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Friday, January 25, 2019
The MRC's Continuing War on Fact-Checkers
Topic: Media Research Center

Because President Trump and his administration are constantly spreading falsehoods, the Media Research Center must try to discredit fact-checkers. Let's take a look at a few recent MRC posts to see how that war is going.

Tim Graham, in ragebot mode yet again, was very mad that Trump was fact-checked during his Oval Office address regarding his government shutdown over border wall funding. He further whined that Trump's statement that Sen. Chuck Schumer "has repeatedly supported a physical barrier in the past" was found to be misleading because it ignored the context that the barrier Schumer supported has already been built. Graham went on to huff:

This underlines that these "fact checkers" are really "context checkers," because the sentence itself is true. Schumer and other Democrats repeatedly supported a physical barrier in the past. It doesn't make Trump's current sentence "un-factual" that he said the fence was too modest as he campaigned. It's an interesting oppositional point, but it doesn't make the sentence "misleading."

Well, actually, yes, Tim, if you do not make the full context of a statement clear, a statement that's "true" on its face can also be misleading.Graham shouldknow this because the MRC he helps run regularly attacks non-conservative media for allegedly taking the words of conservatives out of context.

Graham took offense to another fact-check on Trump's speech, this time insisting that Trump's false statement that "Democrats will not fund border security" should not be judged factually because it is "a political statement blaming the Other Party."

Nicholas Fondacaro then rehashed a Fox News appearance by former Border Patrtol chief Mark Morgan attacking fact-checks of Trump's speech. Morgan claimed that, in Fondacaro's words, that"it was the media that didn’t know what they were talking about" and that he "ripped the liberal media for acting as their own 'self-appointed experts' who spout off their own opinions." Fondacaro also wrote:

Another liberal media suggestion Carlson picked Morgan’s brain on was their claim that studies showed illegal immigrants committed crimes at a lower rate than native-born Americans. “I've never seen the study either and I pose that to somebody to show me that stat and show me how they can come up with that. Because can I show you the opposite,” he declared.

Morgan's not looking to hard to find those studies. The MRC knows they exist, if only beause it's laboring so hard to discredit them with an even more discredited study claiming the opposite.

Brad Wilmouth touted how "On Wednesday's Tucker Carlson Tonight, veteran Fox News analyst Brit Hume called out journalistic 'fact checkers' who assume that liberal opinions on the illegal immigration issue are facts, and therefore that the conservative counter-opinions are claimed by those journalists to be not factual." Invoking his current favorite bugaboo, Wilmouth added: "A bit later, Carlson brought up the recurring tendency of journalists to make questionable claims that illegal immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than U.S. citizens, leading Hume to point out that, even if that were true, it would not contradict President Trump because he is not claiming that illegals have a higher rate of committing crimes -- only that some do commit serious crimes."

Corinne Weaver then lectured:

It is important for anyone who identifies as a ‘fact-checker’ to be as objective and neutral as possible. At least in theory.

But Facebook might not have done its homework in finding the right fact-checkers. The “charity” Full Fact was announced on January 11 as the new fact-checkers for Facebook. The BBC reports that the organization will “review stories, images and videos and rate them based on accuracy.”

But these fact-checkers might have a bigger agenda, according to their funding page. Google and liberal billionaire George Soros have donated extensively to Full Fact in 2018 alone. It is also funded by a radical leftist, Pierre Omidyar, who funds the Never Trump site the Bulwark, headed by Bill Kristol.

Perhaps the move was meant to placate Soros, whose organizations, including the Color of Change, have lobbied to have Facebook undergo a civil rights audit. Facebook has been under fire following the New York Times report, which said that Facebook hired a right-wing group to do opposition research on Soros.

However, there are no conservative fact-checkers left in the Facebook fact-checking family. With the close of the Weekly Standard, Facebook has yet to name a conservative successor to fact-check.

You might remember that Facebook's oppo research on Soros -- presumably done to placate its right-wing critics -- undercut the MRC's shaky narrative that social media outlets like Facebook are run by liberals determined to censor conservatives.

