Another Lie: MRC's Fondacaro Falsely Denies Trump, Conervative Media's Coronavirus Culpability Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Nicholas Fondacaro was in full rant mode in an April 14 post:
CNN couldn’t stand the heat so they bailed out of Monday’s Coronavirus Task Force press conference and dove right into some unhinged hot takes. While they insisted President Trump was the one who was raging, the OutFront panel was clearly irate as they threw out a flurry of insults and unsupported accusations all in an effort to blame the over 23,000 coronavirus deaths in the U.S. on the President. And according to Jim Acosta, “conservative media” also had blood on their hands.
Towards the end of their almost 15-minute hate fest, Acosta blasted Trump for “downplaying the severity of this virus” for “a month and a half.” “He was describing it as something like the seasonal flu, when it's not,” he declared as he targeted right-wing media outlets.
He's trying to talk his way out of a mess he created himself; over the past 45 to 60 days both he and members of the conservative media were in this echo chamber saying to one another that the public did not have to worry about this,” he sneered. Fact-check: LIE.
In the early days of the pandemic, the liberal media had decried Trump’s move to ban travel from China as an overreaction. This collage of headlines tweeted out by conservative commentator Dan Bongino showed a USA Today headline from February 1 that proclaimed: “Coronavirus is scary, but the flu is deadlier, more widespread.” And the Associated Press said on February 18: “Is the new virus more ‘deadly’ than flu? Not exactly.”
Headlines such as those, played a key role in a video the President showed to the press at the start of the briefing. The video depicted the timeline of what the administration had done, while rubbing the media’s nose in their terrible reporting. But according to chief national correspondent John King and media janitor Brian Stelter, it was an “anti-media” “propaganda video.”
First: Given that the video in question was tweeted out by right-wing activist Bongino, that makes it very much a "propaganda video."
Second: By declaring something he doesn't like to be a "LIE," Fondacaro is lying again. Not that never actually disproves that statement wrong, just throws out whataboutism to cloud the issue.
There's an actual news organization documenting -- on video! -- how many times Trump downplayed the coronavirus threat.Further, Fondacaro didn't even have to ventyure out of the MRC offices to find conservative media downplaying coronavirus -- we documented how the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, did exactly that, largely by parroting what Trump said.
Fondacaro surely knows all this, that Trump and conservative media did, in fact, contribute to the current crisis. But he's not getting paid to tell the truth -- he's getting paid to defend Trump and attack the media, and as a member of that very conservative media, he can't (or isn't permitted to for job purposesa admit any flaws. And such deliberately false bad-faith criticism is another reason why the MRC is losing credibility.
WND Calls On Dubious Docs To Opine On Coronavirus Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has a stable of dubious doctors it relies on for questionable advice and scare tactics, and it's not a surprise it would call on some of them during the coronavirus pandemic.
In an April 6 column, Elizabeth Vliet -- best known for her ties to the fringe-right Association of American Physicians and Surgeons and her fearmongering about disease-ridden immigrants -- toutedhow "A recent poll of more than 6,000 doctors from 30 countries found that 37% rated hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as the best treatment for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19)." But that poll doesn't really mean much, given that medicine should be conducted on the basis of research rather than popularity. She then complained about the need for having to do pesky rigorous research on hydroxychloroquine's effectiveness before prescribing it to coronavirus patients:
When World Health Organization and U.S. experts say there is "no evidence that any medicine can prevent or cure" COVID-19, they correctly mean We don't yet have a randomized, placebo-controlled, double blind clinical trial (RCT). But designing, setting up, conducting and analyzing any RCT takes years. And that is only one form of evidence in medicine. Case studies (pejoratively called "anecdotes") and decades of safe use worldwide provide other valid sources of clinical outcomes evidence, which have guided physicians for more than 2,000 years.
As a matter of historical record, we had no RCT "proving" that smoking caused lung cancer, but that did not stop common-sense recommendations by the surgeon general and physicians who advised patients to stop smoking cigarettes, based on clinical outcomes showing higher lung cancer and heart attack deaths in smokers.
We have no time for an RCT. We can't wait months for a vaccine. People are dying every day.
Did anyone really need double-blind trials to prove that smoking caused cancer? Besides, there's a difference between research on whether something causes a medical condidtion and researching whether a medication can treat a condition.
On April 8, WND granted a column to W. Scott Magill, a retired gynecologist who is the head of something called Veterans in Defense of Liberty -- about which the Better Business Bureau raised concerns after 94 percent of the money it raised in a two-year period went to the fundraiser -- in which he outlined a three-point plan to fight coronavirus, the first of which was, of course, prescribing hydroxychloroquine along with azithromycin, which he declared a "silver bullet." He then went on a rant similar to Vliet:
In an ideal world, perhaps the one Dr. Fauci envisions, we would have controlled double-blind studies on hydroxychloroquine. Of course, we are now a world in crisis, a situation that demands we rely on the growing evidence we have of its efficacy and that requires action to counter the left and their complicit "Tokyo Rose" media, who have have waged a war of words to preclude using the silver bullet we have, claiming it is not the weapon we wished for – a deadly deception for political gain.
