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Friday, November 10, 2017
MRC's Double Standard on News Outlets Using Fusion GPS
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters' Tom Blumer uses a Nov. 4 post to go on a major tirade over oppo-research group Fusion GPS and its hiring by the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign:

Now that Hillary Clinton has admitted that her campaign and the Democratic National Committee — which we now know her campaign totally controlled beginning in August 2015 — paid Fusion GPS for the infamous Trump-Russia dossier, it's long past time that people understand the full scope of what that firm, which has been serially misrepresented as just another "opposition research" outlet, has done to change the media landscape.

Don't count on the establishment press to do it, because, as we'll see, Fusion has played a major role in corrupting their determination of what "news" is, how it gets covered — and how it gets covered up.


Fusion doesn't just hand over what it finds to its clients. It actively works to place stories with reporters desperate for scoops they'll never find on their own. Their related dispatches almost invariably claim that their stories came from anonymous sources.


The overarching point here is that when a political campaign or a client engages Fusion GPS, it is not merely looking for "opposition research."

Hillary Clinton outsourced a key component of her campaign's communications effort to a group of news manipulators and smear merchants. Her campaign concealed that arrangement, and intended to keep it permanently away from public scrutiny, by funneling payments to Fusion GPS through the campaign's law firm. (In the Venezuelan matter noted above, "Fusion GPS says being paid by a law firm means all paperwork about their work ... (was) covered by attorney-client privilege.")

The very act of hiring Fusion GPS indicates that Hillary Clinton and her campaign intended to smear Donald Trump and his campaign with accusations — even if false — about their involvement or "collusion" with Russia. This determination, apparently shared by the lame-duck Obama administration's FBI, continued even after she lost the general election a year ago.

For all this ranting about Fusion GPS' media work, exactly none of his ire is directed at the right-wing media outlet that hired Fusion GPS to look into Republican presidential candidates, including Trump, in the first place: the Washington Free Beacon.Blumer only referenced it in passing by quoting from an article admitting that Republican funder Peter Singer "hired the firm on behalf of the Washington Free Beacon to do research on all of the GOP candidates during the primary, including Trump."

Despite Blumer effectively conceding this inconvenient fact, he does not criticize the Free Beacon for laundering the work of an oppo-research firm through its "journalism" operation. He does not call out the Free Beacon for being among the "news manipulators and smear merchants" who made use of Fusion GPS research while failing to disclose it was hired to do exactly that. And Blumer does not declare the Free Beacon to be a political operation hiding behind a scrim of "journalism."

Just another example of how the Media Research Center has different standards for right-wing media than it does for regular media.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:09 PM EST
WND: White Shooter's Motive Is 'Irrelevant'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

After the recent terror attack in New York City, WorldNetDaily couldn't wait to brand the perpetrator a jihadist, serving up an etymology of his Muslim-y name and complaining that authorities were bothering to investigate the crime at all when all they had to do is look at his name and simply declare him a terrorist.

But when a white guy kills three times as many people as the guy in New York did, WND suddenly wants to tap the brakes.

WND's first story on the church massacre at Sutherland Springs, Texas, -- perpetrated by the decidedly non-Muslim-y sounding and looking Devin Kelley -- included a quote it felt was so important that it was made the article's subhead:

Jim Richards, executive director of the Southern Baptists of Texas told Fox News: “This tragedy is just incomprehensible.”

“They’re wanting to see lives transformed. And just to have such a demonic attack. It is a spiritual war we’re involved in.”

“The motive is irrelevant,” he continued. “It is evil. We live in a fallen world. All of us have a propensity toward evil …”

Funny how motives in violent crime matter to WND only if the perpetrator isn't white.

And remember that article WND published after the Las Vegas massacre insisting that masscare perpetrators are either Muslim or on drugs? Well, WND took the latter approach to deflect hard questions about Kelley in a follow-up article, in which Bob Unruh played up an unverified claim by someone claiming to be "Kelley's former classmate" saying that "I know his parents had him on heavy doses of meds in middle school." That quote also graduated to the subhead.