Weaver did not name any conservative fact-checkers who could be considered credible and not motivated by politics over journalism.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:04 PM EST
WND's Farah Expects 'Another challenging Year,' Still Won't Address His Fake-News Issue
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah's Jan. 15 WorldNetDaily column asked readers to pray for WND because it faces "another challenging year." After going on his usual attack against the "Digital Cartel" of "Google, Facebook, Amazon, apple, Twitter, et al" for monopolizing ad revenue, he then plays the victim, suggesting without evidence that those outlets targeted WND for loving President Trump too much:

Why did they do it beginning in January 2017? It was an effort to go after Trump by attacking media that were fair to him, to hinder his sweeping policy changes and deprive him of re-election in 2020, if they couldn’t see him impeached before that.

How did it affect us? In 2016, WND had over $10 million in revenues. In 2017, following the attacks on us, that number dropped to $6 million. BUT IN 2018, THAT NUMBER DROPPED TO AN ASTONISHING $2 MILLION!

Can you imagine what that would do to any company? Most of our staff is gone. We’re struggling to survive. But we are determined to do so, no matter how tough the challenge is.

Yet again, Farah does not address the elephant in the room: WND's legacy of fake news and conspiracy theories that, at least as much as the ad-revenue that are affecting most online media outlets, drove WND to the brink of extinction. Indeed, while WND has spent the past year begging for money from readers to stay alive, it has continued to publish fake news -- demonstrating it has learned nothing from its continuing near-death experience.

Farah then invoked God to kick off his spiel of begging for more money:

Almost every digital media company now relies on direct donations from its subscribers and visitors to make it in this new environment – where Google and Facebook and Amazon are raking in all the profits and deliberately starving those they don’t like.

I’m not just asking for your financial contributions, I’m asking for your fervent prayers. Because this is very much a SPIRITUAL WAR, not just a matter of corrupt, politically motivated crony monopoly capitalism at its worst.

We at WND serve a power higher than this cartel. And we ask for your prayers to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through Jesus of Nazareth, the One and Only Mediator and the Coming King.

Will you do that for us starting today, if you have not already joined us in this effort?

Given WND's history of playing fast and loose with facts, we suspect that Farah's "higher power" is not happy that such shoddy work is meant to serve Him.

And Farah hypocritically adds as his first bullet point for support: "Pray for God to bless WND with financial support and the will and strength to continue to fight for truth in an age of fake news and lies."

Farah should probably ask Clark Jones and Chobani yogurt what they think about WND's so-called "fight for truth."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:56 AM EST
Updated: Friday, January 25, 2019 12:58 AM EST
Thursday, January 24, 2019
CNS Managing Editor Still Using Catholic Abuse Scandal To Attack Gays
Topic:'s homophobic managing editor, Michael W. Chapman, is joining other right-wing Catholics to use the sexual abuse scandal among Catholic priests to attack the LGBT community. Chapman writes in a Jan. 8 blog post:

Contrary to the claim by some clergy that the sexual abuse problems in the Catholic Church stem from "clericalism" -- excessive deference to priests and bishops -- German Cardinal Walter Brandmuller said the fundamental problem is homosexuality in the priesthood. He stressed that 80% of the abuse cases over the decades involved gay priests abusing post-pubescent boys, i.e., young teen boys, ages 11 to 17.  This is a "statistically proven" fact, he added.

Cardinal Brandmuller, the former president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences at the Vatican, made his remarks in a Jan. 4 interview with the German news agency Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA).  His remarks were translated by several British and U.S. media, including Life Site News. 

“80% of the abuse cases in the ecclesial environment involved male adolescents, not children," said the cardinal, adding that this is "statistically proven."

According to the John Jay College of Criminal Justice report on clergy sexual abuse in the United States between 1950 and 2002, "81% of victims were male and 19% female. Male victims tended to be older than female victims."

"The largest group of alleged victims (50.9%) was between the ages of 11 and 14, 27.3% were 15-17, 16% were 8-10 and nearly 6% were under age 7," stated the report. There were 8,449 male victims and 2,004 female victims; 2 victims identified as transgender.

But as we've documented every time Bill Donohue or some other right-wing Catholic makes the claim at CNS, this is a deliberate misreading of the John Jay report. The researchers who conducted the report stated that no connection was found between homosexual identity and an increased likelihood of sexual abuse and argued that the idea of sexual identity should be separated from the problem of sexual abuse, since one does not have to have a homosexual identity to commit homosexual acts. The John Jay researchers also stated that the reason more than 80 percent of the victims of clergy sexual abuse were adolescent males is because that's who the priests were around a lot of the time, making this in no small part a crime of opportunity rather than one of sexual orientation.

