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Tuesday, May 21, 2019
Naked Athlete-Hating NewsBusters Blogger Dances on ESPN Magazine's Grave
Topic: Media Research Center

The past two years, mysterious NewsBusters sports blogger Jay Maxson had a meltdown over ESPN magazine's annual "Body Issue," featuring photos of naked athletes (with the naughty bits tastefully covered). So it's no surprise that when ESPN announced it would stop publishing the print edition of the magazine later this year -- but not before only final "Body Issue," Maxson was eager to dance on its grave with a special meltdown directed at, yes, those nekkid athletes:

Come September, ESPN The Magazine will take its place in the ash heap of history. The Worldwide Leader in "Progressive Sports and Naked Athletes" is discontinuing the magazine this fall, after 21 years in operation, but will make sure it ends with one final edition featuring nude athletes. When its business was flagging, ESPN The Magazine merely resorted to glorifying athletes out of uniform, and the strategy still didn't prevent it from going under.

The late F. Darrin Perry designed the magazine's format in 1998 as something akin to "a Rolling Stone of sports magazines, in which athletes were presented as rock stars," wrote The New York Times' Steven Heller in Perry's 2004 obituary. He placed an unconventional emphasis on big and dramatic photos that drew more attention -- especially to those naked athletes, one-upping Sports Illustrated's swimsuit editions.


ESPN spokesperson Paul Melvin said, “Storytelling is central to what we do and ESPN The Magazine drives some of the best sports writing and storytelling in the world. The Magazine has just enjoyed its finest creative year and we’re looking forward to a tremendous 20th year of more award-winning narratives, features, imagery and reporting.”

Journalists? Storytelling? There are no journalists telling stories behind the cameras at the naked body shoots, where no extravagance was spared. Those appeals to viewers' prurient interest will likely continue to appear on the main ESPN website. Javier Baez standing naked holding a baseball bat, Colin Kaepernick walking naked on a beach, softball player A.J. Andrews sailing over baked desert ground with glove outstretched don't even constitute "photo journalism."

The 2018 Body Issue featuring the raw variety of sport utilized 352 employees requiring months of preparation and multiple shooting locations. Apparently draining the bank in the process.

The Chicago Tribune's  Phil Rosenthal wrote with a straight face that the body issue is intended to showcase athletes’ toned bodies. Fitness Magazine shows toned bodies; ESPN's Body Issue peddles bare flesh. Some sports media refuse to stick to sports; ESPN refuses to stick to clothing, and it's not working.

Reprising his anger at people in sports  whocommit the offense of talking about things that don't involve sports, Maxson alsohuffed that "ESPN The "Woke" Magazine is where one could go to read about U.S. Olympian fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad saying minority athletes must look up to (disgraced) 1968 Olympic protester John Carlos, Kaepernick, Serena Williams, Megan Rapinoe and so many activists in the WNBA.

By contrast, Maxson was never bothered by fleshiness of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue. Perhaps fearing the loss of something to write about with the ESPN magazine's imminent demise, Maxson redirected his ire at SI's swimsult models:

The idea of actually covering sports has become so passé for two iconic sports media organizations that they've devolved into a lusty competition to determine which can one-down the other in so-called artistic nudity. ESPN presents full buff arrays of athletes "performing" their respective sport, and Sports Illustrated is pulling out every PC trick in the book — hijabs and burkinis, painted ladies and politically correct subjects bearing virtue messages on their naked flesh — to gain attention. All in the name of progressive art moving sport and society forward toward the nirvana of diversity.

Just days ago, ESPN fired the latest shot in the woke/buck naked photo wars with its 2019 deviation from sport to hedonism. Seeking to maintain relevance, Sports Illustrated answers with woke, politically correct displays of flesh, only now with hijab- and burkini-clad, plus-sized and nude models adorned only with words like "tolerance" and "diversity."

Maxson was put out that SI's models include a plus-size woman -- purportedly evidence that SI is "trying to divert readers' attention from the fact that the magazine is leaving sports to the wind, wallowing in PC and starving for relevance -- and an out lesbian.But Maxson was really freaked out by one particular model:

The conflicted messages of the 2018 SI "#MeToo" Swimsuit photos cannot go unmentioned either. That's when several women posed completely naked with words written on their bodies. Aly Raisman, the Olympic gymnast who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of former Team USA Dr. Larry Nasser, inconceivably disrobed for this issue. Her body was "tattooed" with the words "abuse is never okay," "live for you" and "trust yourself." She's figuratively saying "I was abused ... but look at my body!" Unbelievable.

Actually, Raisman is saying that "being a survivor is nothing to be ashamed of, and going through a hard time does not define you," and that "women do not have to be modest to be respected. We are free to draw confidence and happiness in our own way, and it is never for someone else to choose for us or to even judge us for that matter."

