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Sunday, August 5, 2018
CNS Echoes White House Attacks on Ex-CIA Director Brennan

We've detailed how the pro-Trump stenographers at rushed to do damage control for President Trump following the infamous press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki -- which included playing down the suggestion from former CIA director John Brennan that Trump committed "treason" in his obsequiousness to Putin, as well as CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey complaining that "Former CIA Director John Brennan never accused his old boss Barack Obama of 'treasonous' behavior" when Obama told then-leader Dmitry Medvedev that he would have "more flexibility" to negotiate with Russia after the 2012 election. 

Now CNS is doing the Trump White House's bidding in attacking Brennan for making the suggestion.

On July 19, CNS managing editor Michael W. Chapman quoted Republican Sen. Rand Paul claiming that Brennan "started his illustrious career by voting for the Communist Party." That led to a harangue from Chapman claiming that the Communist Party in the U.S. "was always loyal to the USSR, a totalitarian regime responsible for more than 25 million deaths." But Paul is misleading; as we've noted, Brennan voted for the communist as a protest vote while a college student, not while a CIA employee, and he disclosed the vote during the CIA hiring process.

An article the same day from Gavi Greenspan favorably quoted Republican Rep. John Kennedy trashing Brennan as "lost in a sea of dumb." Greenspan also noted apropos of noting that Brennan voted for a communist but omitted the fact it was a protest vote and done before he joined the CIA.

A July 20 article by Susan Jones quoted Paul again, this time saying it's "alarming" that Brennan still has a security clearance even though he, in Jones' words, "attacks the president on Twitter and now works as an analyst for MSNBC." Jones also included screenshots of Brennan's tweets to show "the general flavor of his recent tweets."

CNS then joined the bandwagon to  get Brennan's security clearance pulled for criticizing Trump. Dutiful Sarah Sanders stenographer Melanie Arter cheerfully highlighted how the White House is considering pulling the security clearances of Brennan and other former intelligence officials because they purportedly "politicized" and "monetized" those clearances, and intern Max Augros was sent out to ask House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer: "Former CIA Director John Brennan has publicly declared the sitting president ‘treasonous.’ Should he be permitted to keep his security clearance?" Another intern, Emilie Cochran, had to write an article quoting Paul Ryan as saying that Trump is "trolling" people by calling for those security clearances to be pulled.

We presume the Trump White House couldn't be prouder of CNS for regurgitating its andi-Brennan talking points so faithfully.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:55 PM EDT
MRC Makes Excuses for Trump -- Then Denies That's What It's Doing
Topic: Media Research Center

Peter Sifre began a July 18 Media Research Center post by a surprising admission by a pro-Trump organization: "Let’s face it: Trump had a rough press conference in Helsinki on Monday." Sifre then immediately kicked into spin mode, insisting that "this does not excuse hyperbolic responses on the part of the media" and touting how "On Monday’s edition of Hannity, radio star Mark Levin appeared to offer some historical context."

Sifre should have mentioned the MRC's cross-promotional business relationship with Levin somewhere in his post by way of disclosing a relevant conflict of interest, but he didn't.

After noting allegations that Trump, among other things, committed treason in the Putin presser in Helsinki -- which presumably come from individual commentators, which Levin and Sifre are falsely conflating as being made by the entire "liberal media" -- Sfire touted how Levin "then proceeded to give a history lesson of past foreign policy blunders with the Soviet Union" and "later criticized the Obama Administration for its action, or lack thereof regarding Russian aggression and expansion."

As long as we're going to take the whataboutism route, it's worth noting the times that the MRC's "news" division,, provided a willing platform for hyperbolic "treason" attacks on President Obama and others during the Obama years:

  • It published a 2015 column by right-wing activist J. Matt Barber claimed Obama committed treason with a prisoner exchange to release captive U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl, declaring that "Just a few short decades ago this anti-American Marxist would not only have been accused of treason, he would have been tried for it."
  • A 2016 blog post by CNS managing editor Michael W. Chapman cheered how Republican Rep. Trent Franks said that Obama's criticism of Israel for establishing settlements in disputed East Jerusalem will "send Barack Obama's name down the corridor of history as an overt traitor to the state of Israel." Franks didn't explain how someone can be a "traitor" to another country where that person has never resided.
  • A 2012 article uncritically promoted "A new petition posted on the 'We the People' page of the White House website" that "calls for trying Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) in federal court for treason" for proposing a law to stop the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
  • A 2010 column by Alan Caruba declared that the Obama ad,ministration's plan for a cap-and-trade carbon credit plan was "treason."
  • And just a few days ago, MRC senior fellow Allen West was upset that the media did "not ramble on about treason" regarding Obama's 2012 hot-mic comment to then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he would have more "flexibility" after the election -- ironic since a 2012 article quoted Rep. Darrell Issa effectively doing just that, stating that "I judge that in fact he’s going to sell out our national defense after the election."