Neither Chapman nor Brandmuller -- or LifeSiteNews, which reported Brandmuller's comments -- will mention this inconvenient fact, since this will get in the way of their anti-gay agenda.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:47 PM EST
MRC's Graham Takes A Clearly Hyperbolic Claim Literally
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Research Center bigwig Tim Graham is such a terrible media critic that his default motivation these days is base hatred of the non-conservative media rather than any legitimate "media research" (not that the MRC actually does any of that).

Thus, an innocuous Washington Post item about a screening of the Dick Cheney-mocking movie "vice" at the Newseum is enough to send Graham into paroxysms of rage. In his Jan. 12 post (in which he bizarrely and inexplicably puts "Newseum" in scare quotes) , Graham has apparently decided to take a hyperbolic, throwaway line in the Post article about how "the showing was attended by what seemed like half the city’s press corps" literally, spending two paragraphs listing all the journalists he could uncover who allegedly attended in addition to blockquoting a paragraph from the Post noting who attended -- and still could only come up with a couple dozen names.

Even then, Graham couldn't get his facts straight. He listed two journalists as working for "Knight-Ridder newspapers"; that company ceased to exist in 2006, when it was bought by McClatchy.

(For Graham's edification, there are thousands of journalists in Washington, while the Newseum appears to have only a couple hundred seats.)

Graham bashed the movie itself (of course) and sneered that the screening was "a natural party for Democrats and the national media -- or, as Chris Plante says, 'but I repeat myself.'"

The fact that Graham gets all ranty over an obviously hyperbolic claim is why nobody outside right-wing true believers trusts the MRC's "media research."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:29 AM EST
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
CNS Takes Lame Shots At Ocasio-Cortez

As a right-wing "news" outlet whose first duty is to advance conservative narratives over reporting the news, has been pushing negative coverage of newly elected Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and trying to find ways to attack her. For instance, a Dec. 4 column by the Heartland Institute's Justin Haskins insisted that Ocasio-Cortez's claim that insurance companies effectively act as "death panels" by not covering certain conditions by insisting 1) they don't do that, and 2) a person can easily find an insurance company that does. (Haskins seems unaware that many Americans are locked into an employer's insurance and can't shop around.)

Of course, CNS is not above taking cheap shots at Ocasio-Cortez. For instance, an anonymously written Jan. 14 post highlighted Ocasio-Cortez's struggle to find an affordable place to live in Washington while she's serving in Congress, snarkily adding that she "is now being paid a salary of $174,000 as a member of Congress." CNS didn't say when her first paycheck would arrive --presumably after she started her job, not before -- or mention that housing in Washington is notoriously expensive (which CNS should know, given that it's headquartered in the D.C. metro area).

(A couple days later, CNS disdainfully noted that Ocasio-Cortez had been named to the House Financial Services Committee. But as CNS itself ackowledged way back in July when it complained she was "tweeting about income equality -- obliquely," she has a degree in economics.)

On Jan. 15, Melanie Arter gave space to a right-wing comedian who complained he can't make unfunny jokes about liberals like Ocasio-Cortez:

During an appearance on Fox News’ “Greg Gutfield” show, comedian Jimmy Failla complained that society has taken political correctness too far.

For instance, he joked, “We've become so obsessed with words, you can't even call a moron, a moron anymore. You have to call them Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and moron was quicker. Moron was quicker.”

Arter didn't explain why this was funny.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:01 PM EST
NEW ARTICLE: Fake News and Floundering
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily may have spent the past year trying to stay alive, but that didn't keep from publishing a lot of fake news -- one thing that likely led to its severe financial problems in the first place. Plus: Did WND know all along the Seth Rich conspiracy was fake? Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 9:17 AM EST
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
MRC Struggles To Shoot Down Report Facebook Is Consulting Right-Wing Groups
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has been struggling to keep on message as its narrataive that social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook are engaged in rampant discrimination against conservatives keeps getting overtaken by the reality that the outlets have been kowtowing to conservatives to tamp down the criticism. It happened again witn a Jan. 8 Wall Street Journal article detailing how Twitter, YouTube and Facebook have been seeking advice from "right-leaning groups" (as well as those on the left) for guidance on handling political speech on the platforms, as well as being "receptive to behind-the-scenes lobbing" on issues.

