Even The MRC Won't Defend Texas In Winter Storm's Aftermath Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Resarch Center was quick to rush to the defense of Texas after an unusual winter storm wreaked havoc on the state's power grid. Nicholas Fondacaro huffed in a Feb. 16 post:
Parts of Texas were in a dangerous situation Tuesday as back-to-back freezing weather systems left the Lone Star state with rolling blackouts as the power grid struggled to heat homes. But while the broadcast networks gawked at their plight, one even blaming it on a lack of federal control, they failed to tell viewers the truth: so-called green energy systems such as wind turbines were freezing over, preventing them from generating the much-needed power.
But Fondacaro was peddling his own (unsurprising) lie of omission: the reason the wind turbines froze over is beause they weren't properly winterized. It's not, as Fondacaro would link you to think, an issue solely of wind turbines that operate just fine in colder climates. And all forms of power generation, not just wind, were affected by the cold.
In a Feb. 18 post, Alex Christy complained that the media has pointed out why Fondacaro's argument was bogus, then tried to pivot toward a new defense:
MSNBC Live host Stephanie Ruhle asked correspondent Morgan Chesky the question that was on a lot of people's minds Wednesday morning: "why is this power grid failing so badly" in Texas? According to both of them, it's because Texas' conservative energy policies led to companies putting profits over people, which resulted in the failure to properly winterize equipment.
According to Chesky, the attempts to blame wind turbines that have stopped working in the low temperatures are misguided because, "that only makes up a small portion of the massive sources of energy that Texas has at its disposal."
Chesky, instead pointed to the "natural gas pipelines that froze up because they're being built without any insulation. And we saw a nuclear plant that provides energy have to temporarily shut down due to a safeguard caused by the cold."
At this point it would have been useful for Chesky to point out that Texas has not only seen very cold weather, but has shattered temperature records that are in some cases well over 100 years old.
That's quite a shift from blaming wind turbines to eclaring it an act of God that nobody could have prepared for (except, you know, by winterizing their power generation equipment).
This was followed by Tierin-Rose Mandelberg complaining:
Earlier this week wintry storms hit the southern part of the United States and so far, more than 20 people have died and 4.1 million people are left without power. This storm is a natural occurrence and everyone knows that ... except everybody’s favorite pagan Bette Midler who thinks it's some sort of retribution from God.
Apparently Midler is so close to God she knows exactly who’s on His naughty and nice list. According to her, since Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn (R-TX) have not accepted Joe Biden’s win, God wanted to punish the state they represent, Texas.
It’s disconcerting that this type of behavior is common among leftists. The storm that hit Texas had nothing to do with politics or mother gaia. But, Tinseltown village idiots love jabbing the right however they can … even if it means telling conservative Texans they deserve to freeze in an ice storm.
Mandelberg seems so unhappy that it can't blame liberals for the storm, so she has to go to the celebrity-bashing well (and the MRC, for some reason, loves to obsess over Midler).
The MRC finally landed on an argument it could live with (if an ancient one), as detailed in a Feb. 22 post by Kyle Drennen: "Over the weekend, NBC’s Today shows on both Saturday and Sunday eagerly tried to exploit the deadly winter weather in Texas to push the Biden administration’s radical climate change agenda. ... The leftist media are never shy about using a crisis to help Democrats force through their agenda." As if attacking non-conservative media outlets for pushing an "agenda" isn't also an agenda.
And that's really all the MRC did. When the Texas storm's aftermath is so severe that even a right-wing apparatchik like the MRC won't come to the defense of a solidly Republican state -- as it became clear that state power officials ignored warnings about generation facilities vulnerable to cold weather and deregulation caused massive price spikes for electric power -- you know things in Texas are bad.
WND's Brown Backsliding To Old Trump-Defending Ways Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've given WorldNetDaily columnist Michael Brown credit for evolving away from his efforts to get his fellow evangelicals to rally around the creepily amoral Donald Trump. But as he attacks President Joe Biden for not hating abortion and gay people the way he does, Brown is slipping into some old bad habits.
In a Jan. 27 column warning against political saviors, Brown noted that Trump was "drawing massive crowds to his rallies, a man prefigured in biblical prophecies, with a cult-like power over his followers. Even Trump's opponents attributed god-like powers to him." But Brown then attacked Biden for having allegedly been ascribed those same powers (though he cited nothing but right-wing websites making that claim):
But if it is not for his great charisma or oratory skill or cult-leader powers, why has he become so exalted by the left? It can only be because he is the anti-Trump, the one to replace Orange Man Bad, the leader who unseated the menace. Is there any other explanation?
If he were simply hailed a decent human being calling for unity (a description which many would still challenge), that would be one thing. But 78-year-old Joe Biden, the latest demigod? Really?
Brown will never admit that the purported "demigod" treatment of Biden is nowhere near as pervasive as the "demigod" treatment Brown's fellow right-wing evangelicals gave to Trump.
In his Feb. 1 column, however, Brown was back to justifying his support for Trump because he served up the right-wing goods:
For the last four years, those of us who voted for Donald Trump and who identify as committed followers of Jesus have been asked incessantly, "How could you vote for him? If you truly believe in what is written in Scripture, how could you vote for a man like Trump?" Now, the tables are turned, and that same question must be asked of those who identify as committed followers of Jesus and who voted for Joe Biden. How could you do it? Did you not see the radical, destructive, anti-Christian policy decisions he would make?
As for the justification of our vote for Trump, our argument has been simple: We agreed that Trump's character and personality could be negative and destructive. But we hoped that the good policy decisions he would make, decisions of massive, life and death proportions, would outweigh his character flaws.
