MRC Thinks Chick-fil-A Was 'Smeared' Because Anti-Gay Donations Were Accurately Reported Topic: Media Research Center
When is telling the truth a smear? When someone reports accurately on the political activities of a fast-food chain.
The headline on Gabriel Hays' April 1 Media Research Center post blared, "NY Airport Bans Chick-Fil-A Over Malicious ThinkProgress Smear." What was that "smear"? ThinkProgress accurately reported that Chick-fil-A Chick-fil-A donated $1.8 million in 2017 to organizations like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Salvation Army, as well as to other anti-gay organizations, and the airport in Buffalo, N.Y., declined to allow a Chick-fil-A restaurant based on that reporting.
Accurate reporting that has consequences? That will not do for Hays, who went into a frothing rant:
Another airport has just banned Chick-Fil-A from setting up shop on account of the fast food chain’s financial ties with Christian groups. Buffalo, New York’s regional airport just followed a San Antonio airport’s lead in being delusional enough to trust the judgment of crazy lefty outlet ThinkProgress and banned Chick-Fil-A on account of their supposed anti-LGBTQ discrimination.
ThinkProgress wrote about the latest installment of #boycottChickFilA with all the smugness of someone who just cheated their way to victory and got away with it -- which is, of course, what the outlet’s crazed lefty journalists did. They claimed the company promoted “anti gay positions” via donations to Christian non-profits and now more pencil-necked lawmakers feel the need to embrace the petty outrage game.
“Setback?” How cute. To think that a boycott by a few deranged progressives will slow down Chick-Fil-A’s momentum is absurd. How delicious will it be when these people are found to be discriminating against the proud Christian chain for its religious affiliation?
For those of you counting at home, that four whacked-out attacks on ThinkProgress in three paragraphs: two variations of "crazy," one reference to "deranged," and a claim that it "cheated their way to victory and got away with it."
Hays then rushed to Chick-fil-A's defense, denying it was targeting the LGBT community with the donations, and besides, the company can donate to anyone it wants:
Chick-Fil-A feels that it has every right to donate to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Salvation Army, for example. Still, ThinkProgress spun the negativity, claiming that the franchise’s donation of “$1.8 million in 2017” to such Christian groups amounts to an attack on LGBTQ rights. Yes, these groups believe in traditional marriage, but that is their prerogative as well as it’s Chick-Fil-A’s. It also certainly doesn’t mean that LGBTQ employees or customers are in Chick-Fil-A’s crosshairs.
It’s just heavy spin to destroy a political enemy and, in the case of the ThinkProgress-inspired San Antonio Chick-Fil-A ban, investigations are underway to prove it was an unfair hitjob.
Spinning things in order to destroy a political enemy? Isn't that what Hays is trying to do to ThinkProgress here?
This is not the first meltdown Hays has had over accurate reporting. When the San Antonio airport similarly declined to allow Chick-fil-A a slot over the donations a couple weeks earlier, Hays declared that the company is "Jesus-loving" and "may actually believe in biology," then reframed the anti-LGBT stance of evangelical Christians in order to portray them as victims: "Traditional Christians tend to stick with the belief that homosexuality is not an optimal life choice, so of course LGBTQ groups want them wiped off the map -- even at the expense of free speech or freedom of religion." Hays also claimed ThinkProgress was engaged in "bullying" by, yes, accurately reporting the company's anti-LGBT leanings.
NEW ARTICLE: CNS' New Authoritarian Friends Topic: CNSNews.com
The Trump-lovers at CNSNews.com embrace right-wing foreign leaders who are trying to emulate Trump but have even more extreme policies. Read more >>
Newsmax's Hirsen Cheers On The Myth Behind The 'Unplanned' Movie Topic: Newsmax
James Hirsen spent his March 25 Newsmax column gushing over the then-upcoming movie "Unplanned," cheering on the story it tells:
The movie boldly tells the true story of Abby Johnson, one of the youngest individuals in the country to ever have served as a Planned Parenthood clinic director.
After working at an abortion clinic for eight years and winning an “Employee of the Year” award, Abby had the enormously disturbing yet incredibly enlightening experience of having to assist with an ultrasound-guided abortion. What she witnessed was absolutely horrendous: a tiny baby inside the womb, who was in the struggle of his or her life, having to suffer through the gruesomeness of dismemberment.
Following the experience, Abby summoned up the courage necessary to leave her financially lucrative position and extensive employment stint. She walked away from the nation’s largest abortion provider and set out to launch a ministry that would help other former Planned Parenthood employees to transition out of abortion related work.
Except that's not the "true story" at all. As we documented, Planned Parenthood has stated that there were no ultrasound-guided abortions on the day that Johnson claims, Johnson did not assist on any abortion that day, and the only abortion patient that day who comes closest to the person described in Johnson's story was too early in her pregnancy to require the use of ultrasound. (Johnson stands by her version of the story and suggested Planned Parenthood doctored records to make her look bad.)
