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Saturday, July 24, 2021
MRC, WND Uncritically Promote N. Korean Defector's Dubious Story
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Veronica Hays wrote in a June 16 post:

You know it's bad when a North Korea Defector is decrying American higher education as a regressive, socialist propaganda machine. Obviously, she knows of what she speaks.

Yeonmi Park, who escaped from North Korea at the age of 13, has a grim outlook on the fate of the U.S. After her experience as a student at Columbia University in New York, she was shocked to learn just how brainwashed Americans have become. “I thought North Koreans were the only people who hated Americans, but turns out there are a lot of people hating this country in this country,” she said. 

Park told Fox News, “I expected that I was paying this fortune, all this time and energy, to learn how to think. But they are forcing you to think the way they want you to think. I realized, wow, this is insane. I thought America was different but I saw so many similarities to what I saw in North Korea that I started worrying.”

The suffocating political correctness Park encountered within the Ivy League will lead to complete eradication of critical thought, she warns. "You guys have lost common sense to a degree that I as a North Korean cannot even comprehend," she said. Moral relativism and nihilism has become the new creed. Park asks, “Where are we going from here? There’s no rule of law, no morality, nothing is good or bad anymore, it’s complete chaos.”

“Trigger warnings” and “safe spaces” comprise the current setting of America’s most prestigious and challenging learning environments. For Park to encounter this pathetic display of political correctness and weak mindedness among those who should be the best and the brightest intellectuals America has to offer is both embarrassing and alarming. Park recounts how professors permitted students to have the option to opt out of specific classes/discussions whenever course material could potentially threaten their delicate sensibilities.

But as Wonkette pointed out: "Park didn't elaborate on what North Korean schools do to coddle students who would rather not attend classes they find objectionable. Probably give them a medal for doing communism right," adding:

Perhaps recognizing the limits of the American education Is North Korea analogy, Park didn't have anything at all to say in either interview about Republican efforts to ban "critical race theory" from public schools, although if she keeps touring wingnut media, she may eventually end up explaining that preventing teachers from openly discussing America's history of racial oppression is the only way to save students from being indoctrinated.

Park's story fits so neatly into right-wing narratives that Hays didn't bother to question it. But as Wonkette also noted, there are doubts about that story, with critics noting parts of it appear to be lifted from the accounts of other North Korean defectors.

Hays was joined by WorldNetDaily in repeating it in a June 14 article by Art Moore. Like Hays, Moore had no interest in checking into her background and the veracity of her story -- after all, this is WND's narrative as well.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:02 AM EDT
WND's Farah Gets More Immodest In Begging For Money
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've documented how WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah's latest allegedly urgent campaign to raise money to keep WND alive is not all that urgent, given the lack of promotion of it outside of Farah's columns and his stealth extension of the drop-dead deadline from July 15 to the end of the month. Good thing, since Farah revealed in his July 16 column that WND had received only $57,291 of its $100,000 goal.

Meanwhile, Farah has continued to ramp up the victimization, the pro-Trump fealty and the ridiculousness to drum up donations. His July 20 column was immodestly headlined "My 2-point plan for survival of the Republic (not kidding!)," which only got even more immodest from there:

Ask yourself if America is better off now than it was in 2016. Are you thankful for what President Trump accomplished? Today we're headed in the wrong direction. It could all end very quickly if the opposition party, backed by Google-Facebook, prevails at the polls.

What am I asking?

1. Support the WND News Center, the new tax-exempt nonprofit organization we founded to help carry the WND banner in our battle for survival against the "Speech Code Cartel" of Google, Facebook and others, which are purposely trying to destroy us and the entire independent, alternative media. Your tax-deductible support will help us immensely to weather this storm.

If you prefer to write tax-deductible checks for this purpose, you can make them out to the "WND News Center" and mail them to: WND News Center, 580 E Street – PO Box 100 – Hawthorne, NV 89415-0100. (Please include the complete address because of the rural location.)

Regarding the campaign we launched mid-June to raise $100,000 by the end of July so WND can continue to operate, we're making real progress! As of today, we've raised $70,996. Thank you sincerely for that, all who donated. Now we have a week and a half left to raise the remaining $29,004. Please help put us over the top!

2. The rest of my plan is secret for now. Stay tuned. More on that later.

Yes, Farah really thinks giving him your money will save the republic.

In his July 21 column, played victim again while also pushing the Big Lie about the 2020 presidential election:

When I awakened to the threat to free speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion and our right to free and fair elections posed by this cartel, it was because my own company, WND, the product of 25 years of blood, sweat and tears, was caught in the crossfire. It's not that we were targeted because we were the biggest fish. It was because Donald Trump, and all he represented, was a threat to the cabal and their ultra-progressive friends in Washington. We were just collateral damage, roadkill – because we were perceived, as others in the alternative, independent media, as key enablers and facilitators of the 2016 Trump upset.

I'm convinced the Big Steal of 2020 was in part the revenge of Big Tech.

WND is failing because it publishes fake news, but you be you, Joe.

On July 22, Farah immodestly portrayed himself as being in an "epic, existential battle with Big Tech," which involved him playing victim again:

I'm an expert on Google, but all the Big Tech companies are the same, as far as I can tell. Things have only gotten worse in the last 10 years – far worse. It hit home with me when I saw the company I built from scratch more than 25 years ago, my life's work, ravaged by the cartel's wrecking ball – reduced in revenues by more than half in 24 months.

