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Sunday, August 25, 2019
Working The Refs: MRC Targets CNN Debate Questioner
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center set the narrative with the first Democratic presidential debate: Do a pre-attack of the media folks who will ask the questions, then attack the questions after the debate as brimming with "liberal bias" even though it can't be bothered to identify exactly how it came to that conclusion.

For the last Democratic presidential debate on CNN, the MRC's target was moderator Don Lemon. In a July 30 post, Geoffrey Dickens dismissed Lemon as a "Democrat-adoring, Trump-despising, black hole conspiracy theorist" whopurportedly "hates rank-and-file Trump supporters" and is prone to "incendiary and obnoxious outbursts."

After the debate, Dickens declared that he "called it" and insisted that Lemon used the debate "to relentlessly promote lefty policies and politicians, and launch invectives against Donald Trump and his supporters," gloating that "The bias was so bad from Lemon last night, even President Trump noticed, slamming the CNN Tonight host." Dickens claimed that a Lemon question noting that "President Trump is pursuing a reelection strategy based in part, on racial division" was based in "rage against Trump" -- but he didn't dispute the accuracy of the statement. Dickens also included a list of "Lemon’s most obnoxious questions from the left," but he provided no methodology as to how he reached that conclusion.

After the debate's second night, Dickens struck again, complaining that Lemon "used his questions to pontificate on Trump’s 'racism' – as if the Democratic candidates wouldn’t have done that anyway." Again, Dickens added a Lemon-bashing Trump tweet to round things out. And, again, Dickens declined to offer evidence that Lemon was wrong about Trump's racism.

At least this time we were spared a "study" devoid of methodology and raw data purporting to designate how many debate questions were "liberal."

Meanwhile, at the MRC's "news" division, the attacks on Lemon continued with an article by Melanie Arter touting a Trump tweet calling Lemon "the dumbest man in television."

"Media research," folks!

Posted by Terry K. at 8:30 PM EDT
CNS Echoes WND's Obsession With Flies Landing on Democratic Politicians

In 2013, WorldNetDaily was briefly obsessed with a minor incident in which President Obama dealt with a fly during an interview. An article by Aaron Klein claimed that "religious and other websites are using the headlines to point out that a biblical reference for Satan, the Semitic deity Beelzebub, literally translates from Hebrew into “Lord of the Flies," adding how one blogger assered that "I feel like I am watching a horror movie and the secret evil character is revealed by the evil signs around him." (This is on-brand for WND, which regularly likened Obama to the Antichrist.) A 2015 article featured another fly incident, making sure to add that Obama "has had flies land on his face numerous times" and rehasing the Beelzebub stuff.

Craig Bannister seemed to have this in mind when he wrote an Aug. 8 article about another Democratic politician:

A fly apppeared to land on the face of former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday--as he accused President Donald Trump of “immorality” and “carnage,” according to video of the speech posted online by multiple news agencies.

First, the fly landed on Biden’s cheek, then it moved to his nose, as Biden said:

“Limited to four years, I believe – I really do believe – history will look back at this president as an aberrant moment in American history.”

Videos of the speech posted by MSNBC, CNN, NBC, C-SPAN, all show the fly engaging Biden’s face.

Just think of this article as another step in the creeping WND-ization of CNS.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:39 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, August 25, 2019 11:40 AM EDT
Saturday, August 24, 2019
MRC Touted Gushy Review Of Bozell/Graham Anti-Media Book (Originating From The Book's Publisher)
Topic: Media Research Center

Last month, as part of the promotion for Tim Graham and Brent Bozell's new anti-media book "Unmasked," Media Research Center divisions NewsBusters and both published an overly fawning review of the book by conservative activist Craig Shirley. He proclaimed that the book exposed "the rampant and corrupt media bias against the 45th president of the United States," and he gushed over Bozell as supposedly having "appropriated the power of the Fifth Column inside the Fourth Estate," further slobbering: "Bozell’s MRC has been making the effective fight now for over 30 years. Bit by bit, brick by brick, page by page, exposing lie by lie, he has torn down the walls of the Media State. Big Media is no longer BIG MEDIA."

Both versions noted that Shirley's review was first posted at Newsmax. But the disclosures stop there when they should have continued if Graham and Bozell were to follow the same journalistic standards they demand from other members fo the media.

First, as we've noted, Newsmax published "Unmasked" under its Humanix Books banner. So one could plausibly argue that the review was part of Newsmax's promotion for the book. Newsmax is running its usual loss-leader deal by giving away the book by throwing in free introductory subscriptions to things like Newsmax magazine and the Newsmax Platinum paywall that one must unsubscribe to before the trial period ends in order to avoid being automatically charged for a full subscription.