The rest of Hirsen's column is straight PR for the movie as well, parroting the producers' complaints that the film got an R rating for graphic scenes and complaining that "a teenage girl can obtain an actual abortion without her parent’s permission, but the same teenage girl is not allowed admission into a theater, minus the supervision of an adult, to view a film that includes a scene that merely depicts the real life procedure." Sticking to the script, Hirsen doesn't dare ask why the producers couldn't simply make cuts to the scene to achieve a PG rating.
Hirsen concluded his column with an over-the-top endorsement: "In honor of all the babies who have had to endure the procedure that Abby witnessed and worse, let’s all go see 'Unplanned,' and perhaps we can escort some teens and other youth who are secondary victims in this whole abortion tragedy."
NewsBusters Blogger Still Denying Trump-Epstein Link Topic: NewsBusters
As we've documented, NewsBusters blogger Mark Finkelstein is very much in denial that convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein has with President Trump and tries to steer the conversation at every opportunity to former President Clinton's links to Epstein, despite the fact that, well, Clinton hasn't been president for nearly two decades.
Finkelstein slid even more into denial in a March 28 post, whining that MSNBC's Joe Scarborough "is test-marketing a new line of attack: attempting to tie President Trump to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein" and "fantasizing about the possibility that Epstein was at the table at Mar-a-Lago when Trump reportedly mentioned to wealthy friends that he had made them money with his tax cuts." Finkelstein huffed in response: "Just one problem with Joe's fantasy: as Scarborough presumably knows, Epstein couldn't have been there. As reported in the Washington Post, according to court documents Trump has barred Epstein from Mar-a-Lago for assaulting an underage girl."
Well, temporarily overlooking the fact that Finkelstein seems to be conceding that being banned from Mar-a-Lago means Epstein must have been a regular there and, thus, linked to Trump, let's take a look at that Post article Finkelstein is citing. It notes that Trump was an "occasional guest" of Epstein, adding:
One woman, Virginia Giuffre, sued Epstein’s longtime friend Ghislaine Maxwell, who she said recruited her in 1999 from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club to be Epstein’s “sex slave,” starting with “massages” and moving to sex acts. Giuffre had worked at the club as a 15-year-old locker room towel girl. She settled with Maxwell last year.
In a different civil case against Epstein, records showed that he had attended parties at Mar-a-Lago and that Trump flew on Epstein’s private jet at least once. Trump told New York magazine in 2002 that Epstein was “a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”
During the 2016 presidential campaign, another young woman, known in court records only as Jane Doe, said Trump had raped her when she was 13, in 1994, at a party at Epstein’s New York mansion. But the woman dropped her lawsuit and canceled a news conference at which she was expected to spell out her allegation.
On top of that, Trump's labor secretary, Alex Acosta, is a former prosecutor who cut a deal with Epstein that got him a short jaill stint despite the severity of the charges against him.
That's a lot of links to Epstein. Why doesn't Finkelstein want to admit that these ties exist? Indeed, Finkelstein is so desperate to district that he adds a note at the end of his post: "If there is one President who deserves to be tied to Epstein, it is, of course, Bill Clinton. He reportedly flew 26 times on Epstein's private Boeing 727, AKA the 'Lolita Express,' ditching his Secret Service protection on several occasions."
Finkelstein continuing to deny the truth about Trump and Epstein just makes him look even more pathetic.
WND Still Keeping Up Its Anti-Vaccine Crusade Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's anti-vaccine crusade continues with a March 22 article fretting about social media sites like Facebook and Instagram blocking anti-vaxxers -- or, in WND's view, "allowing only one side of the debate over vaccines." WND pretends to be reasonable by offering a skewed framing of the issue: "The debate focuses on the fact that while vaccines undoubtedly prevent many illnesses and deaths, they have triggered extreme reactions, including death."
Of course, WND doesn't concede that these "extreme reactions" are just an infintesimal fraction of the damage and death caused by the diseases themselves.
WND then calls on the fringe-right Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, laughably trying to give it credibility it doesn't deserve by calling a "prominent physicians' organization." It uncritically quotes an AAPS letter to lawmakers that tries to argue against making the measles vaccine mandatory:
“Are potential measles complications including death in persons who cannot be vaccinated due to immune deficiency a justification for revoking the rights of all Americans and establishing a precedent for still greater restrictions on our right to give – or withhold – consent to medical interventions?
Patients know there are complications from vaccines, even routine shots like the MMR, because they “are listed in the manufacturer’s package insert.”
“Even disregarding adverse vaccine effects, the results of near-universal vaccination have not been completely positive. Measles, when it does occur, is four to five times worse than in pre-vaccination times, according to Lancet Infectious Diseases, because of the changed age distribution: more adults, whose vaccine-based immunity waned, and more infants, who no longer receive passive immunity from their naturally immune mother to protect them during their most vulnerable period,” AAPS advised lawmakers.
You know what's another way to avoid a more severe form of measles? Getting the vaccine and booster shots. The AAPS seems not to have considered that possibility.