Hyperbolic claims of treason are not limited to the Obama years, though: A February article by Chapman highlighted how a partisan memo by Republican Rep. Devin Nunes on the FBI's use of FISA warrants "showed 'clear and convincing evidence of treason' and that he is sending a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions seeking 'prosecution' against the FBI's James Comey and Andrew McCabe and the DOJ's Sally Yates and Rod Rosenstein."

At the end of all this, Sifre declares: "None of this is a reason to make excuses for Trump’s blunders during the press conference in Helsinki. However, Levin correctly pointed out the media’s double standard when it comes to insufficient response to Russian encroachment when a Democrat is in power."

In fact, whataboutism is very much a form of excuse-making. If Trump hadn't screwed up so badly in Helsinki, there would be no need for Levin to come to Fox News to spin things -- and for Sifre to write it up with such detail. The MRC is pro-Trump state media, after all, and it must do such things on behalf of its leader.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:42 PM EDT
Saturday, August 4, 2018
Irony Abounds In WND Managing Editor's Defense of Trump, His Employer
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In his monthly-or-so plea for money, WorldNetDaily managing editor David Kupelian serves up some unintentional irony:

We are living in amazing but unsettling times. Millions of Americans – while more grateful than ever that they “dodged a bullet” in 2016 by electing Donald Trump and avoiding the sheer horror of a Hillary Clinton presidency – are increasingly appalled at the ongoing campaign to undo the results and promise of that election.

We are bombarded daily with increasingly bizarre and surreal news reports. Like the outrageously biased Mueller investigation into Trump’s non-existent “Russia collusion.” Like embarrassingly deranged Democrat leaders Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters constantly claiming President Trump is mentally incompetent and must be impeached. Like the Washington “swamp” – which includes treacherous, self-serving, never-Trump establishment Republicans – working daily to undermine America’s duly elected president as he tirelessly keeps his promises to revive America’s economy, stop the tidal wave of illegal immigration, protect America from terrorists, and successfully pursue the Reagan policy of “peace through strength” in North Korea, Iran and other potential nuclear powder kegs around the world.

“The swamp” is using all the forces at its disposal to discredit and block every good, sensible, job-saving, freedom-saving and life-saving policy the Trump administration tries to implement.

Kupelian seems to have forgotten (as it often does) that he and WND did to President Obama what he claims others are doing to Trump. Bizarre and surreal "news" reports? Check. Embarrassingly deranged people declaring Obama is mentally incompetent and must be impeached? Check and check. Working daily to undermine America’s duly elected president? You betcha.

Kupelian's irony continues:

As a veteran journalist, I can say unequivocally that today’s “mainstream” news establishment is more unprofessional, unprincipled, unhinged, biased, lazy, dishonest, corrupt – and, in some cases, flat-out insane – than at any time during my 35 years as a newsman.

Indeed, as I wrote in “The Marketing of Evil,” in today’s America “no institution is more complicit in making evil appear good and good appear evil” than the news media.

But, really, what could be more unprofessional, biased, lazy, dishonest, corrupt -- and, in some cases, flat-out insane -- and the tide of fake news and Islamophobia WND has unleashed upon us? It's also worth noting that WND has yet to publicly renounce its relationship with Paul Nehlen, the far-right Wisconsin congressional candidate who became toxic when he went hard on anti-Semitism and white nationalism.

Kupelian then declared that "one thing that is critically needed is a genuinely truth-oriented, pro-American alternative media to counteract the treacherous performance of the elite “mainstream” press," then laughably claimed that "for 21 years WND has been at the forefront of this movement, having in large measure launched the 'real news' revolution as the first independent online news-gathering company."

So sucking up to Trump is "real news" now? WND's eight-year Obama birther obsession is "real news"?

What Kupelian insists is WND "fighting the good fight" is, in reality, nothing more than partisan hack-job propaganda. It seems he's drunk too much of the conspiratorial Kool-Aid to understand the difference.

Like his boss, Joseph Farah, Kupelian will never admit that WND's years of said hackish propaganda -- not any grand conspiracy by Google and Facebook, whose bias is toward factual journalism, not the fake, biased news WND loves -- is why WND is circling the drain -- again -- and why these two leaders must continually beg readers for money.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:51 AM EDT
Friday, August 3, 2018
Bill Donohue Just Can't Stop Making Dishonest Anti-Gay Attacks

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League began his July 23 column by declaring, "Any honest observer of the priestly sexual abuse scandal knows that the lion's share of the molestation was committed by homosexuals, not pedophiles." Of course, any honest observer also understands that Donohue is not an honest observer. He proves it again in the second paragraph of his column:

The most exhaustive study on this issue was done by researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and they concluded that less than five percent of the predators were pedophiles. Indeed, 81 percent of the victims were male, and 78 percent were post-pubescent, meaning that homosexuality—not heterosexuality or pedophilia—was in play.

