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Monday, November 11, 2019
AIM Tries To Keep Crowdstrike Conspiracy Alive
Topic: Accuracy in Media

We've documented how WorldNetDaily and the Media Research Center have completely bought into the Trtump-promoted conspiracy theory that a company called CrowdStrike is somehow involved in the Ukraine scandal because because of the 2016 hacking of Democratic emails. Now Accuracy in Media wants in on that sweet conspiracy action.

Brian McNicoll spent an Oct. 29 AIM post attacking a Washington Post fact-check by reporter Salvador Rizzo debunking Trump's claim about Crowdstrike and the Democratic server. McNicoll huffs, while also endorsing Seth Rich conspiracy theories as well:

Rizzo is wrong on virtually every count. Trump is not “fixated on the idea that Ukrainians might have hacked” the DNC. Trump is among many who suggest the murder of Seth Rich, a former Democratic National Committee aide who was killed on a Washington street on July 10, 2016, is related to the hack. DC police have called Rich’s murder a botched robbery, even though he was found with his wallet and jewelry.

The Mueller report backs the Russia theory, but its finding is based on CrowdStrike’s report, and its investigators also never examined the servers. Nor have U.S. intelligence services, which means their conclusions also are based on CrowdStrike’s report. The theory is not debunked in any way, and Trump’s advisers have not told him this.

Moreover, Rizzo goes on to contend, citing the Mueller report, that the Russians ‘stole thousands of documents from the DCCC and DNC networks …” as well as “internal strategy documents, fundraising data … opposition research into candidate Trump and … thousands of emails and attachments, which were later released by WikiLeaks in July 2016.”

The Russians and Wikileaks head Julian Assange both vehemently denied that Russia gave the information to Wikileaks, and Mueller’s team refused to interview Assange.

McNicoll doesn't mention the fact that because CrowdStrike turned over complete forensic copies of the DNC servers to the FBI, there is no need for the FBI or any other agency to examine the physical servers -- which, in fact, are not physical dedicated servers sitting in DNC headquarters but cloud-based machines located in numerous locations (and, if Trump is to be believed, Ukraine). 

McNicoll refuses to admit the possibility that "Russians and Wikileaks head Julian Assange both vehemently denied that Russia gave the information to Wikileaks" because they're lying and spread conspiracies about Rich to cover for the fact that Assange was working with the Russians. The Mueller report did, in fact, find that the Russians -- not Seth Rich -- leaked the DNC emails to WiklLeaks, and Russians and hackers were visiting Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy and passing suspicious materials to him in the days before the hack was made public in July 2016.

It looks like McNicoll is trying to take AIM back to the conspiracy-mongering days it was mostly known for up until a few years ago when Cliff Kincaid departed the company.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:01 PM EST
Updated: Monday, November 11, 2019 8:03 PM EST
MRC Fails In Lame Attack on Google Journalism Projects
Topic: Media Research Center

It's a sign of the weakness of the conservative -- and, by extension, the Media Research Center's -- case against "liberal media" that we have this Oct. 29 item by Corinne Weaver. The headline reads "Google Funds 29 US Journalism Projects That Decidedly Swing Left" -- but assumes a couple editorials equals "liberal bias" and Weaver never actually details the projects. She writes:

The same day Facebook launched its “News” tab, Google quietly poured money into news projects around the world. But many of these projects are aimed in one political direction.

The new project, the Google News Initiative North American Innovation Challenge, announced 34 news projects to be funded on Oct. 25. Twenty-nine of these projects were located in the states, while the other four were in Canada. One of the projects was unlisted. The first name on the list for the U.S., The Dallas Morning News, ran editorials announcing its endorsement of Hillary Clinton in 2016 and Beto O’Rourke for Senate in 2018.


Some of the other projects did not seem to have a political bent (or hadn’t been started yet.) But those that were more established, like The Salt Lake Tribune, were definitely tinged with blue. The Tribune endorsed President Obama back in 2012, and in 2017 called for Republican Senator Orrin Hatch to retire.

Typically, the projects were city daily papers or newsletters that promoted Democrats over Republicans.

Maine Today Media, a conglomerate of local Maine newspapers, has a policy of not endorsing candidates, but the editorials still embrace left-wing views on climate change, immigration, and abortion.

That's the laziest form of right-wing "media research" -- assuming that an editorial is accurately indicative of what happens on the news side (or, more specifically, that every "news" organization is run with no wall between news and editorial like the MRC runs

Further, Weaver seems to be confusing media outlets with the projects being funded -- which tend to have little to do  with promulgating media bias. The project at the Dallas Morning News, for example, will fund "a comprehensive, searchable guide to pre-K through 12 education in North Texas," while the money for the Salt Lake Tribune will help it become "the first US legacy newspaper to transition to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization," and the Maine Today Media project is to "create a customer data management solution will combine the open source technologies Wordpress and the Apache Unomi CDP."

