MRC's Double Standard on Section 230 Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has long railed against Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which gives immunity from liability to internet services on which users post something illegal. But the MRC and other right-wing activists have created the narrataive that social media is deliberately and solely "censoring" conservatives merely for posting conservative things, which has never been proven. Last fall, the MRC cheered the Trump administration's efforts to overhaul Section 230 to counter what Alexander Hall claimed "the unchecked power of Big Tech companies,"even encouraging readers to use "the MRC’s FCC contact form to alter Section 230." It also hailed a Republican-pushed bill to alter Section 230 that would purportedly "provide more accountability for Big Tech companies," uncritially quoting one Republican congressman claiming without evidence that social media is trying to "censor content that deviates from their beliefs."
MRC chief Brent Bozell ranted in a letter to Congress that "Section 230 gives social media platforms, such as Facebook, undeserved protection from liability. Facebook is an ideologically driven publisher of editoralized content that used its dominating market power to deliberately and successively swing the election in favor of its preferred presidential candidate, Joe Biden. ... ... Given their massive market dominance and power, if Facebook’s unfair protection from liability under Section 230 is not severely curtailed, Americans will no longer vote for their elected representatives — Facebook will decide who our political masters are." The MRC's Free Speech America project (which doesn't actually believe in free speech because it's blocked us from following its Twitter account) is demanding that Section 230 be altered in an apparent attempt (based on what the MRC has criticized over the past few months) to allow conservatives to spread false claims -- regarding election fraud and coronavirus conspiracies, whcih the MRC has portrayed as "conservative content" that must not be "censored" -- with impunity. The MRC even gushed over then-President Trump's threat to veto a defense funding bill if it did not completely repeal Section 230; Congress quickly overrode Trump's veto, so it was ultimately a hollow, meaningless effort.
(If you want to find out exactly how the MRC had been lobbying the Trump administration to change Section 230, however, you're somewhat out of luck -- it threw a tantrum at a fellow conservative group for filing a Freedom of Information Act request seeking copies of email communications between the MRC and administration officials, insisting that they are "private.")
But when non-conservatives offer thoughts on Section 230 -- and, worse, point out how bogus the MRC's narrative is -- the MRC melts down over that, as Hall did last October:
Democrat [sic] Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) condemned Trump’s “propaganda parrots” on Fox News and his fellow conservatives for “peddling a myth” at a Big Tech hearing. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation October 28. Markey undermined the core idea of the “Does Section 230’s Sweeping Immunity Enable Big Tech Bad Behavior?” hearing by suggesting that “anti-conservative bias” at Big Tech is a “false narrative.”
Markey contrasted the problems he considers to be real while gaslighting conservatives that their concerns about Big Tech bias are invalid:
“Here’s the truth, violence and hate speech online are real problems. Anti-conservtive bias is not a problem,” Markey suggested.
When Democrats called for a review of Section 230 following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot -- inflamed in large part by false claims about election fraud promoted on social media by Trump and others -- Kayla Sargent took exception:
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act has been a hot topic for quite some time, and now, the left appears to be using the liability shield as an excuse to attempt to further regulate free speech online.
Democrats in Congress and the Senate may be placing Section 230 under the microscope following the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol building.
“Social media continues to be a concern. The amount of radicalization on both ends of the political spectrum done by social media and the so-called Section 230 exemption needs to be reviewed,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) in an interview with Greta Van Susteren on Full Court Press.
During the interview, Warner paid lip service to the notion of being pro-First Amendment, while simultaneously arguing that some speech should not be allowed to be amplified.
Ssrgent did seem to be happy, however, that President Biden "told The New York Times Editorial Board that Section 230 should be 'revoked, immediately.'"
Sargent also attacked a Democratic-led attempt to reform Section 230, claiming that "it will do far more harm than good" because it "would cut liability protections for providers on paid-for speech like ads, which could encourage platforms to censor even more content to avoid liability." Sargent repeated the MRC's meaningless narrative that "Twitter censored former President Donald Trump 625 times between May 31, 2018 and January 4, 2021. President Joe Biden was not censored at all during the same time span." As before, Sargent provided no evidence that Biden violated Twitter's terms of service 625 times the way Trump did, thus earning being "censored" by Twitter.
On Feb. 22, the MRC gave its paid apparatchik Dan Gainor a platform to fearmonger that "Every aspect of technology is now being closed off to the conservative movement" -- a claim that's ridiculous on its face.He made this claim at an event hosted by something called the "Repeal and Replace Section 230 Coalition," where he was joined by "congressmen, industry experts and religious figures."
We couldn't find much about this coalition, but it turns out that Gainor's fellow presenters at the eveng included far-right congress woman Marjorie Taylor Greene -- just a couple weeks after the MRC finally denounced her extremism after months of portraying her as a mainstream conservative -- Jim Garlow, a right-wing evangelist who was an aggressive supporter of Trump; Dikran Yacoubian, a conservative activist who got a funder to give $2.5 million to right-wing org True the Vote in an attempt to find election fraud in the presidential election (none was found, so he wants his money back); and Mark Masters, who currently runs the radio syndicator founded by his father, accused cult leader Roy Masters.
These are the people the MRC is hanging out with to push its anti-Section 230 crusade.
UPDATE: Jeffrey also devoted a Feb. 24 column to complaining that the National Endowment for the Arts was getting money from the relief bill: "Did federally funded artists produce any great masterpieces in this period? Did American taxpayers get their money's worth? Should we now use a bill allegedly designed to fight COVID-19 to pay the NEA an additional $135 million?" Apparently, Jeffrey apparently believes that artists weren't affected by the pandemic. He also gratuitously complained that theater group "based in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco congressional district" once got a grant to stage "a groundbreaking trans and queer examination of American masculinity's deep roots in Trouble."
After Giving Trump A Pass On Deficits, CNS Eagerly Blames Dems For COVID Relief Bill Price Tag Topic: CNSNews.com
We've documented how CNSNews.com, led by supposed deficit-hawk editor Terry Jeffrey, almost entirely refused to hold President Trump and Senate Republicans accountable for the deficit spending created by coronavirus relief bills (though it usually found a way to blame Democrats for them despite controlling only half of Congress). With Democrats now in control of both the White House and Congress, CNS is unsurprisingly showing its bias bybeing much more vocal in complaining about allegedly wasteful spending in the latest COVID relief bill -- and in calling out Democrats while doing so.