Flip-Flop: MRC Trashed Clintons After Probes Cleared Them, Attacks Anyone Who Does The Same To Trump Topic: Media Research Center
As Trump loyalists, the Media Research Center was eager to portray Attorney General William Barr's brief summary of the Mueller report as the final word on Trump's complete exoneration -- and not, you know, the actual report, which the MRC has yet to see -- and portray anyone who doesn't accept the Barr summary as delusional partisans who won't accept reality. Typical is the March 27 column by MRC bigwigs Brent Bozell and Tim Graham:
The psychedelic balloon of liberal hope in Robert Mueller is no more. It started to leak helium months ago, and some liberals worried that his final conclusions might be ... "disappointing."
They wanted the special counsel to deliver the goods, the evidence of collusion. This would not make Donald Trump an ordinary run-of -the-mill felon. This would make him complicit in an effort to subvert the federal government. Donald Trump would be a traitor.
What a pound full of sick puppies.
To wish this against your own president is its own form of anti-Americanism, if one contemplates the ensuing constitutional upheaval at home and the truly frightening international scenarios abroad. Russia, China, Iran and North Korea would run wild, as would every dangerous terror movement across the globe.
A patriotic liberal would set aside personal and political hostilities and celebrate the vindication of his president. We're not seeing this because the loudest of President Trump's detractors — especially in the press — are radicals, not liberals, and they're quite willing to endure existential chaos if that's the price for Trump's removal.
Needless to say, Bozell, Graham and Co. acted exactly the same way they now deride when the various invesigations into President Clinton and his wife uncovered nothing more damning against them than Bill Clinton lying about sex.
Indeed, for years after Clinton left office, the MRC -- and Graham in particular -- got mad any time someone pointed out the inconvenient fact of the Clintons not getting charged with anything, insisting that that didn't mean they weren't guilty.
Clearly, Robert Ray’s (and Kenneth Starr’s) office investigated the FBI files matter and brought no criminal charges. But as usual, the Clintons always suggest that if they’re not indicted, then they have "done nothing wrong." They would say that even if they were indicted.
I’d say Ray’s text dismissing culpability in the FBI files matter seems to go beyond the legal questions to suggesting that there was somehow no scandal or wrongdoing anywhere in the chain of acquisition and archiving of Republican FBI files by the Clinton team. But then consider that this same Robert Ray also concluded that Hillary Clinton provided "factually false" testimony in the Travel Office case – even though he declined to prosecute it as "beyond a reasonable doubt."
Graham even got mad at us for pointing this out. in a 2008 post, Graham got indignant after we pointed out that he and Bozell, in their anti-Hillary book "Whitewash," ignored the context in which the independent counsel decided not to charge Hillary in response to the firings in the White House travel office by finding that while she made false claims (a key charge against her from Bozell and Graham), it was determined she had not deliberately lied:
In his article, Krepel is playing the same old Not a Crook card to exonerate his heroine. We said Ray found her testimony to be factually false. He notes that Ray declined to prosecute, citing "insufficient evidence." The Clintons and their Arkansas toadies like Krepel athletically raise the bar, implying that the Clintons didn’t lie unless they were indicted for it. But our goal in the book was not to establish that she should have been indicted. It was the simple fact that she lied when she claimed to be uninvolved in the Travel Office firings.
As we note in the book, Hillary’s lawyers baldly claimed to the General Accounting Office: "Mrs. Clinton does not know the origin of the decision to remove the White House travel office employees...She had no role in the decision to terminate the employees." That's not how Robert Ray saw it.
Our book isn’t claiming Hillary should be behind bars. Our book is claiming that the media cannot be relied upon to investigate the Clintons with any vigor, especially the television networks. See our very next sentence after we quote the Ray report: "Why didn’t any reporter unearth anything about Hillary’s direct involvement in the Travelgate scandal on his or her own? Why did the public have to wait more than two years to learn this critically important aspect of the story?"
Graham then served up the conspiracy theory that Robert Ray, the final independent counsel who succeeded Ken Starr, declined not to charge the Clintons with anything because he wanted to run for Senate in 2002 and "the Clintons and their media friends would punish him severely for any indictment."
Claims like that belie Graham's assertion that he's not arguing that "Hillary should be behind bars" -- it's obvious he thinks she shoud be, regardless of what the independent counsel ruled. Now he's going to attack anyone who dares to point out that not only does the Barr summary not completely exonerate Trump, the Mueller report hasn't even released yet so we can judge for ourselves.
Another MRC Employee Is Tired Of Hearing About Mosque Massacre Topic: CNSNews.com
Matt Philbin is not the only Media Research Center employee tired of hearing about dead Muslims and would rather change the subject to dead Christians. MRC "senior fellow" Allen West complains in his March 25 CNSNews.com column:
We were heavily inundated with the story of the tragic mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand that left 50 people dead. There is no excuse for this action, and it should be wholeheartedly condemned by all, without any reservation. The fact that anyone would enter a place of worship and murder the congregants is unconscionable, and reprehensible. When anyone across the world is targeted because of their religious faith, we should all stand in unison and ensure that behavior, that deranged mentality, is severely punished. Now, I will critically disagree with the immediate reaction of the New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, who issued a decree banning all semi-automatic firearms. I find that quite interesting, especially since the individual who chased down the mosque attacker did so with a semi-automatic handgun. In the end, it seems that a tragedy was leveraged for a politicized agenda, and there have already been some in America championing the same course of action, enabled by a complicit media.
