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Sunday, September 15, 2019
MRC Is Mad Media Treating Biden's Falsehoods The Way It Treats Trump's
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has no problem with the multitude of falsehoods President Trump peddles. It believes that merely pointing them out is a "Democratic Party talking point," and Tim Graham thinks Trump deserves a pass because he and other Republicans can't be bothered to find a candidate with more personal integrity.

But when a Democrat gets caught making false claims, the MRC is ON IT, and is quick to play whataboutism. When the Washington Post found that a story Joe Biden has been telling on the campaign trail about an Afghanistan veteran to whom he awarded a medal had numerous key details wrong -- something the MRC largely avoided giving the Post credit for, since doing so would undermine its narrative of the Post being a wildly biased "liberal media" outlet --  the MRC got mad that the media was, essentially, treating this the way the MRC handwaves Trump's torrent of falsehoods.

Nicholas Fondacaro whined, "If President Trump got as many details wrong about a story, the liberal media would declare that he was intentionally trying to 'gaslight' the country," complaining further thet "ABC and NBC helped him rationalize it" while "Biden’s crafted tale wasn’t even a priority for the CBS Evening News."

Mark Finkelstein ranted that "Joe Biden might have set a personal record last week for the most gaffetastic gaffe of his storied, fact-mangling career," while Trump has had only "alleged tangles with the facts." Finkelstein was enraged when commentator said that Democrats "pride themselves on fact-checking and making sure that things are right," sneering, "spare us the notion that when it comes to the truth, Democrats are some paragons of higher-standard virtue!"

Alex Christy spun away in portraying Trump as victim of a factual "double standard":

Perhaps one reason why Trump has over 12,000 lies and misstatements attributed to him is because of a double standard that this story illustrates. When Biden tells a misleading story, the media decline to unequivocally condemn him, when Trump engages in obvious hyperbole to say that 1,000 hamburgers would reach a mile high, fact checkers are on the case. Even humor gets a "fact check."

This from an organization that fact-checks cartoons.

Graham -- one of those cartoon fact-checkers, by the way, complained that New York Times columnist David Brooks "came rushing to Biden's defense, that unlike the president, he's not 'mendacious' or 'irresponsible' with the facts."

Fondacaro returned to grouse about the "double standard" the media allegedly has, refusing to admit his own in giving Trump's whoppers a pass. He also grumbled that on NBC's "Meet the Press, "the mostly liberal panel swooped in on Biden’s behalf to argue that President Trump’s lies were insidious, while the former VP’s were about American heroism" and that they were more Reagan-esque. Of course, Fondacaro never actually conceded that either Trump or Reagan told falsehoods.

Graham returned as well to attack Snopes for accurately pointing out that Biden's story was a mixture of true and false claims and not the "complete factual collapse" he would like you to believe it is. Graham also huffed that "Snopes is building an unmistakeable record of cravenly serving up liberal-excusing and Democrat-excusing reports" -- which, of course, is a part of a key right-wing narrative to discount fact-checks of Trump as supposedly biased.

The headline on this piece reads "FACTS or FLACKS?" As if Graham doesn't care more about flacking than facts.

Graham and his boss, Brent Bozell, served up a column attacking the alleged "excusing frenzy" over Biden. But the two were essentially excusing Trump's falsehoods by being silent about them other than to rehash commentators pointing out that Biden isn't being as mendacious as Trump.

They whined: "This whole energetic frenzy of excuse-manufacturing once again underlines the fraudulent media boast that they are 'facts first' and care most deeply about 'the truth.'" Treat Trump's falsehoods as harshly as you treat Biden's, and then maybe we can talk.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:33 AM EDT
CNS-Mark Levin Stenography Watch
Topic:'s obsession with right-wing radio host Mark Levin (or his guests or guest hosts) and treating pretty much everything he says or does as wisdom from on high that cannot be disputed (and not at all because Brent Bozell, whose Media Research Center runs CNS, is a close buddy of Levin) continues apace. Let's document the atrocities over the past two months, shall we?