And so, when it came to fighting against the slaughter of the unborn, numbering more than 60 million to date in America since 1973, Trump was our clear choice over Hillary Clinton or Biden. Jesus cares about "the least of these," which most certainly includes the defenseless babies in the womb.
When it came to preserving our religious liberties and our freedoms of conscience and speech, Trump was our clear, hands-down choice.
Later Brown was slightly introspective, but only as a windup to bash Biden:
Were all these gains worth the negative effects of the Trump presidency? In the end, did he do more harm than good? Did he help evangelical causes while damaging the evangelical cause? Did he advance the things we stood for while degrading and defiling us in the process?
Those are fair questions to ask, and I respect those who answer in the negative. That's also why I always respected those Christians who could not vote for either candidate in conscience before God.
But for those Christians who voted for Biden, were you not aware that he would be the most aggressively pro-abortion president in our history (with an even more radical vice president by his side)? Are you surprised that he not only invalidated the Mexico City Policy but has also revoked the Hyde Amendment, all by executive fiat? If you consider yourself pro-life, can you look me in the eye and say, "I'm glad I helped empower President Biden make these life-destroying decisions"? Can you say, "I'm glad every American taxpayer will be forced to fund abortion with the help of my vote"?
Brown is partially lying here; while Biden did reverse the Mexico City policy, he has not "revoked" the Hyde Amendment, though he has switched from supporting it to opposing it. But Brown wasn't done lecturing:
But just as I welcomed those who questioned my vote for Trump, I urge every Christian who voted for Biden to welcome my questions now.
Did you not hear us when we warned about his radical, leftist agenda, only a portion of which was highlighted here? And if you did know these were his plans, can you really justify your vote?
So, here's my totally unsolicited (and perhaps unwanted) advice.
If you voted for Biden, how about a little less self-righteous posturing toward those of us who voted for Trump?
How about all of us acknowledge that the hope for America will not be found in our elected officials but in the gospel, not just preached but lived out?
Well, sure. Perhaps you need to admit once again that you and your fellow evangelicals sold your souls to an immoral, narcissistic adulterer to gain political power.
NEW ARTICLE -- WND's Coronavirus Conspiracies: Even More Bad Takes Topic: WorldNetDaily
From mindless Fauci-bashing to declaring that a vaccine would be the mark of the beast, WorldNetDaily's columnists have been busy spreading fear and bogus claims about COVID-19. Read more >>
CNS Gushes Over Hungary's Anti-LGBT 'Family Values,' Cesnor Its Right-Wing Authoritarianism Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com has longbeen a fan of Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban, a right-wing authoritarian currently bent on exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to make a power grab that would let him rule by decree -- but that doesn't matter to CNS because Orban hates gay people and swrthy immigrants as much as CNS does.
In a Dec. 15 article, managing editor and noted homophobe Michael W. Chapman cheered:
The pro-family, pro-Christian government of Hungary, headed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, passed a law on Tuesday that says a child's sex is determined at birth; that children have a right to grow up in a culture with Christian values; and that homosexual couples are prohibited from adopting children.
Only married couples -- one man and one woman -- are allowed to adopt children in Hungary because every child has a natural right to a real mother and father under the new law. Single people who want to adopt must have their requests approved by Hungary's office of family affairs, which supports the traditional family model, reported NBC News.
"Hungary protects children’s right to identify as the sex they were born with, and ensures their upbringing based on our national self-identification and Christian culture,” states the law.
Chapman mentioned nothing about the authoritarian nature of Orban's goverment that permits him to make such sweeping pronouncements.
Then, in a Feb. 4 article, the mysterious A. Kim -- whose author archive lacks a bio so nobody knows who or what sex this person is -- shilled for the Hungarian government's purportedly pro-family policeis:
Katalin Novak, Hungary’s Minister for Family and Youth Affairs, said societies pursuing low fertility and arbitrary “families,” not the traditional nuclear family -- dad, mom, and kids – are “condemned to death.” She added that, “rejecting family values and promoting immigration go hand in hand.”
“The left does not believe in the role of nation and nation states or identity,” Minister Novak said in an interview with the Portuguese website Dies Irae, and translated into English by journalist Marco Tosatti. “They wish to replace traditional values and identity with a new identity, stripped of heritage. We have seen several attempts at this in history.”
“Rejecting family values and promoting immigration go hand in hand,” she said. “If family, childbearing, and common heritage have no value, then illegal immigrants do not pose any risk and mass immigration is just a matter of numbers required on the labor market.”
Novak continued, “In Hungary, we believe our culture and heritage are worth protecting and transmitting to future generations, so we focus on building a society where marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman, where families are defined by marriage or parent-child relation, and society values children and rewards childbearing.”
“That is why we have been building a family-friendly country since 2010,” she said. “The goal is to enable young couples to realize their family goals on one hand, and on the other, to strengthen families already raising children. We have built up the most extensive family benefit system in the Western world. [Our] central budget allocated to support families is two-and-a-half times higher than it was in 2010 and it amounts to 5% of the total GDP.”
It wasn't until the 19th paragrah that Kim mentioned criticism of Hungary's anti-LGBTQ policies, which Kim let Novak handwave by blithely claiming, "if we are attacked by the left, it must mean that we are not pursuing leftist ideologies but conservative values. This is what we were elected to do." Kim also mentioned nothing about Hungary's repressive, anti-democratic authoritarianism, instead parroting Novak by touting Orban's party, Fidesz (of which Novak also happens to be a top official), as "a conservative political party that supports strong borders, a strong national defense, and Christian morals."
