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Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Newsmax Falls for Bogus 'Democrat' Who Defends Trump
Topic: Newsmax

Sandy Fitzgerald writes in an Aug. 30 Newsmax article:

President Donald Trump Friday, while speaking out on Twitter about the Inspector General's report on James Comey's actions, tweeted a compilation of comments from a Democratic former CIA officer who said on Fox News that Comey tried to "kneecap our duly elected president."

Trump pointed out the former officer, Bryan Dean Wright, had commented on "Fox and Friends" that "'in 2016 we had a coup. We have to take Comey and others to task. Makes no sense not to prosecute him. Comey got a book deal. I fear for my Country. He tried to kneecap our duly elected president, and there are no consequences.”

Wright said Friday that he's angry because Comey leaked information to force the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Trump not because the facts depended on it but because "he and his own partisan drive desired it."

Fitzgerald didn't report, however, that Wright has made a career at Fox News of writing "I'm a Democrat, but..." op-eds that bash Democrats and praise Trump.

Newsmax has done this sort of thing before. A 2014 article called Pat Caddell a "Democratic pollster" even though he hadn't done anything for Democrats in years and was making his living as Democrat-basher on, yes, Fox News. And in a 2017 column, James Hirsen touted Wright as "a former CIA officer and a Democrat" who "spoke frankly about a fifth column of intelligence staffers who are leaking as well as withholding intelligence materials from the Trump administration" on Fox News.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:28 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 9:35 PM EDT
Mysterious MRC Sports Blogger Gets Triggered By Another Athlete Kneeling
Topic: Media Research Center

As someone with a years-long case of Kaepernick Derangement Syndrome -- still getting triggered every time he gets mentioned in the media -- it was all but inevitable that mysterious Media Research Center sports blogger Jay Maxson would get bent out of shape as only he can when U.S. fencing team member Race Imboden knelt on the podium as the national anthem played during the medal ceremony at the Pan American Games where the team won gold.

Crank up that outrage, Jay:

American fencer Race Imboden deserves induction into the "Hall of Shame" for kneeling on the victory stand at the Pan American Games and dishonoring his country on social media Friday. The Democratic Underground certainly loves his tweet blaming a "hateful" President for his pathetic protest, and Bleacher Report gave him a platform for encouraging other athletes to disrespect the U.S. flag.

Along with teammates Gerek Meinhardt and Nick Itkin, Imboden helped the USA defeat Brazil, 45-23 in the team foil gold-medal match. Meinhardt and Itkin were the real heroes of the day Friday ― for standing, for representing the United States with dignity and for respecting all who sacrificed for the freedom we enjoy today.


Imboden is the top-ranked U.S. fencer and stands No. 3 in the world rankings. He ranks considerably lower than that in the view of American patriots for putting down his country on foreign soil.

Maxson similarly huffed in a Aug. 15 post:

The recent Pan American Games in Lima, Peru were tarnished by U.S. athlete activism, which could be a forerunner for Tokyo. To Brewer, protest "reentered public consciousness because of the audacity of two athletes representing the United States." During a medal ceremony and playing of the U.S. national anthem, gold medalist fencer Race Imboden kneeled and later cited racism, gun control, mistreatment of immigrants and President Trump as his beefs. 

Maxson also directs his ire to anyone who fails to similarly hate Imboden for exercising his constitutional right to free speech. In an Aug. 27 post, Maxson ranted that "professional protest profiteer" Dave Zirin of The Nation for hosting Imboden on his podcast to discuss the latter's "disgusting behavior that led to his being placed on 12-month probation by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee," further outraged that Imboden "invoked Colin Kaepernick and, like a good bleeding heart liberal, his own white guilt." Maxson concluded by declaring that Imboden was Zirin's "newest radical hero."

What does Maxson's ranting about an athlete's political views have to do with the "media research" that's supposed to be the mission of the MRC? We have no idea.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:40 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 5:49 PM EDT
WND Revives Bogus Obseesion Over 'Mega-Mosque'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Back when WorldNetDaily had reporters, one of them, the Muslim-hating writer Leo Hohmann, became obsessed with a controversy over a planned mosque in Sterling Heights, Michigan, which he insisted on describing as a "mega-mosque" despite the fact that it would be no bigger than your typical Aldi grocery store and only a fraction of the size of a typical Christian megachurch. Hohmann had complained that mosque supporters invoked the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act -- a federal law designed to protect religious institutions from discrimination in local zoning and landmarking laws -- which heclaimed was "being used to coerce cities into approving mosques, even when the mosque is in a residential neighborhood" (though WND never had any problem with Christian congregations invoking RLUIPA to get their church buildings built).

