MRC Abandons The Right-Wing Lawyer It Helped Create Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center regularlyattacked Michael Avenatti, whom it loved to tag as a "creepy porn lawyer" for the ofense of representing porn star Stormy Daniels (whom the MRC also attacked) in her accusations that Donald Trump had an affair with her -- an accusation that was seemingly proven by the fact that Trump paid her hush money. When Avenatti got in trouble with other extralegal shenanigans, the MRC was even happier to bash, continuing to tie him to the "liberal media" though it had long abandoned him. When Avenatti was sentenced to prison in July for his misdeeds, the MRC was ready to rehash his story yet again:
Of course, the MRC built up its own favored attorneys as well ... and then went silent when they went bad. Last September, we argued that John Pierce -- whom the MRC had lionized as the attorney for Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager who shot and killed two people during a protest in Kenosha, Wis., last year -- was a right-wing Avenatti who had engaged in financial shenanigans and hostile and threatening behavior toward his ex-wife, serving as Rittehouse's defense attorney while also running a foundation paying for Rittenhouse's legal fees. Our last update on Pierce noted that he had left the foundation, but the story didn't end there. In December, Pierce was barred from representing Rittenhouse as a defense lawyer in Wisconsin (Pierce is based in California) because of his financial shenanigans -- which include "the collapse of Pierce's law firm earlier this year 'under a cloud of debt,' and several lawsuits alleging Pierce defaulted on hundreds of thousands of dollars in business and personal loans" -- and because he continued to use the foundation to fund-raise for Rittenhouse' legal defense. Pierce then withdrew as Rittenhouse's criminal attorney but stayed on to pursue civil cases against media outlets who had purportedly defamed Rittenhouse.
In February, Rittenhouse fired Pierce from even that bit of representation, suggesting it was because Pierce opposed setting up an independent trust for Rittenhouse. And around the time the MRC was obsessing over Avenatti yet again, it was reported that Rittenhouse's family and current attorney accused Pierce of still trying to siphon away money raised for Rittenhouse and keep control of the $2 million that was raised.
Since then, we have an even more apt candidate for the MRC's Avenatti. Back in 2019, the MRC wascheering attorney L. Lin Wood -- who, it so happens, operated that defense fund along with Pierce -- for planning to file nuisance lawsuits for needlessly large amounts against media outlets for supposedly defaming high school students (best known as the Covington kids) caught up in a protest while visiting Washington, D.C. Curtis Houck gushed over Wood's "incredibly-detailed" $250 million lawsuit against CNN, while Nicholas Fondacaro made a point of noting that a similar lawsuit against the Washington Post was "lengthy."
When Wood reached confidential settlements with a couple of the media outlets it sued -- which suggest that Wood likely got llittle more than token going-away money for his student clients -- the MRC nevertheless insisted there were massive victories despite there being no public retraction as part of the settlement, and Kristine Marsh even gushed over "eagle-eyed lawyer" Wood for freaking out over such speculation over the settlements.
By August 2020, the MRC was cheering Wood joining Rittenhouse's legal team, with Alexander Hall touting one media outlet "recounted how Wood is a battle-hardened veteran of America’s recent culture wars, and Corinne Weaver complained that Wood was briefly "suspended from Twitter on September 1 for 'glorifying violence.'" Wood then joined Donald Trump's post-election team attempting to turn over the election; Weaver complained in one November post that a Wood tweet was "censored" -- it wasn't; Twitter simply flagged it as pushing dubioius claims about election fraud.
CNS Deletes Attack on Simone Biles Without Explanation Topic: CNSNews.com
On July 27, CNSNews.com published a commentary by Fiona Moriarty-McLaughlin that began like this:
When an athlete is named the “greatest of all time” (GOAT), you never expect them to fail, let alone quit. U.S. gymnastics star Simone Biles, who currently holds the title, proved the opposite with her formal exit from two major events at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, a perfect example of GOAT privilege.
We presume it gets worse from there, attacking Biles for withdrawing from events to preserve her mental and physical health after being struck with a case of the "twisties," in which a gymnast loses control over her body while performing and cannot determine how it will react to gymnastic moves or where it will land.
We can only presume, though, because CNS removed the article shortly after publication -- so quickly, in fact, that it could not be archived by the usual places that do such things, like Google Cache and the Wayback Machine. The link to the commentary on CNS returns only a error saying "the requested page could not be found." MuckRack archived only the first paragraph of her commentary, but that's it.
If Moriarty-McLaughlin's name sounds familiar, that's because she was involved in a bit of infamy last year: A supposed online influencer who had previously worked for right-wing outlets like Campus Reform, she took part in what the New York Post called a "tone-deaf photo-op" in which "she pretend[ed] to board up a storefront from looters, before dashing back to a Mercedes and driving away." That stunt cost her a job at the Washington Examiner, where she had been working as a commentary intern. Like any good right-wing writer would, she ran to Fox News to proclaim herself a victim of "cancel culture" and that she quickly left after her photo-op because she "felt threatened" when she saw she was being filmed.
CNS' silence on the issue also covers why it chose to give a writer with such a reputation a second chance. Given that CNS quickly had second thoughts about Moriarty-McLaughlin's hit piece so soon after publication, it may be a good while before she pops up in conservative circles again.
