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Tuesday, May 30, 2017
WND's Weekend of Seth Rich Conspiracies
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily had a busy holiday weekend of trying to perpetuate those Seth Rich conspiracies.

First, WND served up a Seth Rich timeline from birther dead-ender and former WND columnist Diana West that tries to wrap in other conspiracies like the death of John Ashe, whom WND writes "had been scheduled to report to court shortly after this date, along with Ng Lap Seng, as part of a fraud case alleging payola"; Seng was linked to alleged Clinton administraiton corruption, which somehow makes this an entry on the discredited "Clinton body count." But as we pointed out a year ago, legal action against Ashe had nothing to do whatsoever with any Clinton.

WND also touted claims made by "private detective" Rod Wheeler without mentioning the important fact that Wheeler has since retracted much of what he has said about the Rich case.

Another article, by Alicia Powe, pushed unsubstantiated speculation by agenda-driven "private investigators" like sleazy lobbyist Jack Burkman tnat Washingtion, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser "has ordered a halt to the investigation" into Rich's death.

WND columnist Gina Loudon then jumped aboard the Rich conspiracy train, asserting that "I am beginning to change my mind upon studying the behavior and psychology of the left." Loudon, if you'll remember, made an armchair diagnosis of Barack Obama as a mentally ill psychopath but proclaimed Trump's narcissism and egocentricism to be "great attributes for a true leader" and that he "seems mentally sound," so her proclamations about psychology shouldn't exactly be trusted.

WND then took comfort that a fellow fringe-right media outlet has joined the conspiracy, touting how tiny cable TV channel One America News is "boosting the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the slain Democratic National Committee employee’s killer or killers by an additional $100,000 and issuing a step-by-step report on why the mysterious death is more than a 'conspiracy theory.'"

WND also cheered the appearance of another right-wing ally, with Bob Unruh happily writing that "The chief of the government-accountability group Judicial Watch contends there’s 'credible evidence' that needs to be addressed in the murder investigation of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich." This from an organization obsessed with President Obama's vacation expenses but are somehow less concerned with the mounting costs of Trump's weekends at Mar-a-Lago.

So the conspiracy continues -- as does the plunging of whatever credibility WND and Judicial Watch might have at this point.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:00 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 30, 2017 9:10 PM EDT
The MRC's Most Dishonest 'Study' Yet
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has been cranking out the dishonest media "studies" lately in support of the Trump administration. The latest one, however, may be the most dishonest yet.

Rich Noyes writes in a May 26 post:

In covering the President’s proposed budget this week, network reporters unanimously claimed it “cut” or even “slashed” federal spending. An MRC analysis of ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news coverage since Monday (May 22) finds that not a single reporter ever told viewers that overall federal spending would actually RISE under President Trump’s planned budget — just not as much as forecast under the budget baseline Trump inherited from President Obama back in January.

But Noyes is making an apples-and-oranges comparions. Nearly every example Noyes cited referred to cuts in specific programs, while Noyes is referring to growth in the overall budget. Noyes also grumbles that "The only way journalists can claim Trump is cutting spending is by comparing his plans to the baseline of federal spending" -- which, again, is not what journalists were doing.

Noyes offers no clear example in which an evening news report unambiguously stated, in full context, that the overall budget was going to be cut.

Noyes waited until the final paragraph of his post to admit some of this -- then stayed the dishonest course anyway:

It’s accurate to say that Trump plans to reduce the extravagant increases in spending incorporated in current law, and some programs will see an actual reduction in their spending (after years of increases under Obama). But to repeatedly suggest that there will be “deep cuts” or some kind of “slashing” of federal spending creates a false narrative designed to bully politicians into backing away from a responsible spending plan.

If it's "accurate to say" that Trump is planning to cut some programs, why is Noyes attacking journalists for saying exactly that?

Also note Noyes' pro-Trump bias in declaring the Trump budget to be "responsible" while dismissing  budget s during the Obama years as containing "extravagant spending" -- while providing no evidence to support either claim.

Speaking of lack of evidence: As usual, Noyes refuses to provide the full data from his so-called study, just undated anecdotes.

Talk about dishonest.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:04 PM EDT
WND: Impeach Judges Who Make Decisions We Don't Like!
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily wants to rid the bench of judges who make decisions its writers don't like.

Jane Chastain starts her ranting May 24 column this way:

When the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus closed on Sunday it marked the end of an era. But never fear – those ever-popular clowns are still with us. They lack the grease paint, rubber noses and orange hair that made us laugh. In fact, these clowns aren’t funny at all. They sit on the federal courts at virtually every level.