Failure to use the silver bullet is irresponsible and, under today's circumstances, a form of malpractice – a term I as a physician do not use lightly. Hydroxychloroquine has shown tremendous success in saving lives, with over 70 years of safe use in the real world. This experience is coupled with an abundance of anecdotal reports across the globe supporting several small studies demonstrating astonishing efficacy in fighting the Beast. Let us not forget the patient also has a God-given right reaffirmed by President Trump, the "Right-to-try!"
That was followed the next day by another AAPS-affiliated doctor, Marilyn Singleton, who followed the template by recommending hydroxychloroquine, but she mostly stayed away from medical issues by ranting about the alleged motives of people continuing to advocate social distancing:
Ending the lockdown is not about Wall Street or disregard for people's lives; it about saving lives. Advanced stages of non-COVID diseases, suicides, domestic violence, increase in substance abuse and mental health disorders, permanent poverty and dissolution of the middle class are unacceptable. Our society must not be fractured into those who live in gated communities and those who live in the streets, trailer parks and decaying homes they can no longer afford to keep up.
We all want to do our part to attenuate the number of serious COVID infections in our communities. But we cannot hand our lives over to the government, particularly when the virus has become an opportunity for Congress to pass pork-filled legislation, for showboating governors to out-quarantine each other and for politically connected tech companies to share cellphone tracking data with the government. I would hate to think some have a financial incentive for promoting a yet-to-be tested and approved vaccine in lieu of an effective, inexpensive and readily available treatment.
People are saying America will never be the same. Hopefully, this will not mean the statists have succeeded in using COVID as an excuse to enact laws that will permanently curtail our liberties and freedom to practice medicine in the best interest of our patients.
It wouldn't be WND if it wasn't giving a platform to medical misinformer Jane Orient, the head of AAPS, and it doesn't disappoint in an April 14 article quoting her attacks on government officials allegedly interfering with the work of physicians. She complained that officials were restricting "off-label use" of drugs to treat coronavirus -- a clear reference to hydroxychloroquine -- declaring that "If off-label use were not possible, you’d have to throw one-fifth of your prescriptions away."
Orient was allowed to go conspiratorial as well:
"Who benefits from the crisis?" she asked.
"Big Pharma, scenting billions in profits from new drugs and vaccines, which would be threatened by use of cheap generics? Big insurance/hospital cartels, whose dominance is threatened by independent doctors? Political entities lusting for more power? Medical organizations whose revenue depends on any or all of the above?"
That's the kind of conspiratorial ranting we've come to expect from both Orient and WND.
Who Else Are The MRC's Enemies For Questioning Trump? Topic: Media Research Center
We've been documenting how the Trump lackeys at the Media Research Center have been parroting President Trump in making members of the media their enemies for committing the offense of asking questions of Trump during his coronvirus public briefings. Let's touch on a few others who got brief attacks.
ABC's Jonathan Karl got targeted a couple times. Kyle Drennen complained on March 19 that "Karl attempted to scold President Trump for having “lashed out” at Democrats who were politicizing coronavirus. Trump shut down the line of questioning by pointing out he has to “respond” since liberal politicians “have the media on their side.” Drennen added: "Missing from Karl’s question was any acknowledgment of how Democrats have worked tonpoliticize the pandemic response."
On April 22, Curtis Houck wrote that "Karl found himself in a shouting match with President Trump about whether the media would ever praise him on testing and their coverage on the increased production of ventilators," then cheered Trump's attack on him while defending Trtump's "imperfect" analogy:
Trump drew Karl’s ire with a litany of “that’s not true” and when he insisted in a hypothetical that even if every American were to be tested ten times for the virus, the press would ridicule him for not giving Americans an 11th test.
While perhaps imperfect, the President’s analogy works out when considering how, even when he does something the press might have lobbied for, they insist it wasn’t enough.
Trump’s response? He jabbed Karl for being “one of the leaders of the bad reporting.”
Needless to say, Houck made no effort to fact-check Trump's claim.
CBS correspondent Paula Reid was another target. Houck highlighted Reid "getting in a shouting match with Trump that seemed to imply she was blaming him for the deaths of over 23,000 Americans. An otherwise respectable reporter, Reid instead decided to provide for the viewing public her best impression of reporters with names like Alcindor, Alexander, Acosta, Karem, and Ryan." Houck went on to rant:
The President was fiery, but hadn’t resorted to calling her “fake” or any other name. That would change as he punched back:“Look, look. You know you’re a fake. You know that. Your whole network, the way you covered is fake and most of you --- not all of you but the people are wise to you. That's why you have a lower --- a lower approval rating than you ever have before times probably three.”
Continuing to show that any liberal media claims that they only want to inform the public and move the country forward, Reid continued to berate Trump about the death toll and unemployment numbers as if to --- again --- suggest this were of his making because of some inaction that the liberal media themselves had pushed for.
Having seen Yamiche Alcindor, Jim Acosta, Peter Alexander, and even Paula Reid make scenes during White House Coronavirus Task Force briefings, CNN political analyst and Playboy writer Brian Karem reasserted himself Tuesday over the press corps and sought to remind Americans of his nonsense. Naturally, it ended with President Trump calling him a “loudmouth” and “showboat” and threatening to end the briefing early.