Jeffrey declared in his Jan. 27 column that "The $1.9 trillion relief bill that President Joe Biden wants Congress to pass now as his response to the COVID-19 pandemic would cost Americans more than the entire federal government cost in fiscal 1981." Jeffrey did not make that comparision about last year's main relief bill, the CARES Act, even though it cost $2.2 trillion. Meanwhile, only now that Trump is safely out of office is Jeffrey criticizing him by name for running up the deficit:
Last March, President Donald Trump signed a $2.3 trillion spending law to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
In December, Trump signed another spending law that included $900 billion targeted toward COVID-19 relief.
Now Biden wants to spend another $1.9 trillion.
When Biden took office as President Barack Obama's vice president on Jan. 20, 2009, the federal debt stood at $10.6 trillion. Eight years later, when Donald Trump was sworn in as president on Jan. 20, 2017, it stood at $19.9 trillion. By Jan. 20, 2021, when Biden was sworn in as president, it had risen to $27.7 trillion.
In just the last two presidencies, the federal debt has risen by $17.1 trillion — or about 161%.
The COVID-19 pandemic was caused by a lethal virus this nation has sacrificed much to control. Our runaway federal government is caused by politicians we do not control enough.
Over the following weeks as the relief bill was debated, CNS went on to blame Democrats for the supposedly wasteful spending in the bill, mostly by uncritically repeating Republican and conservative attacks on it:
Jeffrey returned in a March 10 column in which he declared that it is axiomatic that the relief bill "will use tax dollars to pay for abortions" because it contains no Hyde Amendment-style clause prohibiting it. He identifed no federal program or funding mechanism receiving relief bill money through which that might actually happen.
CNS couldn't be bothered to produce an article on Biden signing the bill into law.
MRC Helps Anti-Abortion Website Plays Dumb On Why Its YouTube Channel Got Shut Down Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Kayla Sargent quickly went Godwin in a Feb. 10 post:
The YouTube censorship Gestapo has struck again.
YouTube has reportedly entirely banned the pro-life group LifeSiteNews from the platform in its latest attempt to silence conservative voices.
“YouTube just completely removed the LifeSiteNews YouTube channel. This isn’t a temporary ban; every single one of our videos is completely gone. Thankfully, we have backups of all our videos, but this means hundreds of thousands of people have lost access to our truth-telling content,” the pro-life organization said on its website.
“Being completely removed from YouTube means we’ve lost access to more than 300,000 followers,” LifeSiteNews continued.
Sargent went on to play dumb by claiming that "The specific reason that YouTube suspended LifeSiteNews is unclear, as YouTube did not respond to a request for comment at the time this piece was published." In fact, it probably wasn't that hard to figure out; the next day, Vice got the scoop from YouTube (which likely correctly surmised that the MRC is hostile media and wouldn't treat it fairly):
YouTube has banned LifeSiteNews, an anti-abortion outlet that bills itself as the “#1 pro-life news website,” for repeatedly sharing videos that spread misinformation about COVID-19 and the vaccines against it.
“In accordance with our longstanding strikes system, we terminated the channel LifeSiteNews Media for repeatedly violating our COVID-19 misinformation policy, which prohibits content that promotes prevention methods that contradict local health authorities or WHO,” Ivy Choi, a YouTube spokesperson, told VICE News in an email.
In November, YouTube took down a LifeSiteNews video featuring a doctor who called the coronavirus pandemic “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on an unsuspecting public,” according to LifeSiteNews. The doctor also called both masks and social distancing “useless” when it came to stopping the spread of the deadly virus.
The Centers for Disease Control disagrees. New research from the agency, released Wednesday, found that when people wear two snug masks, they can reduce the coronavirus’ transmission by about 95 percent compared to being unmasked.
Then, in late January, LifeSiteNews earned a second strike from YouTube for a video about the alleged links between abortion and the coronavirus vaccines. This is a popular topic among anti-abortion advocates, who are increasingly divided over whether they should take take COVID-19 vaccines that may have been developed with the use of fetal cells.
LifeSiteNews has spread numerous other coronavirus conspiracies as well. LifeSite presumably knew about YouTube issuing strikes against its content, which it could have told Sargent about. Instead, it knew that Sargent would be a sympathetic writer who would help LifeSite forward the bogus right-wing narrative that "conservative speech" is being "censored" on social media.
(A Feb. 12 article at the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, did admit that YouTube banned LifeSite for coronavirus misinformation, but published it under the deceptive headline "YouTube Bans Pro-Life LifeSiteNews, Shuts Out 300,000 Followers." Sargent never bothered to update her article to tell readers the real reason LifeSite was banned.)
But LifeSite knows where to go so its claims of victimization will not face much scrutiny. Thus, Alexander Hall was the willing stenographer for it again in a Feb. 23 post:
LifeSiteNews said they have been financially kneecapped by Google.
LifeSiteNews author Gualberto Garcia Jones stated that “thanks to our conference on the morality, legality and science behind the covid vaccines, Google has completely banned our website from Google Ads and Google Ad servers” in an Feb 23 email to the Media Research Center. Jones explained further that the financial blacklisting by Google has massive implications: “[U]nfortunately, our advertising agency used Google ads as it is the industry standard. In addition, Google has banned us from Google News and Google discover.”
LifeSiteNews explained in its reporting on the censorship, that Google had “cit[ed] alleged ‘dangerous or derogatory content’ the company declined to identify.” The outlet also said it “received an email notifying us that LifeSiteNews ‘is not currently in compliance with our AdSense Program policies and as a result, ad serving has been disabled on your site.’"
LifeSiteNews said that the only example Google provided was “a February 4 LifeSite articledetailing an interview former University of Virginia school of medicine profesor Dr. David Martin gave on mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines and the distinction between vaccination and gene therapy.”
Given that LifeSiteNews deliberately hid from Sargent the real reason it got kicked off YouTube, it's entirely likely that it's obfuscating about why it Google blacklisted it. Certainly it knows that its COVID conspiracy-mongering is problematic, but it's obvious that it will never admit to spreading lies.
Hall would know that as well if he could be bothered to do anything beyond stenography. Instead, he uncritically repeated Sargent's claim that "YouTube has reportedly entirely banned the pro-life group LifeSiteNews from the platform in its latest attempt to censor speech online," without bothering to explain that YouTube was not "censoring speech" but shutting down lies.