It was enough to give me a series of five strokes!

Most people in their right minds would have given up. But I couldn't. I was the one who started this grand experiment in "online independent media" back in the '90s. I was determined – and remain so – to FIGHT BACK.

Backed into a corner, I continue going public with how the cartel attempted to exterminate the alternative independent media that sprung up in WND's wake over the last 25 years. Big Tech is still determined to snuff us out today, after having played such a huge role in manipulating the results of the presidential election – the last one, the Big Steal as it has become known.

The only people I could turn to were you – those who came to WND because you recognized what we were doing, what we were about and what our convictions are. And most of all, you recognized why it was necessary that this experiment in truth-seeking without fear or favor not be knocked off by a club of spoiled, soulless, pompous, greedy, presumptuous super-billionaires who sought to commit bloodless barbarism never imagined by the most diabolical totalitarian governments in history.

In the midst of his daily money beg, Farah once again stated, "Remember, if WND goes down, soon the independent free press will be a thing of the past, and with it, our uniquely blessed nation." Actually, the republic will survive just fine if a fake-news operation like WND doesn't deserve to live.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:09 AM EDT
Friday, July 23, 2021
MRC Psaki-Bashing, Doocy-Fluffing Watch, Police Funding Edition
Topic: Media Research Center

As we've noted, the guiding rules for Curtis Houck's write-ups are 1) Jen Psaki must always be attacked, smeared and denigrated, and 2) Peter Doocy and other right-wing reporters must always be praised. Which is why Houck started his write-up for the June 28 briefing this way:

Monday’s White House press briefing quickly became an epic messaging embarrassment for the the Biden administration as, under questioning from the Fox News Channel’s Peter Doocy, Press Secretary Jen Psaki argued that Republicans (and not Democrats) have defunded the police and gave the White House’s blessing to America-hating Olympian Gwen Barry.

After a short exchange on President Biden’s muddled stance on the bipartisan infrastructure agreement, Doocy started with the Defund the Police movement, calling out comments from senior adviser Cedric Richmond that said Republicans had defunded the police by not supporting the stimulus boondoggle that masqueraded as coronavirus relief.

“But how is it that that is an argument to be made when the President never mentioned needing money for police to stop a crime wave when he was selling the American Rescue Plan,” wondered Doocy.

Incredibly, Psaki doubled down on the spin, saying that Republicans do indeed not support keeping police “on the beat in communities across the country” because they refused to vote for “the American Rescue Plan” and its “funding” to “help ensure local cops” kept their jobs.

Doocy called out the fact that this wasn’t the supposed focus of the package and has nothing to do with supporting police amidst a crime wave, but Psaki refused to rejoin reality[.]

Yes, the guy who is simply spouting right-wing talking points by claiming without evidence that coronavirus stimulus spending is a "boondoggle" thinks others should "rejoin reality." Houck also offered no evidence to support his claim that Barry hates America (and, no, her little protest is not evidence of that). HOuck also complained that "numerous liberal journalists went full Chicken Little over the Delta variant of the coronavirus" -- a partisan assertion that looks pretty dumb now given that the highly contagious variant is currently the dominant coronavirus variant by far in the U.S. and responsible for a large uptick in Americans (most of them unvaccinated) being hospitalized for COVID and dying from it (while the MRC tries to distract from the fact that the biggest group of vaccine-hesitant Americans are white conservatives and that right-wing media encourages that vaccine hesitancy).

As Mediaite's Tommy Christopher pointed out (but Houck won't), Doocy "went full-on defense attorney for congressional Republicans" during this exchange -- not exactly the kind of fair and balanced journalist the MRC claims to prefer.

Houck continued to fixate over police funding -- because it's now a right-wing talking point -- in the writeup for the June 30 briefing:

Two days after he faced shameless gaslighting from White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki over which party supported defunding the police, Fox News’s Peter Doocy was back at it during Wednesday’s briefing and pressed Psaki on her false claims that the GOP (and not Democrats) have defunded the police.

Doocy began with this carefully crafted question:>“[Y]ou mentioned at the last briefing that you think Republicans wanted to defund the police because they did not support the American Rescue Plan. Which Republican ever said they did not like the American Rescue Plan because they wanted to defund the police?”

Psaki refused to change her tune and instead reiterated her reliance on blind partisanship and low-information voters by arguing that Democrats oppose defunding the police because President Biden “ran and won the most votes of any candidate in history on a plan of booster for law enforcement after Republicans spent decades trying to cut the cops program.”

She added that there shouldn’t be any further debate because it’s “a simple statement of fact” that the GOP has “also stood in the way of crucial funding needing to prevent the laying off of police officers as crime increased.”

Earth to Jen: What do cities such as Austin, Baltimore, Denver, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York City, Oakland, and Seattle all have in common? Not only are they run by Democrats, but those Democrats have voted to defund their police departments.

Actually, all of those police departments are still in existence, so they weren't "defunded" to the point of elimination -- they merely saw some relatively minor budget cuts. Houck knows that, of course, but his mission is to forward right-wing talking points, not tell the full truth.

