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Friday, February 22, 2019
MRC Decries One Nazi Comparison While Its 'News' Division Promotes Another
Topic: Media Research Center

It's not a surprise that the Media Research Center never holds its own "news" division,, to the same standards of behavior it demands from "liberal" media outlets. Here's yet another example.

A Jan. 27 NewsBusters post by Jack Coleman complains about "the juvenile comparison of American conservatives to Nazis," specifically targeting HBO host Bill Maher likening diehard Trump supporters to "Mrs. Goebbels in the bunker ... giving the cyanide to the children because she does not want to live in a world without national socialism."

(Coleman also bizarrely writes that "You'd think that Maher of all people would applaud conservatives and not mock them for their frequent warnings about socialism -- seeing how he's quite aware it also didn't work so well for Germany." He's apparently oblivious to the fact that Nazism was not socialism.)

The next day, CNS published a post by managing editor Michael W. Chapman touting celebrity musician Charlie Daniels' Nazi comparison that apparently has full MRC approval:

Commenting on the sweeping abortion-on-demand legislation that New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law on Jan. 22, country music legend and commentator Charlie Daniels said Cuomo was sanctioning "thousands of murders," had created "a new Aushwitz" dedicated to killing the innocent, and that "Satan is smiling."


"Watch the wrinkles on cuomo's face lengthen as the ramifications of the thousands of murders he has sanctioned come to bear on him," wrote Charlie Daniels in a Jan. 26 tweet.

"The NY legislature has created a new Auschwitz dedicated to the execution of a whole segment of defenseless citizens," he wrote.

"Satan is smiling," concluded Daniels.

Chapman then added his own editorial comment:

In total, the Nazis killed close to 19 million in their concentration camps. 

Since the Surpeme Court's Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 -- no legislation was ever passed, it was a court decision -- more than 56 million babies have been killed by abortion. Every day, on average, 2,900 babies are aborted. 

Satan truly is smiling.

A week later, CNS published a column by Daniels expanding on the Nazi comparison:

In the early stages of the second World War, Hitler, intent on totally exterminating the Jews, came up with a plan the Nazis code named the Final Solution.

The Buchenwald, Auschwitz, Dachau, Treblinka, concentration camps were set up to systematically import, incarcerate and exterminate the Jews of Europe.

There are those out there who will deny that the Holocaust ever happened, but I’m here to tell you that it did happen. I remember the newsreels from my early youth that showed bulldozers pushing thousands of naked, emaciated bodies of dead Jews into mass graves like so much garbage.

There were six million Jews murdered by the Nazis, in gas chambers, mass shootings and any other kind of monstrous methods of death these demonic animals could come up with.

Horrible right? Could never happen in the United States of America, right?


This past week, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York signed into law a bill that is every bit as evil, and just as satanically inspired, as Hitler’s Final Solution. It’s a bill that allows abortion up to the time the child comes through the birth canal.

If Nazi comparisons are juvenile and bad and Godwin-esque, why won't the MRC criticize all of them instead of publishing the ones it endorses?

Posted by Terry K. at 2:50 PM EST
CNS Still Giving Loopy Rabbi A Platform to Praise Trump
Topic:'s favorite loopy Trump-loving rabbi, Aryeh Spero, just can't stop fawning over the president. And CNS can't stop giving Spero a platform for it.

In a Jan. 10 column, Spero aped Trump campaign rhetoric that building a wall at thte Mexico border is "the moral thing to do," complete withj Trump-esque rant:

Many of our communities have suffered, especially in rural areas, by an overcapacity and demand stemming from illegal immigration. Hospitals, schools, clinics, and other vital institutions have closed to the detriment of our citizens who have depended upon these institutions. Contagious diseases have begun to crop up in many areas; and people not wealthy enough to have fences surrounding their homes and unable to afford private transportation services are the victims of these outbreaks. Compassion for these ordinary American citizens is what we need and what the wall offers. 

And in a Feb. 6 column, Spero can't stop drooling over Trump's State of the Union address and alleged support for the Jews:

Last night’s State of the Union Address by President Trump will go down as one of the most historic, unifying, and visionary peacetime addresses to the nation. It was delivered with passion, precision, and expressed with heart, making us feel the country will be safe and will move forward under President Trump’s dynamic leadership.