As we've documented, Donohue has repeatedly blamed homosexuality for the sexual abuse scandals, even though the authors of the John Jay study warned critics not to confuse behavior with orientation because no connection was found between homosexual identity and sexual abuse.

Donohue then complained that a Washington Post article argued that homophobia in the church has kept gay priests from dealing with sexuality issues in a healthy manner. In response, Donohue dragged out the old right-wing trope of blaming the 1960s "sexual revolution" and, more specifrically, the end of "traditionalism" in the church, baselessly asserting that "The sexual abuse of minors was infinitesimal in the 1950s and exploded in the 1970s."He then huffed:

This is not a plea for punishing homosexual priests. It is a plea to abide by the policy adopted by Pope Benedict XVI: men with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” should not be welcomed in the seminaries. That stricture has served the Church well since it was adopted in 2005: the decline in new cases of sexual abuse has been dramatic, and is almost non-existent in the United States today.

Two months ago, Pope Francis picked up on this discussion, strongly backing the position of his predecessor. “These tendencies, when they are ‘deeply rooted,’ and the practice of homosexual acts, can compromise the life of the seminary beyond that of the young man himself and his eventual future priesthood.” Well said.

Blaming “homophobia” is a dodge. It is employed as justification for recreating the very milieu that created the problem in the first place. We should never want to return to a time when good heterosexual men left the seminaries because they were surrounded by gay men acting out with impunity.

Donohue blaming homosexuality is also a dodge, especially since he continues to insist on deliberately misreading the John Jay report. He offers no evidence to support his claim that "good heterosexual men left the seminaries because they were surrounded by gay men acting out with impunity."

Donohue is anti-gay, and claiming he's not in favor of "punishing homosexual priests" does nothing to dispel that impression.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:47 AM EDT
Thursday, August 2, 2018
MRC's Double Standard on Purple Heart Satire
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Kristine Marsh huffed in a July 13 post:

All three networks came to the Democrats’ defense Friday morning after the heated Congressional hearing Thursday where lawmakers questioned anti-Trump FBI agent Peter Strzok about his biased role involved in the Clinton and Russia investigations. ABC, NBC and CBS didn’t hide their contempt for Republicans questioning Strzok, while they touted Democrats, ironically, as the ones were trying to uphold justice. Not only that, while they highlighted one Republican’s over-the-top line of questioning, they flatly ignored Democrats who also went over the line, absurdly calling for Strzok to get a “Purple Heart.”


What else was inappropriate that CBS didn’t have time for? Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen telling Strzok that he deserved a “Purple Heart” for having to endure these questions. That also happened during the hearing:

"Mr. Strzok, I don't know where to start. If I could give you a Purple Heart, I would. You deserve one,” he gushed to Strzok, before going on to complain Republicans were simply trying to distract from the Mueller investigation.

That distinguished honor is of course awarded to those who are injured or killed in the line of duty. A far cry from one FBI agent having to answer a few tough questions.

This newfound concern over a military medal -- under a headline calling the idea of giving one to a civilian for facing hostile congressional questioning "offensive" -- is much different from the MRC's reaction to a different mocking use of it. In a August 2004 item, the MRC defended attendees at the Republican National Convention wearing bandages featuring a purple-shaped heart, justifying it because they were "meant to make light of John Kerry earning purple hearts in Vietnam for superficial wounds," and cheering how Newt Gingrich found them "funny."

The MRC's Rich Noyes complained that anti-Kerry forces who participated in the partisan, dubious Jerome Corsi book "Unfit for Command" weren't being covered to their satisfaction, complaining that  a controversy over the Purple Hearts Kerry was awarded for his service in Vietnam was a "one-day story, even though the records Kerry released failed to include the paperwork supporting the Purple Heart award."

It's so weird that the MRC wasn't bothered by partisan attacks on one man's Purple Hearts that dismiss them as meaningless, while defending their honor when it's politically expedient.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:19 AM EDT
WND Launches Yet Another Campaign To Beg Readers For Money; Farah Still Won't Admit His Fake-News Problem
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It's a new month -- which means, as it turns out, that WND needs more money ... again.

WND editor Joseph Farah began his July 29 column by declaring: "You’ve been reading the headlines about the war Google, Facebook and the rest of the Internet Cartel have been waging against conservatives, Christians and independent media like WND. Of course, I have been telling you about this since January of this year – candidly, openly, no holds barred, no sugar-coating."