UPDATE: CNS has posted another commentary by Moriarty-McLaughlin, a July 1 piece complaining that Anthony Fauci has appeared on TikTok in an effort to encourage young people to get the coronavirus vaccine, huffing: "This is not about health with Fauci; it's about clout: Views, likes, garnering popularity with young people, and ultimately building a fanbase consisting primarily of the Generation Z TikTok crowd." She also tried to feed unproven claims that COVID vaccines affect fertility and fearmongered about breakthrough infections.
Newsmax's Black Keeps Sucking Up To Trump (And Nixon Too) Topic: Newsmax
Conrad Black -- notorioussucker-upper to Donald Trump -- spent part of his July 8 column complaining that historians ranked Trump's presidency too low:
President Trump’s status at number 41 is utterly nonsensical.
His achievements in reducing illegal immigration by 95%, eliminating unemployment, generating higher percentage income gains in the lowest rather than in the highest income brackets, solid advances in Mideast peace, taming North Korea, and shaping up the NATO alliance will eventually be seen as far more important than stylistic infelicities when the current tide of partisan zeal and snobbery has ebbed.
He then declared Trump would be in his second tier of presidents, which he deemed "above average."
Black followed up in his July 29 column, complaining that reporter Carl Bernstein criticized Trump's presidency:
This past Sunday, Bernstein solemnly asserted to the porcine CNN Trump-hater Brian Stelter, that Trump is "an American war criminal operating within his own country," and that "when we’re talking about Trump, we’re obviously talking about a kind of delusional madness."
On a gentle probing from Stelter, Bernstein elaborated that his status as a war criminal consists of his "crimes against humanity" which "he has perpetrated upon our people, including the tens of thousands of people who died because of his homicidal negligence in the pandemic."
Naturally, the fact that Trump probably saved millions of lives around the world with his facilitation of an early vaccine went unmentioned and his homicidal contact was not remotely identified.
Bernstein continued, saying Trump’s "actions in terms of fomenting a coup in which to hold onto office and which the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has now compared . . . to Hitler . . . to brownshirts, to the Reichstag fire."
This is unspeakable and demented nonsense; certainly the chairman of the Joint Chiefs should be fired.
But Trump wasn't the only ex-president whose reputation Black wants to rehabilitate. He wrote of Richard Nixon in his July 8 column:
Gradually, as cant and emotionalism subside, historians take note of the fact that there is still no conclusive evidence that Nixon himself broke any laws, though some people in his entourage did.
And on revisiting his presidency, each year the Watergate controversy will be less important in comparison with his achievements in normalizing relations with China, negotiating and signing the greatest arms control agreement in history with the Soviet Union, extracting the United States from the Vietnam War while maintaining a non-Communist government in Saigon.
Nixon also worked to end school segregation while avoiding the bussing of tens of millions of schoolchildren out of their neighborhoods as the courts had ordered, founded the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ended the draft, and ended the violent demonstrations that plagued the country relentlessly in the last year of his predecessor Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration.
This record will eventually put Nixon in the top 15 presidents, up from 31 in this survey, and about 40th in 2001.
Black placed Nixon in his highest tier of presidents that he deemed "unusually capable."
In his July 29 column, Black demanded that Nixon receive "balanced historical treatment":
He must, of course, take principal responsibility for the disgrace and embarrassment of Watergate; he permitted, and at times encouraged, a tawdry atmosphere within the White House in which legalities were often treated a bit casually and Nixon rather self-servingly applied the Truman-Eisenhower latitudinarian version of national interest and the president’s practically unlimited right to define it.
These were terrible tactical errors and no one can deny that Nixon paid heavily for them.
But against that, and despite the fact that he was the first president since Zachary Taylor in 1848 to take office with neither house of Congress in the hands of his own party, Nixon enjoyed one of the most successful single terms in the history of the U.S. presidency.
He extracted the United States from the Vietnam War while maintaining a non-Communist government in Saigon which would have had a chance of survival if the Watergate crisis had not prevented him from resuming aerial bombardment of the North when that country, as had been expected, violated the peace agreement and resumed its invasion of the South.
These are the reasons, and not any minor political skulduggery, that President Nixon was reelected by 18 million votes in 1972, a plurality that has not been approached in the subsequent half-century even though the electorate has grown steadily larger.
He then attacked Bernstein and his former journalistic partner Bob Woodward, complaining that "the absurdly antagonistic and muckraking treatment that they have frequently inflicted on some of Nixon’s successors must reflect on the credibility of their coverage of the Watergate affair that so durably influenced public and international opinion about Nixon," dismissing most of what they got from "Deep Throat" -- later revealed to be FBI official Mark Felt -- as nothing more than "malicious gossip prompted by the source’s failure to be elevated to succeed J. Edgar Hoover as director of the FBI."
Bob Unruh has a "stunning" -- and bogus -- report in a July 14 WorldNetDaily article:
here were 100 lawsuits over the vote count for the 2020 presidential election, and essentially none was considered on merits as court after court cited technicalities in letting stand the suspicious results of Joe Biden's victory.
But now investigations and audits may be showing what actually happened, and whether, in fact, Biden was elected.
The Gateway Pundit has posted an announcement from VoterGA which is charging that evidence "from public records" has revealed Fulton County's hand count audit was "riddled with massive errors and provable fraud."
The allegations arise from VoterGA's review of images of mail-in ballots that a judge ordered the county to make available.
"The team's analysis revealed that 923 of 1439 mail-in ballot batch files contained votes incorrectly reported in Fulton's official November 3rd 2020 results," the report said. "These inaccuracies are due to discrepancies in votes for Donald Trump, Joe Biden and total votes cast compared to their reported audit totals for respective batches. Thus, the error reporting rate in Fulton's hand count audit is a whopping 60%."