Yeah, so much bias there in data management.

Weaver went on to complain that "the Vermont Journalism Trust had an entire section dedicated to Democratic candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)" -- as if it was a bad thing that a Vermont-based news outlet covered what the state's most prominent politican was doing. She got even more desperate, playing the guilt-by-association game in claiming that "Detour Media LLCwas not overtly political, but it was founded by Ashley C. Woods, a former Huffington Post Editor." Not only does Weaver not identify anything biased Woods has ever done, either for HuffPost or at any other point in her journalism career, she ignores Woods' journalism career as a whole, which involved working for other Michigan-based media outlets before creating Detour.

Weaver delved into more lazy media-bashing in noting that "The Washington Post, owned by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, is one of the biggest left-wing media outlets." And the Post isn't even a recipient of Google grant money; its offense is that it's "partnerred" with the Lensfest Institute of Journalism, which Weaver admitted is using its grant money for "delivering more newsletters to people in Philadelphia" -- the only project she comes close to identifying.

In sum, this is just a sad, lazy piece that exists to rather tepidly further a narrative, not to report accurate and relevant information.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:29 PM EST
WND Treats Joke That Hillary Killed Jeffrey Epstein Very Seriously
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've documented how WorldNetDaily fell into its own conspiracy-mongering tendencies by pushing the idea that Jeffrey Epstein was murdered in prison, perhaps on the orders of the Clintons. That tendency continued in an anonymously writtern Nov. 1 article that deliberately decided to treat an obvious joke very seriously:

Seizing on a famed pathologist's insistence this week that accused child predator Jeffrey Epstein might have been murdered, Comedy Central host Trevor Noah jokingly asked Hillary Clinton in an interview Thursday how she did it.

"I have to ask you a question that has been plaguing me for a while: How did you kill Jeffrey Epstein?" Noah asked Clinton, who appeared with her daughter, Chelsea, to promote their new book.

Clinton burst out laughing.

Noah, saying she's been a "boogeyman" for the right, kept up the irony.

Somehow, he said to Clinton, "you're not in power but you have all the power" to do something like kill wealthy financier, who is known to have hosted her husband on his infamous "Lolita Express" private jet.

"I really need to understand how you do what you do, because you seem to be behind everything nefarious, and yet you do not use it to become president," he said.

Clinton replied she's "constantly" surprised at the conspiracies about her and her husband.

"The things they say, and now, of course, it’s on steroids with being online, are so ridiculous, beyond any imagination that I could have," she said. "And yet they are so persistent in putting forth these crazy ideas and theories. Honestly, I don’t know what I ever did to get them to upset. ... I've gotten kind of used to it."

WND didn't mention that it is one of the leading promoters of conspiracy theories about the Clintons, including the utterly bogus claim that Hillary was involved in the murder of Seth Rich.

WND also repeated the claim that "Pathologist Dr. Michael Baden said in an interview Wednesday on 'Fox & Friends' that the autopsy of Epstein after he was found dead in his prison cell was more consistent with homicide than suicide," but didn't mention the relevant fact that Baden is working for Epstein's family, and is therefore being paid to advance a certain point of view.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:52 AM EST
Updated: Monday, November 11, 2019 12:53 AM EST
Sunday, November 10, 2019
MRC Gives A Pass to Revenge Porn to Own The Libs
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center practically salivated over the sex scandal of Democratic Rep. Katie Hill, accused of having a sexual relationship with a member of her staff. The fact that revenge porn -- on the form of conservative websites publishing photos of a nude Hill, allegely supplied by her estranged husband? The MRC didn't want to explore that aspect very much, despite its long history of complaining about the mere existence of LGBT people on TV.

In complaining that the media was "censor[ing] news of the scandal in an Oct. 24 post, Nicholas Fondacaro was clearly reveling in the salcaciousness -- she has a "Nazi-era tattoo"! -- when he made sure to link to an article about it at the conservative Daily Mail with the note, "Use caution when visiting that link. There’s adult content."

A post the next day by Ryan Foley similarly complaining over lack of coverage drooled over the salaciousness -- "The scandal, to say the least, is weird. It involves threesomes (or 'throuples') and an alleged Nazi-era tattoo" -- but let a reference to revenge porn in the transcript go without comment.