MRC Throws Ex-Parler CEO Under The Bus (And Still Won't Talk About Rebekah Mercer) Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Alexander Hall sounded a lot like a paid hype man-slash-PR representative for Parler in a Feb. 15 post:
The wildly popular free speech platform Parler has made a sudden return after being nuked from the internet by Amazon Web Services back in January.
“Parler, the world’s #1 free speech social media platform with over 20 million users, is announcing its official relaunch today, built on sustainable, independent technology and not reliant on so-called ‘Big Tech’ for its operations,” the social media platform revealed on Monday in a press release. “Parler’s relaunch—open to Americans of all viewpoints—is available immediately.”
Parler’s interim CEO Mark Meckler explained how Parler has risen from the ashes of being deplatformed earlier this year: “When Parler was taken offline in January by those who desire to silence tens of millions of Americans, our team came together, determined to keep our promise to our highly engaged community that we would return stronger than ever.”
The platform explained in its press release that “Parler’s new platform is built on robust, sustainable, independent technology.” It also specified that the platform will only be available first for “its current users only in the first week, with new users being able to sign up starting the following week.”
The email assured readers that Meckler is a “free speech advocate” with “expertise in launching, growing and developing effective business and technology models for two of the largest grassroots organizations in modern American history, Tea Party Patriots and Convention of States.”
The mention of Meckler as interim CEO might come as a surprise to MRC readers who weren't told that the former CEO and co-founder, John Matze, was fired a few weeks earlier. But Hall was eager to throw Matze under the bus:
Meckler has been tapped to temporarily lead the company as it overhauls its leadership after its previous CEO left amid controversy.
Ex-Parler CEO John Matze explained to Axios on HBO that Parler’s negotiations to bring Trump onto their platform never materialized. "I didn't like the idea of working with Trump, because he might have bullied people inside the company to do what he wanted. But I was worried that if we didn't sign the deal, he might have been vengeful and told his followers to leave Parler," Matze stated.
Matze had also written a memo to employees with dubious claims regarding why he had been terminated. “However, Fox News contributor and Parler co-owner Dan Bongino doesn’t see eye to eye with Matze’s version of the ousting,” Fox news reported. “Bongino said there were ‘two separate visions for the company’ and the ‘free speech vision’ originated from Bongino and other owners of the company.”
Hall linked to a Fox News article on the controversy that included a fuller quote from Matze stating that "the Parler board controlled by Rebekah Mercer decided to immediately terminate my position as CEO."Yep, that's the same Rebekah Mercer whose family has donated millions of dollars to Hall's employer and sits on the MRC board.
Weird how Hall didn't mention that detail; indeed, Hall made no mention of Mercer at all, evn though she's reported to have played a major role in firing Matze. As NPR reported:
In an interview with NPR, Matze claimed that there was a dispute with Mercer over just how far Parler would take its openness to free speech. He said that if the company wanted to succeed, Parler would have crack down on domestic terrorists and any groups that incite violence, including the Trump-supporting conspiracy theory QAnon.
"I got silence as a result," Matze said.
Matze said that after the attack on the Capitol, he felt that the site had to step up its content-policing efforts.
"To me, it was a clear indication of what could have happen if we didn't change the ways were being done," he said.
It has since been claimed that the Parler board stripped Matze of his entire ownership stake, despite his being a co-founder. Further, seemingly contrary to its right-wing reputation of allowing all speech no matter how offensive, Parler has not only reportedly banned far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, it also allegedly suspended Matze's account for a time. Meanwhile, despite having an interim CEO, Mercer appears to be the one running the show at Parler.
But fully reporting the happenings around Parler was not Hall's concern. It was time for him to go back into hype-man mode:
Conservatives and free speech commentators are abuzz over the fact that Parler has come back online.
“The internet is a better place with @parler_app!” Conservative commentator Brigitte Gabriel proclaimed on Twitter.
Parler had originally been kneecapped by multiple tech companies in January.
Hall conveniently didn't mention those pesky posts filled with hate and threats of violence that were the actual reason Parler was "kneecapped." But the truth isn't really his concern.
Newsmax Still Getting Defensive Over Its Biased Reporting Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax got busted parroting Donald Trump's bogus claims about the election being stolen from him, and it seems to have left a mark, because it's gotten quite defensive about it.
In a Feb. 17 article on Dominion Voting Systems suing MyPillow guy Mike Lindell for defamation, Newsmax tried to distance itself from the controversy (and avoidgetting sued by Dominion itself):
The suit is the latest in a series of multibillion-dollar court actions taken by voting machine companies against high-profile supporters of Donald Trump, including Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, claiming they spread disinformation about voter fraud.
Newsmax received a letter from Dominion in late December threatening litigation.
While Newsmax covered and reported on allegations made by President Trump and his attorneys, it never claimed such allegations were true. Newsmax published and aired several stories and reports sharing Dominion’s response to the President’s allegations.
To further clarify its position, and before any legal action was threatened against it, Newsmax stated that it had had found no evidence that Dominion manipulated voting software during the 2020 election.
As we've pointed out, Newsmax did, in fact, present those claims without question, never subjecting them to the kind of fact-checking one would expect from a legitimate news organization -- thus implying to its readers that the claims are true -- and it wasn't until Newsmax received a cease-and-desist letter from another voting firm, Smartmatic, that Newsmax unequivocally stated that the claims were false.