Clearly, Maxson is more than happy to judge and demand that Raisman live her life the way Maxson deems appropriate.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:02 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, June 2, 2019 3:22 PM EDT
Dishonest WND Portrays Women Who Threatened To Blow Up Church As 'NBC Producer'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The article trying to blame a journalist's sexual orientation for his suicide is not the only recent example of WorldNetDaily misleading about people involved in journalism. An April 24 WND article by Joe Kovacs carries the headline "Mom who threatened to blow up church was NBC producer." But Kovacs walks back that headline over the first three paragraphs of his article:

A woman “claiming to be the Messiah” who threatened to blow up a California church on Easter Sunday while carrying her baby and a gun is a former digital producer for the NBC-TV affiliate in San Diego.

Anna Conkey, 31, was tackled by her fellow churchgoers during the April 21 incident at the Tsidkenu Church in the Clairemont area of San Diego.

NBC 7 says Conkey is also a former intern at the station, as well as a U.S. Navy veteran and graduate of San Diego State University.

So Conkey wasn't an "NBC producer" after all -- she was some undetermined point an intern working in digital production for the NBC affiliate station in San Diego.

Kovacs does make it clear further in the article that the woman was apparently having mental health issues -- which means her media work had nothing to do with the incident and that WND's hook of portraying her as a journalist who hated religion enough to threaten to blow up a church is doubly dishonest.

No wonder WND is losing readers (and money).

Posted by Terry K. at 3:49 PM EDT
CNS Misreports Warren's Tax Form Actions

Craig Bannister writes in an April 29 blog post:

“Big financial corporations like TurboTax shouldn’t be able to scam consumers like this,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) declared Monday:

“Outrageous. Filing taxes should be simple and free. Big financial corporations like TurboTax shouldn’t be able to scam consumers like this—and my Tax Simplification Act would fix that.”

Warren made the claim on Twitter, linking to an April 26, 2019 ProPublica article – which was updated on April 28 to report that TurboTax had already abandoned the practice Warren was condemning:

“Update, April 28, 2019: Intuit has changed the code on its Free File page so that the actually free version of TurboTax is no longer hidden from Google and other search engines.

“This week, we reported on how TurboTax uses deceptive design and misleading advertising to trick lower-income Americans into paying to file their taxes, even though they are eligible to do it for free.

“There’s a new wrinkle: It turns out, Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, is deliberately hiding the truly free edition — TurboTax Free File — from Google Search.”

In fact, Intuit's action does not mean it had "abandoned the practice Warren was condemning." As ProPublica also reported, the main TurboTax website -- where most people expect to go to use its tax software -- does not allow people to use the free version of the program and pushes uses into its paid tax-filing software. Intuit hiding the free version of TurboTax from Google is only one issue that was raised. Even the ProPublica article Bannister stated that Warren cited also states that Intuit "uses deceptive design and misleading advertising to trick lower-income Americans into paying to file their taxes, even though they are eligible to do it for free."

Bannister then goes on to describe a bill Warren introduced that proves she's trying to do more than Intuit fixed, contrary to what he insinuated earlier in his article. Among other things, it would permit the IRS to offer a "free, online tax preparation and filing service," which is currently prohibited from doing because Intuit and H&R Block have heavily lobbied the government to keep it from happening.

This is part of a recent pattern by CNS to attack and belittle Democratic politicians and presidential candidates.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:10 AM EDT
Monday, May 20, 2019
Trump-Fluffer Kessler Goes Into Full Apologist Mode
Topic: Newsmax

Ronald Kessler is a Trumpophile from way back, and while he was a full-time writer for Newsmax, he promoted Trump's presidential ambitions as early as 2011. Kessler is still a Trump apologist, as he demonstrates in an April 23 column complaining that the FBI opened an investigation into Trump because he said in an interview that the "this Russia thing" was why he fired FBI Director James Comey. Commence apologist mode:

With those confusing words, it sounded as if Trump was saying he fired Comey because the FBI director was pursuing the Russia investigation and Trump wanted to stop it.

But Trump made it clear to aides afterward that he meant quite the opposite — that he was aware that firing Comey could prolong the Russia investigation. What Trump said in the interview immediately after his comment about “this Russia thing” confirms that and exposes [Andrew] McCabe’s rationale for opening the investigation of Trump as a fraud[.]

Trump went on to say to Holt that he supported a full investigation into Russian interference in the election. He said he never tried to pressure Comey into dropping the existing FBI probe of Russian interference in the election — a legitimate investigation that never specifically targeted Trump.


