AIM Gets The New Deal Wrong Topic: Accuracy in Media
A Sept. 4 Accuracy in Media item by Brian McNicoll tries to rebut a piece in Salon claiming to debunk right-wing objections to the Green New Deal. He takes particular offense to a claim regarding the Green New Deal's reference to Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal to lift America out of the Great Depression in the 1930s:
Only, the New Deal legislation did not pull the American economy out of the Great Depression. U.S. GDP had fallen 39 percent below its trend levels before the stock market crash of 1929 and was still 27 percent below trend levels in 1939. Likewise, unemployment bottomed out at 25.2 percent in 1929 but was still 19 percent in 1939.
McNicll's source for these claims is an Investopedia article -- which he misread for one key number; unemployment topped out at 25.2 percent in 1933, not 1929. But Investopedia itself misleads by not telling the full story.
As we've documented, unemployment numbers at the time did not count those employed through government work programs as actually "employed," meaning that actual unemployment was lower than the official numbers. It also glosses over the fact that higher unemployment numbers were not a product of the New Deal but, rather, of a recession in 1937 and 1938 -- which, according to economixt Paul Krugman, was a result of the Roosevelt administration cutting spending and raising taxes, even though New Deal-related spending had driven down unemployment rates.
It's unclear where Investopedia got its "1929 trend levels" number from, since 1929 is the first year government GDP statistics were kept. And according to those numbers, GDP bottomed out in 1933 at 56 percent of the 1929 number, then steadily increased every year except 1938, growing to 89 percent of the 1929 number in 1939.
Of course, what pulled the U.S. out of the Great Depression for good was another massive federal spending program: World War II.
Working The Refs, Part 3: MRC Bashes Even More Debate Moderators Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has been running a narrative for its coverage of the Democratic presidential debates: Crank out a huffy post before the debate attacking the moderators as irredemably liberal, then declare victory afterward that its narrative against them was proven correct (through murky analysis of the questions asked). And so it was with the MRC's look at the Sept. 12 debate.
Geoffrey Dickens established the talking points in a Sept. 11 post: "The moderators for ABC’s Thursday night Democratic debate include a former Bill Clinton campaign staffer and an anchor who was actually kicked out of a Donald Trump campaign event. So it’s safe to say ABC’s Democratic debate hosts won’t be asking any tough questions of the candidates – at least none from the right." Dickens listed the moderators' purported "history of liberalism" and made sure to huff that the former, "Good Morning America" co-host George Stephanopoulos, "spun the news as Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign advisor and then White House Communications Director" and dwas also a "Clinton Foundation donor."
For the latter, Univision host Jorge Ramos, Dickens repeated that he "was so rude he was removed from the press conference." As we've documented, the MRC held Ramos to a higher standard by ranting that he was an "activist" and worse then it held Daily Caller reporter Neil Munro when he was similarly rude to President Obama in 2012. The MRC also was much more sympathetic to another activist reporter from the right-wing Breitbart who got booted from a campaign event for Beto O'Rourke, declaring that O'Rourke, not the reporter, was the rude one.
The day of the debate, Rich Noyes weirdly complained that "debate host ABC’s evening newscast has awarded a majority of its news coverage to just one candidate: former Vice President Joe Biden" while virtually ignoring other candidates. This is just more lazy research; Noyes focused only on a single, short program and ignored other ABC news programs and its website operation.The point of all this, of course, whas a cheap gotcha, as Noyes revealed in his final paragraph: "So, the question can be posed: Have the media already effectively winnowed the Democrats’ 2020 field before the voters ever had a chance make themselves heard?"
This was followed by a post by Joseph Vasquez claiming that "at least 29 executives from ABC, or parent company Disney, have donated to Democratic candidates." He later conceded, however, that these executives "held entertainment roles with Disney Television Studios, Walt Disney Studios, Disney+ and Twentieth Century Fox," and he identified none as linked to ABC's news operation.
Shockingly, however, the MRC's initial post-debate reaction was praise, not its usual attack mode. Scott Whitlock did the deed:
It’s actually possible to ask 2020 Democratic candidates questions that conservatives want answered. Thursday’s debate was proof that it can be done. To be clear, there were plenty of liberal questions, including wondering how forcible gun confiscation “will work.” Yet, ABC did manage some queries of interest to conservatives, including demanding answers on eliminating private health insurance, not speaking out on socialist dictators and calling Trump voters racist.
