized New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman who was leading the campaign." Funny, Bader did not disclose his relationship with CEI in his CNS op-ed.
CNS, finally, published an op-ed from a disclosed CEI employee. Kent Lassman, CEI's president, ranted:
It is not and cannot become a crime to disagree with a government official. Somewhere along the line, dissent from orthodoxy has transformed from a uniquely American virtue to a crime. This subpoena is a blatant attack on CEI’s First Amendment rights of free speech and association. It threatens the rights of anyone who holds opinions different from those with the power of the federal or state governments behind them.
What other issues are next on the taboo list? If the attorneys general succeed, we can be assured this list will vary from election to election—something for all people of good conscience to dread.
The audacity of this legal action is profound. George Orwell’s dystopian novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” described “crimethink” as entertaining thoughts unacceptable to the government.
And, of course, Lassman tries to spin away climate change:
While global warming could pose challenges, we do not believe it is a planetary emergency. We are deeply concerned that national and global campaigns to tax, regulate, and ban fossil fuels are an expensive exercise in futility. Our policy work rests on the scientifically supported view that affordable, plentiful, and reliable fossil fuels make the world safer and the environment more livable. Further, we hold the humanitarian view that affordable energy should be accessible to those who most need it, especially in developing economies.
The biggest problem with proposals to address alleged, rapid warming is that there is no realistic implementation plan. Taken out of the context of international meetings and put to the practical tests of real-world economics, they do not work. Coal, oil, and natural gas supply 80 percent of the world's energy. Finding substantial emissions reductions from these three fuels using available technologies, such as wind and solar power, is a very expensive dead end.
As we have seen for hundreds of years, modern societies develop the technologies and resources to address environmental challenges, whatever the cause. Unlike some of our climate-alarmist friends, at CEI we think the record of human ingenuity is pretty strong. Innovation and adaptation can surmount the largest challenges when individuals are provided circumstances to promote human flourishing.
None of these op-eds address the actual reasoning behind the subpoena. As InsideClimate News explained, Exxon had an "emerging understanding of climate change science in the 1970s," but then subsequently worked to "undermine the scientific consensus, in part by financing research organizations including CEI."
Why would CNS do any actual reporting when it can published opinion pieces, two of whom are by interested parties?
WND's Farah Imagines First Amendment Threat From Dems, Ignores Actual Threat From Trump Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah's April 10 WorldNetDaily column is largely a regurgitation of discredited filmmaker Joel Gilbert's cries of persecution -- as told to WND's Jerome Corsi -- for making a lie-filled anti-Obama documentary, despite winning his case before the Federal Election Commission. Needless to say, Farah doesn't admit Gilbert's "Dreams From My Real Father" is filled with lies; he merely calls it "controversial," then includes a link in his column to buy it from the WND online store.
Farah then takes it one step further:
[Gilbert] predicted a “dire future” for conservatives if a Democrat wins the White House this fall.
I don’t think he is exaggerating one bit. I’ve been making my living as a practitioner of the First Amendment for 40 years. Our free-expression rights are hanging in the balance in 2016. It’s a question of simply how much Americans value free speech and freedom of religion.
“If the make-up of the Federal Election Commission is changed because a Democrat wins the presidency and appoints one more Democrat than Republican to the commission, we face a dire future in which only political speech favorable to far-left agenda will be tolerated in America,” Gilbert said. “All conservative opinion, whether expressed in documentary films, shown on television or the Internet, or broadcast over radio may be subject to criminal penalties.”
Again, I don’t think this is hyperbole. It’s reality.
There’s a complete double-standard in the minds of Democrats and “progressives.” They believe in First Amendment protections for their ideas and viewpoints – just not for those with whom they disagree.
Farah cites no actual, concrete example of how Democrats are actually planning to do this. And he's silent about an actual, concrete example of a threat to the First Amendment from a Republican presidential candidate.
In February, Donald Trump promised that, if elected, he would change libel laws in the United States so that he can have an easier time suing news organizations: "One of the things I'm going to do if I win, and I hope we do and we're certainly leading. I'm going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money. We're going to open up those libel laws. So when The New York Times writes a hit piece which is a total disgrace or when The Washington Post, which is there for other reasons, writes a hit piece, we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they're totally protected."
Oddly, WND has largely ignored this statement from Trump -- the only reference to it we could find was an article from The Hill that WND stole a few paragraphs of.
You'd think Farah would be concerned about Trump's proposed change to libel laws because the type of "hit pieces" Trump is denouncing are exactly WND's stock in trade. For instance, if the Trump standard was in effect when WND published a series in 2000 attacking Al Gore by linking him to alleged drug dealers, the guy whom WND falsely identified as a drug dealer (with whom WND settled out of court after fighting his libel and defamation lawsuit for seven years) wouldn't be the only one who could have sued WND over it; Gore could have as well -- and could have won big.