Before even asking a question, Karem sunk his case with an antagonistic and unnecessary lead off with “600,000 cases, 25,000 deaths” in the U.S. as of Tuesday and lamenting that “I know you want to blame the [World Health Organization]” for the pandemic.
Only then did he claim without evidence that he’s “spoken with hundreds of people across the country in the last few weeks who say they still can't get tested and that they aren't social distancing” when Trump cut him off.
Trump stated that “the governors are supposed to do the testing,” but Karem kept shouting about how that wasn’t his question.
The President tried to move onto NBC’s Hans Nichols, but Karem wasn’t done.
So much for collegiality, Brian[.]
Seeing as how Karem couldn’t ask a question without extraneous information and was interrupting a colleague, the President had plenty of leeway to shut Karem down and call out his nonsense, leaving Karem with a look of pure sadness[.]
The usual MRC hallmarks are there: failure to fact-check anyone, especially Trump; the mind-reading of the purported state of mind of the journalist asking the question; the assumption that Trump is always right and the correspondents are always wrong.
Touting how Trump insulted journalists is not "media research"; it's stenography.
Allen West Has Thoughts About Coronavirus Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com columnist and Media Research Center "senior fellow" Allen West has been having some thoughts and ruminations (as stated in the headline of his March 23 column) about the coronavirus pandemic. Amazingly, many of them involve using the pandemic to advance his usual right-wing talking points.
In that column, West mused about the usual conservative platitudes of courage over fear, ultimately concluding with a talking point: "But most importantly, we need to take individual responsibility for our healthcare. If anything, COVID-19 has taught us that state- or government-controlled healthcare is not a viable solution. It is lethargic and irresponsive to the ever-changing dynamic of medicine and healthcare."
West spent his March 30 column what is "essential" under lockdown orders ,complaining that gun stores were not seen as essential while Planned Parenthood, "an organization founded by a white supremacist and racist," is arguing to keep abortion clinics open. West loves that particular lie about Margaret Sanger.
On April 6, West invoked Easter to find a silver lining -- you know, that thing that his employer says we're not supposed to find -- in the pandemic: "We are facing a deadly pestilence, COVID-19, but as the aforementioned verses from Romans state, this current suffering can produce something lasting. ... We must come together and seek out God’s blessings for our overcoming -- and we have been through rough times previously." He added: "Holy Week is all about the culmination of the four Rs – Redemption, Reconciliation, Restoration, and Resurrection. Those four Rs are a roadmap for our Recovery, from COVID-19."
In his April 13 column, West engaged in the usual right-wing complaint about erosion of rights under the pandemic, falsely framing it as a power grab instead of the health protection measures they are:
It is disturbing to think that anyone would seek to profit politically and ideologically from a tragedy, a crisis, this pandemic. What are we to discern when examining these quotes for analysis and assessment? Yes, we all want to be safe and healthy. We all want to do that which is best and good for the public, the American people. But when do we stop and realize that with each crisis we face, there are those who find opportunity in eroding our individual constitutional rights?
West also echoed the CNS bad take on restricting religious services to discourage the spread of coronavirus as a violation of religious rights: "Our very first right in our Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution is Freedom of Religion, and the free exercise thereof. But I guess not in the new normal of Gov. Cuomo."
West served up more self-proclaimed "observations" in his April 20 column, cheering the "pushback against these draconian, ideological-driven decisions, mandates, edicts, and orders emanating from elected officials," likening it to the start of the Revolutionary War at Lexington and Concord and rehashing some of his earlier talking points:
How troubling that here we are, 245 years later, and some elected officials are mandating that gun stores and gun ranges are non-essential. Yet, these same progressive socialist elected officials will tell us that businesses that sell marijuana are essential. They have told us that required surgeries are now “elective,” such as hip replacements, and in some cases, cancer removal procedures. But as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan asserted, murdering a preborn baby is an essential medical procedure.
We are being told our churches are non-essential and that we must surrender our right to peaceably assemble. These are individual rights and cornerstones enshrined in our First Amendment.
Is there any doubt as to why we have Americans starting to take to the streets? Can you blame Americans for a rising angst and anger when they see chummy media interviews by the Speaker of the House of Representatives showing off her collection of gourmet ice cream, while they are fretting over feeding their families? Talk about a Marie Antoinette moment.
If all West can do is play his greatest hits (which really aren't so great), he's not being terribly insightful as a columnist and "senior fellow."
MRC's War On Fact-Checking Continues Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's war on fact-checking is pretty simple: paint any fact-checking organization that fact-checks conservatives as "liberal" and, therefore, somehow not trustworthy. It has put a newly formed fact-checking through that narrative -- targeted mainly because it works with Facebook.
Corinne Weaver focused on the new target in a March 23 post:
Facebook currently relies on nine fact-checking organizations in the United States to help the platform “reduce” and “remove” problematic content. However, many of the people the company has put in charge of suppressing content are pushing a left-wing agenda.
Lead Stories, a fact-checking organization started by Belgian tech blogger Maarten Schenk, is a perfect example. It was the top fact-checker for Facebook in January. The media outlet, which has eight CNN alumni who fact-check trending stories, fact-checks conservatives four times more than liberals.