The MRC waited two days to attack the WSJ story, and then did so only very narrowly. A Jan. 10 post by Alexander Hall focused only on a single sentence in the article that "Facebook has privately sought advice from the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian public-policy group, and its president, Tony Perkins, according to people familiar with those meetings." Hall let Perkins respond by letting him uncritically claim that he was "a bit surprised that I was described as consultant with Facebook… Now if you have a phone conversation you are a consultant. I've had one conversation with Facebook."

In fact, the article did not describe Perkins as a "consultant," only that it "sought advice" from him and the FRC. It also indicates that Facebook talked to other people at the FRC besides Perkins, which both he and Hall never confirm or deny -- presumably to not interfere with Hall's claim that Facebook "exaggereated" and was telling "fibs" about its interaction with the FRC.

Hall also falsely framed his article to suggest that the only conservative groups Facebook sought advice from are the FRC and Americans for Tax Reform, while the only liberal-leaning group it's getting advice from is the Southern Poverty Law Center. That was likely so he could assert: "However, after Perkins claims that reports of his involvement are greatly exaggerated, it's reasonable to worry the SPLC holds greater sway." That's an assertion for which has no evidence whatsoever.

But Hall's goal is to restore the conservative narrative, and he spent the remainder of his post enlisting Perkins to do just that:

Facebook has been accused by both sides of making a show of consulting them for PR purposes. In this case Perkins noted that Facebook indeed has a censorship problem, citing the recent incident where Facebook censored iconic American pastor Franklin Graham for a post he wrote 2 years ago. 

He said the problem seems to be accelerating, “Either they are failing to use the technology that they are promoting or there is an intent here to squelch conservative ideas and free flow of information.”

Perkins praised the Media Research Center’s exhaustive study, which verified conservatives’ legitimate concerns about Big Tech censorship. The situation is so dire, he said, that social media has ceased to be a “battleground for ideas” so much as a “war against conservative ideas.”

“Look, whether it's the telephone or the social media monopolies, the choking off of ideas and the exchange of information is not good for America.

Hall and Perkins are so determined to stay on message that they ignore the inconcvenient truth that liberals also think social media platforms censor their views.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:23 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, January 22, 2019 8:23 PM EST
WND Cheers Anti-Muslim Discrimination At Gun Range
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An anonymously written Jan. 13 WorldNetDaily article states:

Does an American gun range have the right to exclude Muslims who are members of the Council on American-Islamic Relations because of the group’s ties to terrorism?

That question could soon have a legal answer as a Muslim has filed a discrimination suit against the owners of a gun range in Oklahoma.

A federal court dismissed the discrimination complaint by Raja’ee Fatihah against Chad and Nicole Neal, owners of Save Yourself Survival and Tactical Gun Range in Oktaha, Oklahoma. But the judge set a trial to resolve conflicting accusations.

Fatihah claims the range owners banned him because of his religion.

But the Neals claim he was banned from the range on Oct. 23, 2015, because after telling Nicole Neal he was Muslim, Fatihah “took a threatening stance, revealing his handgun to her, and recklessly created a controversy and disturbance.” WND quietly added that only later did the Neals discover that "Fatihah was a board member of CAIR’s Oklahoma affiliate."

WND goes on to quote the gun range's attorneys from the right-wing American Freedom Law Center -- whose press release WND basically rewrites -- who laughably put the burden on the Muslim to prove he isn't a terrorist, despite the fact that Fatihah is an Army reservist and, presumably, has already been cleared of such suspicions: "Had Fatihah’s motives been pure, he would have reached out to the Neals to alert them and to schedule a time to have a civil conversation about Islam, if that were truly his goal, as he claims in this case. Rather, what Fatihah did here was reckless. And that recklessness alone is enough to ban him from the range.

WND bizarrely devotes the last half of its article to a list of "individuals linked to CAIR who have been charged with terror-related crimes." WND does provide evidence that any of these people have any direct link to Fatihah.