However, at the same time, there was another mass shooting of people of a certain religious group that has been rather dismissed by major media outlets.
As Philbin did, West then rehashes a report on Christians allegedly being killed in Nigeria. It seems that West is not the only one trying to leverage a tragedy for a political agenda.
West then descends into his usual tired liberal-bashing with rehashed slurs of Margaret Sanger:
I find it seriously hypocritical that the progressive, socialist left has an issue with statues of Civil War Confederate Generals, and yet do not complain about an organization called Planned Parenthood that was founded by a white supremacist, racist, who spoke at Ku Klux Klan rallies, Margaret Sanger. Why is there no outrage about the fact that her vision, which entailed murdering the “weeds” and “undesirables,” black babies, has come to fruition? After all, this organization, Planned Parenthood, founded by a white supremacist, has over 70 percent of its clinics and service locations in minority communities, according to LifeNews.com. And since Roe v. Wade, over 17 million black babies have been murdered in the womb, a true definition of genocide, that is hardly reported.
But what do we hear about from some on the left? Yes, we need to give blacks reparations. Who cares about reparations when the left’s policies of killing born and unborn babies is destroying the future of the black community? This is exactly the vision of Margaret Sanger.
As we pointed out the last time West endeavored to libel the dead, Sanger was not a virulent racist, nor did she ever refer to black people as "weeds." And the very link West supplies to support his claim that Planned Parenthood "has over 70 percent of its clinics and service locations in minority communities" discredits it: the linked article actually states that "79% of Planned Parenthood’s surgical abortion facilities are located within walking distance of African American and/or Hispanic/Latino communities" -- a big difference from what West claimed. And as we've previously documented, the anti-abortion group study the article is referencing defined "walking distance" as a two-mile radius -- a very long walk for a lot of people.
It's just like an MRC "senior fellow" to be so committed to spreading lies and misinformation.
MRC's Houck Still In Throes of Acosta Derangement Syndrome Topic: Media Research Center
It seems there's no end in sight for Media Research Center writer Curtis Houck's ongoingtirade of Acosta Derangement Syndrome.
In a March 18 post, Houck sneered that Acosta was an "armchair psychologist" for raising the question -- "manufactured storyline," according to Houck -- of President Trump's mental fitness after a weekend-long Twitter bender. Houck concluded with a larger anti-CNN screed, whining about "narratives" that are "manufactured to fit what CNN wants to spoonfeed to its liberal audience and poor souls at airports and doctor’s offices, which is one of fear and division." As if Houck isn't in the business of narrative manufacturing himself.
One of those narratives, of course, is that Acosta is a lying, unstable grandstander, and Houck manufactured that further the next day in a post headlined "MELTDOWN!" in which he asserted that Acosta offered "another lengthy diatribe and meltdown to the delight of his colleagues." How so? By pointing out that the right-wing Daily Caller served up a "softball" to the president. Houck ran to the defense of the Daily Caller reporter, gloating about he purportedly "dropped the hammer" on Acosta by claiming that "Rather than tell the President what was happening on a particular issue, I asked him to tell me." Houck exclaimed: "What an idea!"
If the president had been liberal and Acosta was the one to ask a similar question, Houck would undoubtedly be the first to accuse Acosta of asking a "softball" question.
Houck was further triggered when Acosta accurately pointed out that it's ridiculous for conservatives to claim they're being discriminated against on social media since they have such a massive presence there, led by Trump himself:
For regular or even infrequent readers of NewsBusters, alarm bells should be going off for just how idiotic of a statement this was by Acosta. The easy answer to is to go check out any of the work by our colleagues at MRC TechWatch or the Free Speech Alliance, but here’s a few specific examples of online censorship:
None of those examples, however, mentioned how social media platforms like Facebook have routinely sucked up to conservatives in response to their every lilttle complaint, which would seem to undermine Houck's narrative. Indeed, the MRC maintains a presence on those platforms to this very day, and no presence whatsoever on alternative platforms --perhaps because it knows that for all its attempts to rebrand them as promoting "free speech," they're little more than a outlet for racism and far-right conspiracy theories.
Houck handed the Acosta Derangement baton to Ryan Foley for a March 29 post complaining that Acosta asked a "leading question" of the governor of Puerto Rico regarding Trump. Instead of yet another Houck-esque rage-fueled rant, Foley merely complained that Acosta "asked an extremely weak follow-up question."
At least someone at the MRC understands that it doesn't look professional to act like an Acosta-hating rage-bot.