In a Feb. 22 article, Marisa Herman complained about a letter from two "Democrat [sic] House lawmakers" who are "demanding answers from cable television providers on the role they play in the 'spread of dangerous misinformation,'" one of them being Newsmax:
Newsmax issued a statement Monday decrying what the company said was an attack on the First Amendment. The Newsmax statement read:
"The House Democrats' attack on free speech and basic First Amendment rights should send chills down the spines of all Americans. Newsmax reported fairly and accurately on allegations and claims made by both sides during the recent election contest. We did not see that same balanced coverage when CNN and MSNBC pushed for years the Russian collusion hoax, airing numerous claims and interviews with Democrat leaders that turned out to be patently false."
Newsmax noted that the Eschoo-McNerney letter makes several false or misleading characterizations of its coverage.
While Newsmax reported on President Trump's contest of the 2020 elections, covering the claims he and his attorneys made, the Democrats said such reporting was "incendiary."
The letter also states, "As a violent mob was breaching the doors of the Capitol, Newsmax's coverage called the scene a ‘sort of a romantic idea.'"
The claim was made on Newsmax by a Touro College law professor and prominent liberal, Thane Rosenbaum, who was describing the rally before any violence or illegal activity had taken place at the Capitol.
In fact, Newsmax hosts began condemning the illegal activity that took place at the Capitol in real time, and did so repeatedly throughout the day.
The article was accompanied by compilation clip of Newsmax TV's Jan. 6 "news coverage." But it's hours of coverage condensed to less than two minutes, which means that Newsmax edited out any coverage that wasn't critical of the riot -- including the "sort of a romantic idea" statement. (Also: Newsmax couid only find two minutes of people denouncing the riot on its TV channel across hours of programming?)
Many of these claims are repeated in a Feb. 24 article by Eric Mack touting a letter from Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy responding to the House members' letter:
"In general, Newsmax reported fairly and accurately on allegations and claims made by both sides during the recent election contest. Newsmax called the election for President Joe Biden as soon as the states had certified their election results. Further, Newsmax forcefully and repeatedly used its airwaves to condemn the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6."
Ruddy's letter to the committees also provided myriad examples of Newsmax TV's Jan. 6 coverage of the storming of the Capitol, in which on-air talent said, "We condemn the violence" (">Greg Kelly Reports"); "We certainly don't condone" violence (Tom Basile on "America Right Now"); and "This is un-American, this is not what we do. We are better than this and we must denounce this" (Sean Spicer on "Spicer & Co.").
Ruddy again threw Rosenbaum under the bus without proving a clip of the full segment in which he appeared.
Newsmax needs to give the public access to the entirety of its Jan. 6 TV coverage -- not a highly edited two-minute highlight reel -- so we can judge exactly how biased it was that day.
CNS' Weird (And Homophobic) Attacks on Chuck Schumer Topic: CNSNews.com
Like itscoverage of Nancy Pelosi, CNSNews.com's coverage of Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer is clickbait-driven, focused on isolated moments than any sort of cohesive or comprehensive reporting. CNS' reporting on Schumer in late January and early February followed this pattern. First, we have the usual isolated, context-devoid claims that CNS usually pushes:
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.) sent out a tweet on Wednesday saying that he was that day “honoring the work of…an LGBTQ+ icon.”
“Today I’m honoring the work of Harlem native Audre Lord, who was an LGBTQ+ icon and leading African American poet,” Schumer said in his tweet.
“Lorde used poetry to confront issues of racism, sexism and homophobia,” Schumer said. “Her work continues to inspire us to speak out against injustice.”
That's the entirety of the anonymously written article. Why does it exist? We can presume that given how much CNS hates LGBT people, this is an attempt to tar Schumer as a someone who doesn't hate gays, which in CNS' eyes is a horrible, dreadful thing.
Then-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer went to the well of the Senate on Sept. 21, 2020 to talk about the process to confirm a successor to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who had died three days before that.
“The stakes of this vacancy concern no less than the future of fundamental rights of the American people,” Schumer said.
“I was with my daughter and her wife to celebrate the Jewish New Year, and they thought to themselves and mentioned at the table: Could their right to be married, could marriage equality, be undone?” Schumer said.
On July 1, 2019, Schumer sent out a tweet with a photo of himself with his daughter and her wife participating in the Pride Parade in New York City.
“With my daughter Alison and her new wife Biz,” Schumer said in the tweet. “Wouldn’t have happened without the sacrifice at Stonewall.
“Here we are in front of Stonewall at #NYCPride. #Stonewall50 #Pride,” said Schumer.
The homophobia is more blatant here; there's no journalistic reason to write a headline that way if the point wasn't to issue a personal attack on Schumer because his daughter is gay. The fact that both of these articles both lack bylines (but, according to the CNS archive, were posted from the account of editor Terry Jeffrey)is a tell as well; nobody wants to put their name on anti-gay attacks masquerading as "news" stories, apparently not even the biased reporters who work for CNS.
It's a sign of the sad, biased state of CNS that it thinks homophobic attacks are clickbait-worthy.
Surprise: WND's Conspiracy-Lovers Didn't Buy Into QAnon Topic: WorldNetDaily
Credit where credit is due: even the conspiracy-happy WorldNetDaily largely stayed away from the QAnon conspiracy theory. Even more surprising, WND is publishing columns denouncing QAnon (albeit waiting only after Trump left the White House -- and, perhaps more importantly, after the right-wing-instigated Jan. 6 Capitol riot -- to do so).
Rachel Alexander shot down QAnon in her Jan. 25 column:
QAnon takes a grain of truth and adds on. Jeffrey Epstein, a billionaire who hung out with powerful Democratic politicians, was proven to be a pedophile. So it becomes easy to make the jump and claim that a lot of powerful Democrats are pedophiles. R. Kelly was arrested and indicted for being a pedophile, so it became easier to believe that other powerful entertainers who act inappropriately were too. I looked into Pizzagate in 2016 and concluded that while there were some very unsavory characters involved, the rumors were mostly unprovable.