WND's and the AFLC's invoking Fatihah's relationship to CAIR is an after-the-fact attempt to justify the gun range's no-Muslims rule, which is blatantly illegal under longstanding federal non-discrimination laws like thte Civil Rights Act of 1964.AFLC never explains why the burden should be on the Muslim to prove he['s not a threat; after all, blacks do not have to prove they're not a threat to use a commercial establishment.

Further, it appears the gun range's stated policy is "no Muslims," not "no terrorists," which the AFLC is apparently failing to concede. AFLC provides no evidence that the gun range has similarly investigated the backgrounds of its white and Christian customers the way it investigated Fatihah, or that it has ever barred use of the range by a non-Mulsim customer due to terrorist links, however tenuous.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:57 PM EST
CNS Offers Tepid Coverage of Steve King's 'White Nationalist' Remarks

We've detailed how obsessed over a comment by a  Democratic member of Congress that it deemed offensive -- so much that it inserted the comment in the headlines of articles that had nothing to do with the comment. But when a Republican member of Congress made an offensive comment, CNS' response was, shall we say, decidedly less hyperbolic.

When comments by Republican Rep. Steve King stating that he didn't understand how terms like "white nationalist" and "white supremacist" became offensive went public on Jan. 10, CNS initially said nothing. It took a full four days for CNS to notice -- and that was only when House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced that he would take action against King over the remarks.

Compared with CNS' response to Rep. Rashida Tlaib -- which cranked out five articles in four days referencing her profanity-laced call to impeach President Trump -- its take on King was very subdued. The headline on Melanie Arter's Jan. 14 piece read "Kevin McCarthy: ‘Action Will Be Taken’ Against Steve King," not explaining who McCarthy is or the reason he intended to take action against King. Surprisingly, the story itself was filled with criticism of King, and Arter's lead paragraph did describe what King said.

Of course, none of that appeared on CNS' front page, only the bland headline did. And the photo accompanying the front-page promotion was of McCarthy, not King -- as if the response, not the original offense, was the newsworthy part.

That take, of course, couldn't be the dominant tone of coverage. Enter Susan Jones, who penned an article the next day under the similarly bland headline, "Stripped of Committee Assignments, Rep. King Blames ‘Political Decision That Ignores the Truth’" -- which, again, failed to mention King's exact offense -- that gave King a platform to defend himself and blame liberals for being outraged over his remarks:

As expected, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) stripped Rep. Steve King, one of the most conservative Members of Congress, from his committee assignments on Monday for "defending racism," as one liberal media outlet described it.

In response, the Iowa Republican said, “Leader McCarthy’s decision to remove me from committees is a political decision that ignores the truth.”


King said his remarks, as quoted in a Jan. 10 New York Times story, have been “completely mischaracterized.” In a tweeted explanation, King offered the “context” that “accurately reflects my statement.”

King said he was talking about “Western civilization,” not white nationalism or white supremacy, when he questioned, “How did that language become offensive?”

Being a loyal right-winger spouting the anti-media narrative of her employer, the Media Research Center, Jones made sure to also inject some opinion into the "news" piece: "It should be noted that the Jan. 10 New York Times report used Rep. King as a way to slam Republicans in general and President Trump in particular." She then cited a paragraph that stated how "Mr. King’s ideology and his language maligning undocumented residents helped shape the Republican message in 2016 and 2018 and define Mr. Trump’s agenda and prospects for re-election," Jones did not dispute the accuracy of that statement.

CNS has published no more articles devoted to King's remarks. But in a Jan. 18 article, Jones complained that in a TV appearance, Democratic Rep. Ihlan Omar was asked about "Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), whose quote in the New York Times made it look like he was defending 'white supremacy.' King said he was talking about 'Western Civilization.'" She then devoted four paragraphs to King's defense despite the fact he was not the subject of this story.

None of these articles, by the way, not King's long history of racially inflammatory remarks. That's because CNS has previously touted King's remarks that more closely adhere to its right-wing agenda. For instance:

That's the kind of right-wing rhetoric that earns you a pass from CNS when you spout racist stuff.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:05 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, January 22, 2019 9:29 AM EST
Monday, January 21, 2019
WND Still On Its Anti-Vaxxer Conspiracy Crusade
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily remains on its anti-vaxxer kick. An anonymously written Jan. 11 article tries to further it:

Vaccines have been controversial for years, and the sudden death of a prominent British doctor from apparent total organ failure shortly after getting a yellow fever vaccination won’t make the concerns go away.