Also, Shirley contributed a blurb to the dust cover of the book, declaring it to be "a much needed tonic of truth and facts the left so fears in Brent Bozell and his years of exposing the lies of the liberal media."

In other words: The review is totally an inside job, a fit of PR and not journalism.

Meanwhile, Newsmax's John Gizzi wrote about a July reception for Bozell and Graham's book: "What could easily be dubbed as a 'Who’s Who' of conservative leaders in Washington, D.C. turned out last week to hail an exciting new book on President Donald Trump and the liberal media." Among that "who's who" was, yes, Craig Shirley. Weirdly, Gizzi suggests that Trump bought the loyalty of Bozell, whose MRC was a critic of Trump before abruptly flipping:

“Unmasked” has particular meaning, since Bozell freely admits he was not a Trumpian at the beginning [he backed Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016] and he even told Trump that he could not be nominated.

Trump, who hosted Bozell in the Trump Tower’s cafeteria, respectfully disagreed, listened carefully, and held no animosity to his guest. A few weeks later, he sent his first contribution ($5000) to Bozell’s Media Research Center.

Bozell does admit this in the preface of his book. Is that the impression Bozell really wants to leave?

Posted by Terry K. at 10:06 AM EDT
WND's Fake Business News
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An anonymously written July 31 WorldNetDaily article declared:

Gillette ran an infamous "toxic" masculinity ad during the Super Bowl casting men as sexist bullies, followed by one in which a father teaches a daughter who is "transitioning to be a man" to shave.

The February ad prompted an immediate backlash, with many men vowing to stop using Gillette products, charging the ad assumes most men are misogynistic.

Now, P&G is reporting a net loss of about $5.24 billion for the second quarter due to an $8 billion non-cash writedown of Gillette, according to Reuters.

For the same period last year, Reuters noted, P&G's net income was $1.89 billion, or 72 cents per share.

Just one problem: WND is falsely portraying those two events as related. They are not.

The Reuters article to which WND linked  doesn't mention the ads at all. Instead, it reports the financial issues are longstanding and did not start after the ads ran:

Cincinnati-based P&G, which operates in 80 countries, sells Gillette razors, gels and foams worldwide and said the writedown was due primarily to currency fluctuations - enduring strength in the U.S. economy in recent years has strengthened the dollar. The charge was also driven by more competition over the past three years and a shrinking market for blades and razors as consumers in developed markets shave less frequently. Net sales in the grooming business, which includes Gillette, have declined in 11 out of the last 12 quarters.

“Initial carrying values for Gillette were established nearly 14 years ago in 2005. ... New competitors have entered at prices below the category average,” Chief Financial Officer Jon Moeller said on a call.

We've reported on how WND writers were severely triggered by the Gillette ad. We've also documented how WND's lack of understanding about economics and business and its insistence on forcing such stories into its narrow right-wing agenda. The fact that it's still doing so seems to be more evidence that perhaps WND doesn't deserve to live.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:18 AM EDT
Friday, August 23, 2019
MRC Still Mocking Fact-Checks On Satire -- But It Fact-Checked A Cartoon
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center loves to mock Snopes for treating right-wing satire site the Babylon Bee as something that needs to be fact-checked because enough people think its stories are true -- even as the MRC itself unironically insists on fact-checking jokes. Both patterns have continued.

Tim Graham -- who once fact-checked a joke on a public radio game show -- unironically complined in a July 26 post about the "astringently humorless 'fact check' squad at" because it once again pointed out (which Graham called an "attack") that a Babylon Bee was not true and defended doing so because people believe it's real.

This was followed by an Aug. 10 post by Chrstian Toto -- a movie critic moonlighting as a right-wing media commentator who fact-checked a joke by Stephen Colbert regarding Trump's comments about the Charlottesville protests (and, as it turned out, got it wrong) -- under the headline "Here’s Why the Liberal Media Fear the Babylon Bee." Toto forwarded a conspiracy that Snopes is fact-checking the Babylon Bee in a deliberate attempt to cut off its revenue because it "fears the power of their very funny viral jokes aimed at the Left."