Neither Hall nor Sargent explained why LifeSite should be allowed to spread lies without consequence. This is yet another example of the MRC embracing peddlers of fiction masquerading as fact in an attempt to own the libs.
Another WND Columnist Pushes 'Mark Of The Beast' Narrative On COVID Vaccine Topic: WorldNetDaily
As oart of documenting WorldNetDaily's copious amount of bad takes on the coronavirus pandemic, we've documented two WND commentators pushing the idea that a coronavirus vaccine (before one was even available) would be the equivalent to the Biblical mark of the beast. Brian Sussman contributes to this strain of literature witha Feb. 24 column provocatively headlined "Coming 'COVID-19 passports' – mark of the Beast?" And Sussman certainly works hard on making that case:
So what's going on here?
Digital-format immunity passports would eventually likely normalize digital-format proof-of-status documents.
Advocates of COVID passports visualize a world where we can't pass through a door to a plane, workplace, school, or restaurant until the gatekeeper scans our credentials. In no time the public would be conditioned to submit to these demands.
This digital system could easily be expanded to check not just a person's immunity status, but any other bit of personal information a gatekeeper might deem relevant, such as banking information, age, pregnancy, HIV status, or criminal history; and all data – your data – could be accumulated into one database.
And could we really trust those overseeing the databases?
Of course not.
The next step in this plan will move from smartphone apps to invisible barcode-like tattoos stamped on the body of those who have been vaccinated. This would accommodate those without cell phones and prevent hackers from stealing personal information. The tattoo plan is funded by Bill and Melinda Gates. The easily applied invisible tattoos would likely be placed on the hand or forehead.
Students of the Bible will immediately recall the mark of the Beast from the New Testament's book of Revelation:
"He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave,to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast. …" (Revelation 13:16-17)
But after that conspiratorial setup, Sussman bailed out at the last minute and denied he was doing what he was doing:
No, I'm not claiming the vaccine is the mark of the Beast, but I am emphasizing that society is moving very quickly into a brave new world, especially in the realm of personal privacy and information security.
Our government was designed to protect our liberties, not recklessly allow them to be abused.
So much for having the courage of one's conspiratorial convictions.
MRC's Houck Can't Stop Gushing Over Doocy's Hostile Questions Topic: Media Research Center
Media Research Center writer Curtis Houck's abjecthatred for Biden press secretary Jen Psaki -- and man-crush on Fox News reporter Peter Doocy -- is continuing apace.
On Feb. 22, Houck attacked Psaki's appearance on a Sunday talk show, effectively accusing her of incompetence: "Along with struggling to answer basic questions during White House press briefings, Press Secretary Jen Psaki found herself paddling the struggle boat on Sunday with ABC’s This Weekas chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl inquired about then-candidate Joe Biden’s affection for scandal-ridden Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY)." The next day, Houck gushed over Doocy under the headline "Doocy Demolishes Psaki on Biden WH’s Immigration Double Standard":
A day after struggling with questions about embattled OMB Director nominee Neera Tanden, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki found herself being torched Tuesday by Fox News’s Peter Doocy about the administration’s immigration policies and specifically the reopening of a detention center both President Biden and Vice President Harris derided as an abomination under the Trump regime.
Worse yet for Psaki, Doocy drew follow-ups from CBS’s Ed O’Keefe (who asked an excellent question earlier in the briefing about the Keystone XL pipeline) and McClatchy’s Francesca Chambers. Later on, she faced stiff questions fromNew York Post’s Steven Nelson on drones and government surveillance.
Houck served up more gushing over Doocy and sneering at Psaki in a Feb. 24 post:
After making his mark during Tuesday’s White House press briefing, Fox News’s Peter Doocy again tussled Wednesday with Press Secretary Jen Psaki over illegal immigration, wondering whether the term “kids in containers” was more apt for the detaining of illegal immigrant children since Psaki was turned off (read: triggered) by the description of “kids in cages.”
Doocy started with this: “We spoke yesterday about immigration and this facility — HHS facility in Carrizo Springs, Texas for migrant children. And you said it is not kids in cages. We’ve seen some photos now of containers. Is there a better description? Is it kids in containers, instead of kids in cages? What is the White House’s description of this facility.”
Clearly not amused, Psaki insisted she would “give a broader description of what’s happening here&rdquo where they were not and would not “separate” and “rip” kids “from the arms of their parents at the border” but instead “expand and open additional facilities, because there was not enough space in the existing facilities — and if we were to abide by COVID protocols, that’s the process and the step.”
She added how children were also having access to an education and medical care, so it was different than whatever the Trump administration did. Coincidentally, in-person education is something younger American citizens haven’t been able to get for almost a year thanks to teachers unions.
Houck then complained that "Psaki went personal by wondering if Doocy was concerned about being accurate with viewers." Never mind, of course, that Houck's beloved Trump press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, regularly attacked reporters, as did Houck for using the same aggressive tone with McEnany that Doocy is using with Psaki.
Under the ridiculous headline "Doocy Smash," Houck's Feb. 25 post gushed even more over Doocy:
Clearly on a roll since returning to the White House Briefing Room rotation on Tuesday, Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy continued his streak Thursday of asking the tough questions to Press Secretary Jen Psaki. This time, Doocy was dogged in seeking comment on the nursing home scandal and sexual misconduct allegations against Biden ally and Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY).
Despite the fact that ABC had ignored it through Thursday morning (while ABC, CBS, and MSNBC waited until then with CNN first noticing in the noon Eastern hour), Doocy began his questions by invoking former Cuomo aide Linsdey Boylan’s claims in light of Cuomo chairing a virtual meeting of the National Governors Association with President Biden.
Doocy wondered if, given Boylan’s disturbing claims about Cuomo, the White House was “worried about this becoming a distraction from an important meeting about COVID response.”
Psaki’s answer was standard for a spokesperson in that she insisted Biden “has been consistent in his position” that “[w]hen a person comes forward, they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect” and “[t]heir voice should be heard not silenced and any allegation should be reviewed.”
Ruling? Pants on fire, Jen. Sure, one could say anyone and everyone should be “heard,” but as we’ve seen with Tara Reade versus Christine Blasey Ford, not all allegations are actually heard in the public square. Psaki might as well have followed up with the adage about a tree falling in the forest.