Houck clung to that narrative for his July 2 writeup, and he found something else to manufacture outrage about with alleged name-calling toward Psaki and man-crushing on Doocy:

With one last White House press briefing before the Fourth of July weekend, Fox’s Peter Doocy came prepared Friday afternoon with questions for Press Secretary Jen Psaki about her gaslighting on defunding the police, negative stories about Vice President Kamala Harris’s staff, and a widely-panned White House tweet urging Americans to celebrate the 16-cent decrease in the cost of food to throw a backyard get-together.

Starting with the hot dogs tweet, Doocy closed out his turn with a question about the tone-deaf tweet that ignored the fact that Americans are paying more for gas (which Psaki would acknowledge a few minutes later):“[T]he official White House account tweeted yesterday: ‘The cost of 1/4 of July cookout was down 16 cents from last year.’ 16 cents?”

Psaki didn’t hesitate in showing her Acela Corridor elitism, bragging that “there has been a reduction in some of the costs of key components of the Fourth of July — a Fourth of July barbecue. That was what the tweet was noting.”

Having totally missed the point, a usually calm Doocy came off as a tad exasperated while Psaki dug in by mocking blowback to the tweet has having emanated form those that dislike hot dogs [.]

[...]

If this were a Trump administration briefing, one could safely bet that CNN and MSNBC would be doing a few segments fact-checking Psaki and decrying the administration’s lies.

But since their friends are in power, they moved right along.

If this were a Trump administration briefing, Houck would be defending the briefer as strong, unassailable and always right, while denigrating the reporter as biased and always wrong -- you know, like he did when his beloved Kayleigh McEnany was at the podium.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:52 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, July 23, 2021 4:48 PM EDT
Fake News: WND Pushes Misinformation About Delta Variant
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily added to the pile of misinformation it has published about coronavirus issues with a June 29 article by Art Moore:

Los Angeles County health officials who are "strongly" urging people – even those who are vaccinated – to wear a mask indoors due to the "Delta variant" of the Wuhan coronavirus are overreacting, contend two prominent epidemiologists.

Dr. Peter McCullough said the restrictions in Los Angeles and lockdowns in Australia, Thailand and South Africa are "completely unnecessary."

"The Delta variant is the mildest one we've seen so far, and even though it'll proportionately take up a greater number of cases – and we expect this in the United States – it has a very low mortality, appears to be the most treatable strain that we’ve seen so far," he said Monday in an interview with Fox News' "The Ingraham Angle," which was guest-hosted by Ben Domenech.

[...]

In "The Ingraham Angle" interview, Dr. Harvey Risch of the Yale School of Public Health said there's no way to stop the spread of the Delta variant, and its spread actually will be helpful, because it is mild and will enhance herd immunity.

He said governments, media and corporations are "dramatically" overreacting.

"This is a very mild variant, and the cases are going to go up ... whereas at the same time the mortality is flat, near zero," Risch said.

Because Moore doesn't bother to fact-check McCullough and Risch, he simply fowards their misinformation without question.Neither of them define what they mean by "mild," but it's clear that whatever it is, the Delta variant is not that: It's much more contagious than the original COVID strain, and early research suggests that those who who are sickened by the Delta variant are more likely to end up in the hospital. The variant now accounts for a whopping 83 percent of new COVID cases, nearly all of whom are unvaccinated.

We've already documented how WND has pushed McCullough's COVID misinformation. But Risch is a serial misinformer as well; he has promoted the dubious drug hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID and falsely claimed that most new COVID cases come from the vaccine.

There's no reason to treat either McCullough or Risch seriously on issues of COVID, but Moore wants you to believe they're trusted "prominent epidemiologists." Pubnlishing such easily debunked misinformation doesn't help WND's efforts to be seen as credible (and to get people to give them money).


Posted by Terry K. at 2:05 PM EDT
CNS Columnist Embraces Incomplete Pro-Trump Report
Topic: CNSNews.com

Jeffrey McCall used a June 11 CNSNews.com column to dutifully repeat the right-wing, pro-Truymp line on a government report on protesters being cleared from Lafayette Square, followed by then-President Trump doing a photo-op there:

Public trust in the establishment media has been cratering for years and that trend is not without cause.  News reporting continues to be done with kneejerk reactions, little concern for reality, and too often for partisan purposes. 

More evidence of such media malfeasance came out Wednesday in the form of a report from the Interior Department’s Inspector General. The report concluded that the United States Park Police did not remove unruly demonstrators from Lafayette Park near the White House a year ago to allow then-President Donald Trump a photo op near an arson-damaged church.

[...]

The establishment media had quickly jumped to conclusion last June, too eager to create a narrative that Trump was using the U.S. Park Police for selfish promotional purposes and abusing supposedly peaceful demonstrators. The recently released Inspector General’s report explains the plans for clearing Lafayette Park were put in place well in advance of Trump’s evening stroll to the church, and that police had the authority to clear the area for security reasons.

The media failed its Logic 101 exam for that event, assuming that because one event followed another, there must necessarily be causation. News reporting at the time also failed to acknowledge that the U.S. Park Police had solid reasons to expand the security perimeter near the White House, after numerous incidents of chaos in that section of the district. Those security steps, as is known now from the Inspector General’s report, were being implemented without directions from the White House.

But the media was too compelled, as usual, to make everything about Trump. The press relied on unnamed White House sources to create the unfounded narrative that the park was being cleared of demonstrators solely for a Trump photo op. 

