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Sunday, December 13, 2020
MRC's Graham Peddles More Bogus Attacks On Fact-Checkers
Topic: Media Research Center

Tim Graham's main job at the Media Research Center is to whine that President Trump gets fact-checked more than Democrats, while studioiusly ignoring the inconvenient fact that Trump tells more lies than most Democrats (or even most Democrats combined). The whining continued in a Nov. 25 MRC podcast, where Graham ranted:

I always put air quotes around the notion of independent fact-checkers. It's really important to understand that most of the people who do fact-checking are liberal journalists working for liberal outfits. So the fact-checker at the Washington Post, under the motto "Democracy Dies in Darkness," is going to be a fact-checker who counts Trump lies and doesn't count Democrat lies. So the other day, when some liberal Hollywood celebrity -- like Barbra Steisand, I think in this case -- said Trump's lied 22,000 times, and you ask, where would the get a stat like that? The Washington Post fact-checker. And now, of course, liberals always mangle this number, because if they say there are 22,000 lies, that's not accurate, because the way they do it at the Washington Post is to say Trump has committed or uttered 22,000 false or misleading statements. So misleading statements and lies are not the same thing.

At lot of times, for example, that the Washington Post loves to do is Trump will say this is the best economy for black Americans ever and they'll say -- or the best unemployment for black Americans ever [sic], and they will say, well, the federal government didn't start measure black unemployment until 1972, therefore you're lying, or therefore it's a misleading statement. So there's a lot of times -- we all understand Donald Trump loves to exaggerate, you know, make things sound as good as they possibly can, but it's not a lie to say it was a good economy for minorities. This is where you say, again, the fact-checkers seem on a lot of occasions to be accomplishing things that just line up so neatly with the Democratic agenda.

In fact, the Post did not cite the fact that black unemployment statistics weren't kept until 1972 as a reason Trump's statement is misleading (or at least the sole reason; it did note times in which other  government statistics claiming black unemployment was lower in 1953). Rather, it points out Trump does not deserve the amount of credit he is taking because it was (pre-pandemic) the continuation of a black unemployment rate drop that started in 2010.

In short: Graham is once again complaining that Trump is being fact-checked at all.

Graham then read from his and Brent Bozell's pro-Trump, anti-media book "Unmasked," huffing about how PolitiFact "gets large grants from liberal foundations like the Ford Foundation -- which is the biggest, most massive, most leftist foundations out there -- the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the leftist Craig Newmark Foundation." He then declared, "This is one of the reasons we got into the sort of 'fact-checking of fact-checkers' project we do here at NewsBusters. Because when you use categories like true, mostly true, false, mostly false, pants on fire lie, it has that image or proclamation of some sort of great, scientific statement. And I think we've discovered over the years there isn't science, there's a lot of opinion."

Graham went on to deny the fact-checking parity he has been effectively demanding for years: "Liberals can argue they shouldn't have to observe some quota in which everyone gets an equally true and false rating. We understand that -- we don't expect you to give Donald Trump an equally true and false rating. But wewould expect to smome extent that you wouldapply the same standards to Republicans and Democrats, and they have a really bad habit of not doing that." This from the guy who wants you to think Democrats are all liars and Trump merely "exaggerates" and "makes things sound as good as they possibly can" and that shouldn't he held accountable for it. And, of course, he went on to rant about Trump and conservatives were rated as liars much more often than Democrats as liberals. So, yes, Graham absolutely expects and demands fact-checking parity.

Continuing to read from his book (which is certainly a surefire way to fill out a half-hour of podcast time), Graham also complained that PolitiFact fact-checked Hillary Clinton's camapaign memoir and didn't find anything false in it, and "that includes blaming the news media for her loss (they were 91 percent anti-Trump)." In fact, "the media" -- as defined by the MRC's extremely narrow description of "explicitly evaluative statements" on theevening newscasts of CBS, NBC and ABC -- was anti-Hillary, and Graham and the MRC knew it. As we documented, the MRC found in the same 2016 "study" that claimed a 91 percent negative rating for Trump that "the media" was 79 percent negative against Hillary. But it downplayed those results in order to push the "media hates Trump" narrative.

Graham also denied that he and that MRC are trying to destroy fact-checking, citing a call from what he derisively called "the dopes at Snopes" worried that the MRC's anti-fact-checking jihad meant, in his words, that "we were going to declare all of, you know, every fact-check is a fraud, or that there is no such notion or facts or truth. You know, I think part of the problem here is that we disagree on what facts are sometimes, and there's so many times that on these matters of evaluation that liberals confuse their own opinions with the facts." Of course, Graham will never admit that he's doing the exact same thing.

Graham ultimately huffed of the Washington Post's Pinocchio ratings system: "I think we can all predict there's not going to be a lot of four-Pinocchio ratings for Biden. The Washington Post is not going to count how many thousands of lies or false statements that Biden's committed. Which only underlines this whole project was to make a rhetorical point and to score the other side's rhetoric was full of lies." hethen argued that political rhethoric should not be judged as true or false and that only "obviously false or tremendously misleading" statements should be held to account.

Again: All this whining from Graham is because Trump keeps being exposed as a serial spreader of falsehoods and misinformation, and not only doesn't he think Trump should ever face any consequences for that, he doesn't want Trump's lies to taint the rest of the right-wing media. So fact-checkers must be brought down.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:21 PM EST
CNS Promoted 'Unmasking' Claims -- But Was Silent When They Were Debunked
Topic: CNSNews.com

As part of its being a loyal pro-Trump media outlet, CNSNews.com uncritically promoted claims from President Trump and his supporters that the process of "unmasking" -- the process of revealing what U.S. person is being communicated with by a foreigner who is being monitored by U.S. intelligence -- was a bad thing and used as a political weapon against Trump:

  • A February 2018 article touted how "Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit today seeking all documents involving former U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power who reportedly sought to unmask more than 260 Americans in that election year.
  • A May 2018 item quoted a Mark Levin rant: "How about unmasking? How about unmasking of individuals in Trump world and leaking their names to the media?"
  • A July 2018 column by Tim Graham and Brent Bozell complained that "Obama intelligence officials were spying on the Trump campaign in 2016, unmasking identities in a search for dirt to bury him. "
  • In a December 2018 article, Susan Jones wrote of Michael Flynn that "Flynn's defenders note that he was the victim of illegal surveillance and unmasking by members of the Obama administration, but so far, no one in that orbit has been held accountable."

In May, Jones wrote about how then-acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grennell would be releasing "the names of the Obama administration officials who requested the unmasking of people being surveilled by FISA warrants," adding, "As Ken Starr noted, the unmasking isn't the problem: 'The key is, who leaked the classified information? ...That is the crime. That's the very serious crime.'" The day after that article was published, Jones wrote another one quoting Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham demanding, ""The question for us as a Congress is, did the Obama administration use unmasking as a political weapon? That's the question that I want to answer."