Yes, the MRC insisted that merely asking how a proposed policy would work was "liberal" -- Whitlock devoted an entire post to the subject.
But the MRC wasn't about to let the moderators off that easy. Cue Jorge Bonilla complaning that Ramos was being praised for the questions he asked and insisting how we're all wrong for doing so:
Much of the media misread of Ramos’ performance stems from his exchange on “democratic socialism” with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Ramos garnered wide praise for daring to ask a tough question. Except that it wasn’t. For starters, Ramos had already put the Venezuela question before Sanders, on Univision’s Sunday political affairs showAl Punto.
In fact, one could call it a dry run inasmuch as Sanders’ answer was identical to what he proffered at the debate, varying only in degree of denunciation of Venezuelan tyrant Nicolás Maduro (going from "abusive" to "cruel tyrant"). Sanders then transitioned into a furious defense of his brand of so-called “democratic socialism,” which made Ramos’ question look a lot tougher than it actually was[.]
But the question only looked tough because Sanders botched the alley-oop. If Ramos’s own Facebook Watch program is any indication, it looked like the question was framed so as to set Sanders up for an affirmative differentiation of “democratic socialism” vis-a-vis Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea.
Ramos’ weird segue from Venezuela to veganism, the Amazon to climate legislation (in furtherance of the Green New Deal) reinforces this track. The intent was clearly not to make “democratic socialism” look bad.
Otherwise, Ramos’ role within the debate was wholly predictable.
Just about as predictable as the MRC's narrative about it.
Orient claimed that the bill, SB276, would be "severely limiting medical exemptions, the only kind available"; in fact, the bill aims to close a loophole in which parents appeared to receive dubious medical exemptions for their children following the passage of a 2015 law that eliminated exemptions for personal reasons. Orient then claimed:
The bill's author, Sen. Richard Pan, M.D., said that everybody who really needed an exemption would get one. However, 882 out of 882 pediatric practices told a mother that they would not write an exemptionfor a child who had had anaphylactic shock. This life-threatening allergic reaction, which kills rapidly by closing off the airway, is one of the few allowable indications for an exemption. But now, a parent not willing to risk recurrence cannot send her child to school.
Doctors are no doubt afraid of being targeted by the medical licensure board.
But as one observer points out, the video to which Orient links -- in which doctors were called to see if they would grant an exemption to a child based on a vague claim of anaphylactic shock -- doesn't actually prove anything, since doctors are unlikely to hand out exemptions to a child who has not previously been a patient and whose medical history they are unfamiliar with.
Orient discredited herself even further by invoking the fraudulent doctor Andrew Wakefield, whose research claiming that vaccines cause autism was proven so wrong that the medical journal that originally published his work retracted it and denounced it as a fraud. But never mind all that fraud stuff: Orient, in her role as executive director of the fringe-right Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, actually published an article by Wakefield in the AAPS' Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons in which, according to Orient, he blamed vaccine failure and "escape mutants" – viruses that elude vaccine immunity, the predictable outcome of selection pressures-- for this year's big measles outbreak. Neither he nor Orient understand the idea that if you don't vaccinate children, they're more susceptible to disease.
Orient doesn't seem to understand that publishing an utterly discredited figure like Wakefield makes her and the AAPS look bad. And WND doesn't seem to realize that publishing someone like Orient doesn't help its credibility issues.
UPDATE: Wakefield's journal article states that it was "based on a presentation given by Dr. Wakefield at the 2018 meeting of Doctors for Disaster Preparedness." Guess who runs Doctors for Disaster Preparedness? None other than Jane Orient. This conflict of interest was not disclosed in the article.
MRC's Double Standard On Cakes Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Kyle Drennen grumbled in a Sept. 4 post:
On Wednesday, NBC’s 3rd Hour Today show excitedly welcomed on liberal Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to promote her new children’s book, Just Ask! Co-host Al Roker was beside himself with glee, declaring: “We’ve got a Supreme Court justice. Come on! How great is this job!” Later in the fawning segment, Sotomayor was even presented with a cake to celebrate her 10th anniversary on the high court.