Perhaps the best-known are the clowns on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals who refused to overturn a federal clown in Seattle who barred President Trump’s travel ban and are now wrestling with essentially the same issue from a clown on the bench in Hawaii involving travel ban No. 2.

After hearing arguments, they are currently preforming twists and turns, like those high-flying circus trapeze artists that entertained us under the Big Top for more than 146 years, sans the tight sequined outfits.

Chastain made it clear her solution for keeping Trump's Muslim ban on the books is to impeach any judge who rules against it:

How do you remove a judge for bad behavior? Through impeachment. This is the responsibility of our duly elected representatives in Congress. However, the people’s representatives have grown lazy. They prefer not to “rock the boat.” They simply want to skate through the next election by avoiding controversy.

Unfortunately, the clowns in the judiciary are only surpassed by the clowns in the media, who make their living not by reporting the truth, but by fanning the flames of controversy.

Clowns are funny in the circus. However, they are a disgrace in the media and have no place on the bench.

The only "bad behavior" Chastain identifies is ruling against the Muslim ban: "Clearly, the weight of law and history is on the president’s side when it comes to his right to issue a temporary travel ban from these nations. ... Therefore, it was not only Trump’s right to do so, it was most reasonable."

Meanwhile, in a May 26 column, Joseph Farah vented his anger at a judge who sanctioned the anti-abortion activists at the Center for Medical Progress for releasing a video despite being prohibited from doing so -- a video that WND eagerly reposted -- and ordered the video pulled down from WND and other right-wing sites.

Like Chastain, Farah then went into rant mode, spewing personal attacks on a judge simply for issuing a decision he didn't like:

There’s a term for this and what the judge did with WND’s content. It’s called prior restraint. It’s against the law. It defies the Constitution and American judicial tradition.

And that’s why it’s time for the Congress of the United States to take action against one of these left-wing political activists masquerading as all-powerful, objective federal judges committed to impartial readings of the law.

Here’s the astonishing record of William Horsley Orrick III.

It almost goes without saying he was a Barack Obama appointee. But he may have bought that appointment by raising $200,000 for the Obama campaign and personally donating $30,000 to committees supporting the campaign. After those lavish donations, in 2013, Orrick was appointed by Obama and confirmed by the Senate to the same seat his father, Judge William Orrick Jr., held from 1974 to 2003. In other words, it was his turn to inherit this lifetime job.

Did you think American justice had become this corrupt?


This is why I am calling on members of the House of Representatives to make an example out of Orrick and sponsor a bill of impeachment against him. It may not go anywhere – even in the Republican House. It surely won’t result in a conviction for abuse of authority as long as disgraces like Flake, Murkowski and Collins remain in the U.S. Senate.

But it’s time to take the fight to phonies like Orrick who make a mockery of our judicial system.

We'd argue Farah is the real phony for turning his WND into a Trump sycophant while trying to find the next conspiracy theory to latch onto, but you know us, we don't like to complain...

Posted by Terry K. at 12:51 AM EDT
Monday, May 29, 2017
CNS Stenography -- And Factual Failure -- on Trump Budget

The Trump stenographers at have been busy promoting President Trump's official budget. CNS' reporters were busy uncritically touting the stuff they liked in a series of articles:

Patrick Goodenough's contribution to the stenography parade, "Administration Proposes Steep Cuts to Account That Funds U.N. Regular Budget," actually did include some criticism, but it was buried in the final two paragraphs of his 30-paragraph article. And another article by Arter, "WH Budget Director to Democrat: ‘What About the Standard of Living for My Grandchildren Who Aren’t Here Yet?’" did provide a give-and-take between White House budget director Mick Mulvaney and Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee, but the point was mostly to present Mulvaney as authoritative and Lee as a complainer.

CNS also rushed out a couple of op-eds praising Trump's budget proposal. A trio of Heritage Foundation employees wrote one with the praiseworthy headline "Trump Budget Proposal Would Jump-Start Economy, Rein in Size and Scope of Gov’t." Another Heritage writer's op-ed proclaimed: "Trump Budget Reduces Government’s Role in Higher Ed, Will Curtail Runaway Tuition Prices."

They were joined by CNS editor in chief Jeffrey himself, praising the proposed elimination of "unwarranted" programs like the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Legal Services Corporation, ranting that "America is headed toward bankruptcy because it has become a welfare state where increasing numbers of people are dependent on government for the basics of their lives."

The Trump sycophancy is so entrenched at CNS that it can't even be bothered to fact-check anyone in the administration. A May 24 blog post by Craig Bannister uncritically repeated Mulvaney's claim that money to public television can be cut because big Bird is a fat cat that does "extraordinarily well" and besides, the corporate tax cuts will help his creator, Henson Associates.