An Oct. 28 post by Kyle Drennen complained that one TV discussion of Hill's resignation from her House seat over the scandal "portrayed the liberal lawmaker as the victim of a 'double standard' and even a 'crime,'" which wold be the revenge-porn stuff. Kristine Marsh complained that one commentator "gushed sympathetically" about Hill's career being ruined by revenge porn (no, really, that's what she wrote).

Corinne Weaver whined that Twitter was blocking links to the Daily Mail story on Hill because of the salacious pictures. She then tried to dismiss revenge-porn concerns as something only "the left" cares about, with a bit of added whataboutism:

Sharing graphic photos of undressed people against their will is bad. However, the Katie Hill story is not just about “ revenge porn,” as the left alleges. Rather, this is about a relationship between a congresswoman and one of her staffers, that if Hill had not left office, would have reportedly resulted in an “ethics investigation,” according to NPR.

Outlets on Twitter have run stories on the platform before that displayed or linked to private information. Liberal outlet Splinter ran a story that gave out senior policy advisor Stephen Miller’s private cell phone number. The outlet was told to take the story down, and was reportedly suspended for a tweet with the private number, not the story itself.

Weaver appears to be unaware that a phone number and nude photos are not the same thing.

Foley returned to complain that MSNBC's Chris Hayes called out the Daily Mail and RedState for possibly "committing a crime" and "technological domestic violence" in publishing the revenge-porn photos of Hill.He didn't respond to Hayes directly; instead, he concluded his item by apparently arguing that conservative outlets publishing revenge porn was justified: "As for the idea that the media have ruthlessly gone after Hill, that’s preposterous. It took the resignation of Hill for MSNBC to even begin reporting on the complex sex scandal surrounding Hill in the first place."

Clay Waters summed up the MRC's new narrative in an Oct. 30 post: Highlighting revenge porn was juyst a liberal talking point no different than complaining that Hill was being treated more harshly than male congessmen caught in similar scandals, adding that it was "muddy[ing] the waters" to point out that  the websites that published the explicit photos are conservative.

Fondacaro tried the whataboutism card again, complaining that "the liberal media once celebrated the resignation of former Congressman Chris Lee when photos of him were leaked." But those photos -- shirtless mirror selfies -- weren't pornographic.

Foley lashed out at Samantha Bee for calling out conservative website for publishing the revenge porn, grousing that "It seems unlikely that Bee would give the same lecture about the horrors of revenge porn if intimate recordings or pictures of the President she despises ever emerged."

Waters came back with about attempt to not talk about revenge porn by making it a talking point: "the Times used the same term 'revenge porn' as Hill's 'supporters.' Apparently the Times counts itself among “her supporters” as well." Waters added whataboutism as well: "By contrast, Joe Barton, a former conservative Republican congressman from Texas, didn’t get nearly this kind of backing. There were no laments about 'revenge porn.'" But it wasn't clear how the nude picture of Barton got on social media, and he was merely allowed to serve out his term and not run for re-election rather than Hill's forced resignation -- and we don't recall conservative websites (or any other mainstream news operation) posting the photo.

Finally, Tim Graham and Brent Bozell got in one last bit of whataboutism, asserting that talking about revenge porn in the Hill case "completely sidestepped the ethical issues of sex with subordinates" -- never mind that nobody was defending Hill doing that -- and whining that "this kind of creepiness happens to both parties."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:25 PM EST
CNS-Mark Levin Stenography Watch

As we've documented, is essentially the unpaid (or are they?) public-relations agents for right-wing radio host Mark Levin, treating everything he says as unchalleged truth. Its 2019 pace of Levin promotion over the past two months surprisingly slowed a bit, particularly in October. Let's review, shall we?



With the unexplained October slowdown -- typically, CNS runs 8 to 10 Levin items a month -- that's just 10 items over the past two months. Still, that makes a total of 91 so far in 2019, and it's still likely the total will go past 100 for at least the third year in a row.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:39 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, November 10, 2019 10:48 AM EST
Saturday, November 9, 2019
MRC's Houck Can't Stop Personally Attacking CNN Media Reporter
Topic: Media Research Center

On his personal Twitter account, Media Research Center writer Curtis Houck regularly smears CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy (pictured) as a "Benedict Arnold" of conservative media. Houck finally took his war against Darcy to the MRC itself, in an Oct. 10 post that begins by smearing Darcy as a "hack" in the headline and then attacks him as a "conservative media reporter-turned-liberal charlatan." Later, Houck further rants his irrational disgust and contempt for Darcy:

For those of us in conservative media, it’s another reminder of how a man who was a Red Alert 30 Under 30 recipient and worked at Campus Reform and The Blaze now wakes up everyday trying to ruin the lives of the same kinds of people who gave him his start in politics.