VoterGA reported, "One type of error discovered involved duplicate results reporting for batches of ballots. The team found at least 36 batches of mail-in ballots with 4,255 total extra votes were redundantly added into Fulton Co. audit results for the November election. These illicit votes include 3,390 extra votes for Joe Biden, 865 extra votes for Donald Trump and 43 extra votes for Jo Jorgenson."
Fact-checker PolitiFact pointed out that VoterGA is run by a conspiracy theorist, Garland Favorito, then went on to debunk his claim:
In all, the roughly 5 million ballots cast in Georgia were counted three times, including once by hand. The hand recount uncovered more than 2,600 uncounted votes, most of which favored Trump, in Floyd County, Ga. But election officials said the mistake was due to human error, not voter fraud. In the end, the certified results showed Biden beating Trump by 11,779 votes in the state.
Alan Abramowitz, a political science professor at Emory University in Atlanta, said: "Given that these ballots were all recounted by hand, there is no chance that a large number of ballots were double counted."
University of West Georgia political scientist Thomas Hunter said none of the information provided by Voter GA proves that votes in the official certified results were counted twice.
A tweet says that in the 2020 presidential election, "4,255 ballots in Fulton County, Georgia, were scanned multiple times" and "3,390 went to Biden."
MRC Gushes Over Hateful Right-Wing Country Song Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has found a country song right-wing enough for it, and Gabriel Hays is in love:
A new country song seems to be saying all the things patriotic Americans have been thinking over the past year as they’ve watched riots rage in their cities, statues of American heroes demolished, and professional athletes disrespecting the Stars and Stripes.
Country music artist Aaron Lewis released his new song, “Am I the Only One” on July 2, just in time for the Fourth of July weekend. Though if audiences were expecting a fun, straightforward tune about how good seeing the American flag makes Lewis feel, well, they got something different.
The new song is patriotic, though in a different, more raw, angrier way. It‘s about the confusion and grief Lewis feels as he sees the American flag get trampled on, the ideas represented by it spurned by new generations of Americans.
Though the chorus clears up the mystery of what Lewis is anguishing over, and it ends up being a theme all of us conservative, freedom-loving, flag-waving Americans have been dealing with as we look at the nightly news or scour Twitter. He sings, “Am I the only one willin’ to bleed, or take a bullet for being free? Screamin’ ‘what the f***?’ at my TV? … Are you telling me that I’m the only one, willin’ to fight for my love of the Red and White and Blue?”
Of course, by this point it’s pretty obvious what Lewis is singing about, and it’s the constant subversion of patriotism and love for American liberty that’s all too popular these days. Lewis’ lyrics hit directly in the same spot that was rubbed raw with outrage and terror as my friends and I watched our cities being torched, people being hurt, and statues being torn down for the sake of the Marxist Black Lives Matter lies. Those lies – and similar ones being taught to kids in schools today – say that America, as it was founded, is a place fit to be torn down.
It's poignant imagery that refuses to sugarcoat what’s going on. This isn’t politics as usual for Lewis. He, like many of us, sees this all as a concerted effort to destroy the social fabric and freedoms Americans have loved and have died for. His lyrics also speak to him feeling like a crazy person because of all the media propaganda telling us this "change" is a good, noble thing.
He asks, “Am I the only one not brainwashed, makin’ my way through the land of the lost? Who still gives a s*** and worries about his kids, and they try to undo all the things he did?”
Nothing like right-wing grievance narratives set to song. Hays has drunk deeply of the conservative Kool-Aid -- as has Lewis, apparently -- and he's u nable to tolerate anyone who is not a conservative like him, trying to otherize them by portraying them as enemies of the United States.
Which makes Abigail Streetman's July 21 post uniroinically bashing any one who has criticized Lewis' song of a piece with Hays:
Aaron Lewis’s new country song “Am I the Only One” quickly rose to the top of Billboard’s Hot Country Songs list because of its pro-American lyrics and strong criticism at the left. The song’s popularity angered a lot of cry-baby leftists and they are now targeting the founder of Big Machine Label group for promoting Lewis.
Music blogger Bob Lefsetz wrote a blog about Lewis's song last week and called out Big Machine founder Scott Borchetta for “marketing this junk.”
Borchetta released a response to the post and noted that his job is not to tell his artists “what to sing and write about.” He further noted that his label group also represented left-wing Sheryl Crow and when she released her song “Woman in The White House.”
"Aaron Lewis and I have political disagreements. But there are also things we agree on. I think that’s the foundation for the idea of our country," Borchetta continued. "It doesn’t work if we’re so divided that we can’t reach across the aisle, have a conversation or an argument, and ultimately, shake hands. If we can’t do that, and this moment is so divisive, we may never get our country back."
Neither Streetman nor Borchetta would admit that there's a significant number of people who believe we did get "our " country back by electing Joe Biden over Donald Trump, and that all this right-wing ranting that Lewis and Streetman are pushing are just partisan narratives designed to divide America and exploit divisions for profit.Apparently Streetman also believes you're not a "real" American unless you're spouting right-wing talking points.
Streetman concludes by praising Borchetta because he "won’t bend his knee to the mob that wants to cancel all things conservative" -- but she's part of a right-wing mob that wants to cancel all things liberal. Not that she'll admit her double standard, of course.
