WorldNetDaily has spent the past three years obsessing over an Obama-era non-scandal -- and now a right-wing legal group is helping keep WND's obsession alive well after Obama has left office. Read more >>
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
NEW ARTICLE: The Obama Derangement Never Ends At WND
WorldNetDaily has spent the past three years obsessing over an Obama-era non-scandal -- and now a right-wing legal group is helping keep WND's obsession alive well after Obama has left office. Read more >>
CNS Still Taking Potshots At Kavanaugh Despite Trump's Nomination
We wondered how CNSNews.com would handle things if President Trump had named Brett Kavanaugh -- whom it had repeatedly bashed as his name was floated as a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy -- to actually fill the seat. Well, Trump did nominate Kavanaugh, and CNS is surprisingly still taking potshots at him despite its usual pro-Trump sycophancy.
CNS did start out in stenography mode, uncritically repeating Kavanaugh's assertion at the nomination press conference that "No President has ever consulted more widely, or talked with more people from more backgrounds, to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination" than Trump did in picking him-- which, given Trump's slavish devotion to a list of possible candidates given to him by the right-wing Federalist Society and Kavanaugh's placement on that list, is almost certainly not true.
CNS also cranked out articles repeating the expected conservative praise and liberal criticism of Kavanaugh, though another article highlighted a bipartisan group of senators who were taking a wait-and-see approach.
It took a few days, but the potshots returned. One article highlighted how "Several leading conservatives and libertarians strongly criticized President Donald Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to replace Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court, with some describing Kavanaugh as the 'Bush pick' and a judge who is not like Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas," while another quoted CNS figure of adoration Mark Levin complaining that "You have to assume that Kavanaugh would have voted with" Chief Justice John Roberts in supporting the constitutionality of Obamacare's tax provision.
Then CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey used his July 12 column to rehash a previous attack on Kavanaugh a few days earlier for accepting an assumption that an undocumented immigrant caught at the U.S. border has a right to an abortion. Jeffrey snarked: "Kavanaugh did not address the question of whether the government must allow her to buy a gun — or send a check to the House minority leader."
As much as Jeffrey and CNS may pick at the fringes of Kavanaugh's nomination, it's almost a certainty that they will ultimately fall in line like good little pro-Trump soldiers and promote it.
UPDATE: CNS published another Kavanaugh-tweaking article: A July 11 item by managing editor Michael W. Chapman highlighted "constitutional expert and Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz" -- whom Chapman noted just wrote a new book titled "The Case Against Impeaching Trump" -- bashing Kavanaugh's views on impeachment.
WND Promotes Crazy Lawsuit, Hides The Craziness
In 2016, WorldNetDaily provided damage control for author Gary Byrne, a former Secret Service officer whose then-new book making dubious, tawdry claims about the Clintons was falling apart as it was debunked as the work of a low-level agent who could not have known the things he claimed, who made claims that differed from those he testified to under oath as part of Kenneth Starr's investigation, and denounced by the Association of Former Agents of the United States Secret Service as eroding the trust between the Secret Service and those it protects.
WND is giving a boost to Byrne again in a July 1 article about his latest venture:
The article is very light on details about what, exactly, Byrne is alleging. Perhaps because its link to the lawsuit is behind a paywall and WND's current precarious financial situation doesn't allow WND to spring for the cash to actually see it. But it may also be that the lawsuit is so crazy even other right-wing outlets are dubious about it.
The Daily Caller reports that "Among the many charges that appear in the at times almost incoherent filing is the charge that a criminal syndicate involving the Clintons, David Brock, Donna Brazile, and George Soros murdered Seth Rich." And the Western Journal/Conservative Tribune called the lawsuit "curious," adding that "there’s more than a soupçon of the conspiratorial behind this." But it also added, like a good anti-Clinton obsessive: "Then again, this is the Clintons — and stranger things have happened."
As a side note, both of those articles appeared more than a week before WND's version, which shows the current decimated state of WND's journalistic capabilities.
So it seems WND is doing more damage control for Byrne -- this time by omission.
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
MRC's Graham Tries To Save Right-Wing Anti-Media Attacks After Newspaper Shooting
Topic: Media Research Center
As we've noted, the shooting of journalists at the Capital Gazette newspapers office in Maryland has put the Media Research Center in a defensive position by trying to draw a line between the MRC's -- and President Trump's -- occasionally vicious anti-media rhetoric and the idea that such rhetoric might inspire violence.