All this, by the way, in a post complaining that Darcy reported on a battle between Joe Biden and the New York Times in which he had noted that "right-wing polemicist" Peter Schweitzer was "discredited" for pushing the bogus Hillary Clinton-Uranium One non-scandal. At no point does Houck offer any evidence to contradict Darcy here.

Back to Houck's whining: So being conservative is a suicide pact, and nobody in the movement is allowed to leave or even question it and anyone who does is a "Benedict Arnold" for committing the offense of escaping the right-wing media bubble? We had no idea.

This kind of ultra-rigid thinking is all too common in the conservative movement and particularly at the MRC where, we assume, nobody is allowed to question the great Brent Bozell. (Example: After Matthew Sheffield, who co-created the NewsBusters blog for the MRC, left the organization and began to speak about how the MRC cares more about raising money and pushing an ideological anti-media narrative instead of actually trying to fix media to make it more conservative-friendly, Bozell denounced him as "a repugnant human being.")

Houck is simply following in Bozell's footsteps by making the personal political; remember, he's also the MRC's basher-in-chief of CNN's Jim Acosta. Either he hasn't figured out that petty, juvenile insults of people he personally despises are not the same thing as substantive "media research" -- or the MRC has indoctrinated him to believe that they are.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:15 AM EST
Mychal Massie's Democrat Derangement Syndrome
Topic: WorldNetDaily

White, liberal Democrats are the most jaundiced, sociopathic, transcendentally dishonest life forms on earth. They are an infectious variola that has metamorphosed into bipedal sapiens comprising the Democratic Party to its very core. And let there be no doubt; the behavior they exhibit today is the legacy of their party platform since 1840.

We understand them today by viewing their sordid subversive anti-freedom and anti-Constitution record of subjugative demagoguery and segregation. Their Erebusic history is one of human slavery, bigotry, pernicious lies and government dependence.

Do not be fooled by the Democrats having Obama as the first black president. He and his wife were just the kind of Negroes Democrats of today use to assuage their collective guilt and obfuscate their past.

The Obamas were/are common and uncouth. The Democratic hierarchy in reality neither respected them nor saw them as equals. The Obamas are the stereotype of how white neo-Leninist Democrats view blacks. They did not view the Obamas as equal to them on an intellectual level nor even a social level.


The behavior of Jacob Frey, the local governments in Minneapolis and Portland, Oregon, is exactly like that of their predecessors Bull Connors [sic], Lester Maddox and the other racist Democrats who turned fire hoses and dogs loose on blacks. They're no different from the Democratic Party that refused to allow blacks to eat at lunch counters with whites or drink from the same water fountains.

This is what these people do. It is what they are. They cannot win at the ballot box nor can they win based upon ideas. The current Democratic plan is: Attack President Trump; beat and try to intimidate his supporters; promise people that Democrats will provide free of charge everything from abortions to housing to health care for legal citizens and illegal aliens, as well as forgiveness of student loans, etc. All the people have to do is sell their souls to the Democrats.

The supporters of the Democrats are blind calumniators who belong in institutions.


The Democratic Party is adrift with evil and the rawest forms of debauchery, but we do not have to succumb to them. Just as President Trump fights, so too must we fight. We must fight for him and fight to expose their evil machinations at every opportunity.

-- Mychal Massie, Oct. 28 WorldNetDaily column

(Massie gets a bonus for once again working in his favorite thesaurus word, "Erebusic.")

Posted by Terry K. at 12:02 AM EST
Friday, November 8, 2019
MRC's Bozell -- Who Refused To Give Obama Credit for Bin Laden Death -- Whines That Trump's Not Getting Credit for Al-Baghdadi Death
Topic: Media Research Center

Tim Graham and Brent Bozell complain in their Oct. 30 column:

The successful U.S. military campaign to bring swift justice to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is clearly a big, big victory for America. Rather than surrender, the world's most wanted terrorist tugged on a suicide vest and blew himself to pieces. He made sure the blast killed three of his children, too.

The media coverage could easily be predicted. Straight news has disappeared. Absolutely everything needs to be put through a political filter.


With the elimination of al-Baghdadi, the journalists and pundits gritted their teeth and acknowledged that this mission and Trump's approval of it reflected well on him. But that lasted five minutes. And then came the parade of "buts."

But this victory won't stop impeachment. But it won't stop ISIS. But Trump was too specific about the mission. But he thanked Russia first. But he didn't inform House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of the mission. But he was too raw in describing the dead terrorist as "crying" and "whimpering." And so on. And so on.


The media's mission never changes: shower this president with negativity and an overwhelming sense of horror.