Many of Q's drops are predictions that something big is going to happen, which are hard to immediately disprove. But they don't happen.
Now that a lot of the information spread by QAnon has been debunked – the military did not take over the country, Trump did not take any drastic action to remain president – social media is banning QAnon and Q has disappeared (probably due to fear of being investigated), the phenomenon should dissipate. Ron Watkins posted a Telegram message on Inauguration Day that said it was time for Q's followers to "go back to our lives as best we are able."
But Alexander also fretted that "the left now ties a lot of genuine concerns on the right in with QAnon. If QAnon questions the presidential election results, then suddenly they can lump in anyone who questions the election results as QAnon. It's a very sneaky tactic."
John Fraim wrote in a Jan. 26 column that "It is often overlooked that Donald Trump rose to power much on the wings of a conspiracy theory" presumably a reference to the Obama birtherism that WND turned into its brand during the Obama years -- "so it should not be surprising his presidency rose to power on the wings of another conspiracy theory." Fraim then detailed how QAnon imploded, with its chief promoters Robert David Steele, Simon Parkes and Charlie Ward, who he calls "the Trio," scrambling to deal with the wreckage:
All followers of the Trio and QAnon know what hit the old fan on the 20th when nothing happened. The forces of Good did not have their great confrontation with the forces of Evil. The Vatican was not implicated in the election fraud scheme via their DaVinci satellite. The pope was not arrested, nor were key American political leaders. Rather, they were all participating in the pageantry of Inauguration Day. The entertainment was great. Lady Gaga gave a powerful rendition of the national anthem. Other celebrities in attendance like Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks gave passionate performances. A band marched dressed in uniforms of the early American patriots. And that evening, Tom Hanks hosted a prime-time special titled "Celebrating America" with appearances of stars like Justin Timberlake, Demi Lovato, Ant Clemons and Jon Bon Jovi. Altogether, Inauguration Day was a celebration of America. Yes, it was of course for optics, but the optics were very effective, especially considering the Democrats own the entertainment industry.
On Jan. 21, the Trio had their work cut out for them. They admitted they knew how upset everyone was. A video of Charlie and Simon Parkes was posted on Simon's Bitchute site. It was hosted by world heavyweight boxer David "Nino" Rodriguez. Nino told the two he was being contacted by many depressed QAnon people. He told them that he was under attack by his listeners for giving them false hopes and information. In many ways, the video session (one of a number of QAnon "explainers" the day after Jan. 20) was an apology session for Q and the theory that had been growing since 2017. In effect, the jovial Simon and Charlie had become the face of Q, and millions were now in a state of limbo, waiting to hear what they would say. One Q follower compared it to opening a present wrapped in bright, shiny paper on Christmas day and finding a dirty lump of coal inside.
Fraim also highlighted investigations into Q's identity and the highly unreliable Gateway Pundit speculating that "QAnon might have been a type of planned "honey pot" of the deep state to attract Trump-following patriots all to one place so that they could be gathered up. " He concluded: "I move onto other things. But always in the back of my mind there is the comment about March 4, the day Charlie Ward claims Donald Trump will return as president."
After apparently passing on a previous column he wrote on the subject, WND did finally publish a Feb. 3 column by Michael Brown denouncing QAnon, declaring that "those who continue to believe in the QAnon conspiratorial myths are now espousing even more extreme and bizarre theories. There can be no reality check because reality no longer has any meaning."
MRC Lamely Attacks Study Debunking Its Conservative-Victim Narrative Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center just hates it when its narratives are debunked -- in no small part because it can't be bothered to make even a miminal defense of them. Which brings us to a Feb. 1 item by Corinne Weaver complaining that a study blew up one of the MRC's biggest narratives, that conservatives are uniquely being "censored" on social media:
A study released by the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights decided that the argument that conservatives are being censored by Big Tech is “not legitimate.”
“False Accusation: The Unfounded Claim that Social Media Companies Censor Conservatives,” levied the accusation that conservative censorship is a myth. Deputy Director Paul M. Barrett and Law + Research Fellow J. Grant Sims wrote that “the claim of anti-conservative animus is itself a form of disinformation: a falsehood with no reliable evidence to support it.” The study referred to the overall bans of former President Donald Trump on Facebook and Twitter as “reasonable responses to Trump’s repeated violation of platform rules.”
The piece accused Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), conservative commentator Ben Shapiro and Fox News host Tucker Carlson of spreading “The false contention that conservatives are throttled online.” The problem with criticizing online censorship now, according to the study, is that it delegitimizes efforts made by platforms “when they’re actually experimenting with more aggressive forms of fact-checking and content moderation.”
The study relied on NewsGuard’s classification of “manipulators.” It noted, “All of the top five manipulators, in terms of their engagement levels on Facebook, were right-leaning: Fox News, The Daily Wire, Breitbart, The Blaze, and Western Journal.”
Furthermore, Barrett and Sims relied on the leftist Oxford Internet Institute’s report on “junk news.” That report had classified several conservative websites as “junk news,” including Drudge Report, NewsBusters, CNSNews.com, MRCTV, Breitbart, The Daily Caller, The Washington Free Beacon, LifeNews, National Review, the Red State, and The Federalist. These sites were smeared as “unprofessional,” “counterfeit,” “biased” and “emotionally driven.”
Note that all Weaver does here is dismiss the study as "liberal" and relied on a "leftist" group's previous report; she later accused the Stern Center of having "a liberal advisory board." At no point does Weaver even attempt to rebut any claim actually made in the report.