The MRC's Tim Graham did this in a June 30 post, complaining: "One nasty, if hardly unexpected result of the horrific mass shooting at the Annapolis Capital-Gazette newspaper is the attempt to smear it onto "anti-press sentiment." Liberals protest that they're not really accusing conservatives of shooting reporters, but they are, as usual, part of a 'climate' of hatred." Graham attacked Washington Post columnist Margaret Sullivan for making that argument. Graham huffed in response:
Funny -- if Maddow can't be blamed for Hodgkinson's actions, why did Graham highlight that connection at the time? It's as if he was trying to create a link or something. Graham also doesn't list the anti-police "smears" made by Black Lives Matter that he thinks are linked to violence -- perhaps because Black Lives Matter's agenda isn't as radical as he thinks.
Amnd it's weird how Graham apparently thinks all journalists who don't reflexively spout right-wing, pro-Trump talking points are somehow "elite" and must be attacked and mocked at every opportunity.
Graham then tried the "I know you are, but what am I?" approach:
This from the organization that defended Rush Limbaugh for declaring that he hoped President Obama failed at his job -- and whose president likened Obama to a "skinny ghetto crackhead." We don't recall the MRC ever being concerned that such overheated right-wing anti-Obama rhetoric having violent consequences.
Finally, Graham pushes the idea that the MRC's and Trump's anti-media rhetoric is somehow meaningful criticism:
Calling the media "fake" not for reporting something that's fake but for reporting something that doesn't conform to a certain political agenda demeans media criticism -- and exposes the MRC as nothing but a partisan shill. But then, Graham has always been a terrible media critic because he puts right-wing ideology before journalism.
Why Boise Stabbing Spree Didn't Trend At WND
A July 4 WorldNetDaily column by Jack Cashill snarkily claimed that an incident in which a man stabbed several people in an apartment complex in Boise, Idaho, housing refugees -- killing one child -- didn't get more play because the alleged assailant, Timmy Kinner, is black and "There is nothing 'Idaho' or 'MAGA' about him." Cashill went on th claim that "In the last decade, mentally unstable black men like Kinner have killed scores of non-black victims in serial attacks that often have a racial motivation. If fame was their goal, these killers misunderstood the media.
Ironically, Cashill's column is only one of two articles at WND that even mention the stabbing incident. The other is one of WND's trademark theft of the work of others, this time a CBS report on the stabbing. One curious aspect of the excerpt WND used is that it omits any mention of the fact that the victims lived in an apartment building with refugees.
You might remember that over the past couple of years, WND -- mostly former reporter Leo Hohmann -- relentlessly fearmongered about refugees moving to Idaho, exploiting an incident in which two children of refugees engaged in alleged sexual behavior with a third child in order to inflame anti-Muslim and anti-refugee sentiment. Hohmann was particularly incensed by a Chobani yogurt plant in Idaho hiring refugees, so much so that he and WND published false smears about Chobani and founder Hamdi Ulukaya over the refugee issue -- claims that were quietly and mysteriously scrubbed and corrected months later, presumably after Chobani threatened to sue WND.
(These days, though, Hohmann is reduced to spewing his anti-Muslim hate at his own website.)
You'd be reading a lot more about this incident at WND if a refugee had been the perpetrator. But because refugees were the victims, the story gets shoved down the memory hole with copy-and-paste coverage instead of original reporting.
Instead of asking "why Boise murder didn't trend on Twitter," as the headline of his column stated, Cashill would be better off asking why it didn't trend at the "news" outlet that publishes his column. Of course, the answer -- because WND is hostile to the status and religion of the victims -- is too obvious and wouldn't fill out a whole column.
MRC's West The Latest Right-Winger to Lie About Margaret Sanger
Right-wing ranter and Media Research Center senior fellow Allen West clearly knows the dead can't be libeled. Which seems to explain his July 2 column at MRC "news" division CNSNews.com, in which he huffs: "Just the same, the leftists say nothing about an organization, which they embrace, that was founded by a white supremacist, racist, one who spoke at a Klan rallies [sic] and whose work was the basis of Nazi eugenics. That person was Margaret Sanger. The organization is Planned Parenthood."
West's claim that Sanger "spoke at a Klan rallies [sic]" is misleading as well. West's implication that Sanger is a racist -- as noted above, not true -- and he appears to be blowing up Sanger's admitted appearance to speak at a meeting of a KKK women's auxiliary (which she later described as "one of the weirdest experiences I had in lecturing") into speaking at multiple "Klan rallies."
But, again, Sanger is dead, and you can't libel the dead. Thus, West apparently believes he has free rein to lie about her in every way he can think of in order to advance another right-wing rant about phony "moral outrage" from the left. If only West thought it was morally outrageous to spread lies.