As we documented when CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, pushed this same narrative, the report was extremely incomplete, having declined to interview most of the major players in the incident. Additionally, there was no evidence at the time that the reporting was false, and the Trump White House had such a horrible track record of lies and misinformation that there was no reason to take anything they said at face value.

McCall did at least concede missteps on the part of the Trump White House: "The Trump handlers, for their part, also blundered that evening, failing to recognize how damaging the optics could be of a presidential pseudo-event taking place after the removal of protestors from a public park. The timing of Trump’s appearance created a bizarre scene for which an upside was difficult to find." But he immediately followed that with more media-bashing: 'That doesn’t excuse the media’s distorted narrative that surely played a role during the 2020 presidential campaign."

Like the MRC, McCall has chosent to put his faith in an incomplete report for political purposes in order to advance a partisan narrative. Not a good look for a college professor and, according to his end-of-column bio, "a recognized authority on media and journalistic ethics and standards."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:38 AM EDT
Thursday, July 22, 2021
MRC Tries To Deflect Blame From Conservatives, Fox News For Vaccine Hesitancy
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has tried various strategies to deflect from the fact that refusal to get the coronavirus vaccine is largely the domain of conservative white people -- from blaming Kamala Harris (whom white conservatives are unlikely to turn to for health advice) to blaming the unreliability of polls noting that fact (even though the MRC has touted other work by the pollster). But as that fact gets more exposure in the media, the MRC has gone on defense.

When CBS late-night host James Corden's show argued that those who refuse to get vaccinated should be excluded from events, Charlotte Hazard played the celebrity card in a June 8 post: "It’s so interesting watching elite celebrities lecturing Americans about how they have to get a vaccine to do normal things in life."

When CNN noted a poll showing Republicans' vaccine hesitancy, Brad Wilmouth -- who wrote the above-noted poll-releated piece -- used a June 22 post to attack the poll again instead of acknowledging the truth: "Here again, the pollsters didn't make any distinction among the unvaccinated: What if you've already had an infection and have natural antibodies? Wouldn't it make sense that those people could feel less concerned about masks and social distancing? But for CNN, all's fair in love and coronavirus—when it comes to ripping Republicans."

On July 9, Kevin Tober complained that "former Missouri Democrat [sic] Senator turned MSNBC political analyst Claire McCaskill used her appearance on Thursday night’s All In with Chris Hayes to blame Republicans for the low vaccination rates in rural areas of the country," adding that "Instead of giving real reasons, she decided to play politics and blame Republicans." But Tober gave no real reasons to defend Republican deniers, other than to argue that "The real solution is to expand access to the vaccine in rural areas." But he still stayed on the attack: "Instead of thumbing her nose at rural Americans, McCaskill should advise the Biden administration to do just that. But she would rather hate on people in the flyover states."

After the New York Times pointed out Fox News' role in scaring its viewers into avoiding vaccines, Clay Waters huffed in a July 14 post: "Speaking of 'amplifying vaccine hesitancy,' it wasn’t Fox News but the Biden Administration that actually cancelled vaccinations, when the Centers for Disease Control recommended pausing the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in mid-April over rare occurrences of blood clots, which marked the start of the decline in America’s daily vaccination rate." Waters offered no evidence there was any link between the brief pause in the J&J vaccine and "start of the decline in America’s daily vaccination rate," and he conveniently omitted the fact that the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines continued to be available.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:08 PM EDT
Fake News: WND Repeats Bogus Report Of Missing Election Paperwork
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily, it seem, just can't stop publishing bogus articles about the 2020 election. Bob Unruh did so in a June 14 article:

An elections official in Georgia has admitted that "a few" legally required forms documenting the chain of custody for ballots during the 2020 presidential election are missing, blaming the significant problem on the fact some "core personnel" were quarantined due to positive COVID-19 tests at the time.

But actually, a report in the Georgia Star News reveals that 385 official transfer forms, of an estimated 1,565 that would have been present in Fulton County, are missing.

"The total number of absentee ballots whose chain of custody was purportedly documented in these 385 missing Fulton County absentee ballot transfer forms was 18,901, more than 6,000 votes greater than the less than 12,000 vote margin of Biden’s certified victory in the state," the report said.

The report explained the "stunning admission" about the missing documents came from Mariska Bodison, of the Fulton County Registration & Elections office.

As it turns out, that's not true. As a fact-checker found:

Earlier this week, a pro-Trump media outlet that has amplified calls for a so-called quot;forensic audit" of the election kicked off a firestorm of criticism, asserting the county was missing 385 absentee ballot transfer forms used to document how many ballots were retrieved from drop boxes daily and suggesting the provenance of nearly 19,000 ballots were questionable.

This comes from an ongoing open records request that the ;Georgia Star News made to Fulton for all transfer forms from the Nov. 3 election. The media outlet only received a portion of Fulton's forms. 

According to Georgia Star News, an elections worker emailed the outlet stating that "a few forms are missing" and that "some procedural paperwork may have been misplaced" and the county disputed that 19,000 ballots were unaccounted for. 

Then, the story published and rocketed across the pro-Trump mediasphere, prompting Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (who faces his own pro-Trump primary challenge from election denier Rep. Jody Hice) to announce an investigation in the county's actions and further fanning the flames.