No president has devoted more time to the scourge of anti-Semitism as did the President last evening when addressing survivors of the Holocaust, victims of the massacre at the Pittsburgh synagogue, and linking America’s history and identity with fighting anti-Semitism.  The President did a masterful job because deep inside he believes in what he says, and because he loves America and its people.

CNS previously brought in Spero, in his role as spokesperson for the National Conference on Jewish Affairs -- which appears to exist mainly, if not solely, as a vehicle for Spero -- to ostentatiously praise Trump's response to the Pittsburgh syagogue massacre, though he didn't much beyond visiting the area and offer "heartfelt expressions of grief."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:27 AM EST
Thursday, February 21, 2019
MRC: Soros Is A Jew You're Allowed To Hate
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center hates George Soros, and it wants you to hate him as much as he does -- to the point that it has absolved anyone who criticizes him of anti-Semitism.

After Democratic Rep. Ihlan Omar got into trouble with a remark about conservative politicians being controlled by Jewish money that many considered anti-Semitic, others pointed out that convervatives like to attack Soros and other liberal Jews for funding their preferred causes.  That did not go down well at the MRC.

Curtis Houck complained that "numerous analysts and hosts have tried to assist Omar by muddying the waters, suggesting House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is also anti-Semitic for a tweet last year criticizing the left-wing views of Michael Bloomberg, George Soros, and Tom Steyer." Houck added: "So criticizing the policies of specific individuals as radical is on par with suggesting money from Jewish people controls politicians? Yeah, no. Not the same."

Kyle Drennen huffed that some were taking "what was supposed to be a story about the anti-Semitism scandal swirling around Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar" and bring up McCarthy's comments, insisting that "In reality, McCarthy’s tweet simply criticized Soros for his left-wing influence over Democratic politics, in the exact same way that Democrats routinely attack the Koch brothers for donating to Republicans."

Alex Christy similarly got mad about the McCarthy parallel, sarcastically griping, "When Republicans warn about wealthy billionaires' influence on elections it is anti-Semitism, when Democrats do it, it is showing appropriate concern about money and lobbying in politics." Christy also complained that one cable news guest said that "Trump and Republicans have been peddling anti-Semitism through criticism of George Soros and 'globalists,' even seeming to imply that Trump's rhetoric had inspired the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, despite the fact that the shooter hated Trump." Actually, the shooter supported parts of Trump's political agenda, though he allegedly didn't vote for Trump.

Ryan Foley groused that CNN's Don Lemon "couldn't resist the urge to call House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy a hypocrite for knocking Omar despite the fact that he had accused 'Soros, Steyer, and Bloomberg,' three wealthy liberal Jews and Democratic donors, of trying to 'BUY this election.'"

Foley served up another defense of McCarthy, prlclaiming that he "offered a common sense explanation: it was election season and he was talking about Democrats and their big donors."

Houck went on another "whataboutism" tirade:

In what was a poorly mangled attempt to be the liberal and unfunny Seth Meyers, CNN’sThe Lead host Jake Tapper went on a rant Wednesday in which he pretended to throw fits at his control staff for not showing clips and tweets of anti-Semitic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN), but instead ones that painted the Trump administration and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as not only hypocrites but anti-Semites.

So, in other words, Tapper’s four-minute-and-eight-second monologue seemed to muddy the waters and engage in what probably would be condemned on CNN as “whataboutism” if such a stunt was pulled on Fox News.


So what should have been an unequivocal condemnation of anti-Semitism, blasting Omar’s treatment of [CNN reporter Manu] Raju, or even how Omar has repeatedly shown an apprehension toward Jewish people (including Wednesday’s hearing with Elliot Abrams), Tapper tried to deflect attention toward the GOP as having a problem with anti-Semitism. 

So, in other words, that’s whataboutism, which was amusing considering what Tapper tweeted on February 4, 2017 about the topic and comparisons that didn’t exactly line up. But Orange Man Bad, so that’s perfectly fine.

Of course, Houck would never be so gauche as to call out such whataboutism on Fox News for what it is in the way he's attacking Tapper.

Houck even went so far as to give Trump the benefit of the doubt in tweeting an anti-Semitic meme, baselessly ascribing ignorance to him:

Alas, Tapper continued on, asking producers to fetch more footage of Omar, but instead was given “a deleted Donald Trump retweet from 2016 as conservative Erick Erickson tweeted at the time: ‘A Star of David, a pile of cash, and suggestions of corruption. Donald Trump again plays to the white supremacists.’”