That was followed by an article by Melanie Arter doing stenography for Trump: "Former Vice President Joe Biden can’t say he knew nothing about the unmasking of Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn if he was one of the unmaskers, President Donald Trump said Wednesday. Biden was one of several Obama administration officials whose name appears on the declassified list of officials who requested the unmasking. Also listed are former FBI Director James Comey, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper."

CNS cranked out more unmasking-related articles in the following days:

  • Jones again touted how Former Vice President Joe Biden was among the many Obama administration officials who requested the unmasking of an American citizen who turned out to be Gen. Michael Flynn," adding that Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz called this "bad news for Joe Biden ahead."
  • Jones stated that "Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) says Congress must investigate the "simply stunning" revelation that the Obama administration apparently interfered with the transition of power to the legitimately elected Trump administration," adding as she did in her previous article, "There is nothing illegal about unmasking names. But leaking those names, which is what happened to Flynn, is illegal."
  • Jones then reported that "Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told CNN's John Berman on Thursday he doesn't remember why he requested the unmasking of a name that turned out to be that of incoming National Security Director Michael Flynn."
  • In yet another article, Jones wrote, "Recently released documents show that 16 Obama administration officials requested to know the name of the American citizen who was mentioned anonymously in foreign intelligence reports. That unmasked person turned out to be incoming National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, whose name was leaked to a Washington Post columnist."
  • Jones then complained that "there was no follow-up" from an interviewer after Biden denied knowledge of an investigation into Flynn, adding that "Biden's name appears on the long list of Obama administration officials who requested the unmasking of an American citizen who turned out to be Michael Flynn. 

But a few days after that flurry of articles, it was revealed that Flynn's name was never masked in regard to his phone call with the Russian ambassador, meaning talk of it being "unmasked" is moot, and that talk of "unmasking" regarding Flynn likely didn't involve that conversation. Jones and CNS censored news of that finding.

Neverthesss, CNS had apparently decided that "unmasking" was a thing -- probably because the Trump White House decreed that it was. Jones excitedly wrote in a May 28 article:

U.S. Attorney John Durham, as part of his investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia case, has been looking into the issue of unmasking.

But now, U.S. Attorney General William Barr has ordered a separate review, Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec told Fox News's Sean Hannity Wednesday night[.]

This was followed by Arter writing that "Former Deputy Assistant General Rod Rosenstein was either complicit in wrongdoing in signing off on the FISA applications that led to the surveillance and eventual unmasking of former National Security Adviser Gen. Michael Flynn or Rosenstein’s performance of his duties 'was grossly negligent,' Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said Wednesday."

On June 12, Graham complained: "When it broke that Biden, in his last days as vice president, joined a list of other Obama officials requesting the 'unmasking' of an American who turned out to be incoming Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn — which led to a smear about the former Army major general being a Russian pawn — the story drew merely 62 seconds of coverage: 55 seconds on ABC, 7 seconds on CBS, and none on NBC. Voters who rely on these cynics for 'news' wouldn't even understand the Big Picture: that Team Obama improperly spied on the Trump campaign and was still trying to ruin Trump's presidency during the transition."

Needless to say, Jones, Arter and Graham all failed to tell their readers that Flynn's name was never masked.

Finally, CNS' agitation got the results it was looking for, as detailed in a July 28 article by Arter:

Attorney General Bill Barr told the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that he has named U.S Attorney John Bash to investigate the issue of unmasking.

At the oversight hearing, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) asked, “Thirty-eight people unmasked Michael Flynn's name, 48 times in a two-month time frame. Several people at the Treasury Department unmasked Michael Flynn's name. Is this an issue that Mr. Durham is looking into?”

“I’ve asked another U.S. attorney to look into the issue of unmasking, because of the high number of unmaskings, and some that do not readily appear to have been in the line of normal business,” Barr said.

And that's pretty much the last any CNS reader heard of the alleged unmasking "scandal." Why? Because that investigation turned out to be a bust. As an actual news outlet reported on Oct. 13:

The federal prosecutor appointed by Attorney General William P. Barr to review whether Obama-era officials improperly requested the identities of individuals whose names were redacted in intelligence documents has completed his work without finding any substantive wrongdoing, according to people familiar with the matter.

The revelation that U.S. Attorney John Bash, who left the department last week, had concluded his review without criminal charges or any public report will rankle President Trump at a moment when he is particularly upset at the Justice Department. The department has so far declined to release the results of Bash’s work, though people familiar with his findings say they would likely disappoint conservatives who have tried to paint the “unmasking” of names — a common practice in government to help understand classified documents — as a political conspiracy.

[...]

Bash’s team was focused not just on unmasking, but also on whether Obama-era officials provided information to reporters, according to people familiar with the probe, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive investigation. But the findings ultimately turned over to Barr fell short of what Trump and others might have hoped, and the attorney general’s office elected not to release them publicly, the people familiar with the matter said. 

You will not be surprised to learn that CNS devoted no article to the unmasking probe being a failure, let alone question why Barr refused to publicly release the report. In fact, the only mention of the probe's failure at CNS in the two months since it was first reported (by others) came in passing in an Oct. 22 article by Arter, buried deep in a transcript in which CNN host Chris Cuomo noted that "the DOJ passed on its latest investigation in terms of bringing any charges about unmasking."

This is the state of "news" at CNSNews.com.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 PM EST
Saturday, December 12, 2020
MRC's Fondacaro Parrots Fox News In Hypocritically Crying Hypocrisy
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center loves to complain about the "revolving door" of media people who go to work inside Democratic administrations -- but they get really snippy when it's pointed out that it's even more of an issue with Fox News employees who worked for the Trump administration. This time, in a Nov. 24 post, Nicholas Fondacaro lets a Fox News host do all the hypocritical handwaving:

With President-elect Biden stocking up on staff to fill his cabinet, we’re already starting to see the revolving door between politics and the liberal media begin to turn again. Fox News Channel media analyst and host of Media Buzz, Howard Kurtz was on the case Tuesday night as he pointed out the men and women of The Swamp who were leaving the CNN and MSNBC payrolls to go work for Biden. Of course, he also pointed out the hypocrisy of how Fox News was criticized with President Trump.

“As Joe Biden starts to staff his administration, the revolving door between media and politics is spinning once again,” Kurtz reported at the top of the Special Report segment.

[...]

After noting that President Obama had hired over two dozen journalists for his administration (the NewsBusters count had it at 30), Kurtz pointed out the liberal media’s hypocrisy. “That musical chairs tradition is widely viewed as routine, but Fox News drew criticism for those who moved between the network on the Trump administration, including John Bolton, Heather Nauert, Bill Shine, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders,” he said.