That's 21 items for July and August, and a total of 81 items so far in 2018. That's approximately one Levin article every three days at CNS. It seems that only President Trump gets more CNS coverage than Levin.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:15 AM EDT
Saturday, September 14, 2019
MRC's Graham & Bozell Cite People With Credibility Problems To Attack Media As Lacking In Credibility
Topic: Media Research Center

Tim Graham and Brent Bozell write in their Aug. 21 column:

On her weekly Sinclair TV show, "Full Measure," on Aug. 18, former CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson interviewed pollster Scott Rasmussen about journalists' standing in the public square. They're about as trusted as Wikipedia, the website considered so unreliable that school teachers often tell students they can't cite it as a source for their research papers.

Only 38 percent said national political coverage is accurate and reliable, while 42 percent said it is not. "We asked about national political reporters. Are they credible? Are they reliable?" said Rasmussen. "And you know, a little more than 1 out of 3 people say yes. When we ask about Wikipedia, we get the exact same answer. So what's — what's happening is we have a world where people look at journalists like they look at Wikipedia."

But Graham and Bozell didn't tell their readers about the "massive credibility problem" of their sources.

We've documented how conservatives love Attkisson for her increasing right-wing reportng despite her pushing of anti-vaccine conspiracy theories -- never a good look for any reporter and continued to hide growing issues with her reporting. We've also noted how Attkisson's claim that the Obama administration had "compromised" her personal computer has been discred ited when an investigation showed the problem was actually a stuck backspace key. And if Attkisson wasn't a biased reporter, why has she written mostly for conservative outlets since leaving CBS? That includes her current employer, Sinclair, which is notorious for forcing its local TV stations to inject conservative bias in its newscasts, putting ideology before credibility.

Meanwhile, Rasmussen has his own credibility issues. The polls of the company he founded, Rasmussen Reports (he left in 2013), are rife with pro-Republican and pro-conservative bias, and it also tends to be among the least accurate.

Oh, and one other thing Graham and Bozell didn't disclose: According to a show transcript, Attkisson's show paid for that Rasmussen poll she's talking about. Seems relevant.

This is the best Graham and Bozell could do when finding people to challenge media credibility? Sheesh.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:23 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, September 14, 2019 11:28 AM EDT
WND Also Defends Dubious Anti-Google Researcher
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Like the Media Research Center, WorldNetDaily loves Google-hating researcher Robert Epstein for his claim that Google is biased against conservatives to the point that it likely swung votes to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

WND has long promoted the right-wing anti-Google film "The Creepy Line," which features Epstein's claims of a "Search Engine Manipulation Effect, which he described as the one of most dangerous behavioral discoveries ever. It has the power, he said, to manipulate an individual's opinion without his knowledge. WND editor Joseph Farah has called the film "one of the most important documentaries I've seen in my lifetime" since it fuels WND's victimization narrative, hyperbolically adding that it demonstrates that Google along with Facebook "represent an existential threat not just to the independent media like WND, but to the future of our country as a self-governing constitutional republic accountable to the people."

A December 2018 WND article by Art Moore touted Epstein's credentials and "peer-reviewed research" claming that, in Epstein's words, "Not only does Google have the power to shift votes and opinions on a massive scale, they actually use that power." It featured Epstein's claim that "Google heavily biased results in favor of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, possibly shifting as many as 3 million votes." The June issue of WND's sparsely read Whistleblower magazine similarly cited Epstein's research to accuse Google and "big tech" of staging a "stealth coup." In July, WND gushed over "Harvard-trained researcher" Epstein's congressional testimony that "Google's search results favored the Democratic candidate in 2016 and can do the same in 2020."

Of course, as we've noted, that key claim by Epstein has been discredited, in part because it was such a tiny sample size -- 95 people, 21 of whom were undecided in the 2016 election -- and partly because Epstein has never made public the full data behind it. The Washington Post pointed out that Epstein's paper doesn't explain how it determined whether a given website exhibited "pro-Hillary bias," 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."