Yes, this was one of the more undeniably controversial things Trump did during the campaign, so let’s give Tapper the benefit of the doubt, even if one thinks Trump didn’t know what he was doing.

Even the MRC's semi-pro New York Times-hater, Clay Waters, got in on the action, complaining that a Times article "strained to turn the tables on Republicans" by bringing up McCarthy's statement.

It looks like a bunch of people at the MRC have forgotten how it has used anti-Semitic imagery by portraying Soros as a liberal puppetmaster. The MRC has never been held to account for that, and it has never apologized for using it, so it's walking on thin ice here in giving people a pass. The MRC also tried to whitewash unambiguous anti-Semitism against Soros, in the form of Roseanne Barr's false portrayal of him as a Nazi collaborator during World War II, as merely an "anti-Soros tweet."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:16 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2019 10:21 PM EST
WND Pushes Another Bogus Science-Related Petition
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've noted how WorldNetDaily has promoted a petition spearheaded by WND buddy Art Robinson that purports to have more than 31,000 scientists signing to a statement that "there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate" -- though few signees have a background in climatology and there's no apparent mechanism to verify signees' scientific qualifications.

Now, WND is at it again in a Feb. 9 article:

More than 1,000 highly influential scientists from around the world have gone on record with their doubts about Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

They hail from institutions such as Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Columbia, Tulane, Rice and Baylor, the National Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, the British Museum and MIT’s Lincoln Library.

“We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life,” they say in a statement. “Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”

The scientists include the best in molecular biology, biochemistry, biology, entomology, computational quantum chemistry, microbiology, psychiatry and behavioral sciences, astrophysics, marine biology, cellular biology, physics and astronomy, math, physics, geology and anthropology, according to Evolution News, an online publication of the Discovery Institute in Seattle, which promotes the theory of intelligent design.

The Discovery Institute first published its “Scientific Dissent from Darwinism” list in The New York Review of Books in 2001 to challenge “false” claims from PBS’ series “Evolution.”

The fact that this petition has been kicking around since 2001 is highly suggestive of the petition's dubious nature (Robinson's petition has been around since 1998).

But as an article by the National Center for Science Education details, the petition echoes the Robinson petition in other ways. Numerous signatories do not have backgrounds in evolutionary biology, and even Discovery Institute officials who signed it have Ph.Ds in philosophy, not science.

Further, the petition's wording has apparently changed over the years, de-emphasizing the link to the 2001 PBS program that inspired it, which according to the NCSE article falsely equated evolution with Darwinian evolution. Further, NCSE contacted some of the signatories and found that they "represent a diverse range of opinions about the role of natural selection in evolution." NCSE concludes: "Ironically, if one were to conduct a survey of scientists who accepted evolution, the size of that list would swamp by tens of thousands this list assembled by the Discovery Institute!"

Needless to say, WND has no interest in reporting that aspect.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:42 PM EST
CNS Skips A Controversy In Reporting on Trump Judicial Nominee
Topic: took an unusually high -- albeit highly selective -- interest in one Trump judicial nominee's Senate confirmation hearing.

Seemingly suggesting that the nominee wasn't far enough to the right, Melanie Arter wrote in a Feb. 6 article:

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals judicial nominee Neomi Rao told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that “there’s an overwhelming scientific consensus that there is climate change” and that “human activity does contribute to climate change.”

When questioned on her personal beliefs about when human life begins, however, she said it would be inappropriate to answer because some cases relating to the issue could come before the court.

But another article the same day, by Emily Ward, seemed to come to Rao's defense by highlighting a religion-related question to her:

On Tuesday, while questioning judicial nominee Neomi Rao, who has been nominated by President Donald Trump to serve on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) asked Rao whether she believed gay relationships “are a sin.” This drew criticism from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who pointed out that the Constitution prohibits religious tests of those seeking federal office.

Ward did concede there was a legitimate basis for Booker's question, noting that Rao had previously criticized a Supreme Court ruling that decriminalized same-sex relationships.

Ward followed up with a Feb. 13 article highlighting Republican criticism of questions to judges that "focused on the nominees’ religious beliefs," citing Booker's question to Rao as "only the most recent in a series of incidents in which Democrat senators have questioned nominees on their personal religious beliefs."