In the ensuing time, courts have upheld the Michigan city's right to permit the building of the mosque. In the meantime, mosque opponents have shifted their arguments as they continue to lose in court -- and WND is checking back in on the story.

A Sept. 2 WND article echoed the long-departed Hohmann's bias by declaring that "Chaldean Christians who escaped persecution from Muslims in their home country Iraq by fleeing to Sterling Heights, Michigan, now are fighting a proposed 21,000-square-foot mega-mosque in their neighborhood." Opponents have now enlisted the right-wing American Freedom Law Center (apparently, their version of "American freedom" doesn't involve freedom of worship for Muslims), which is trying to get a federal appeals court to reverse its decision upholding the city's right to permit the mosque by focusing on technical procedural issues:

"During this public meeting," AFLC said, "the mayor enforced a content- and viewpoint-based speech restriction that prohibited private citizens, including our clients, from making any comments that the mayor deemed critical of Islam, in direct violation of the First Amendment!"

Subsequent court rulings were "fraught with egregious errors," the legal team said.

Since WND is simply rewriting an AFLC press release -- no reporters, remember? -- it tells only one side of the story. Meanwhile, an actual news outlet told the full story: that the appeals court upheld the city's right to remove spectators from a city council meeting regarding the mosque because audience members had become disruptive; there were "more than two dozen outbursts" from the audience, some of which "disparaged Islam and the [American Islamic Community Center, which is building the mosque], calling them terrorists or terrorist-funded."

The WND article does not explain why the AFLC thinks disrupting public meetings with out-of-order disparaging attacks is a right that has to be protected.

And while the AFLC is trying to pretend otherwise, WND is admitting it's an anti-Muslim battle with the headline "U.S. Christians in fierce fight against mega-mosque in backyard." Perhaps the AFLC should be similarly honest and admit it's trying to stop construction of the mosque because it too hates Muslims and doesn't believe they deserve the same religious rights as Christians in America, despite what the Constitution says.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:02 AM EDT
Tuesday, September 10, 2019
MRC's Graham and Bozell: Damn Right Those Illegals Are An Invasion!
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham and Brent Bozell spent their Aug. 14 column outraged that the New York Times pointed out how the anti-immigration language of the El Paso massacre shooter's manifesto echoed that of prominent right-wing pundits including Rush Limbaugh. They even defended the inflammatory (and mutually used) word "invasion" to describe undocumented immigrants and refugees truying to cross the southern border:

The Times brigade was especially appalled by conservative media stars' using the term "invasion" to describe the influx at the southern border. Limbaugh explained that "invasion" describes the left's strategy to import new voters who don't share any particular affection for America's founding principles.

"Invasion" is the correct word. It didn't matter to The Times that each month from March till June, we were faced with over 100,000 border apprehensions of immigrants surging into our country.

The two followed that with another kneejerk defense of their buddy Limbaugh:

Would Limbaugh be more politically correct if he were to categorize this more gently, perhaps as "increased travel"?

This is the kind of "news" story that the left has been uncorking for decades. Limbaugh was blunt: "It's been a constant attempt by the left since I started this program to discredit me, to impugn me. And their purpose has been to make sure I don't acquire an even larger audience."

Limbaugh has every right to be furious. When white supremacist Timothy McVeigh drove up to a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995 and blew it up with an ammonium nitrate bomb, killing 168 people, the "news" media energetically connected it to the rhetoric of Limbaugh and the new Republican House Speaker, Newt Gingrich.

(Remember, the MRC even found a way to defend Limbaugh after his vicious misogynist attack on Sandra Fluke.)

Of course, Graham and Bozell never actually disproved the idea that the extreme rhetoric of right-wing jocks like Limbaugh had an effect on McVeigh.