The Times of London reported Martin Gore, 67, a pioneer in cancer treatment, died suddenly after “a routine inoculation for yellow fever.”

“His death highlights the increased risks associated with the vaccine for the growing number of older travelers visiting exotic destinations,” the report said.

Unlike with previous cases WND has touted, this has been verified and reported on by actual news outlets. WND even cited a BBC article in which an immunology expert is quoted as saying that "people aged over 60 have a three to four-fold increased risk of experiencing these serious effects compared with younger people." But WND omitted the part in which the BBC reported that adverse effects from the yellow fever vaccine are exceedingly rare and that catastrophic effects like the doctor suffered are even more so:

The NHS says there are some very rare side effects that can occur, including an allergic reaction and problems affecting the brain or organs.

"These occur less than 10 times for every million doses of vaccine given."

Prof Peter Openshaw, past president of the British Society for Immunology, said the overall risk of serious side-effects from the vaccination remains very low, at about one in every 100,000 of vaccine recipients.

From there, WND descends into its usual anti-vaxxer clapcrap, including misinformation-prone anti-vaxxer doctor Jane Orient's bogus claim that nobody's researching links between vaccines and autism (they are, and there isn't any).

Posted by Terry K. at 7:25 PM EST
MRC Rushes to Judgment on TV Station's Retracted Attack on CNN
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Kristine Marsh huffed in a Jan. 11 post:

The clearest sign of the liberal media’s bias comes when they purposefully choose to exclude information that doesn’t affirm their agenda. That apparently happened yet again this week, after CNN scrapped an interview with a border city's news station, after they had reported that the wall was effective at deterring illegal immigration. After this story received attention, CNN put out a statement Friday denying that there was any anything nefarious about what they did.

KUSI News in San Diego, California, shared last night on their evening news and on Twitter, that the major network had requested a segment with one of their reporters for a local perspective on the effectiveness of the border wall. However, the network quickly retreated from that request after, the station believes CNN discovered his past reports showing a barrier actually works.

But a day after Marsh's post, The Hill reported that a KUSI executive said he didn't actually know why CNN did not interview its reporter -- effectively negating the station's MRC-embraced narrative. (Cohen later insisted that this somehow didn't mean the station was "backing away" from its original claim even while admitting the reporting on Cohen's revised claim was "factual.")

Marsh thus far has failed to update her post to reflect these critical developments -- perhaps because it blows up her post entirely. Still, MRC columnist Jeffrey Lord dutifully cribbed from her post to baselessly assert that CNN ignored "a factual story that the wall works."

Marsh gave short shrift to CNN's defense -- in which the network's Brian Stelter pointed out that it routinely ends up not booking people it inquires about -- before immediately pronouncing  CNN guilty as charged: "Much like the network has done with the government shutdown interviewing furloughed employees and contractors, it seems CNN is more committed to showcasing only one side of a story than they are to telling the truth."

And Marsh is similarly more committed to showcasing only one side of a story than they are to telling the truth. Her "media research" rings hollow because she is so imbued with the MRC's anti-media narrative that she has severely prejudged CNN to the extent that it's clear no evidence CNN could provide would prevent her from declaring the network anything but guilty, guilty, guilty.

In other words, Marsh isn't acting any better than she accuses CNN of acting. This is the MRC.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:22 PM EST
WND Insists On Calling Women In TV News 'Gals'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An anonymously written Jan. 9 WorldNetDaily article is basically a sop to columnist and terrible lawyer Larry Klayman, detailing how a woman Klayman is representing, former Fox News executive, Laurie Luhn, "is suing Showtime for portraying her in a coming mini-series about Roger Ailes as an enabler of the late network CEO’s alleged sexual harassment of women." The article weirdly doesn't ask why Luhn is not suing Ailes for the things she alleges he did to her (Luhn did previously receive $3.15 million in a severance agreement).

As expected from WND, the article gets it wrong. Neither she nor Klayman have any idea how the miniseries will potray her; as an actual news outlet reported, Klayman is threatening the lawsuit as leverage in trying to get Showtime to hire Luhn as a consultant on the series to make sure she's portrayed the way she demands.