All this proves that the media aren't primarily interested in facts. Journalists channel their own emotions and pretend they're facts. They cannot tolerate the idea of complimenting this president for a success. His failure and political demise are always the first goals. Facts are getting in the way.

Bozell is complaining that "the media" is doing to Trump what ... he did to President Obama after the death of Osama bin Laden. 

In a May 2011 column (h/t Right Wing Watch), Bozell (and Graham, since he ghost-wrote the column) whined that George W. Bush deserved more credit than Obama for bin Laden's death despite having been out of office for more than two years at the time, and that Obama was being "rude" about it:

Unfortunately, while the president spoke for the whole country in remembering the pain of 9/11, his remarks left a gaping hole. He made no generous bow to all the efforts of his predecessor George W. Bush as well as his team. My one regret is that Bush 43 didn't get this scalp. He deserved it more than anyone.

Instead, Obama played subtle and wholly undignified games. He underlined that Osama had "avoided capture" under Bush and "continued to operate" during his tenure. But "I directed" CIA director Leon Panetta to make getting Osama the "top priority" (as opposed to?), and "I" gave the go-ahead to the final mission. Obama also avoided Bush in a Medal of Honor ceremony on Monday afternoon. Even in a Monday night "bipartisan" event at the White House, Obama honored the "military and counter-terrorism professionals" and "the members of Congress from both parties" who offered support to the mission....but no credit for Bush.

If the roles had been reversed, you know Bush would have been more generous. It's what Bushes do.

Then, in October 2012, Bozell complained about a film about the raid that killed bin Laden that was to air on the National Geographic Channel because it was airing too close to the 2012 presidential election and might help Obama get re-elected because it will associate bin Laden's death with the president:

Brent Bozell, president of the conservative Media Research Center, said, "we don't want to pass judgement on the content, because we haven't watched the film -- but timing is what matters."

He added: "If the National Geographic Channel puts off airing this documentary by just three days, and there's absolutely no reason why they can't, it shows they have no agenda. If they don't postpone it by just 72 hours, it will clearly show that they do."

If Bozell can't give proper credit to Obama for the death of binLaden, he has lost the right to play politics over al-Baghdadi's death.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:44 PM EST
Updated: Friday, November 8, 2019 3:46 PM EST
CNS Unemployment Coverage Distortion Watch

It was a decent month for employment numbers in Octrober, so it was pro-Trump rah-rah time again at Susan Jones wrote in the lead story:

Following September’s blockbuster employment report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday said more records were set in October.

A record 158,510,000 Americans are now working, the 23rd such record since President Donald Trump took office.

The nation’s labor force participation rate also set a Trump-era high of 63.3 percent. This number is explained in greater detail below, but the higher, the better. Payroll taxes from people who work help support programs for those who don't.

The economy added 128,000 jobs in October, higher than economists expected, given the General Motors strike that began on Sept. 15 and lasted six weeks.

Jones also touted how "the unemployment rate for black Americans, 5.4 percent in October, has never been this low." If Barack Obama were still president, Jones would be talking about how much higher it is than the white unemployment rate, which was 3.2 percent in October.

Craig Bannister served up the standard sidebar on Hispanic unemployment emphasizing the "record number" of employed Hispanics and downplaying the fact that the Hispanic unemployment rate actually went up in October.

Bannister also spun Nancy Pelosi's response to the October numbers, linking to Jones' article: "Despite record-high employment and a 4.1% unemployment rate, October’s jobs report is proof of how Republicans’ agenda is hurting the middle class, House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi said Friday."

Managing editor Michael W. Chapman, meanwhile, devoted an article to taking a potshot at a liberal economist: "The U.S. economy today is doing pretty well, with record-high employment numbers and record-low unemployment numbers for blacks, among other positive indices. Yet back in November 2016 when Donald Trump was elected president, Pulitzer Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman predicted the U.S.  was 'probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight.'"

By contrast, CNS was silent about Lawrence Kudlow's history of botched economic predictions after Trump named him a White House economic adviser.

UPDATE: These CNS stories are being used synergistically throughout the MRC; a Nov. 3 post by Tim Graham whined that the network news didn't cover October's numbers, huffing that "The networks keep insisting unemployment data isn't 'real news.'"

Posted by Terry K. at 12:38 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, November 10, 2019 11:08 AM EST
Thursday, November 7, 2019
MRC's Double Standard On Anonymous Whistleblowers, Part 3: The Whine Factor
Topic: Media Research Center

It seems the Media Research Center just can't stop whining about the media citing anonymous sources in stories (except, of course, when that anonymous source happens to advance the MRC's anti-media narrative).