However, the MRC undermined this point with a July 11 column by Graham and Brent Bozell in which they, yes, fact-check a cartoon -- specifically, the Colbert-created "Our Cartoon President." The two even admit that the cartoon never clames to be actually true, but because it claims to be "truish" and because it mocks President Trump, they must forget about all that Snopes-mocking they've been doing and go on the attack:

Showtime thinks it's funny to claim that conservatives say they are "oppressed" and need a "safe space." The network says its "cutting-edge comedy presents the truish adventures of Trump ... and his family."

"Truish." That word gives you a clue. It's like the truth. The executive producer is CBS late-night star Stephen Colbert, so the "truish" part is fascinating.

In 2005, Colbert was celebrated for mocking then-President Bush with the word "truthiness," insisting, "We're not talking about truth. We're talking about something that seems like truth — the truth we want to exist." It was celebrated by Merriam-Webster as word of the year in 2006.

"Truthiness" perfectly defines this nasty cartoon, made by a nasty man who announced on national television that this president's mouth is a holster for Russian President Vladimir Putin's penis. He presents Trump and conservatives as the worst kind of loathsome idiots, because that's the truth he wants to exist. It's "his truth," as the left so illogically tries to explain these things. It's just another dose of ongoing therapy for liberals who feel oppressed because Trump is president.

In the July 7 episode, titled "Save the Right," a cartoon Ben Shapiro convinces doltish Trump to sign an executive order declaring conservatives a protected class. Shapiro tells Trump, "someday we will achieve true equality and be able to wear a Confederate flag unitard to Soulcycle," the indoor-cycling gym franchise. At the end of the episode, Shapiro — who grew up in Los Angeles, not Alabama — rips off his outer clothes and is wearing the unitard.

That's "truish," Tinseltown style.


In the "truish" vision of Colbert & Co., all conservatives are racist fanatics who already have "all the money and all the power," as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin snapped in the show. If that were the slightest bit true, that the right has all the power, would this cartoon exist?

"Our Cartoon President" is satire just the same as the Babylon Bee -- should the word "truish" have been a clue? -- but becuase Graham and Bozell don't like the target, it must be "fact-checked" and denounced.

Talk about humorless.

Nevertheless, the war on Snopes continued. Alexander Hall noted in an Aug. 20 post that a Snopes-promoted study found that the Babylon Bee was "among the most shared factually inaccurate content ," leading Hall to complain that Snopes has "switched tactics to instead claim satirical news can be dangerous," and to rush to the Babylon Bee's defense: "With the increasing popularity of the Babylon Bee, particularly with younger generations who love satirical humor, it appears the liberal media establishment is on full alert. After years of poking fun at easy targets, the liberal establishment may be lashing out at conservatives who know how to banter right back. "

Yet the MRC won't give satire that targets Trump the same pass.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:33 PM EDT
CNS' Summer of Interns Pestering People With Gotcha Questions Comes To An End

As we've noted, The main job of summer interns at this year appears to have been pestering members of Congress with loaded gotcha questions designed to push right-wing narratives. That's [pretty much how the rest of the summer played out.

In mid-July, CNS served up a few more stragglers for its previous gotcha question about  immigration: “Article 2, Section 3 of the Constitution says the president ‘shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.’ Does the president have a constitutional duty to enforce the immigration laws?” This time, Sens. Robert Menendez, Patty Murray, Jon Tester, Angus King and Steve Daines and Reps. Andy Harris and Robert Aderholt got the treatment. With the previous round, that's a total of 21 congressfolk who got the CNS treatment over this question.

Also in July, as budget talks were going on between Congress and the White House, interns were sent out  to ask members of Congress a questions almost certainly scripted by editort in chief Terry Jeffrey: “The federal government spent $4.1 trillion in fiscal 2018 and ran a deficit of $779 billion dollars. Does the government spend too much money?” And several responded, mostly Republicans who gave the conservatively correct answer:

At the end of the month, after a deal had been reached and the House had already passed it, the interns were apparently sent out to try this again to Republican senators with another obviously Jeffrey-penned question: “The recent budget deal passed by the House last week allows the government to borrow a limitless amount of money until July 31, 2021. Do you support that?” They were only able to pin down Republicans Mitt Romney and Rick Scott. (UPDATE: CNS also asked the question of GOP Sen. Mike Braun, but the story wasn't published until four days after the Senate vote was taken.) 

For what was apparently their final project -- and the sole question of the summer targeted at Democrats and non-members of Congress -- the interns collaborated on an Aug. 8 article about their latest gotcha question:

Despite the well-documented violence of the radical left Antifa group -- the Department of Homeland Security classifies it as “domestic terrorist violence” – not one of the 23 Democrats running for president would condemn Antifa when repeatedly asked by over the course of 12 business days.