In fact, Farah has been decidedly less than candid in his previous begging-for-money efforts, being obtuse about exactly what its financial situation is and where all the money readers are giving him is going. Surprisingly, though, Farah is being a little more candid, giving us actual numbers at last to illustrate WND's financial situation:

We’ve seen our revenues plunge from $10 million in 2016, to $6 million in 2017, to what is expected to be about $4 million in 2018, if we’re lucky. This is a direct result of years of discrimination, bias, hatred, mischaracterizations, skewed algorithms designed to favor leftist, anti-God media and worldviews, which all of these corporations share.

Unfortunately, Farah is continuing to ignore the fact that WND's own highly biased and too-frequently-false content is a key factor in WND's continuing downward spiral (unless "bias" and "hatred" is referring to WND's own editorial policies). His insistence on blaming others for his situation -- plus apparently taking his eye off WND's financial ball to write a book -- isn't really distracting from the elephant in the room.

The deflection continues later in his column, whining that "Those who stand up for God, righteousness, basic morality, liberty, family, free enterprise, smaller government, borders, national sovereignty, the Constitution and the will of the people are called 'haters,' 'Nazis,' 'fascists,' 'racists' and worse" -- conveniently ignoring that his website called Obama many of those same things (and worse).

After once again making the bogus declaration that WND is part of the "independent media," Farah got down to the nitty-gritty: WND needs "a minimum of $100,000 in August to make ends meet," plus by Farah's aforementioned book, which apparently "is an important part of WND’s recovery, rebirth and revitalization plan for later this year."

Perhaps if Farah was even more candid and described that "recovery, rebirth and revitalization plan," WND might raise even more money.

But apparently he's holding that back. Farah's column the next day once again touted "the future revitalization of WND later this year, once again framed the failure of WND as the death of the First Amendment, once again failed to discuss WND's problematic content as a factor in its death spiral and even more laughably portrayed WND as among "the few remaining journalistic voices of fairness and balance." Really, Joe: has WND ever been the first media outlet anyone thinks of when the words "fairness" and "balance" come to mind?

Farah did offer a little more information about how its crowdfuinding effort went earlier this year, saying it raised "about $300,000" in the first three months of 2018 -- but he didn't itemize where that money went.

Farah's July 31 column was more of the same deflection and name-calling: conspiratorial ranting about the "Internet Cartel" conspiring against WND and the "the fascistic thuggery of the left-wing zealots in control of communications," calling the Southern Poverty Law Center "terrorists" for documenting right-wing hate (including at WND), and ignoring the fact that conspiratorial ranting helped get WND to this point.

In his Aug. 1 column, Farah complained about WND's "revenues collapsing thanks to the Internet Cartel’s vicious anti-Donald Trump predilection, then mixed a little more candidness with even more conspiracy-mongering:

We’re operating on the edge. But we weren’t through 2016. Our revenues were quite predictable from 2010 through 2016 – pretty much always around $10 million or greater. But no one got rich at WND – not me, not other shareholders, not other employees. Instead, if we grew, we plowed those resources into more content, more reporting, better reporting, better books and more of them – movies too.

It all came crashing down so quickly after the 2016 election there can be no other explanation as to its cause. The Internet Cartel was going to make WND and other independent media pay for the election of Donald Trump.

Farah still insists on refusing to recognize the truth: If the "Internet Cartel" is punishing WND for anything, it's for publishing fake news. And he doesn't even seem to believe that purveyors of fake news should be punished.

Until and unless Farah can address WND's lengthy history of problematic content, WND has not earned the right to continue existing. All the begging for money Farah does will never counteract that basic fact.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:08 AM EDT
Wednesday, August 1, 2018
Compare and Contrast

Pompeo Reacts to Shrieking Heckler: ‘If There Were Only So Much Freedom of Expression in Iran’

A heckler who interrupted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s speech on Sunday night in support of the Iranian people got little sympathy from the audience or from her target, who used the disturbance to underline his message about the plight of those living under the regime in Tehran.

Pompeo was speaking at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi, Calif. about the regime’s abuses at home and policies abroad when a woman began shouting slogans to the effect that “the Trump-Pence regime is kidnapping children.”

The audience, who had given Pompeo an enthusiastic reception, immediately broke into loud boos.

Pompeo waited, smiling patiently, as the yelling continued, and as the audience response morphed into chants of “U.S.A., U.S.A. ...”

Then he said, “if there were only so much freedom of expression in Iran,” drawing more cheers before proceeding with his speech.

-- Patrick Goodenough, July 22 blog post

Responding to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s warning Sunday that a war with Iran would be “the mother of all wars,” President Trump used his Twitter feed for a warning of his own directed at the regime in Tehran.



-- Patrick Goodenough, July 22 CNS blog post

(The contrast: Goodenough didn't refer to Trump as "shrieking" or "yelling" even though tweeting in all caps is the Twitter equivalent of yelling. Also, the Pompeo post has a note describing it as "corrected" without detailing what, exactly, was corrected.)