WND's Massie Glad Muslims Got A Taste Of Their Own Medicine With Mosque Massacre Topic: WorldNetDaily
Mychal Massie joins fellow WorldNetDaily columnist Jesse Lee Peterson in issuing bad takes on the New Zealand mosque massacre with his March 18 column, arguing that Muslims got a taste of their own medicine with the massacre:
Muslims around the world are saddened, fearful and outraged. And they should be. No people deserve to be slaughtered as those worshipers were. As an American I can empathize with their loss and their feelings of disbelief. I can relate to their fearful questions regarding what motivated Tarrant to commit such a grievous act.
I can empathize, because as an American I’ve experienced the same feelings and voiced the same questions, which brings me to my point. No real Christian should wish evil upon people for the atrocities they commit against us. Ergo, I am not rejoicing when I make the following point.
It’s my prayer that good comes from this horrific evil, because it causes Muslims around the world to realize how I and other Americans felt:
In 1993, when Muslims bombed the World Trade Center, leaving six Americans dead and 1,000 injured.
In 1995, when Muslims murdered five U.S. military personnel in a Saudi Arabia bombing.
In 1996, when Muslims bombed King Aziz Air Force Base in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, leaving 23 Americans dead and 300 injured.
In the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia, that left 19 dead and 500 injured.
In 1998, when Muslims murdered 224 and left 4,000 wounded and injured in the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Africa.
In 2000, when Muslim suicide bombers attacked the USS Cole, which left 17 American sailors dead and 39 injured.
On Sept. 11, 2001, when Muslims murdered 2,996 innocent Americans and injured over 6,000 others – Americans who were guilty only of going to work that day.
On Sept. 11, 2012, when Muslims murdered Tyrone Woods, Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Glen Doherty and Sean Smith in Benghazi.
Massie is almost certainly lying when he says he is "not rejoicing" when he wrote this. He relilshes any opportunity to spew hate at anyone he despises, particularly Muslims. But he wasn't done lecturing:
This is a time for Muslims worldwide to reflect upon how Americans felt watching newsreels and seeing still photographs of Muslims beheading Daniel Pearl, Nick Berg, James Foley and Steven Sotloff. And how Americans felt seeing these same Muslims playing catch with the severed heads of those just mentioned.
This would be a golden moment for Muslims to think about how Americans felt after the San Bernardino, California, murders of co-workers by a Muslim couple. They should think about how Americans felt after the Muslim terrorism at the Boston Marathon and the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that left 49 Americans dead and 53 wounded. They should think about the suffering of family members of the Fort Hood murders by a Muslim serving in our military.
Now would be a good time for Muslims worldwide to reflect upon the loss of life, pain and suffering in the aftermath of their unprovoked attacks in Paris, Malaysia, the Philippines, Africa, the U.K. and the rest of the world.
I’m not trying to rub salt in an open wound, nor am I being insensitive. I’m saying this is a perfect time for Muslims worldwide to come together and reflect upon the global loss of innocent life caused by killers in allegiance to their religion.
If that were to happen, good would come from evil. But they will not do that. Their leadership will spin tales of woe and prescribed acts of violence against them. They will expect and insist that the world not just mourn their loss, but reinforce and establish protocols to protect and legitimize Muslims’ murderous rampages.
Completely absent from Massie's column, of course, is any mention of how white people show feel about a fellow white person perpetrating such a massacre. That would have been a better demostration of how he was not "rubbing slt in an open wound" than this column.
Massie concluded by playing whataboutism: "What happened to the people in that mosque in Christchurch is unjustifiable in every quantifiable definition of the word. But so is what Muslims have been doing around the world for centuries, including their murderous religious rampages against the global humanity of today." Somehow, we're just not feeling that Massie really thinks the massacre was "unjustifiable."
MRC Keeps Working As PR Shop for Covington Kid's Lawyers Topic: Media Research Center
We've documented the Media Research Center's unseemly role as the PR agent for the lawyers who when full Klayman and filed a $250 political manifesto-cum-defamation lawsuit against the Washington Post on behalf of Covington kid Nick Sandmann. The MRC's anti-media bloodlust has continued.
A March 4 post by Curtis Houck -- headlined "Sandmann lawyers SLAM WashPost" -- followed in the footsteps of colleague Nicholas Fondacaro's unprofessional rage and gloated how Sandmann's lawyers "ran The Washington Post through the wood chipper," uncritically parroting how "The 445-word statement didn’t mince words, slamming The Post as having led 'a mainstream and social media mob of bullies' against Sandmann." Ironically, Houck's employer leads mobs against the media, but that's apparently OK.
Houck kept up the violent imagery in a March 12 post headlined "Sandmann Lawyers Hammer CNN as ‘Facts Last’ Network ‘Bullying’ a Minor to Defend Phillips" (the URL indicates that Houck's original verb was "vaporizes"). In it, he touts an appearance by the lawyers on Fox News (of course) in which they announced a similar lawsuit against CNN. As Fondacaro failed to do with the Post lawsuit, Houck doesn't point out that the lawsuit is more of a political document than a legal one; as a more responsible, less media-hating outlet reported, the lawsuits are effectively pro-Trump political statements and not serious claims of defamation.