Weaver has previousluy attacked the "leftist" OII -- as we've noted, last October she bashed it for concluding that the MRC's NewsBusters blog (where her posts appear) publishes "junk news" and that the MRC's Curtis Houck offered a biased analysis of a presidential debate. In 2018, Weaver attacked another OII study concluding that "junk news" is disproportionately created by right-wing websites; she offered no rebuttal of that claim either, instead whining that "Liberal media will go a long way to portray conservatives as liars -- all the way to England."
There's a lot in the Stern Center report that's pretty damning of the MRC's victimization narrative, though Weaver will never admit it. It stated that "Even anecdotal evidence of supposed bias tends to crumble under close examination" -- and offered examples. It takes to task Robert Epstein -- a favorite ofthe MRC for his dubious research claiming that Google manipulates search results for the purpose of "switching" votes from Democrats to Republicans:
The basic question Epstein asks—how might internet searching affect voting—is potentially important. But his extrapolation to hard numbers of purposefully changed votes seems highly questionable. Francesca Tripodi, a social media scholar at the University of North Carolina who has reviewed Epstein’s work, says in an interview that he lacks evidence of either Google’s intent to manipulate elections or that the company has distorted search results toward that end. In a November 2020 article in Slate, she writes that “his hypothesis that Google influenced U.S. elections has never been rigorously tested or reviewed by political or information scientists.”
In fact, there is other research that clashes with Epstein’s findings. A study released in 2019 by researchers at Stanford University concluded that Google’s search algorithm is not biased along political lines and instead emphasizes authoritative sources. In a separate inquiry published the same year, The Economist came to a similar conclusion. The magazine compared news sites’ actual proportion of search results in Google’s News tab with a predictive model of that proportion based on factors Google says its search rankings rely on—namely, a site’s reach, output, and accuracy. “If Google favored liberals, left-wing sites would appear more often than our model predicted, and right-wing ones less,” The Economistsaid. “We saw no such trend.”
Epstein counters that his “work is meticulous. My standards are very high.” He points out that in 2015, he co-authored an article on SEME for the peer-reviewed Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. That piece, however, didn’t make any allegations against Google or point to any actual vote manipulation.
The report also blows up the MRC's key narrative that Twitter exclusively bans conservatives for expressing mainstream conservative views:
Conservatives do get suspended or banned for violating Twitter’s rules against such things as harassment, hateful conduct, or, as in Trump’s case, glorifying violence. But liberals are excluded in this fashion, as well. Pinning down precise proportions is impossible because Twitter doesn’t release sufficient data.
More broadly, Twitter has suspended or banned individuals and groups of highly disparate political persuasions. In 2018, the platform excluded some 80 accounts belonging to activists affiliated with the left-leaning Occupy movement. According to some of these activists, Twitter revoked the accounts without giving a reason. In February 2020, Twitter banned 70 accounts affiliated with Mike Bloomberg’s short-lived campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, reportedly for violating the platform’s policy against platform manipulation and spam.
On the right, Twitter doesn’t target conservatives or Republicans as such, but people who violate its rules by calling for violence, harassing others, or advocating hateful ideologies. Among the right-leaning users who have faced enforcement action are white nationalists like Richard Spencer, Jared Taylor, and David Duke, as well as white nationalist organizations such as the American Nazi Party, the neo-Nazi Traditionalist Worker Party, and American Renaissance magazine.
Weaver could not possibly offer a response to this because "media researchg" isn't what the MRC does -- its job is to push right-wing narratives.
This is what happens when you put a partisan narrative first, as the MRC has done with its anti-social media war: you get swiftly and painfully owned by actual media researchers.
Farah Falsely Suggests WND Still Has A Reporter At The White House Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah was in a fearmongering mood (but when isn't he, really?) in his Jan. 28 WorldNetDaily column:
First, it was the act of using the term "China virus" that was effectively banned by Joe Biden.
Now that appears to be only the beginning.
What does Biden's press shop have in store? Throwing out of the White House briefing room every member of the MAGA media – a virtual war on the likes of Sean Spicer, host of a Newsmax show, Eric Bolling, host of Sinclair's "America This Week," One America News, the Daily Caller, Breitbart and WND.
Bolling, who interviewed President Trump seven times and occasionally attended press briefing, is worried that he may lose his credential. He has submitted an application to the White House Correspondents' Association to try to prevent his banishment.
"I hope to hold this administration as accountable as the media held the Trump administration," Bolling said.
Well, it turns out that Bolling had more immediate concerns. ON the same day Farah's column came out, he was fired by Sinclair for pushing too many coronavirus lies and conspiracy theories, including that vaccines didn't work.
Farah then moved on to burnishing WND's once-existent reputation as a news organization that once had a reporter at the White House:
As for WND, one of the very first online news companies, it was a long hard fight to get a hard pass to cover the U.S. Senate. After an initial denial, it took 19 months, two appeals, a massive letter-writing campaign by loyal readers, calls from members of Congress and the threat of a lawsuit, before WND finally got its Senate press credentials. The victory came on 3-2 vote Jan. 29, 2003.
I doubt very much WND would be approved today for a hard pass to cover the White House – in a time of censorship, cancel culture and since the war declared on President Trump declared him to be persona non grata.
Farah conveniently omits the fact that WND hasn't had a regular reporter at the White House for years, since Les Kinsolving -- who was rightly seen as a wildlybiasedjoke by the rest of the White House press corps -- held the job (and he died in 2018).