Monday, July 16, 2018
Newsmax's Hirsen Tries To Put Positive Spin on Chaos-Laden Anti-Abortion Film
In his July 10 column, Newsmax's James Hirsen does his best to put a positive spin on an anti-abortion film whose shooting is beset with chaos -- and, like a good right-winger, blames it all on a Hollywood conspiracy:
When it comes to subject matter that is outside the leftist box, Hollywood just can’t endure any factual information coming to light, as witnessed by the massive overreaction by the entertainment elite to a pro-life project that is currently in production.
But Hirsen proves no "overreaction." He claims that producer and director Nick Loeb "initially attempted to be low key about the project, cast and crew so as to forestall the backlash that would inevitably come." But as the Daily Beast reported, Loeb also hid the nature of the film from the crew and from the owners of real-life locations where he tried to film.
Hirsen asserted that "The Beast is apoplectic that the narrator of the story is Dr. Bernard Nathanson (portrayed by Loeb)," a onetime abortion doctor who became an anti-abortion activist. But the Beast article shows no apoplexy over the film's use of Nathanson; it is apoplectic, however about the screenplay's obvious falsehoods (which Hirsen didn't acknowledge other than to complain that the Daily Beast noted the lies in its headline). For instance:
Hirsen also claims: "The untold story includes Planned Parenthood’s scheme to recruit a pregnant girl to file a lawsuit that would create a right to an abortion. According to the film’s description, Nathanson, Betty Friedan and Planned Parenthood searched "the country to find a pregnant girl" that they could "use to sue the government for her right to have an abortion."
But as attorney Hirsen surely knows, finding a plaintiff for the purpose of testing the legality of a law is common, even on the conservatide side. For instance, Dick Heller, the plaintiff in a case that overturned a District of Columbia law restricting gun ownership, plotted for years to mount a legal challenge to the law and eventually hooked up with a libertarian lawyer who "needed plaintiffs" in the form of "media-friendly, law-abiding D.C. residents to serve as the public face of the case."
So desperate is Hirsen to suck up to Loeb and others involved in the film that he touts its executive producer as "Dr. Alveda C. King" even though King's doctorate is honorary, and claimed a cameo by Milo Yiannopoulos merely offers "left-wing discomfort" while not mentioning the fact that he has been shunned by most conservatives (but apparently not Hirsen) for effectively defending pedophilia.
MRC Thinks CNN Is Just Like Infowars. Huh?
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center is doing what was unthinkable not that long ago: defending Alex Jones' conspiracy-laden Infowars operation by insisting that CNN is really no different.
In a July 13 post, Ashley Rae Goldenberg bizarrely takes offense that CNN reporter Oliver Darcy asked Facebook executives why Infowars still has a presence on Facebook despite its current campaign to purge fake news. Goldenberg concedes that Infowars is "known to many for peddling extreme conspiracy theories," but she never details that those claims are beyond offering a link detailing some of them.
Goldenberg then laughably accuses CNN of being no different than Infowars:
Regarding "demonstrably false" stories, Goldenberg cited only two: a story CNN later retracted and that "CNN perpetuated the false “hands up, don’t shoot” narrative surrounding the shooting of Michael Brown." For "conspiracy theoires," Goldenberg cited idle speculation in the immediate aftermath of big stories as facts were coming in. Regarding "personal smears," Goldenberg cited Reza Aslan's "profane insult against President Trump" -- even though that was made on Aslan's personal Twitter account and not anywhere on CNN.
Goldenberg will never admit it -- and nor will her editors, given that they were the same ones who let Tom Blumer's links to white nationalist websites stand without challenge on the NewsBusters website -- but these incidents are a fraction of what CNN does, whereas they are pretty much the entirety of Infowars' offerings. There's a huge difference what Goldenberg claims are CNN's offenses and Infowars' Alex Jones claiming that, for instance, the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax.
But that's not the end of the story. The MRC's activism division, MRC Action, has decided to make this a cause celebre by taking Goldenberg's already ridiculous analogy and ramping it up to ludicrous levels. A July 14 email to readers states (overheated bolding in original):
The MRC doesn't bother to tell its reader that Infowars is not "any media outlet in America" -- it's a nasty purveyor of false and conspiratorial information and it should not be treated the same as CNN or any other media outlet, even the MRC's own highly biased "news" division CNSNews.com.
That the MRC thinks CNN is no different than Infowars shows how much it has given up on "media research" and cares only about being a pro-Trump, anti-media attack dog.