In fact, the rights to Big Bird and other "Sesame Street" characters were sold to Sesame Workshop, the show's producer, in 2001,  and the Henson company is no longer connected with them. While merchandising revenue from the "Sesame Street" characters does generate significant revenue, Slate reported, Sesame Workshop spends much more than that on production and development of TV shows. The New York Times added that the Corporation for Public Broadcasting spends only about one-fourth of its budget on programming; two-thirds of it goes to support public radio and TV stations across the country, representing about a quarter of the funding from public TV and radio stations in rural America.

But Mulvaney got facts wrong in the advancement of a conservative narrative, so it's highly unlikely any correction will be forthcoming from Bannister.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:50 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, May 29, 2017 11:43 PM EDT
WND Promote Anti-Gay Group's Harassment of Teacher
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Bob Unruh writes in a May 20 WorldNetDaily article:

A Florida school district delivered an “unsatisfactory” response to a legal team representing several Christian students who claimed they were bullied in class by a teacher because of their faith.

Among other things, the teacher repeatedly ordered students wearing cross necklaces to cover them up or take them off.

So lawyers with Liberty Counsel are giving the district another chance, this time in a letter with a specific list of instructions for officials at Hillsborough County Public Schools.

The influential legal organization warns it is willing to “take further action to prevent irreparable harm to the rights of our clients.”

WND reported last month Liberty Counsel officials said the teacher, Lora Jane Riedas, a member of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s Leadership Institute, had gone overboard in her LGBT advocacy.

She featured classroom décor that “blatantly promotes a pro-LGBT agenda,” reportedly retweeted during the school day “favorite queer web series for kids” and prohibited “at least three students from wearing Christian cross necklaces because she views them as ‘gang symbols.'”

Because Unruh is simply writing a Liberty Counsel press release, he doesn't report that the group's attacks on Riedas have been discredited.

As an actual news organization reported, Riedas says she never banned students from religious jewelry: "I'm a Christian myself. I would never do that because I would be hurt if someone would tell me not to wear my cross." And rosary beads are, in fact, considered gang symbols.

That news organization also reported that Liberty Counsel's anti-Riedas campaign is prompting students to harass her:

As the story circulates, students in one class have taken the opportunity to challenge her. Some came to class with rosary beads. They drew crosses and wrote Bible verses on the back of their math papers.

"They're starting to pull other kids in who either don't care or just want to be part of the drama," Riedas said. "Some of them think it's a game, that it's fun. It's affecting our school like a virus."

Two years ago Riedas was recognized by her peers as Riverview's Diversity Educator of the Year. Now she just wants to quietly teach. She blames adults, not kids, for the disruption.

"I'm just annoyed that they're using my students," she said. "They're manipulating them. They're getting kids as teenagers to lie for their agenda."

Unruh went on to uncritically promote Liberty Counsel's harassment campaign against Riedas -- which even extends to attacking her Facebook and Twitter posts made on her personal time -- and its censorious demands to the school district that employs her, which include removal of anything signifying that her classroom is a safe space for LGBT students or others who need a sanctuary and even buttons on her desk that say "proud public employee" and "safe schools for all." A picture of the buttons accompanies Unruh's article, with the caption, "Teacher's classroom agenda." Unruh doesn't explain how having pride in being a public employee can be a "classroom agenda."

Needless to say, Unruh includes no response from Riedas or the school district to Liberty Counsel's attacks, instead whining how the school once left him in on-hold purgatory. Unruh could have included that response as reported by actual news organizations, but he chose not to -- which further illustrates that Unruh is much more interested in conforming to Liberty Counsel's agenda than being a journalist.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:57 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, May 29, 2017 10:51 PM EDT
Sunday, May 28, 2017
NewsBusters Co-Creator Now Writing At Liberal Website
Topic: NewsBusters

Matthew Sheffield, along with brother Greg, created the NewsBusters blog for the Media Research Center in 2005. Before that, the Sheffields had run a blog attacking Dan Rather, which led to the MRC job.

Sheffield left the MRC in 2014 to work on other projects, which include a media strategy consulting firm. But one other project is unlikely to be mentioned -- or, if so,c ertainly not in a positive way -- when MRC employees are talking about him these days.

Sheffield is currently writing about media, politics and technology for the liberal-leaning site Salon, which Sheffield's former compatriots at NewsBusters like to dismiss with intended epithets as "far-far-left" and "uber-liberal." What's more, some of his articles are calling out the behavior of his fellow conservatives.