So the MRC came up with 30 people across the entire non-right-wing media of numerous outlets over an eight-year presidency. By contrast, 21 employees from just a single company, Fox News, worked for the Trump administration -- which doesn't even count Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle not just becoming Donald Trump Jr.'s girlfriend but vociferously campaigning for Trump's re-election. Despite the apples-and-oranges comparison, Fondacaro rushed to join Kurtz in hypocritically screaming "hypocrisy!" cheering how "Kurtz called out CNN’s Trump attacker turned Secretary of State nominee Tony Blinken":

That hypocrisy largely came from the likes of CNN. In the summer of 2018, Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter pontificated about how there had “never” been a “love story” like Trump and Fox News. “Fox and Trump, Trump and Fox. You know they're close. But do you realize just how close” he declared at the time. “[T]his kind of relationship has never existed between a U.S. president and a TV network. It. Is. Unprecedented.” Meanwhile, CNN had already failed to inform viewers of Blinken’s change of position.

And in March of 2018, Anderson Cooper did an entire segment complaining: “It's a presidency that was essentially born on reality TV, and now the lines between reality and TV may be blurring even further.” He was saying that because Trump had taken Larry Kudlow from CNBC to be the director of the United States National Economic Council.

In that 2018 post, Fondacaro played the same hypocrisy card, falsely pretending that Trump's obsession with a single media outlet, and vice versa is exactly the same thing as people from numerous companies choosing to work for a Democratic administration, whining that it was "totally false" for Stelter to point out "the handful of Fox News people Trump had hired and suggested that Fox News was “propp[ing] up” the Trump presidency as if without them it would collapse."

When Stelter brought up Guilfoyle dating Trump Jr., Fondacaro went into whataboutism mode:

While Stelter tried to make their dating sound out of the ordinary, the liberal media was actually married into the Obama administration.

According to The Washington Post, “CNN’s deputy Washington bureau chief, Virginia Moseley, is married to Tom Nides,” who was Hillary Clinton’s deputy secretary of state. ABC reporter Claire Shipman was actually married to then-White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, so where were the concerns about all of ABC being tainted by their marriage? There’s a lot more where those came from.

Of course, there's a difference between being married to the deputy secretary of state -- a non-political job -- and being the girlfriend of the president's son and trading on her Fox News fame in actively campaigning for Trump, which Fondacaro offered no evidence Moseley ever did. (Deputy news bureau chiefs don't have that kind of fame, something that apparently escaped Fondadcaro.) Also, ABC was not "tainted" by Shipman's marriage to Carney because Shipman stopped covering politics when Carney, a former journalist, became press secretary.

Fondacaro closed his post by huffing, "It’s only a matter of time before the Biden administration started to hire the “journalists” that covered him and helped to prop up his campaign." But neither of the two people he named immediately prior to that -- Stelter and Cooper -- have indicated they will leave their CNN positions to work for Biden.

Fondacaro is so deep into his hypocrisy (and his deliberate lies) that he can't see how ridiculous he looks.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:31 AM EST
WND's Election Conspiracy-Mongering, Part 4
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Even as the Trump campaign's attempts to overturn the election they lost met with failure after failure in court, WorldNetDaily'scolumnist have continued to push conspiracy theories supporting those doomed efforts. Let's take a look at what they've claimed since the last time we checked.

The height, breadth, length and depth of the American left's criminal conspiracy to steal the presidency and nullify our Constitution is unparalleled in our history, and ranks with the many stories in the Bible when corruption was so pervasive in the elite strata of government and the clergy that there seemed no hope for its overthrow.

We are truly witnessing corruption of biblical proportions that God alone can deliver us from. We don't yet know how this struggle will end, but we do know that He has empowered President Trump and a massive MAGA army of constitutionalists to wage war in the cause of truth in a manner unseen since the founding of this nation.

President Trump broke the Alinsky Box by turning out a Red Tsunami of freedom-loving voters on Nov. 3, and I believe that if we all press in and fight like tigers to defeat the leftist coup, we WILL save this nation and smash the domestic and foreign enemies behind it.

-- Scott Lively, Nov. 20 WND column

There's one more way to cheat that is really, really easy. That is called "electronic voting." It's so easy to cheat with electronic voting because the whole thing is run by computers that can be controlled by the people who make the software. Thankfully, most of those people are Democratic friends.

The only real problem that can happen with electronic voting is when the other guy is SO popular with the voters and your guy is SO unpopular that you have to stop the computers in the middle of the election night and change the software to help your guy catch up – AFTER everyone thought the other guy won. Whew! That's a tough one.

If you do that, then there is a pretty good chance the voters will think something is wrong with the election.

-- Scott Lively, Nov. 23 WND column

Any serious person who has listened to Sidney Powell or witnessed a media appearance from her during this past week can hardly doubt her sincere belief in the veracity of the corruption claims that have been brought to her attention. By distancing themselves from Powell, the Trump legal team allows her the freedom to pursue these allegations of corruption across party lines.

Sidney Powell is a serious lawyer who has poignantly stated that she never says anything she cannot prove, and who has had, up until this moment, a generally unassailable reputation. 

[...]

Before counting Sidney Powell out, think back to the last time the whole political establishment united across party lines to disavow a determined and indomitable political force. It was the year 2016, and that force was Donald J. Trump. We all know how that scenario played out.

-- Teresa Blazewicz, Nov. 24 WND column

I drafted a "Declaration of Restoration" that frames the legal path forward.  My prescription then and now is invoke this law to alter, not abolish, our government, by the use of the emergency powers of the president, to impose necessary election reforms through a new presidential election with just two sections: 1) a re-vote for president and all down-ticket races; and 2) a binding referendum question allowing voters to affirm or reject the reform package as a guarantee of election integrity in all future elections.

Hillary Clinton pronounced on Aug. 25 that Joe Biden should not concede the election under any circumstances. In retrospect, I believe she was baiting a trap for conservatives to jump on her with both feet and thus preemptively neuter any argument from our side that Trump should not concede. I never took that bait, and I'm saying, loud and clear right now, that Donald Trump should not vacate the White House unless he does so because he agrees he legitimately lost the election and was not cheated out of it through election fraud.

If he knows the election was fraudulent and he really did win, he has a legal and moral duty to preserve the republic by implementing an election do-over.

-- Scott Lively, Nov. 30 WND column

While votes in numerous states across America are still in doubt, former Vice President Joe Biden has rushed in, taken the highest seat of honor, and exalted himself for all the world to see -- but the master of the banquet (the Electoral College) has not yet arrived.

As rampant voter fraud is being uncovered in every contested swing state – attested to in signed affidavits from multitudes of witnesses – the 2020 U.S. presidential election is anything but settled.

[...]

As for fake President-Elect Joe Biden, what is becoming clearer each day is that amidst all his lies and deceit, he seems to have made at least one honest statement during the 2020 campaign. In a rare appearance on Oct. 24, he stated, "We have put together, I think, the most extensive and inclusive voter-fraud organization in the history of American politics."

