Two-Month-Old Speculation About Trump's Greatness Is Suddenly News At CNS Topic: CNSNews.com
The Media Research Center's Brent Bozell once whined about speculation being presented as news, but his own "news" division, CNSNews.com, has no problem doing it.
Yet another example of this is a Feb. 17 blog post by CNS managing editor Michael W. Chapman, who finds a two-month-old CNN clip suddenly newsworthy because in it, Robert Kennedy Jr. says that Donald Trump "could be the greatest president in history if he wanted to." For video, Chapman includes only the 15-second segment of RFK Jr.'s CNN appearance in which he makes that claim.
Chapman made sure to note that RFK Jr. is a "liberal Democrat" -- but not that he shares with Trump a love of medically unfounded skepticism about vaccines.
If there was any news value in RFK Jr.'s words -- and there isn't; it's nothing but pure talking-head speculation -- Chapman would have reported them when they were originally said. Waiting two months to report them, as Chapman did, feels like a desperation tactic, as if Chapman must publish a daily quota of pro-Trump articles at CNS to make his bosses happy.
That would be worthy of mention for most journalists, but Chapman isn't a journalist -- he's a right-wing propagandist. While he can easily throw RFK Jr. under the bus -- he is a "liberal Democrat," after all -- the idea that his beloved Trump shared his medically unsound views can't be given the light of day at his website.
A few days later, Chapman followed that up with even more slobbering specuation about Trump's potential greatness, this time quoting right-wing sheriff David Clarke claiming that Trump "has the chance to be the Winston Churchill of the 21st century."
Chapman also rather hilariously quoted Clarke saying of Trump: ""And so, he is the president of all people. That doesn't mean all people have to like him, but all people must respect him as the 45th president of the United States." Chapman didn't mention how many times he and CNS have quoted Clarke spewing his disrespect for the 44th president of the United States.
NEW ARTICLE -- WND's Bashful Birthers, Part 2: Bashful No More Topic: WorldNetDaily
Donald Trump's election made it OK for WorldNetDaily to be loud-and-proud birthers again -- and to help Joe Arpaio peddle more findings from his incompetent "cold case posse." Read more >>
Thing is, one of the "jabs" really wasn't one -- even Houck and Whitlock conceded it was just "eyebrow-raising." That would be the exchange between Trump and reporter April Ryan, in which Trump asked the black reporter if she would set up a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus. Houck and Whitlock had no futher comment beyond irrelevantly and baselessly claiming that Ryan is a "liberal reporter."
Despite widespread criticism of Trump over the exchange for his apparent racial insensitivity, the MRC said nothing further about it. Given that the MRC is devoted to reflexively supporting Trump, that's not exactly eyebrow-raising.
At the MRC's "news" division CNSNews.com, it was a different story. Entertainer Charlie Daniels weighed in with his own alternative-facts explanation of what happened in a Feb. 17 column:
Reporter April Ryan asked the president if he intended to include the Black Congressional Caucus in his plans to help the inner cities. He replied that he'd been trying to set up a meeting with Elijah Cummings and that Cummings wouldn't meet with him for political reasons, whereupon he said in tongue-in-cheek fashion "Would you like to set up a meeting?" It was an obvious facetious remark meaning, "I've tried, do you want to give it a shot?"
Daniels can't actually know any of that, of course; he's just spinning for Trump to clean up after him the way the rest of the MRC is.
WND Columnist Pretends He's Not Bashing Transgenders Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily columnist Michael Brown tries to portray himself has a reasonable person among the anti-gay right -- but he does tend to relapse. For instance, Brown writes in his Feb. 15 column about transgenders:
I’m aware, of course, that there are people who struggle deeply with gender identity issues, people who find themselves between a rock and a hard place when it comes to which bathroom or locker room to use, people who are doing their best to fit in and ignore the people looking at them as if they were some kind of freak.
As I’ve said many times before, I do not minimize their struggles, and I long to see them find true and lasting wholeness.