Graham and Bozell concluded by whining, "The liberal media are becoming increasingly more comfortable with impugning every reporter and commentator in conservative media as a poisonous instigator of violence." Say the operators of an organziaton that was eager to play whataboutism in blaming Rachel Maddow for a deranged man who tried to kill Rep. Steve Scalise despite there being no evidence Maddow ever advocated violence against anyone.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:43 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 10, 2019 8:46 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: CNS Attacks When Trump Critics Testify
Topic:'s biased coverage of the congressional testimony of Michael Cohen and John Dean fit its pro-Trump template: trash the speakers and cheer Republicans who bash them while ignoring questioning from Democratic members of Congress. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 9:07 AM EDT
Monday, September 9, 2019
Newsmax Columnist Tries To Claim Ben Franklin Endorses Trump
Topic: Newsmax

Stephen B. Presser's Aug. 27 Newsmax column carries the goofy headline "Ben Franklin Would Be All In for Trump 2020." He never quite gets around to making that case, though.

Much of Presser's column is devoted to riffing on Franklin's comment "A republic, if you can keep it" by claiming that republics are better than democracies and, by implication, that the Republican Party is better than the Democratic Party. He then rather abruptly shifts into partisan mode for a tired political argument:

In the Barack H. Obama administration, in a manner that departed from the rule of law, an effort was implemented to concentrate much more power in the federal government.

In that administration, a far-from-disinterested bureaucracy (especially in the Department of Justice (DOJ) and our intelligence agencies) came close, as we are now coming to understand, to deciding to shred the constitutional scheme of presidential selection, to promote a favored candidate (Mrs. Clinton) and, eventually to seek to depose a duly-elected chief executive (Donald Trump).

President Trump, and his administration now understand this, and he and they are determined to continue his ongoing effort to reverse the flow of power to the bureaucracy, or as they call it reining in "the deep state" or "the swamp."

The Democrats, whose candidates have their own plans for increasing taxes, restricting private property, implementing some form of socialism, and redistributing resources to meet the selfish needs of their core constituencies, fail to understand that their program would fatally undermine the Framers’ design.

Republicans in 2020 are, in the President’s new campaign slogan seeking "to keep America great," simply striving to preserve small "r" republican government itself.

Of course, there's little proof outside right-wing fever swamps that the Obama administration used the federal bureaucracy to stop Trump (Presser writes not only as if it existed and also that it succeeded), while there's growing evidence that Trump cares less about maintaining a republican form of government and more evidence that he's using the levers of goverment to enrich himself. And Republicans care less about republican government than about getting a corrupt man re-elected.

Presser won't tell you any of that, of course. In addition to the cumbersonmne title of "Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History Emeritus at Northwestern’s Pritzker School of Law," he was also a "Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy at the University of Colorado's Boulder Campus," whatever that is.

Presser can't make the case that Trump is a conservative or a small-government republican, so he will trot out the usual right-wing attacks against Democrats.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:35 PM EDT
MRC Defends Google-Hating Researcher And His Dubious Work
Topic: Media Research Center

Robert Epstein is the Media Research Center's favorite Google-hating researcher. His claim to be a Hillary Clinton supporter gives him cover to be a conserative darling pushing claims that Google is biased against conservatives -- which conveniently fits in with the MRC's anti-media agenda.

A September 2018 post by Corinne Weaver touting the anti-Google film "Creepy Line" noted how Epstein supplied the film's title: “Google crosses the creepy line every day. ... Google can shift the voting preferences of undecided voters by up to 80 percent in some demographic groups just by altering the order in which search results are shown."

A couple days later, Weaver cited how Epstein "told the Media Research Center that Google was building personal profiles of users mainly through Gmail" and that "conservatives have 'special reasons to be concerned' based on the leaked emails and videos from Google concerning the 2016 election." Weaver added that "Epstein clarified that he was not a conservative."

A few days after that, Weaver got another "exclusive statement" from Epstein dismissing a Stanford University study highlighting the large number of conservative websites that push fake news, echoing Weaver's suggestion that Stanford has a pro-Google bias because Google's founders were Stanford graduates and have donated money to the school, though neither offered any specific evidence that this particular study was influenced by Google money. Weaver even pushed an article Epstein did for the pro-Trump Epoch Times that purported to explain "10 ways that Google and Facebook could affect the midterm elections.