But after GPB News asked the county Monday about the forms not included in the Georgia Star's records request, elections staff located all but eight of the more than 1,500 forms, sent them to state investigators and provided them to GPB News on a flash drive.

Unruh has not updated his article with the facts, nor has he written a follow-up that debunks this story.Unruh also didn't mention the hard-right bias of the Georgia Star News -- none other than Steve Bannon endorsed the operation, part of a network of state-level websites, as "very MAGA, very American First" -- which means it lacks credibility. Not a good sign when you're trying to convince people you're credible so they give you money so you don't go out of business.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:44 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, July 22, 2021 5:48 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: Biased Beat Cops At The MRC
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center spent much of the past TV season being angry that TV police shows tried to reflect reality by tackling the thorny issues of racial justice and police brutality in the wake of George Floyd's death. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:22 PM EDT
CNS Touts Bishops' Attacks On Biden -- But Went Silent When They Wouldn't Refuse Him Communion
Topic: CNSNews.com

For months, the uber-Catholics at CNSNews.com have been attacking President Biden for not being Catholic enough, with an emphasis on building a narrative aimed at encouraging Catholic bishops to deny him and other Catholic politicians it has deemed insufficiently Catholic -- such as Nancy Pelosi -- Communion at church in a very public way. That has continued:

  • Managing editor Michael W. Chapman touted in a May 3 article: "In a May 1 pastoral letter on the moral evil of abortion, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco explains why Catholic politicians (and other public Catholics) who support abortion must not receive Holy Communion and why they must stop pretending that advocating for abortion is compatible with the Catholic faith."
  • In a May 18 column, anti-abrtion activist Judie Brown cheered the idea of bishops  denying Biden Communion, huffing that "seeing their bishops debate whether or not a Catholic public official like Biden or Pelosi should be denied the body of Christ because they support this killing is an absurdity. And it creates confusion everywhere." Brown then ranted: "Pelosi, Biden, and others have pandered to evil and insulted the body of Christ for many years. Do the bishops and the Vatican really need to study this, or are they obligated to Christ Himself to say once and for all, 'Choose! Unity or division, Christ or Satan!'?"
  • Chapman highlighted in a June 1 article how another bishop "largely denounced President Biden's budget proposal for excluding the pro-life Hyde Amendment, stating that 'Congress must reject the Administration’s proposal to subsidize the deaths of unborn children.'"
  • Dishonest right-wing Catholic Bill Donohue used a June 4 column to huff that it was "character assassination" when a liberal Catholic publication argued that bishops desperate to publicly rebuke Biden are trying to create a "MAGA church" and are "in the pockets of wealthy donors pushing a political agenda." Three days later, Donohue contributed a column that purported to list "Biden's 30+ Departures From Catholicism Thus Far."
  • An anonymously written June 14 article quoted a bishop who issued s statement "in which he cites President Joe Biden for promoting evils, including the abortion of unborn babies, the marriage of people of the same sex and people identifying as the opposite sex of the one they are biologically," adding that "the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, as planned, should discuss at their virtual meeting this week why Catholics who advocate abortion cannot receive communion."
  • An anonymously written June 18 article found a bishop who said that Biden's "calling abortion a 'right' and trying to abolish the Hyde Amendment so taxpayers must pay for it is 'the most aggressive thing we’ve ever seen in terms of this attack on life when it’s most innocent.'"

In a May 12 article, Chapman complained that CNS' anti-Biden goal of denying him Communion was being resisted by the Vatican:

As U.S. Catholic bishops prepare for a June meeting on how to address the scandal of pro-abortion Catholic politicians receiving Holy Communion, the Vatican's doctrinal office has sent a letter to the bishops essentially urging them to slow down, delay, take more time to debate and communicate before formulating a policy on the issue. 

Cardinal Luis Ladaria, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the office that defends official Catholic teaching, said in a May 7 letter to the bishops that when this topic was discussed in 2019-2020, "the formulation of a national policy was suggested ... only if this would help the bishops to maintain unity."

"This Congregation notes that such a policy" today, "given its possibly contentious nature, could have the opposite effect and become a source of discord rather than unity within the episcopate and the larger Church in the United States."

[...]

In the United States, some of the most prominent Catholic politicians who support abortion are well known and their anti-life position has been well-documented for decades.

CNS started building up to that meeting of Bishops. A June 18 article by Melanie Arter featured how Biden said "he doesn’t think the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will deny him Communion based on his support for abortion," and a June 22 column by Pat Buchanan hyped bishops' alleged "alarm that the public religious practice of President Joe Biden is conveying a heretical message to the faithful and the nation."

But when that meeting of bishops resulted in them declining to establish a national policy of withholding Communion from Biden and other Catholic politicians, CNS ... reported nothing. It wasn't until July 1 -- several days after the bishops' meeting -- that the outcome was first mentioned on the CNS website, and that was in a column by Donohue complaining that a newspaper criticized the bishops for even considering such drastic action.

This was followed by a July 6 column by Brown complaining that  "Catholic bishops, for the most part, seem to be unfamiliar with the difference between profaning the body of Christ in the Eucharist and being coherent in a policy that defends and protects Him from sacrilege." Then, a July 8 column by Stephen Kokx ranted:

How much do Catholic bishops in the United States care about unborn babies? Or, for that matter, infallible church teaching on the Eucharist? By the looks of it, not that much.

[...]