The fact-checking operation was given $359,000 by Facebook to approve content on the social media site in 2019.
Lead Stories published 296 fact-checks between January 1, 2020, and March 9, 2020. Out of those, 55 entries were from right-leaning social media users and news outlets. Only 12 were from left-leaning social media users and news outlets.
In a moment when Facebook is heavily relying on fact-checkers to flag information on the coronavirus, Lead Stories has slammed many conservative outlets.
Weaver offered no evidence that liberal outlets put out the same amount of misinformation on social media than conservative outlets do, thus warranting parity. She also didn't dispute the accuracy of any of the fact-checks on conservative outlets that Lead Stories did. That makes her claim that Lead Stories is "pushing a left-wing agenda" entirely unsupported.
Nevertheless, the target had been drawn on the group. An MRC post the same day by Alexander Hall baselessly branded Lead Stories a "liberal fact-checker" and complained that it "failed to fact-check the contentious Democratic debate between former Vice President Joe Biden (D) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on March 15." That's another bogus attack, because it doesn't fact-check politicians at events; its mission states that "we specifically hunt for trending stories from known fake news, satire or prank websites in order to debunk them as quickly as possible."
Third-party fact-checkers have the ability to cause pages on Facebook to be suppressed. These fact-checkers, who are paid by Facebook, are putting efforts into fact-checking satire and editorial cartoons. In other words — opinion.
Lone Conservative, a conservative media outlet designed for college students and recent graduates, was fact-checked by Lead Stories, an organization run by 8 CNN alumni. The Facebook page had posted a cartoon of bailout money being rolled into the Kennedy Center as money was being rolled out to the DNC. This was referencing the $25 million received from the coronavirus bailout that was given to the Kennedy Center.
The cartoon did not accuse the Kennedy Center of giving bailout money to the DNC. It was meant satirically. It was not a news story. It was a simple editorial cartoon.
An interstitial, or filter, was placed over the post with the label saying, “False Information[:] Checked by independent fact-checkers.” A “See Why” button led readers to a piece from Lead Stories, which initially had simply fact-checked an erroneous tweet where the Twitter user was unclear in posting about a hypothetical. Lone Conservative was not even mentioned in the fact-check.
Note to Weaver: the cartoon unequivocally shows the money being funneled through the Kennedy Center to the DNC, so it's hard to deny that it "did not accuse" any such thing.Given that such accusations are a staple of conservative politics -- Weaver seems to have missed that two days earlier, her boss Tim Graham accused Democrats of adding $75 million to the coronavirus stimulus package as a way of "supporting their own media assets" and "keeping their propaganda organs in fighting shape" -- pretending it "was meant satirically" doesn't pass the smell test. All she's doing here is indulging in the usual conservative-as-victim narrative.
The last time we checked in on WorldNetDaily's Joe Kovacs, he was abusing his status as a self-proclaimed journalist to exploit the coronavirus pandemic to engage in Christian evangelization, despite denying that he was not issuing "a message about religion." A few days before he did that, though, he was downplaying the effects of the pandemic with the help of Rush Limbaugh. He wrote in an April 1 article:
With millions of Americans concerned about coronavirus, radio host Rush Limbaugh is providing some perspective on the actual number of fatalities from COVID-19 compared to those from other causes.
On his Wednesday broadcast, Limbaugh cited a list from worldometers.info that rounded up the worldwide deaths from Jan. 1 through March 25 of 2020:
"Coronavirus: 21,000 deaths.
Seasonal flu: 113,000.
Traffic fatalities, 313, almost 314,000 deaths.
HIV/AIDS, 391,000 deaths.
Alcohol related deaths, 581,000.
Smoking-related deaths, 1,162,000.
Cancer deaths, 1,909,000 deaths.
Deaths attributed to starvation, 2,382,000 deaths.
And death by abortion, 9,900,000."
"I'm not trying to make any correlation," Limbaugh explained.
"I'm not trying to say, 'Hey, we're overreacting to coronavirus death.' I'm just giving you the stats here. You can react to these stats however you wish."
Kovacs knows Limbaugh is lying when he says he's "not trying to make any correlation" -- after all, there's no other reason to promote these statistics other than correlate them and portray coronavirus as a minor threat, and it's nor surprising from a man who insisted that coronavirus was no more serious than the common cold. Kovacs, of course, is complicit in spreading that lie (just as WND did with Limbaugh's original minimalization claim).
Of course, the number of deaths from coronavirus has grown exponentially since then, to more than 200,000. What are the chances that Limbaugh (and, thus, Kovacs) tries to update these numbers now?
MRC Pretends It's Not The One Being PC By Pushing 'Chinese Virus' Labeling Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center did its partisan pro-Trump duty by echoing the president's messaging of calling coronavirus the "Chinese virus." Even Trump has stopped using that terminology, the MRC is still defending it. Alexander Hall complained in an April 10 post:
Is there an American Big Tech company that isn’t sympathetic to the communist regime in China?
“Grammar app Grammarly has started flagging the phrase ‘Chinese virus’ in references[sic] to the virus and the resulting disease, COVID-19,” Reclaim The Net reported on April 7. The virus that has brought entire countries to an economic standstill has erupted in cultural controversy as well. Both the politically correct nags of liberal America and the Chinese regime discourage calling it the “Chinese” or “Wuhan” virus.