Houck is not going to mention that he and the rest of his MRC crew smeared and disrespected women who accused Donald Trump of sexual assault and harassment and care about Tara Reade not as a woman but as a tool with which to bash Biden, so Houck may not want to beg comparisons here.
Again, Houck imputed sinister motives to Psaki's side of the exchange, claiming that "a peeved Psaki insisted that Doocy of routinely engaging in disinformation." Given that Fox News is very much a disinformation mill masquerading as a "news" channel, that concern is well founded.
WND Lets Ministry Cry Censorship Over Its Political Hatchet Job On Soros Topic: WorldNetDaily
Bob Unruh lets a ministry play the victim in a Feb. 19 article:
The "cancel culture" has struck the influential D. James Kennedy Ministries, founded by the influential Presbyterian minister.
The organization said it's been deplatformed by Lifetime TV, to which it paid "enormous fees" over the years, because of its Christian perspective on issues such as abortion.
Lifetime TV had demanded that the ministry remove all "controversial" content or it could not continue to purchase time for its program "Truths That Transform."
Frank Wright, CEO of the group, said Lifetime imposed an unacceptable demand to remove all programming that addressed abortion or left-wing financier George Soros or it would be banned entirely.
Of course, Lifetime has every right to choose the programming that airs on its channel. And note what Unruh glossed over there: D. James Kennedy Ministries "purchased time" on Lifetime. He also ignores another question: What business does an organization that proclaims itself to be a religious ministry have in pushing a political hatchet job on Soros?
Indeed, the program, "Billionaire Radical: George Soros and the Scheme to Remake America," is very much a hatchet job that has nothing to do with religion. The goal of the program is to make Soros look as unflattering and evil as possible -- even suggesting that he's some kind of puppetmaster, an anti-Semitic trope, though not actually using that word -- even repeating the sleazy smear that "he did assist Nazis" during World War II, attacking him for doing what he could as a teenager to survive a Nazi regime whose goal it was to murder people like him. The program quotes only right-wing Soros critics like David Horowitz, Daniel Lapin and Richard Poe.There are many slippery, misleading and outright false claims, such has calling Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a "Marxist."
Of course, this is ultimately all about money; at the end of the program, a pitch is made that for a donation, Kennedy Ministries will send out "a compelling chart and guide showing in graphic detail how George Soros' money flows to radical causes," further claiming that "we have done the homework to separate the facts from the myths" -- highly unlikely given its embrace of the Nazi smear.
WND also gave Kennedy Ministries president Frank Wright a column the same day to whine about this further, complaining: "Lifetime objected to our exposé on Planned Parenthood, in which we documented the organization's sale of baby body parts derived from abortions. The network objected to our exposé on billionaire radical George Soros and his systematic efforts to undermine American laws and institutions. They even objected to our program on the spiritual life of George Washington." Again, Wright never explained what business a religious ministry has in creating a political smear job on Soros.
Wright also huffed: "One might argue that the foundational question here is: Why are progressives so deathly afraid of the free marketplace of ideas? They are in urgent need of reading – perhaps for the first time – John Milton's 'Areopagitica.' In his polemic against the state-sponsored cancel culture of his day, this Puritan declared: 'Let [Truth] and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse, in a free and open encounter?'" If Wright cares as much about "Truth" as he claims, why didn't subject his Soros hatchet job to any kind of outside fact-checking or even allow a Soros supporter to appear in his program to rebut its claims? Where is the forum anywhere at any Kennedy Ministries website where people are allowed to engage in debate over the false and misleading claims in the Soros program?
On top fo that, claiming "cancel culture" and "censorship" as Wright and WND are doing is also highly dishonest; there are enough media outlets that Kennedy Ministries should be able to easily find one and that there's no need to rely on a single outlet like Lifetime, which is exercising its right as a private business to decide what it airs -- indeed, the ministry has many TV outlets.
CNS Finds '3 Errors In 12 Seconds' From Biden -- But Gives Trump's Faleshoods A Pass Topic: CNSNews.com
Refugee-obsessed CNSNews.com reporter Patrick Goodenough nitpicked President Biden's numbers in a Feb. 18 article, with a headline claim that Biden made "3 errors in 12 seconds":
In the space of 12 seconds during his CNN town hall in Milwaukee on Tuesday night, President Joe Biden made three separate errors when talking about refugee admissions to the United States.
“We used to allow refugees, 125,000 refugees into the United States in a yearly basis,” he said. “It was as high as 250,000. Trump cut it to 5,000.”
Biden is correct in saying that President Trump slashed refugee admission numbers to record-low numbers. But all three figures he gave were off the mark.
--Over the years since the modern-day refugee admission program was established in 1980, the highest number of refugees to be resettled in the U.S. in any one year was 207,116, in fiscal year 1980, according to the numbers published by the State Department. It was not 250,000, as Biden asserted. (Even had he been referring to the ceiling rather than the actual number of admissions, the highest ceiling ever set, by the Carter administration for FY 1980, was 231,700, not “as high as 250,000.”)
--Biden said the U.S. “used to allow … 125,000 refugees into the United States in a yearly basis.” In fact, according to the State Department, over the 42 years since the Refugee Act was enacted in 1980, the U.S. admitted 125,000 or more refugees only three times – in fiscal years 1980 (207,116 refugees), 1981 (159,252 refugees), and 1992 (132,531 refugees). The average number of refugees admitted a year over that 42-year period stands at 88,207.
--Biden said Trump reduced the number of refugee admissions to 5,000. In fact, the lowest number of refugees resettled in the U.S. during the Trump presidency was 11,814, in FY 2020. Of the five years accounting for the smallest number of refugee admissions since 1980, three were under Trump – fiscal years 2020 (11,814 refugees), 2018 (22,517 refugees) and 2019 (30,000 refugees) – and two under President George W. Bush – fiscal years 2002 (27,131 refugees) and 2003 (28,403 refugees).
Goodenough weirdly added at the end of his article: "During his presidency Trump was frequently criticized or mocked for giving exaggerated or inaccurate figures during speeches or interviews." Not that we can recall Goodenough pointing out those inaccuracies they way he did to Biden.
A little over a week later, Goodenough had the chance to put his words in action by pointing out false and misleading claims former President Trump, he punted. Instead, Goodenough's Feb. 28 article on Trump's speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference is largely fluff and stenography, leading with Trump's narcissistic teasing about a 2024 presidential run:
Former President Trump made his return to the political arena in a fired-up speech on Sunday, slamming the five-week-old Biden administration’s record and making clear he has no intention of going away quietly. He stopped short of announcing plans to run again for the White House in 2024.
Addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida just two weeks after the U.S. Senate acquitted him of inciting insurrection, Trump pledged to throw his support behind strong conservative candidates, while dismissing by name those he characterized as “Republicans in Name Only.”
But he left hanging the question of whether he envisaged being the party's standard-bearer in the next presidential race.
While actual news outlets have performedfact-checks on just Trump's claims of election fraud that purportedly cost him the election, this fawning statement is all Goodenough wrote about it: "Evidently unfazed by the criticism he received for his reaction to the declared outcome of November’s election, Trump returned to the issue several times."
And while there are manyfact-checks of Trump's speech as a whole, Goodenough didn't reference them or do any-fact-checking of his own here or in any other article. Instead, he uncritically forwarded Trump's rants that Biden has had “the most disastrous first month of any American president in modern history” (by what metric? Goodenough didn't seem interested in finding out) and that the Biden administration is "anti-jobs, anti-family, anti-borders, anti-energy, anti-women and anti-science."
If one was looking for a compare-and-contrast of how CNS' pro-Trump, anti-Biden editorial agenda operates, Goodenough couldn't have delivered a better example.
MRC Brings Back Misinformation-Peddling Pollster Topic: Media Research Center
Late last year, we caught the Media Research Center's Joseph Vazquez promoting right-wing pollster Richard Baris while censoring the fact that Baris had been busted for pushing false claims about fraud in the 202 presidential election. So it's probably not surprising that Vazquez gave Baris another platform in a Feb. 19 post:
Big Data Poll Director Richard Baris slammed a CNBC economic survey arguing that President Joe Biden won an initial approval rating that topped the first ratings of the last four presidents.
CNBC’s recent All-America Economic Survey of 1,000 people claimed that Biden’s leftist agenda won him a whopping 62 percent initial approval rating for his “handling of the economy and for uniting the country.” The result supposedly topped the “first ratings of the last four presidents.” In addition, Biden’s initial rating was “18 points higher than Trump’s.” Baris summed up Biden’s numbers in one sentence: “At this point, there’s no excuse for them to continue to release results derived from methodologies that have repeatedly proven to be flawed.”
When reached for comment, Baris told the MRC the accuracy of polling companies could be measured by the reliability of their predictions leading up to the tumultuous 2020 election:
The only real test of a pollster's accuracy and trustworthiness comes on Election Day. It’s important to remember that these pollsters failed miserably last November. There are several reasons for that failure, all of which are now pretty widely acknowledged in the industry.
Given that Baris has already been busted pushing false informaiton, there's no reason to trust his opinion on anything -- but Vazquez does anyway, letting him rant about polls he doesn't like use methods he doesn't like. But he seems to be overlooking that CNBC's poll can be described as valid because its Biden poll presumably uses methodology similar to its previous polls, making comparisons between those polls more valid. It's much more difficult to draw comparisons between polls if the methodologies they used are drastically different.
Given that BNaris has made his pro-Republican leanings all too clear, it's hard to take his criticism of other polls seriously because it seems obvious he's just trashing the competition. Indeed, FiveThirtyEight thinks that Baris' Big Data Poll findings are so unreliable that it has received an F rating and has been banned from its polling analysis.
This is who Vazquez thinks is a credible "expert" on polling.
WND Clings To The 'Charlottesville Lie' Lie Topic: WorldNetDaily
We'venoted how WorldNetDaily likes to push the claim that then-President Trump didn't really say that neo-Nazis and far-right militia members were "very fine people" in commenting on the 2017 Charlotteville protests. Art Moore took another crack at it in a Feb. 12 article:
A defense attorney for President Trump in the Senate impeachment trial on Friday refuted the oft-repeated "Charlottesville lie" that Joe Biden says prompted him to run for president.
House impeachment managers played a selectively edited video of Trump's 2017 remark on Thursday, claiming he referred to neo-Nazi rioters as "very fine people."
But David Schoen was ready with the full video, which shows the left has been dishonestly manipulating Trump's words to back their claim that he is a white supremacist.
Biden, in one of many occasions in which he repeated the lie, said during his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention last summer that Trump's words in 2017 were "a wake-up call for us as a country" and, for him, "a call to action."
"At that moment, I knew I'd have to run," he said.
In fact, during his remarks on Charlottesville, Trump immediately made it clear he was not talking about "the neo-Nazis and white nationalists," explicitly declaring "they should be condemned totally."
His reference – as a CNN contributor pointed out in a rebuke to his network colleagues – was to the people on both sides of the issue of whether or not to maintain statues of Robert E. Lee and other Confederate figures.
As we've pointed out, this argument omits the crucial context that the group that was protesting the removal of the Confederate statue and Robert E. Lee park renaming was a group calling itself American Warrior Revolution, which considers itself a militia and later effectively blaming liberal counterprotester Heather Heyer for her own death in getting mowed down by a car driven by white supremacist James Fields Jr.
Jack Cashill similarly pushed this bogus narrative in his Feb. 17 column:
One useful outcome of this most recent impeachment Kabuki was the exposure of the "very fine people" lie, the one spawned by the media in the wake of the Charlottesville, Virginia, dust-up in August 2017.
So pervasive was the lie that reportedly Trump's attorneys did not even know it was a lie until they began to research it.
Left unexplored, however, even by the conservative media, was how Joe Biden launched his presidential campaign on the wings of this lie and rode it, by hook and by crook, all the way to the White House.
The "fine people" Trump spoke of were those protesting the removal of Robert E. Lee's statue. Trump wondered out loud whether the removal of statues would lead to the removal of George Washington's statue or Thomas Jefferson's.
As has become the Big Media norm, the New York Times article on Biden's presidential announcement allowed his deceit to pass unremarked. Other media followed suit. And Biden kept lying.
The Charlottesville gambit was part of a larger strategy to paint Trump as a racist dating back to his challenge of Barack Obama's birth certificate eight years earlier.
Like Moore, Cashill refused to acknowledge that the group organizing against the Lee statue removal was a right-wing militia.