The media largely ignored Trump’s statement making it clear that he realized that by firing Comey, he was probably prolonging the existing FBI investigation rather than obstructing it. Nor, in all the endless stories about the Russia investigation did the media point out that Trump never actually interfered with the FBI investigation, that he was not a target of an FBI investigation when he fired Comey, and that he did not corruptly cover up, destroy evidence, or make false statements to mislead investigators, all of which happened during Watergate when President Nixon clearly obstructed justice.

But as the Mueller report made clear, "the Russia thing" did clearly play a role in Trump firing Comey. Trump was angry that Comey would not publicly say that Trump was personally not under investigation, and Comey's alleged behavior during the FBI investigation, as stated in Ron Rosenstein's letter providing justification for the firing, was never the main factor.

Kessler, like a good apologist, was still mad that Comey's firing did commence an FBI investigation into Trump, ranting that "Not since Hoover opened FBI investigations into anyone who criticized the government and blackmailed presidents and members of Congress has the FBI so outrageously abused its authority."

(Photo: Ron Kessler and his wife, Pamela, with Trump, from Kessler's 1999 book "The Season," about the Palm Beach social scene.)

Posted by Terry K. at 6:29 PM EDT
MRC Falsely Puts A Swear Word In A Commentator's Mouth
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Brad Wilmouth was in full rage mode, and it seemed justified at first (by right-wing standards, anyway). Under the screaming headline "Heilemann Slams 'Big Fat Steaming Plate of Hannity,' 'Pig in ****'," Wilmouth huffed in a May 3 post:

On Wednesday's The 11th Hour with Brian Williams on MSNBC, during a discussion of Fox News reaction to Attorney General Bill Barr's testimony on the Mueller report, John Heilemann derided FNC host Sean Hannity as a "steaming, hot pile of Hannity" who is as "happy as a pig in ****" as the MSNBC national affairs analyst seemed annoyed at having to react to the conservative Fox News host's commentary.

Just one problem: Heilemann never said the swear word that Wilmouth portrays him as saying. As Wilmouth later writes in his piece, Heilemann actually said: "There's a phrase, people talk about a 'pig in,' you know. That's Sean right now -- he's happy as a pig in, you know."

So Wilmouth is lying. There's a difference between implying a swear word and speaking around it -- which Heilemann did -- and actually saying the word, which Heilemann did not but Wilmouth portrays him as doing.

Wilmouth's sloppiness goes even further. His first paragraph misquotes Heilemann by claiming he referred to a "steaming, hot pile of Hannity," when Heilemann actually said "a big, fat, steaming plate of Hannity." Doesn't anybody edit anything at the MRC these days? (Ask Tom Blumer.)

As of this writing, the MRC has not acknowledge Wilmouth's falsehood or issued a correction. Its failure to do so hurts whatever credibility it has.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:04 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, May 20, 2019 3:09 PM EDT
WND Seems Pleased A Gay Journalist Killed Himself
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily devoted a May 7 article to this:

A white journalist, actor and director who drew a following on Twitter by attacking “whiteness” and President Trump killed himself Saturday evening.

Pieter Bosch Botha, 34, also known as Pieter Howes, died at the Sandton hotel in Johannesburg, South Africa, after a battle with depression, reported the South African TV industry website TeeVeeTee.

Never heard of him? Neither have we. WND's article is little more than a rewrite of a piece on the man published by something called Information Liberation, which has been described as an extreme-right operation known for publishing false and misleading information -- which tells you how decimated the news side of WND is these days in his current financial crisis. (WND calls Information Liberation an "independent news and commentary site.")

WND, though, weirdly focuses on Howes' sex life, calling him a "gay white journalist" in the headline and inexplicably making the article's lead image a tweet from Howes' wedding -- even though his sexuality is irrelvant to anything in the story.

WND seems to want you to think that Howes killed himself because he was gay -- and maybe that he deserved to die. There's really no other logical explanation we can think of that would cause WND to play up his sexual orientation.

Of course, WND hates journalists as much as it hates people who are gay, so it can be credibly argued that it's pleased by this development.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:35 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, May 20, 2019 12:55 AM EDT
Sunday, May 19, 2019
MRC Does Damage Control For Ben Shapiro's Temper Tantrum
Topic: Media Research Center

First the Media Research Center rushed to Ben Shapiro's defense over alleged mislabeling of his conservative views (despite its own long history of sloppy labeling of liberal views). Now, in a May 10 post, the MRC's Scott Whitlock is doing cleanup work on a disastrous TV appearance by Shapiro. Whitlock glowingly writes:

Conservative host Ben Shapiro appeared on the BBC, Thursday, in a contentious interview and attacked the bias and agenda of the network. After host Andrew Neil derided Georgia’s new pro-life abortion bill as “extreme,” “hard policies” that would “take us back to the dark ages,” Shapiro unloaded, “Okay, so you’re supposedly an objective calling polices with which you disagree barbaric.” 