“In a statement to Reclaim The Net, the company said that the new Grammarly Premium suggestions has [sic] recently been released and that it deals with providing feedback ‘relating to formality, confidence, and sensitive language,’” reported Reclaim The Net. “Grammarly has chosen to go with the WHO terminology and flag any mention of ‘Chinese or Wuhan’ virus.”
Grammarly’s move is remarkably similar to Microsoft Word’s use of AI to spread political correctness to your desktop. The artificial intelligence program “Ideas in Word” will use aim to “improve” users’ writing, by suggesting more tolerant liberal phrases.
Hall accusing critics of the "Chinese virus" terminology of being "politically correct" is next-level gaslighting -- it's supporters of that phrase like Trump and the MRC who are positioning it to be the only correct term, and they're doing it for political reasons. Further, one can safely say that Grammarly presumably knows a lot more about grammar and the English language in general than anyone at the MRC and are much less likely to have political motivations behind word usage.
Meanwhile, the MRC is still defending Trump's use of "Chinese virus" from accusations of racist motivations. Back in March, Kyle Drennen uncritically swallowed Trump's claim that his use of the phrase "was designed to hold China’s authoritarian regime accountable for not being honest about the initial spread of coronavirus"; that became a talking point for Drennen the very next day.
Drennen returned to that narrative in an April 24 post to attack new accusations that Trump's use of "Chinese virus" has inspired hate crimes against Asian Americans. "Trump also made it clear on multiple occasions that his use of the phrase “Chinese virus” was designed to hold the authoritarian communist government of China accountable for mishandling the disease and lying about it – which helped cause the global health crisis," he huffed.
Of course, given the sheer number of falsehoods Trump has spread over the years, there's no reason to take anything that comes out of his mouth at face value. Drennen will never tell you that, however.
CNS Parrots Trump, MRC In Touting Hydroxychloroquine Topic: CNSNews.com
Because President Trump promoted hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine as a possible treatment for coronavirus, and because the Media Research Center dutifully promoted it as well, that means the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, also had to fall in line.
Stenographer Melanie Arter brought her usual Trump-press-release tone to her March 19 article:
President Donald Trump announced “exciting progress” Thursday in finding therapy drugs to fight the coronavirus.
Not only has a drug that’s used to fight malaria and treat arthritis shown promise in fighting COVID-19, but the administration is looking at drugs used overseas to treat the virus.
The president pointed to chloriquine, a drug that has been shown to be effective in treating arthritis and malaria, as a potential treatment for COVID-19.
Although NBC harshly claimed that President Trump was peddling "false hope," and CNN called it "unsubstantiated hope," for expressing optimism about a maliaral drug to combat the coronavirus, when New York's Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the same thing -- and even cited the president -- neither NBC nor CNN criticized the very liberal governor.
This is another instance of the liberal media's double standard when it comes to covering President Trump versus any liberal Democrat. If Trump says it, then it's bad or stupid. But when Cuomo says it, then it's good and intelligent.
On Sunday, Gov. Cuomo announced that trials of the drugs chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, and Zithromax would start on Tuesday, March 24.
During that announcement, Cuomo said, "The president is optimistic about these drugs and we are all optimistic that it could work,” reported Forbes magazine.
So far, neither CNN nor NBC have slammed Cuomo for peddling "false hope" or "unsubstantiated hope in dark times."
Chapman didn't mention his organization's own hypocritical double standard of reporting on Trump that's so uncritical it won't tell readers wehn he's lying, while its coverage of Trump's Democratic presidential opponents has been relentlessly negative. As managing editor, Chapman presumably has some say-so over that.
CNS articles went on to tout hydroxychloroquine further:
But Dr. Oz -- not unlike another sudden CNS favorite, Dr. Drew, regarding statements that dismissed the severity of coronavirus -- has since walked back his support for hydroxychloroquine after one trial showed it wasn't effective. CNS has yet to tell its readers about that, however.
MRC Defends Right-Wing Anti-Quarantine Protests, Denies They're Astroturf Topic: Media Research Center
As with anything that could possibly help President Trump and hurt those it deems "liberal," the Media Research Center was quick to defend the honor of right-wing anti-quarantine protests, and it's absolutely denying that they weren't willed into beingb by shadowy groups instead of being grassroots. Nicholas Fondacaro engaged in some serious anti-"elite" elitism in an April 19 post:
As media elitists, their jobs were safe and they could easily work from home. But during their Sunday morning newscasts, ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Sunday Today, chided and cast aside the unemployed Americans taking to the streets as state stay-at-home orders left them in financial ruin. ABC even suggested their angry protests could be “AstroTurf” movements designed to embarrass Democrats, and NBC dismissed them because they were “not reflected” in the polls.
But [NBC correspondent Kathy Park] tossed them aside by saying they were not reflected in the polls. “These raw emotions are not reflected in a new Pew Research poll showing two-thirds of Americans are concerned the restrictions will be lifted too quickly,” she declared.