The Oct. 22 column by MRC honchos Tim Graham and Brent Bozell was an extended screed against anonymous sources:

Thus the dominant narrative of the first two years of the Trump presidency was the accusation of Russia colluding with the Trump campaign….until it collapsed. The network evening news shows wasted thousands of minutes just oozing with doom for the president. In 2018, the Russiagate stories were 98 percent negative. Now they’re doing it all over again with Ukraine.

All of this is based on what? Evidence provided by whom? How many dozens, maybe hundreds of television and print reports have been based on “anonymous sources”? How many times have we read about the reporter’s conversation with “multiple” or “six” or “more than a dozen” or some such number of sources?

Why can’t a single one come forward? Why must we find out, after digging and digging, that their most recent “whistleblower” has vanished from the scene? 

As consumers of “news,” it’s exhausting to wade through wild quotes, accompanied by phrases like “the official spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly.” But how on Earth would we know if the source was “candid”? The word, after all, is defined as “the quality of being open and honest in expression.” So why not come forward?

Meanwhile, Curtis Houck whined that the anonymous author of an "infamous" New YOrk Times op-ed stating how White House staffers are trying the save the country from Trump's worst impulses is writing a book: "Despite the fact that there’s no way for anyone other than The Times or the book publisher to vet them (plus the claims they’re leveling), the book will undoubtedly be celebrated as a modern-day Gospel by the liberal media. All the while, this person will be allowed to remain anonymous and thus take the coward route." He whined further: "Yuck. So a book about being anonymous and why it’s a good thing the author is staying anonymous will financially benefit an industry (the WH beat) that operates almost entirely on anonymous sources. Neato!"

Thew MRC's Nicholas Fondacaro and Alex Christy similiarly whined about the book.

With all that whining, you knew what was coming next: another patented MRC "study"! Bill D'Agostino did his duty:

Despite the unreliable nature of anonymous sources, the three major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) have used them in nearly three fifths of their news reports about the impeachment probe since it first began, mostly to pass along damning accusations against the President that cannot be independently verified.

From September 24 — the day the impeachment inquiry was announced — to October 24, these three broadcast networks devoted 322 minutes to the probe in their evening newscasts, across 140 separate news segments. Of those, more than half (82, or 57%) relied at least in part on information from anonymous sources:

D'Agostino then intoned: "A policy piece by the Society of Professional Journalists cautions strongly against the use of anonymous sources, noting: 'Some organizations do not allow anonymous sources except in the most vital news stories.'"

Note that D'Agostino's chart references "TV's Imeppeachment Coverage" when, in reality, it the MRC's usual extremely narrow slice of TV in the form of network evening newscasts. Apparently, Fox News is not part of the "TV" world for D'Agostino. This was followed by the MRC's promotion of the requisite Fox News segment that touted this so-called study.

While all whining was going on, the hypocrisy got deeper as the MRC was touting yet another story that was, yes, anonymously sourced.

An Octy. 21 post by Gabriel Hays excitedly touted how, according to a Hollywood Reporter article, China is demanding edits to Quentin Tarantino's new film "Once Upon A Time in Hollywood" before it can be shown there. Hays wrote: "The outlet’s anonymous sources claimed, 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood's local release has been indefinitely put on hold.'"

Oops! Looks like someone forgot to check with the narrative creators at the MRC to make sure his post didn't undermine said narrative.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:16 PM EST
CNS' Syria Withdrawal Coverage Becomes A Little Less Pro-Trump
Topic:'s interest in defending President Trump over withdrawing U.S. troops from northern Syria, thereby permitting Turkey to attack the Kurds that once were U.S. allies, has waned as the media in general has lost interest in the story.

On Oct. 21, Patrick Goodenough detailed a backtracking on Trump's withdrawal (though, of course, he didn't call it that): "As U.S. troops are being redeployed from Syria to western Iraq, there were indications at the weekend that President Trump may be prepared to leave a residual force across the border in eastern Syria, in a bid to keep a lid on ISIS and help to ensure that oilfields in the area to not fall into hands of the Iranians, whose forces are in Syria to bolster Bashar Assad’s regime." The same day, James Carstensen touted a German plan to create an "internationally controlled security zone" in Syria.