WND really hasn't published much about the shooter and his motives since. Figures.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:29 AM EST
Thursday, November 9, 2017
WND's Favorite Prophet-Type Guy Cheers ISIS Destruction for Fulfilling His Narrative
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It's not often you see a religious figure -- specifically, a self-proclaimed Messanic Jew -- cheer the work of ISIS in destroying priceless antiquties, but that's what WorldNetDaily's favorite prophet-like figure, Jonathan Cahn, is doing. From an Oct. 28 WND article:

It’s a pattern thousands of years old. And it’s playing out in our own time.

In his latest book, messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn identifies “The Paradigm,” a historical pattern that plays out in different eras and in different nations that are falling away from God.

In the book, Cahn sees President Donald Trump as a figure similar to King Jehu of ancient Israel, a somewhat fiery, impulsive and blunt man who nonetheless restored Israel to the worship of the true God.

And in a recent interview with Michael Brown, a WND contributor and the author of “Outlasting The Gay Revolution,” the leader of one of the world’s largest messianic congregations drew more remarkable parallels between the Jewish warrior king and America’s combative commander-in-chief.

“When Jehu enters into the capital city, his agenda is to ‘drain the swamp,'” explained Cahn. “That is the agenda. He’s going to take out the priests of Baal, he’s going to cleanse it, that’s the whole thing, exactly what Donald Trump said he would do.

“And the other thing is that on the way to the throne, Jehu meets a man called Jehonadab … and all the commentaries identify him as saying he represents the religious conservatives of the land. And what happens is that Jehu makes an alliance with the religious conservatives on his way to power,” said Cahn.

“And that’s exactly what Donald Trump did. Without religious conservatives, he would not have won. He would not have been there. And when he gets to the capital city, he gets there with the agenda, he’s going to end Baal worship.”

Cahn pointed out that one of Trump’s first executive orders was to reimplement the Mexico City policies restricting abortion funding abroad, which protects children.

“Well, that’s essentially what Jehu did, taking away state support for Baal worship. [Jehu] even destroys the Temple of Baal.”

The cult of the pagan god Baal was marked by child sacrifice, leading Cahn and others to link it to contemporary practices of abortion. As he noted, the rise of Donald Trump also corresponded to the destruction of an ancient temple of Baal in what is now Syria.

“Kind of eerie, fascinating thing, across the world there actually existed a temple of Baal,” he observed. “It existed for 2,000 years. Well, the paradigm says when the warrior rises, the temple of Baal falls. Well, the very time Trump rose, the summer of 2015, the temple of Baal fell to the ground.”

Cahn apparently didn't tell Brown's listeners that ISIS was the folks responsible for making the temple "fall to the ground" by deliberately destroying it. WND concedes this on the fringes of its article; the picture of the temple accompanying the article notes that it shows its appearance "prior to its destruction by ISIS," and it placed a link on Cahn's statement that "the temple of Baal fell to the ground" to a New York Times article pointing out that ISIS destroyed the temple.

We highlighted earlier this  year how Cahn and WND seem inordinately proud and/or grateful of ISIS' handiwork in destroying an invaluable piece of history as they inveighed against a reconstruction of the temple arch in major cities, accusing those behind it of trying to summon an ancient god and hiding their real purpose of preserving history as a rebuke to ISIS. It seems that Cahn remains aligned with ISIS on this issue because it fulfills the narrative of his book.

Cheering the work of ISIS should not the impression any religious figure wants to leave with the public, but apparently Cahn has no problem with that.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:27 PM EST
CNS Sides With Infowars to Spite Dem Congressman

Susan Jones writes in a Nov. 2 article:

Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) made himself the arbiter of "fake news" on Wednesday, pointing to an InfoWars article on the New York City terrorist attack and asking a Twitter executive, "what's your responsibility to set the record straight so that the people who saw this know that it's fake news?"

The InfoWars article in question was titled, "Imam: I Warned DeBlasio About NYC Terror; He Was Too Busy Bashing Trump." For a while on Wednesday, that story was trending at the top when Twitter users went to #NYCTerroristAttack.

But is the report fake news? And who gets to decide?