WND Just Barely Meets Its Fund-Raising Goal Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily met its fund-raising goal of $100,000 -- but only just so. But Joseph Farah was ready to gush anyway:
I am so grateful!
You've come through for us – fighting through blacklists, the cancel culture, the lies about WND and incredibly slanted media, donating emergency tax-deductible funds last month to allow us to continue our mission.
Apparently, you still love us!
And we love all of you – whether you could afford some extra money at this time or not. Your prayers continue to be just as important to us. God and this audience understand what's at stake for the independent media as well as America in the battle with Big Tech.
Yes, you raised just over $100,000 for the WND News Center keeping us just short of insolvency for the time being.
What a blessing!
I speak for our great, loyal and deeply committed editorial staff in expressing appreciation for these gifts. Of course, ongoing donations to WND remain welcome.
No mention, of course, of how Farah quietlyextended his drop-dead deadline from July 15 to the end of July to make sure he met that goal -- or what the fact hat it only barely met that goal despite extending it says for WND's future. There's also no mention of what, exactly, this $100,000 will be going toward.
Farah spent the rest of his column rehashing a Wall Street Journal editorial encouraging the right-wing push to rewrite Section 230 to stop "Big Tech" companies from enforcing their own terms of service as other private companies are allowed to do. He concluded by lamenting: "Censorship has become a reality in America. We cannot afford to allow it to be accepted. If we do, America will no longer be a beacon of truth. Right now, that beacon is growing faint."
Of course, enforcement of terms of service is not "censorship." WND isn't being "censored" -- it's facing the consequences of years of promoting fake news, because "Big Tech" has no legal obligation to help spread falsehoods and misinformation. Needless to say, Farah will never admit that inconvenient fact.
Newsmax's 'Non-Clinicians' Are Still Ranting, Misinforming Topic: Newsmax
We've documented how Newsmax has felt the need to tag some of its columnists -- particularly those pushing coronavirus-related conspiracy theories -- with a disclaimer noting that the writer is a "non-clinician," presumably in an attempt to avoid liability for promoting false claims, since that's a lazy way out to avoid fact-checking. Newsmax has continued to do that since we checked in last.
A July 13 column by Jack Brewer got hit with a double disclaimer: "The following article has been authored by a non-clinician, and is not an attorney." In it, Brewer demanded "serious discussion about what constitutes immunity from COVID and the potential for infringement upon individual liberties" (italics in original), particularly regarding sports, going on to assert that "requiring vaccinations for players may be illegal."
The "non-clinician" tag got applied to a July 17 column by Michael Reagan, in which he declared that "the FDA is either run by blind fanatics or psychopaths. Or both" because it's considering allowing COVID vaccinations for children under 12. He ranted that "There are potentially more risks from vaccine side effects than there are from the disease" (600,000-plus COVID fatalities in the U.S. alone would beg to differ)and asserted that "Parents are being buffaloed by an unholy combination of Big Pharma and Pandemic Panic purveyors."
Reagan went on to claim: "One of the latest scare stories is the dreaded “delta variant.” Like the original Covid-19 variant, that doesn’t harm children to the extent the media says it does with a new name and a passport stamp." Actually, the Delta variant is putting more children in the hospital. He added, "Your children don’t need a vaccine to prevent them from spreading the disease because another scare story, asymptomatic transmission, likely doesn’t exist either." Actually, it does.
Mark Schulte got a lot of "non-clinician" tags in the past, and he (and the tag) return for a July 22 column, which began by touting how Florida's COVID death count was somewhat lower than that of New York, then whined that people are being encouraged to get the vaccine: "Another hysterical media campaign, orchestrated by leading Democrats and the fake liberal media, has been directed against unvaccinated Americans."
Mark Meckler's July 29 column got ther "non-clinician" tag for cheering that that Americans are resisiting vaccine mandates because "Everyone who wanted a COVID-19 vaccine has gotten one":
To be clear, I’m not opposed to COVID-19 vaccines.
If you want one, you should get one.
But we shouldn’t suddenly throw out hundreds of years of established personal freedoms and rights just to allow the federal government, state governments, and yes, even private businesses, to force medical treatment on individuals.
The most important question the American people must answer isn’t about what is decided. Those are policy debates that can conclude in consensus and compromise.
The most important question iswho decides.
We siuspect that Meckler would not be so reticent about a vaccine mandate if Trump had been re-elected.
CNS' Gotcha War on Nancy Pelosi Topic: CNSNews.com
Another part of CNS" multi-prongedwar on Nancy Pelosi involves finding ways to bash the people she says nice things about -- even if they're otherwise decent people. In an anonymously written June 25 article -- apparently nobody wanted to put their byline on this political hit job -- attacked a U.S. ally, under the headline "Pelosi Hugs, Praises Afghan President Whose Government Criminalizes Same-Sex Activity and Imprisons Gays":
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) hugged and praised Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, whose government in 2018, according to Human Rights Watch, “adopted a new penal code that explicitly criminalizes same-sex relations" and whose nation's security forces, according to the State Department, engaged in “violence…against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons.”
A video of a press briefing Pelosi held with Ghani in the U.S. Capitol today was posted on YouTube by Pelosi’s office. The video shows Pelosi and Ghani coming together at the end of a hallway in the Capitol and embracing in front of a trio of American flags.
CNS doesn't actually care about LGBTQ people -- heck, given how homophobic its editors are, particularly managing editor Michael W.Chapman, they probably approve of these laws. The only purpose here is to play gotcha with Pelosi for honoring a U.S. ally whose country's policies don't align with her Democratic Party.