Neil huffed that “I’m not taking a view” of abortion. Shapiro shot back: “Sir, you just suggested that the pro-life position is inherently brutal and terrible. So, I’m asking you, as an objective journalist, would you ask the same question to a pro-choice advocate by calling their position brutal and horrible?” 

Neil doubled down: “What I’m asking you is why is it that a bill banning abortion after a woman has been pregnant for six weeks is not a return to the dark ages?” The conservative author and commentator called out the cultural bias of the BBC:

My answer is something called science. Human life exists at conception. It ought to be protected. You purport to be an objective journalist. BBC purports to be an objective, down-the-middle network. It obviously is not and never has been. And you as a journalist are proceeding to call one side of the political aisle ignorant, barbaric and sending us back to the dark ages.

What Whitlock didn't tell you: Shapiro's attack on the BBC was followed by a massive temper tantrum in which Shapiro complained that Neil "simply going through and finding lone things that sound bad out of context and then hitting people with them is a way for you to make a quick buck on BBC off the fact that I’m popular and no one has ever heard of you" -- then stormed out of the interview.To which Neil deliciously responded, "Thank you for your time and for showing that anger is not part of American political discourse."

Whitlock also cut off his blockquote of Shapiro to eliminate his attack on Neil: "Why don't you just say you're on the left?" Well, that's because he's not. Whitlock noted deep in the post that "Neil is an editor of the British Spectator and not a man of the left, as Shapiro initially thought." Whitlock then linked to a post-interview tweet as stating that Shapiro had "since admitted this", but didn't call Shapiro out for failing to sufficiently prepare for the interview by figuring out beforehand that Neil likes to play devil's advocate; instead, he tried to give Shapiro cover by claiming that "it’s easy to see why one would have been confused," oblivously adding that "The classifying of the pro-life position as 'extreme,' 'hard' and 'taking us back to the dark ages' is hardly objective. It’s typical of the sneering BBC view of anything culturally conservative." Whitlock provided no evidence to support his claim that the BBC has a "sneering view" of cultural conservatism.

Shapiro totally botched that interview, but the MRC wants to use alternative facts to make you think differently.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:18 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, May 19, 2019 11:21 PM EDT
CNS' Jeffrey Misleads To Portray Gov't Workers As Overpaid
Topic: editor in chief Terry Jeffrey thinks he's onto something in his May 8 column:

Which class of full-time, year-round American workers has the highest median earnings? Is it the class that works for private-sector employers? Is it the class that works for the government? Or is it the entrepreneurial class, who are self-employed?

According to the Census Bureau's Personal Income Table 07 (PINC-07), the competition isn't close. When it comes to making money in the modern United States of America, government workers win.

Among Americans who actually earn income by working, they are the upper class.


The overall median earnings for all of these full-time year-round workers in 2017 were $48,500.

Workers in private industry, however, made less than the overall median. Their median earnings were $46,797.

The self-employed did a little better than the national rate. Their median earnings were $50,383.

But government workers did the best. Their median earnings were $53,435.

That was 14.2 percent better than private-sector workers and 6.1 percent better than the self-employed.

In trying to bash federal workers as needlessly overpaid, Jeffrey deliberately ignores critical nuance. A 2017 Congressional Budget Office report reveals facts that Jeffrey considers inconvenient: Those "upper class" earnings for federal workers are actually on the lower end of the scale.

The CBO reports that compensation for federal jobs requiring a high school education or less is notably higher than private-sector jobs requiring a similar education level. But as the job requires increasing levels of education, the federal-private differential slowly disappears until federal jobs requiring a doctorate or other professional degree are actually paid less than in the private sector.

Further, one could argue that the private sector has many more jobs requiring only a high-school education level than does government, which tend to be low-paying and may be skewing the numbers Jeffrey cites by dragging down the overall private pay level.Indeed, one study found that 54 percent of state and local government employees have a college degree, compared with 35 percent in the private sector. (Another study found that nearly 52 percent of federal workers have a college degree.)

Jeffrey then gets into even more misleading territory:

Among all the classes of workers whose median earnings were reported in the Census Bureau's Table PINC-07, the greatest disparity was between those employed in private-sector agricultural jobs and those employed by the federal government.

The median earnings of federal government workers ($66,028) were 86 percent greater than the median earnings of private-sector agricultural workers ($35,490).

The Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has made a telling observation about one part of the labor force in the American agricultural industry.

"The share of hired crop farmworkers who were not legally authorized to work in the United States grew from roughly 14 percent in 1989-91 to 55 percent in 1999-2001," it said in a report on farm labor published online.

"Since then," says the report, "it has fluctuated around 50 percent."