Logic would tell you that that’s because a majority weren’t hit particularly hard by the economic downturn and lost their jobs. With some estimated figures suggesting the unemployment rate was somewhere in the teens, they should be listened to in some way. Yet, on ABC, they did a lot to throw these hurting people away.
Clay Waters complained that the New York Times "praised Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer after her gross bureaucratic overreach in fighting the spread of the coronavirus led to protests at the state capitol." He grumbled that "The reporters leveraged exaggerated social media reports to dismiss concerns of government overreach as "misinformation" and that they made "a shameless play to race concerns" by accurately noting that there were Confederate battle flags at the protest. Water tried to spin that last part away: "How many Confederate battle flags were there? Well, NBC found at least...two."
Isn't that about two more Confederate battle flags than there ought to be?
CNN’s Senior White House Correspondent Jeff Zeleny really wants you to know that protests about reopening the government are “not organic.” Zeleny described them this way three times on Sunday night, telling Don Lemon, “there's no question these are not organic protests..”
He then compared the Michigan rallies to the dreaded Tea Party: “As they began to spread across the country, it was organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition which was essentially an early group that organized the Tea Party movement. We're really almost a decade ago.”
Seemingly trying to have it both ways, he continued, “But, Don, the reality is these are not organic protests. That doesn't necessarily take away the anger the real anger.”
The MRC will not tell you, however, that many of these protests are, in fact, astrotrurf and ginned up by right-wing agitators.The Washington Post documented the well-funded network of conservative activists led by the Mercer family -- as it so happens, the same family that is the single greatest source of funding for the MRC. Another right-wing group linked to Trump education secretary Betsy DeVos is organizing other protests.
The MRC is historically bad about correcting the record about claims it makes that turn out to be false. Don't expect any corrections or apologies here.
AIM Roots for The Media To Die To ... Save It? Topic: Accuracy in Media
Accuracy in Media has pretty much fallen off the radar of the ConWeb, mostly by making itself irrelevant. AIM got rid of the main reason it became irrelevant -- Cliff Kincaid -- a few years back (though it has never publicly explained why its biggest-profile employee behind founder Reed Irvine departed the organization), but since then it's been adrift, with Reed's grandson Spencer Irvine getting drafted into pumping out (decidedlylame) content and hiring a guy from the malicioius and credibility-challenged Project Veritas to try and create some buzz.
Right now, AIM is trying out that old, sad staple, the online petition. A couple weeks ago, it posted an item asking readers to "Take a stand against the media bailout!" The tepid argument:
Last week, a coalition of media companies wrote to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader McConnell asking for a bailout.
These industry groups are so upset that we’re not supporting the mainstream media that they’d like to use the power of government to take our cash by force.
Saving the media would destroy the media.
Americans could never trust journalists to accurately cover the elected officials who voted against their funding.
Journalism is essential in a free society, but many of today’s journalists do a poor job of educating the public. They focus on lies and smears rather than facts and details.
Unpopular news outlets should be allowed to fail so that they might be replaced by better news outlets. There’s no reason to prop up media companies that Americans do not support.
I oppose any media bailout.
"Saving the media would destroy the media"? That's some twisted logic right there.It reeks of the "we had to destroy the village to save it" attitude that became notorious during the Vietnam War.
Meanwhile, the concept that "Unpopular news outlets should be allowed to fail so that they might be replaced by better news outlets" has never been followed by the conservative media, which has used deep-pocketed conservative financiers (Sun Myung Moon, Richard Mellon Scaife, Rupert Murdoch, et al) to prop up conservative newspapers that would have never survived had the owners let the market decide, even when the newspaper industry was doing well. We doubt that AIM was arguing for market forces to work their magic then.
Like any good right-wing, pro-Trump group, AIM simply wants to destroy the media it doesn't like and doesn't actually care about the consequences. Railing against a media bailout with a meaningless online petition is more about appealing to what little right-wing base it has rather than any reasoned considerations.
NEW ARTICLE: The Refugee Racket At CNS Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com has spent years freaking about the number of Muslim refugees admitted into the U.S., particularly under President Obama -- but largely censored the fact that the total number of Christian refugees has always been higher. Read more >>
Questioning Trump Makes Weijia Jiang An Enemy Of The MRC Topic: Media Research Center
Joining Jim Acosta, Yamiche Alcindor and Peter Alexander on the Media Research Center's enemies list for asking tough questions at coronavirus press briefing that send President Trump into a rage -- not that the MRC would ever describe it that way -- is CBS White House correspondent Weijia Jiang.
On April 3, Curtis Houck complained that Trump moved from the "manufactured nonsense" of Acosta to Jiang (needless bolding in original):
Jiang came four questions later and wondered why senior adviser Jared Kushner referred on Thursday to “the federal stockpile” (containing Personal Protective Equipment and ventilators) as “our stock pile,” as if to suggest states wouldn’t have access.
Trump also diagnosed this attempt at creating controversy. Repeatedly groaning about her “gotcha” question, he explained that Kushner clearly meant the United States had access to it when he said “our,”but it would be dispersed at the federal government’s discretion.
Jiang didn’t accept his explanation, so the President called her out and moved on[.]