There were no substantive questions about court decisions or cases that may considered in the upcoming term.
Instead, the segment wrapped up with Roker noting: “By the way, this is your tenth anniversary.” [co-host Dylan] Dreyer chimed in: “Congratulations, we have a little – well, big – a very, very large cake for you.” One of the producers then brought out the massive cake that read, “Happy 10 Years Justice Sotomayor.” Dreyer continued: “Congratulations on ten years on the bench.” Sotomayor replied: “Oh my gosh, look at that! Thank you so much.”
By contrast, as we've noted, the MRC raised no objection to "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace presenting then-Republican Rep. Paul Ryan with a birthday cake on a 2012 show. Wallace -- who has something of a reputation as a hard-hitting journalist unlike, say, Al Roker -- was nearly as gushy as Roker in presenting Ryan with the cake.
CNS Blogger Touts Trump's Bogus Attack On Poll He Doesn't Like Topic: CNSNews.com
Craig Bannister was in full pro-Trump stenography mode in a Sept. 10 CNSNews.com blog post:
Americans are being misled by “phony polling information” produced and reported by hostile news media, President Donald Trump said Tuesday.
In the first of two tweets on the subject, Trump recalled how results of a “fake poll” by ABC/Washington Post during his 2016 campaign were drastically revised after his lawyers protested:
The ABC/Washington Post poll results referenced by Trump appear to be from its 2016 election tracking poll published on October 23rd of that year, which reported that “Clinton leads Trump by 12 percentage points among likely voters, 50 to 38 percent.” On November 1, 2016, The Washington Post reported the tracking poll showed that “Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are all but tied.”
But as Bannister's Media Research Center colleague Nicholas Fondacaro should have learned by now, just because you don't like the numbers doesn't mean that they're false.And Bannister also omits the context of Trump's remarks in order to portray them as unquestioned fact.
Vox reports that Trump's attack was promoted by a new ABC/Washington Post poll showing dismal numbers for him. Vox also explained why the 2016 poll showing him 12 points behind Clinton wasn't "fake" or "phony" at all:
The final Post-ABC tracking poll before the November 2016 election found that Hillary Clinton had the support of 47 percent of likely voters, compared to 43 percent for Trump. That’s not far off from Clinton’s ultimate margin of victory in the popular vote, which was 48 percent to 46 percent. In fact, Clinton’s edge in that final poll did “not reach statistical significance, given the poll’s 2.5 percentage-point margin in sampling error around each candidate’s support,” as the Post noted in its writeup at the time. And one factor working in Trump’s favor that the Post also noted was that he was ahead in a number of battleground states.
The Post didn’t respond to a request for comment about Trump’s accusation that they manipulated their 2016 polls after Trump’s “lawyers protested,” but a graph of their polling shows, predictably, that Clinton’s lead widened after the Access Hollywood tape was released in early October 2016, only to steadily narrow as the WikiLeaks dumps and FBI Director James Comey’s letter to Congress about the investigation of her emails rocked her campaign.
It was difficult to foresee that Trump would lose the popular vote while winning the Electoral College. But the fact remains that although the Post-ABC polling underrepresented Trump’s support by about 3 percentage points, it pegged Clinton’s support within a point, and correctly predicted the winner of the popular vote. The poll that Trump now bashes as “inaccurate” certainly left open the possibility that he might ultimately prevail.
In short, Trump is trying to rewrite history.
And Bannister is all too eager to help Trump rewrite it instead of following the journalistic duty to tell the full truth.
Another Hypocritical MRC Lecture About Anonymous Sources In The Media Topic: Media Research Center
Randy Hall spent a Sept. 4 MRC NewsBusters post lecturing CNN host Brian Stelter for being critical of President Trump's attacks on the media for reporting on him:
Stelter is upset that Trump says "journalists routinely make up sources out of thin air, for example, he has no proof for the charge."