-- "George Bailey," Nov. 30 WND column

As a lawyer who once represented the Maricopa County Elections Department, it has been appalling for me to see the mainstream media (MSM) breathlessly blabbing over and over that there is no "evidence" of election fraud.

They even had the nerve to claim that Sidney Powell, a former high-level Justice Department attorney, who served as lead counsel in more than 500 appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, had no evidence of fraud in the presidential election. They pretended she just put her hard-earned reputation on the line to hold a press conference with Rudy Giuliani based on lies. Sadly, the MSM is able to fool a lot of the public, because the public doesn’t understand the law.

Powell and the Trump legal team have compiled hundreds, if not thousands, of affidavits from people swearing to election fraud in the presidential election. Affidavits are evidence.

Many court cases are decided based on evidence from affidavits alone. If affidavits aren’t considered evidence, then millions of court judgments going back many years in this country must be thrown out.

-- Rachel Alexander, Nov. 30 WND column

Over those years, the same people decided that they liked the way the CCP rolled in controlling the Chinese nation and its people. They liked the way Christians and other religious minorities were controlled. They liked the black market for human organ transplants. They liked the reality of a government that told its population how things were going to be, and that was the end of the discussion. Maybe they decided that America should be more like China and that open debate should be censored here, just as it is there. Maybe they decided that tyranny was the world's future.

Perhaps they saw that electronic voting machines were the perfect way to rid themselves of those pesky elections, where anything could happen (such as a President Donald Trump in 2016).

They might even have decided that just a few states could control an entire national election with undetectable fraud.

And maybe now they have been caught. Was their effort a conspiracy? A well-organized fraud? Or is it simply treason?

It is the just decree of Heaven that a traitor never sees his danger till his ruin is at hand. -- Pietro Metastasio

-- Craige McMillan, Dec. 4 WND column

The bottom line, fellow patriots and true Americans, is that because time is short before November's presidential election is truly lost for good, the president must put his fears aside, fire Blowhard Bill, appoint a non-swamp-infected interim AG and clean out the rats' nest. In so doing, the interim AG must order his department to support the president in his election contest and take steps, if necessary, to lay the groundwork for the declaration of martial law, until the fraud that "elected" Biden and Harris is fully uncovered and a new election held – one without mail-in ballots and crooked computer systems like Dominion to tabulate and "count" the votes.

Short of that, violent revolution may be on the horizon, as it was in the early stages of the formation of our republic.

-- Lary Klayman, Dec. 4 WND column

Thus far, Bill Barr and Christopher Wray have been remarkably mum on the topic of election integrity, and in some cases their comments have even undercut the president's position. As far as we can tell, virtually none of the massive resources these men can bring to bear have been deployed to get to the bottom of what happened in this election cycle.

Surely, though, if the law enforcement machinery of the United States government can turn on a dime to investigate a decades-old and completely unsubstantiated (in fact, refuted) allegation of sexual assault against a model citizen like Brett Kavanaugh, it could also, in theory, bestir itself to examine whether the reported result of our recent presidential election was legitimate or not, and whether fraud was a significant factor or not.

My view, Mr. President, is that getting answers to these questions about election integrity is probably the most grave and pressing task that either Mr. Barr or Mr. Wray will ever tackle in the course of their long careers of public service. We have a right to expect that they will answer the call. If they don't, you should not hesitate to dismiss them and find someone who will.

-- Nicholas Waddy, Dec. 7 WND column

(And we're not even close to being done.)


Posted by Terry K. at 12:29 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, December 13, 2020 6:11 PM EST
Friday, December 11, 2020
Hard Labor: MRC Spins Away Rubio's Self-Own Tweet
Topic: Media Research Center

Alex Christy really earned his Media Research Center paycheck in a Nov. 26 post, given the amount of effort he exerted in trying to spin a goofy self-own by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio into a profound statement.

Christy set up his post as sneering at a "typical liberal CNN commentary" by host Brianna Keilar, who pointed out that Rubio's daily Bible verse are typically accompanied by a political attack on Democrats, calling it a "one-two punch." Nuh-uh, says Christy, who timed them:

Does anyone who actually uses Twitter think that tweets that are posted 25 minutes apart are a "one-two punch"? The one was "just before" the other? The cabinet-picks tweet was at 9:08 AM, the Proverbs quote at 9:33. Would you say a 9:08 CNN "news" segment was right next to one 25 minutes later?

Christy did not say whether Rubio tweeted anything in between those two tweets; if not, those two tweet would, in fact, be "right next" to each other on Rubio's feed.

That second tweet from Rubio was a highly ratioed statement that "Biden’s cabinet picks went to Ivy League schools, have strong resumes, attend all the right conferences & will be polite & orderly caretakers of America’s decline." Keilar pointed out that not only did many people in the Trump administration go to Ivy League schools (including Trump his own bad self, who claim an degree from Penn), Joe Biden and Joe Biden will be the first presidential ticket in 44 years in which neither attended an Ivy League school. Christy responded with an, um, alternate interpretation:

She then tried to paint Rubio as a hypocrite by showing all the Ivy Leaguers in the Trump Administration including Trump himself, all she did was prove that Republicans aren't a bunch of proudly ignorant anti-intellectuals. They're not mocking expertise, they're mocking the arrogance of liberal experts.

Ironically, Keilar suggested the Republicans hate educated people and then pointed out their Ivy League degrees. It's the CNN types who never acknowledged any expertise on the Trump team. For example, Keilar then mocked "Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, and senior advisor whose portfolio constantly eclipses his expertise, went to Harvard."

Keilar would go onto allege that Kushner got into Harvard because his father made a $2.5 million donation to the school, but that misses the point. Kushner, while being routinely mocked by the experts, helped get more Middle East peace agreements in four years than the entire Ivy League/Georgetown-to-State Department pipeline got in the preceding several decades.

Yeah, it's so difficult to negotiate peace deals between countries that were never at war. Christy didn't epxplain why Kushner going to Harvard under daddy's donation made him better at that.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:15 PM EST
Updated: Friday, December 11, 2020 5:16 PM EST
Dick Morris Rants About 'Election Fraud' At Newsmax
Topic: Newsmax

Despite years of laughably failed prognositications, Newsmax inexplicably thinks Dick Morris deserves a platform to suck up to President Trump. And since Trump's current platform is making baseless and discredited claims that the election was stolen from him, Morris is ranting about that too.

In a Dec. 1 Newsmax TV appearance, Morris obliged:

"I think that the issue of scale, you have obstruction from the secretaries of state, you have obstruction from the courts, the Democratic-controlled courts, and it's very hard to penetrate that to get evidence enough to reverse several million votes, but there certainly is enough episodic evidence to establish a pattern of fraud," Morris told Tuesday's "American Agenda."

Morris also questioned Attorney General Bill Barr's statement earlier Tuesday that the Justice Department had uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would tip the results of the presidential election.