It would’ve been a glorious moment in Church history — perhaps something even akin to St. Ambrose rebuking Emperor Theodosius in the 4th century — had the bishops taken a stand and boldly defended Catholic doctrine at their June meeting. Instead, they caved to media and Vatican pressure and are now complicit in the continued profanation of the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. May God have mercy on their souls.

Kokx didn't explain why it's a bad thing for Catholic bishops to be influenced by "Vatican pressure." That's the head of the Catholic church, after all.

CNS has yet to devote a "news" article to the bishops' decision.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:14 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, July 22, 2021 2:50 PM EDT
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
MRC Endorses Incomplete Report Because It Claims To Exonerate Trump
Topic: Media Research Center

Nicholas Fondacaro tried to push the ol' "fake news" narrative on a new report in a June 9 post:

On Wednesday, NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt flaunted just how much he felt “fairness is overrated,” when he had his program censor an Inspector General report that busted a fake news narrative. About a year ago, the liberal media accused then-President Trump of having Lafayette Park cleared of Black Lives Matter protesters for a photo-op in front of St. John’s Church.

CBS Evening News calling it “vindication for the Trump administration.” But NBC was more interested in trying to get viewers deals for hot summer sales on bathing suits, lipstick, and other frivolous items. The network was also fascinated with a group of elephants migrating across China.

Fondacaro went on to claim that "the report had corroborated what Attorney General Bill Barr was saying at the time in defense of the action" and complained that a reporter "didn’t want to give the former President credit for what he was saying."

First, Fondacaro is taking Holt's statement out of context. Second, he has forgotten that Trump has been caught in so many lies there's no reason to take anything he says at face value. The original story was not "fake news" because 1) the timeline made it plausible, 2) no proof was offered that anyone in the media knew that story was false but reported it anyway, 3) Trump is a liar whose word can't be trusted, and 4) the Trump White House offered no credible evidence to disprove the story.

Fondadcaro is also giving way too much credit to that report because it can be wedged into the MRC's pro-Trump, anti-media narrative, ignoring the investigation's many holes. As Washington Post columnist Radley Balko pointed out, the inspector general didn't interview Trump, Barr or anyone else from the White House, the journalists and protesters who were there, or the Secret Service or any of the law enforcement agencies involved that day (let alone try to answer such questions as why personnel from the Bureau of Prisons were there). The report only looked into why Lafayette Square was cleared, not how.There's also plenty of evidence about Trump's authoritarian nature that supports the narrative that the square was cleared for his photo-op.

Despite all those reasons to treat the IG's report with skepticism, Brad Wilmouth still complained on June 14 that people were being skeptical:

CNN journalists are so bitten by Trump Derangement Syndrome that the release of an inspector general's report disproving the liberal media's anti-Trump narrative on the clearing of Lafayette Park has had them struggling to salvage their anti-Trump theories.

After last week's report by the U.S. Department of the Interior  found tha President Donald Trump did not order that protesters be forcibly removed so he could stage a photo-op last June, CNN's Jim Acosta joined Thursday's New Day to react with skepticism, with Acosta suggesting that the inspector general was trying to get a job working for Trump.

Meanwhile, Wilmouth sounds like he's trying to get a job working for Trump by attempting to justify ther square-clearling crackdown by declaring that "a large number of officers were injured in the Lafayette Park area in the first week of protests, which was more than the number injured in the January 6 Capitol riots." Wilmouth didn't mention that Lafayette Square protesters got nowhere near the White House , while the Jan. 6 rioters actually broke into the Capitol.

As we see yet again, facts don't matter at the MRC -- only the narrative does.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:38 PM EDT
Newsmax Keeps Flooding The Zone With Fawning Trump Coverage
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax just loves serving as Donald Trump's publicity agent, flooding the zone whenever he does an interview with a Newsmax personality. That happened again on June 25, when Trump appeared on Newsmax's morning show, "Wake Up America" (telling us that some Newsmax employees have experience writing outraged letters to the editor of newspapers). Newsmax generated a whopping eight articles out of that interview:

Now, this was not an interview that deserved eight articles -- who thinks that, say, what Trump says about his wife is worthy of a headline? But if you're a  "news" organization that's effectively Trump's PR agent, you get your client's name out there as much as you can, and that's exactly what Newsmax did here.

And that's not even the end of the fawning, uncritical coverage Newsmax gave Trump that day. Jeffrey Rodack wrote in a separate article:

Former President Donald Trump is suggesting that Georgia residents sue the state for running "a corrupt and rigged 2020 presidential election."

His comments came in a statement released Friday after Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the Justice Department is filing a lawsuit against the state of Georgia to try and overturn a new voting law that Democrats allege discriminates against minorities.

[...]

Trump, in his statement said: "Biden’s Department of Justice just announced that they are suing the Great State of Georgia over its Election Integrity Act. Actually, it should be the other way around! The PEOPLE of Georgia should SUE the State, and their elected officials, for running a CORRUPT AND RIGGED 2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION — and for trying to suppress the VOTE of the AMERICAN PEOPLE in Georgia. If we don’t address these issues from the 2020 Election head on, and we allow the Radical Left Democrats to continue to politicize the DOJ and Law Enforcement, we will lose our Country. SAVE AMERICA!"