But any hint at progressivism WND suggests by actually being critical of the man who created its favorite "news" channel is undermined by the headline: "Ex-Fox News gal sues Showtime over Roger Ailes story."

Yes, WND calld Luhn a "gal."

This sort of sexism is, unfortunately, a pattern at WND. An Jan. 14 article by Joe Kovacs was on a much more serious and less self-serving subject: a TV  reporter who was "viciously attacked during a live broadcast." WND's headline? "TV newsgal viciously attacked live on camera."

This is nothing new for WND: A 2013 article, for instance, referred to a "CNN newsgal," and a 2008 article highlighted a "TV newsgal-wannabe."

Perhaps WND should rethink its policy of archaic casual sexism since that is likely one more reason it's having trouble staying alive.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:19 AM EST
Updated: Monday, January 21, 2019 9:24 AM EST
Sunday, January 20, 2019
Levin Rewards CNS' Promotion of Him By Having Bozell As A Guest

As we documented, is right-wing radio host Mark Levin's best friend, having published more than 135 articles last year on the pearls of wisdom coming from the mouths of him and his radio and TV guests. As an apparent reward for all that (possibly paid) publicity, Levin had CNS' publisher, Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell, as a guest on his Jan. 6 Fox News show.

The appearance was promoted on MRC websites with a banner designed to promote the appearance as a legitimate interview instead of the logrolling it actually was.

Needless to say, the interview -- he was the sole guest on the hourlong show -- was a cushy one for Bozell. Levin was not about to ask him any hard questions about the MRC's terrible, biased "media research" or any cross-promotion deal he has with the MRC -- or even Bozell's huge flip-flop on Trump (even as they spent several minutes bashing Mitt Romney for being an opportunistic chameleon). Instead, the interview was loaded with softballs that let Bozell spout his right-wing anti-media bias unchallenged. Indeed, Levin gushed that "I rely on you guys a whole lot" and "what your organization does, in my view, is crucially important." Bozell got his usual tired potshots in, snarking that "I'm convinced when Jesus talked about turning the other cheek, he didn't know about CNN." And he gushed as well, saying of Levin: "Your show is so extraordinary becuase it's an hourlong discussion about a serious issue, going in depth with your guest. We must have more of that in the public conversation."

Also needless to say, CNS was keen to collect those softballs, under blog posts headlined "Brent Bozell with Mark Levin: If Media ‘Were Doing Their Job,’ They ‘Would Be Blasting Democrats’ on Gov’t Shutdown" and "Bozell: 'CNN Is There to Do Nothing But Anti-Trumpism'" (as the post's URL indicates, that headline originally began, "Levin, Bozell Agree").

When Levin gives a similar hourlong softball interview to the head of Media Matters, we'll believe that his show is "so extraordinary."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:49 PM EST
MRC Uses Dubious Study To Deny Illegal Immigrants Commit Crime At Lower Rates
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Brad Wilmouth is best known here as the guy who keeps insisting that Republican Rep. Steve Scalise never spoke to a David Duke-led white nationalist group despite the fact that Scalise apologized for doing so, and for claiming that Donald Trump never called for the Central Park Five to receive the death penalty for their alleged involvement in a rape (a claim for which they were later exonerated) despite the fact that Trump effectively did so.

Now, Wilmouth is obsessing over the quesiton of how often illegal immigrants commit crimes -- and attacking anyone who says they do it a lower rate.

Back in June, Wilmouth complained:

Over the past week, as the dominant media have been fixated on President Donald Trump's push to more aggressively prosecute those who cross the border illegally, there have again been questionable claims that illegal immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than the native-born population.

But the studies cited either do not make a distinction between legal and illegal immigrants, or do not look at whether those who sneak across the border illegally have a higher crime rate than those who simply overstay visas. The media also continued to ignore other studies which suggest illegal immigrants do, in fact, exhibit a higher crime rate.

He was particularly incensed at a Cato institute study showing that illegal immigrants had a lower crime rate than native population. He insisted that "the study has a giant gap that may, in fact, lead one to logically conclude that those who sneak into the country illegally have an unusually high crime rate":

Recent reports suggest that about half of all illegal immigrants are visas overstays, so, if this substantial portion of the illegal immigrant population has a homicide rate comparable to those who are still legal, the conflation of both groups of illegals could be masking a substantially higher homicide rate perpetrated by those who sneaked across the border.