Posted by Terry K. at 1:54 PM EDT
WND Just Can't Let The Obama Birther Thing Go
Topic: WorldNetDaily

One big reason why WorldNetDaily is currently in a perpetual state of financial crisis is that it squandered what little journalistic credibility it had in a war on Barack Obama, a key component of which was pushing the biggest fake-news story of the past decade: that Obama was ineligible to be president because he was not born in the U.S. and that his birth certificates were forgeries.

For the second time this year despite Obama long being out of office, WND took a dip in the birther cesspool in an anonymously written July 22 article:

Why do so many Americans still believe Barack Obama was born in Kenya?

Maybe because he keeps insisting it’s so.

He did again last week, while visiting his ancestral homeland of Kogelo.

Participating in the opening of Sauti Kuu Resource Center, a youth facility built by his half-sister, Auma Obama, he said: “Now, three years ago, I visited Kenya as the first sitting American president to come from Kenya. When I was president it was a little bit harder to get up here cause my plane didn’t fit the tarmac up here.”

WND is deliberately misquoting Obama. He did not say he was born in Kenya, he said that he "c[a]me from Kenya" -- not the same thing, and an indisputable fact given the Kenyan heritage of his father (though WND has occasionally insisted that Obama's real father is Frank Marshall Davis).

Yet WND still want to relitigate the whole birther thing by repeating false claims by others that Obama was born in Kenya: "So, which is it – native-born son of Kenya, native-born son of Hawaii or native-born citizen of the world?"

And WND seems a little bitter that its birther obsession ruined it:

While allies of the former president have been quick to blame his political enemies for continuing to plant doubt about Obama’s constitutional eligibility to occupy the White House, obviously not all the assertions being made come from so-called “birthers,” a term of derision used by his friends and supporters.

In fact, some of his friends and supporters in Kenya still insist he was born there.

Even Michelle Obama referred to Kenya as “his home country.”

Had WND chosen to act like the "news" operation it claims to be and honestly reported the entire truth about Obama's eligibility instead of promoting liars, charlatans and opportunists like Jerome Corsi, Joe Arpaio and Joel Gilbert, it wouldn't have to be so bitter about being dismissed as the birther obsessive it is

Because it didn't report honestly, WND continues to circle the drain and Joseph Farah is begging for money. Again. (More on that soon.)

Posted by Terry K. at 1:23 AM EDT
Tuesday, July 31, 2018
Newsmax Joins In Post-Putin Damage Control for Trump
Topic: Newsmax

The Donald Trump-Vladimir Putin press conference was such a disaster for Trump that Trump sycophants from all over (i.e. had to go into damage control mode. Even Newsmax had to rush to defend Trump in the aftermath.

David Patten cranked out a piece hidden behind its "Platinum" paywall titled "Sanctions Galore! The 22 Times Trump Has Slapped Down Putin," in which he insisted that Trump "already has been much tougher on the Russians than Barack Obama was during his entire presidency."

Meanwhile, Newsmax chief and Trump buddy Christopher Ruddy made a TV appearance making the same point, effectively arguing that whatever Trump said during the presser doesn't matter:

Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy said Sunday that President Donald Trump drew on his 50-year experience in business, where “words are not so much important as concrete actions,” in his summit with Vladimir Putin, and likely got “huge concessions” from the Russian leader.

In an interview on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” with Brian Stelter, Ruddy, a longtime friend of Trump, lamented the relentless criticism by the mainstream media of a president who is “new at his job.”

“I think the president made missteps, he admitted he misspoke,” Ruddy said of Trump’s controversial remarks about Russian meddling during a joint news conference with Putin. “But the idea I've heard on your program for the past 40 minutes, [columnist] Max Boot saying [Trump] was colluding in open daylight, he's engaging in treason, this is beyond belief.”

Trump’s a “relatively new president” who for 50 years has “been a business guy.”

“As a business guy, words are not so much as important as the concrete actions of the deal,” Ruddy said. He added that although he didn’t speak to Trump about his one-on-one Putin meeting, “my guess is [Trump] got huge concessions, the meeting went better than anyone expected. He thought ‘I’m going to be overly nice to this guy.’”

Ruddy noted “we'll see in the next coming months” if his guess is correct, but declared that Trump “didn’t want to go into meetings having a weak nuclear arsenal,” and before the summit, got NATO to increase military spending and has increased U.S. military spending.

“This is not a friend of Russia,” Ruddy said.

And when pressed why he seemed to talk like a friend, Ruddy explained it was because of his “negotiating style.”

“Go beyond the words and look at his concrete actions,” Ruddy said, asking: “Why would he put people like [Secretary of State] Mike Pompeo, [national security adviser] John Bolton, and [Defense Secretary] James Mattis, who are all Russia hawks, in key positions?”