"I'd like to know the number of people they had doing it and what they did," Morris said. "But this fraud was so deeply concealed within the voting machines that it was almost undetectable. You would need a top-level forensic computer expert to go in there and detect it.

"These voting machines were designed by people who worked for Hugo Chavez with the sole intention of creating a system that could be hacked without anyone knowing about it, results that could be flipped, votes that could be altered, and I'm not sure DOJ probed it to that level."

Questionable claims about Chavez -- the Venezuelan leader who died seven years ago -- are a staple of right-wing conspriacy theories about the election.

Morris got his own column on Dec. 2 to rant further about this, plus the upcoming Georgia Senate runoff:

After the stolen presidential election of 2020, Georgia Democrats are looking to compound their malfeasance by stealing the two outstanding Senate runoffs there and, with them, control of the U.S. Senate. Republicans, who should be kicking themselves for letting the Democrats steal Georgia in November, are about to let them do it again in the January, 2021 second round Senate elections.

We can’t let them steal Georgia a second time.

If we lose the Senate, the White House, and the U.S. House of Representatives, the Democrats will use their victories to alter fundamentally our entire system of government.

[...]

This nightmare scenario will happen unless the Georgia State Legislature and the state’s governor (all nominally Republicans) act now to stop the very same election fraud that delivered the state to Joe Biden in November.

The very same inspectors, election officials, and rigged vote tabulating machines are standing by to do in January what they did in November. And they will do it unless we stop them.

Morris then demanded thatthe runoff use "hand counting of ballots" be used in the runoff and a list of voters be made public in order to "review them to spot irregularities like unregistered voters, votes from people who have moved away, and votes from persons who are deceased."


Posted by Terry K. at 1:58 PM EST
Updated: Friday, December 11, 2020 2:41 PM EST
How Is CNS' Jones Spinning Skyrocketing COVID Rates Now?
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com -- mainly Susan Jones -- reported on coronvirus after the presidential election pretty much the way it did before the election: downplaying the number of cases and deaths in an attempt to make President Trump look good.

Jones' Nov. 10 article started ominously: "The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention counts a total of 9,913,553 COVID cases in this country since January, with 105,142 new cases reported on Monday alone." But then she went into her usual bogus downplaying: "As the number of COVID cases escalates, deaths are nowhere near the record set in mid-April."

The next day, Jones attacked Dr. Michael Osterholm, a member of President-elect Joe Biden's COVID-19 advisory board (not that Jones was ready to identify Biden as presient-elect, mind you) for predicting the U.S. could see 200,000 cases by the Christmas holidays because "he is on record as advocating another lockdown." She then tried to deflect by throwing out per-capita coronavirus numbers:

According to the latest data from the federal Centers for Disease Control Prevention, 122,910 new COVID cases were reported in the past 24 hours, or 34.6 cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days.

Total deaths, based on death certificates submitted to CDC, stand at 237,731, or 0.3 per 100,000 people in the last seven days.

But Osterholm's prediction has turned out to be correct: the number of new cases has averaged more than 200,000 over the past week.

Jones spun further in a Nov. 17 article:

An average of 4,256 people died of COVID in September, about the same as the average 4,206 who died in June. Those two months mark the low point so far for COVID deaths in this country.

According to NCHS, the 3,982 COVID-involved deaths for the week ending September 26 -- the most recent time period for which the data is fairly reliable -- is 76.69 percent below the mid-April peak, when 17,087 COVID deaths were reported; and 51.51 percent below the second peak of 8,213 COVID deaths in early August.

By Dec. 1, however, Jones had to admit a little bit reality about rising case and mortality numbers, while still desperately invoking the higher April numbers for comparison:

"COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths across the United States are rising," the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says on its website.

Based on the most recent death certificates submitted to CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, COVID-involved deaths in recent weeks are indeed rising, but they remain far below the record 17,089 deaths counted in the week ending April 18.

But in a Dec. 10 article, Jones was back in hard-spin mode even as cases and deaths skyrocket by focusing on an age group with the lowest fatality rate:

The number of COVID-involved deaths in this country -- 15,594 in the last seven days -- is now reaching levels not seen since the mid-April peak, according to the official tally maintained by the National Center for Health Statistics, which is part of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But of the 261,530 COVID-involved deaths recorded by NCHS as of Dec. 9, fewer than one percent (2,450 or 0.93 percent) involved people age 34 or younger. This includes school-age children forced to learn remotely; and college-age people who, along with the rest of us, are discouraged -- and in some cases barred by executive order -- from patronizing bars and restaurants indoors.

People aged 35-44 -- this includes prime working age people -- account for 4,917 of total COVID deaths so far, or 1.88 percent.

According to death certificates submitted to and recorded by NCHS on a rolling basis, at least 7,367 people (2.81 percent) ages 44 or younger had died of COVID as of Dec. 9.

That's the kind of spin that keeps one employed at CNS.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:49 AM EST
Updated: Friday, December 11, 2020 12:57 AM EST
Thursday, December 10, 2020
FALSE: MRC Misleads To Falsely Claim All-Female Biden Comms Team Is A 'Lie'
Topic: Media Research Center

Nicholas Fondacaro has gotten away with lying on behalf of the Media Research Center for so long, NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck has apparently decided to give it a try. Houck ranted in a Nov. 30 post:

Between late Sunday and Monday morning, the liberal media showcased their latest double standard between Democratic and Republican administrations and a failure to grasp reality. This time, outlets hailed President-Elect Joe Biden’s hiring of the “first” all-female White House communications team that’s “breaking barriers” despite the fact that the Trump administration’s top communications officials are all women.

Currently, women hold the positions of White House communications director (Alyssa Farah), deputy White House communications director (Roma Daravi), deputy White House press secretary (Sarah Matthews), press secretary for the First Lady (Stephanie Grisham), press secretary for the Second Lady (Kara Brooks), vice presidential communications director (Katie Miller), and White House press secretary (Kayleigh McEnany).

[...]

These three networks weren’t alone as flacks from the Associated Press, The New York Times,The Washington Post, and the taxpayer-funded NPR and PBS also willfully shared this lie far and wide.

Actually, the lying flack here is Houck, as evidence by his linking to a tweet from Farah as evidence. He pulls a dishonest sleight-of-hand by deliberately not comparing apples to oranges, referencing Trump's "top communications officials," obscuring the fact that two deputy press secretaries in Trump's office, Judd Deere and Brian Morgenstern, are, um, men. Since the Biden deputy press secretaries will also be women, it's absolutely true that the White House comms team under Biden is the very first all-female team.

Houck's failure to grasp reality continued as he whined, "Not everyone willfully ignored this falsehood, but instead of correcting the record or offering fact-checks, many of these same actors chose to explain why this narrative wasn’t a lie and instead fully accurate." He then lashed out at one of his great personal enemies, CNN's Brian Stelter, for accurately pointing out that men work in the White House comms office.