Speaking at the same hearing of the House intelligence committee, Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) said, "We all recognize that fake news is in the eye of the beholder many times."

While some news reports "are demonstrably untrue," Stewart said, "the vast majority" of reports are combinations of "opinion and reality."

That's right -- CNS' Jones is effectively defending the honor of Infowars, run by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Instead of reflexively taking the side of a website with a long history of false and outrageous claims just because a Democratic congressman justifiably impugned its credibility, Jones could have, you know, looked into the article in question to evaluate its veracity.

Yes, a self-proclaimed imam named Mohammad Tawhidi did make the claim that Infowars reported, Infowars reporter Paul Joseph Watson -- a major generator of fake news -- doesn't appear to have attempted to verify any of Tawhidi's claims.

It turns out that Tawhidi is kind of a shady character. Based in Australia, he has claimed to be both an imam and shiekh, claims actual Muslim religious authorities in Australia don't recognize, calling him a "fake sheikh." He's earned the approbation of right-wingers by pushing fears of an Islamic caliphate and demanding that certain Islamic texts be banned, thus making him the equivalent of a Fox News Democrat. In reality, he's a Shia extremist who's battling majority Sunnis in Australia.

In other words, he's a fraud. It wasn't that hard to figure out using just a few minutes of online searching.

Yet Jones wants us to treat this Infowars report as credible, for the sole apparent purpose of trying to counter a Democratic congressman trying to expose fake news. This is clear, since the headline on Jones' article makes the point that Quigley is a "Democrat [sic] Lawmaker."

But still, Jones has to know what Infowars is, and defending it damages her own credibility. That's the price of being a pro-Trump shill, apparently.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:01 AM EST
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
WND Misleads on Obamacare Premiums
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Bob Unruh ramped up the scare tactics in a Nov. 1 WorldNetDaily article:

Obamacare costs for a 27-year-old on a benchmark plan have exploded from $2,616 during the program’s first year to nearly double, at $4,932, for the plan year 2018, according to a new report.

The documentation from the office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the Health and Human Services Department reveals the extent of problems Americans face if Congress is not successful in repealing and replacing Barack Obama’s signature legislation.

The numbers reveal the failings: a 37 percent average premium increase in the benchmark plan, the fact eight states have only one issuer offering plans under an Obamacare exchange and the plunge from 237 issuers nationwide a year ago to 132 now.

But it's not until the final paragraph of his 18-paragraph article -- after a lot of bashing of Obamacare that Unruh gets around to mentioning a certain mitigating factor:

“A 27-year-old with a household income of $25,000 could receive an APTC [advance premium tax credit] of up to $273 for PY18, a 73 percent increase from PY17 ($158) based on the average premium for the benchmark plan across all states,” the report said. “A family of four with a household income of $60,000 could receive an APTC of up to $1,088 for PY18, a 60 percent increase from PY17 ($678) based on the average premium for the benchmark plan across all states.”

That's worded poorly -- and Unruh may have intentionally left it that way to hide the truth -- but the point is that subsidies will offset much of the cost of the policy for lower-income enrollees. An actual news outlet, CNN, explains this much more clearly that Unruh could ever be bothered to do:

The big rate increase means premium subsidies will rise 45%, on average, to $6,660 a year. More than eight in 10 enrollees receive premium subsidies, which reduce their cost to less than 10% of their household income.

A 27-year-old making $25,000 a year could receive an annual subsidy of nearly $3,300. That would bring his or her premium down to $1,650 a year if he or she enrolls in the benchmark silver plan.

A family of four earning $60,000 a year could get an annual subsidy of $13,000, bringing their benchmark plan premiums down to just over $4,750.

Thihs is just bad, politically motivated stenography. It's been a long, hard fall for someone who used to have journalistic credibility as an former Associated Press employee.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:07 PM EST
MRC's Double Standard on Reporting on the Economy
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Julia A. Seymour does her pro-Trump duty in an Oct. 31 post:

The U.S. economy maintained strong growth according to the latest government estimates in the latest example of good economic news.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis announced on Oct. 27, that the first estimate of third quarter growth was 3 percent. There are two revisions to come before the end of 2017. But it remained positive news, especially since the BEA also confirmed that second quarter growth was 3.1 percent thanks to consumer spending and business investment.