In April, for example, Sheffield reported on the network of sock-puppet blogs controlled by former Fox News chief Roger Ailes, which were used to attack Fox News critics, and that this Fox News black-ops group helped subsidized the work of pro-Fox News blogger Mark Koldys and his Johnny Dollar's Place blog.

He's also written about the financial woes of iHeartMedia, the radio station owner that syndicates the shows of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity; the protest by torch-wielding alt-right folks opposing the removal of Confederate monuments; how the never-Trump rantings of Louise Mensch, former editor of the right-wing, Murdoch-owned blog Heat Street, may just be an act to trap gullible liberals; and the creeping moderation at generally liberal-leaning MSNBC, which has added conservative commentators and former Fox News host Greta Van Susteren.

You'll never be reading about any of this at any MRC website. And for all we know, that may be why he left. We've noted a previous attempt to sneak in (albeit perhaps not intentionally) a little truth at NewsBusters, in a 2013 post implicitly conceding -- by begging conservative billionaires to invest in media outlets -- that conservative newspapers need deep-pocketed, ideologically driven sugar daddies to stay afloat. This was proven further last year when the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review shut down its print edition to become an online-only publication following the death of conservative benefactor Richard Mellon Scaife, who had sunk $300 million into the paper's operation.

So, congratulations to Sheffield for discovering balanced journalism. It's too bad he had to leave the MRC to do it -- for both him and the MRC.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:30 PM EDT
Saturday, May 27, 2017
MRC Pretends Trump's (And Its Own) Rhetoric Didn't Play Role In GOP Pol's Attack on Reporter
Topic: Media Research Center

While the Media Research Center's Brent Bozell and Tim Graham were providing wink-and-a-nod approval to Montana Republican candidate Greg Gianforte's assault of reporter Ben Jacobs, their MRC minions were assigned a different task: trying to shout down the idea that Gianforte's assault wasn't part of increased hostility toward reporters cheered on by President Trump -- and fomented in part by the MRC.

Curtis Houck -- clearly not knowing what his bosses were doing -- prefaced his May 24 post by saying that "Importantly, any assault of anyone (reporter or non-reporter) isn’t okay. This should be common sense" before laying into "supposedly right-leaning blogger" and frequent Heathering target Jennifer Rubin for speaking the inconvenient truth that Gianforte's assault is the end result of Trump's (and, by extension, the MRC's) anti-media rhetoric since "the fish rots from the head":

So, Jennifer, let’s talk about your fish analogy. If you don’t want to blame the President for all this, here’s two examples of things you’ve said that haven’t exactly been helpful to creating a healthy discourse. On December 11, 2016, you referred to people selected for Trump’s cabinet as not just “billionaires” and “generals” but “ignoramuses” as well. How classy!

On March 9, you insinuated the President should be blamed for future U.S. terror attacks if his budget shrinks the size of the federal government. How responsible!

To broaden it out to The Washington Post, their cartoonist depicted Ted Cruz’s daughters in December 2015 as toy monkeys with Cruz holding an organ grinder.

If “[t]he fish rots from the head,” how’s Donald Trump the sole person responsible, Jennifer?

That's what's called distracting from the issue. Making his way back to the subject at hand, Houck huffed further (after another disclaimer that he doesn't approve of Gianforte's behavior):

However, solely blaming one flawed human being’s actions on someone else (President Trump) is a bridge too far. Further, the instant drive to connect everything to the President is tiresome.

Same goes for suggesting that the media bias movement was to blame here. The crusade against liberal media bias has been going on for decades. Heck, the Media Research Center is marking its 30th anniversary in 2017.

So, this idea that, suddenly, criticism of the media has become anti-American, uncalled for, or violent is exactly what the left wants people to believe. Turns out, one can be against assaulting reporters and for fighting liberal media bias. Who would have thought!

Houck followed up with another attack post, this one at CNN's Dylan Byers for explicting citing "anti-media rhetoric" leading to Gianforte's behavior:

Let’s not stick to the person who’s alleged to have lost their cool and attacked a reporter. No, let’s attack people (like the ones on this site) that have pushed the issue of media bias for decades (without violence).


In the world of folks like Dylan Byers, they’re firmly opposed to President Trump and anyone who stands in their way. Instead of looking at the incivility being promulgated by CNN, NPR, or The Washington Post, it’s sites like this one that are supposedly the problem for suggesting the media are not the angels they paint themselves to be.

Nevermind the reality that NewsBusters has been around for 12 years and not promoting violence (with parent organization Media Research Center being around for 30 years), but this space is here to argue it’s quite easy to be against physical assault and believe the media have a liberal bias.