Houck concluded by sneering, "Stelter’s incapable of feeling shame, so he won’t cop to this narrative being a case of jiggery pokery." Says the guy who's so incapable of feeling shame that he's lying to our faces -- and he'll never cop to it, because he knows his employer will let him get away with it just as Fondacaro has, even though such blatant lies damage what little reputation for accuracy the MRC has.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:27 PM EST
WND Censors News Of Fox News Settlement Over Seth Rich Conspiracies
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In late November, it was announced that Fox News had settled a lawsuit filed by the family of Seth Rich -- which reportedly involves paying the Rich family a seven-figure settlement -- over a false story it published on its website pushing the conspiracy theory that Rich, a Democratic staffer who was murdered in 2016, was killed because he leaked Democratic emails to WikiLeaks.

Strangely, WorldNetDaily has not reported the settlement to its readers. Why? Perhaps because it narrowly avoided getting sued itself.

As we've documented, WND loved pushing Seth Rich conspiracy theories. Not only did it enlist notorious conspiracy-mongerer Liz Crokin to write stories about Rich, it treated claims from fraudster Jack Burkman seriously, and it leaned into its longtime Clinton hatred to suggest the Clintons may have been involved in Rich's death. We've also documented that WND knew or should have known at the time it was pushing those conspiracy theories that they were false, since Jerome Corsi knew so at a time when he was still employed by WND in 2016 (something WND also hasn't admitted to its readers).

WND even created a GoFundMe page to purportedly fund reporting to "help crack" Rich's murder, cynically and falsely suggesting that the Rich family supported it; the campaign raised less than $5,000 and nobody has donated to it in more than two years. (The fact that WND fired all its reporters as it sank into financial insolvency might also be an issue in doing any sort of reporting on that or anything else.)

While WND has largely stayed away from spreading Seth Rich over the past couple of years, neither has it told readers the conspiracy theories are frauds. WND columnist Jack Cashilll didn't get that message, though, pushing those conspiracy theories anew in a column appropriately published on April 1.

WND largely staying away from this story also means that it hasn't apologized to its readers for treating lies as truth. Until it can start to behave honestly, there's no reason to believe it has learned any lessons from its ongoing death spiral, and therefore hasn't demonstrated that it deserves to live.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:13 PM EST
NEW ARTICLE: CNS' 2020 Election Bias, Part 2
Topic: CNSNews.com
More bias in action: Not only did CNSNews.com uncritically promote Trump's election fraud conspiracy theories, its editor whined that Joe Biden's victory speech interrupted his football game. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 9:00 AM EST
Wednesday, December 9, 2020
The MRC's Year Of Heathering The Lincoln Project For Criticizing Trump
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center Heathered a lot of conservartives this year for committing the offense of criticizing Donald Trump or being less than totally subservient to him. But its biggest Heathering target by far was the Lincoln Project. a group of conservatives appalled by Trump who worked to defeat him in 2020.

From the start, the MRC labored to deny the conservative backgrounds of the project's founders. The Heathering began in December 2019, when Tim Graham pedantically complained that a New York Times op-ed by the project's leaders, headlined "quot;We Are Republicans, And We Want Trump Defeated," was inaccurate because three of the four signatories "ceremoniously left the Republican fold over Trump." In January, Bill D'Agostino whined that the project wasn't a "conservative group," just "a PAC created by frequent CNN guest George Conway, and populated by formerly Republican never-Trumpers like Rick Wilson and Steve Schmidt. A few days later, Joseph Vazquez put "Republican political strategist" in scare quotes when describing Wilson.

In May, Curtis Houck listed the Lincoln Project among "grifting organizations," while Mark Finkelstein sneered that it was nothing more than "an assemblage of "Republican" Trump haters including George Conway, Steve Schmidt, and Rick Wilson. Joseph Vazquez complained that an heiress to the Walmart fortune donated money to the group after it made "a disgusting anti-Trump coronavirus ad," going on to huff further about "The Lincoln Project’s anti-Trump-obsessed cause."

Gabriel Hays tried to deny the conservative pedigree of the project's supporters again an a whiny rant: "Ah yes, catering to the people who hate every lofty norm and principle you pride yourself on holding over the president just so you can revel in a collective “F Trump!” That’s called being a principled conservative right there. ... Steve Schmidt slanders conservatives on MSNBC daily, and we all know how cuckoo Mr. Conway is. Just imagine handing your country over to the pro-infanticide, pro-gun control, and God-hating left and then smiling at your 'prominent Republican' self in the mirror. If Trump is destroying America, then what the hell are you doing?"

In July, Brad Wilmouth huffed that one TV host wasn't "accurately describing the Lincoln Project as a group of disaffected former Republicans who are anti-Trump," and P.J. Gladnick cheered that Wilson was attacked as a "grifter" by, of all people, Stephen Colbert's parody cartoon news show.The attacks cranked up in another post by Vazquez, retaliating for a "gross anti-Trump ad" on Trump and Russia by highlilghting a right-wing media story on the project leaders' "own checkered dealings with Russia and the tax man." Kyle Drennen smeared another project member as a "grifter."

Nicholas Fondacaro used the "grifter" smear in an August post, so desperate to attack that he bizarrely cheered how "Twitter sleuths exposed how both Wilson and his wife proudly displayed a Confederate-theme cooler on their Instagram pages." Graham whined that "The Democratic rag known as The Washington Post gushed all over the Biden-endorsing Never Trumpers at the Lincoln Project on the front of Monday's Style section," going on to yet again deny the group's conservative bona fides: "The piece is salted with quotes from 'conservatives' and 'lifelong Republicans' who are campaigning for a President Biden. Are these really 'Republicans' any more? Are they bringing 'conservatives and progressives' together? No, they're not."

Randy Hall seemed pleased that "The Trump-hating ex-Republicans at the Lincoln Project posted a tweet that was so blatantly inaccurate, even Trump-bashing reporters ruled they were wrong on Twitter" -- not that the MRC holds its fellow pro-Trump conservatives, or even itself, to that same level of scrutiny. Alex Christy feigned outrage over Wilson's "deranged" statement that Trump was "narrowcast to white non-college voters with all the scare tactics that are involved in that, all the crazy, you know the, Antifa-anarchist-communists are coming to get you gay Sharia married," further complaining that Wilson "likes to portray himself as a conservative defending conservatism and the republic from President Trump, but he clearly just hates many of his fellow Americans." For Duncan Schroeder, the Lincoln Project became that which must not be named in a September post, describing Wilson only as a "former Republican strategist."