The broadcast evening news programs ignored that good economic news — just like they ignored the 3 percent GDP announcement in August. However, many other news organizations — from NPR to CNBC — noted the positive result.

Throughout Donald Trump’s presidency the networks have minimized and ignored positive economic news, in spite of the fact many people voted for him thinking his policies would improve the U.S. economy.

Needless to say, Seymour is being utterly hypocritical. In July 2016, for example, she wrote a report complaining that the media was failing to talk down the economy under Obama, declaring that "Overall economic growth remains 'subpar' and labor force participation rates remain shocking, not far from 38-year lows." The economy was "still reveling in pain and weakness," Seymour insisted. As is standard MRC practice, Seymour did only the bare minimum of research by focusing solely on network evening newscasts and pretending they're representative of the entire media.

And in March, Seymour was demanding that Trump be given the credit for February's good jobless numbers, though she offered no evidence of any one thing he did to contribute to them, and was incensed that the numbers were being considered a reflection of President Obama's economy.

Seymour is acting as a partisan, not an objective researcher. Like the media she loves to hypocritically target, she only cares about the numbers that make her side look good. 

Posted by Terry K. at 4:38 PM EST
WND's Farah Blames NYC Attack on America 'Meddling' In Israeli Politics
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah devoted his Oct. 30 WorldNetDaily column to whining that "It looks like Jared Kushner has persuaded his father-in-law to continue the pattern of U.S. meddling in Israeli governance – even in housing policy in the Jewish state’s capital." He added:

I hope and pray I’m wrong about this, but, from past experience, such interference by the U.S. in Israeli policies usually spells trouble for America. I know it sounds crazy to some. But it’s true. With the natural and unnatural disasters the U.S. has experienced this year – from hurricanes to devastating wildfires to the largest mass shooting attack in America’s history – this action by Washington is not a good idea, not for Israel and not for the U.S.

There are consequences for messing with Israel – heavenly consequences.

So, when the truck attack on New York City happened the same day his column appeared, Farah was all too eager to lay claim to having predicted it in his column the very next day:

I’m here in the Holy City watching in sadness, but not shock, at the latest terror attack in New York City.

Twenty-four hours after I wrote a blistering column warning of consequences in America for interfering in Israeli policy-making in Jerusalem, New York City was hit with another terror attack.

Eight people are dead and about a dozen wounded after a Muslim man ran over pedestrians with a truck before slamming into a school bus and yelling, “Allahu Akbar,” a phrase that has become ubiquitous with terror attacks the world over.

I’m not a prophet.

I’m just someone who observes the news and patterns within the news.

And you would have to be in denial not to notice bad things happen in America and to America when Israel’s No. 1 ally in the world – and one of its few – meddles in the internal affairs of the Jewish state.


I know what I will be accused of for suggesting the terror attack in New York could be related in some way to America’s position on Israel.

Some will say I’m superstitious. Some will say I’m a conspiracy theorist. Some will say I am a religious zealot.

I don’t care. I’m going to say it anyway. It’s not just because I love Israel. It’s because I love America – and I don’t want my country to be hurt like it was Monday, or worse.

That Farah is a conspiracy theorist is beyond dispute. And Farah's religious views bump up against far-right Christian Reconstructionism, so zealotry is not an inaccurate accusation either. But, really, what Farah is an opportunist; he knows how to take advantage of events to push his right-wing agenda, which is exactly what he's doing here.

It didn't matter whether the New York terrorist attack, or something similar, took place the day after his original claim, or a month, or a year -- Farah would take credit for having predicted it because it advances his agenda. That's really all that matters to him. If the NYC attack hadn't happened, he'd be claiming the Texas church massacre as evidence of his prediction coming true.