A real reporter would have also noted that no credible evidence has been found to back up Trump's claim of a "CORRUPT AND RIGGED" election in Georgia. But Rodack didn't -- he's part of the Trump PR team at Newsmax.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:40 PM EDT
CNS Does Softball Interview With Ex-Trump Adviser Now Leading Right-Wing Legal Group
Topic: CNSNews.com

The Media Research Center loves to rage against reporters who ask allegedly softball questions of non-conservative people -- even cheering the most vile of obscenties being hatefully hurled at them. But when one of its own employees conducts a softball interview? No problem.

A June 4 CNSNews.com article -- presented as "news" -- detailed an interview commentary editor Rob Shimshock conducted with Stephen Miller, the former Trump adviser who now runs a right-wing legal organization, America First Legal.Shimshock touted how Miller's group "is using the legal system to combat the left’s attempt to strip Americans of their civil liberties" -- showing total buy-in of Miller's partisan agenda right off the bat -- and his questions were highly softball:

  • Now I know your group has also been very active in other fields, particularly on the front of racial discrimination, and what I like about America First Legal’s approach here is that you’re not just fixated on one prong of this attack by the left but are instead tackling the whole kit and kaboodle, suing the Biden Administration to stop discrimination against white farmers, filing for a temporary restraining order on COVID relief funds being distributed to restaurants based on the skin color of their owners, and slamming the Department of Education for a proposed rule to include viciously racist critical race theory in K-12 education. So tell me a bit about these fights briefly and let me know how optimistic, or concerned, you are about each of them.
  • Now, turning to another topical issue, and you alluded to this earlier, the coronavirus: we’ve seen some states, like Texas and Florida refuse to implement vaccine passports, but we recently saw the Oregon Health Authority issue an edict saying that people can enter businesses and even churches without a mask only if they have been vaccinated. Now, to me, this sounds impractical in execution and also like a pretty clear violation of medical privacy. Has America First Legal considered getting involved on this front?
  • Great, now, I asked Matt Whitaker this question in April, but I wanted to get your take on it, too. We’ve seen coverage during the past few years about corrupt prosecutors funded by George Soros, the potential for a tainted jury, which could have played a role in the George Floyd murder ⎼ the George Floyd verdict ⎼ and we’ve even seen ostensibly conservative justices on the Supreme Court make some rather questionable decisions. So, can you identify one aspect of the legal system for me that poses the biggest hurdle to you and your team and conservatives at large as you try to defend American civil liberties, and how do you overcome that? 
  • Yeah and one common thread -- just on that point -- that I’ve seen is that a lot of these nefarious systems will oftentimes start off in academia. So we’ve been talking about critical race theory and then we also have the justice system, there are campus kangaroo courts when it comes to sexual assault allegations and so hopefully, we won’t take that direction as a country as a whole, but that remains to be seen. So, finally Stephen, what advice would you give to viewers who see all of this insanity going on and want to make a difference? How can they support America First Legal and, more broadly, how can they channel their understandable frustration into positive social change?  

Shimshock concluded with a total suck-up statement: "Awesome, well I’m very excited to see what America First Legal accomplishes this year, and thanks so much for joining us, Stephen."

Shihmshock could have asked Miller about the controversial immigration policies he crafted in the Trump White House, or about the falsehoods he has told about President Biden's immigration polices. But he didn't, because his job was to toss softballs. His MRC bosses won't be hurling any obscenities Shimshock's way for this performance.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:00 PM EDT
WND Columnists Continue To Spread Fear About COVID, Vaccines
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily columnists -- not exactly known for their thoughtful takes on amy issue, but particularly involving the coronavirus pandemic -- have continued to rage about various aspects of COVID.

In his June 14 column, Wayne Allyn Root detailed an interview with Vladimir Zelenko, a doctor whose claims about hydroxychloroquine being an effective treatment for COVID were enthusiastically touted by WND early in the pandemic despite his work lacking credible documentation. Roote went on to rant:

It's time to start asking why treatments for COVID-19 proven in multiple studies around the world to save lives are slandered, censored and banned by social media? Who are they to ban life-saving information? Who are they to label life-saving information as "medical misinformation"? What's in it for them if thousands die needlessly? Somebody clearly is getting filthy rich on this scam.

I asked Zelenko about it on a return visit to my show only days ago. He said: "Pre-hospital treatment of COVID-19 was intentionally suppressed. Life-saving information and medication was intentionally suppressed. … Out of 600,000 dead Americans, we could have saved 510,000. The American people have been brutalized and are the victims of mass murder and crimes against humanity."

I asked Zelenko for his solution to this ongoing tragedy. He said, "Number one, immediately endorse pre-hospital treatment with the Zelenko Protocol, and make it the standard of care. Number two, we must bring these criminals to justice."

Amen.

Jane Orient -- the leader of WND's COVID misinformers -- spent her June 15 column fearmongering about COVID vaccines and the idea that colleges may require students to be vaccinated before coming to campus:

Many young Americans and their parents believe that a college degree is the key to open doors to a successful future. So, when they get a letter from the college administration saying you must get this injection or you are barred from our campus, they rush to comply.

After all, vaccines are "safe and effective," and you've already had dozens of them, so what's one more? Our vigilant and world-renowned scientific and health agencies would never allow an unsafe product to be authorized, would they? The National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would never miss a safety signal or lie to us, would they? Look at the thousands of regulations they impose on us, and the warning label on everything from plastic bags to table salt. See the signs in the liquor section warning pregnant women not to take a sip lest their baby be harmed.