Strangely, none of these CNS articles cited a much bigger controversy involving Rao's beliefs: writings in college that seemed to argue that victims of date rape had it coming beause they drank too much. Rao apologized for those writings during the hearing -- something CNS didn't deem to be newsworthy.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:38 AM EST
Wednesday, February 20, 2019
WND's Brown Still Cynically Sticking With An Amoral President
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've documented how WorleNetDaily columnist Michael Brown handwaves President Trump's amoral and immoral behavior because he keesp delivering the right-wing goods. And he does so again in a Jan. 28 column.

Brown again offers up a little faux caring about Trump's behavior, complete with italics: "Quite obviously, as an evangelical, I do not back the president’s every word or decision, especially when he waxes ugly and even vulgar." Then he enumerates concerns about "some of the potential Democratic presidential candidates"; he repeats some of the usual right-wing attacks then, being the anti-gay activist he is, offers special to Pete Buttigeg for being "the openly gay mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and if elected, would be the nation’s first gay president." He also singled out "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the new face of the Democratic Party," even though she is not only not running for president, she's not even eligible to do so in 2020.

But Brown's point here is to once again cynically justify supporting Trump:

If 2020 came down to any of these putative Democrat candidates vs. Trump, it would be a no-brainer for me. Trump would get my vote.

And then there is that six-letter word: courts.

Last week, a state judge in Iowa struck down the “fetal heartbeat” bill, which prevents abortions once the baby’s heartbeat can be detected.

As reported by a local news outlet, “Judge Michael Huppert found the law unconstitutional, concluding that the Iowa Supreme Court’s earlier decisions that affirm a woman’s fundamental right to an abortion would include the new law passed last year.”

We desperately need judges who will do away with the myth of “a woman’s fundamental right to an abortion” and will instead rule in favor of life.

Against this backdrop, it is critically important that Trump recently renominated 50 judges for federal positions, including two for San Francisco’s notoriously far-left 9th Circuit Court. And Trump’s list of 50 is filled with solid conservatives.

In contrast, can you imagine what kind of judges a far-left Democratic president would nominate?


In light of the positive transformation of the courts, I will gladly put up with the president’s divisive ways as much as I regret them. Again, the alternative leaves me no choice.

Brown concluded:

In an ideal world, we would have a president who was a shining example of Christlikeness, well-versed in the Scriptures and serving as the leader of all Americans, from all faiths and backgrounds. And perhaps that day will come, even in our lifetimes.

But right now, as the Democratic Party continues to lurch left, as the courts play a bigger and bigger role in our society, and as the secular media exposes its extreme bigotry and bias, I am reminded afresh of why I voted for Trump in 2016.

And that’s why, given similar choices in 2020, I would vote for him again.

At least he's being consistently hypocritical.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:07 PM EST
MRC Invents A 'Sexist' Attack on Sarah Sanders
Topic: Media Research Center

The headline on Rebecca Downs' Feb. 7 Media Research Center post blared, "'Big Bang Theory's Chuck Lorre Launches Ugly, Sexist Attack Against Sarah Sanders." In it, Downs asserted that Lorre "targeted White House Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, as well as her prayer life and her looks," further huffing: "It’s also been established that it’s sexist and wrong to go after women for their looks. Or is it only liberal women that this applies to?"

So what did Lorre say in his regular end-of-show vanity card? "God told me he hasn't spoken to Sarah Sanders since she was fourteen years old and praying for her skin to clear up. I have no reason to doubt Him."

Downs did not explain how making a joke about a teenage Sanders dealing with acne -- a common condition that afflicts both boys and girls of that age -- is "sexist." Perhaps because it is not, in fact, a "sexist" comment.

This is not the first time that the MRC has manufactured a "sexist" attack by someone against Sanders. Following Michelle Wolf's performance at last years White House Corresdpondents Dinner, it decided that Wolf's quip that Sanders "burns facts, and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smoky eye" was a personal attack on her looks and not a comment about her mendacity in defense of President Trump:

  • "That sure sounds like a slam on her appearance," P.J. Gladnick declared.
  • "Wolf made jokes at the expense of Sarah Sanders's looks," Scott Whitlock insisted.
  • Wolf made "personal attacks about [her] appearance,"the MRC uncritically quoted Fox News' Ed Henry as saying.