Yet Brown is all too willing to trade in transgender stereotypes -- that transgenders are nothing but cross-dressing boys wanting to perv on girls in the bathroom -- to pander to his right-wing audience. This what he writes immediately before the above sympathetic words:
Let’s say that 16-year-old John identifies as a girl but is heterosexual, and he wants to play on the girls’ sports team and share their bathrooms, locker rooms and shower stalls (a “right” for which the Obama administration fought vigorously). That means that John, who perhaps wants to be called Jane, will still be attracted to girls – the very ones he’ll be playing with and undressing with and showering with.
This doesn’t mean he’s a sexual predator. It just means that he’s a male teenager, naturally attracted to females, which is one reason why he’s supposed to use the boys’ bathroom, locker room and shower stalls.
Yet to say this is to be transphobic and insensitive.
Similarly, let’s say that 30-year-old Charlie, who identifies as Charlene but remains a biological, heterosexual male, wants to change in the ladies’ locker room at the YMCA. This means that Charlie will be checking out the ladies there, since he’s heterosexual, and if the women complain to management that they feel uncomfortable, they will be branded troublemakers.
And most of Brown's column is focused on a transgender convicted of murder in the United Kingdom; he's irked that the media refers to the criminal by her gender identity rather than her male biology and makes a big deal out of how the prisoner had to be "moved from a female prison for allegedly having sex with the female inmates."
He huffs at the beginning of his column, "Welcome to the world of transanity"; he concludes, "This societal madness must stop. There must surely be a better way."
Does this sound like someone who's not minimizing transgender struggles? Doesn't it sound instead like someone who has no problem exploiting those struggles for the salacious and hateful purview of his right-wing WND audience?
MRC Transgender Freakout Watch, Laverne Cox Edition Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center is ratherprone to transgenderfreakouts, and it's having another one, induced by transgender actor Laverne Cox getting a starring role as a transgender lawyer in the new TV series "Doubt," thanks to Alexa Moutevelis Coombs' Feb. 16 post.
After quoting Cox's character saying, "I’m a woman, but I used to be a man," Coombs huffed, "Sorry, but there is no 'used to be.' As much as you change your outside appearance, you can't change your chromosomes." Coombs then quoted two of the most transphobic doctors around to back her up.
The first, Joseph Berger, is so extreme that even the highly anti-LGBT National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality distanced itself from his views. The other, Paul McHugh, has been thoroughly discredited, as we've noted. The fact that Coombs repeats their lengthy titles -- Berger is "a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada," McHugh is "former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry" -- is a sad attempt to play the authority card.
But Coombs wasn't done whining. She went on to complain that "To further force this down our throats, they are also planning some transgender sex scenes between Cox and a man<' to which she shrieked: "Sorry, but I am in NO WAY interested in the 'nitty gritty' of what goes on between a man and a transgender woman!"
Coombs concluded by grousing that "There is no DOUBT that this show will be a liberal social justice warrior's dream, and a nightmare for the rest of us."
Attacking TV shows that don't conform to the MRC's narrow right-wing agenda is what MRC writers like Coombs are getting paid to do.
WND Publishes Another Piece of Fake News Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's oddly defensive war over "fake news" is continuing -- the latest is a Feb. 19 article by Chelsea Schilling attacking fact-checking organizations for either calling out WND or failing to be a right-wing group.
One name not on WND's list: ConWebWatch. That's because we back up our work ... and Joseph Farah and Co. know that we can cite chapter and verse of the fake news WND has published.
And -- oh, hey, look, another chapter!
On Feb. 13, WND copied-and-pasted an article from the right-wing Gatestone Institute (which pushes the idea of "civilization jihad" embraced by Muslim-hating WND reporter Leo Hohmann) claiming that "German authorities are investigating reports that dozens of Arab men sexually assaulted female patrons at bars and restaurants in downtown Frankfurt on New Year’s Eve 2016" in which "mobs of migrants harassed women in a 'rape game.'"
Just one problem: It didn't happen.
The Washington Post reports that German police found that the allegations were fabricated and possibly driven by anti-immigrant sentiment, and those making the allegations may now face charges.
This story was debunked pretty quickly -- a solid week ago -- yet WND's article remains live and uncorrected as of this writing, and we could find no separate WND article admitting the accusations were bogus. Even the Gatestone Institute article that WND copied-and-pasted has been completely scrubbed of any reference to the alleged incident and is now a lengthy screed about "Germany's Migrant Rape Crisis."