For the first full month of Joe Biden's presidency, it seems that CNSNews.com is reluctant to give him credit for job growth. In her lead story on February's numbers, Susan Jones is still waxing nostalgic about how many jobs Donald Trump created before the pandemic and comparing the's numbers to pre-pandemic totals:
The economy added a healthy 379,000 jobs in February, and the unemployment rate dropped a tenth of a point to 6.2 percent.
A year ago February, the nation's unemployment rate was 3.5 percent, a fifty-year low; but that was before coronavirus caused parts of the economy to shut down.
The number of employed Americans, 150,239,000, increased in February for the tenth month in a row. That's a gain of 208,000 from January, as more states start to relax COVID restrictions.
The 150,239,000 employed Americans in February is well below the record 158,735,000 set during the Trump administration. But it's close to the levels set in late 2015/early 2016 during the Obama-Biden administration.
That's not the only right-wing Jones pushed in her article. She also uncritically quoted right-wing economist (and CNS columnist) Stephen Moore claming that the lower unemployment rate "shows we don't need another $2 trillion dollar stimulus bill. We need to get states reopened. The number of COVID cases is down dramatically. The success of Operation Warp Speed and the vaccine have been the best stimulus of all."
CNS served up the usual sidebars this time around: one from editor Terry Jeffrey lamenting that "Despite adding 21,000 manufacturing jobs in the month of February, the United States has lost 561,000 in the past year," and the other from Craig Bannister conceding that "The unemployment rate for Hispanics and Latinos improved slightly in February as more than a quarter-million both entered the labor force and found jobs and the nation’s businesses continued reopening from the coronavirus-prompted shutdown."
Jealous? MRC Still Envious That Obamas Are Doing Well Topic: Media Research Center
In a March 15 post, a Media Research Center writer suggested that CNN's Brian Stelter doing a segment on Fox News host Tucker Carlson's incendiary and offensive rhetoric meant that he was jealous of Carlson's ratings. By that logic, we can assume that the MRC's weird fixation on how productive Barack and Michelle Obama (and how much money they've made in the process) have been after leaving the presidency is an expression of jealousy as well. Obama hasn't been president for four years ,and it hasn't stopped.
Late last year, Clay Waters served up some late-breaking attacks (coming after our previous item) on book reviewers weighing in on Obama's presidential memoir: in one piece, he whined that the New York Times Sunday Book Review's "obeisant" and "almost reverent" take on the book "took up five full pages of the section; in the other, Waters huffed that former Times book critic Michiko Kakutani "fulfilled her reputation for sucking up to President Barack Obama" in an interview with him, further complaining that "Kakutani mined Obama’s vast book (the first of a threatened two in a series) for more of Obama’s mind-droppings."
In a Feb. 18 post, Gabriel Hays has decided it's perfectly fine to attack the child of a (former) president:
The Obama media empire continues to grow stronger as yet another Obama family member gets a cushy Hollywood gig. What’s next? The Obama dogs getting their own late night talk show?
In addition to Michelle and Barack Obama having respective massive book deals, a Hollywood production company which has produced Oscar-award winning movies, and frequent guest appearances for Michelle on PBS, their daughter is now in on the action. News dropped recently that Malia Obama landed a lucrative screenwriting gig with Amazon Studios and Star Wars actor, Donald Glover.
It sure pays to be an Obama these days.
Hays sounds like he thinks he deserves that gig.
Obama's planned podcast with Bruce Springsteen prompted more MRC whining. Kyle Drennen huffed that the podcast was a "vanity project" and that coverage of it "made it clear journalists were still adoring fans eager for any new product being put out by the Democrat." Hays returned to ramp up the petulenace under the all-caps headline "INSUFFERABLE":
What is it with the entertainment industry giving radio and podcast gigs to people who should have shut up years ago? In what is probably another sign of the apocalypse, two of the more insufferable lefties in American history are teaming up for one podcast series.
Former President Barack Obama and “Glory Days” singer Bruce Springsteen have launched a podcast titled “Renegades: Born in the USA.” Yeah, how’s that for obnoxious?
And Barry’s just being Barry, making media content with his mega-million dollar partnership with Netflix and his book deals, and talking trash about conservative Americans and Trump every step of the way. Yeah both of these jokers are real renegades, the way they are shilling for the all-encompassing liberal machine that is now looking to brand grandma’s facebook posts as “domestic terrorism.” Real outsider stuff, boys.
Hays is almost entertainingly oblivious to how much he's pegging the insufferably-obnoxious meter. But will he concede that Obama was, in fact, born in the USA? The jury's still out on that.
On March 3, Kristine Marsh grumbled that Michelle Obama had a book to sell, and that "ABC’s morning show Good Morning America was happy to act as Michelle Obama’s PR team, not only helping to sell her book to kids but also promote her well-crafted image of the wise and inspirational role model. There wasn’t one critical or tough question in the exclusive ABC interview.
And on March 14, Tim Graham was shockec -- shocked! -- that People magazine failed to a harsh right-wing takedown of Michelle Obama, underthe headline "Lickspittle Olympics":
Just five weeks after their latest puffball cover story on Joe and Jill Biden, People magazine offers a cover story on Michelle Obama. The cover announced the theme: " Love, Family & What I Know Now: The former First Lady on keeping life fun, parenting grown daughters, and how marriage was shaken but stayed strong: 'I look across the room and I still see my friend'."
"We've learned to count our blessings" is the big takeaway inside, and "making the most of pandemic isolation with her husband and daughters (Baking! Eavesdropping!)"
But why now? What is she selling? The excuse for another six-page spread of sugar is a new “young readers edition” of her 2018 memoir Becoming. (They're counting their royalties, not just their blessings.)
Now who is buying the Obamas as "working class" folks now? After more than $100 million in book deals and Netflix deals and speaking fees, and so on, and so on? But People will still publish this syrup in all seriousness.
But aren't fluffy profiles the reason People magazine exists? And hasn't the MRC spent the past four years insisting that a self-proclaimed billionaire narcissist with a taste for gaudiness is the champion of working people?
Seems that Graham is still jealous that Michelle Obama's memoir sold many times more copies than the sum total of anything he ghost-wrote for his boss, Brent Bozell.