As the election neared, Finkelstein returned to complain that MSNBC "aired a kooky Lincoln Project commercial (gratis?) that explicitly compared Biden to Abraham Lincoln, and compared Trump's supposed refusal to concede power to.... a Lincoln assassination plot?" The ad noted that if Trump lost re-election, "we may face a crisis of similar proportion" to the 1861 assassination attempt on Lincoln prior to his taking office: "an outlaw president defying the will of the people" -- which is exactly what has happened. Finkelstein then did some electioneering which we didn't think was permitted under the MRC's nonprofit tax status: "To the contrary, remember the Buckley Rule: support the most conservative candidate who is electable. When it comes to who is more conservative between President Trump, and a Joe Biden who has bragged that he'd be the most "progressive" president ever. And don't even get us started on president-in-waiting Kamala Harris, the most liberal member of the Senate!"

The MRC's attacks met with so little effect that Jorge Bonilla was reduced to attacking an assistant to the president of the news division at Univsion for retweeting Lincoln Project donation appeals. And on Oct. 8, Vazquez huffed, "The insufferable NeverTrump Lincoln Project, known for its disgusting attack ads against President Donald Trump is set to become a media business." After the Lincoln Project tweeted out the names, photos and email addresses of attorneys who were working to help promote Trump's dubious election fraud claims, Alexander Hall celebrated how "Twitter finally took down a post from The Lincoln Project and reportedly restricted the organization’s account." Weirdly, Hall never claimed the project was being "censored," like he does when Twitter cracks down on Trump and other right-wingers who violate Twitter terms of service.

Finally, Vazquez used a Nov. 16 post to declare that "The hate-filled Lincoln Project failed to make any real impact on the election" -- except, um, for the primary goal of defeating Trump. Vazquez invoked right-wing media critic Joe Concha to redefine failure, under the headline "The Hill’s Joe Concha WRECKS Failed NeverTrump Lincoln Project."

That's some epic, extended Heathering there, guys.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:50 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, December 10, 2020 9:11 AM EST
CNS Is Still Censoring Pro-Trump Columnist's Ties to Trump
Topic: CNSNews.com

Earlier this year, we documented how CNSNews.com published pro-Trump columns by Ken Blackwell while largely censoring the fact that he was an adviser to, and surrogate for, President Trump's re-election campaign. That lack of disclosure never really stopped as the election drew near.

In an Aug. 10 column, Blackwell gushed that "Everything changed with the election of Donald J. Trump, who has kept his promise to rebuild American manufacturing as part of his plan to Make America Great Again," adding, "The record is crystal clear — no other president has done more to strengthen Ohio manufacturers than Donald Trump. The future of our state is brighter than ever before." The end-of=column bio stated: "Ken Blackwell served as the mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio, the Ohio State Treasurer, and Ohio Secretary of State. He currently serves on the board of directors for Club for Growth and National Taxpayers Union.." No mention of Blackwell's role as a Trump surrogate and adviser."

A Sept. 15 column carried the headline "Trump's Labor Department Seeks to Remove Potential for Left-Wing Abuses of Pensions." The bio stated that Blackwell "served as Treasurer of State of Ohio and as a member of the U.S. Department of Labor Advisory Council on Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans. He is a trustee of the Institute for Pension Fund Integrity."

An Oct. 7 column contained advice for Vice President Mike Pence in an upcoming debate with Kamala Harris and insisted of Trump's nonexistent health care plan : "Coverage of pre-existing conditions will not be an issue if Trump is re-elected. The president has made it clear that all pre-existing conditions will be covered under his plan." The bio described Blackwell only as "the former treasurer of the State of Ohio."

In an Oct. 9 column, Blackwell demanded that Joe Biden answer the single most important question in this election: Whether Biden would pack the Supreme Court with additional seats, forever transforming our Constitution’s three-branch form of government into a two-branch system." The bio described Blackwell as "a Senior Fellow for Human Rights and Constitutional Governance at the Family Research Council."

Blackwell followed up on Oct. 13 by ranting that "Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are redefining the words “court packing” in a manner worthy of George Orwell’s "1984," ironically previewing how a packed (i.e., expanded) Supreme Court would redefine the Constitution’s words, abolishing our democratic republic as it has existed for more than 200 years." He was described only as "a distinguished fellow with The American Constitutional Rights Union." and "advisor to the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C."

In a Nov. 10 column, Blackwell cheered Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar for "implementing the president’s healthcare agenda and improving the way health-insurance companies operate by requiring more price transparency," adding, "Who said President Donald Trump didn't have a health plan?" That one identified him as "a Senior Fellow for Human Rights and Constitutional Governance, at the Family Research Council" and "a member of the board directors of the Club For Growth."

On Nov. 23, Blackwell went all-in on Trump's election fraud conspiracy theory: "The 2020 election was stolen because leftists were able to exploit the coronavirus pandemic to weaken, alter, and eliminate laws that were put in place over the course of decades to preserve the integrity of the ballot box. But just as importantly, it was stolen because those same leftists had a thoroughly-crafted plan, and because they were rigorous in its implementation and ruthless in its execution." The end-of-column blurb was a potpourri of his previous posts -- "former Secretary of State of Ohio," "Distinguished Fellow for Human Rights and Constitutional Governance, at the Family Research Council," " United States Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission from 1990-1993" -- but no mention of his Trump advisory job.

Blackwell's rant is highly ironic since, as Right Wing Watch noted, he was accused of overseeing voting irregularities during his stint as Ohio secretary of state that allegedly gave the state to George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election.

There were only two mentions of Blackwell's ties to Trump in an end-of-column blurb. The first came in an Aug. 19 column claiming that "President Donald Trump has an opportunity to secure his legacy with regard to Iran. It is an opportunity to put the U.S. on the moral high ground, encourage millions of Iranians who have been suffering under the ayatollahs’ yoke, and send a shiver down the spine of the tyrants ruling Iran," which did identify him as "on the Advisory Board of Trump-Pence 2020." The second came in a column defending Trump's attempt to overturn the election results under ludicrous headline "Gov. Wolf And His Legion of Darkness Must Be Stopped in Pennsylvania"; that one also identified Blackwell as "a member of the Board of Advisors of the Trump-Pence 2020 Campaign." Also, Blackwell did state in a Nov. 3 column defending the Electoral College that "President Trump’s bipartisan Election Integrity Commission, which I served on from 2017-2018, concluded that a tyranny of the majority or extant voter fraud has yet to manage to swing a presidential election."

CNS' continued failure to consistently identify Blackwell's conflict of interest is another bit of journalistic malpractice from the Media Research Center's "news" division -- and highly ironic given the MRC's eagerness to call out non-right-wing news sources that do something similar.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:10 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, December 9, 2020 6:22 PM EST
WND's Medical Misinformer Asked To Testify Before Congress
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Jane Orient -- the head of the fringe-right Association of American Physicians and Surgeons and longtime medical misinformer -- was invited to testify before the Republican-controlled Senate Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday. To remind us of why this was a bad idea, we need only look to Orient's Nov. 17 WorldNetDaily column, in which she fearmongers about coronavirus vaccines in development:

How safe will you be if you get the Moderna "95% effective" vaccine?