In a November post, Weaver intoned: "The scariest thing about Google Search is the algorithms and changes that users don’t see. Dr. Robert Epstein of AIRBT (sic: the American Instistute for Behavioral Research and Technology, of which Epstein is the apparent sole staff member) has spent years studying Google and the algorithms behind it." In a July 11 post, Alexander Hall gushed that the "prolific American psychologist, journalist, and author" Epstein "will soon unleash a report that he claims will bring down Google." And an Aug. 20 item reprinted MRC chief Brent Bozell's letter to Google, signed by other "conservative leaders," citing Epstein's claims of "pro-liberal bias" in a demand that Google "explain reports and allegations that the search engine is attempting to block conservative sites and exclude voices that don’t fit the liberal narrative."

But the MRC has a conservative narrative to push, and Epstein is a big part of that. So when Hillary Clinton and other media outlets pointed out the flaws in Epstein's research, the MRC rushed to his defense.

In an Aug. 21 post, Weaver claimed that Epstein was "smeared" by Clinton and CNN over his finding that "Google had helped influence 2.6 million votes in favor of Hillary Clinton in 2016," gushing that Epstein "responded with his first ever 'twitter storm,' in essence factually disarming Clinton’s comment."

Well, not so much. Clinton had claimed that Epstein's research "was based on 21 undecided voters," which is effectively true. Epstein's paper -- which examined whether Google search results could influence the voting preference of undecided voters in the 2016 presidential election -- says that his research was based on the work of 95 people, 21 of whom were undecided, meaning that his conclusions were, in fact, based on how those 21 undecided voters reacted. In that tweetstorm, Epstein objected by citing the "3,207 election-related searches & the 98,044 web pages linked to those searches," which he claimed showed "substantial pro-Hillary bias."

But as the Washington Post pointed out, the paper doesn't explain how it determined whether a given website exhibited "pro-Hillary bias" -- which makes us wonder if it's using methodology from groups like AllSides that push the right-wing narrative that mainstream media outlets, which typically populate news searches, are reflexively "liberal" -- nor did it describe how those "election-related searches" were conducted. Epstein also apparently threw out results that were unbiased based on a conspiracy theory that "perhaps Google identified our confidants through its gmail system and targeted them to receive unbiased results."

Weaver also bashed a CNN article debunking Epstein's study, complaining that it "cited the opinions of two academics who disagreed with Epstein," then huffed: "The issue is that in the world of academic studies, one can always find two academics to either agree or disagree with you. That’s not a litmus test for accuracy or truth."

Of course, Weaver did not mention the nature of those academics' objections. One noted that even if such search bias did exist, "Epstein has failed to establish that any such biases have had anywhere near the magnitude of impact on American presidential voting that Epstein suggests," while the second pointed out that the study "did not take into account how much a voter might care about a particular subject" or "how people's voting preferences might have been affected by other technological platforms, such as Facebook, which he said was 'quite clearly gamed by third parties' in 2016."

Weaver further repeated Epstein's defense of himself:

Epstein also defended the integrity of his work, which Clinton dismissively referred to as a “debunked study.” He asked, “If my work has been "debunked," why was it included in a volume just published by #Oxford U.? Why have I been invited to speak about it at prestigious venues worldwide: #Stanford U., #Yale Law School (where both you & Bill went), even our #Senate.”

Weaver would never admit that getting published in a prestigious journal is no guarantee of credibility, as The Lancet learned when it published since-discredited research on vaccines and autism. But Epstein has his own issues in that department as well. Slate reported that Epstein supplied seven pages of citations to support his congressional testimony in July in which he rehashed the above study, "but all of them are papers or op-eds he wrote or co-wrote himself" and only one of those products was peer-reviewed, though "even that study didn't demonstrate that this has actually happened."

Yes, there are obvious problems with Epstein's research. But because his work advances the MRC's narrative, it won't tell you about them.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:00 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, September 9, 2019 4:17 PM EDT
Birther Revisionism: WND Still Blaming Hillary, Censoring WND's Key Role
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joe Kovacs used a July 31 WorldNetDaily article to highlight a claim by Ttrump surrogates Diamond and Silk that Hillary Clinton might have been racist for her "involvement in the hunt for Barack Obama's true birthplace." Kovacs added:

It was operatives for Mrs. Clinton who sparked the entire controversy over Obama's natural-born citizenship during the 2008 campaign when Clinton was in a tight contest for the Democratic presidential nomination. Obama was able to fend off Hillary and eventually win the presidency, but his status of a being a natural-born citizen as the U.S. Constitution requires dogged his years in office, with Trump himself getting into the fray, urging the release of Obama's real birth certificate.