Again, WND's completely discredited article is still live and uncorrected. In case WND does exhibit a trace of journalistic integrity, here's a copy of it:
UPDATE: WND columnist Caleb Stephen picked up on the bogus story as well in his Feb. 15 column, asserting that "On New Year’s Eve last year, dozens of Muslim men sexually assaulted female patrons at bars and restaurants in downtown Frankfurt, Germany. His column also remains uncorrected.
Newsmax's Ruddy Chillin' With Trump -- And Michael Savage Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy has longbeen a buddy of Donald Trump -- close enough to the president that they hang out together at Mar-a-Lago. Over the weekend, we got treated to how thte lovefest is continuing, courtesy of right-wing radio host Michael Savage:
Ruddy's on the left; Savage is second from right.
Savage is the paranoid conspiracy theorist who laughably claimed, among many other things, that President Obama was engaging in "genocide" against white people.
If Ruddy is trying to create more credibility for his website, being pictured with Savage is not the way to do it. Nor is spending so much time hanging with Trump at Mar-a-Lago.
Right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos has been a favorite at WorldNetDaily for his ability to piss off liberals. In July, for instance, then-WND writer Jerome Corsi devoted a lengthy article to Yiannopoulos in the wake of his permanant ban from Twitter, dutifully transcribing his thoughts on the election, "his antipathy for Clinton, the reasons he supports Trump and his vision for the future as Millennials emerge to reshape politics over the next few decades."
Corsi gave Yiannopoulos ample space to promote himself, declaring that "Milo made clear to WND he had given considerable thought to constructing his political persona," claiming that he "preferred to emulate what he understood was Madonna’s approach to her career" -- "Madonna is not the best at anything, but she is above average with everything" -- rather than "the star who is the best at what they do, better than anybody else on the planet. And they tend to be very damaged people, like Amy Winehouse, or whatever. They crash and burn very early. They have transcendent gifts, but with their genius goes the madness." Corsi added that "Milo made clear he is preparing for a long and successful career."
WND, however, tried to soft-pedal this news as much as possible. A Feb. 20 article by Cheryl Chumley on the Yiannopoulos video -- apparently back at WND as a freelancer -- was headlined "Media paint Milo as defender of pedophilia" (which got demoted to the subhead after her story was updated to reflect events). But the Yiannopoulos story was not driven by "the media" -- the video was first touted on the Twitter account called the Reagan Batallion in reaction to his CPAC invite, not "the media" outside the conservative bubble. Even Chumley herself doesn't blame "the media" in her article -- the only non-conservative media figure she cites is CNN's Jake Tapper -- instead citing a "social-media backlash" against Yiannopoulos.
But Chumley did couch her words, claiming the video showed Yiannopoulos "supposedly defending pedophilia" and reprinted his "full Facebook rebuttal to all the fury." She also embedded the "videos critics say show Milo Yiannopoulos 'defending pedophilia'" (note the scare quotes around "defending pedophilia," like WND insists on putting around "gay").
WND would not have treated as well a liberal accused of the same offense.
CNS Revels In Trump's Anti-Media Tirades Topic: CNSNews.com
President Trump's Feb. 16 press conference lasted for more than an hour, but all CNSNews.com was interested in reportoing on was Trump's incessant bashing of the media for not being fawning enough of him.
The first two articles CNS published after the presser touted Trump's media bashing:
The CNS writer who most fully reveled in Trump's media hate, though, is blogger Craig Bannister. One blog post highlighted Trump's attack on CNN in which he told reporter Jim Acosta to "ask Jeff Zucker [head of CNN] how he got his job." "Was this a message meant for Acosta only, or was Trump throwing it out there, hoping someone would pick up on it and investigate?" Bannister asked, suggesting that "There’s something shady in the circumstances of Zucker’s hiring."
Another Bannister post celebrated how "Trump accused the media of publishing 'fake news' 17 times – about once every four minutes. But, he also blamed the media’s fake news on their 'hatred' of him on eight different occasions." The headline hammered Bannister's approval home: "Trump: 'Hatred,' 'Hatred,' 'Hatred,' “Hatred,' 'Hatred,' 'Hatred,' 'Hatred,' 'Hatred'."