While Jeffrey does concede taht the crop farmworkers are "part of the most poorly paid class of workers listed in PINC-07," but he never admits that the federal government doesn't employ farmers or cropworkers, which no doubt accounts for the huge salary differential he's decrying.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:23 PM EDT
Saturday, May 18, 2019
MRC Sneers At Obamas' Netflix Deal
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's hatred of non-conservative media and its hatred of everything Obama found a nexus when Barack and Michelle signed a content development deal with Netflix.

There's actually some lead-up to this, in the form of a December  2016 post by Calista Ring trashing a made-for-Netflix film about the young Barack Obama, where she claims "most of the film focuses on Obama’s obsession with race," then sneering, "Now, it’s 35 years later, a black man named Barack Hussein Obama has been elected President of the United States twice, and still everything is about slavery for him."

When the Obamas first signed the deal a year ago, the sneering headline on Randy Hall's NewsBusters post read, "$$$ for 'Empathy': Obamas Sign Deal with Netflix to Produce Their Kind of Movies and TV." Hall also had trouble acknowledging that Obama was president, huffing that they were "the former Democratic occupants of the White House." Hall also complained that Netflix's chief content officer is a former Obama campaign donor and that the company "named scandal-plagued former national security advisor Susan Rice to its board of directors."

In November, Tim Graham complained that the first project the Obamas optioned was the book "The Fifth Risk" from "liberal author" Michael Lewis, a book "obviously addressing the Trump administration, since it 'details the chaos at the federal departments of Agriculture, Commerce and Energy in the transition from the Obama to Trump administrations.'" Graham doesn'tdispute any of the evidence Lewis presents in his book, only complains that it was written at all. It's not until the final paragraph that Lewis also wrote "The Blind Side," which suggests that he likely can't be pigeonholed as a "liberal author."

The winner for MRC-style sneering at the Obamas, though, is Gabriel Hays, who devoted a May 1 post to unprofessional condesension toward the Obamas:

Well, we finally have the opportunity to see what the Obamas have up their media mogul sleeves. After announcing a multi-million dollar Netflix deal, the former first couple have spilled the beans on their new streaming content, offering diehard Obama fans several options for clinging to the “Hope” and “Change” social justice dream from the comfort of their living rooms.

Grab that quart of Haagen Daaz and curl up in front of the laptop to reminisce about a more “tolerant” time in America’s history. Also, don’t forget the tissues. just unveiled the Obama production company’s list of upcoming streamable shows. Called — wait for it — Higher Ground Productions (it seems the names Take The High Road Pictures and Forgive Them, They Know Not What They Do Studios were taken), the company has already slated seven new projects for Netflix, including several docuseries and full-length films. Including “a drama set in post-WWII New York City, a scripted anthology, a children's series, and a number of non-fiction projects.”

Hays concluded with one final sneer: "While we certainly can never get enough of that special Obama flavor, that amount of content should at least be enough to tide us over until Michelle gets into office. If you didn’t have Netflix before, this should convince you to grab a subscription. (As if.)"

The MRC is morphing from "media researchers" into insult comics.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:15 AM EDT
WND Highlights Question Of Whether Trump Would Leave Office, Forgets It Fretted Over Whether Obama Would Leave
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily complains in a May 6 article:

Do the national media and Democrats think President Trump won’t leave office if he loses a close election in 2020?

At least one voice at CNN is joining the chorus of concern stoked by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The network’s Chris Cillizza, a former MSNBC and Washington Post contributor, fretted on Twitter that Pelosi has said the 2020 Democratic nominee must win the presidential race emphatically or else Trump might not “concede.”


Pelosi’s concern that Trump might refuse to leave office if he loses followed on Hillary Clinton’s newest complaint about having an election “stolen.”

Of course, one person on TV is not "the national media." And WND seems to have forgotten that it raised the very same question about President Obama.

In a March 2015 column, WND editor Joseph Farah ranted that Obama "respects neither the law nor the American tradition of peaceful changes of power" and, thus, might refuse to leave the White House when his term ends. Farah added: "Again, do I think Obama will leave office in January 2017? Yes I do. But, with a track record like this – and, actually much worse – should we simply take it for granted?"

In a follow-up column a few days later, Farah argued that the Obamas were "are living it up on your dime" through federally paid vacations --which ignores the fact that President Bush had taken three times as much vacation time as Obama did -- and that he would be loath to give that up:

No doubt Obama will be in a position to make lots of money after the presidency, whenever he decides to end it. But it’s hard to imagine him enjoying six all-expense-paid vacations every year at his venue of choice. Not too many people live that kind of life – even with the “endowments” recent past presidents often get from their oil baron friends in the Middle East.

Do you think Obama’s about to give that up and move out of the White House to make room for Hillary Clinton?

I don’t know. The more I think about it, the less convinced I am.