It seems that the MRC is trying to shut down discussion of Sanders' job performance by dismissing any criticism of her as "sexist."

Posted by Terry K. at 3:46 PM EST
NEW ARTICLE: Military-Grade Craziness
Topic: WorldNetDaily
James G. Zumwalt squanders his name -- made illustrious by his family's military legacy -- to spread false claims, Islamophobia and conspiracy theories at WorldNetDaily. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 9:18 AM EST
Tuesday, February 19, 2019
CNS Still Shows Double Standard On Reporting About Politicians' Inflammatory Comments
Topic:'s double standard on reporting about inflammatory comments by politicians has reared its ugly head again.

When Rep. Ihlan Omar made comments critical of Israel that were widely interpreted as  anti-Semitic, CNS pounced with four articles in the 24 hours after the remark was made:

The next day, CNS added an article on President Trump weighing in: "Trump on Rep. Ilhan Omar's Anti-Semitic Comments: 'I Think She Should Resign from Congress.'"

CNS similarly flooded the zone when Rep. Rashida Tlaib -- coincidentally, also a Muslim and a Democrat -- made her own controversial remark, posting multiple articles in a short amount of time and making sure to reference the remark in the headline.

But CNS' tone is much different when a Republican makes a controversial remark. When Republican Rep. Steve King made comments supportive of white nationalism, CNS waited four days to do its first story about it, published only one other article on it, never referenced the nature of the comments in the headline of any article, and gave copious space to King to rebut accusations.

That's what's called media bias. CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, should look into that sometime.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:27 PM EST
Seven Years Later, WND's Cashill Is Still Trashing Trayvon Martin
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Jack Cashill just can't stop trashing a dead teen.

Cashill has been trashing Trayvon Martin -- portraying him as a thug in training despite the fact that he had never been arrested for anything -- and lionizing his killer, George Zimmerman, ever since Zimmerman killed Martin in an 2012 altercation. He wrote a book on the subject, then continued to defend Zimmerman even as his behavior caused further legal complications.

In his Feb. 6 WorldNetDaily column, Cashill took offense to people marking Martin's death, then launched on a lengthy speculation about what might have happened if Zimmerman had not shot Martin. He imagines that Martin beat Zimmerman into unconsciousness, if not to death, because he was "into drugs, fighting, sex, guns and playing 'gangsta,'"then portrayed Martin's father turning him in to authorities while blaming himself for breaking up marriages to Trayvon's mother and stepmother.

Cashill followed that with a pre-emtpive mourning of Zimmerman because he "volunteered to be neighborhood watch captain after a young mother a few doors down endured a home invasion," and is "an Hispanic civil rights activist and Obama supporter. He mentors black teens, and just a year ago he led a crusade to get justice for a black homeless man who had been beaten by a cop’s son." Cashill's imaginary police officer declares that Trayvon is "going to prison" for his crime.

Cashill also repeated a neighbor's claim that he allegedly saw Martin go down on Zimmerman "MMA style," but failed to note that the neighbor later walked back that claim and admitted he never actually saw any punches thrown.

Remember that Cashill is better known for pushing bogus conspiracy theories than for accurate reportage, and that tells you what you should believe about what he writes.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:38 PM EST
MRC Defends Sanders Claiming God Ordained Trump -- But Attacked Those Who Claimed God Ordained Obama
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Ryan Foley writes in a Feb. 1 post:

During Wednesday’s edition of Erin Burnett OutFront, the eponymous host and her panel reacted to White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders’s declaration that God “wanted Donald Trump to become President” during an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network. Burnett seemed to think that God playing a role in the electoral politics of the United States posed a direct threat to democracy.

Burnett seemed shocked by Sanders’s statement, arguing that “it’s a big thing to say that God...whatever God may be, he, she, it...wanted Donald Trump to become President.” Burnett asked Scott Jennings, former advisor to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, “does that make you blanch at all or are you okay with that?” Jennings responded, “I find it quite likely that supporters of any politician who wins believe that it was God’s plan for that politician to win. So, no, I’m not surprised to hear someone saying that.”