If one makes the educated guess that half of Texas illegals originally entered legally on a visa, and that this group's homicide rate is only about 0.51, one can deduce that the homicide rate of the other half of illegals (those who crossed the border illegally) could plausibly be as high as 5.3 -- substantially higher than the 3.88 rate of the native population. The CATO study does not address this logical possibility.

Wilmouth even updated his post two months later after Cato revised its numbers, claiming that his "plausible" homicide rate by illiegal immigrants would now be "as high as 4.2."

Wilmouth then asserted that "there have been a couple of studies that have found the opposite on the subject of illegal immigrants and crime. A Governmant Accountability Office report in 2011 suggested that illegal immigrants made up somewhere around 20-30 percent of the prison population, and a study by John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center this year also suggested a higher crime rate by illegals."

But as we pointed out when Wilmouth promoted Lott's study when it came out in February 2018, Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute -- who, it turns out, wrote the above study that Wilmouth attacked -- found significant flaws in Lott's work that raise questions about its findings, which are considered an outlier to actual, peer-reviewed research. Additionally, Lott's research track record, which usually produces right-wing-friendly findings about guns, is questionable at best.

We could find no post by Wilmouth or anyone else at the MRC that told its readers about those questions about Lott and his work, despite his efforts to raise questions about the Cato study that had results that contradicted his right-wing agenda.

Nevertheless, Wilmouth has been clinging to his dubious narrative ever since.

In September, he complained that CNN guests "have repeated the questionable claims that illegal immigrants have a lower rate of committing crimes than native-born U.S. citizens," again attacking the Cato study because "it did not make a distinction between illegal immigrants who sneak across the border and those who overstay visas" and vaguely insisting that "Illegal border crossers probably have a higher crime rate than visas overstays, which is still an argument in favor of more effective border security." He then referenced "studies like that of crime researcher John Lott which found a significantly higher crime rate by illegal immigrants as compared to U.S. citizens."

In November, Wilmouth attacked the Cato study again, adding: "CNN has had a history of repeatedly claiming that illegal immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than U.S. citizens without acknowledging the existence of studies by right-leaning researchers like John Lott and Peter Kirsanow that conclude the opposite." But Kirsanow did not conduct a "study" per se; he write a blog post for National Review cherry-picking statistics on the number of "criminal aliens" in state prisons. Cato's Nowrasteh detailed how thost stats were misleading. (At least Wilmouth admitted that Lott and Kirsanow are "right-leaning," so that's something.)

And Wilmouth did it again on Jan. 9, huffing that "Between Monday evening and Wednesday morning, a significant number of journalists and regular commentators across CNN, MSNBC, and even Fox News have cited claims from a handful of flawed studies claiming that illegal immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than do American citizens." He then added: "One bright spote [sic] this week occurred when FNC host Laura Ingraham cited a study by right-leaning crime analyst John Lott finding that illegals in Arizona are incarcerated at a higher rate." But he didn't mention the fact that Lott's study is flawed too.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:36 PM EST
Saturday, January 19, 2019
MRC's West Can't Get His Quotes Straight

Allen West spends his Jan. 7 column waxing on "the future of liberty in America." It's mostly about taking potshots at "socialism" and those he thinks promote it. He writes: "After all, one progressive socialist famously quipped in 2012, 'if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.' He was a sitting President who would be reelected after making such a damning assertion."

That statement from President Obama -- whom West has apparently decided is "he who must not be named" --  have long been taken out of context by West's employer, the Media Research Center, and other conservatives. In full context, Obama was simply pointing out that business owners got help along the way from everyone from mentors to a government that built roads and that collective action supplements individual initiative.

West goes on to write:

Perhaps we should ask, have the American people lost their spirit, drive, and determination? Have the American people become so lazy and complacent that they just sit back and wait for largesse to be spread amongst them? Scottish political philosopher, Alexander Fraser Tytler stated,

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.”

Except that Tytler didn't actually say that. As we've documented, there's no evidence Tytler ever wrote such a thing, and the quote apparently dates back only to the 1940s and not the 18th century of Tytler.

Then again, West has never been interested in getting facts right in his work as an MRC "senior fellow."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:21 AM EST

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