But Stelter didn’t note that the source he quoted is “anonymous” and therefore cannot be proven. Media outlets that use anonymous sources would refuse to prove that the sources are real. That's why they're anonymous. We don't know anything about the sources, whether they are highly placed or not, or more importantly, if they have a personal/political reason to unload in these stories. We don't know whether sources are betraying the trust of their employer by spilling the beans...unless their "off the record" conversations suddenly go on the record.
Apparently you can't question the media's ethics when they're not transparent.
As we've highlighted, the Media Research Center has no problem citing anonymous sources when those sources advance its anti-media narrative. Hall himself is a hypocrite on this issue as well. We've caught him praising the work of a right-wing troll who goes by the name of CarpeDonktum -- an anonymous person who, by Hall's own definition, shouldn't be trusted.
Shouldn't the MRC's ethics also be in question over its love of (certain) anonymous sources? Hall doesn't say -- he's too busy pushing his hypocritical attacks on Stelter.
WND's Zumwalt Uses Another Fake-News Website As A Source Topic: WorldNetDaily
James Zumwalt spent his Sept. 1 WorldNetDaily column ranting about Rep. Ilhan Omar and bizarrely tried to liken her to the Conditions of Omar, which he clamed "set out conditions by which non-Muslims subordinated themselves to Islam." At one point Zumwalt wrote: Recent evidence indicates she may well be facing 40 years in prison and deportation for seven new crimes uncovered. These include very credible evidence she and her family changed their name to illegally enter the U.S. in 1995, and at least eight instances of perjury going back to 2009."
Zumwalt's evidence for this is an article at a website called Voice Liberty, which begins with a rant that "Obviously, Ilhan Omar has no regard for US law and yet here she is representing Minnesota in the US Congress and a sitting member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee."
Voice Liberty is a sketchy operation at best -- its website design is rudimentary, much of the content looks to be pro-Trump, anti-Hillary aand anti-Muslim, its "about us" page is blandly written and all the articles appear to be written by someone using the byline of "Paul Gabriel." All of these things are hallmarks of a sock-puppet fake news operation which no sentient human ought to trust.
Then again, we've caught Zumwalt sourcing his rants to fake-news websites before. Such are WND's standards.
UPDATE: Zumwalt did it again in his Sept. 9 column, which was all about attacking the United Nations over humanitarian aid for Yemen. This somehow digressed to an attack on the Clinton Foundation:
The Charity Navigator organization mentioned above provides corruption ratings for 180 countries. When its data suggest something is seriously wrong with a charity, it puts it on a watch list before dropping it from its rating system. That was the fate suffered by the Clinton Foundation when its reports showed no more than 15 percent of what it received benefited charitable causes. If Charity Navigator monitored it, the U.N. would likely would suffer the fate of the Clinton Foundation.
That link goes to a website called NewsPunch, which has its own Wikipedia page describing the fake news it has published.
Further, the claim that the Clinton Foundation was a terrible charity because only 15 percent of the money raised was given to charitable causes is highly misleading. As FactCheck.org documented, the foundation had no need to provide funding to others because it did much of its own charible work. FactCheck itself reported that in 2013, 88.3 percent of spending went to programs.
FactCheck reported, Charity Navigator never claimed there was anything "seriously wrong" with the Clinton Foundation; its presence on the group's watch list regarded media questions about foreign donations to the foundation and was more about "news to know" than any formal red flag. Indeed, Charity Navigator gave the Clinton Foundation its highest rating in 2016.
MRC's Attack on Brian Stelter Flops Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Alex Christy complains in an Aug. 28 post:
CNN's Brian Stelter has a very elastic definition of the Trump-Fox News relationship. When President Trump says something nice about Fox News, that is proof that Fox is something akin to state-run TV. When President Trump voices his displeasure with Fox, it is proof that Trump wants it to be "an organ of the White House."
Yeah, no. It's clear to the vast majority of media observers -- at least, the ones not employed by the MRC who love to obfuscate about the role of Fox News in the Trump administration -- that Fox News is, in fact, akin to state-run TV and that when Trump complains about Fox, it's solely because it's not enough of one. In other words, Stelter's definition is nowhere near as "elastic" as Christy wants you to think it is.