Burnett proceeded to scoff at the idea that God would have anything to do with electoral politics in the United States: “I thought we live in a democracy, right? The will of the people and now you’re saying it’s the will of God. I don’t know, there’s something about it that seems quite jarring to me, frankly.” Jennings stressed that he believed in the will of the people while proclaiming that “I happen to believe in the will of God and that his will will be done on this Earth whether we like it or not.” Burnett still seemed to have a hard time wrapping her head around that idea, asking Jennings, “And you think that God cares who’s President of the United States?”

Needless to say, there's a double standard. The MRC was much less forgiving of the idea that God plays a role in the electoral politics of the United States when the result of his intervention was Barack Obama.

Lachlan Markay mockingly wrote in a 2009 post that musician Sting "told the Associated Press that he believes that Obama is a gift from Heaven, delivered to shepherd the befuddled masses to providence," further sneering that Sting's "audacious deification of the President" was "Hollywood sophistry at its best."

A 2008 post by Mark Finkelstein similarly mocked Spike Lee for saying something similar:

B.C. and A.D?  Get with it, old man.  History is henceforth divided into the eras of B.B. and A.B.—Before and After Barack. And George W. might have been "misunderestimated" as he engaged in "strategery."  But that's so, like, yesterday.  Barack Obama is "pre-deortained."  By whom?  Spike Lee stopped short of saying God's hand is at work.  But he was clearly speaking in quasi-religious terms in discussing The One on today's Morning Joe.

Scott Whitlock huffed in a "This Week in Media Bias History" post that it was "sheer insanity" for Newsweek editor Evan Thomas to claim in 2009 that "Obama’s standing above the country... above the world. He’s sort of God." He then sneered, "You knew some journalist would say it."

Whitlock wasn't done sneering, writing this in another "This Week" post: "Liberal journalists don’t like conservatives bringing up religion and faith, but it’s apparently okay for them to insist God supports Democratic political goals. On December 4, 2013, then-MSNBC host Ed Schultz weighed in on how God feels about ObamaCare: 'I’ll tell you what I think God thinks of the Affordable Care Act. It’s a big "amen."'"

So it's "media bias"when someone invokes God for a Democrat, but mocking someone's sincere faith when that person invokes God for a Republican. Got it.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:18 AM EST
Monday, February 18, 2019
Newsmax's Hirsen Pretends Extortion Isn't Extortion
Topic: Newsmax

James Hirsen, who claims to be a lawyer, did a lawyerly job doing a little pro bono work for the National Enquirer in his Feb. 11 Newsmax column in attempting to insist that the apparent extortion attempt the Enquirer's parent, American Media Inc., is using against Amazon chief and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos really isn't extortion at all.

AMI threatened to publish compromising photos of Bezos if, as Hirsen tells it, "he did not publicly state that the tabloid’s reporting on his affair was not motivated by political concerns." But even as Hirsen admits, "David Pecker is the CEO of AMI, and he is known to be an associate and friend of President Donald Trump," and that Bezos "cited ways that the president and Pecker had cooperated in the past." It would seem, then, that AMI is demanding that Bezos state something that appears to be a lie.

He even concedes that the story "illustrates the hunger on the part of many in the mainstream press for anything that can be weaponized against the president and used to ratchet down his poll numbers" -- inadvertently acknowleging that it's legitimate for Bezos to breing up the Trump angle.

Hirsen insists that a "superficial read" is leading to claims of extortion. But, he adds, this is merely a business negotiation:

In analyzing this email, it is important to focus on the context within which both parties are seeking to settle a dispute.

In settlement negotiations, it is common practice for the parties to propose that each side will release the other from any potential claims. This is what was communicated through its legal counsel in the subject e-mail by AMI, along with a proposal that Bezos would agree to tell the public that AMI's coverage of Bezos was not politically motivated.

In return, AMI would agree not to publish the texts and photographs.

Outside of the settlement discussion context, criminal extortion would exist in a case such as this if money was demanded as payment for not making public an embarrassing secret. However, in this instance the key difference revolves around the settlement backdrop.

Why would the two sides be negotiating a settlement? It is clear that Bezos has been raising potential civil legal claims against AMI, while AMI has suggested that Bezos’s Washington Post planned to publish a false news story about AMI.

These cross assertions are arguably the basis for both parties to be pursuing a settlement of their respective claims. A settlement agreement would mutually release the claims of both parties.