Yeah, no. PolitiFact documented that while a 2007 Clinton campaign memo pushed the idea of thing after Obama's "lack of American roots," it was never acted upon. Disgruntled Hillary supporters -- not campaign "operatives" -- embraced birther claims after she suspended her campaign, but the campaign itself never pushed it.

In other words, Kovacs is lying. He's also lying by omission as well, curiously failing to mention what was the defining story of his employer's and its signature issue from 2008 to 2016: pushing birther conspiracy theories.

Kovacs also did not mention that not only did WND work behind the scenes with Trump to push those conspiracy theories,  it responded to the release of Obama's "real birth certificate" by concocting another conspiracy theory, that it was fake as well. 

Then again, Kovacs doesn't want to admit the natural conclusion to Diamond and Silk's claim: If Hillary is racist for having a preliminary discussion about Obama's origins, then WND is absolutely racist for pursuing birther conspiracy theories so aggressively and maliciously, as if the birth certificate was Obama's Vince Foster.

It's as if Kovacs and WND don't want to take responsibility for what they publish, or something.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:12 AM EDT
Sunday, September 8, 2019
Flashback: When The MRC Loved Joe Walsh
Topic: Media Research Center

Nicholas Fondacaro devoted an Aug. 25 post to complaining that media outlets were giving a "platform to Trump’s Republican challengers," particularly Joe Walsh. (No complaint, however, about how the MRC's "news" division,, was giving a platform to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's challengers.) Fondacaro huffed that Walsh is a "never-Trump Republican" and that while ABC host and "Clinton lackey" George Stephanopoulos did highlight some of Walsh's controversial tweets, "they omitted ones far worse," adding, "If Trump had tweeted that, the media would rightfully be all over him."

You know who else couldn't care less about those controversial Walsh tweets? Fondacaro and the MRC -- at least until he became a never-Trump Republican. In fact, the MRC absolutely loved Walsh when he was being provocative as a "Tea Party congressman."

Let's take a look back:

  • In a February 2011 post, Scott Whitlock defended Walsh against an MSNBC anchor who was "attacking a conservative Congressman for advocating severe spending cuts."
  • In April 2011, Matthew Balan complained that an NPR host labeled Walsh as "intransigent" for not wanting to compromise with Democrats on Tea Party priorities.
  • That same month, Alex Fitzsimmons cheered when Walsh, during an MSNBC appearance, attacked the anchor "on why he and his colleagues are such Obama sycophants, pointing to the media's unwillingness to criticize the Democratic president for ignoring entitlement reform in his initial budget blueprint.
  • Noel Sheppard similarly gushed that "Walsh made a fabulous point about how the press gave Obama a pass this week with his budget redo as they were mercilessly attacking Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.)."
  • In May 2011, Eric Scheiner did some PR work for the then-congressman, noting that "Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) has made a video to go along with a letter to President Obama, in which Walsh expresses his concern over the president’s recent comments on immigration."
  • In July 2011, Matt Hadro touted how Walsh "twice called out the media for protecting President Obama on Thursday night's In the Arena, and told host Eliot Spitzer to his face that 'you're doing a much better job of making [Obama's] case than he did.'"
  • Scott Whitlock followed with more gushing: "Republican Congressman Joe Walsh didn't put up with Chris Matthews' 'bullying' on Tuesday, mocking the liberal MSNBC anchor for his effusive praise of Barack Obama. Over the host's frequent interruptions, the Illinois Representative taunted, 'Hey, Chris, your President, who sends a tingle up your leg-'"
  • In August, Hadro whined that "CNN's Don Lemon gave softball interviews to three Democrat congressmen who voted against the [debt ceiling compromise] bill, while scrutinizing Tea Party Congressman Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) for his opposition."
  • In September 2011, Whitlock wrote a post headlined "Rep. Joe Walsh Educates Martin Bashir: 'Your Profession Did Not Vet' Obama."
  • In October 2011, Clay Waters complained that the New York Times did a "hit piece" on Walsh's finances, noting that he owed "more than $100,000 in child support," which seemed to contradict his message of fiscal responsibility.
  • In September 2012, Sheppard cheered even louder when Walsh said in a speech that "free contraception advocate Sandra Fluke" needs to "get a job." (MRC writers similarly slimed Fluke, and none have apologized.)