Farah is a huckster at heart, and he has no problem tying his religious views to his hucksterism. His faith may be at least partially genuine, but he's cynically exploiting it.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:19 AM EST
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
MRC Pushes Conspiracy Theory About CNN Reporter
Topic: Media Research Center

Last week, the conservative Daily Caller did a hit piece on CNN reporter Evan Perez, rummaging through his Facebook account to claim "close ties" between him and former colleagues at a previous reporting gig at the Wall Street Journal who went on to found Fusion GPS, the opposition-research firm responsible for the infamous Trump dossier. The article is filled with speculaton; no attempt was apparently made to verify the alleged relationship with Perez and his former colleagues, let alone obtain permission from Perez to root through his Facebook account and steal photos from it.

The Media Research Center, which normally likes to portray itself as above such conspiracy theories, ran with this one. Tim Graham eagerly quoted large chunks of the Daily Caller piece in an Oct. 28 post highlighting how Perez was "socializing with his Fusion pals."

Tom Blumer took it a step further in an Oct. 31 post, claiming that the speculative Daily Caller report "would seem to explain why CNN has been particularly hostile towards the Trump administration and even more incomplete than usual in its reporting since Tuesday evening's revelations that Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee helped fund the infamous Trump-Russia dossier."

Blumer expanded the conspiracy to cover all of CNN for accurately reporting that the Trump administration was trying to distract from its own Russia connection by obsessing over Democratic connections to the dossier and a Russian uranium deal that only peripherally involved Hillary Clinton. (As dutiful Trump stenographers, the MRC has been obsessing about them as well.) Blumer petulantly rants to dubiously claim that Trump isn't acting out of petulant anger at a political opponent:

Hillary Clinton, since she lost the general election in November and currently holds no political office of any kind, is no longer Trump's political opponent.  She is only a critic, with no more or less standing than Michael Moore or Lena Dunham. The same goes for former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Loretta Lynch, and (certainly in the Uranium One matter) James Comey. Investigating their activities and actions when they were in office or had the opportunity to influence those who were in office is therefore not a conflict of interest. If there is strong reason to believe that any of these now-private citizens committed crimes while they did hold political office, it's the government's duty to investigate and, if there is sufficient evidence, to prosecute. Otherwise, we're supposed to believe that anyone who has held a political office and then becomes a private citizen has a permanent get-out-of-jail card, regardless of what they did when they (ahem) "served."

Blumer went on to call Perez "obviously conflicted" based on the speculative Daily Caller story.

Graham and Brent Bozell rehashed the Daily Caller claims in their Oct. 31 column, huffing: "CNN’s anti-Trump stories have hidden all this behind a wall of 'anonymous sources.' This is one dreadfully serious reason why the American people don’t trust “investigative reporting.” In reality, it turns out it looks like a series of chummy hand-offs, funded by Trump opponents."

Graham and Bozell didn't direct the same level of anger against the right-wing outlet that originally paid Fusion GPS for their oppo work on Trump, benignly noting in a claimed attempt to be "fair and balanced":

To be fair and balanced on this ethical front, the conservative Washington Free Beacon website also retained Fusion GPS for research – for a few months before the Clinton campaign and the DNC – and the Daily Caller reported that they also reported on Fusion GPS without acknowledging a relationship. 

Of course, if Graham, Bozell and the MRC really was trying to be "fair and balanced," they would have told their readers about the Free Beacon's involvement wigh Fusion GPS much sooner than this.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:21 PM EST
Fake News: WND Pushes Unsubstantiated Claims By Discredited Writer
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As if its shoddy record of generating fake news wasn't enough, WorldNetDaily is bringing in fake news from outside. Like this Oct. 30 article carrying the byline of Ed Klein:

Despite a couple of appearances on behalf of Democratic candidates, Barack Obama has adamantly refused to heed the pleas of his party to lead the “resistance” against Donald Trump and instead spends much of his time at his home just blocks from the White House playing video games, chatting on the phone with celebrity pals, smoking marijuana and popping cannabis-infused gummy bears.

This startling description of Obama’s post-presidential life is based on interviews with a close Obama family friend who has been a sleepover guest at the Obama home in the Kalorama section of Washington, D.C., and who has smoked pot with the former president.