NEW ARTICLE: WND's Bashful Birthers, Part 1 Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily had to spend months downplaying its anti-Obama birther agenda -- the organization's signature issue of the past eight years -- in order to avoid hurting Donald Trump's election chances. Read more >>
Obama Derangement Syndrome Lives On At the MRC Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center loves to fret whenever people in "the media" say mean things about Melania Trump. But even though the Obama presidency is over, Obama derangement hasn't subsided at the MRC -- and that includes continuing to spew hatred at Michelle Obama.
Thus, we have the spectacle of MRC Culture managing editor Matt Philbin demonstrating that Obama Derangement Syndrome dies hard in a Feb. 9 post:
Just when you thought you’d escaped the world’s most overexposed and sycophantically fawned-over woman, here she comes again. All will love her sculpted arms, and despair.
Yes, Michelle Obama, former fat-shamer in chief, she of the wasted vegetables and inedible school lunches, just won’t leave kids alone. She’s going to be on Masterchef, Jr. hosted by culinary psychopath Gordon Ramsay and joined by the likes of Martha Stewart.
You gotta feel for the kids. If Masterchef Jr. is anything like other kid cooking competition shows, they’re already disturbingly maladjusted. Ramsey screams at people for a living, Martha Stewart ran a commercial empire like Vlad Putin runs a country, and Michelle O. has made food disapproval chic.
But the real victims here are the American people. After eight years of being told ad nauseam how much we should love Michelle “For the first time in my adult life, I’m proud of my country” Obama, we’ve earned a rest.
Sure, it may be downright mean of us, but this is the woman who determined the federal government needs to be involved in grammar school menu-planning. She made a rap album to nag fat kids. There’s a movie about her first date with Barack. And when’s the last time you checked out at the supermarket without her watching you from the magazine rack? (“You sure you want to buy that frozen pizza, Porky?”) She has been, as the kids say, way up in our grill for far too long.
But, just like Michelle, our betters in the media know what’s good for us. We’re going to get a steady diet of sighing, swooning stories and smug, perky appearances until we another Democrat FLOTUS comes along for all to worship.
Until then, we presume Philbin is demanding that we worship Melania.
This is what passes for "media criticism" at the MRC these days.
The bulk of Larry Klayman's Feb. 17 WorldNetDaily column is his letter to the Federal Communications Commission demanding that it "fine, discipline and revoke any and all licenses from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for CNN, or any other legal and appropriate remedial action."
In his letter -- which he claims he is writing on behalf of "the Leftist Media Strike Force project of Freedom Watch" -- Klayman rants that "CNN has become part of an attempted coup d’etat" by airing criticism of President Trump thiat purpotedly will result in Trump's assassination:
Like crying “fire” in a crowded theater and as genuine incitement to imminent violence, CNN’s incitement for some unhinged activist or activists to save the country and the world by killing an elected official portrayed as worse than Hitler had and has the real potential to convince radicalized activists to kill the President-Elect and now President Trump. CNN in particular has spent months demonizing Donald Trump, that is convincing its audience that President Trump is an evil and dangerous man who is a threat to the country. He thus should be assassinated, along with his Vice President and the Republican Speaker of the House, who is second in the line of succession.
Thus, the result of this campaign of incitement for months has produced hysterical, inflamed citizens who are primed and sensitized to play a perceived heroic role by assassinating the President.
Klayman provides no actual examples of CNN's purported incitement. Nor does he square his accusations with his own demonization of President Obama over the past eight years as "an evil and dangerous man who is a threat to the country" which, presumably, carried the same potential incitement of coup and assassination he now ascribes to CNN.
However, as proof of what a terrible lawyer he is, Klayman has overlooked one critical thing: the FCC has effectively no enforcement power over the content of CNN or any other cable channel. FCC regulations regarding cable TV are basically limited to mandating fairness in providing use of cable programming facilities for political candidates and disclosure of paid programming -- none of which apply to CNN.