The Trump administration did respond, within a day, condemning Antifa.

In emails and telephone calls to the press offices and campaigns of the 23 Democrats running and to the Trump campaign, asked the candidates to answer two questions about Antifa based on background about the group reported by Politico.

[...] then asked the candidates, 1) Do you condemn Antifa? And 2) Do you believe federal law enforcement agencies should take all lawful steps necessary to prevent Antifa from engaging in ‘domestic terrorist violence’ during the 2020 U.S. election campaign?

Done like a "news" organization that's more interested in pushing a narrative and generating partisan clickbait than actual news. But is that what these interns should really be learning?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:25 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, August 29, 2019 8:59 PM EDT
Thursday, August 22, 2019
MRC's Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy In Action Again
Topic: Media Research Center

We've written before about the Depiction-Equals-Approval Fallacy, the logical fallacy in which (as it applies in the ConWebWatch world) conservatives believe that any piece of news that's negative to conservatives is being reported specifically because the reporter or anchor personally approves of that negative news. The Media Research Center is particularly particularly prone to this fallacy, and we have another example.

"CNN's Baldwin Blames Trump for Man Attacking Boy Over Anthem" reads the headline on an Aug. 9 MRC item by Brad Wilmouth. But the item doesn't support that headline:

On Thursday's CNN Newsroom, as host Brooke Baldwin devoted a segment to a disturbed man who assaulted a 13-year-old boy for refusing to remove his hat during the national anthem, host Baldwin and correspondent Sara Sidner suggested that President Donald Trump was to blame for inspiring the man to perpetrate the violent act.

After recalling reports that 39-year-old Kurt Brockway attacked the boy during the national anthem on a fairground in Montana because he refused to remove his cap, leaving the child with a skull fracture, Sidner relayed claims by Brockway's attorney tying the violent act to the President's demands that the American flag be respected:

The attorney for Brockway, the suspect, said that his client does have a brain injury and has problems with impulse control. Get this: He said that Brockway takes the rhetoric of President Trump literally and is angered any time he thinks someone was disrespecting the flag.

She added: "So apparently he thought this child was disrespecting the flag, and he attacked him." 

Baldwin went along with the notion of blaming President Trump as she responded: "Words matter. Sara Sidner, thank you."

At no point does Baldwin or Sidner "blame Trump" for the attack -- she and Sidner are simply relaying the fact that the man's attorney says the man thought he was doing Trump's bidding. Wilmouth is imparting much more meaning to Baldwin's "words matter" throwaway line than is there, for the seemingly sole reason of manufacturing outrage to advance his employer's "liberal media" narrative.

The fact that Baldwin reported this story does not mean that she agrees with the case being presented by the man's lawyer. The fact that the MRC repeatedly attributes a reporter's or anchor's personal views to the stories they report on -- as if its "media researchers" are mind-readers -- is a huge reason why it has little credibility outside the right-wing anti-media choir it's preaching to.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:17 PM EDT
Terry Jeffrey Trump Deficit Blame Avoidance Watch

The latest episode in editor in chief Terry Jeffrey's refusal to single out President Trump by name for his role in running up the federal deficits Jeffrey decries comes in an Aug. 12 article headlined  "$3,727,014,000,000: Federal Spending Sets Record Through July; Treasury Runs $866,812,000,000 Deficit" (in his usual deviation from accepted AP journalistic style by putting full numbers in the headline instead of the shorthand of saying "billion" or "trillion"):

The federal government spent a record $3,727,014,000,000 in the first ten months of fiscal 2019 (October through July), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released today.

While spending that record $3,727,014,000,000, the government ran a deficit of $866,812,000,000.

As usual, the words "Trump" and "Republican" never appear in Jeffrey's article, even though they control the executive branch and half of Congress. It also has the usual implicit blame-spreading through the use of photo of Trump with Nancy Pelosi, suggesting equal blame even though Pelosi controls only one-half of one branch of government. At least this time Jeffrey found a different Trump-Pelosi stock photo to use, after the previous three months of using stock photos taken from the same Trump-Pelosi event.

It's so bad for Jeffrey, in fact, that he's been forced to admit that earlier high deficit spending involved a recession. In noting that the last time federal spending was this high in the first 10 months of a fiscal year was 2009, Jeffrey added: "Federal spending was impacted in fiscal 2009 by the recession that was ongoing when that fiscal year began. At the beginning of fiscal 2009, President George W. Bush signed the Troubled Asset Relief Program to bailout failing banks. Later that fiscal year, President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, aimed at stimulating the economy."