Instead, Houck gushed that "The lawsuit didn’t waste time in starting to build a case against CNN," touted "eight other sections" in it and uncritically repeated the "damages" claim that Sandmann "is forced to live his life in a constant state of concern over his safety and the safety of his family." You mean like how journalists are forced to live as a result of President Trump calling the media the "enemy of the people," something the MRC thinks are "self-centered" for pointing out?
The MRC then got mad that CNN didn't report that it was being sued. A March 20 post by Bill D'Agostino complained the channel hadn't reported it;he served up the lawyers' talking points that CNN engaged in "accusatory coverage" of Sandmannand was "pushing false narratives about the video," when whined: "Considering CNN hosts found ample time to lecture others about hastily jumping to conclusions, their current refusal to so much as acknowledge this lawsuit against them is conspicuous."
Two days later, D'Agostino acknowledged that CNN's website did publish an article, then still complained that "CNN still has not given the lawsuit any televised airtime." D'Agostino did note CNN's statement that it "reported on a newsworthy event and public discussion about it, taking care to report on additional facts as they developed and to share the perspectives of eyewitnesses and other participants and stakeholders as they came forward," though it seemingly contradicts his earlier attack.
WND Attacks WaPo For Devastating Story -- But Doesn't Refute It Topic: WorldNetDaily
It took two days, but WorldNetDaily has finally responded to the devastating Washington Post story on WND's history of mismanaged finances and other shenanigans on the road to its current circling-the-drain position. Being WND, of course, there's no actual response to the story's claims.
Managing editor David Kupelian began his April 4 article by playing the victim through invoking editor Joseph Farah's stroke:
Just five days after WND went public with the news that its founder, editor and CEO, veteran journalist Joseph Farah had suffered a devastating stroke, the Washington Post has published a lengthy article attacking Farah, his wife Elizabeth, and WND, America’s first online journalism organization.
The story, sensationally headlined “Inside the spectacular fall of the granddaddy of right-wing conspiracy sites,” cites mostly unnamed former employees and others. The Post also mysteriously managed to get a hold of the contents of WND’s private email server, referencing and picking apart numerous internal emails going as far back as 12 years.
Kupelian didn't mention that the Post article noted that WND went public with Farah's health situation two hours after a reporter called it for reaction to the allegations -- seemingly so Kupelian could play the victim once the story was published.
After admitting that the Post story accused Farah and his wife (to which he obliquely referred to as "the company founders"), Kupelian made it clear he wasn'tgoing to actually respond to anything in the article, immediately going defensive and insisting none of the bad behavior reported was "remotely illegal":
Evidently the Post considers it shocking and newsworthy that over its 22-year history, a small, influential though undercapitalized company in a highly competitive business, rocked regularly by seismic changes – the dot-com crash, the Google-Facebook-Amazon disruption of the internet and so on – might experience its share of failures, difficulties and embarrassments.
Nowhere in the Post’s article is anything remotely illegal alleged. More to the point, nor does the Post acknowledge the important and highly regarded reporting generated day in and day out, year after year, by WND’s journalists – most of whom, remarkably, have been with WND for virtually all of its two decades of existence.
Most interestingly, nowhere in his massive 2,700-word article does Post reporter Manuel Roig-Franzia ever get down to what has actually caused the precipitous drop in annual revenue at WND over the last couple of years, which has led to the company’s current struggles.
He then blamed Amazon, "whose founder, CEO and president Jeff Bezos is the owner of the Washington Post," for decreased revenue at WND's online store. (And, no, Kupelian won't admit that WND's history of fake news and conspiracy theories played a key role in creating its current financial situation.)
Kupelian followed that by outright declaring he would not bother to "refute every allegation and innuendo in this one-sided, unsympathetic portrayal of a vastly smaller but influential news competitor" -- though it begs the question of why he won't. It seems that if something was actually false or misleading, that would be the first thing he would address as a way to cast doubt on the article's credibility. Instead, he spends several paragraphs attacking the Post for reporting on Trump scandals -- at one point complaining about "no fewer than five different Post writers explicitly comparing Trump to the Nazi monster who murdered 11 million people," forgetting how many times WND writers likened President Obama to Hitler and other assorted Nazis.
Kupelian once again deferred comment, once again invoking Farah's stroke:
Although Joseph Farah is the only person situated to respond to many of the Post’s allegations, the paper chose to publish its takedown article right after Farah suffered a major stroke rendering him totally unable to defend himself, his wife and his news organization.
I don’t know why the Post chose to do such a thing. But I’ll close by simply saying for the record, as WND’s vice president and managing editor for 20 years, that I have nothing but the highest respect and love for this amazing news organization, for its founders Joseph and Elizabeth Farah, and for the dedicated journalists who work here.
But Joseph Farah is not "the only person situated to respond" but conveniently out of commission. As co-founder of WND -- who also holds the title of chief operating officer, which we can probably assume imparts knowledge about the company's finances -- Elizabeth Farah is certainly capable of responding, especially since one of the claims in the Post article is that Ellizabeth Farah used company money for personal expenses. Kupelian himself, also a longtime employee in charge of editorial operations who almost certainly knows things about how the company has been managed, can certainly respond as well.