Ironically for Farah's defense of Gilbert, Obama might also have standing under Trump's proposed libel standard to sue Gilbert for his false claims that Frank Marshall Davis is his father and that is mother posed for nude photos.
It seems that Farah and WND have a lot more to fear from Trump's proposed reworking of the First Amendment than from anything he imagines Democrats could do.
The MRC's Anti-Obama Conspiracy Fail Topic: Media Research Center
Occam's Razor tells us, essentially, that the most likely explanation for how something happened is usually the simplest one. The Media Research Center should keep that in mind when it goes conspiracy-mongering.
The MRC gave that a go in an April 1 MRCTV post by Craig Bannister:
The White House website has censored a video of French Pres. Francois Hollande saying that “Islamist terrorism” is at the “roots of terrorism.”
The White House briefly pulled video of a press event on terrorism with Pres. Obama, and when it reappeared on the WhiteHouse.gov website and YouTube, the audio of Hollande’s translator goes silent, beginning with the words “Islamist terrorism,” then begins again at the end of his sentence.
Even the audio of Hollande saying the words “Islamist terrorism” in French have, apparently, been edited from the video.
According to the official White House transcript of Hollande’s remarks, Hollande refers to “Islamist terrorism.”
Of course, if the White House really was trying to "censor" Hollande, it wouldn't have released an uncensored "official White House transcript." But that didn't occur to Bannister, apparently, so dedicated was he to the "censorship" narrative.
A technical issue with the audio during the recording of President Hollande's remarks led to a brief drop in the audio recording of the English interpretation. As soon as this was brought to our attention, we posted an updated video online here with the complete audio, which is consistent with the written transcript we released yesterday.
This acknowledgement raises some interesting questions:
If the audio was, indeed, lost (for just that comment) during recording, how did they resurrect it?
If there were two versions of the video, why did they originally pull the glitch-free version, then post the one with the audio missing, in the first place?
In the version in which the translator’s audio is lost for the “Islamist terror” comment, why is Hollande speaking in French still audible – except for when he mouths the words, “Islamist terrorism”?
Why is audio of Hollande audible for the entire comment, except the words “Islamist terrorism”?
Why is the version of the video with the glitch still on the White House website, right next to the acknowledgement that it has an error?
Three days later, Bannister still wasn't done being conspiratorial, declaring that "the White House’s audio-drop alibi is a sham and they, clearly, didn’t want people to see the 'complete audio' version with Pres. Hollande daring to utter the words, 'Islamist terrorism.'"
At no point does Bannister address the main issue: If the White House truly wanted to "censor" Hollande, why did release a transcript of the video with his full, uncensored remarks?
Sometimes the simplest response -- a technical error -- is the simplest one, Craig.
Of course, such a conspiracy -- no matter how much of a sham it is -- can't be wasted just at MRCTV. Tim Graham complained in an April 6 NewsBusters post that "the liberal media" didn't report on the faux conspiracy.
But he touts the outlets that did -- "This story was a staple of weekend news coverage on the Fox News Channel, and Rush Limbaugh shared the MRCTV scoop on Monday. ... Liberal newspapers haven't yet noticed the Hollande-scrubbing story, unlike the New York Post, The Washington Times, and Investor’s Business Daily" -- failing to mention that those are all right-wing outlets that would jump on any anti-Obama conspiracy.
Graham also notes that the video of the purported "censorship" came "Via MRCTV's Ben Graham," failing to disclose that Ben is his son.
The MRC attempt to delve into anti-Obama conspiracy-mongering -- something it wouldn't do not that long ago -- is just another way it's slowly turning into WorldNetDaily.
UPDATE: Bannister is still at it, whining in an April 13 MRCTV post that "nobody is willing to challenge White House Press Sec. Josh Earnest about the White House’s self-contradicting explanation of how the audio of French Pres. Hollande’s 'Islamist terrorism' disappeared – and then reappeared – from the White House’s video." BAnnister adds: "The censorship of a foreign head of state is a big deal, especially when it comes to the matter of terrorism. These questions need to be asked." Again, Bannister doesn't mention that the transcript has been available the entire time, undermining the whole "censorship" narrative.
NEW ARTICLE: WorldNetDaily's Credibility Crisis Topic: WorldNetDaily
Having destroyed any chance of being taken seriously as a news organization with its rampant birtherism, WND is finding that regaining credibility is very hard. Read more >>
Media Research Center (MRC) President Brent Bozell issued the following statement praising CNN and MSNBC for their decisions to ban Roger Stone, a close associate of presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has called for intimidation of delegates at this summer’s Republican Convention.
A report by Politico on CNN’s decision to ban Stone cited his attacks on Ana Navarro (a Jeb Bush supporter and CNN analyst) in which he called her an “Entitled Diva Bitch,” “Borderline retarded,” and “dumber than dog s---.” Stone has also referred to Roland Martin and Ana Navarro as “quota hires” by CNN.