WND Finds A Seth Rich Conspiracy Story Even It Won't Promote
Over the past couple of years, WorldNetDaily has cynically exploited the death of Seth Rich (and just barely avoiding getting sued over said exploitation) as a way to attack the Clintons, for whom it has an obsessive hatred, and to feed its own conspiratorial inclinations.
An anonymous written July 9 WND article pushed the latest conspiratorial development:
WND didn't mention that the Gateway Pundit article was written by a former WND emplolyee, Alicia Powe, who lost her job as WND shed personnel earlier this year in a cost-cutting frenzy to stay alive.
But Burkman's press conference was, to mut it mildly, a disaster. As Right Wing Watch reported, the purported witness appeared only via "an off-white speakerphone from years past resting on a table" and was coached through the call by Burkman, but "reporters in the room—even those largely sympathetic to conspiracy theories about Rich’s murder—left unconvinced" of the purported witness' credibility.
Even Powe -- who pushed Seth Ricih conspiracy theories, particularly those from Burkman, while at WND -- wasn't convinced. Her follow-up story at Gateway Pundit carried the headline "Activists Sully Second Anniversary of Seth Rich Murder with Batsh*t Crazy Press Conference"; the article itself doesn't really back that, instead uncritically repeating what happened at the presser. It's a badly written, badly edited piece that strangely omits Burkman's name as the ringleader of the charade and concludes (typos in original): "If you presume the witness is telling the truth the reasons he would fear for his safety are quite obvious you are dealin with bad feds. Its clear to me a big problem in law intel bureaucracy the government works out of necessity with too many people who have been on the other side of the laws."
Interestingly, WND did no reporting at all on what actually happened at Burkman's presser. Could it be that WND recognized what a fiasco this was and decided not to give it any coverage even though it's still firmly in its conspiratorial wheelhouse?
Perhaps. The shocker here is that WND apparently has standards.
Sunday, July 15, 2018
CNS, WND Play Down Scandals In Reporting on Pruitt's Resignation
The resignation of EPA chief Scott Pruitt amid a lengthy and growing list of scandals and controversies got the ConWeb in the way you'd expect from pro-Trump state media: by heavily downplaying the scandal aspect.
CNS' Melanie Arter led her article on Pruitt's resignation by noting that it came "after months of misconduct allegations" -- but that's the only reference to them. The remainder of Arter's nine-paragraph article is dedicated to repeating President Trump's praise for Ptuitt.
WorldNetDaily's Art Moore began his article by noting the "accusations of multiple ethical failures" against Pruitt, and he later noted that "Government investigators have been looking into Pruitt’s renting of a Capitol Hill condominium linked to an energy lobbyist on favorable terms, the high cost of his travel and security detail and other accusations of mistreatment of employees, wasteful spending and unethical decisions."
But Moore then went on to portray Pruitt as the victim of a "political hit job":
Framing Pruitt's ouster as a conspiracy very much up WND's editorial alley.
Apparently, Mocking Bono Is 'Media Research' At The MRC
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's brand of "media research" is departing further and further from anything substantive and moving closer to just insulting people its writers don't like.
A good example is this July 3 post by Gabriel Hays, who seems more interested in taking potshots at Bono than having anything useful to say:
Of course, actual media criticism is beside the point for Hays when there's a popular musician -- who, unlike Hays or any other MRC employee, has an actual track record of helping people in the world -- to mock for believing things he doesn't.
Saturday, July 14, 2018
WND Columnist Repeats Evidence-Free Rumor of Ex-CIA Chief's Conversion to Islam
When we last checked in on WorldNetDaily columnist John Griffing, he was so busy spewing hate that he couldn't be bothered to get his facts straight. He's still at it.
In the midst of a July 8 WND column spreading his usual anti-liberal hate, Griffing described former CIA director "John 'Benghazi' Brennan" as "a man who once voted for the Communist presidential candidate and may have converted to Islam." Griffing actually gets the first claim right, albeit out of context; Brennan did vote for a communist presidential candidate in 1976 -- but he was a college student at the time, it was a protest vote, and he was hired by the CIA anyway despite admitting the vote.
Griffing's so-called proof that Brennan " may have converted to Islam" is a 2013 WND article quoting the evidence-free claim being made by ex-FBI agent John Guandolo. Griffing didn't mention that -- as we noted at the time -- Guandolo is utterly discredited, having left the FBI after being exposed as a serial philanderer and adulterer who jeopardized a federal investigation by having sex with a witness and trying to get her to donate money to a right-wing "anti-terrorism" organization. Guandolo has still not offered any proof to back up his claim.
So, not exactly the most reliable source. Then again, neither is Griffing.