Except, you know, we have the example of the MRC attacking NBC's Katy Tur for not being a Trump sycophant, closely followed by Trump doing the same thing to Tur in person at his campaign rallies -- resulting in the Secret Service having to walk Tur to her car to protect her from Trump fans ginned up on hate.

Kristine Marsh, meanwhile, cheered CNN conservative Ben Ferguson's attempt to distract from the issue at hand by irrelevantly talking about Anthony Weiner.

Scott Whitlock sneered at NBC's Andrea Mitchell for bringing it up, bizarrely arguing that Trump couldn't possibly be responsible because he's out of the country:

Guilt by association. That’s what Andrea Mitchell believes. Despite the fact that Donald Trump is on another continent, the Andrea Mitchell Reports anchor thinks that the assault against a journalist by a Montana congressional candidate is an “extension” of the President. Talking about Greg Gianforte’s attack on Guardianreporter Ben Jacobs, the MSNBC host connected, “There is so much hostility, frankly, to the press, a lot of it generated by the Donald Trump rallies.”

Kyle Drennen highlighted former Republican Rep. Joe Walsh offering a strange it-was-only-words defense -- "Trump has called out the media, he's never body-slammed the media" -- then dismissed any attempt to link Trump to violent attacks on journalists as a "left-wing line of attack."

MRC VP Dan Gainor was also on spin patrol in a Fox Business apperance, harrumphing: "The American media are so thin-skinned, so narcissistic, that any criticism, any attack, becomes this great metaphor for everything going on in the world."

It's almost as if the MRC has forgotten that it promoted conservatives who directly linked rhetoric from President Obama to later violent acts:

  • A 2014 post by Jack Coleman highlighted Rush Limbaugh claiming that Obama's remarks regarding racially charaged incidents in Ferguson, Mo., as "inane ramblings that were designed subtly to feed the rage."
  • The MRC published a 2014 column by Rush's brother, David Limbaugh, asserting that Obama "has fanned the flames of racial tension in this country " and is "fomenting further distrust between the black community and law enforcement."
  • Tom Blumer touted a poorly written Associated Press headline on unrest in  Baltimore, "Obama pledges help to riot," as containing "more truth than the wire service and the headline's actual creators will ever admit."
  • A May 2015 column by Jeffrey Lord lamented that "There is no way in the world that the liberal media - the Times in this case - will contribute to the bonfire by blaming Obama or Clinton much less the liberalism that has run Baltimore lo these several decades."
  • Blumer returned to cheer how Bill O'Reilly blamed "leftists, up to and including President Obama" in part for "the violent records and actions" of Black Lives Matter.

The MRC would rather you not point out its hypocrisy.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:50 AM EDT
Obama Derangement Syndrome Watch, Lingering Symptoms At WorldNetDaily Edition
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Former President Barack Hussein Obama, a not-too-closet of a Muslim, apparently respects Shariah law more than America’s legal system. Proof positive: For years Freedom Watch and I have been attempting, through court-licensed process servers, to serve the former chief law enforcement officer with five civil complaints, which sue him not only in his past official capacity but also personally for violating American law.


Yes, one Barack Hussein Obama is alive and well in America, feasting off the fat cats who are happy to line his pockets to support his lifestyle as one of the “rich and famous.” But despite his benefiting handsomely as a former president, he continues to despise not just our legal system, but We the People. Prancing around like a Muslim deity, cashing in on his destructive presidency and his continuing efforts to pervert and trash the vision of our Founding Fathers, he runs from the law and does not even have the decency to allow for service of process on duly filed civil complaints.

Well, I have news for you, Obama, you can run but you cannot hide from me. I will find you and hold you accountable under the rule of law in the courts.

And, our Judeo-Christian God, not allah, I continue to believe will someday also mete out “divine justice” for your continuing sins and crimes you have committed – along with your collaborators like Black Lives Matter, Farrakhan, Sharpton, Soros and Hillary Clinton – against the American people.

-- Larry Klayman, April 28 WorldNetDaily column

Ex-President Barack Obama let fly an interesting old cliché, asserting that every nation gets the government it deserves. Is that really true?

Did the Germans in the last century really deserve a government that left their nation – arguably the most advanced in Europe – in physical as well as moral ruin? And did our country and its peasant settlers really deserve this marvelous republic – truly a wonder of the political world?

Continuing pursuit of this flitting butterfly, did we really deserve eight years of Obama? I could answer, “Yes, because we wanted to seize the occasion to tell ourselves and the world that institutionalized racism had been conquered in America, and that was a stupid irrelevant liberal genuflection that was utterly uncalled-for, and serving eight years under Obama was getting off easy.” I could just as well answer, “No, we didn’t deserve the cruel and unusual punishment inflicted by eight years of Obama because we wanted to tell ourselves and the world that institutionalized racism had been conquered in America after centuries of slavery and segregation, and electing Obama twice was a noble deed, and survival, albeit battered and with prominent bruises, was our reward.”