Still, Jeffrey can't quite admit that Trump doesn't have a recession and economic stimulation to blame for all the deficit spending.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:32 PM EDT
MRC Is Mad NY Times Made A Headline More Accurate
Topic: Media Research Center

As part of its narrative-invoking coverage of the aftermath of the El Paso and Dayton massacres, the Media Research Center had a meltdown over a headline.

Following President Trump's speech following the massacres, the first edition of the print edition of the New York Times carried a front-page story about it with the headline "Trump Urges Unity Vs. Racism." But for the second print edition the headline was changed to "Assailing Hate But Not Guns." Never mind that it's hardly unheard of for newspapers to alter headlines between editions (not that anyone at the MRC would know that, since so few of them have ever worked for the type of news operation they attack every day) -- the MRC smelled conspiracy. Never mind that the second headline is arguably more accurate because it reflects Trump's failure in his speech to mention anytring about guns, though more than 30 people were shot to death in those massacres.

Clay Waters ranted that the Times succumbed to "left-wing Twitter pressure" by changing the "accurate" headline to something more "Trump-skeptical" (which Waters doesn't deny is also accurate). This was an "ignominious retreat," Waters insisted.

Needless to say, MRC chief Brent Bozell was compelled to rant as well, and he ran to Fox Business for an easy platform to do so. The "hard left" that allegedly forced the Times to change the headline is "clearly out of control," Bozell huffed, forcing the times to move away from a headline that told “the truth” even though it went “against” their alleged anti-Trump narrative. Of course, Bozell has an anti-media narrative that he gets paid well to promote. And foer good measure, Bozell shouted down a rare liberal panelist by putting words in his mouth.

Bozell also agreed with a Fox Business correspondent that the new headline was "fake news," sneering that "the left has so much power that they can change truth in a newspaper like The New York Times." He offered no evidence that the new headline wasn't true or had anything "fake" in it.

(In a fit of corporate synergy, Bozell's rant also got summarized at his "news" division,

Waters returned the next day to claim that Times executive editor Dean Baquet was on an "apology tour" over the headline change in which the paper "caved" to "a left-wing social media mob." Once again, Waters insisted that the original headline "did reflect what Trump said accurately" while refusing to admit that the new headline is also accurate. Waters also attacked the paper's alleged "leftist readership" who is "slavering for a constant supply of anti-Trump red meat" -- as if Waters wasn't catering to the MRC's right-wing readership slavering for a constant supply of anti-media red meat.

But Waters still couldn't let it go, beginning another post attacking the Times for something else by referencing the headline controversy: "The New York Times has learned its lesson on front-page headlines, making sure it injected plenty of anti-Trump context to lead its Thursday edition, after being vilified by the left for insufficient hostility toward Trump (and quickly changing a banner headline) on Tuesday."

At the MRC, the narrative is all, and the Times has always been a target. Let's not pretend it cares about journalism.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:55 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, August 22, 2019 6:14 PM EDT
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
AIM Touts PragerU Video Making Discredited Claim About Trump and Charlottesville
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Accuracy in Media's Carrie Sheffield writes in an Aug. 6 post:

In the wake of the El Paso shooting, liberal media commentators have brought up President Donlad Trump’s response to the violent protests of Charlottesville, Va., to claim the president praised racist neo-Nazis and created a climate for El Paso.

However, a new video from PragerU created by CNN political analyst Steve Cortes debunks this lie.


Cortes outlines what Trump said, acknowledging there were at least four groups of people around the chaos of Charlottesville: two separate groups of peaceful protesters from both sides disagreeing about a statute of Robert E. Lee — people who were not part of either the violent white supremacist neo-Nazis (who the president condemned in his 2017 speech: “Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”) or the violent Antifa counter-protesters.

But that claim -- which undergirds Cortes' video -- is not true, as others have reported even before the video was made. Even other conservatives concede that as well. Here's Quin Hillyer at the Washington Examiner blowing up the video:

Cortes (see the 1:56 mark, and following) and other conservatives have emphasized “another group” of “peaceful protesters,” and said “lest you have any doubts that there were good people in Charlottesville …, the New York Times confirmed it in a story they published the next day.”

What was the evidence? A quote from one woman, and only one, named Michelle Piercy, who said she and a conservative group had traveled from Wichita, Kansas to protest the statue’s removal.

So, who was that group? Well, Piercy herself identified it as an outfit called “American Warrior Revolution.” They were there supposedly as “neutral protesters” who traveled all that way to, get this, “talk to antifa and Black Lives Matter and let them know that the way they were protesting is the wrong way to go about it.”