“Barack sees himself as sort of a hipster ex-president, a cool guy,” said the friend who was interviewed for my new book, “All Out War: The Plot to Destroy Trump.” “He wants to go back in terms of fashion and style to his pot-smoking days as a member of the Choom Gang at the Punahou School in Hawaii.”

In his 1995 memoir “Dreams From My Father,” Obama wrote about smoking pot “in a white classmate’s sparkling new van,” “in the dorm room of some brother” and “on the beach with a couple of Hawaiian kids.”

Now, according to the family friend, the former president “smokes weed once or twice a week. He stopped while he was president, because he knew it impaired his judgment, but he feels he can get away with it now. It’s legal in D.C., so why not?

Klein does not name his purported "close Obama family friend" -- let alone explain why any Obama associate would ever talk to him -- nor does he give any indication he has bothered to corroborate the claim.

That's because this is Ed Klein we're talking about here: a right-wing fabulist known for making up stuff about Hillary Clinton and rarely, if ever, naming his sources. Even Klein's fellow conservatives question his credibility, which explains why he had to go to WND -- which has no credibility to speak of -- to promote his new book.

The bio at the end of Klein's article describes him as "the former editor in chief of the New York Times Magazine," but thatwas 30 years ago, and he left after it was revealed an article published during his tenure was fabricated. Sense a pattern here?

If WND was ever genuinely interested in addressing its credibility issues, hooking up with Ed Klein is not the way to go about it.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:03 PM EST
NEW ARTICLE: Mercer Money Motivates the MRC
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has received millions from the Mercers, and Brent Bozell and his organization are acting accordingly on behalf of the Mercers' interests -- such as Donald Trump and Breitbart. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 8:33 AM EST
Monday, November 6, 2017
Taylor Swift Derangement Syndrome
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As a father and a grandfather, it grieves me to convey some breaking news regarding music superstar Taylor Swift. This multi-gifted artist has now decided to advance her career further by disrobing to a nearly nude image in her just released music video, “Ready for It.”

This sweet young starlet who’s been a role model and inspiration to millions of youth portrays a sci-fi cyborg prancing around in a state of seeming undress. I viewed the “shock” presentation one time in order to raise awareness and caution moms, dads, and youth leaders.


How we dress is addressed by God so we can look attractive without inviting lustful looks, which can cause others to stumble. Many Christians are not deliberately dressing immodestly but rather drift into alluring clothes out of ignorance or a desire for acceptance. Modest attire starts in the heart, not the hemline, with a sincere desire to glorify God, not a legalistic dress code to inhibit man.

1. Romans 12:1-2 directs us, “Do not be conformed to this world” but “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service of worship.” We should look sharp, not seductive. We can dress cool without appearing cheap.

2. We should never wear clothing that draws lustful looks, causing others to “stumble” into sin (Matthew 18:6) or commit adultery in their heart by fantasizing after viewing us dressed provocatively (Matthew 5:28).

3. Modesty is a positive principle emphasizing inner beauty and character over outward vanity and sensuality. “I want women to dress with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly …” (1 Timothy 2:9). This applies equally to men who can fall prey to sexy speedos, low-rise pants and extra-tight T-shirts.

4. We are “called to liberty. Only do not use liberty to give an opportunity to the flesh, but by love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). In other words, we have the privilege to defer to rather than defraud the opposite sex through immodesty. “Defraud” is arousing sexual desires in another person that cannot be righteously satisfied (1 Thessalonians 4:6).

5. The Bible tells us to steer clear of all sensuality (1 Peter 2:11), which is basically planned appeal to the physical senses for personal gratification.

6. When there is a question concerning an article of clothing, length of skirt, level of neckline, size of shorts, sheerness of a fabric, or tightness of leggings, etc. follow the following:

  • Doubt – do without (Romans 14:13).
  • “Flee youthful lusts”(2 Timothy 2:22).
  • “Honor your father and mother”(Ephesians 6:2-3).

7. Determine to be countercultural, radical, charitable and courageous in holding biblical convictions, living life to the hilt for the glory of God! “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. … my son, do not walk in the way with them, keep your foot from their path” (Prorverbs 1:10; 15).