Farah then complained that "At the White House, the new Biden staffers have imposed a new standard that may exclude more reporters than made the cut in the Trump years" quoting a press office official saying that "We expect reporters covering the White House to operate in good faith and tell their audience the truth, and this White House will do the same.. ... Organizations or individuals who traffic in conspiracy theories, propaganda and lies to spread disinformation will not be tolerated."
Trafficking in conspiracy theories, propaganda and lies to spread disinformation? That describes WND to a T, and it's why WND would likely not be approved for a White House press pass today. No wonder Farah's worried -- never mind that WND hasn't sent a reporter to the White House in years and likely won't be anytime soon given the continuing precarious state of its finances.
Farah concluded by serving up false bravado and Trump nostalgia: "WND, for its part, has been around for 24 years. We expect to survive whatever is coming from the Biden administration, as bad it might be. We look forward to being here for the next act of a real president, Donald Trump – it will be true renaissance."
CNS Reporter Remains Overly Excited Over Minor Israel Deals -- And Ready To Attack Biden Topic: CNSNews.com
We'vedocumented how CNSNews.com -- particularly reporter Patrick Goodenough -- has been enamored of the normalization deals Israel made with minor Islamic countries (some not even in the Middle East) that were negotiated under the Trump administration. That enamor, for the deals and Israel itself, hasn't faded. Goodenough gushed in a Jan. 25 article:
Building on the foundation of the normalization agreement brokered by the Trump administration last summer, Israel on Sunday opened an embassy in the United Arab Emirates, and the Gulf state’s cabinet approved the establishment of an embassy in Tel Aviv.
The progress came despite the coronavirus pandemic. Israel is currently in its third national lockdown, and an uptick in deaths attributed to COVID-19 prompted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday to announce a week-long shutdown of almost all flights in and out of the country.
Goodenough went on to complain that "some critics of President Trump played down their significance, arguing for instance that they were not peace agreements per se, since the Arab countries had not been at war with Israel."
Quinn Weimer supported the narrative in a Feb. 1 article touting how "President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and his business partner Avi Berkowitz were nominated by Harvard Law Emeritus Professor Alan Dershowitz for the Nobel Peace Prize, to be awarded in October 2021," for their work on the normallization deals.
Meanwhile, Goodenough used a Feb. 17 article to complain that President Biden hadn't called Netanyahu already, pointing out that "Netanyahu, whose relationship with President Trump was a warm one, is known to be wary of Biden’s plans to re-engage Iran, and his offer to re-enter the Obama-era nuclear deal if Tehran returns to compliance" and adding that "the length of time taken does appear to be a departure from the norm." But Goodenough had to revise his article later in the day after it was revealed that Biden did call Netanyahu.
Strangely, even though Goodenough and CNS care so much about Israel, it has completely censored an mention of the corruption trial Netanyahu is currently undergoing (though he petulantly walked out of the trial). Even though the trial has been going on since last May, CNS has devoted no article to it. Goodenough arguably has the time to do one, considering 1) he's the international editor and it's his beact, and 2) there was purportedy so little to do on that beat that he devoted a story to the "sexually explicit" lyrics of rappers campaigning for Democratic Senate candidates in Georgia (the state, not the country).
MRC Pushed The Lie That Psaki Wanted Questions In Advance Topic: Media Research Center
Media Research Center executive Tim Graham presumably chortled heartily to hgimself as he wrote this Feb. 1 item:
Daily Beast media reporter Maxwell Tani is reporting that anonymous White House reporters are tattling on Jen Psaki's press team, that they have already probed reporters to find out what questions they plan on asking Psaki during the daily briefings. Some of these reporters don't like an idea forming that they're coordinating their questions and coverage with the Democratic staff.
The Biden White House did not deny this report, but the White House says "it has tried to foster a better relationship with the press corps than the previous administration, and has tried to reach out to reporters directly in order to avoid appearing to dodge questions during briefings."
You can see Psaki wanting to cut down on the "circle back" answers, but this kind of snooping can also affect which reporters are called on, and who might be skipped, or delayed until the end, when cable news might move on from live coverage.
each other as anonymous sources, so they can keep the White House from learning who's tattling on them. Journalists love to preach the need for transparency, and routinely avoid it with their sourcing.
Just one problem: It's not true, at least in the way Graham wants you to think it is. As Matthew Yglesias pointed out, well down in the Daily Beast article is a segment that discredits the entire premise:
Under previous administrations, many White House reporters would meet informally in the morning for gaggles with the press secretaries. During these interactions, White House communications staff could get a sense of the topics reporters were interested in that day, and would come prepared for questions during televised briefings later in the afternoon.
Eric Schultz, a former deputy press secretary in the Obama White House, said that the new comms team was restoring normalcy to the briefing process. Finding out what reporters are focusing on, he said, was standard procedure in most pre-Trump White Houses in order to reduce the number of questions that go unanswered during televised briefings.
“This is textbook communications work. The briefing becomes meaningless if the press secretary has to repeatedly punt questions, instead of coming equipped to discuss what journalists are reporting on,” he said. “In a non-covid environment, this would happen in casual conversations throughout the day in lower and upper press. One of the few upsides to reporters hovering over your desk all day, is that you get a very quick sense of what they’re working on.”
In other words: Psaki's comms shop is simply re-establishing what the White House press office did before Trump. Other reporters have also confirmed that Psaki was returning to a pre-Trump norm that nobody objected to. Graham isn't going to tell you that, though.