Spoken like a true Trump believer.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:37 PM EDT
WND Becomes Putin's Stenographer, Pushes His Bogus Anti-Hillary Claim
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've noted how uncritically promoted Russian President Vladimir Putin's assertion that a critic of his, Bill Browder, donated $400 million to Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign while not bothering to mention the fact that it's false.

An anonymous WorldNetDaily writer did the same thing in a July 16 article:

A quip by Russian President Vladimir Putin during his conference in Helsinki with President Donald Trump that ‘business associates” sent $400 million to Hillary Clinton’s campaign has sparked a long list of questions.

Tyler Durden at ZeroHedge discussed the comment.

“Vladimir Putin made a bombshell claim during Monday’s joint press conference with President Trump in Helsinki, Finland, when the Russian president said some $400 million in illegally earned profits was funneled to the Clinton campaign by associates of American-born British financier Bill Browder – at one time the largest foreign portfolio investor in Russia. The scheme involved members of the U.S. intelligence community, said Putin, who he said ‘accompanied and guided these transactions.'”

ZeroHedge is a fringe blog prone to publishing fake news -- which WND should know, having published fake news from ZeroHedge a couple years back. Also, "Tyder Durden" is not a real person; it's a pseudonym for a group of writers that post at the website. That tells you how far WND has fallen -- it has to outsource its fake news.

Needless to say, WND has not updated its story to point out the $400 million claim is false -- heck, even Putin himself has walked it back, now saying it was just $400,000 (which appears to also be false). Instead , WND rehashes ZeroHedge's attack on Browder, which claims that Browder "allegedly was behind the 2012 Magnitsky Act" but skips the part about how he died in a Russian prison after allegedly uncovering tax fraud committed by the Russian government against Browder's businesses. (The fake-name ZeroHedge piece blames Browder and Magnitsky for the alleged fraud, citing ... the Russian government.)

By serving as Putln's stenographer, WND is, in effect, promoting Russian propaganda. That's not how one regains the credibility to remain a viable "news" operation.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:09 PM EDT
MRC's Spin on Stormy Daniels Arrest Is Falling Apart
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Kyle Drennen huffed in a July 12 post:

On Thursday, all three network morning shows promoted the conspiracy theory that the arrest of porn star Stormy Daniels at an Ohio strip club for misdemeanor sex offences was a “politically motivated” “sting operation” designed to embarrass the adult film actress, who accused President Trump of having an affair with her in 2006. The NBC, ABC, and CBS broadcasts all touted such claims from Daniels’ media hound attorney Michael Avenatti.

Drennen's post isn't aging well so far. CNN is reporting that appears Daniels was indeed targeted for arrest; newly released emails between officers in Columbus, Ohio -- where she was arrested following a performance at a strip club there -- reveal that included photos and videos of Daniels and a map to the club, and that one officer was "seemingly giddy about the arrest after the fact."

Given the MRC's historic refusal to correct fake news that appears on its website, you will not be surprised to learn that neither Drennen nor anyone else at the MRC has reported this development, which puts his dismissal of the "conspiracy theory" into serious doubt.

The MRC has, however, published a column by Tim Graham and Brent Bozell attacking Daniels' lawyer, Michael Avenatti, for appearing on TV too much for their liking -- which tells us that they would like the whole Daniels story to be censored -- and a rant from right-wing radio host Mark Levin, a propagandist pushing an agenda, attacking the "liberal media" for being "propagandists who push an agenda" because they reported on Daniels:

Stormy Daniels is a non-story. Stormy Daniels is a non-story. It was a non-disclosure agreement apparently signed. So why is there a story? Because she’s violating a non-disclosure agreement. They’re trying to embarrass the President. So what? Week after week after week after week. A porn star, the media, mainstreams a porn star and her crackpot, slip-and-fall lawyer.

We suspect that Levin didn't think a president having sex with a woman not his wife was a "non-story" when said president was a Democrat.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:25 AM EDT
Monday, July 30, 2018
WND's Farah Redefines 'Independent' To Falsely Portray WND As That
Topic: WorldNetDaily

For years, WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah has laughably insisted his "news" organzation is "independent," despite it having an obvious right-wing editorial agenda that colors its "news" coverage. Farah finally offered a defintion of the term in his June 25 column -- which he conveniently redefines to fit what he thinks WND is:

I founded the very first independent online news-gathering company in 1997 – some 21 years ago. We’ve faced many crises over those two decades, but nothing like we are experiencing at the hands of this cartel that shares a worldview so narrow, so tyrannical, so bullying and so disrespectful of dissent that all five of these companies count on an extremist organization called the Southern Poverty Law Center to help them police content. Is that a coincidence?

The combined clout of these companies makes them the de facto gatekeepers of all media in the U.S. If they like your content, it is treated favorably. If they don’t like your content, they treat you … well, harshly. That means your content doesn’t show up in searches, you don’t get much if any advertising, social media outreach is strictly limited. Thus, independent media are in crisis. They’re dying – and not slowly. It may be too late to save what’s left.