How much did the MRC love Walsh? He even got a sit-down with MRC chief Brent Bozell,  who loved Walsh's narrative-advancing claim that the media "are so vested" in Obama "not being a failure." This video was cross-posted at the MRC's "news" division,

The MRC even went all-in in defending Walsh against the deadbeat-dad charge. A February 2013 post by Matthew Sheffield complained about another newspaper "hit piece"  on the subject that "did not give him a chance to respond to the allegation before it ran with the piece." Sheffield added, "The story is completely false, according to Walsh but the paper printed it anyway."

What has changed between then and now? Walsh violated the new conservative omerta: No Republican is allowed to criticize Trump. Fondacaro should perhaps have told that to his readers to explain the MRC's flip-flop on Walsh.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:45 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 8, 2019 9:08 PM EDT
CNS Also Loves The Lazy 'Meathead' Insult of Rob Reiner

We've documented how the Media Research Center insists on identifying Rob Reiner as "Meathead" -- an acting role he hasn't played in more than 40 years and despite the fact he has become a director and producer of numerous successful and critically acclaimed movies since -- as a cheap, lazy insult whenever he expresses an opinion it doesn't like.

It turns out the MRC's "news" division,, embraces that lazy insult as well. An anonymously written Aug. 19 CNS article -- a "news "article, not a blog post -- carries the headline "Rob Reiner (AKA ‘Meathead’): ‘The President of the United States is a Lying Racist Criminal’" and tells us in the lead paragrah that "Actor and director Rob Reiner, who played ‘Meathead’ in the 1970s television program 'All in the Family'" said this.

The article also added that "Reiner frequently issues Tweets attacking Trump," but it did not explain why this particular tweet was somehow more newsworthy than the others. At no point does the anonymous CNS writer dispute Reiner's characterization of Trump, just complain that it was said.

The article is bizarrely illustrated with an 11-year-old photo of Reiner pictured with Hillary Clinton. Didn't Getty Images -- from which CNS pulled that photo -- have any more recent photos of Reiner that would be more timely and relevant? Or is CNS giving up on the pretense that it's different from its MRC parent and is now pushing the same partisan political attacks?

The question has to be asked: Is there any difference between CNS and the MRC anymore, other than the format in which the information is presented?

Posted by Terry K. at 11:22 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 8, 2019 11:35 AM EDT
Saturday, September 7, 2019
Tim Graham's False Choice
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham devoted a July 25 post to complaining that CNN's Brian Stelter pointing out President Trump's lengthy record of lies and falsehoods -- and that conservatives simply accept and rationalize away those falsehoods -- is "implying something ideological, not something journalistic." Graham then huffed:

Donald Trump has a casual relationship with the truth. He can keep "fact checkers" very busy. But Stelter doesn't seem to realize that if you support free markets and/or orthodox religious values against the Libertine Left and/or a strong defense and border control, you have one choice in the coming election. They're not going to be persuaded to #Resist by CNN hosts who offer supportive segments to socialists on "Is the Media Fair to Socialism?"

But Graham and his fellow ideologues know they the do not have "one choice." If Trump's lies truly bothered him, he could support another Republican. (The fact that they don't is exemplified by Graham's refusing to say "lie" or "falsehood," eupemistically describing  Trump as merely having "a casual relationship with the truth.") There are other Republicans who lie less and still are sympatico with Graham ideologically. Does Graham really think Trump has core beliefs that mesh with his and is not simply glomming on to the conservative agendas as a way to hold power and generate support?

Graham is actually proving Stelter right -- Graham worships anyone with the power to push his agenda, and thus, he worships Trump because he currently has that power. Graham doesn't care that Trump doesn't actually believe what he's pushing; the agenda is all that matters, not the character of the person pushing it (despite that exposing how hollow the MRC's concern over character in politicians was during the Clinton years). He won't take the chance of choosing a Trump challenger with more personal integrity and ideological credibility because he's so devoted to the cause that it doesn't matter how compromised the person is who's pushing it.

Graham concluded by whining: "Clearly, Stelter is a very activist voice in the Sees a Liar Tribe, pushing the liberal media to be more opinionated. They have to say 'liar' and 'racist' and 'authoritarian.' That's CNN, constantly providing a free messaging service for the #Resistance." Graham, meanwhile, can't say those words; to do so would admit that he cares only about power, not integrity.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:43 AM EDT
WND's Massie Again Maliciously Portrays Kamala Harris As A Slut
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Right-wing commentator Tomi Lahren had to apologize for claiming that Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris slept her way to the top when even Fox News personalities called her out on the malicious smear. Michael Massie is not about to.