WND went on to tout how President Trump promoted Epstein's work -- and when Hillary Clinton pointed out those deficiencies, WND rushed to Epstein's defense. WND repeated Epstein's insistence that he's a "big" Hillary supporter and is "not a conservative," but Epstein never specifically denied that his results hinged on the beliefs of 21 undecided votes.

WND has also been silent about his anti-Google paranoia, which manifested itself in the above conspiracy theory  about search results sent to him from study participiants using Gmail but also in a recent Twitter rant: "People keep writing to me from gmail addresses, which allows #Google to violate my #privacy. Please stop!"

Like the MRC, WND won't report the obvious problems with Epstein's research.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:33 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, September 14, 2019 10:53 PM EDT
Friday, September 13, 2019
MRC Still Doesn't Know How Planned Parenthood Funding Works
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center loves to push the canard that federal money to Planned Parenthood is fungible in order to claim that said federal money pays for abortions. The MRC also manages to misunderstand how other areas of Planned Parenthood funding works.

In an Aug. 29 post, MRC Latino's Jorge Bonilla criticized one news anchor for allegedly framing the controversy over the Trump administration effectively cutting off Title X federal funding to Planned Parenthood "in a way most favorable to Planned Parenthood," going on to huff:

Since no pro-life voices are featured, no one was present to point out the fact that the federal government allocates close to $600 million a year to Planned Parenthood. Furthermore, no one was there to point out that Planned Parenthood could very easily cover their Title X shortfall by diverting monies destined to political campaigns...that is, if they're so concerned about Latinas being left without "services".

As with federal funding to pay for reproductive services, money for political activism must be accounted for separately and can't be moved around. As FactCheck explains:

Although a tax-exempt, nonprofit, Planned Parenthood is involved in federal campaigns through three national committees: the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, which is registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(4), a social welfare organization that is allowed to engage in some political activity; Planned Parenthood Action Fund PAC, which is a political action committee registered with the Federal Election Commission; and Planned Parenthood Votes, a super PAC also registered with the FEC.

It is illegal for Planned Parenthood to "divert" money designed for its operations for political purposes, and it would jeopardize its nonprofit status. Those 501(c)4s and PACs collect money specifically for that purpose, and that money can't go into the parent organization.

TheMRC ought to know this; while it pushes the envelope of allowed political activity under its 501(c)3 nonprofit status, it has a separate entity, MRC Action, that's designed for more explicit political activity , as well as For America, which is MRC-linked, if not controlled, and registered as a 501(c)4. Presumably it knows it can't move money between those entities -- then again, maybe it doesn't, which is why it thinks Planned Parenthood can.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:12 PM EDT
Flip-Flop: CNS Moves From Light Treatement Of Mueller Report To Harsh Treatment of Comey

When the report on Robert Mueller's investigation into President Trump was released, labored hard to make Trump look good as possible despite it not exactly being a full exoneration for him. By contrast, CNS' reporting on a Department of Justice investigation into former FBI Director James Comey -- which turned up less than on Trump -- was much harsher.

The lead story by Susan Jones emphasized that the DOJ's inspector general "concludes that Comey failed to live up to his responsibility to protect sensitive information; and by using sensitive information to force the appointment of a special prosecutor, the OIG found that Comey "set a dangerous example for the over 35,000 current FBI employees -- and the many thousands more former FBI employees -- who similarly have access to or knowledge of non-public information." The report's key conclusion, that Comey didn't leak classified information and will not face criminal charges, didn't get mentioned until the third paragraph.

Just as CNS lined up Republicans and conservatives to spin away the Mueller report with pro-Trump rah-rah, it lined up many of those same conservatives for some Comey-bashing:

CNS also served up a commentary from the Heritage Foundation's John G. Malcolm repeating those same right-wing attacks.

By contrast, an article by Jones on "liberal" reaction to the Comey report was snarky and dimissive, reacting to one commentator's statement that the last 10 pages of the report are "sort of a howl of rage and anger" by huffing: "In fact, the last ten pages of the report include the IG's conclusion that Comey failed to live up to his responsibility to protect sensitive information; and by using sensitive information to force the appointment of a special prosecutor, the OIG found that Comey 'set a dangerous example for the over 35,000 current FBI employees -- and the many thousands more former FBI employees -- who similarly have access to or knowledge of non-public information.'"