What do I mean by independent media? WND was the first, aside from the DrudgeReport, which is a genre all its own – perhaps the inspiration for all efforts that followed.

  1. I use the term to describe media efforts created specifically for the digital online age. When I started WND, I was a refugee of the so-called “mainstream” print media. I saw in the promise of the internet, a chance to level the playing field in such a way that an upstart, strictly digital enterprise could compete head to head with the corporate media established in the print and broadcasting era. For 20 years, we proved it could work. Others followed. Another old dearly departed friend of mine, Andrew Breitbart, took it to new heights with Tucker Carlson introduced innovations at the Daily Caller before moving on to Fox where he has become one of the finest hosts on cable news. Glenn Beck left television to start There are now dozens of such efforts. And they are all experiencing what I am experiencing – a fight for survival, with some closer to losing than others, but none with answers for long-term prosperity.
  2. Independent media are also defined by independent thinking. We don’t all agree politically. But we all agree the establishment media are part of the problem, not part of the solution.
  3. Independent media also tend to be skeptical of Big Government and other big institutions, cultural, corporate, political or otherwise.

Note that all the websites Farah lists are right-wing sites like his. Pushing a right-wing ideology through a biased editorial agenda is not "independent thinking" at all. And being "skeptical of Big Government and other big institutions, cultural, corporate, political or otherwise" is another tenet of right-wing orthodoxy.

There is no independence at WND. There might have been at one time early on, when it dared to break from the Republican agenda during the 2000 election and admit that few voters were discouraged from the polls in Florida when the networks mistakenly called Florida for Gore while some polls in the state were still open, forgetting that the Florida panhandle is in a different time zone than the rest of the state. But since then, Farah and WND have renounced true editorial independence to be pro-Bush, then anti-Obama, and now pro-Trump.

A truly independent media outlet reports facts without fear or favor -- something that can't said about WND, where agenda always comes first.

If Farah can't honestly tell readers what his website does, WND doesn't really deserve to live, despite Farah's bogus framing that WND going out of business means the death of the First Amendment.

Meanwhile, WND is sliding into yet another existential crisis. More on that later...

Posted by Terry K. at 10:56 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, July 31, 2018 8:58 AM EDT
CNS Becomes Putin's Stenographer, Defends Trump After His Disastrous Putin Presser

We've already noted how uncritically regurgitated a falsehood from President Trump in reporting on his performance during his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin. But that's far from the only pro-Trump stenography service CNS performed in order to spin away Trump's disastrous performance.

CNS led up to the Trump-Putin meeting with an article by Melanie Arter quoting a Republican senator repating the Trump-GOP line that Russian meddling in the 2016 election did not change the outcome, while Susan Jones quoted Rand Paul saying international election medding is no big deal because everybody does it.

Arter also did some pro-Putin stenography, uncritically quoting the Russian leader claiming that he didn't know Trump was in Moscow in 2013, the time frame in which some of the incidents in Steele dossier are alleged to have taken place -- something that is likely not true given that Trump personally invited Putin to the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow, which Trump owned at the time, and that Putin planned to attend but canceled at the last minute. Arter also asserted that the Steele dossier is "discredited," which is also not true.

Arter served up even more pro-Putin stenography in another article uncritically quoting how Putin "offered to allow Special Counsel Robert Mueller and U.S. officials to travel to Russia to witness the questioning of the 12 Russian intelligence officers that were indicted by a U.S. grand jury last week of hacking the computers of the Democratic National Committee in an effort to interfere with the 2016 election." Arter also repeated Putin's attack on "Putin critic and CEO of London-based Hermitage Capital Management Bill Browder, saying Browder allegedly contributed $400 million to Hillary Clinton’s campaign." Arter didn't mention that Putin's claim about Browder is false.

As the bad reviews for Trump's performance rolled in, it was time for CNS to go into defense mode. An article by Patrick Goodenough complained that "Former Obama administration officials came out firing in response to President Trump’s press conference comments with Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him variously of treasonous behavior, siding with Russia against his own country, “bowing to Putin” and having become a threat to U.S. national interests." Goodenough waited until the 22nd paragraph of his 24-paragraph article to admit that "some leading Republicans did voice concern about the press conference statements." Jones also provided Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer criticizing Trump.

Another article from Goodenough went even more defensive: "President Trump’s press conference remarks in Helsinki are drawing fire from Democrats and Republicans at home, but one thing he did not do publicly was announce any concessions or tempering of administration policies that have arguably been tougher on Russia than those of his predecessors." Arter later reported that Trump "clarifed his comments on the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election, saying that he agrees with their conclusion," then followed up with another White House clarification on Trump's remarks about whether he believed that Russia is still targeting the U.S.