Nevertheless, Kristine Marsh kept the bogus narrative going in a Feb. 3 post, complaining that "The View’sliberal hosts weren’t only bored by the Daily Beast report that the White House press office was already asking reporters to feed them the questions before press briefings; in fact, they rationalized and defended it." She then laughably referred to 'the alarming behavior from the Biden administration," censoring the fact that this behavior occured and was accepted under many previous presidential administrations.
Meanwhile, Curtis Houck dishonestly complained in his daily press briefing writeup on Feb. 2 that "not a single reporter stepped up to ask Psaki about the embarrassing Daily Beast report that her team had been probing reporters to pre-screen their questions ahead of briefings. Talk about a case of collusion." Houck repeated the claim the next day.
Over at the MRC's more extreme MRCTV operation, Sergie Daez huffed: "Jen Psaki is off to a poor start as White House press secretary. Even though she’s been positively pampered by the leftist media, Psaki can’t seem to give direct answers to reporters in White House press briefings, constantly saying that she’ll 'circle back' instead. Now, it looks like the direct answers she is able to give can't come without rehearsal."
Daez cited a Fox News report as the basis for the post, which censored the fact that Psaki was returning to a pre-Trump practice.
In short: The MRC got days of content from spreading a lie. Don't expect Graham and Co. to apologize.
Michael Reagan: From The 'Reichstag Flu' To The 'Reichstag Riot' Topic: Newsmax
When Germany was just on the cusp of becoming Hitler’s Germany, the Nazis needed an event that would fit their narrative.
That narrative was the near future was so threatening Hitler needed extraordinary power to save the nation.
Rather than wait, the Nazi’s created their own event and arranged for the burning the seat of the lower house of the legislature.
The resultant Reichstag Fire of Feb. 27, 1933 paved the way for Hitler to assume absolute power in his adopted country.
The situation here in the United States last year was different.
The left was out of power and needed an issue that would make Donald Trump vulnerable in November. Then came a virus which blew up into a pandemic.
Thus, the OpMedia and Democrats turned a virus that was 99.8% survivable into the "Reichstag flu."
Once Trump lost it was obvious that the left was going to be a collective sore winner.
Revenge and punishment were definitely on the agenda.
Only a pretext was needed.
Then Trump himself gave the left the Reichstag Riot where a few hundred of his rowdy, angry and violent followers breached the grounds of the Capitol and invaded the building.
The leftists in charge of our government have used that one-and-done riot as a pretext for what looks like a permanent crackdown on conservatives.
As this is written thousands of National Guard troops are still garrisoned in Washington, D.C. and hastily built razor-wire fencing is keeping ordinary citizens away from the buildings and officeholders their tax dollars have made and continue to make possible.
If we recall correctly, the USA went to Iraq to bring democracy to an authoritarian country.
What appears to have happened instead is the authoritarianism have been brought back to America. A Pentagon spokesman estimates the cost of keeping troops in the armed camp that is D.C. approaches half-a-billion-dollars.
There is no threat to the Capitol that could not be thwarted by using the thousands of law enforcement officers that are already there.
The troop’s job is to send a message to Trump voters.
And the message is the left is in charge now.
If they can turn Washington, D.C. into an Iraq-ike Green Zone without any pushback from our country club conservatives, just think of what they can do to individual Trump voters.
-- Michael Reagan and Michael Shannon, Feb. 13 Newsmax column
(Hey, at least Reagan admits that Trump lost the election and instigated the Capitol riot, though it's somehow not Trump's fault that the riot forced new security measures at the Capitol.)
(Also, the one in three people whose coronvirius symptoms linger well past the typical two weeks might not want to hear Reagan blithely dismiss the virus as "99.8% survivable."
NEW ARTICLE: A Catholic Crack-Up At CNS Topic: CNSNews.com
The uber-Catholics who run CNSNews.com still think they're more Catholic than the pope and will chastise Pope Francis for not hating gay people enough -- but they flip-flopped on how to report on a prominent bishop caught in sexual misconduct. Read more >>
It's good that WorldNetDaily is getting more proactive about correcting false articles (though maybe it should do a better job of fact-checking before publication). But there are others that still need correction. Art Moore wrote in a Jan. 28 WND article:
Amid a boycott in response to its politically motivated decision to drop Mike Lindell's MyPillow products, shares of Bed Bath & Beyond plunged 36.4% at the close of trading Thursday.
The retail chain suffered its biggest one-day loss since going public in June 1992.
The consumer organization Media Action Network launched the boycott of Bed, Bath & Beyond after the retail chain stopped selling Lindell's products due to his support of President Trump's claim that fraud affected the outcome of the 2020 election. Retailers Wayfair and Kohl's also have stopped selling MyPillow products.
Lindell, famous for his TV ads, employs more than 1,500 people at his Minnesota plant. He recounted to WND last May the remarkable transformation in his lifethrough his faith in Jesus Christ.
"This isn't about pillows. It's about the continual punishment of conservative speech," Media Action Network founder Ken LaCorte said in an announcement of the boycott.
"And we've had enough."
Just one problem: There's no actual proof that a boycott or any Lindell-related action resulted in the steep share drop. As Media Matters summed it up:
The supposed “collapse” of retailer Bed Bath & Beyond’s stock has obviously got nothing to do with its decision to not carry MyPillow products. Rather, the company's stock price had recently become artificially high as part of the current online craze of small investors buying up stocks that had been short-sold by large hedge funds. The stock price then eventually fell from those heights. (The most famous example of such stocks is video game retailer GameStop, but it also includes other companies such as AMC, Blackberry, and Nokia.)
Moore also failed to tell his readers that Lindell's conspiracy theories aren't "conservative speech" -- they are falsehoods. So there's a lot of work to be done to make a full correction here.