Massie has previously effectively called Harris a slut, even though it's not true. He took another malicious stab at it in his Aug. 26 WorldNetDaily column in the middle of an unhinged tirade against female congresswomen he doesn't like:

The current crop of psycho-socialist and communist-Islamist women taking over the Democratic Party are a pathetic gaggle of liars, harridans and crazies. Elizabeth Warren, who is less American Indian than she is donkey, defrauded taxpayers and other qualified employment candidates by claiming she was Cherokee Indian. 

Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib are festering miasmas of diseased dogma, hatred for America and visceral anti-Semitism. Omar is more immoral than Kamala Harris who slept her way up the political ladder by making herself sexually available to those (read anyone) able and willing to help her political ambitions.

Massie offers no evidence Harris made herself "sexually available" to "anyone." If he can't back this up, he might want to have a chat with an attorney if he wants to avoid being sued for libel.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:15 AM EDT
Friday, September 6, 2019
Tim Graham's Shocker: Public Radio Hosts Make ... Average Salaries
Topic: Media Research Center

Public radio-hating Tim Graham was apoplectic in an Aug. 20 post:

On Tuesday morning, syndicated talk-radio host Chris Plante mocked "National Panhandler Radio" for having some seriously high salaries for a taxpayer-subsidized network that begs for listener donations in pledge drives. Plante cited tweets by Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi from the latest IRS 990 form for nonprofits revealing the high salaries of NPR stars. 

Plante marveled first at Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon, who is a one-day-a-week anchor and yet made $479,578. Farhi reported this was a 16 percent pay increase. Plante underlined "That is more than the President of the United States" for one day's work, and insisted he would love to get a job with that much pay for that little on-air time.


Farhi also noted Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep's salary is $509,680 (a 10.5 percent raise); and (now-retired) All Things Considered host Robert Siegel made $455,109 (up 5 percent).

The IRS form also reveals another Saturday NPR host -- Peter Sagal, hosting a game show called Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me -- earning $394,091. That's making a president-level salary for uncorking nasty jokes like a fake book interview smearing George W. Bush as a drunk and Dick Cheney being the Grim Reaper.

Former Morning Edition anchor (now Special Correspondent) Melissa Block was listed at $323,836.

What's missing here, of course, is context -- Graham would rather have you believe that NPR hosts are overpaid without being challenged on it. But in fact, those salaries are very much in line what similar hosts make in the private sector, and typically, to attract talent, public broadcasting arguably must pay salaries commensurate with the private sector.

A 2015 survey showed that morning-show radio hosts can make as much as $400,000 a year depending on the market, and a nationally syndicated radio host can rake in as much as $ 1 million a year. Meanwhile, a 2018 survey showed the highest-paid national radio hosts making millions. For instance, Graham's idol, Rush Limbaugh, makes a reported $77 million a year.

Puts those NPR salaries in perspective, don't they? Not that Graham will ever concede that, of course.

Further, Plante and Graham's mocking of Simon for purportedly working only one day a week for that salary ignores the fact that there are hours of show prep involved to make that show. There's also the fact that Simon has hosted the show almost continuously since 1985 and has presumably earned a raise or two.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:20 PM EDT
WND Also Hid Google Whistleblowers' Far-Right Ties
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've documented how the Media Research Center promoted claims by two former Google employees about alleged bias, while censoring their far-right politics. Well, WND did the same thing.

An Aug. 1 article by Art Moore featured how ex-Google employee Kevin Cernekee "is speaking up about the tech giant's treatment of employees with conservative political views, disclosing he was put on a company "blacklist" before being terminated." Those claims were repeated in an Aug. 8 article. WND also republished an Aug. 3 PJ Media article also rehashing Cernekee's claims.

But as Gizmodo documented<, Cernekee used internal Google message boards to promote a far-right crowdfunding platform that has defended the likes of neo-Nazi Richard Spencer and neo-Nazi website the Daily Stormer. He also argued that documented neo-Nazi groups merely "reject racial supremacy." A former Google co-worker of Cernekee's criticized his "questionable viewpoints and questionable tactics" and said that his denials of being an extremist ring hollow.

WND mentioned nothing about that.