-- Barry Farber, May 16 WND column

Richard Nixon was de facto impeached because he had a private party break into and bug (wiretap) an office in the Watergate building. Barack Obama turned the United States’ foreign security apparatus against those running for election against himself and in 2016 against the Democrat waiting for her presidential coronation. Is this why insiders thought it was impossible for Hillary to lose?

Who’s more deserving of impeachment? (And yes, he can still be impeached, which opens him to further prosecution in the court system for specific crimes, and that would include whatever punishments were appropriate for his crimes.)

-- Craige McMillan, May 22 WND column

Posted by Terry K. at 12:39 AM EDT
Friday, May 26, 2017
MRC's Graham Still Afraid To Talk About Why There's An Ad Boycott Against Hannity
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is continuing its selectively factual attack on insurance company USAA for dropping its ads from Sean Hannity's Fox News show.

First, Tim Graham compained that a USAA ad appeared on "wild-eyed MSNBC" about a month ago, which he insists contradicts USAA's stated explanation that its Hannity ads were dropped because it doesn't advertise on opinion shows. Two hours later, Graham wrote another post about another USAA ad on MSNBC two months ago.

How many people does the MRC have scouring MSNBC archives looking for random USAA ads? A lot, we're guessing. So far, all that searching has found exactly three over the past two-plus months (here's the third), which one can argue is within ad-booking error.

Needless to say, none of Graham's posts about USAA mention the salient reason why there is an ad boycott against Hannity: his embrace of discredited, malicious conspiracy theories about the death of Seth Rich.

If Graham keeps up his selectively factual attack, the MRC will continue to lose credibility, and the Trump defense campaign will self-destruct.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:09 PM EDT
MRC Gets Even More Hypocritical About Anonymous Sources
Topic: Media Research Center

Remember last week, when the Media Research Center's Tim Graham and Brent Bozell wrote a column denouncing anonymous sources being used against President Trump despite the MRC's record of promoting anonymously sourced stories that attacked Hillary Clinton?

Turns out they were being even more hypocritial than we thought.

The day before Graham and Bozell's column appeared, the MRC's "news" division,, published an article by Patrick Goodenough that began thusly, with the important part in bold:

The Trump administration’s significant expansion of a Reagan-era policy that prohibits federal funding for organizations that promote or perform abortions abroad will not affect the amount of funding the U.S. provides for life-saving health programs or the continuation of those programs, administration officials said Monday.

Some of the programs, however, will be carried out by different partners if existing ones are unwilling to comply with the new regulations.

Three senior administration officials explained on background how Trump’s newly unveiled expanded version of the “Mexico City policy” will work.

That's right -- the MRC published an article based on anonymous sources the day before Graham and Bozell denounced news outlets using anonymous sources.

Of course, government officials speaking on background is common, and the Trump administration clearly has nothing to fear from CNS in the way of negative or even mildly challenging reporting. But Graham and Bozell made no exception for background anonymity.

So Graham and Bozell are total hypocrites. We're not surprised.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:21 PM EDT
WND Descends Further Into Its Seth Rich Conspiracy Delusions
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The facts never mattered to WorldNetDaily. Its increasingly delusional promotion of discredited Seth Rich conspiracy theories is just more proof of that.

Let's look at WND's latest delusions, shall we?

-- Jack Cashill -- who never met a conspiracy theory he didn't like -- gloms onto Seth Rich in his May 24 column. And, of course, he references his previous conspiratorial obsessions: "There are precedents for this curious media indifference. The death of White House counsel Vince Foster in 1993 comes quickly to mind. So, too, does the death of Commerce Secretary Ron Brown during the presidential campaign of 1996."

-- Pizzagate promoter Liz Crokin gets the call from WND one more time for an article on how a self-proclaimed "investigator" is spreading his conspiracy theories about Rich. In fact, the "investigator" is Jack Burkman, who Crokin later admits is a "Republican lobbyist" (also, a bit of a homophobe) who has falsely passed himself off to Infowars as the Rich family's attorney. Crokin curiously didn't bother to ask Burkman who was paying him to pursue his investigation.

-- Alison Powe complained that a Republican congressman who tried to bring up the conspiracy theories on CNN was shut down by the other guests. Powe mentioned one "private investigator" who made claims about the case, she didn't identify him byname -- perhaps because that was Rod Wheeler, who has retracted all the headline-generating claims he made about Rich's death.