Prosecutors would have an uphill battle in attempting to use these facts as a basis for a criminal extortion case. Additionally, the First Amendment creates further problems for the prosecution, since Bezos is a very well known influential public figure and a power player in Silicon Valley, Washington, D.C., and Hollywood.

Hirsen is incorrect in claiming that it's only extortion if money is involved. As Slate detailed, the federal extortion statute prohibits communication "containing any threat to injure the … reputation of the addressee" in order to extort "money or other thing of value." The statement of exoneration AMI is demanding from Bezos is clearly a thing of value, and the compromising photos it's threatening to print if it doesn't get that statement are clearly intended to injure Bezos' reputation.

(Hirsen curious doesn't mention that other prominent people have also been on the receiving end of AMI's sleazy tactics.)

Further, Hirsen does not supply any evidence that this was an actual "negotiation." If Bezos' telling is correct, AMI made demands of Bezos, and when he "didn’t react to the generalized threat with enough fear," it raised the ante by bringing up the compromising photos.

If this was really a First Amendment issue based solely on Bezos' newsworthiness as a "very well known influential public figure and a power player in Silicon Valley, Washington, D.C., and Hollywood," AMI would not need to negotiate with Bezos --  it would simply publish the photos. Every other legitimate news organization would do that.

Hirsen's column reads more like an audition as an attorney for AMI than a serious look at the legal issues involved here.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:31 PM EST
CNS Devolves Into Echo Chamber for Trump's Policies

When President Trump says "jump," asks, "how high?" That's the editorial agenda of CNS these days -- bolstering whatever pronouncement Trump makes with sycophantic echoing and random, anecdotal claims.

For instance, when Trump started ranting about claims of human trafficking over the southern border in order to justify building a wall -- which experts on the issue say is wildly overblown -- CNS rushed to bolster it:

  • Melanie Arter wrote a Feb. 4 article featuring an activist who claimed that "human traffickers take advantage of the United States’ open borders to smuggle children into the country and force them to have sex for money."
  • The next day, Arter wrote an article featuring a Border Patrol official claiming "human traffickers are using children to smuggle illegal immigrants across the border as a family unit and recycling the children back across the border to be used again."

When Trump announced that the U.S. would pull out of Syria and prematurely declared ISIS defeated, CNS continued the support mode there it started when Trump first made the announcement:

  • A Jan. 16 article by Susan Jones complained that Trump's announcement "drew an instant backlash," then highlighted that "an undisclosed number of U.S. troops were killed on routine patrol in Syria."
  • On Jan. 21, Patrick Goodenough noted another ISIS-linked bombing in Syria targeting U.S. troops.
  • A Jan. 29 article by Jones pushed Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats' claim that "Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will seek to 'avoid conflict' with two of America's allies as he consolidates power in Syria and continues to 're-take territory' from what remains of ISIS." Jones then added a partisan spin by noting, "This is the same dictator that the Obama administration tried to topple."
  • A Feb. 3 video featured Trump declaring that the U.S. needs to get out of "endless wars" like in Syria.
  • On Feb. 5, Jones featured a report claiming that "ISIS is regenerating key functions and capabilities more quickly in Iraq than in Syria."
  • Dmitri Simes wrote a Feb. 7 article touting Sen. Rand Paul's endorsement of Trump's proclamation.
  • The same day, Goodenough promoted Trump's claim that "he expects the military coalition fighting ISIS to formally declare the end of the terrorist group’s hold on territory in Syria and Iraq as soon as next week."

We've already seen hwo CNS worked to echo Trump's public pronoucements on the government shutdown, even as those views constantly shifted.

Acting as a political echo chamber is not the same thing as journalism.

(Updated to note earlier Syria support.)

Posted by Terry K. at 2:38 PM EST
Updated: Monday, February 18, 2019 8:29 PM EST
WND Projects In Accusing Liberals of Projection
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The current issue of WorldNetDaily's sparsely read Whistleblower magazine is titled "MASTERS OF PROJECTION: How today’s Democrats accuse their opponents of the very evil they perpetrate," and it's promoted thusly:

In psychology, projection is just one of many defense mechanisms people unconsciously employ to avoid facing uncomfortable feelings within themselves – by ascribing these unpleasant qualities to another person.

But in today’s political and cultural battles, projection is a tactic of all-out warfare.