Meanwhile, a July 2015 article by Cheryl Chumley claimed that Obama's assertion that he could likely win a third term in office "tapped into previous pundit discussions and constituent fears he might not want to leave the White House when his time was up – and in that case, who would actually stop him from staying?" But Chumley also quoted Obama saying that he couldn't run again because "the law is the law, and no one person is above the law, not even the president."

Going even further back, a 2014 column by Kathy Shaidle highlighted how Rush Limbaugh "has expressed his fear that President Obama may not step down when his term ends in 2017" because of something related to Obamacare.

And in an August 2016 column, Farah speculated that Obama would not leave office if Donald Trump won the presidency because he had criticized Trump:

Given what Obama has said about Trump, would he not have an obligation to prevent Trump from assuming office? And what would that mean to the peaceful process America has enjoyed for more than two centuries of transitions of power?

These are questions Americans have never before been confronted with in American history.

Should he not be asked pointedly about the implications of his stunning statements?

Should he not express exactly what his intentions are beforehand rather than to leave any doubt in the minds of the people?

If no one else will ask the question, I will: “Mr. President, if Donald Trump wins the election to become the next president of the United States, will you willingly and peacefully leave office and cooperate fully with the transition of power the way all of your predecessors in the White House have done in the past?”

It’s a simple question that needs to be asked and answered – given Obama’s highly inflammatory rhetoric over the last week.

There should be no doubt in the minds of the American people. There should be no veiled threats hanging over the heads of the citizenry as we prepare for the next election. It’s time for Obama to lay his cards on the table.

Will America follow the rule of law and the will of the people after the November election no matter what Obama might think about his successor?

Somehow we doubt thagt WND will apply this very same test to Trump, who has criticized most of the Democratic presidential candidates and will certainly be much more hostile to the eventual nominee that Obama ever was to Trump.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:19 AM EDT
Friday, May 17, 2019
MRC: Stop Saying 8chan Is On The Right!
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Nicholas Fondacaro spent an April 28 post huffing that CNN's Brian Stelter was "politicizing" the shooting at a, Poway, Calif., synagogue by accurately noting that the shooter had been "radicalized on right-wing message boards" like 8chan. Fondacaro growled in response:

It should go without saying that “8chan” does not represent any part of the conservative movement, the Republican Party, or the right in general. But, as Stelter would say, it’s worth noting anyway because we have to reject the lies, misinformation, and gaslighting by those who seek division.

Except, you know, that 8chan is very much a part of the same side of the political ledger that Fondacaro is on. 8chan's /pol/ channel -- where the Poway shooter apparently announced his intent to commit a massacre -- is, in addition to being a home for neo-Nazi and white nationalist provocateurs, is a hotbed of anti-Muslim and anti-LGBT rantings. None of these things are associated with liberalism.

Fondacaro then attempted another bit of deflection: "In another case of this, Stelter tried to link the car attack in Sunnyvale, California on Tuesday with this supposed rise in white extremism. The only problem? The suspect in that attack was black." Fondacaro didn't mention that the driver was attempting to run down Muslims and reportedly praised Jesus after the attack. Again, neither hating Muslims nor loving Jesus are liberal proclivities, as conservatives continually remind us.

Fondacaro might want to do some, er, media research into what is where on the political spectrum before he addresses this subject again.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:21 PM EDT
CNS Gushed Over Trump's NRA Speech -- But Censors NRA Drama
Topic:, like a good pro-Trump stenography operation, gushed over President Trump's speech at the National Rifle Association's annual meeting last month. So much so, in fact, that it generated three "news" articles from that speech -- two by Melanie Arter and one by Craig Bannister:

By contrast, CNS has published exactly nothing about the behind-the-scenes drama and power struggle that boiled over at the meeting -- accusations of financial misconduct by NRA officials, particularly in relation to millions of dollars paid to a public relations firm to run its TV operation, which resulted in the ouster of NRA president Oliver North.

This silence is doubly perplexing, since Allen West -- a "senior fellow" for CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, and a CNS columnist -- is also an NRA board member. He didn't have much to say either. His April 30 column, the first after the meeting began this way:

I just got back to our home in Garland, Texas from the 148th National Rifle Association Annual Meeting of the Members and Convention. Yesterday, we had our full board meeting. I have already made my comments about that. 

He didn't, however, make those comments at CNS. And he hasn't make a peep about it at CNS since -- though he has since called for (at his own website) the removal of NRA executive VP and CEO Wayne LaPierre, who won the power struggle with North at the annual meeting and has since been accused of questionable spending.

CNS has an in with West and could get all of his NRA musings if it wanted to -- yet it refuses to report what he has to say about an issue CNS' conservative audience would want to hear more about.

Apparently, censoring bad news about its conservative friends trumps reporting the news at CNS. 