-- Joseph Farah's May 25 column pretends no claim it has reported about Rich's death has ever been retracted; instead, he's desperate to keep the conspiracy alive.  He huffs that "the DNC seems to be attempting to guide the police investigation from even considering the possibility that Rich’s murder could have anything to do with his work. That’s a huge red flag and borders on obstruction of justice considering the total political control Democrats wields over the city." He continues:

Is it possible Seth Rich could have been involved in leaking DNC emails to WikiLeaks, as even Julian Assange has broadly hinted? Could it be that Rich, and possibly others at the DNC, risked their lives as whistleblowers to reveal scandal within the DNC – only to see their heroic work attributed to Russia for political reasons?

I’m not certain. But I am curious. And I can’t understand why others would attempt to thwart an open and honest murder investigation by narrowing the parameters of the probe. What would be their motivation?

Does that make sense?

That’s my case for a truly independent counsel investigation. This shouldn’t take a year to conduct. After all, it’s a murder case. The focus should be on who was responsible – like any other murder case. Who had the motive, means and opportunity? And all the evidence should be examined without regard to where the investigation leads.

Reminder: Farah doesn't understand why Trump's apparent collusion with Russia during the election is a big deal, so his news judgment is not exactly what one would consider, um, functional.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:09 AM EDT
Thursday, May 25, 2017
MRC Denounces Hannity Ad Boycott, Won't Say Why There's A Boycott
Topic: Media Research Center

As Fox News' Sean Hannity has descended into crazy, discredited conspiracy theories about Seth Rich, the Media Research Center has suddenly decided to come to his defense.

A May 25 MRC post intoned, "Liberals, both inside the media and on the outside, are attempting to take down Fox News host Sean Hannity," followed by a statement from MRC chief Brent Bozell:

The attack on Sean Hannity is a part of the liberal strategy to re-establish their monopoly over television news. They want only one voice on the air: their own. All others must be silenced.

We now see elements of corporate America joining in the liberal cause and advancing the liberal strategy. These corporations are not serving the interests of their customers. Sponsoring a free, meaningful dialogue based on mutual respect reflects what happens among consumers in everyday life. When corporations withdraw from that debate, it does not serve the interests of their country, it merely makes them servants of the politically correct.

It is especially disappointing that an upstanding company like USAA would so easily succumb to the pressure of left-wing extremists. For decades, Sean Hannity has been a fierce supporter of the military at every turn. And this is how you treat him?

A few hours later,  Bozell returned with another statement, this one attacking insurance company USAA for pulling its ads off Hannity's show:

“USAA is dishonest and their spokesmen are terrible liars. First they pander to the far-left by announcing they were pulling advertising from Sean Hannity's TV show, and when there is an uproar against them, they state on Twitter that they don't advertise on 'opinion shows.' That is dishonest. They advertised on MSNBC Hardball just last night. We have several other examples of USAA advertising on left-wing shows that would clearly violate their stated 'policy.'

“USAA's customers -- so many of them veterans who have no greater champion than Sean Hannity -- have every right to be outraged. USAA owes them specifically, and the public at large an explanation. This duplicity is obnoxious and shameful.”

Notice that there's one thing curiously missing from both of Bozell's statements, as well as their reproductions at the MRC's "news" division, the reason why there is an ad boycott in the first place.

Pulling ads off a show that's become synonymous for peddling false and malicious conspiracy theories is not "pandering" to the "far-left" (there's that increasingly meaningless name-calling again!) -- it's common sense.

Bozell's rants ignore on seriously inconvenient fact: Hannity, not anyone on the "far-left," is the only one responsible for this. He's the one making himself toxic by pushing these Seth Rich conspiracy theories.

The MRC itself has thus far refused to traffic in any wild claim about Rich, which is commendable -- and which makes it all the more puzzling that it has decided to defend Hannity for doing so.

Until Bozell can acknowledge the simple fact that Hannity brought this upon himself, there's no reason to take his organization's decision to protect Hannity seriously.

UPDATE: The MRC published another post, by Tim Graham, complaining about USAA pulling its ads from Hannity's show. Again, no mention is made of why there is an ongoing ad boycott.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:17 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, May 25, 2017 11:52 PM EDT
MRC Bigwigs Seem To Endorse GOP Politician's Assualt on Reporter
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Curtis Houck wrote of the incident in which Idaho Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte allegedly assaulted Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs: "Importantly, any assault of anyone (reporter or non-reporter) isn’t okay. This should be common sense. That being said, the deranged reactions to the incident must be denounced too."

Yes, that is important. Some of those deranged reactions, however, are coming from Houck's higher-ups at the MRC -- in which they seem to think the assault is quite OK -- and Houck most certainly will not be called upon to denounce those.