Later in the segment Stelter made another head scratching statement: "Look, just after the DNC woman was on Fox this morning, a White House spokesman was on Fox. So, the idea even of having two different people from two different parties is something is an anathema to the president." CNN might not be the best source to criticize Trump for this, because according to a MRC study, 82% of CNN's interviews with members of Congress are with Democrats and 81% of their questions reflect the Democratic agenda.
Christy didn't mention that this study complaining about the dearth of GOP representatives was issued a few days after the MRC praised those very same GOP representatives for refusing to appear on CNN, so it seems that study's results were a bit gamed.
Newsmax Lobbies For Ex-Employee Fleitz To Get A Different Trump White House Job Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax really, really wants Fred Fleitz to have a job in the Trump administration.
We've documented how Newsmax lobbied for Fleitz to succeed Dan Coats as director of national intelligence -- while failing to disclose that Fleitz is a former Newsmax employee, having headed a short-lived subscription-based "global intelligence and forecasting" operation called LIGNET. Now, another Trump White house vacancy has brought another opportunity to lobby for Fleitz.
A Sept. 10 article by David Patten cited "informed sources familiar with the situation" to claim that Fleitz "has an inside track to replace outgoing National Security Adviser John Bolton," highlighting "a picture Fleitz tweeted shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday, showing him standing by a seated President Donald Trump at the Resolute desk in the Oval Office" as an alleged "indication of the president’s thinking." Patten added that "The picture is believed to be a recent image, and possibly from a Tuesday morning meeting with the president. The text Fleitz included in his tweet stated: 'Proud to help @realDonaldTrump keep America safe! @securefreedom.'"
Patten went on to cite "an intelligence community insider who directs an organization titled ReportForThePresident.org, which is believed to reflect the thinking of the intelligence community" who "told Newsmax on Tuesday he has received reports from his network that Fleitz is expected to get the nod to replace Bolton." Actually, ReportForThePresident.org looks to be little more than a pro-Trump, liberal-hating operation whose "statement of purpose" gushes about how "President Trump has done a remarkable job of keeping his promises by rebuilding our national security, defeating ISIS, creating jobs and global fair trade, reducing taxes, standing up for our rights, prosecuting human traffickers, and reducing the number of criminals coming across our southern border, despite countless diversions--from the fake Russia collusion story to other fantastic attacks by self-serving opponents." Further, the site's operator, Robert Caron, is also linked to a group called JTFMAGA, which in turn is reportedly linked to the QAnon conspiracy theory.
So, actually not that credible. Needless to say, Patten didn't tell his readers any of this, let alone that Fleitz is a former Newsmax employee.
The same day, Newsmax's John Gizzi wrote an article about how difficult it might be to find someone who would take Bolton's job, adding that Fleitz "was an alleged candidate and was reportedly a runner-up to be national Intelligence director" and had "worked closely with Pompeo when the secretary of state was a U.S. Representative and member of the House Intelligence Committee."
Fleitz even put in an appearance on Newsmax TV, as documented in a Sept. 16 article that's hidden behind a paywall.
Alas, as before, all this lobbying was for naught -- two days after Fleitz's Newsmax TV appearance, Trump picked Robert O'Brien as his new national security adviser.
MRC Pretends Fox News Isn't Rabidly Pro-Trump Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Ryan Foley intoned in an Aug. 30 post:
Your World host Neil Cavuto closed his show Thursday afternoon with a monologue addressing President Trump’s recent criticism of Fox News. While he spent his monologue reminding President Trump that Fox News does not work for him, the legacy media could also learn quite a few lessons from Cavuto’s monologue.
The final segment on Thursday’s edition of Your World began with an audio clip of President Trump discussing his displeasure with Fox News during an interview on Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade’s radio show. Cavuto reacted to President’s Trump complaint that Fox News “isn’t working for us anymore,” reminding him that “we don’t work for you. I don’t work for you.”
Cavuto proceeded to explain the job of the media, which personalities on the other networks should definitely take note of: “My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you, just report on you, to call balls and strikes on you. My job, Mr. President, our job here is to keep the scores, not settle scores.” Many on MSNBC, CNN, and the three networks have made a career out of ripping President Trump and attempting to “settle scores” with him since the day he announced his decision to run for President. They would have a lot more credibility if they decided to “call balls and strikes” rather than act as an arm of #TheResistance.