NEW ARTICLE: How CNS Embraced Trump's Bogus Election Fraud Conspiracy Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com gave Donald Trump plenty of space to push unchallenged his claim that the election was stolen from him. After the Capitol riot, though, CNS was briefly shocked into reporting balanced news. Read more >>
WND Columnist Cites Pseudo-Historian While Fretting About History Being Wiped Out Topic: WorldNetDaily
Patrice Lewis wrote in her Feb. 12 WorldNetDaily column:
Last summer I read an engrossing book entitled "1421: The Year China Discovered America" by Gavin Menzies, a retired British submarine lieutenant commander turned amateur archeologist. The book documented his efforts to demonstrate how a Chinese fleet of hundreds (perhaps thousands) of ships set sail in 1421 and circumnavigated the world, touching base everywhere from the Americas (North and South), Australia, Africa, Greenland, Europe, and all points between. The purpose of the expeditions, according to Menzies, was to chart the waters of the globe, impress and intimidate foreign rulers, and bring the entire world into China's "tribute system."
The book was riveting. While COVID lockdowns and subsequent unemployment soared around America, I was lost in the voyages of these Chinese explorers. While cities burned around the nation, causing billions of dollars in damages and killing dozens of people, I was absorbed by the evidence of the expeditions found in California and the Caribbean. While BLM and Antifa toppled statues, defaced monuments and demanded history be rewritten, I was captivated by the evidence presented of the Chinese discovery of Australia and even Antarctica. While Portland, Seattle and other blue cities were torn apart by constant violence and anarchy, I was immersed in the phenomenal accomplishments of those Imperial Chinese fleets.
Some sources dismiss Menzies as a "pseudo-historian" because he doesn't have academic credentials after his name (for the record, I'm not nearly as impressed by academic credentials as I used to be), but I found the book compelling and fascinating nonetheless. Whether or not Menzies' conclusions are accurate is not the focus of this column. Instead, ponder this question: If the premise of the book is true – if evidence points to China being world explorers long before Europeans – why doesn't history reflect this? Why aren't the accomplishments of Imperial China known throughout the world?
The proposed answer, according to Menzies, is because during the years the voyagers were at sea and out of touch with their mother country, Imperial China's tumultuous and controversial régime changed, and its leaders (who commissioned the fleet) were deposed. The new incoming régime was rigidly insular. All foreign goods, services and trade were forcibly suppressed and – here's the critical part – expunged from the records. As with many cultural revolutions, the leaders wanted their reign to be "Year Zero" for history. The accomplishments of the previous rulers were not just unwelcome, they were downright dangerous to acknowledge.
Turns out there's a good reason actual historians dismiss Menzies' conclusions: because he offers no proof to back them up. As one actual historian wrote:
Unfortunately for supporters of this theory, he offers no proof, only a great deal of circumstantial evidence marred by questionable scholarship.
Menzies has no "smoking gun" that proves his theory-- because the xenophobic Confucian officials who advised the later Ming emperors destroyed all records of these sea voyages.
Authors that aim to rewrite 500 years of accepted history should rely less on subjective claims and more on hard evidence. And this is where Menzies ultimately fails to persuade. First, he does not read Chinese and thus cites no primary sources--a problem even if one accepts that the records were all destroyed. Even more fatal to his argument, Menzies often fails to provide corroborating data for many of his claims. To cite just four examples, he: never provides the DNA evidence supposedly linking the American Indians and Chinese; fails to document the discovery of Chinese anchors off the coast of California; appeals to unspecified "local experts," as when arguing that remains of 15th century Chinese shipwrecks have been found in New Zealand; and says that a Taiwanese museum's copy of a Chinese map allegedly showing Australia and Tasmania "unfortunately...has been lost." Questionable speculative leaps are also Menzies's stock-in-trade, as when claiming that the inscription on a stone column in the Cape Verde Islands (off Africa's western coast) is in Maylayam, a language of South India, and that this proves the Chinese were there. Yet why would a Chinese fleet admiral order a message inscribed in a language other than Chinese?
But as Lewis already wrote, she doesn't care whether Menzies is accurate -- a strange stance for someone who has touted how she homeschooled her children. She thinks liberals are erasing history the way the alleged Chinese expedition to the U.S. was purportedly eradicated:
America, too, has experienced a régime change in which the Five Evils (Big Tech, Hollywood, public education, mainstream media, politicians) are engaging in a long-term scrubbing of history, both past and modern. In a remarkably short period of time, our history – the good, the bad and the ugly – is being expunged from the records, leaving behind a sterilized and factually false account. Our founding documents are being dismissed as racist, and the intellectual giants who shaped the groundwork for a nation of freedom are being rebranded as white supremacists whose legacy is not just unimportant, but downright dangerous to acknowledge. America's origins are being rewritten to fit the narrative of the extreme left agenda.
How long before the logs and records of our history are destroyed, and the memory of them expunged so completely over the succeeding decades that they might never have existed? Even now there are whole generations of children who have grown up completely ignorant of major world events, everything from the Holocaust to the democide (death by government) of hundreds of millions of people over the last 120 years due to socialism and communism. They are equally ignorant of American history except what reflects the extreme leftist narrative.
Even now, the left is trying to scrub President Trump from history. We're watching it happen in real time.
We are witnessing a purge unprecedented in America, but widely repeated through world history during tyrannical régimes. Dissenting voices are silenced, religious expression is suppressed, statues are toppled, history is rewritten, and – most importantly – the education of children is strictly regulated. As Hitler so accurately observed, "When an opponent declares, 'I will not come over to your side,' I calmly say, 'Your child belongs to us already. … What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community."
And it's all happening in less time than you think.
Lewis seems to have missed how the Trump administration tried to eradicate all mention of the Affordable Care Act from government websites as a prelude to the administration's attempt to overturn the law and discourage people from using it.Maybe Lewis doesn't think that rewriting history is that big of a deal when right-wingers do it -- which, or course, makes her a hypocrite.
Lewis has been moving to the far-right fringe in recent months -- she previously pushed the false claim that Antifa was involved in the Capitol riot, declared that Trump was the victim of a "coup d'etat," and proclaimed that because ofthe pandemic, "we're in the throes of an orchestrated economic collapse. Orchestrated. Got that? Orchestrated." One could say she's fulfilling her potential as a WND columnist.