The same applied to Zachary Vorhies. An Aug. 14 article touted how "former Google insider" Vorhies had documents that purportedly provided "proof that Google has been manipulating the algorithms. This was followed by an Aug. 20 article on "conservative leaders" (including WND managing editor David Kupelian) demanding the Google "demanding that he explain the company's censorship of conservatives" based on Vorhies' alleged documents. The same day, WND published a column by Michelle Malkin hyping that "former Google software engineer Zachary Vorhies exposed how (online since 1999) was placed on a news blacklist banning my content from appearing on newsfeeds accessed through Android Google products."

But the Daily Beast reported that Vorhies "is an avid promoter of anti-Semitic accusations that banks, the media, and the United States government are controlled by “Zionists.” He’s also pushed conspiracy theories like QAnon, Pizzagate, and the discredited claim that vaccines cause autism." He has also accused "Zionists" of killing Andrew Breitbart and Israel of plotting the 9/11 attacks.

WND said nothing about that either.

Hiding important facts is not helping WND's ambition to be taken seriously as a news operation.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:31 AM EDT
Thursday, September 5, 2019
MRC Defends Right-Wing 'Disinformation Mill' -- Whose Owner Signs MRC Petitions
Topic: Media Research Center

Corinne Weaver's Aug. 22 Media Research Center item is a defense of Western Journal, a right-wing clickbait site run by longtime right-wing activist Floyd Brown and his son, from a New York Times profile of it that describes how it's a "disinformation mill" that churns out stories that tend to be "sensationalized, misleading or entirely made-up." But Weaver doesn't see anything wrong with Brown's operation -- suggesting it peddles nothing more than mainstream conservatism -- just with the "hit piece" the Times wrote about it:

The New York Times wants readers to believe that to be right wing is to be evil. 

In a scathing hit piece written about the conservative outlet Western Journal, Nicholas Confessore and Justin Bank smeared the website as a “potent online disinformation mill.” While the executive editor, Shaun Hair, admits openly that the content on the site is written from a conservative point of view, the Times sins it as “sensationalized, misleading, or entirely made-up.”


Hilariously, the very partisan Times criticized Western Journal for “using misleading headlines and sensationalized stories to attract partisans.” One of the criticized pieces was about the “so-called War on Christmans.” The site supposedly “profited from their anger.” There was no mention of how the Times pushed the Russian conspiracy for more than two years. 

The authors of the piece compared the Western Journal to President Donald Trump, saying that like Trump, it is battling Big Tech due to censorship. Whereas most liberal hit pieces decry conservative censorship as a conspiracy, this piece actually admitted that Google News blacklisted the Western Journal, as did Apple News.


Even worse, some of the people who wrote for the Western Journal didn’t use their real names! Perhaps not wanting the Times to do to them what it was doing to their publisher.

The entire point of the piece seemed aimed at justifying why Google and Apple blacklisted the site. It also claimed that Facebook down-ranked the site on its platform because of the false material.

Weaver offers no evidence that anything in the Times article is misleading or false, or even that the Western Journal didn't deserved to be downranked. It's unclear why this item even exists. 

Unless... it was done as a favor to Floyd Brown.

You see, Brown has been a signatory to several letters from "conservative leaders" over the past year or so promoting the MRC's causes du jour, usually regarding its bogus war on social media for purported bias against conservatives -- see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. The MRC has also quoted Brown issuinga  statement in support of a similar MRC-approved cause.

One can theorize that Brown would like to stop being thought about as a purveyor of fringe, false right-wing clickbait and would prefer that he be thought of as a mainstream conservative activist. What better way to do that than to ingratiate himself with solidly conservative folks like Brent Bozell and thet MRC? Interestingly, Bozell himself is tacking rightward, joining Brown and other far-right-wingers in signing an amicus brief supporting convicted felon Steve Stockman in his conspiracy theory that he was wrongfully convicted.

In that light, Weaver's piece can very well be seen as Bozell welcoming Brown to the mainstream conservative club.

P.S.: The Times article didn't note this, but the Western Journal is a direct descendant of the Western Journalism Center, founded by Joseph Farah in the early 1990s mostly as a vehicle to attack President Clinton, and from which WorldNetDaily sprang in 1998. One of the Brown-led WJC's earliest efforts after he took over in 2008-ish was a laughable "Case for Impeachment" of President Obama that was filled with factual errors and outright lies, not to mention pushed birther conspiracy theories.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:16 PM EDT

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