In fact, as Jiang pointed out in her questioning (per the transcript that Houck didn't otherwise quote from), Kushner served up a very different definition of the the national stockpile that what has been traditionally accepted, and after Kushner made his statement, the Department of Health and Human Services website page on the stockpile was altered to align with Kushner's new definition. But in Houck's eyes, Trump is perfect and Jiang is evil and biased for daring to question Dear Leader.
In an April 20 post, Houck showed how deeply he has drunk of the anti-media, pro-Trump Kool-Aid the MRC has on tap (more lovingly needless bolding in original):
During Sunday’s White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing, President Trump clashed with two usual suspects in CBS’s Weijia Jiang and CNN’s Jeremy Diamond after loaded, snarky questions on behalf of their fellow liberal media firefighters, acting with supposed bravery and perseverance.
Things ended poorly for both with the former being told to be “relax” and stop shouting and the latter being called “pathetic,” having questionable levels of brainpower, and working for a “fake news” network with “terrible ratings.”
Starting with Jiang, she sunk herself by fretting that while Trump expressed anger with China for not doing enough at the onset, many Americans are saying the exact same thing about you that you should have warned that the virus was spreading like wildfires through the month of February instead of holding rallies with thousands of people.”
“Why did you wait so long to warn them?And why did you not have social distancing until March 16,” Jiang added.
Eventually, Trump began by talking about the China travel ban, Jiang griped that it didn’t also ban American citizens.
Jiang continued to interject, so Trump told her to “keep your voice down, please.” Yikes.
Houck should have been saying that about Trump's embarrassing, hostile display, but he and the MRC can't get enough of Trump's embarrassing, hostile media-bashing. They share a fantasy world in which Trump is never wrong and the media is never right to challenge him.
They get paid well to push this partisan nonsense, and Houck's hyperbolic language and overenthusiastic bolding suggest he may be getting a thrill from it that borders on the sexual.
WND, Western Journal Don't Understand How Journalism Works Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily published an April 11 article by Johnathan Jones of the Western Journal:
For a few minutes Thursday, a number of establishment media outlets reported the truth by accurately noting that Senate Democrats had blocked a Republican proposal to offer further assistance to small businesses during the coronavirus shutdown.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attempted to pass a White House-backed $250 billion relief package aimed at helping small businesses Thursday by unanimous consent -- as most lawmakers are currently not in Washington.
Republicans sought to increase funding for the Paycheck Protection Program from $350 billion to $600 billion.
Democrats, seeking to add an additional $250 billion for pet projects and double the amount Republicans were seeking, made sure nothing got done.
Sadly, that all changed when, one by one, four news outlets updated their headlines to portray the failure in helping American workers as a bipartisan one -- thus absolving the Democrats of being held accountable for their obstructionism.
CNN covered the congressional news and published a story headlined "Democrats block GOP-led funding boost for small business aid program" at 10:36 a.m. Thursday.
By 11:15 am, the headline on the story was adjusted to read, "Senate at stalemate over more COVID-19 aid after Republicans and Democrats block competing proposals.”
Sadly, for a country in need of the truth, CNN wasn’t the only outlet that quickly reverted to reporting fake news after initially reporting the facts.
Bloomberg, NBC News and Politico all quickly followed CNN’s lead by updating their headlines regarding the Senate story in ways that portrayed Democrats in a better light.
For all of their blatant lies and sensational headlines meant to paint Republicans as the bad guys, CNN and the others couldn’t surrender to the truth for a single day.
Jones is so eager to dunk on the "liberal media" that he won't tell youthat the reason all these media outlets changed their headlines is that the story was updated. As CNN noted, after Democrats blocked the effort to boost Paycheck Protection Program funding, "Republicans blocked an alternative proposal put forward by Democrats" to create "additional funding for hospitals and state and local governments."
It's not "fake news" to acknowledge this development; it's reporting facts in context. Jones is the one who's the blatant liar here, and WND -- which puports to report news -- happily perpetrated his blatant lie.
Publishing such blatant lies isn't helping WND's continuing credibility issues.
Misplaced Priorities: MRC Sad That False Coronavirus Claims Are Getting 'Censored' Topic: Media Research Center
It's a sign of the Media Research Center's failing war on social media -- and its decision to be a pro-Trump mouthpiece regarding medications he has promoted -- that it's mad at Twitter for blocking false claims regarding coronavirus and trying to make the right-wing luminaries who made those false claims into victims.
Twitter was reportedly very eager to take down any tweets about hydroxychloroquine and coronavirus. But now that the FDA has approved the drug for the treatment of coronavirus, will Twitter restore some of the tweets it censored?
A tweet from President Donald Trump’s attorney Rudy Giuliani and another tweet from Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk were removed from Twitter on March 27. Both tweets talked about hydroxychloroquine, a drug used to treat malaria. The treatment was recommended by Trump in a press conference. He said, “I sure as hell think we ought to give it a try.”
The FDA announced on March 29, 2020, that hydroxychloroquine was acceptable to treat coronavirus. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that the drug was acceptable to administer to adults and teenagers.