The fact that Kupelian resorts to distraction and attacks instead of responding to any specific claim in the Post article tells us that he knows the Post article is factually accurate. The sad little line at the end begging readers for money doesn't change that.
CNS Obsesses Over Cost of Mueller Probe Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com loyally transcribed seemingly every time President Trump or one of his surrogates insisted the Trump campaign did not collude with Russia, so when Attorney General William Barr released a brief summary of Robert Mueller's special counsel lreport into such matters that appeared to have actually found no collusion, CNS couldn't want to trumpet that results.
A brief, anonymously written article carried the headline "Mueller Report: ‘Investigation Did Not Establish That Trump Campaign Conspired or Coordinated With Russian Government’." Susan Jones served some misleading football-spiking from the president himself: "Trump: 'Total EXONERATION'; 'It's a Shame That Our Country Had to Go Through This'." (In fact, as an actual news outlet reported but Jones didn't, Trump was not exonerated on the obstruction question.) Melanie Arter chimed in with more Trump stenography.
Then Jones decided to obsess over the cost of the Mueller investigation in a March 25 piece headlined "Mueller Probe: 22 Months, 19 Lawyers, 40 FBI, 2,800 Subpoenas, 500 Search Warrants, 500 Witnesses." As the URL indicates, it originally carried the editorializing headline "You Paid For 22 Months, 19 Lawyers, 40 FBI, 2,800 Subpoenas, 500 Search Warrants, 500 Witnesses..."
In it, Jones huffs:
According to Barr, in the course of his 22-month probe, Mueller "employed 19 lawyers who were assisted by a team of approximately 40 FBI agents, intelligence forensic accountants, and other professional staff. The Special Counsel issued more than 2,800 subpoenas, executed nearly 500 search warrants, obtained more than 230 orders for communication records, issued almost 50 orders authorizing use of pen registers, made 13 requests to foreign governments for evidence, and interviewed approximately 500 witnesses.
Still unknown: How much did all of that cost us, the taxpayers?
President Trump tweeted in November 2018 that the "Joseph McCarthy style Witch Hunt" had wasted "more than $40,000,000," but the final tally has not been released.
The Office of Special Counsel has posted its direct expenditures through September 30, 2018, as follows:
That's a total of $9,394,300, by the reckoning of Mueller's office, with 6 months unaccounted for.
Judicial Watch in December sued the U.S. Department of Justice for records of costs incurred by the security detail for Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Jones is, of course, suggesting that Mueller's probe was a waste of taxpayer money since it apparently didn't implicate Trump or his campaign in collusion.
We do not recall CNS or any other conservative media outlet being similarly upset over the $70 million cost of various investigations of President Clinton, including the Whitewater investigation that devolved into a probe of the president's sex life, even though they failed at finding anything more serious aghainst the president than lying about sex.
UPDATE: Jones didn't mention that the Mueller investigation could actually break even or turn a profit -- or at least recoup much of its cost -- given that it has resultedthe seizure of more than $28 million in assets from defendants including Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen.
Double Standard: MRC's Graham Uses Whataboutism To Justify Fox News Burying Stormy Daniels Scoop Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Tim Graham spent his March 17 post in meltdown over the revelation that Reuters "sat on" a claim that Beto O'Rourke "belonged to an influential hacking group calling itself Cult of the Dead Cow" until after the 2018 Texas Senate election (which he lost). Graham was so triggered by this, in fact, that he couldn't be bothered to describe anything that made this hacker group "notorious" or mention the relevant fact that this membership occured when O'Rourke was a teenager, or explain the relevance of this membership has on anything involving O'Rourke today other than that he's running for president.
Graham did, however, get even more triggered when someone mentioned a more serious story that just happened to be sat upon before a crucial election by Graham's favorite media outlet:
CNN Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter devoted a segment on his Sunday show to Fox News deciding not to air news of porn star Stormy Daniels right before the 2016 election. A lawyer for an angry ex-Fox News employee tried to claim it was some sort of campaign finance violation that Fox withheld whatever anti-Trump scoop it may have had.
Earth to Lawyer: Liberal media outlets sit on stories all the time, calculating the political advantages or disadvantages. Ask any Bill Clinton accuser.
The same Stelter ignored Reuters on his "reliably" liberal show and on Twitter disdained any outrage: “Reporters who are writing books sometimes hold back certain info till their book comes out. That’s what the reporter says happened in this case. Book deal situations are definitely complicated. The Fox/Stormy situation didn't involve a book. What's your proposal -- no books?”
Yes, Graham is going the whataboutism route to justify Fox News hiding the Stormy Daniels story before the election.
As we documented, whataboutism was pretty much the MRC's entire response to the New Yorker article examining Fox News in which that and other unflattering details were revealed. Kyle Drennen, for example, tried to deflect from the allegation by denouncing it as among "anonymous claims" in the piece and huffing over an MSNBC segment on the claim that "NBC would certainly know about sitting on damaging accusations against a president. In 1999, the network delayed airing an interview with Bill Clinton rape accuser Juanita Broaddrick until after impeachment of the Democratic president had passed."