Pfizer and Moderna have announced impressive-sounding effectiveness figures for their revolutionary vaccines. These mRNA vaccines, instead of injecting a weakened virus, use a genetically engineered messenger RNA that turns your own cells into vaccine factories. You make viral spike proteins, then your immune system makes antibodies to this foreign protein. The idea is that the antibodies will attach to the virus so it can't enter your cells. Or that your killer T-cells will recognize the spikey virus and destroy it.

Ingenious – but novel and minimally tested.

[...]

Things we don't know:

  • Will my vaccine protect you? There is no evidence that the vaccine prevents infection or transmission. If it just reduces or eliminates symptoms, the vaccinated person is more likely to be out interacting with people instead of being home in bed.
  • Will there be late or rare side effects? We won't know until months or years after millions of doses have been given.
  • How will it affect fertility, or the health of offspring? It is too soon to say. Remember that genetically modified foreign genetic material is being incorporated into your cells. Should old people and men get it first?
  • Might antibody-dependent enhancement of disease be a problem? This is always a concern in vaccine development and is unpredictable.
  • How long will protection last? Is it more or less robust than natural immunity? Again, it is too early to say.

Orient then attached a graphic claiming to show that "COVID-19 (striped circle in the foreground) is relatively insignificant in the history of plagues. The only one in which vaccination played a significant role was smallpox." Actually, the graphic is a very old one -- dating from as early as March -- listing only 4,700 deaths from COVID-19; the updated version (which Orient didn't use, since it blows up per argument) accurately depicts the current death count of 1.46 million, making it much more significant than Orient wants you to believe.

Needless to say, Orient has a long history of pushing coronavirus misinformation, including embrace of shady, bogus studies that purport to claim that hydroxychloroqine works as a treatment for coronavirus. Also, despite her protestations to the contrary, she is very much an anti-vaxxer.

So, yeah, pretty much what you'd expect to happen in the waning days of the Trump administraiton.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:17 AM EST
Tuesday, December 8, 2020
MRC Tires To Manufacture Outrage At PBS Anchor For Criticizing Trump
Topic: Media Research Center

When CNN host Christiane Amanpour commented on her PBS interview show that President Trump's "assault" on American values by petulantly refusing to admit he lost re-election and dragging the country through baseless and fruitless legal assaults on the election results to Kristallnacht, the Media Research Center saw an attempt to manufacture outrage and try to engage in some cancel culture. Tim Graham cranked up the outrage machine in a Nov. 13 post:

It's bad enough that CNN International anchor Christiane Amanpour viciously tried on Thursday night to compare President Trump not conceding the election to Kristallnachtand the eventual Nazi genocide of the Jews. It's worse that this mudslinging was replayed on taxpayer-funded PBS, where "viewers like us" -- and some super-wealthy Jewish donors, including Bernard Schwartz, who was a massive Democrat donor in the 1990s -- were announced as her sponsors. 

[...]

Now let's poll the American people and ask them how many of them believe that asking for a recount and the Holocaust and comparable historical events.

Displaying his cancel-culture intent, Graham added a link to the PBS ombudsmand and added, "PS: Mark Levin tweeted that Amanpour should be fired."

It goes without saying that no apology Amanpour might offer would ever be enough for Graham and the MRC. Amanpour did offer an apology a few days later, and predictably, the MRC deemed it insufficient. Under a "DEFUND PBS" headline -- one of the MRC's other manufactured-outrage obessions -- Curtis Houck raged:

Four days after comparing President Trump refusing to concede the election to Hitler and the Holocaust, CNN International and PBS host Christiane Amanpour offered a mealy-mouthed non-apology on Monday’s show, telling viewers that she “shouldn’t have juxtaposed the two thoughts” and that she “regret[s] any pain that my statement may have caused.”

And that, dear American readers, is what your tax dollars are going to support. Talk about a lack of a return on investment.

[...]

So much for decency, norms, and yes, #FactsFirst. Let this be a lesson to CNN staff that, no matter how vicious the rhetoric, you shouldn’t have to worry about facing punishment.

Houck further ranted that Amanpour's show was a "liberal snoozefest" and that she offered a "faux mea culpa." And as for not facing punishment for offenses, Houck needs to only look in the MRC headquarters at fellow researcher Nicholas Fondacaro, who we've caught spreading numerous lies yet still remains employed there. Try walking that talk once in a while, Curt (and Tim).


Posted by Terry K. at 9:28 PM EST
Trump Didn't 'Smash The Left,' Though Newsmax Gave Horowitz's Book One Last Spin
Topic: Newsmax

Throughout 2020, Newsmax has heavily promoted a book it published through its Humanix division by right-wing activist David Horowitz, called "Blitz: Trump Will Smash the Left And Win" (while not telling readers that it published the book). But as one reviewer noted, the book didn't actually predict Trump would win re-election, but mostly attacks Democrats.

Well, the election showed that Trump didn't "smash the left" -- he lost (his claims to the contrary notwithstanding). Two days arter the election, Newsmax sent out an email promotion for the book purportedly written by Horowitz. Not only did it lop off the book's subtitle (since that turned out to be disproven by the election results), it's mostly a rant against Fox News for 1) calling Arizona for Trump, and 2) failing to have him on to promote "Blitz," and 3) give an early endorsement of Trump's still-unproven claims the election was stolen from him (overenthusiastic bolding in original):

Fox News, again, refused to call Florida for most of the night . . .

Despite the fact it was clearly won by Trump and other networks like Newsmax and CNN had called Florida for Trump!

Meanwhile, with just 14% of the ballots counted in Arizona, and people still waiting in line in some places to vote, Fox
called Arizona for Biden.

Clearly, Fox has gone AWOL.

The first warning sign apparent to me was BLITZ.

In past years, I was always on Fox. Every book I did was touted by Fox — EXCEPT BLITZ.

Why?

BLITZ exposed George Soros and the billionaires out to stop Trump.

I named names.

It was clear to me Fox wanted to stop Trump.

They even “confirmed” phony claims Trump called our troops “suckers and losers” — and every step of the way tried to belittle him.

Despite Fox’s ban on me and BLITZ, it’s been 10 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list . . .  #1 on Amazon.

[...]

Whether or not the big media and the Democrats in states like Pennsylvania allow a fair vote and Donald Trump becomes president again, you still need to get BLITZ.

It exposes the whole fraud of the left, the media, and the Washington swamp insiders.

These will be the people President Trump will have to fight — or the same people who will back up “President Biden” — God forbid!

Folks, I can’t tell you how shocked I am that this election is being stolen from President Trump.

Except, of course, it is not, as the continued lack of substantiated evidence continues to show. It's worth noting, however, that this is the last email promotion of the book Newsmax sent out, meaning that it's effectively dead.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:26 PM EST

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