MRC chief Brent Bozell tweeted: "Jacobs is an obnoxious, dishonest first class jerk. I'm not surprised he got smacked."

Bozell didn't mention that he has something of a past with Jacobs. In 2013, Jacobs -- then a reporter for the Daily Beast -- reported on  the MRC's legally questionable purchase of a house inPennsylvania from MRC vice president David Martin. Jacobs was also among the reporters who highlighted the revelation that Bozell didn't write his own syndicated columns.

The MRC's Tim Graham -- the guy who actually writes Bozell's columns and belatedly got a co-author credit after the revelation surfaced -- huffed in his own tweet: "Let's ask why on Earth a House candidate in Montana should have to answer questions from a reporter for a BRITISH newspaper????"



Funny, we remember when Graham was more than happy to tout reporting from British newspapers on happenings in America. Also, the Guardian has operations in the U.S., and Jacobs is an American.

To his credit, Graham did tepidly concede in a later tweet that "It is wrong, and well, unusual, to apparently hurt a reporter's elbow over a CBO score." Then he whined: "But HOW is this a half-hour story on MSNBC???" As if Fox News wouldn't have done the same thing -- and the MRC wouldn't have gone wall-to-wall on it -- had Gianforte been a Democrat.

Indeed, as of this writing,, the MRC's "news" division, has done just a single story on it that was quickly relegated to a below-the-fold headline.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:02 PM EDT
How WND Distracts From Trump Scandals: Rehashing Old Attacks on Obama
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Like, WorldNetDaily didn't really want to cover last week's burgeoning scandal over President Trump's firing of FBI chief James Comey.But rather than CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey's dredging up a months-old story about Osama bin Laden, WND tried to play the Obama Equivocation card.

That's an update of the Clinton Equivocation, in which the ConWeb handwaves any offense by a conservative politician in by claiming that a Clinton did it first and worse.

An anonymous WND reporter began a May 17 article:

“Impeach!” It’s been more than eight years since Democrats uttered that word – long enough for anyone to wonder if it was still in their vocabulary, considering the deafening silence through the dozens of serious scandals during President Obama’s administration – but now that President Trump is the man in the White House, it’s back with a vengeance.

The anonymous WND writer went on to state that "WND has assembled the following list of 25 egregious scandals and violations committed under President Obama’s administration – and few ever sparked widespread calls for the nation’s 44th president to be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors."

The list includes old right-wing crusades like Benghazi and Fast and Furious, which have been thoroughly investigated with no evidence of impeachable behavior by Obama found. But it also includes the thoroughly discredited birther crap.

Then we get to the thoroughly dumb reasons WND wants to impeach Obama. It cites a nontroversy about Obama appointing "more than 30 unelected  “czars” to positions in federal agencies while the Constitution requires that such appointments be vetted by Congress"; in fact, several were subject to congressional approval and several more had counterparts in the Bush administration and we don't recall WND complaining about that.

And, finally, a bizarre complaint that Obama had radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen, killed in a drone strike in Yemen, whining that "the Obama administration failed to provide due process to the U.S. citizens targeted for the use of deadly force." Yeah, we'd like to see WND draw up impeachment papers on that.

All this at WND to avoid discussing Trump scandals.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:43 PM EDT
What LGBT Stuff Is The MRC Freaking Out About Now? Lesbian Mommy Blogger Edition
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center -- which regularly freaks out at anything insufficiently heterosexual in the media -- has now turned its LGBT freakout attention to a mommy blogger. Sarah Stites begins her May 16 post this way:

On Sunday, famous Christian “mommy blogger” Glennon Doyle Melton — catapulted to fame through her writings on the messiness of marriage and motherhood — tied the knot with a woman. Although the union received considerable press coverage, few prominent outlets noted the effect this controversial decision would make on Melton’s three children.

Stites goes on to lament how Melton went from being "a mother of three, a New York Times bestseller and a coveted speaker with a following of millions" to divorcing her husband following his infidelity and -- gasp! -- meeting and then marrying Olympic soccer player Abby Wambach. Stites whined about how selfish Melton is purportedly being andfor allegedly threatening her children's "stability":

As Melton professes to be a Christian, her elevation of personal fulfillment over her children’s stability is worrisome and unbiblical. And with a following of millions, it has the potential to lead many astray.

But most prominent media outlets focused on the new marriage, proffering few, if any, concerns about the children.

But wouldn't Melton's children have even more instability seeing their mother caught in a loveless marriage to a philandering husband? Stites appears to be too busy passing judgment on Melton for ceasing her heterosexual lifestyle to have considered that.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:57 AM EDT

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