The plain truth is, on issue after issue, one side in the raging war over America’s future is literally accusing the other side of the very attitudes, offenses and crimes of which it itself is guilty.


“After 20 years of producing Whistleblower magazine for WND,” says best-selling author and WND Managing Editor David Kupelian, “this has turned out to be one of my favorite issues. It’s smart, original, and it shines a fresh new light on the vexing political and cultural wars now ravaging our nation. On issues from ‘Russia collusion’ to racism, and from tolerance to voter fraud, we document how the left literally accuses others of their own misdeeds.”

Kupelian and Co. will never admit it, but WND is a major source of projection. To name just a few examples:

Kupelian's column on the subject, published at WND on Jan. 27, expanded on the theme, declaring at one point that "The left is so good at projection, it even projects the accusation of projection onto others!" He added as one example: "Members of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign did spread the theory that Obama was born in Kenya and constitutionally ineligible to be president." The 2016 McClatchy article to which Kupelian links to prove this also notes that the one Clinton campaign staff who spread the story was fired and that a reporter who whom Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal fed the claim (he has denied doing so) investigated it and found it to be false.

In other words, it would have died a discredited claim had WND not picked it up and spent the next eight years pushing it. Kupelian is simply seking retroactive justification for pushing a story he knew or should have known was false for the sole purpose of engaging in the politics of personal destrution against Obama.

Isn't that projection too?

Kupelian also unironically wrote: "There are no rules when you’re battling Hitler, and that’s exactly how the left likes it – no rules. Of course, Trump is not Hitler and the GOP is not fascist, Nazi or evil." Kupelian, Joseph Farah and the rest of WND also likes it when there's no rules -- that's why it had no problem tarring Obama with the Hitler slur it now conveniently despises.

The lack of irony continued in an anonymously written Feb. 7 WND article on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying that Trump is "projecting his own unruliness" when he attacks his critics. But instead of directly responding to Pelosi, the article turns into a promotion for the magazine, copying liberally from the earlier promo and Kupelian's column.

In attacking liberals for allegedly projecting in their criticisms of Trump, Kupelian and WND are themselves projecting. Now that's irony.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:39 AM EST
Sunday, February 17, 2019
Acosta Derangement Syndrome Watch, MRC Edition
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has had a raging case of Acosta Derangement Syndrome for a while now, and it seems to be only getting worse.

The MRC's chief Acosta-hater, Curtis Houck, spent an entire Jan. 24 post ranting at Acosta for writing a book, tossing his usual insults at Acosta like "pompous" and "carnival barker." Apparently feeling that he hadn't insulted Acosta enough, he included more Acosta-bashing comments from right-wing bloggers. At one point Houck sneers: "Okay, Jim! Time to call in The Avengers! And we’ll assume you’ll want to play Captain America, right?"

Randy Hall joined in with his own rant on Jan. 28 by finding the one thing in a new book criticizing the Trump White House that worked with the MRC's agenda:

It’s certainly no surprise that CNN's Jim Acosta would go to virtually any length to criticize President Trump and anyone in his administration.

The most recent example of this behavior comes in an excerpt from a new book written by former Trump administration official Cliff Sims, who wrote that Acosta and his channel “peddled slime” with “unsubstantiated misinformation from a disgruntled ex-Trump campaign aide.”

Entitled Team of Vipers: My Extraordinary 500 Days in the Trump White House and released on Monday, Breitbart published on Sunday produced an exclusive excerpt stating that a story based on a single anonymous source claimed that the President had been “upset with” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Since Hall is simply cribbing from Breitbart, he can't be bothered to find out whether Acosta and CNN still stood by the story that Sims claims had been "completely made up" (since Breitbart didn't either).

Scott Whitlock tried his hand at hurling invective at Acosta in a Feb. 15 post, claiing that the "self-agrandizing" Acosta "offered a typically attention-grabbing question" at President Trump's press conference declaring a national emergency over the southern border, and that he was "lectur[ing]" and being "condesending" toward parents whose children had been killed by illegal immigrants. In reality, Acosta accurately pointed out that Trump doesn't "stick to the facts" on illegal immigration and asked the "angel moms" to respond to the declaration.

Yes, the MRC spends this kind of time to personally attack a journalist.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:09 PM EST
Updated: Friday, May 24, 2019 9:43 PM EDT

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