More stuff came in over the next couple days:

  • Goodenough reported on a "bipartisan Senate bill" seeking to move U.S. military operations out of Turkey .
  • Dimitri Simes reported on a Turkish pact with Russia to attack the Kurds.
  • Goodenough went for the default pro-Trump narrative by highlighting how "The U.S. special envoy for the Syrian conflict pushed back Tuesday on the charge that, had President Trump not pulled back a small number of U.S. troops from northeastern Syria this month, Turkish forces would not have crossed the border to attack Syrian Kurdish fighters."
  • A follow-up story by Goodenough reported how "Russian troops rolled into Kobane in northeastern Syria on Wednesday, on a mission to oversee the withdrawal of Syrian Kurdish fighters and their weapons from the area in line with an agreement reached by the Russian and Turkish presidents a day earlier."
  • Melanie Arter dutifully repeated Trump claiming that "Turkey has informed the Trump administration that it will stop combat in Syria and will make the ceasefire brokered by the United States permanent."
  • Goodenough also repeated an attack line from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that the Obama administration "invited" the Russians to intervene militarily in the Syrian civil war by having "them come in and pretend to be chemical weapons inspectors."

CNS then turned the narrative to the U.S. trying to capture Syrian oil:

Then things flipped back to Goodenough making Turkey the bad guy:

Meanwhile, CNS did publish an op-ed by conservatives Ken Blackwell and david Phillips asserting that "Turkey is practicing genocide again" in northern Syria and that "by allowing ethnic cleansing to remove the Kurds from northern Syria, the U.S. may be seen as an accomplice to Erdogan’s war crimes." But it also published a couple of pieces by managing editor Michael W. Chapman trying to retroactively justify Trump's withdrawal by dismissing the Kurds as terrorists and, perhaps even worse, a bunch of commies.

In the first, on Oct. 23, Chapman ranted:

Although many liberal news outlets and some politicians have described President Donald Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria as a “betrayal” of the Kurds, our allies in fighting against ISIS in the region, it is important to note that the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or PKK, is a “Marxist-Leninist separatist organization” that was designated as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” by the U.S. State Department in October 1997.

The next day, Chapman served up a somewhat altered version of the first article that walked back that one a bit:

Although many liberal news outlets have described President Donald Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria as a “betrayal” of the Kurds -- our allies in the fight against ISIS -- the Kurds who make up the People's Protection Units (YPG), are a direct offshoot of the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) in Turkey, which was designated a terrorist organization in 1997.

This does not apply to all the Kurds in Syria but specifically to those in the YPG.

But as actual foreign policy experts point out, the links between the PKK and the YPG are not as clear-cut as Chapman portrays them; the YPG denies direct links with the PKK though there is some overlap and shared goals. Perhaps Chapman can write another article walking back things a bit more.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:46 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, November 7, 2019 10:56 PM EST
Wednesday, November 6, 2019
Newsmax Denounces Pro-Impeachment Poll As Biased
Topic: Newsmax

An Oct. 18 Newsmax article by Bill Hoffmann took issue with a Pew poll showing that 54 percent of registered voters support President Trump's impeachment, insisting that it was "stacked with Democrat [sic] respondents":

But the methodology behind the poll appears to have stacked it in favor of achieving a pro-Democratic outcome. 

Buried in the survey results is the fact that of the 3,487 respondents, 1,942 are Democrats or are Democratic leaning while 1,453 are Republicans or Republican leaning. That means 56 percent of those polled were Democrats compared to 42 percent who identified as Republicans — a 14 percent margin favoring Democrats.

Frank Luntz, a veteran American political consultant and pollster, questioned the validity of the poll.

“Self-identified Democrats outnumber self-identified Republicans by about 6 percent nationally. The sample for this poll leans a bit too Democratic to accept these numbers as gospel,” Luntz told Newsmax. “When the questions are about impeachment, you have a responsibility to ensure an accurately balanced sample.”

Hoffmann failed to look closely at the poll's methodology, which showed the weighted percentage spread -- which "aligns the sample to population benchmarks" -- was just 7 percentage points between Democrat and Repubican -- much closer to current self-identification numbers.

Hoffmann doesn't mention weighting at all in his article, even though he got a comment from Pew telling him to look at the methodology.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:13 PM EST
Facebook-Hating MRC Sets Bozell-Trump Jr. Interview On Facebook Live
Topic: Media Research Center

It appears all those free dinners with Mark Zuckerberg have paid off for Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell.

As we've documented, the Facebook chief has been sucking up to Bozell and other conservatives who agitate against Facebook by spreading the never-proven narrative that it uniquely discriminates against conservatives by hosting them at off-the-record dinners (which the MRC then had to defend). It seems now that Bozell is sufficiently comfortable with Facebook that he'll use it to his advantage.

The MRC is currently promoting an Nov. 12 interview Bozell will conduct with Donald Trump Jr. that will air on ...  Facebook Live. The promotion links to, yes, Bozell's Facebook page.

It's as if Bozell and the MRC are merely trying to exploit a perceived confict with Facebook for personal and political advantage and that they would never leave the platform -- after all, if Facebook were really as biased as Bozell claims it is, he would never air this interview on it, right?