In a July 9 article, an anonymous CNS writer lashed out at a prominent civil rights hero under the headline "Pelosi Praises the ‘Beautiful and Saintly Life’ of Congressman Who Had 100% Pro-Abortion Record":
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) on Thursday praised what she described as the “beautiful and saintly life” of Rep. John Lewis (D.-Ga.) who had a 100 percent pro-abortion voting record as scored by NARAL Pro-Choice America.
Pelosi made the remarks in a statement put out by her office to announce that she would be leading a Congressional delegation to San Diego on July 17 to participate in the christening of the U.S. Navy Ship John Lewis.
Lewis died last year on July 17.
“As House Speaker, I am deeply honored to lead this Congressional delegation of many friends of our beloved late Congressman John Lewis to honor his beautiful and saintly life,” said Pelosi.
“John Lewis was a warrior for freedom and, as a titan of the civil rights movement, his courage and goodness helped transform our nation,” she said. “In the halls of the Capitol, he was fearless in his pursuit of a more perfect union, whether fighting to defend voting rights, end anti-LGBTQ discrimination or respect the dignity and worth of every person.”
On its website, NARAL lists Lewis pro-abortion voting record as 100 percent from 2016 through his passing in 2020.
Another anonynous CNS writer rehashed the gotcha on Lewis in a July 19 article hedlined "Pelosi’s Title for Man Who Voted to Keep Late-Term Abortions Legal: “The Conscience of the Congress’":
House Speaker Nancy (D.-Calif.) spoke at the Christening Ceremony for the USNS John Lewis --a Navy vessel named after a late Democratic congressman from Georgia who had a 100-percent pro-abortion voting record--and declared that Rep. John Lewis was “the Conscience of the Congress.”
“John always demonstrated courage with his presence,” Pelosi said. “‘Be there,’ John would say.
The article did note Lewis' record on civil rights, but CNS is so myopic and so obsessed with abortion that it means nothing to them:
As a member of Congress, Lewis voting record earned a 100 percent rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America.
In its analysis of his voting record, NARAL Pro-Choice America noted that Lewis voted against the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would have banned abortions after 20 weeks. NARAL Pro-Choice America also noted that Lewis voted against a bill “that defunds Planned Parenthood…and includes anti-choice policy riders such as restrictions on abortion care for women who obtain their healthcare through the federal government.”
We don't recall CNS ever treating a Republican president or congressional leader this way. That's because it believes destroying Pelosi is more important than honest reporting.
MRC Continues To Defend Babylon Bee's Alleged Satire Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has been helping the Babylon Bee walk the line between satire and misinformation -- getting mad at anyone criticizes the Bee for walking that line but hiding the fact that its right-wing target audience tends to treat its alleged satire as fact. A June 14 article by Nicholas Fondacaro cheered that the Bee successfully nagged the New York Times into changing an article that referred to the Bee as "misinformation" -- then hyped CEO Seth Dillon complaining that it doing so the Times pointed out that fact-checking sites had identified the Bee as misinformation (presumably because some had presented Bee articles as fact).
The next day, Heather Moon tried to discredit an academic study that claimed "conservatives couldn’t tell the difference between factual and misleading news as well as liberals," in part because "Many of the so-called “false” headlines were stories from political satire sites like the Babylon Bee," adding, "The Science Advances study’s use of satirical headlines as examples of 'false' news is misleading." Actually, it shows that the Babylon Bee's alleged really is indistinguishable from fact for a significant portion of its target audience.
In a June 18 post, Kayla Sargent cheered that Facebook would cease being as tough on outlets claiming to be satire:
Facebook appears to have finally developed a sense of humor after its history of fact-checking and targeting satire sites like The Babylon Bee.
The platform announced that it has developed a satire exception to its censorship practices in response to a recent decision from the Oversight Board (the Board). The Board overturned Facebook’s decision to censor a meme that a user had posted. Facebook said that it will “add information to the Community Standards that makes it clear where we consider satire as part of our assessment of context-specific decisions.”
Facebook’s past censorship of satirical content, however, is no laughing matter. The platform has censored Christian satire site The Babylon Bee (The Bee) on numerous occasions, and Facebook-owned Instagram has also censored the satire site’s creator, Seth Dillon. At one point, Facebook censored an article from The Bee titled “Senator Hirono Demands ACB Be Weighed Against A Duck To See If She Is A Witch.”
As usual, Sargent's definion of "censored" is laughably overbroad. Regarding the duck/witch article, One of the examples on the MRC's Free Speech America portrays a pop-up box on Facebook asking if a person really wants to share a post as "soft censor[ship]." Pop-up boxes are not censorship, no matter how hard the MRC insists otherwise.
ON June 25, Alexander Hall got mad that it was pointed out that the Bee's alleged satire is mean-spirited and tends to punch down, and that Facebook might not like that:
Facebook made it loud and clear that satire may be OK on the platform, but only on the condition it doesn’t target people or things that it favors. Leftist, progressive outlet Slate responded by claiming The Babylon Bee is the perfect target for punishment.
Satirical humor might be protected on a conditional basis, but Facebook has decided that humor at the expense of groups it likes is not allowed. “[T]rue satire does not ‘punch down,’” Facebook whined in a June 17 transparency report. “[I]f content is simply derogatory, not layered, complex, or subversive, it is not satire. Indeed, humor can be an effective mode of communicating hateful ideas.” In short, Facebook suggested that it has reserved the right to purge satirists for making jokes about people or things it favors.” Only a few days later, Slate responded by suggesting conservative satire website The Babylon Bee has “a nasty tendency to punch down” in a June 22 blog.