The FCC has more power to control the content on over-the-air radio and TV, though much less than it used to because conservatives like Klayman fought to overturn the Fairness Doctrine.
Since CNN operates on cable TV only -- which runs on privately owned systems and not on the public airwaves -- it does not require an FCC license to operate and the FCC cannot regulate its programming.
In short: Klayman is demanding that the FCC do something it cannot possibly do, which exposes what he's actually trying to do: get the dgovernment to censor a media outlet for saying something he doesn't like.
You're not going to see Klayman petition the FCC, or whatever federal agency he imagines to supervise such things, to demand that his publisher, WND, be punished for all the potentially assassination-inspiring anti-Obama hate -- worse than Hitler? Check. Evil and dangerous man? Check -- it has published over the years.
Creeping WND-ization of The MRC Watch, CNS Edition Topic: CNSNews.com
Twice in December, we caught CNSNews.com apparently stealing story ideas from WorldNetDaily. The creeping WND-ization of CNS and its Media Research Center parent is continuing apace.
In a Feb. 8 article, Leo Hohmann wrote about how "A recently retired U.S. State Department veteran has published a whistleblower letter in the Chicago Tribune fingering the refugee resettlement program as fraught with 'fraud' and “abuses.'" Hohmann made no apparent effort to verify that the letter writer, Mary Doetsch, was who she said she was or that anything she wrote was true; instead, he crows that Doetsch's letter "affirms two-and-a-half years of reporting by WND, which has reported that the 'vetting' of refugees from broken countries such as Somalia, Syria and Sudan often consists largely of a personal interview with the refugee."
The next day, CNS' Andrew Eicher wrote about the same letter. Like Hohmann, Eicher also apparently failed to make an effort to verify Doetsch's identity or claims.
Of course, the possibility exists that CNS stole its idea from Fox News, where Doetsch's letter was reported on the same day Eicher's article came out.
Still, CNS is getting beat to the punch by WND. We don't mean that as a complement.
WND's Hohmann Still Upset That Media Don't Presume All Muslims To Be Terrorists Topic: WorldNetDaily
Muslim-hater Leo Hohmann used a Feb. 7 WorldNetDaily article to not only endorse President Trump's bogus claim that the media underreports incidents of terrorism, he spins it to better fit his Islmaophobic presumption that a person with a Muslim name who commits a crime should be presumed a terrorist before any police investigation of the crime has taken place:
But as many terrorism experts told WND, it’s not the amount of coverage given to a specific event that counts but rather the type of coverage.
A classic example of that can be found by comparing and contrasting the coverage that two news agencies – WND and the BBC – gave to a brutal machete attack at the Nazareth Mediterranean Restaurant one year ago in February 2016 that left four patrons wounded, one critically.
In the BBC story, there is no mention of the words Islam, jihad, Muslim, refugee or immigrant. Every one of those words applied to the attacker, Mohamed Barry, who was a Muslim immigrant from the West African country of Guinea, as pointed out in the WND story.
“Trump is absolutely correct. The point is not that they ignore the stories, but they deliberately conceal and/or misrepresent the aspects of them that make it clear that they’re Islamic jihad attacks,” said Robert Spencer, editor of Jihad Watch.
First, we would point out that Spencer is not a "terrorism expert" -- like most of the "terrorism experts" Hohmann and WND love to quote, they're actually anti-Muslim activists.
In fact, Islamic extremism has not been officially established as a motive in Barry's attack. While Barry had been on a watchlist for expressing extreme views, officials didn't use the words "terrorism" or "terrorist" following the attack.
One notorious example of this is the Orlando massacre, Spencer said.
“Mainstream news outlets claimed that he was a conflicted gay man lashing out at other gays,” he said. “This was outright disinformation: The FBI later announced that there was no evidence that he was gay, no gay apps on his phone, etc. Few outlets published his actual remarks, making it clear that he was killing for ISIS and Islam. The coverage of terrorist incidents in general in the establishment media deliberately misleads the public.”
Spencer is spreading disinformation of his own when he calls media reports raising questions about Orlando shooter Omar Mateen's sexuality "disinformation." The media simply reported what people were talking about. While investigators did say shortly after the shooting they found no substantiation that Mateen was secretly gay, the investigation was continuing, and even Mateen's ex-wife raised questions about his sexuality.