If that sounds suspicious — if you doubt that a group with the martial name American Warrior Revolution is a peace-loving dampener of tensions — your doubts are justified. A little Internet research shows that they consider themselves a militia. Lest their outlook be misunderstood, they provide a helpful video as self-advertisement. Please watch it, here.

Watch it, and gasp. And then read this “official” statement by the group, effectively blaming liberal counterprotester Heather Heyer for her own death.

The kicker is that Trump insisted that the very fine people specifically were at the rally the night before Heyer was killed by a neo-Nazi. He said it twice. That is howlingly false. The night before was the rally in which white nationalists by the hundreds marched in paramilitary order, bearing weapons, holding aloft tiki torches, yelling racist and anti-Semitic epithets.

Accuracy in media? Not so much.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:49 PM EDT
50 Years Later, MRC Can't Stop Obsessing Over Chappaquiddick
Topic: Media Research Center

In May, the Media Research Center's Nicholas Fondacaro dismissed as old news reporting that revealed new details about the billions of dollars President Trump lost in the 1980s: "[D]id you feel like you already knew about that? So did everyone else, because Trump’s financial problems during that time were well documented." Well, the MRC has insisted on pushing a story that's even older news. (It's done this before.)

One of the MRC's big obessions has been Ted Kennedy in general and Chappaquiddick particular. One extreme of this obsession, as we've documented, is how it has utterly refused to retract a false interpretation of quote by writer Charles Pierce regarding Mary Jo Kopechne, who died in the car Kennedy drove off a bridge in 1969, that it insisted praised Kennedy when, in fact, it was criticizing him.

In another example of trying to capitalize on old news, the MRC used the 50th annniversary of the Chappaquiddick incident to crank out more attacks.

Scott Whitlock cranked out a piece headlined "50 Years of Shame: How Journalists Protected Ted Kennedy After Chappaquiddick." He repeated the MRC's false attack on Pierce, whining that the quote it has miscontrued for 16 years came in a "mostly sympathetic profile" of Kennedy. He also complained that a film last year about Chappaquiddick -- which the MRC heavily promoted and loved for its anti-Kennedy bias -- didn't get much media coverage, but he didn't mention how the film tanked at the box office, earning a paltry $17 million.

An accompanying piece by Clay Waters complained that the 1969 moon landing obscured coverage of Chappaquiddick,  which he claims "media watchdogs" -- he omitted the "conservative" qualifier that obviously belongs there -- blame on "media bias." Apparently, Americans landing on another planet wasn't as newsworthy as an incident conservatives wanted to exploit. Waters went on to whine that the New York Times panned the "Chappaquiddick" movie.

Even stories that are about other members of the Kennedy family must be reframed to be about Chappaquiddick. Whitlock returned in an Aug. 2 post expressing displeasure that a New York Times story about the tragic death of Robert Kennedy's granddaughter didn't make Chappaquiddick priminent enough in its "Kennedy family tragedy" list, huffing further that "none of these networks tried to lump in Chappaquiddick and Kopechne’s death as an example of a 'tragedy' for the Kennedys."

Complaining that a story about a tragedy wasn't reframed to be about another tragedy that's more politically exploitable? Now that's obsession.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:48 PM EDT
WND's Kupelian Complains About Trump-Hitler Comparisons, Forgets That His Website Loved To Compare Obama to Hitler
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily managing editor David Kupelian tried to exert some moral authority in an Aug. 14 column:

Most people understand that the current super-heated rhetoric being dished out by Democratic Party presidential candidates and others just amounts to cynical political calculation – intended to help Democrats regain the White House and the Senate, and therefore the courts, next year.

Yet, there is a very clear, if sometimes unspoken, additional message inherent in such rhetoric. Stay with me here:

* Call the president names – “he’s a racist,” “a bigot” or “xenophobe” – and the unspoken but clear message is: “He’s a person of bad character, unworthy of being president, and must be defeated at the ballot box next year.”

* Call the president a criminal – “he colluded with the Russians,” “obstructed justice” or “cheated on his taxes” – and the unspoken but clear message is: “He is guilty of impeachable offences and must be removed from office by Congress, and then criminally prosecuted once he’s out of office.”

* But what about continually calling the president another Adolf Hitler, a genocidal monster who murdered 11 million people?