While the legacy media will no doubt enjoy watching a Fox News personality offer constructive criticism to President Trump, they should realize that Cavuto did not let them off the hook either. The media might actually be able to shed their “fake news” label if they remembered that their job was “to call balls and strikes,” not compete for the affections of the anti-Trump left.
Fox and Trump have enjoyed a mutually beneficial, symbiotic relationship. The network helped drive Trump’s political rise, all but fused with his administration after his election, and regularly cheerleads for him. Trump, in turn, is obsessed with the network, whose programming and personalities shape his worldview and frequently impact his decision. He regularly promotes Fox’s coverage and has given its hosts unprecedented access, lifting the network’s ratings.
But Trump clearly views the network as part of his messaging operation, and he has publicly aired his grievances when it has failed to live up to that standard by hosting Democrats or publishing unfavorable polls. While watching Fox on Wednesday morning, he again saw something he didn’t like: an interview with the Democratic National Committee’s communications director.
Fox executives have consistently pushed back against criticism by arguing that while the network’s “opinion” hosts are conservative, it also features a “news” division which produces objective journalism like other media outlets.
This is largely farcical -- Fox’s purported “news” hours feature much of the same disinformation as its “opinion” hours. But they provide the appearance of similar programming on other networks, with interviews of members from both major parties, reports from correspondents, and panel discussions.
That image is essential to maintaining the network’s business model.
Of course, pretending that Fox News is a legitimate "news" outlet and not a pro-Trump propaganda mill is a key mission of the MRC as well.
CNS: 'People' Leave NYC, But 'Immigrants' Move In Topic: CNSNews.com
Apparently, CNSNews.com doesn't view immigrants as fully human.
Kharen Martinez Murcia wrote in a Sept. 6 CNS article: "An estimated 277 people are moving out of the New York City metro area every day, a loss that is being cushioned by a large influx of immigrants, reports Bloomberg News."
That's interesting wording. Immigrants are not people? Apparently not at CNS.
Martinez Murcia also cribbed from the Bloomberg article that “[f]rom July 2017 to July 2018, a net of close to 200,000 New Yorkers sought a new life outside the Big Apple while the area welcomed almost 100,000 net international migrants.” Highlighting that seems to betray the same anti-immigrant bias, since CNS apparently assumes that all thet people leaving are fully fledged Americans and everyone coming in is probably an "illegal alien" or something. It also doesn't account for whether any of the "people" leaving New York are also immigrants.
Martinez Murcia went on to state in the first paragraph that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo "claims the exodus is being fueled by a $10,000 cap on deductions for state and local taxes," suggesting the issue was a state one -- but waited until the eight paragraph to not that the tax deduction cap was "implemented by the Trump administration and Congress in 2017."
But in the previous paragraph, she stated that "mass migration has more to do with bad administration on N.Y. Gov. Cuomo’s (D) part than it has to do with tax policies," claiming this was "disclosed" by The Hill. In fact, the Hill article to which Martinez Murcia is referring is not a news article but an opinion piece by "libertarian writer" Kristin Tate.
Michael Brown's Gay-Penguin Freakout Topic: WorldNetDaily
Have you heard the latest? An alleged gay penguin couple is raising "their" baby penguin genderless. I kid you not.
This is how the headline reads: "Gay penguins at London aquarium are raising 'genderless' chick. The 4-month-old, who has two moms, will be the first Gentoo penguin at Sea Life London Aquarium 'not to be characterized as male or female.'"
Seriously? This is a story on NBCNews.com?
For the benefit of those who read the headline only, the baby penguin actually has a mom and a dad.
This is not the immaculate penguin conception.
This is not a modern-day miracle.
In a million, trillion years, two female penguins will never produce a baby penguin. Count on it.
In "A Queer Thing Happened to America,"I documented the case of Roy and Silo, the allegedly gay penguins who became the subject of an illustrated children's book.
The book was called "And Tango Makes Three," by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, based on the story of these penguins who lived in a New York City zoo. The book also tells the story of the baby penguin they "adopted."