Jones concluded her article with seven paragraphs of copy-and-pasted text from the report "for the record" -- even though that very same text was copy-and-pasted into her lead article, so it was already on the record at CNS.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:39 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, September 13, 2019 9:17 AM EDT
Thursday, September 12, 2019
MRC Still Trying To Hide That Bret Stephens Is A Conservative (And That It Has a Grudge Against Him)
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Scott Whitlock took a not-undeserved shot at New York Times columnist Bret Stephens for a disproportionate response to a critic on Twitter: "Don’t be cruel to Bret Stephens. The New York Times columnist, who compared Republicans to murderous dictators and said the 'serpent' Ted Cruz would sell his family into slavery, doesn’t like being called a 'bedbug.' Not only that, he’ll complain to your boss if you do such a thing." Whitlock went on to complain that Stephens previously  criticized members of the Trump administration.

What Whitlock didn't tell you: Stephens is a conservative writer the MRC used to love.

When Stephens moved to the Times from the Wall Street Journal in April 2017, his first column was dedicated to effectivly denying climate change. Then-blogger Tom Blumer defended Stephens against media reaction to the column (though he still complained that Stephens "gave far too much credit to the supposedly 'scrupulous' science"). But the relationship soured a couple months later when Stephens wrote a column criticizing the MRC for planning to give its annual William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence to Fox News' Sean Hannity, declaring that giving an award named after Buckley -- who had nourished a brand of conservatism that was "fundamentally literary -- to a conspiracy-monger like Hannity ushers in the "post-literate conservative world." After Buckley's son, author Christopher Buckley, similarly objected to the award, Hannity suddenly had a scheduling conflict that kept him from receiving it. No award was given out that year, and no MRC outlet reported on the controversy even though it could've had a big scoop.

After that, the MRC had little complementary to say about Stephens. He's been dismissed by MRC writer Curtis Houck as a "Never Trump diehard" and a  "Trump Derangement Syndrome sufferer," and MRC chief Brent Bozell and Tim Graham denounced Stephens for criticizing Cruz (while failing to disclose that Bozell supported Cruz's candidacy for president in 2016 and taht Graham is a serious Cruz fanboy).

When Stephens wrote a Times column a few days later doubling down on his reaction to being called a "bedbug," Graham showed up to drag him some more. Criticism of Stephens was pretty much universal by this point, but Graham added the requisite amount of right-wing whining: "Stephens also described Ted Cruz as a "serpent covered in Vaseline" who would sell his family into slavery. So he really doesn't stand on a moral high ground at all." No mention of Graham's  Cruz fanboyism or the MRC's grudge against Stephens, and still no mention of the fact that Stephens is a conservative formerly in the MRC's good graces.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:08 PM EDT
WND's Kupelian Spews His Usual Hate In Alleged Defense Of Children
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In an essay accompanying the August issue of the sparsely read Whistleblower magazine, themed "How the Left Hurts Kids," WorldNetDaily managing editor David Kupelian repeats the usual right-wing tropes attacking "the left." First, he declared that Democratic criticism of of the way the Trump administration treats undocumented is part of a sinister plan to create "future Democrat [sic] voters" and change America from Kupelian's white-dominated ideal:

For Democrats, the game is simple: The vast majority of illegal aliens, given a "pathway to citizenship" including the right to vote – something all top Democrats advocate – statistically will vote for Democrats. Thus the left is literally flooding America with future Democrat voters, radically altering the nation's traditional demographics, culture, unity and wellbeing, all for the express purpose of transforming the electorate into what they themselves call a "permanent progressive majority." America would then be perpetually ruled by one party, like Detroit and San Francisco, and would suffer the same fate as those once-great cities.