While we pray for Taylor Swift and other prominent, pop-culture personalities, may these guidelines help us in this time, considered the “undressing of America.” We must not allow ourselves to become desensitized to God’s liberating and beautiful message of modesty today.

-- Larry Tomczak, Oct. 27 WorldNetDaily column

(Isn't Tomczak effectively advocating that women wear burqas? After all, a religious edict to prevent women from drawing lustful looks from men is the main reason they exist.)

Posted by Terry K. at 7:23 PM EST
CNS Unemployment Coverage Distortion Watch
Topic: ran into another one of those situations where the latest month of Trump-era unemployment news was too bad to spin away in yet another fit of pro-Trump stenography.

The main story by Susan Jones led with the good news, but also gave prominent play to the bad, mainly because it directly impacted its longtime obsession, the labor force participation rate:

The economy added 261,000 jobs in October – the most since President Trump took office -- and the nation’s unemployment rate dropped another tenth of a point to 4.1 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday.

But a record number of Americans – 95,385,000 – were not in the labor force in October, and the critical labor force participation rate dropped four-tenths of a point to 62.7 percent, a disappointing show, as 76,500 Americans left the civilian labor force..

The previous "not in the labor force" record of 95,102,000 was set in December 2016, the final full month of the Barack Obama presidency.

That story was CNS' lead story when posted early on Nov. 3, but it didn't stay that way for long -- can't havenegative news on Trump leading a pro-Trump "news" site, can we? So that was quickly supplanted as the lead by its sidebar -- the usual story by Terry Jeffrey on manufacturing jobs -- which had the necessary pro-Trump spin.Taht story remained the lead for the remainder of Nov. 3.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:00 PM EST
Updated: Monday, November 6, 2017 3:06 PM EST
WND Gives Terrible Researcher A Platform to Rant About Soros
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Alicia Powe dutifully transcribes in an Oct. 31 WorldNetDaily article:

An investigative journalist who has researched radical advocacy organizations and their sources of funding says the prominent left-wing billionaire known to subsidize such acivitism, George Soros, thinks he’s a god.

The assertion come from Matthew Vadum, the senior vice president of the think tank Capital Research Center, whose book “Subversion Inc.” shows how the political activist group ACORN was run by “foot soldiers in a long-running war on America’s free political institutions.”

He was speaking Tuesday at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., the site of the first Sovereign Nations Conference, which features “Understanding the Causes of Things” as its theme this year.

The Marxist billionaire is a megalomaniac who believes he is a god, Vadum charged.

“Somehow Soros began to think that he was a god because he had all this money that he earned from hedge funds – he made a billion dollars overnight in one transaction. He’s on record saying he began thinking of himself as a god. Initially, this troubled him, but then eventually he got used to and became fine with the idea.

“But he views himself as a kind of deity, which is interesting in that he is an atheist,” Vadum said.

Ah, Matthew Vadum, the dickish, thin-skinned, factually challenged right-wing so-called researcher we've encountered (and bested) in the past. So he's still hanging around the fringes of conservatism and peddling his poorly sourced, sensationalized "research" for gullible fellow travelers.

Powe appears to be one of them. She simply plays stenographer for Vadum, uncritically repeating his hyped-up claims without bothering to do any fact-checking. Vadum's claim that Soros thinks of himself as a god -- also peddled by fake-news operations --  appears to be taken from an out-of-context reference in a London newspaper, which of course Vadum twists to fit his malicious portrait of Soros.

WND knows a little about peddling fake news itself, so it's no surprise that it would give the factually challenged Vadum a platform.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:40 AM EST
Sunday, November 5, 2017
MRC's Biased Obsession With Clinton and Uranium
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has a new obsession: the purported Hillary Clinton uranium scandal.

Since Oct. 17, when it touted "new revelations in the scandal surrounding Russia’s obtaining control of American uranium and its payments to The Clinton Foundation," the MRC has referenced it in approximately 60 posts, most of them screeching that the "liberal media" won't cover the story. Crappy, biased, narrowly focused study on coverage that yet again somehow omits Fox News? Check. Brent Bozell ranting about the lack of coverage outside his right-wing bubble? Check and check.