Friday, July 13, 2018
White Nationalist Links Cost Blumer His NewsBusters Gig
Well, that was quick.
Earlier this week, Media Matters discovered that a 2015 NewsBusters post by contributing editor Tom Blumer linked to an article on the white nationalist site American Renaissance stating in part that "my experience has also taught me that blacks are different by almost any measure to all other people. They cannot reason as well. They cannot communicate as well. They cannot control their impulses as well. They are a threat to all who cross their paths, black and non-black alike." Blumer also linked in a 2017 post to white nationalist site VDARE, benignly suggesting that it is a "center-right" operation.
NewsBusters has since deleted the links and added editor's notes to both posts noting the deletion, adding to one post, "NewsBusters does not associate with known white nationalists." Blumer has not written any new posts since the story broke, despite near-daily contributions before that; he apparently has been fired, as his NewsBusters author bio page now speaks of him in the past tense, calling him a "former contributing editor."
The thing is, Blumer's white-nationalist leanings should not have been a surprise to NewsBusters. Did nobody at the MRC edit his posts and double-check his links? Are they not aware that AmRen and VDARE are white nationalist websites? Blumer's post apparently don't get a lot of editorial scrutiny, given that we've devoted two articles to their shaky logic and general cluelessness about how the media works.
NewsBusters should have known, especially since it had to edit a post to tamp down some of Blumer's more racially inflammatory claims.
As we documented, NewsBusters published a 2016 post by Blumer in which he tried to argue that a poll showing Trump supporters are more likely to believe that blacks are more “lazy” than whites, “less intelligent” than whites, more “rude” than whites, more “violent” than whites and more “criminal” than whites somehow doesn't indicate racist beliefs. The original version of the post on Blumer's BizzyBlog site went even further, desperately trying to blame those conditions regarding blacks on liberal meddling, insisting that "Those who have seen the difference in behavior in real life are going to regretfully agree, without any hint of racism, that blacks in 2016 America on the whole [engage in a particular undesirable behavior] than non-blacks, as much as they sincerely wish it were not so" and that Trump supporters are simply "more willing to recognize those realities."
It's a delicate bit of needle-threading that fails because it still comes off as racist, and NewsBusters should never have published it in the first place -- or, at least, it should have sent up a red flag about the rest of Blumer's content. But given that NewsBusters' editing of Blumer has been on the lax side -- as the direct white-nationalist links show -- he was given a pass that it seems has not been earned.
As of this writing, Blumer hasn't noted his dismissal from NewsBusters on his personal blog, and NewsBusters itself hasn't mentioned it beyond changing his author bio to the past tense. NewsBusters should, however, publicly explain the editorial process that allowed a link to a white nationalist website making explicitly racist statements to get through in the first place, not to mention remaining live for three years.
Self-Unaware: WND's Farah Complains That People Are Doing To Trump What WND Did To Obama
Joseph Farah complains in his June 24 WorldNetDaily column:
As usual, Farah has forgotten what he's been doing for a living the past couple decades. We doubt Farah was concerned about Barack Obama's safety when he peddled lies and fake news about the president for eight years. We also don't recall Farah being offended when Ted Nugent effectively threatened Obama's life in 2007 when he called Obama a "piece of shit" who should "suck on my machine gun"; not only has Nugent never faced any consequences for it, Farah effectively rewarded him for it a few years later by giving him a column at WND with Farah gushing, "Ted Nugent rocks!"
Farah then complained that "what we euphemistically call the 'mainstream media' ... portrays Trump as a criminal, a Nazi, a white supremacist, an uncaring bigot, a let-them-eat-cake billionaire, a sociopath." Farah apparently doesn't remember that WND used most of those words to attack Obama, with the added slur of Antichrist.
Farah is so obtuse (perhaps strategically so) that doesn't see he's criticizing people for doing to Trump what he did to Obama. Unless he can honestly own up to -- and apologize for -- his role in creating the toxic political environment he now decries because it's his guy being targeted instead of him doing the targeting, WND will never be taken seriously.
Thursday, July 12, 2018
CNS Reporter Complains Media Treats 'Socialist ... Latina' Candidate Like CNS Treats Trump
CNSNews.com reporter Susan Jones is such a pro-Trump stenographer that she regularly presents whatever the Trump administration and Trump-promoting Republicans put out without bothering to fact-check. Which makes Jones' June 27 blog post -- in which she complains that a "socialist ... Latina" candidate who won a congressional primary was "not pressed on her agenda":
In other words, Jones is complaining that "Morning Joe" gave Ocasio-Cortez the same treatment she gives the Trump administration.
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