But there's more to it. Not only does a de facto "open borders" policy portend the creation of a new electorate and the unraveling of America's Judeo-Christian culture, Constitution and bedrock institutions, but current immigration policies also enable – indeed, invite – Central American "refugee" families to cynically use innocent children as props to get into America by gaming her immigration laws. If countless children are sexually abused, sold into sex slavery or "recycled" as pawns to get unrelated families into this country, and if human traffickers and drug cartels are enriched in the process, today's Democrat Party leadership has proven that it doesn't care. Democrats' actions, as distinct from their words, serve the sole interest of their acquiring power.

Then it was on to the usual factually challenged right-wing rants:

Most obviously, today's Democrats have proven they care very little for the yet-to-be-born children of American women – particularly black children. In New York City, more African-American children are aborted today than are born. Such was precisely the oft-stated intention of open eugenicist and Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, whose legacy continues unabated into the present.

As we've pointed out, the idea that Sanger was a virulent racist is a right-wing fantasy they cling to in order to justify their hatred of Planned Parenthood. Kupelian's evidence to back up his faulty claim is alink to a 2014 Family Research Council column by Arina Grossu that noted she once spoke to a Ku Klux Klan women's auxiliary -- which, as we also pointed out, was effectively a mainstream organization at the time and she spoke to anyone who would have her, and she later belittled the audience as behaving like children -- and the quote about Sanger's "Negro Project" that right-wingers love to take out of context to falsely portray heras a racist.

Since Kupelian absolutely hates the LGBT community, he served up a freakout over "drag queen story hours" and insulted gays as "immoral and pathological":

Likewise, the left cares very little for the nation's toddlers who are being continually confused and indoctrinated with the immoral and pathological sexual/gender delusions of the LGBT movement, most recently via the rapidly growing national craze called "drag queen story hour."

One must wonder: Where did this idea come from, of having a deeply troubled, mentally ill and arguably demonized man, clothed and made-up as a woman (and sometimes as a dragon-headed creature), reading stories about happily adjusted homosexual families to America's precious toddlers in the nation's taxpayer-funded public libraries? All to the apparent applause and delight of the clueless grownups in attendance. This "drag queen story hour" phenomenon is even starting to appear in some churches, as occurred recently in Cincinnati's Mount Auburn Presbyterian Church.

Kupelian concluded by insulting anyone who doesn't hold the same far-right values as himself as having rejected "reality" and being "compelled by a dark, deceiving spirit to confuse, intimidate and indoctrinate everyone else so [they] can initiate them into our alternate reality."

Posted by Terry K. at 5:48 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 12, 2019 5:50 PM EDT
CNS Unemployment Coverage Distortion Watch

The August jobs report was disappointing, with only 130,000 jobs created and job-growth numbers from June and July revised downward. This, of course, meant that CNS had to obscure that fact with a raftload of pro-Trump rah-rah. Thus, Susan Jones' lead story begins this way:

The number of people employed in the United States hit a record 157,878,000 in August, the 21st record set under President Donald Trump, according to the employment report released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That's an increase of 590,000 from the record 157,228,000 employed in July.

The unemployment rate held steady at 3.7 percent. For blacks, the unemployment rate dropped to a record low of 5.5 percent last month. And for Hispanics, the unemployment rate was 4.2 percent in August, which ties the record low set earlier this year.

The fact that only 130,000 jobs were created was buried in the eighth paragraph, and the previous months' downward revisions didn't get mentioned until the following paragraph.

The usual sidebars got added -- Terry Jeffrey's item on manufacturing jobs, which grew so slowly that he instead highlighted that manufacturing jobs are "up 498,000 since President Donald Trump took office, and Craig Bannister's piece on Hispanic employment.

Bannister also served up a snarky item on how House Speaker Nancy Pelosi noting that the economy is "faltering" despite "the U.S. Labor Department’s August report revealing that a record number of people were employed last month, while the unemployment rate held at 3.7% - and fell to record lows for blacks and Hispanics" and that "employment in the U.S. set its 21st record high under Trump in August."

Bannister writes like a man who knows what his bosses want to hear.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:44 AM EDT
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

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