Needless to say, the MRC didn't mention that the lead writer of that article, John Solomon, is a right-wing journalist who once headed the Washington Times who is currently the head of the right-wing, Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned website Circa.

The MRC also won't tell you that the supposed scoop here -- that the Russian nuclear industry was trying to spread bribe money in America, and donated money to the Clinton Foundation, around the time that government officials were approving a deal for Russian interests to take over an American company that is responsible for 20 percent of the uranium mined in the U.S. while Hillary Clinton was still secretary of state -- isn't much of a scoop.

As the Washington Post's Erik Wemple points out, Solomon's story is filled with "preposterous conspiracy-mongering" and mostly rehashes claims first made public years ago, which basically amount to the Justice Department not sufficiently publicizing its conviction of one of the figures in the Russian bribery.

The Post has also pointed out other inconvenient truths that  the MRC has ignored: for instance, that the Russian company in control of 20 percent of the U.S. uranium supply cannot for the most part export that uranium without a federal permit, which it doesn't have, and that the U.S. generates only a tiny fraction of the world's uranium supply, of which 20 percent is even more miniscule.

Further, despite all the right-wing innuendo, there's still no evidence that Clinton played any role whatsoever in forwarding the deal past federal officials (the State Department was one of nine federal agencies that had to sign off on it), let alone the establishment of a quid pro quo in which Clinton acted in direct response to Clinton Foundation donations.

Of course, whenever it's pointed out that there's no there there, the MRC goes into freakout mode, insisting that anyone highlight that particular inconvenient fact is, as Kristine Marsh put it an Oct. 27 item, "defending Hillary Clinton." And the MRC went a-Heathering against conservative Jennifer Rubin for pointing out that President Trump -- and, thus, the MRC -- were pushing the Clinton-uranium thing as a distraction from his own Russia troubles; Brad Wilmouth sneered that Rubin is "allegedly right-leaning," as if one must sign onto everything Trump does and every single attack on Democrats no matter no specious to be a true conservative.

Ans, really, that's the line on the sand the MRC has drawn here -- all attacks on Democrats in general and the Clintons in particular are valid regardless of their accuracy, and Trump must be defended at all costs. That's the MRC's agenda these days.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:35 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, November 5, 2017 11:08 PM EST
We Called It! Newsmax In The Market for O'Reilly
Topic: Newsmax

We were right.

Nast week, we noted that fluffy Newsmax coverage of disgraced ex-Fox News host Bill O'Reilly indicted that it was in the market  to obtain O'Reilly's services for its little-watched, little-carried TV channel. Now, with the news that Sinclair Broadcast Group has officially pulled out of the market for O'Reilly after it was revealed he had paid $32 million to settle one case of sexual harassment, Newsmax is officially in.

Politico reported that Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy has confirmed he's courting O'Reilly, adding that, according to Ruddy, "Newsmax has already established a relationship with O’Reilly, letting him use its podcast studios for several hours each week in New York since his dismissal from Fox News as an informal favor."

Politico notes that the sexual harassment allegations against O'Reilly are an issue, "though they do not appear to be enough to keep Newsmax from pursuing a deal." It also notes that Newsmax "posted an article about one of the former Fox host’s accusers being arrested in 2015 for making a false crime report."

Politico adds that an O'Reilly presence on Newsmax TV could be used as leverage to grow his TV channel and the company in general:

Newsmax is also exploring financing options to grow the network, and it’s potentially looking at going public, according to a person familiar with the network’s thinking. That type of expanded platform could prove enticing to O’Reilly—and adding a high-profile name like his could conceivably juice the company’s valuation.

Meanwhile, there's still evidence of the O'Reilly connection on Newsmax's website. The other day, as the above screenshot shows, a Newsmax story featuring O'Reilly opining on President Trump's tax plan was paired the front page with an ad by O'Reilly to get readers to subscribe to his own website.

If O'Reilly does end up at Newsmax, this is how it will happen.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:45 AM EDT

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