Wash. Post Exposes WND's Financial Meltdown, Shenanigans Topic: WorldNetDaily
A new Washington Post article provides new details about the dire financial situation at WorldNetDaily, and it's even worse than we thought.
WND has been notoriously opaque about its finances, including lack of transparency about the money editor Joseph Farah claims it raised and where it was spent. The Post reports that not only have employees and contractors not received money they are owed, authors of books published by WND haven't been paid royalties they are due -- indeed, WND has for years been behind on payments to employees and vendors, to the point that Farah effectively bragged about that as being standard WND business practice. On top of that, it appears that WND's finances have gone to support a swanky office in the Washington, D.C., suburbs and Farah's nearby house, and Farah's wife, Elizabeth, is accused of buying personal items on a company credit card. Ex-WND employees and board members have questioned its finances, the Post reported, and WND refused to let them see even basic accounting statements.
WND was not even living up to promises it made to writers to paid to have their books published by WND. We've detailed the story of Patricia Fiejo, whose story and book WND promoted but did not disclose to readers it was paid by Fiejo (to the tune of nearly $10,000) to promote it; Fiejo told the Post that WND failed to deliver on promises it would provide audio versions of her book.
The Post repeated statements for a Farah-penned book taht WND got started on "a 250-acre ranch in a stretch of rural southern Oregon known as 'the imaginary state of Jefferson.' ... They invited staffers to move there with them and called their ranch, with its cabins converted into offices, 'the compound.' The Farahs lived across the road in a log cabin." But as we've pointed out, that ranch was owned by a group called the Foundation of Human Understanding, which some have accused of being a cult. It was run by Roy Masters, an evangelist and radio host. WND managing editor David Kupelian used to run a magazine operated by Masters' FHU, and that served as the template for WND's sparsely read Whistleblower magazine.
The Post also highlighted Farah's embrace last year of a bitcoin derivative as a way to save WND. We documented just how shady that deal was. And it has not been a moneymaker for any of its holders so far: We never saw that particular cryptocurrency valued very high at all; as of this writing, it's trading at about 14 cents.
Perhaps most interesting, is how WND first responded to a Post reporter who contacted it seeking a response to all these allegations:
Reached by phone last week, Farah’s wife, Elizabeth — the site’s co-founder with her husband — declined to discuss the accusations in detail, but added that “the angst of a former employee does not impress me as to the legitimacy of complaints.”“It’s a he-said, she-said,” Elizabeth Farah said.
Less than two hours after she was contacted by The Washington Post, WND posted a story saying Joseph Farah had recently suffered a serious, previously undisclosed stroke.
It's probably telling of the how solid the Post story is that WND has yet to publish a response to it as of this writing on its website.
Things are undeniably a mess at WND, and now it's clear they have been for years. But if Farah is out of commission with a severe health issue, that bodes even worse for WND's future. Seeing this sort of mismanagement laid bare doesn't bode well for attracting any investors to it or even its tax-deductible nonprofit WND News Center, which has the goal of financing WND's reporting. The force-of-nature Farah juggled things (and stiffed his employees and authors) to keep the thing afloat, and no other WND bigwig seems likely to step into that role.
A few months back, WND managing editor David Kupelian wrote the story of his heart attack a couple years earlier, in which he seemed to learn the wrong lessons God was purportedly imparting to him by allowing him to suffer one -- he did not apologize to, and seek forgiveness from, all the people whom WND has smeared and libeled over the years. If one believes Farah's stroke is a message from God as well, it may be that the message He is sending is that WND doesn't deserve to live.
Newsmax Hides That It Published Horowitz Book It's Promoting Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax is heavily promoting the new book by right-winger David Horowitz:
A March 17 article by Jason Devaney touted how Horowitz's book accuses " the 'anti-religious, anti-American left' of conducting an ongoing effort to erase God from American society dating back six decades."
A March 18 article by Bill Hoffmann gushed: "A New York Times bestselling author is warning that Christians are in real danger of persecution — in America. And this warning comes from a surprising source, a prominent secular Jew."
A March 23 article by Devaney promoted a Horowitz interview, in which he "compared Democrats to Satan ... saying they have the same "arrogance" as the serpent did in the Garden of Eden.
A March 30 article by Hoffmann further gushed: "Glenn Beck is praising David Horowitz’s new book Dark Agenda: The War to Destroy Christianity in America. David was just on Glenn’s national radio show this week, and the top-rated host told his audience that “this is a very critical book” and warned Americans of the growing attacks on Christians.
What none of these articles mention: Horowitz's book is published by Newsmax -- specifically, Humanix Books, Newsmax's book division. That explains why Hoffmann took the time to boldface every instance of the book title in his Beck article.
This undisclosed conflict of interest hurts Newsmax's efforts to be taken seriously as a news organization.