Slate gave due credit and remarked that The Babylon Bee has seen a meteoric rise in popularity “now garnering more interactions on Facebook than the Onion.” Even so, the leftist news outlet accused The Bee of being “often ‘ironically’ misogynistic, as when it ‘defended’ the place of women soldiers in the American military by reporting how ‘they don’t throw grenades well, so the enemy will never know what to expect’ and how ‘you can pay them way less, which gives you more money for weapons and ammo.’” It also described The Bee’s tendency to lampoon absurd gender politics as being “frequently antagonistic toward the LGBTQIA+ community.”
Um, doesn't the fact that the Bee is "garnering more interactions on Facebook than the Onion" pretty much blow up the MRC's narrative that conservatives are being silenced?
Hall gave Dillon -- or more accurately, as even Hall surprisingly admits, "the unverified account purporting to represent The Babylon Bee CEO Seth Dillon" -- a chance to respond, insisting that they're not punching down, they just hate liberals:
The Dillon account rejected the premise that The Bee, a rare example of conservative entertainment, is punching down when it pokes fun at the left’s ideology: “They say we antagonize the trans community (punching down). Utter nonsense. We're attacking the top-down tyranny of the left's progressive agenda and the destruction it's wreaking throughout society, enabled and fueled by all the most powerful people and institutions.” In a following tweet, he quipped “If that's not punching up, I don't know what is. But more importantly, the left's prohibition of ‘punching down’ is speech suppression in disguise. It's people in positions of power protecting their interests by telling you what you can and cannot joke about.”
Of course, the Bee's "attacking the top-down tyranny of the left's progressive agenda" is indistinguishable from attacking the trans community because no distinction is made between the two. It comes down to the Bee being opposed to LGBTQ people having the same rights as everyone else.
The same day, Sargent served up more PR by touting how the Bee was quitting its email service because its account was suspended, dramatically declaring the Bee "has, once again, felt the sting of tech censorship." Sargent also let Dillon rant that the service "has been exercising viewpoint discrimination under the guise of protecting the public from harmful misinformation" and purportedly "looking for excuses to censor us by literally scanning the content of our emails." Sargent gave the service no chance to respond to Dillon's accusations or her attempt to demonize it.
Sargent did disclose that "The Babylon Bee is a member of the Free Speech Alliance" -- the conglomeration of right-wing groups the MRC assembled to fight "censorship" of conservatives (which really isn't happening).The fact that the Babylon Bee is part of such a partisan group betrays its partisan nature -- and belies any attempt by the MRC and the Bee to frame what it does as benign satire.
NEW ARTICLE: CNS' Nitpicky War on Biden Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com has made it a mission to attack President Biden for even the most minor mistakes -- something it didn't do, and still won't, regarding Donald Trump. Read more >>
Fake News: WND Repeats Lie About COVID Deaths Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily is stubbornlycommitted to spreading fake news about coronavirus and its treatments and vaccines. Art Moore struck again in a July 13 article:
In a span of one week, the number of deaths due to COVID-19 vaccines reported to the government's database outnumbered the official count of deaths due to the virus.
The government's Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS, contains voluntary, unverified reports of adverse events following immunization with U.S.-licensed vaccines. But it's estimated that only between 1% and 10% of the adverse events that occur are reported to VAERS.
The Gateway Pundit noted VAERS reported 2,043 vaccine deaths in the week prior to July 7 compared to 1,505 COVID-19 deaths.
Moore is lying -- more accurately, he's repeating the lies of the notoriously unreliable Gateway Pundit. We've pointed out before that reports of deaths reported to VAERS does not mean the vaccines caused the death. Unilke Moore and Gateway Pundit, we'll go straight to the source:
FDA requires healthcare providers to report any death after COVID-19 vaccination to VAERS, even if it’s unclear whether the vaccine was the cause. Reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem. A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records, has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines.
The fact that Moore chose to trust a website known for pushing bogus conspiracy theories and has been repeatedly discredited instead of actual authorities on COVID tells you all you need to know about whether WND itself should be trusted. (It shouldn't.)
What Fringe Figures Do The MRC Insist Are Being 'Censored' Now? Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has a long, shamefulhistory of siding with fringe far-right figures whose extremism got them restricted or suspended from social media because it can massage the story and whitewash the extremism to portray them as victims of "censorship" by "Big Tech." Narratives, you know.
Dan Gainor found a fringe doctor who matched that description -- and, thus, the increasingly bogus narrative -- perfectly:
Google has opened a new front in the online censorship fight — restricting access to documents created in Google Docs.
Google Docs restricted Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, the first doctor to advocate for alternative COVID-19 treatments, from sharing six different documents. Users received a terms of service note when the doctor tried to share the documents with them. “We're sorry. You can't access this item because it is in violation of our Terms of Service,” went the Google alert. It was unclear what rule was broken.
He wasn’t surprised by the restriction, noting, “I called out the globalist elite” for how they handled the pandemic.
Zelenko made news in 2020 when he recommended alternate treatments for COVID-19, including the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine and antibiotics. He sent a letter to the White House about his experience treating patients and was also contacted by the Trump administration.