But in a fascinating sequel to the book (a sequel that has not been added to this children's reader), one of the "gay" penguins ended up leaving his partner and taking up with a good-looking female penguin from California – and fathering a chick. So much for being gay.
As gay scientist Dr. Dean Hamer once wrote (claiming there's not even a good animal model of heterosexuality), "Pigs don't date, ducks don't frequent stripper bars, and horses don't get married."
MRC Blames Media For Trump Administration's Botched Rollout of Citizenship Change Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Scott Whitlock huffed in an Aug. 29 post:
It hasn’t been a good week for NBC. First, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell had to retract a bombshell claim that Donald Trump’s taxes showed loans co-signed by Russian oligarchs. Now, MSNBC has backed down on an assertion that “children born to U.S. service members outside of the U.S. will no longer be automatically considered citizens. Parents will have to apply for citizenship for their children in those situations.”
That was tweeted by Ken Dilanian, an NBC news correspondent who covers national security, on Wednesday afternoon. Less than an hour later, he issued a correction.
It’s not surprising that journalists rushed to get this story not [sic], not bothering to study the facts.
In fact, the blame belongs to Trump administration officials who botched the explanation of the change so badly that journalists got it wrong. Even conservatives -- and the MRC's "news" division -- concede that. Cully Stimson, "a leading expert in national security, homeland security, crime control, immigration, and drug policy at The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies," wrote in a Sept. 4 CNSNews.com column:
The way the policy was rolled out led many to believe that the Trump administration was ending birthright citizenship for children born to U.S. citizens stationed overseas, which naturally would have been a big deal.It did no such thing.
Rather than briefing stakeholders and the media before the rollout, or explaining how the policy would work once in force, or even publishing “frequently asked questions” along with the policy—all standard ways to roll out new policies—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services just published a poorly written policy change that caused an immediate firestorm.
Media outlets, politicians, and scores of military personnel stationed overseas thought the policy change ended birthright citizenship for children born to U.S. citizens working for the federal government or military stationed overseas.
The backlash was so quick and aggressive that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services acting Director Ken Cuccinelli issued a statement the same day saying:
“This policy update does not affect who is born a U.S. citizen, period. This only affects children who were born outside the United States and were not U.S. citizens. This does NOT impact birthright citizenship. This policy update does not deny citizenship to the children of US government employees or members of the military born abroad. This policy aligns USCIS’ process with the Department of State’s procedure, that’s it.”
Cuccinelli even went on a popular Washington, D.C., morning radio show to explain what the policy did, and more importantly, did not do.
But it was too late.
Senior leaders in the military, State Department, and elsewhere started asking questions and demanding answers. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi even tweeted that the Trump administration was ending birthright citizenship for U.S. citizens stationed overseas.
In an attempt to get back control of the narrative, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services also published an update designed to clarify the policy and a flowchart that identifies whom the policy applies to.
But by then, the damage had been done.
Stimson added: "U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services should have made the policy clear from the get-go."
Will Whitlock and MRC retract its bogus blame of the media for something the Trump administration screwed up? Don't count on it.
MRC's Allen West Gets His Facts Wrong on Obama Economy Topic: CNSNews.com
Allen West has a thing for the counterfactual. In his Aug. 19 CNSNews.com column in which he likens "the left" to the Borg from the Star Trek series (something he also has a thing for), the Media Research Center senior fellow wrote:
What is rather hypocritical, as are most things with the progressive, socialist left, was how the media covered for the abysmal economy of Barack Hussein Obama. Obama has gone down in history as the first president since the Great Depression to not achieve year-over-year GDP growth that topped three percent while in office, and we were told by the media that that was the new normal. For eight years, the leftist media told us the Obama economy was the fault of George W. Bush. Even after Obama’s reelection, where he inherited his own failing economy, we were told it was still Bush’s fault. And now, we are being told by the media that Trump’s economic success is because of Barack Obama. Yeah, I am confused as well. And our confusion comes since we all know that is was Obama who mocked Trump for having a “magic wand” to bring jobs back to America and truly grow the economy. And oh, by the way, the great recession of 2008 was the result of an insidious progressive socialist “participation trophy” policy from Jimmy Carter in 1978 called the Community Reinvestment Act. The equality of outcomes mentality of the left believing that every American had a right to own a home led to the economic crisis by way of failed mortgage backed securities and subprime lending.