This utterly deranged comparison started back in 2016, when, asnthis writer reported, no fewer than five different Washington Post writers likened Trump to Hitler during the run-up to the election. Today, the drumbeat has grown ever more brazen and hardcore, with recent examples including CNN host Don Lemon comparing Trump to Hitler on-air and Democrat presidential candidate “Beto” O’Rourke hysterically likening the Trump administration to “the Third Reich.”

Now, ask yourself honestly: If you were a German citizen living in Germany during the Third Reich, what would be the only truly moral response to Adolf Hitler?

We all know the answer.

There were at least 16 different plots to assassinate Hitler, including most famously “Operation Valkyrie” (the so-called “20 July Plot”), which was made into a blockbuster movie starring Tom Cruise as the heroic German army officer, Col. Claus von Stauffenberg. Even the revered Lutheran pastor and theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, was hanged by German authorities for his alleged role in this particular plot. The people who attempted to assassinate Hitler – to slay a vicious criminal psychopath, to stop a genocide, to end a terrible war – are rightly regarded, to this very day, all over the world, as patriots and heroes.

That, whether consciously or not, is the actual message that today’s reckless pretenders – whether they are pretend journalists desperately vying for ratings or pretend statesmen desperately vying to become leader of the free world – are broadcasting every day.

You know who else loved to describe a president as another Adolf Hitler, a genocidal monster who murdered 11 million people? The website that Kupelian runs.

Likening President Obama to Hitler or other Nazis was practically a staple attack at WND. It had a columnist Hilmar von Campe, who practically reveled in doing so. Kupelian's boss, Joseph Farah, demanded that a minister not give the invocation at Obama's inauguration, citing Obama's "evil policies" and adding, "I'm sure you would not want to invoke God's blessing on the inauguration of a figure like Adolf Hitler, whose rise to power brought the destruction of millions of lives." Farah even worked an Obama-Hitler comparsion into his bogus birther crusade, declaring that tyhey were similarly ineligible to hold their leadership positions.

WND-published author Anita Dittman loved the comparion too, insisting that "Liberals’ blind idolization of Obama mirrored Germany’s hypnotic fascination with Hitler, Dittman said of the racist tyrant whose vitriolic rhetoric dehumanized the Jewish people as a prelude to his attempts at total annihilation." (Ironically, Kupelian has repeatedly displayed his blind loyalty to Trump.) It even published a column defending the smear and insisting that those who complained about it "are out of ideas or have too much time on their hands."

Did Kupelian freat about inflaming violent attacks Obama when he published those attacks the way? Doubtful -- Kupelian has his own personal hatred of Obama that's so pathological that he actually accused Obama of perpetrating the "date rape of America." Near as we can tell, Kupelian would not have minded an assassination attempt or two on Obama; heck, he's so filled with hate that he might have easily been moved to perpetrate one.

Given all this newfound outrage, will Kupelian reflect on his website's past extreme rhetoric and issue a heartfelt apology to Obama for inciting its readers to consider assassination? Even more doubtful -- has WND ever apologized for anything without being threatened with a lawsuit first?

(And we haven't even gotten to the fact that WND also loved to liken Obama to the Antichrist.)

WND has regularly freaked out about Trump-Hitler comparision, deliberately oblivious to the fact that it did the exact same thing to Obama. Kupelian is being as dishonest and hypocritical now as his website was then.

Kupelian's cynical double standard doesn't build confidence that WND deserves to live.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:27 AM EDT
Tuesday, August 20, 2019
MRC Pushes Debunked Talking Points Denying GOP 'Southern Strategy'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Ryan Foley used an Aug. 1 post to attack MSNBC's Ari Melber for claining that Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan are part of "the foundation of discrimination and racism and the politics of hate that has long stained America." The factual basis for this statement was the release of an audiotape of a phone call between Reagan and then-President Nixon in which Reagan expressed racist sentiments. Foley did smartly concede taht Reagan's comments were "indefensible," then huffed that Melber had an obligation to provide the history of the Democrats’ record on race":

For starters, 21 Senate Democrats opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 while only six Senate Republicans did. In 1971, the year the aforementioned conversation took place, segregationists, the real “foundation of discrimination and racism and the politics of hate that has long stained America,” made up a large portion of the Democratic Party. 

As for “the southern strategy” supposedly used by Richard Nixon to win the south, it didn’t work. In 1968, half of the southern states were carried by segregationist George Wallace or Democrat Hubert Humphrey. Only in the landslide elections of 1928, 1952, 1956, 1972, 1980, 1984, and 1988 did Republicans carry an overwhelming majority of the southern states.