Former President Donald Trump gave support to the doctor’s efforts last May, according to The Times of Israel. The president even took hydroxychloroquine and a zinc supplement. He explained, “I got a letter from a doctor the other day, from Westchester, New York,” who appeared to be Zelenko. “Trump did not name the doctor, but it matches the description of Jewish physician Vladimir ‘Zev’ Zelenko.”
But as we documented -- and Gainor deliberately omits -- Zelenko's claims about hydroxychloroquine were poorly documented to the point that they are effectively worthless as medical research, and no legitimate medical research has backed up Zelenko's original claims. Gainor also didn't mention that despite Trump's promotion of hydroxychloroquine, he was not treated with that drug when he himself fell ill with COVID -- he was treated with the experimental drug remdesivir.
Christian author and radio host Eric Metaxas currently still has a YouTube channel, but the outspoken conservative said videos of his radio show have been removed from the platform.
YouTube purges are often outrageous, but are no surprise to conservative commentators. Metaxas tweeted that YouTube purged content from his channel June 1: “FINALLY... Youtube decided that because we violated their ‘community standards’ my show has been entirely kicked off their platform. In related news, the [Chinese Communist Party] CCP and the North Korean govt don't like our videos.”
Hall didn't mention that Metaxas has been moving further to the right over the past couple years, using racist language to demean Joe Biden and has pushed boguselection conspiracies. YouTube has pointed out that it "removed content that violated our policies on COVID-19 medical misinformation and presidential election integrity." Hall didn't explain why a private business is not allowed to enforce its terms of service on users.
YouTube has reportedly struck down yet another video of a school board meeting for violating its policies on misinformation.
The platform reportedly took down a video from the Shawnee Mission School Board in Kansas City, Kansas for “spreading medical misinformation and violating YouTube's community guidelines,” according to NPR. “School board president Heather Ousley says having the broadcast taken down was a surprise.”
One person, who NPR identified as Kansas State Senator Mike Thompson (R), said “I'm about six feet tall. Saying that this mask is going to block the virus is like saying, I can't walk through a doorway 6,000 feet tall and 2,000 feet wide.” YouTube did not respond to a request from MRC Free Speech America to confirm the video’s removal. NPR went on to say that Thomphson’s statement “just isn't true,” but provided no evidence for the claim.
Sargent provided no evidence that Thompson's claim is medically accurate. She also omitted the fact that, according to a news report, parents at that meeting made discredited claims that masks cause hypoxia -- a dangerous decrease in oxygen levels -- and that they are ineffective at stopping the spread of the coronavirus.
Hall took the side of a right-wing authoritarian leader in a July 22 post:
Big Tech platform YouTube has censored yet another head of state for the unforgivable: He dared to question the liberal narrative concerning COVID-19.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has reportedly been punished by YouTube for sharing his opinions as a head of state regarding COVID-19. “YouTube removed videos from President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil on Wednesday for spreading misinformation about Covid-19, becoming the latest internet platform to act against a leader,” The New York Times reported. The Timesillustrated for readers that YouTube “played an important role in Mr. Bolsonaro’s rise to power” and is reportedly “more widely watched in Brazil than all but one television channel.”
Unfortunately for people under the grip of Big Tech, the question of which drugs are effective to treat COVID-19 has become extremely politicized, with only a narrow range of opinions allowed. YouTube, for example, is not the only platform to purge users for speculating over the viability of using hydroxychloroquine or Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19.
But YouTube is not the one that made treatments "extremely politicized" -- right-wingers like Trump and the MRC did. And Hall offers no credible scientific evidence that hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin are effective treatments for COVID. And all his partisan ranting aside, Hall also offers no evidence that YouTube is trying to do anything other than get reliable health information out there when there is so much unreliable information that may be getting people killed.
History is, well, history. Facebook allegedly purged British historian/filmmaker Tom Rowsell and his wife without warning. Celebrating history apparently has consequences.
It’s not just a fight for free speech anymore. Big Tech has now appeared to target the very ability of honest academics to earn a living online. “My wife and I both just had our [F]acebook pages deleted without warning, or reason given nor is there an option to appeal,” Rowsell said via his Patreon account. “There was nothing on there that went against their community standards. The page had no strikes at all. They have given up all pretence of reason, and are just unpersoning people without reason.”
Rowsell’s channel, Survive the Jive, named for rejecting the loss of history amid a technological age, has approximately 139,000 subscribers. He described his channel in the description of his introductory video as a project that focuses on the “religions of ancient Europe” and examines the “linguistics, genetics, anthropology and other disciplines in order to gain insights into ancient peoples.”
He explained to MRC Free Speech America: “The page was very helpful for me to raise awareness of my video content and was therefore part of my business.” He then clarified: “It had no community strikes or objectionable content on it.”
Again, Hall is censoring (!) crucial context. Rowsell is a far-right activist who has been involved in the UK branch of Generation Identity, a far-right youth movement that anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim (the French division of the group was banned in the country for inciting violence). Rowsell attended a recent Generation Identity UK conference and invited two neo-Nazi skinheads to join him.
So he's not the benign history professor Hall portrayed him as. Anyone surprised that Hall censored the truth (again)?
CNS' Hot Pestering Intern Summer, Round 5 Topic: CNSNews.com
The fifth round of CNSNews.com's ambush questions to members of Congress was a follow-up to its previous question on COVID vaccines -- and an attempt to reinforce a new MRC narrative.