MRC Remains Angry TV Cop Shows Mirror Current Issues In Policing Topic: Media Research Center
We've documented how the Media Research Center has gotten upset that police-related dramas on TV are taking the ripped-from-the-headlines approach in addressing recent controversies over police brutality that don't adhere to the MRC's pro-police, anti-reform agenda. You will not be surprised to learn that the complaining has continued. Lindsay Kornick complained in a Jan. 3 post:
Looks like CBS’s NCIS: New Orleans will spend its 2021 doubling down on false liberal propaganda. While the show already bent over backwards to claim police officers are killing young black men last month, the latest episode somehow went further to appease a “burn the establishment” progressive and her mostly “peaceful” crowd.
Kornick further complained that one character "even goes so far as to peddle the usual lie that the “vast majority” of BLM protestors are just peaceful idealists being dragged by a few bad actors. She linked to a right-wing Townhall.com post ridiculing a study finding that 93 percent of protests did not result in rioting -- a "vast majority" by any definition and, thus, not a "usual lie." (Ironically, the MRC would be using this exact same argument a few days later to distance conservatives from the right-wing Capitol rioters, even though both were clearly on the same pro-Trump side.)
Rebecca Downs went after a different show, "The Rookie," grumbling on Jan. 4 that the show "aims to get political on policing" by discussing racial issues and that one show writer said that it "can’t do one special episode, where we feel good and solve racism in the end, and then go back to our usual thing the next week. We want to change things for as long as we get to do this show.” This was followed by her complaint on Jan. 11 that the show"revealed a new “ polarizing” character, veteran officer Doug Stanton (Brandon Routh) and his hit-you-over-the-head racial profiling. The episode also featured interactions between titular character Officer John Nolan (Nathan Fillion) and James Murray (Arjay Smith), a local black man, while Nolan's assigned to a community policing center."
Downs' anger continued as the show's storyline did, ranting on Jan. 18 that the latest episode featured how that "polarizing" officer character "physically assaults an innocent young black man who does not match the description of their suspect, then threatens to arrest the man's entire family for trying to intervene while pointing his gun at them all in an over-the-top scene, with the rookie he is training, Officer Jackson West (Titus Makin Jr.), uncomfortably watching it all." She concluded by huffing that "it looks like next Sunday we can enjoy what is, at best, another increasingly crowded, melodramatic, and poorly written episode of The Rookie." The next week, Downs groused that the character was "a white racist cop personified," adding that "Our main characters may want Stanton gone, but he also is a veteran of the job who knows a thing or two."
Elise Ehrhard bashed another show in a Jan. 26 post:
CBS's woke court drama All Rise has spent all season pushing BLM propaganda. One lie that Black Lives Matter promotes is the myth that America's first police departments were created to capture fugitive slaves. The leader of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York< even said on Fox News that the first police departments were used as "slave patrols." One way that leftism attempts to destroy American institutions is by lying about their founding.
BLM's claim is demonstrably false. The first pre-Civil War police departments were created in Boston, New York and Philadelphia and their creation had nothing to do with capturing runaway slaves. But facts never stopped Hollywood from promoting BLM myths.
No, it's not "demonstrably false." Northern big-city police departments may not have been founded on capturing slaves, but historians point out that Southern cities had slave patrols that predated police departments' founding, and that all such police operations were created to enforce the existing social hierarchy before evolving into a force for protection starting in the late 19th century.
On Feb. 14, Ehrhard complained that another show pointed out that last summer's protests were mostly peaceful: "Television shows this year just have characters keep saying over and over again that the protests are peaceful, really, really peaceful. Did they ever hear of Shakespeare's warning, 'I think thou doth protest too much'? If protests were genuinely peaceful, Hollywood writers would not have to keep telling audiences that." She concluded by sneering out the MRC's nasty narrative: "BLM and Antifa protests have been a poisonous exercise in domestic terrorism and no amount of Hollywood lying should ever cause Americans to forget it."
Downs returned on Feb. 22 to bash "The Rookie" some more: "For weeks, ABC’s The Rookie hit viewers over the head with the evils of racist white cops, personified through Officer Doug Stanton (Brandon Routh). While Officer Stanton may be gone, the show is just getting started on the racial white guilt."
Kornick, meanwhile, ranted about a yet another show in a Feb. 21 post: "CW’s Batwoman may have a new lead, but the politics are as bad as ever. With several subtle victimization jabs in the past few episodes, the superhero series finally makes a bold move by supporting the ACAB (All Cops Are Bastards) movement. Again, this is supposed to be our hero, ladies and gentlemen."
Fortunately for the MRC, there's still one show on TV that reliably pushes its right-wing agenda. A Jan. 25 post by Dawn Slusher cheered, "Leave it to CBS’s excellent hit cop drama Blue Bloods to confront anti-police sentiment head-on and depict how it affects not only officers, but their families, as well," calling the show "a breath of fresh air in an industry that refuses to recognize the humanity of police officers and how they sacrifice their lives to keep us safe."
WND's Favorite Ex-Soviet Bloc Spymaster Has Died Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily reported last month that Ion Mihai Pacepa, "one-time communist spymaster" in Romania who defected to the U.S., has died. The article, by managing editor David Kupelian, gushed:
On a personal note: In 2012, Pacepa wrote the definitive book on disinformation, titled “Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism,” coauthored with historian and law professor Ronald Rychlak, and with an Introduction by R. James Woolsey, former director of Central Intelligence. I was honored to be involved as the book’s editor, and also as a scriptwriter for the companion feature-length film documentary, “Disinformation: The Secret Strategy to Destroy the West.”
It was wonderful to know and to work with Mihai Pacepa – “Mike,” as his friends called him. Mike, Ron Rychlak and I have remained good friends ever since.
Since Kupelian dishonestly fails to come right outy and say it, it's up to us to point out that "Disinformation" was published by now-defunct WND Books.
That was followed by a Feb. 25 column tribute to Pacepa by Paul Kengor that was similarly gushy, touting how "I often got his emails in response to my articles here at The American Spectator, of which he was an avid reader" and that Pacepa pushed the conspiracy theory that Lee Harvey Oswald was programmed by the Soviets to assassinate John Kennedy (though he did concede that "this theory of Soviet involvement is disputed by Kennedy assassination investigators and by the Warren Commission").
We remember Pacepa as the purported author of a pro-Trump screed that WND distributed before the 2016 election, which may have actually been ghostwritten by Pacepa's coauthor, mouthpiece and gatekeeper, Ronald Rychlak; we had a nonproductive conversation with Rychlak in which he deflected questions about why Pacepa would back a candidate who's cozy with another former communist spymaster, Vladimir Putin.