It was not until 2000 that Republicans began consistently carrying a majority of the southern states in presidential elections. By then, the Democrats’ far-left positions on abortion, guns, and environmentalism had made them unpalatable to a majority of voters in the increasingly conservative and religious south. For more information on the truth about the “southern strategy,” consult this PragerU video from Dr. Carol Swain.

But Foley is misleading about the state of segregation by political party in the 1960s. While 21 Senate Democrats voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he failed to mention that 46 Democrats did -- meaning his claim that "a large portion" of Democrats were segregationists was likely untrue. That shift arguably began in 1948, when President Harry Truman rejected segregationist Strom Thurmond by endorsing a civil rights plank in the Democratic Party platform, forcing him to run as a third-party candidate for president.

Foley also seems to be arguing that because the Southern Strategy "didn't work" in 1968, it was never actually a thing. As historian Kevin Kruse points out in a Twitter thread debunking the PragerU video Foley cites, the Southern Strategy really was a thing. Also, the reason Nixon didn't win all the southern states in 1968 is because they were won by segregationist George Wallace. Nixon won all those states in 1972. And Southerners did not suddenly switch en masse in 2000 over "abortion, guns, and environmentalism"; the shift began in the 1960s as Democrats embraced civil rights and Republicans moved away from it. And the years that Republicans didn't dominate the south were years in which Democrats from the South -- Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton -- ran for president.

Repeating discredited right-wing narratives isn't helping the MRC's credibility.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:30 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: CNS' War on Robert Mueller, Part 2
As the Mueller investigation into Trump actions wound down, became even more of a pro-Trump shill, ramping up its attacks on the probe and on Mueller himself. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 9:12 AM EDT
Monday, August 19, 2019
Alveda King Becomes A Pro-Trump Shill
Topic: Newsmax

We've noted how anti-abortion activist Alveda King is sliding more toward the explicitly political and, specifically, becoming a pro-Trump shill. That slide has become more explicit in two recent columns.

In an Aug. 2 column published at Newsmax -- which still likes to give her the "Dr." honorific even though her doctorate is honorary and not earned -- King defended Trump against the accusation of being a racist following his attacks on the city of Baltimore, as had been suggested by the Catholic archbishop of Washington, D.C., by denying that the concept of race even exists :

The words "racism" and "racist" are terms recklessly bandied about in the race card game; all of which is a deceptive, socially engineered decoy, creating oppressors and victims. This deception stirs the emotions while denying the much needed transformational civility, equality, justice, and freedom for all.

Sir, with all due respect, by scientific and spiritual definition, a racist is someone who denies scientific and spiritual evidence; that humans are one race.

As one who has encountered and resisted racism all of my life, I know a racist when I see a racist. I can assure you President Trump is not a racist.

Again, a racist is a person who doesn’t get Acts 17:26: Of one blood God made all people. I know President Trump understands that and prayerfully you do as well.


President Trump makes a fair case when he says: “We all bleed the same.” We should care about all people all over the world. That includes red blooded Americans, everywhere. We all need to acknowledge that Baltimore and other inner city areas across our country have problems. It is not racist to acknowledge these problems and President Trump is not racist for pointing them out.

King pushed a similar argument during a radio interview promoted in an Aug. 1 article by Michael Morris.

Then, in an Aug. 8 column published at Newsmax and, King her most pro-Trump statement yet by rehashing rote right-wing attacks on Democrats:

Meanwhile, in comparison, comments made by former Congressman Beto O’Rourke, and former Vice President Joe Biden, both accusing President Trump of being a white supremacist, are untimely and unseemly.

Biden and his compatriots are not being truthful.

Here are seven instances where President Trump denounces White Supremacy.

Biden and his compatriots support immoral baby killers including Planned Parenthood and the abortion lobby.

Race baiters fail to mention that George Wallace apologized.


Fake News refuses to cover President Trump’s accomplishments, including fighting for The Unborn, criminal justice reform, and aid to HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). Meanwhile they ignore Biden’s part in incarceration of hundreds of thousands of Blacks.

Shame on Biden and his compatriots. Race baiting while POTUS and FLOTUS pay respect to the grieving. PRAY FOR AMERICA.

To back up her claim that Trump "denounces White Supremacy" and has "accomplishments," King linked to a Trump campaign Twitter account and the Trump White House website -- both effectively propaganda operations.

Such blatant shilling for Trump is not good for King's credibility, and that's on top on her continuing to insist on being referred to with the unearned "Dr." title.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:27 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, August 19, 2019 9:39 PM EDT

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