Meanwhile, Michael W. Chapman called up Republican Rand Paul to accuse Trump's critics of having "Trump Derangement Syndrome," while Gavi Greenspan quoted Republican leader Paul Ryan denying that Trump committed treason in his obsequiousness to Putin and Max Augros quoted another Republican congressman similarly denying it -- both in response to former CIA director John Brennan making the accusation.

Capping all of this off was a column by CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey complaining that "Former CIA Director John Brennan never accused his old boss Barack Obama of 'treasonous' behavior" when Obama told then-leader Dmitry Medvedev that he would have "more flexibility" to negotiate with Russia after the 2012 election. Curiously, not only did Jeffrey never argue why such a statement might have been treasonous, Jeffrey never identifies Obama as the president anywhere in his column, though he does reference "President Donald Trump."

Jeffrey was also in cleanup mode as well: "Yes, Trump's statement suggesting he accepted Putin's denial of Russian interference in the 2016 election — despite the conclusion of the U.S. intelligence community — was wrong. But the next day, Trump admitted as much, saying he misspoke."

The fact that CNS has to do so much cleanup and deflection tells us just how insanely pro-Trump they have become.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:07 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, July 30, 2018 7:13 PM EDT
WND Columnist Disappears Eight Years Of Right-Wingers Treating Obama Like A Manchurian Candidate
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Rich Logis rants in a July 17 WorldNetDaily column:

“Constitutional crisis” and “Democrat” have never been more closely aligned. Considering all the dangers of the Democratic Party – exploiting our youth into Redcoat Hitler Youth gun-control activists and violence against fellow Americans who don’t share their political beliefs, to name just two – one under-the-radar danger will soon, I expect, become over the radar:

The Democrats will never, ever again accept presidential election losses.

So what’s to stop them from ever accepting congressional losses, either in the House or Senate? What about gubernatorial and state elections? Local? School board? Dog catcher?

But in all his ranting about how Democrats questioned the legitimacy of Republican presidents and treated him as a "Manchurian candidate" for winning the Electoral College but not the popular vote, Logis curiously omits the eight years that right-wingers questioned Barack Obama's legitimacy and pushed bogus conspiracy theories about where he was born. Heck, the website that publishes Logis' column issued an anti-Obama book called "The Manchurian President."

It's unclear whether Logis ever promoted anti-Obama conspiracy theories -- his day job is that of a right-wing radio host --  but given that he writes things like "We must view the Democratic Party and their sycophantic voters, addicted to the anti-Trump occult and the DMIC, the Democrat Media Industrial Complex, like the Allies viewed the Nazis: as an existential threat to (lowercase d) democratic institutions and, in our case, constitutional institutions" tells us he was likely a carrier of Obama Derangement Syndrome.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:56 AM EDT
Sunday, July 29, 2018
MRC's Double Standard On Religious Insults Involving Ben Shapiro
Topic: Media Research Center

Alec Sears huffed in a July 2 Media Research Center post:

Late Saturday night Joshua Topolsky, Co-Founder of The Verge, tweeted a hideous statement directed at prominent Jewish, conservative pundit, Ben Shapiro. The since-deleted tweet read, ”Ben Shapiro is the Jew who helps other Jews onto the train.” Topolsky has not apologized, and claimed to have deleted the tweet because “a mob of right wing babies were flooding my mentions.” Topolsky also said he received death threats over the tweet.

Sears added that "Conservative Twitter discovered the tweet on Sunday and lept to Shapiro’s defense." Sears doesn't mention, however, that Shapiro himself has engaged in similar Holocaust-referencing insults.

As we've noted, in a 2010 column ranting about President Obama's purported "anti-Semitism" -- published by the MRC's "news" division, -- Shapiro declared that then-Obama White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel "is a kapo" (Shapiro also laughably described himself as"a charter member of the tribe" -- which, unless he was born several thousand years ago, is almost certainly not true.) Later that year, Shapiro asserted in a tweet that George Soros is a "kapo."

A "kapo" was the term used for trustee prisoners in Nazi concentration camps -- some of them Jewish -- who supervised other prisoners and carried out the will of the Nazi commandants.

The MRC did not notice these nasty insults, let alone call him out on them -- though it once got outraged that someone on TV used the word to attack black Tea Party members, and a 2016 post by Brad Wilmouth appears to condone U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman's declaration that liberal Jewish groups who advocate a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are "kapos." Shapiro only recently semi-apologized for the Emanuel insult -- though not for the Soros insult -- admitting it was "probably too charged."

We're not defending Topolsky's tweet here, just putting it in context with the level of vitriol Shapiro himself has engaged in -- something the MRC has no interest in doing here because that weakens its case.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:47 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, July 29, 2018 12:42 PM EDT

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