Hohmann went on to quote is WND buddy in Muslim-hating, Philip Haney, issuing a strange attack on the BBC's credibility:
“Let’s say that in terms of scope of coverage the BBC is actually correct that they were ahead of the others,” Haney told WND. “Even with the broader scope of coverage the BBC, as deficient as it is, it’s still better than the American journalistic coverage. During my time on the inside with DHS, it seemed like the Daily Mail, another British news outlet, would always come out with information within minutes if not hours, well ahead of American media, so why do we have to look into foreign media sources to find pieces of the story that you won’t find here?”
That would be the same Daily Mail that Wikipedia just banned from citations for being too unreliable. But then, facts aren't WND's main concern when reporting on Muslims; spreading hatred of them is.
Hohmann concluded his article with the Trump White House's list of terrorist attacks it falsely claimed were underreported; weirdly, Hohmann has edited the list to remove the targets and names of attackers that were on the original list. Hohmann provided no explanation for the omissions.
MRC Writer Forgets His Employer Is No Better Than The 'Mainstream Media' He Bashes Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Curtis Houck writes in a Feb. 8 post:
In another hilarious case of irony, The 11th Hour host and serial liar Brian Williams teed up guest Charlie Sykes on Tuesday to lambaste conservative media (like the one you’re reading) for being why no one trusts mainstream media in the age of Trump and alternative facts.
Sykes and Williams offered no arguments or examples of how the establishment media have torpedoed their own credibility with false stories and a decidedly liberal slant. Instead, it was an exclusive attack on conservatives for supposedly enabling President Trump to offer misstatements without consequences.
Sykes cited “the Breitbarts of the world, the Drudges of the world, the Rush Limbaugh of the world” because each would give Trump “air cover” whenever he’s criticized for controversial statements or lies.
Overall, the former conservative host stated that his “concern is not just that's [Trump’s] lying” but “[i]t's an attack on the concept of the truth itself — of credibility and my main concern is that you'll have millions of voters at some point who will basically say, ‘what is truth?’”
Houck doesn't disclose that he's the employee of an organization whose entire mission it is to foment distrust of the "mainstream media" -- something for which it spends millions of dollars a year doing -- or that the MRC helped lead the right-wing attack on the concept of the truth itself by attacking any fact-checker who pointed out Trump's voluminous lies.
Instead, Houck insists that conservatives are just "simply pointing out the faults of the mainstream media" -- again ignoring the massive money machine behind him. And why isn't Houck concerned about Trump's lies? Is it because he's getting paid not to be?
Rather than take Sykes seriously as a former conservative who's grown disenchanted with how the conservative movement abandoned its principles to follow Trump, Houck sneers that he has "joined an echo-chamber in which Manhattan elites sit around reading The New York Times and The New Yorker while watching The Daily Show." As if dismissing all critics of conservatives as part of an East Coast liberal elite isn't echo-chamber thinking.
Houck went into full double-standard mode, complaining that "The media has done plenty to undermine their cause. Aside from their boy who cried wolf fears about past Republican candidates, their false stories, slanted analyses, and failed predictions stand out." He doesn't admit that the right-wing media does the exact same thing. And he has to go back decades to find examples of bad mainstream-media behavior:
Whether it’s ABC deceptively editing Ari Fleischer, 20/20 skewering Food Lion, Dateline: NBC rigging a pick-up truck with explosives, or spreading hysteria that the Russians hacked a Vermont power grid, the voluminous examples span over decades.
Houck forgets that we can play that same game with his employer, who has engaged in deceptiveediting and creation and promotion of fake news. There's also the undeniable fact that his boss, Brent Bozell, spent well over a decade issuing a syndicated column under his name that was, in fact, written by his underling Tim Graham.
In short, the MRC is no better behaved than the "liberal media" it has a multimillion-dollar budget to attack. It would do well to follow the same standard it imposes on others.
And Houck would do well to understand that he -- and the MRC -- would have more credibility if they based their media criticisms in journalism rather than politics.