The question du jour was "Should the Biden Administration work with Facebook to suppress postings it considers vaccine misinformation?" The idea that misinformation is not an objectively defined thing but what someone "considers" it to be is the MRC's current narrative to deflect responsibility from its fellow right-wingers for spreading misinformation because it wants to attack social media platforms for "censorship" for holding (mostly right-wing) people accountable for spreading it (yet when it accused the "liberal media"of spreading misinformation, it's never couched in such mitigating terms).
A follow-up question some senators got was "whether there are any other types of speech the administration should work with Facebook to suppress" -- another narrative-driven question that presumes a constitutional right to lie and mislead, that lying and misleading are "free speech," and that social platforms aren't private businesses that have no right to enforce terms of service on their users.
MRC's Whitlock Serves Up Even More Hypocrisy on Corporate Whoring Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Scott Whitlock is so filled with hate for any non-right-wing news operation that he disgustinglysmearsthem as "WHORES" (his all-caps, not ours) for engaging in the common practice of offering promotion of other events or programs tied to corporate parents -- even though the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, routinely treats corportate MRC doings as "news." Whitlock did this again in a July 8 post under the headline "Corporate WHORES at ABC Abandon News, Shill for Disney Overlords Instead" (bold in original):
Some liberal journalists and media outlets like to mock Fox as not real “news,” given that the network doesn’t parrot their left-wing agenda. But no one should ever consider ABC actual “news.” The network is committed to producing propaganda for corporate overlord Disney. Thursday showcased yet another pathetic example as Good Morning America devoted more time to pushing Black Widow than covering the latest on the Surfside disaster in Florida.
Co-host Robin Roberts sounded like a talking Disney press release, opening the 7:30 hour by robotically cheering, “Black Widow finally hitting theaters tomorrow. It is one of the most eagerly anticipated movies of the summer! Fandango reporting that the Marvel movie has already zoomed past F9 in presales!”
Whitlock's reference to Fox News is interesting, since its parent companhy not only owns Fox Broadcasting but also owned 20th Century Fox studios until 2019. Is Whitlock really saying that Fox News has never engaged in the corporate synergy process to use Fox News to promote Fox Broadcasting shows or 20th Century Fox movies? It would be highly unusual if that didn't happen and would display a demonstration of ethics that Fox News is not known for.
Whitlock has been silent about this. Apparently he believes whordom is a good and virtuous thing when right-wingers engage in it.
UPDATE: Whitlock also wrote a July 30 post asserting that "ABC “News” seems to exist to shill for the network’s overlords at Disney" because one show "took their bosses side in the fight against Black Widow star Scarlett Johansson" regarding how the movie's simulatenous release in theaters and streaming violated her contract. Whitlock claimed that "ABC journalists repeatedly misrepresented how Disney+ harmed the box office totals," insisting that a movie that made $319 million "was not a hit." Whitlock concluded that ABC was engaged in -- you guessed it -- "corporate whoring for Disney bosses."
Curtis Houck joined the slur parade as well, declaring in a July 23 post that instead of covering Hunter Biden, there was "more corporate whoring on ABC’s Good Morning America for parent company Disney with a new Disney+ “cinematic experience”starring Billie Eilish."
According to a recent survey conducted by Rasmussen Reports, "58% of Likely U.S. Voters at least somewhat agree that the media are 'truly the enemy of the people,' including 34% who Strongly Agree."
If these statistics are accurate, this means that this extreme level of distrust cannot simply be blamed on former President Trump's rhetoric, from his calling the mainstream media "fake news" to referring to the media as "the enemy of the people." The distrust must go deeper than that.
As for Republican doubts about the reliability of the political news they are hearing, I would say the much higher numbers are due to: 1) the high percentage of mainstream news outlets that lean left; 2) Trump's incessant attacks on these outlets; 3) the amount of "fake news" that really is being propagated.
With regard to the second question, Nolte wrote, "When asked, 'how serious is the "fake news" problem in the media?' a WHOPPING 83 percent said very (55 percent) or somewhat (28 percent) serious. Only 14 percent said not very (9 percent) or not at all (5 percent) serious."
Again, the concern about "fake news" was bipartisan (92 percent of Republicans and 74 percent of Democrats agreed that fake news is either a very serious or somewhat serious problem), which also indicates the degree to which political news outlets in particular are known for being highly partisan themselves.
Just ask your average Republican if they trust CNN or your average Democrat if they trust Fox, and you're like to get the same answer from both, something like, "Are you kidding?"
Brown is feigning a lot of ignorance here. Right-wing hatred of the media didn't start with Trump -- he simply ratcheted it up to a new level. Right-wing orgs like the Media Research Center spend millions of dollars every year to reinforce the right-wing narrative that every non-right-wing media outlet is "liberal" and, thus, not trustworthy, conflating isolated incidents into blanket indictments.
Again, I have no doubt that some of the mistrust and animosity toward political news outlets has been stoked by Trump. But it's also clear that he was not simply punching the air. Instead, he threw a match into a bucket of gasoline that was already there.
What this should mean to all of us who, in any way, report on the news is simple: We need to do our best to be as accurate and unbiased as we can be, making clear where the news stops and our opinions begin. And we need to encourage pushback and scrutiny and dialogue and debate.
Otherwise, we do everyone a disservice.
He does have a point there. What he won't do, however, is apply that standard to the main media outlet that publishes him, WND. We'verepeatedlycaughtWNDpublishingfakenewsandmisinformation. What has Brown ever said about that? What has he done to steer WND in the correct direction? Nothing that we know of.
If Brown won't hold the outlets that publish him responsible for the accuracy of their reportage, his words are hollow, and he's just parroting right-wing narratives.