Posted by Terry K. at 1:57 AM EDT
Thursday, May 16, 2019
MRC Mocks Fact-Checks on Satire -- Then Fact-Checks A Joke
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center -- specifically, Tim Graham -- loves to mock fact-checkers like Snopes who point out that the right-leaning satire site Babylon Bee is fake news, even though Snopes explains that it does so because "satire often isn’t recognizable as such in social media posts" and that right-wing fake-news sites repost Babylon Bee articles without identifying them as satire. Still, Graham sneeringly interpreted that in a May 12 post as "Snopes complained people are NOT bright."

If humor isn't supposed to be fact-checked, why did the MRC's NewsBusters -- of which Graham is the executive editor -- fact-check a joke?

Christian Toto -- a movie reviewer moonlighting as a right-wing pundit -- huffed in a lengthy May 4 post:

Stephen Colbert couldn’t resist.

Former Vice President Joe Biden finally announced his 2020 presidential campaign last week. Biden joined a crush of fellow Democrats hoping to unseat President Donald Trump next year.

Naturally, The Late Show host had to talk about it. And, given the program’s leftist slant, Colbert didn’t find much fault in Biden’s video announcement.

The comic had another target in mind.

Colbert accepted Biden’s inaccurate video claim that President Donald Trump praised white supremacists nearly two years ago following a Charlottesville, Va. protest which left one woman dead. If you listen to the president’s full comments he made it clear he did no such thing.


He began, with what else, a misrepresentation of actual facts.

“Donald Trump is still president? Did anyone read the Mueller Report,” Colbert asked. Yes, that’s the report that found no collusion between Trump and Russia. Seems like an important detail, the kind that would be exonerating for any clear-eyed reader.

Even a cartoonishly biased comedian.

Then Colbert moved on to Biden’s Charlottesville attack line. He dubbed the video both “powerful” and “true,” and a potent way to put the president on the defensive.

Toto included a screenshot of a tweet from "Dilbert" creator Scott Adams purporting to make the case that Trump's "full comments" showed he did not praise white supremacists when he said there were "very fine people on both sides" because that comment was adjacent to a reference to people protesting the removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee. But as the Washington Post's Aaron  Blake pointed out, the statue-removal protest "was partly organized by a well-known white nationalist, Richard Spencer, and included both neo-Nazis and white supremacist groups" and, thus, "was clearly not one for your average supporter of Confederate monuments." Blake added:

For the Trump defense to make any sense, there would have had to be some other group of people who didn’t subscribe to these awful ideals but for some reason decided to march in common cause with neo-Nazis, white supremacists and white nationalists. It’s theoretically possible there might have been some such people there, but you would think they’d quickly become pretty uncomfortable marching next to people chanting “Jews will not replace us” — and people who appeared prepared for violence, even donning helmets.

But never mind actual facts -- Toto went on to spout the accepted right-wing narrative on the Mueller report:

The grand daddy of all Fake News stories remains the Russia Collusion hoax. Late night hosts spent two years telling us Trump colluded with Russia, sometimes in rather disturbing ways. Colbert famously used a homophobic slur to attack Trump regarding the allegations.

Did they apologize after the Mueller Report showed zero collusion? Of course not. As you just read, Colbert still insists the report should remove Trump from office.

Toto concluded by effectively making the same argument that Graham mocked when it came from Snopes:

Late night hosts crack wise with impunity. They serve up biased or downright fake news and never pay a single consequence. What’s to stop them from doing it all the way through the 2020 presidential campaign?

How many viewers will listen to their rants and think it’s the cold, hard truth?

The next time you read a survey saying Americans get their news from late night comics be afraid …. very afraid.

Of course, Graham will keep on mocking Snopes for fact-checking satire -- and forget he let a writer fact-check a joke.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:28 PM EDT
WND Gives A Platform to Obama's Disgruntled Half-Brother
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Malik Obama is a disgruntled man who's still trying to ride the coattails of his half-brother, Barack -- and supported Donald Trump for president in 2016 when the coattail-riding didn't work out for him. And because WorldNetDaily is even more disgruntled with Barack Obama that it looks for reasons to smear him even though he's been out of office for more than two years, it gave Malik Obama a platform. Behold, an anonymously written May 7 WND article:

Malik Obama, the older half-brother of Barack Obama, said in an interview that when he fell on hard times, he asked to stay with his brother and his family for a brief period, but Michelle Obama was against it.

Malik told “The Hidden Truth Show with Jim Breslo” the then-president turned his back on him again when two of Malik’s children died while waiting for approval to come to the United States from Kenya.

“I told him, brother, you’ve got to help me out,” Malik said.

He said that while illegal immigrants entered the U.S. claiming they had a right to be there, he was “struggling to follow the legal channel.”

The relationship went from being the best man at each other’s weddings to no longer being on speaking terms, Malik said, PJ Media reported.