Hmm, how many times did we hear the leftist media talk about that? Yes, just as many times as we heard them speak about Obamanomics being a blatant Keynesian economic model failure.
First: West conveniently ignores the fact that 3 percent GDP growth hasn't happened under Trump either, as even wildly pro-Trump CNS editor in chief Terry Jeffrey was forced to admit. (Funny how West seems to perceive that usng Obama's middle name is an attempt at an insult.)
Second: West also conveniently omits the fact that 1) Obama took office in the midst of a severe recession, and 2) the overall economy under Obama was far from "abysmal." In fact, monthly job growth under Obama's second term was higher than it is under Trump, while unemployment steadily declined and GDP steadily increased from the depth of the recession under Obama. Indeed, it can be argued that the trendlines show Trump is simply continuing Obama's economic policies.
Third: Allen's claim that that the recession was the "result" of the Community Reinvestment Act is a right-wing falsehood. As Barry Ritholtz writes, the CRA targeted discriminatory lending practices in low-income urban areas, but the risky subprime mortgages that played the biggest role in triggering the financial crisis were mostly in suburban areas, mostly issued by non-bank lenders who weren't subject to the CRA.
By pushing right-wing propaganda that ignores the truth, West has shown who the real member of the Borg is.
MRC's Double Standard on Ejected Reporters Topic: Media Research Center
Randy Hall fretted in an Aug. 29 NewsBusters post:
Even as the Democrats inveigh against President Trump's rudeness to media outlets, Beto O'Rourke's campaign ejected a prominent Breitbart senior editor from a campaign event at a "historically black college" in South Carolina on Tuesday. As if Beto doesn’t have enough to worry about as he craters in the polls, now he can't handle one non-cheerleader in his press entourage.
According to an article written for Politico by national political correspondent David Siders, the campaign acknowledged the following day that it had “booted” Pollak and criticized Breitbart News in the process.
But if an ejected reporter failed to be a pro-Trump cheerleader, the MRC is totally cool with it.
We'vepreviouslydocumented the MRC's war on CNN correspondent Jim Acosta for failing to be subservient to Trump, cheering his brief eviction from the White House press corps.But he's not the only White House reporter whose suspension the MRC has championed.
Playboy correspondent Brian Karem's White House press pass was suspended in July following a kerfuffle between him and former White House aide Sebastian Gorka at the White House's social media summit (which the MRC was a part of) that escalated after Karem snarked that "this is a group who are eager for demonic possession."
Curtis Houck declared Karem to be a "clown" who was "seemingly challenging Gorka to a fight" by inviting Gorka to have a "long conversation" (perhaps Houck can show us how exactly that translates into a fight challenge). Houck insisted that Karem was the one who was "mak[ing] a scene" and "act[ing] like an immature teenager" when the video shows that Gorka was being the belligerent one.He concluded by sneering, "My goodness journalists are so insufferable." And Gorka isn't?
hief MRC partisan snarker Tim Graham weighed in with an Aug. 4 post cheering that Karem's House press pass had been suspended, further complaining that Playboy tweeted about the incident "like they're a First Amendment giant instead of a naked-girly magazine," adding that "It's a chance to remind everyone that Karem is another screeching egotist that CNN pretends is a worthy representative of journalism." (Again: And Gorka isn't a screeching egotist?)
When a judge ordered Karem's press pass to be restored, Houck predictably didn't take it well, again blaming Karem for the "meltdown and near scuffle" with Gorka and asserted that the "juvenile" Karem is "the bronze medalist in carnival barking" behind Acosta and April Ryan. Houck's hatred for journalists who refuse to cozy up to Trump was all too apparent, sneering that "Cloaking onself in the First Amendment is perhaps one of the things the press does better than, well, actually doing their jobs" and that Karem is "a detestable insult ... to the idea of journalism" for being critical of another Houck-beloved Republican, Mitch McConnell.
Of course, if Houck really wants to see detestable insults to the idea of journalism, he need only look down the hall at the Trumpsycophants at the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com.