It's as if Bozell has been completely insincere about this the whole time.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:32 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, November 6, 2019 10:15 PM EST
WND's Cashill Is A Seth Rich Conspiracy Dead-Ender
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The right-wing conspiracy theories about murdered Democratic Seth Rich secretly leaking DNC emails are so discredited that even WorldNetDaily stopped pursuing the story (not that it will ever admit it lied to its readers about this, of course).

WND columnist Jack Cashill, however, loves promoting discredited conspiracy theories. Thus, it was inevitable that he would still be promoting Seth Rich conspiracies. In his Oct. 30 WND column, Cashill remains a conspiray dead-ender:

Twelve days after Rich's death, WikiLeaks began releasing emails swiped from the DNC. Although mainstream journalists did their best to deny Rich was involved with those emails, WikiLeaks honcho Julian Assange kept making suppression difficult.

Four weeks after the shooting, Assange said on Dutch TV, "Whistleblowers go to significant efforts to get us material and often very significant risks. There's a 27-year-old, works for the DNC, was shot in the back, murdered just a few weeks ago for unknown reasons as he was walking down the street in Washington."

When the show host insisted it was a robbery, Assange corrected him, adding, "I'm suggesting that our sources take risks."


If he were providing Assange data, the Russians had no reason to kill him; and if someone "had it out for Democrats," there were a lot fatter targets than Rich.

Cashill misleadingly invoked Robert Muller as part of his conspiracy theory:

Unlike the media, Robert Mueller thought Seth Rich worth discussing. The Mueller report quoted Assange at length about his insinuation that Rich was a source.

"According to media reports," Mueller's people wrote, "Assange told a U.S. congressman that the DNC hack was an 'inside job,' and purported to have 'physical proof' that Russians did not give materials to Assange."

Given his importance to the investigation, Mueller's crew should have interviewed Assange first. They did not interview him at all. Can't let that "alternative theory" go bouncing around when the fake ones do just fine.

Cashill curiously omits the part of the Mueller report that concluded Assange knew Rich wasn't his source for the DNC emails and simply claimed he was in order to obscure the fact he did indeed get them from the Russians.

Once a conspiracy theorist, always a conspiracy theorist. Cashill doesn't care about the facts if they interfere with his conspiratorial narrataives.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:40 AM EST
Tuesday, November 5, 2019
MRC Falsely Smears Gayle King By Accusing Her Of A Smear
Topic: Media Research Center

The hypocrisy of the Media Research Center to obsess over sexual harassment scandals at some TV network while it effectively ignored similar scandals at Fox News is breathtaking, to say the least -- but we've come to expect no less than that. The MRC is so committed to that narrative that it's misrepresenting the words of "liberal" network employees.

Thus, we have this Oct. 14 item by Scott Whitlock:

CBS's Gayle King, who co-hosted a show with Charlie Rose (a man who resigned in disgrace after sexual misconduct claims) and who worked for network President Les Moonves (a man who resigned in disgrace after sexual misconduct claim) pressed investigative journalist Ronan Farrow on Monday about his possible “ax to grind” when it comes to sexual misconduct claims... at NBC. 

The somewhat confrontational segment featured all of the current CBS This Morning co-hosts grilled Farrow with detailed questions about his sourcing on sexual abuse claims from powerful men. While they referenced the problems at CBS, the questions came about the problems on NBC. 

Regarding NBC’s refusal to proceed with Farrow’s reporting on disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, Gayle King demanded, “The bulk of the book is about your efforts to tell the Harvey Weinstein story and in the end NBC killed the story saying it didn't reach their level of journalism. How do we know that this is not just —  they're saying it's an axe to grind on your part.” 

Actually, it appears that King is simply setting Farrow up to respond to his critics, particularly at NBC, which has attacked his book (detailed in the transcript that Whitlock didn't otherwise acknowledge).

Whitlock repeated his smear  of King in an Oct. 22 post, claiming that "King suggested Farrow might have an 'ax to grind." That post was otherwise about Fox News anchor Bret Baier's appearance on "CBS This Morning,"with Whitlock whining that the show's co-hosts "grilled" Baier "about the departure of Shepard Smith from the network, baiting him to divine what exactly Smith meant when he said that the 'truth will always matter.'" (The MRC hates Smith for failing to march in lockstep with Fox News' right-wing agenda.)

Whitlock didn't mention that Baier has his own issues with the truth, touting an anonymous sourced story before the 2016 election that Hillary Clinton's indictment was imminent -- a story that Baier had to retract and a story the MRC totally embraced yet never told its readers was retracted.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:12 PM EST

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