Guiliani’s tweet said, “Hydroxychloroquine has been shown to have a 100% effective rate treating COVID-19. Yet Democrat Gretchen Whitmer is threatening doctors who prescribe it. If Trump is for something- Democrats are against it. They're okay with people dying if it means opposing Trump.” His tweet was in response to Democratic Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who challenged Trump in a press conference on March 26, 2020.
Kirk tweeted a similar sentiment. He said, “Fact: Hydroxychloroquine has been shown to have a 100% effective rate treating COVID-19[.] Yet Democrat Gretchen Whitmer is threatening doctors who prescribe it[.] If Trump is for something -- Democrats are against it[.] They’re ok with people dying if it means opposing Trump[.] SICK!”
Weaver misled about the nature of the FDA's approval of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine. It was approved under an Emergency Use Authorization, which is used during public health emergencies to approve treatments without the rigorous testing normally required in the regular FDA approval process. Indeed, in the Politico article to which Weaver linked to tout the approval, HHS chief Alex Azar describes the medication as only "potential therapeutics," and it's noted that there is no serious evidence that hydroxychloroquine works against coronavirus.
Weaver made no effort to look into what Giuliani and Kirk were referring when their astroturf posts claimed that hydroxychloroquine had a "100% effective rate treating COVID-19." That's obviously false, and Weaver should have admitted it. Instead, she played whataboutism, bizarrely complaining that "New York Times contributor and University of North Carolina professor Zeynep Tufekci said that the CDC and the World Health Organization misinformed the public."
Fox News host Laura Ingraham ran afoul of Twitter’s new Coronavirus rules, and was punished for it.
Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) tweeted: "Lenox Hill in New York among many hospitals already using Hydroxychloroquine with very promising results. One patient was described as ‘Lazarus’ who was seriously ill from Covid-19, already released." Ten days later, on March 30, Twitter demanded that tweet be removed.
A Twitter spokesperson explained that the tweet was removed due to a violation of its new policy regarding tweeting about COVID-19.
In the very next paragraph, though, Moon conceded that Twitter might have a case for removing Ingraham's tweet, noting that "A Fox News story about the Ingraham segment that this tweet referred to does carry a correction that the guest does not work for Lenox Hill and that his views are his own." Moon didn't mention that Ingraham was the one who falsely represented the "guest" as being employed by Lenox Hill Hospital.
Moon followed in Weaver's footsteps by declaring that "It is also the case that the FDA approved the treatment on March 29, the day before Twitter demanded that the 10-day-old tweet be removed." Of course, Moon didn't explain that the approval was for emergency use and was not an endorsement of its efficacy; instead, she huffed: "There are critics who do not believe that the FDA should have issued the emergency approval for the treatment without more rigorous testing. Could it be that Twitter is siding with critics over the FDA instead of allowing for a discussion from both sides of the argument?"
There isn't an "argument" here about which we need to hear "both sides" -- either the medication works, or it doesn't. Unsubstantiated anectodal claims are not the same as serious medical research. But then, facts aren't the point here;as with everything else the MRC does, adhering to Trump talking points is the only thing that matters.
CNS Forgets It Promoted Dr. Drew's Bogus Coronavirus Claim Topic: CNSNews.com
On March 3, CNSNews.com managing editor Michael W. Chapman devoted an article to touting how Dr. Drew Pinsky, M.D., said the liberal media are "over-reacting" to coronavirus, do not know how to report on it, and have created a 'hysteria,'" and that "the measures taken by President Trump, the CDC, and Dr. Anthony Fauci are 'appropriate' and should be heeded." Chapman added how Pinsky dismissed coronavirus as little more than the flu:
On Feb. 27, in a follow-up interview, Sam Schacher spoke with Dr. Drew on the telephone and asked if he was still as passionate about his view on the coronavirus.
Dr. Drew said, "Well, let me frame it this way: we have in the United States 24 million cases of flu-like illness, 180,000 hospitalizations, 16,000 dead from influenza. Why is that not being reported? Why isn’t the message: get your flu shot?"
Chapman quietly added that Pinsky is "a specialist in addictive medicine, and a popular TV personality," though he didn't mention that this gives him no particular expertise on virology, which is where coronavirus study is concentrated.
A month later, CNS finally did some clean-up work for Dr. Drew. An April 6 article by Craig Bannister featured Pinsky's walkback on the whole coronavirus-is-the-flu thing:
Dr. Drew Pinsky, M.D. is apologizing for understating the coronavirus threat by previously comparing it to influenza.
“I was wrong about comparing influenza and coronavirus,” Dr. Drew says in a video apology posted on his Twitter page. Dr. Drew repeatedly owns up to his mistake and apologizes, adding that he has now embraced “the aggressive measures” advocated by the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the Trump Administration:
Dr. Drew says that he “adjusted course” when Dr. Fauci declared that the coronavirus is much worse than the typical flu. Now, Dr. Drew says, he’s wearing a mask and adhering to the recommended precautions – and, “It’s paying dividends”:
Curiously, Bannister didn't mention that his boss promoted Dr. Drew's previous coronavirus-is-the-flu assertions a month earlier. Further, Chapman's article is still live and uncorrected on the CNS website.
This is perhaps not the best say to demonstrate journalistic accountability at a "news" operation. Certainly CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, would be relentlessly attacking a "liberal media" outlet if it did the same thing.