Malik said the falling out centered on Malik starting the Barack H. Obama Foundation, named for Barack Obama Sr.

“He said if I don’t shut it down, he is going to cut me off,” Malik said. “This was an opportunity to do something. If he were to be a part of it, it would not be an issue. It is my father’s foundation.”

Malik said his brother “is a narcissist.”

“He feels like he is only one.”

WND has long portrayed Obama as a narcissist (while dismissing even the very thought that Donald Trump is an even greater one), so Malik is simply playing into an old trope that WND for some reason wants to relive.

WND also conveniently ignored Malik's credibility problems -- which it should know because it uncharacteristally busted him. In 2017, WND stated that a purported birth certificate Malik tweeted how showing that Barack Obama was born in Kenya "is not a valid document" (even though it spent two months claming otherwise wen it first surfaced in 2009).

It's rather sad that WND has to regress to dubious attacks on Obama -- and it doesn't exactly inspire confidence in any future WND might claim to have.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:16 AM EDT
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
MRC's Sloppy Labelers Defend Ben Shapiro From Being Mislabeled
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has apparently never done the media research to determine the difference between political labels on the liberal side of the ledger -- as we've documented, the MRC has sloppily labeled pretty much anyone and anything that's not unambiguously conservative as "far left." That, of course, is joined by its rage at the media labeling conservative figures and organizations as (gasp!) "conservative."

So it's unsurprising the the MRC is suddenly concerned with correct labeling, spewing more rage over a conservative figure it deemed to have been mislabeled.

Gabriel Hays ranted in a March 28 post:

In a not-so-subtle smear attempt, The Economist published a interview with conservative commentator Ben Shapiro and labeled him as a member of the “alt-right.” Shapiro is a mainstream conservative who has taken great pains to distance himself from right-wing fringe groups -- a devout Jew who often preaches about the dangers of tribalism and its destruction of reasonable discourse.

After swift backlash the Economist amended the headline. Still, the incident demonstrates the left’s aggressive push to demonize conservative speakers and connect them through implication to unreasonable and even violent and fringe groups.

The Economist titled the interview, “Inside the mind of Ben Shapiro, the alt right sage without the rage.” Inside, readers learn that the Daily Wire founder is a “controversial commentator” and proponent of “western values” -- enough to disgust progressives without resorting to dishonest labels.

So, yes, Ben Shapiro is a conservative, and the antithesis of white supremacy, anti-semitism, atheism/paganism that characterizes much of that is known as the alt-right.

Hays went on to huff, "Labeling traditional conservatives as part of an extremist, and often racist or violent, right wing fringe group is nothing new."Like how the MRC labels everything that's not conservative as "far left"?

Hays was back a few weeks later to rage over another alleged mislabeling of Shapiro:

In back-to-back articles, The Washington Post slimed conservative commentator Ben Shapiro as being ‘far-right’ and that his recent comments claiming that Notre Dame belongs to the “Judeo-Christian heritage” have contributed to “baseless, racist conspiracy-peddling” targeting Muslims.

The first article to engage in this malicious smear was written by Talia Lavin on Tuesday. Lavin claimed that Shapiro contributed to the “far-right’s” racist reaction to the Notre Dame fire, a “series of conspiracy theories neatly slotted into pre existing cultural biases.”

She concluded that “fast-talking-far-right” Shapiro’s assertion that the Cathedral was a “monument to Western civilization,” combined with “already-raging rumors about potential Muslim involvement,” made him complicit in evoking “the specter of a war between Islam and the West that is already part of numerous far-right narratives.”


Again, for The Washington Post this meant that these four individuals were in the same league, using the tragedy as a moment to defend white, European heritage at the expense of other cultures. For example, the piece contended that “others suggested Shapiro’s invocation of ‘Judeo-Christian’ values were in this instance simply a euphemism for ‘white.’ It then added that Spencer “spoke more plainly” on the issue, hoping the destruction would “spur the White man into action — to sieze [sic] power in his countries, in Europe, in the world.”

This is a laughable association.

Remember:The MRC has labeled Walter Cronkite, the sports blog Deadspin, and actress Meryl Streep as "far left." Does Gabriel think that's laughable or malicious? (Hint: It's both.)

Hays, it seems, is Shapiro's protector at the MRC. Last September, he complained that a liberal-leaning study of YouTube sought to link "top conservatives" like Shapiro to white nationalists like Richard Spencer, grousing that the report "deemed the entire collection — from moderate conservatives to full-blown racists — 'reactionary,' a term the report employed 13 times in order to hammer home that everyone mentioned was part of the same 'extremist' network. 'Extremist' was used 25 times in the report."

If the MRC wants to be credible in complaining about political labeling, it should do something about its own label carelessness first.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:06 PM EDT

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