Media Research Center President Brent Bozell:
“CNN and MSNBC should be applauded for banning Roger Stone from their airwaves. Stone’s recent threats to intimidate delegates at the Republican Convention by broadcasting their hotel rooms and his long history of incendiary and offensive rhetoric add no value to the national discourse. Agree with them or not, Trump's surrogates are fine people. But Stone is a thug who relishes personal insults, character assassination, and offensive gestapo-like tactics that should be unequivocally dismissed by civil society, most especially those who might give him a platform from which to spew his hatred.
“The news media have for far too long ignored Stone’s inflammatory words. I hope all media outlets that lament the debasement of political dialogue and the gutter politics for which Stone is infamous follow the lead of CNN and MSNBC. The media should shun him. He is the David Duke of politics. Those with whom he is affiliated should denounce him in no uncertain terms.”
Good on Bozell for doing that, but he's sadly late to the party. That Politico story on CNN banning Stone is dated Feb. 23, a full month and a half before Bozell's statement. NewsBusters made no mention of the ban at the time, according to a search of its archive.
Bozell is (perhaps understandably) silent on another thing noted in the Politico story: Stone's nasty remarks about Ana Navarro were first flagged by the MRC's liberal-leaning counterpart, Media Matters (disclosure: my former employer). There's no contemporaneous record of Stone's remarks about Navarro in NewsBusters, either.
It's only when MSNBC followed in banning Stone on April 5 that Bozell was moved to make his statement. It seems Bozell was waiting for enough stars to align agenda-wise to say something nice in public about CNN and MSNBC.
The 'Obamaphone' Myth Lives On At WND Topic: WorldNetDaily
President Obama has nothing to do with "Obama phones" -- it's a program that not only started before Obama came into office but is not federally funded -- but don't tell WorldNetDaily's Cheryl Chumley that. She writes in an April 1 article:
The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to expand its long-running telephone subsidy program, dubbed the Obamaphone, to include Internet access for lower-income earners.
The vote was along party lines, with the majority in the Democratic camp.
The new program basically allows those who receive these federal entitlements the option to use their $9.25 per month Lifeline phone subsidy for stand-alone broadband service.
But who dubnbed the program the "Obamaphone"? People like Chumley, right-wingers who were eager to smear the president with giving handouts to poor people even though, again, the program predates Obama.
And to drive the fallacious point home, the headline on Chumley's article reads; Obamaphone? Try ObamaInternet: Feds expand subsidy."
At no point does Chumley explain that the program does not use federal tax money but is instead funded through a fee on phone service.
It's not until the final paragraph of her araticle that Chumley gets around to admitting the truth, that Obama had nothing to do with the program -- then blames Obama for the program's "financial irresponsibility":
The Lifeline subsidy was actually started before Obama’s presidency, as a means of ensuring low-income Americans had access to emergency response services in a timely manner. But it’s expanded greatly under this current White House, and critics have charged that financial irresponsibility has plagued the program for years.
Actually, the "expansion" Chumley talks about -- permitting the Lifeline program, previously limited to landline phones, to be used on cell phones -- occurred in 2005. The Obama administration did nothing to "greatly expand" the program; that happened when cell phone providers started aggressively signing up customers without demanding proof of eligibility, exploiting a loophole in the program. The Lifeline program now has instituted some reforms and is cracking down on providers who abuse the program.
But, hey, it's easier to perpetuate a right-wing myth than to tell the truth at WND.
CNS Mocks Report On Climate Change With The Day's (Completely Unrelated) Weather Topic: CNSNews.com
Climate change deniers tend to believe that any bit of cold weather somehow debunks the reality of climate change. Itdoesn't, but it's gotten to the point that Fox News only discusses climate change when it's cold.
The fact that weather is not climate isn't going to stop CNSNews.com from suggesting otherwise. For instance, this April 4 article by Barbara Hollingsworth:
The White House published a report Monday warning that “extreme heat can be expected to cause an increase in the number of premature deaths”--the same day the National Weather Service issued winter weather advisories for April snowstorms.
“From children to the elderly, every American is vulnerable to the health impacts associated with climate change, now and in the future,” said administration's report.
It was released by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and John Holdren, head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the same day the National Weather Service predicted “another round of wintry precipitation” for the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes region that could dump up to 10 inches of snow on upstate New York.
Southern New England also remained under a Winter Weather Advisory until 8 pm on Monday with sub-freezing temperatures and up to six inches of snow predicted for some areas.
Another April snowstorm with 60 mph winds slammed into Massachusetts on Sunday, killing two people and downing power lines for tens of thousands of residents.
See what she did there? Juxtaposing a discussion of a heating climate with the day's weather in southern New England, a very tiny area of the earth.