Orient went on to like the vaccine to thalidomide, hyped rare episodes of heart inflammation linked to the vaccine, then concluded by asking, "Would putting a hold on your college education be worth it? Is it even worth it to win the lottery if you lose your heart?"

Orient returned for more fearmongering in her June 23 column:

Many patients tell us that their doctors are pressuring them to get the COVID jab. The American Medical Association (AMA) claims that 96% of doctors are themselves fully vaccinated. So, if 9.6 out of 10 and not a mere 4 out of 5 doctors recommend something, it must be "right for you."

As far as I have heard, the message from state and local medical societies is "take the lead, get your shot, volunteer at a vaccination center, educate your hesitant patients."

[...]

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) decided to check out the AMA's 96% claim. We recall that the "one voice" has sometimes been wrong, and the 4% right.

[...]

Remember that your doctor may only see pro-vaccine material and may suffer repercussions from an employer or insurance panel for not meeting vaccine goals. You might ask him some questions, such as what does he think of the first autopsy report on a COVID-vaccinated patient, who had spike proteins in every organ?

General good advice for life applies here: 1) Don't fall for the hard sell. If you have to sign up immediately (before you look under the hood), or lose your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, alarms should go off. 2) Don't take the word of the anointed "expert" on faith, especially when he won't let others peek behind the curtain.

Hanne Nabintu Herland declared in her June 30 column that "The COVID-19 scandal continues to transfer billions into the pockets of the already ultra-rich, while national economies are faltering under the weight of mass unemployment, bankruptcies, debt and despair." She went on to suggest nefarious links between Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, and Bill Gates, "the oligarch billionaire turned "world pandemic expert" paying millions into the WHO system, with particular interest in world vaccines and controlling public health."

WND recently devoted an issue of its sparsely read Whistleblower magazine to accusing Democrats of spreading fear. It would never hold its own columnists to the same scrutiny.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:49 AM EDT
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
MRC Desperately Trying To Blame High Gas Prices On Biden
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Joseph Vazquez thought he had a big ol' gotcha for a May 27 post:

The Associated Press (AP) tried to run cover for President Joe Biden by gaslighting readers on his role in rising gas prices.

AP ran another one of its useless “fact-checks” headlined, “AP FACT CHECK: House GOP falsely blames Biden for gas prices.” The piece railed that “Biden's policies aren't behind the price increases.” It continued: “Gas prices are up because of a rapid and unexpected bounce-back in demand, and because of lingering problems from the forced shutdown early this month of the Colonial Pipeline, which provides 45% of the fuel consumed on the East Coast.” It’s too bad for AP then that Fox Business ran an April story, headlined “Biden's energy plan contributing to gas price increases: GasBuddy analyst.” [Emphasis added.]

The irony is that AP cited GasBuddy Head of Petroleum Analysis Patrick De Haan, to summarize how the Colonial Pipeline outage led to “more than 6,000 stations [running] out” of gas. That’s the same De Haan who Fox Business said labeled the Biden administration as a contributor “to the increase in gas prices.” Of course, AP ignored the Fox Business story.

But Fox Business quoted de Haan only as saying that "the Biden administration is not anywhere near as friendly with the oil and gas sector" as the Trump administration and that "motorists are going to be feeling the consequences of such a policy." He cited no specific Biden policy directly causing increases in gas prices at that specific point, and he also pointed out -- like AP did -- that demand was increasing, which also helps increase prices.

Vazquez also bizarrely argued that Biden deserved blame for gas price incrases because of ... coronavirus stimulus checks:

But AP continued its misdirection. The outlet had the audacity to say that prices can also be attributed to how “[s]timulus payments to American households, including $1,400 checks that were distributed in March, have helped Americans ramp up spending.” First, who exactly does AP think was behind the $1,400 free lunch stimulus payments? Also, CNN previously published a story in April headlined, “All that stimulus is sending inflation higher.” CNN said that the “biggest driver” behind the spike in the U.S. Producer Price Index — “which measures sale prices for goods and services” — was “a sharp 8.8% jump in gasoline prices.” [Emphasis added.]

Perhaps Biden redistributing money that spikes demand while companies are struggling to keep pace is a viable culprit behind rising gas prices. Not according to AP’s gaslighting.

Apparently, creating demand to boos the economy is a bad thing for Vazquez -- whose employer received as much as $2 million in redistributed stimulus money.

Vazquez tried to push this dubous narrative again in a July 13 post complaining that CNN also pointed out that gas prices are largely out of any president's control:

CNN’s knee-jerk reaction to spiking gas prices was to protect President Joe Biden, and Twitter users jumped all over the outlet for it.

CNN Business published a ridiculous story headlined, “Gas prices are above $3. Biden doesn’t have a magic wand to fix that.” CNN Business Lead Writer Matt Egan patronized readers by saying, “President Joe Biden is being attacked for $3 gasoline. But the truth is the White House isn’t to blame for high gas prices – and has few options to lower them.” The CNN Business tweet of Egan’s pro-Biden propaganda was heavily ratioed.

Did Egan forget that GasBuddy Head of Petroleum Analysis Patrick De Haan argued in April that Biden’s energy plan was contributing to rising gas prices? Also, Egan’s employer previously published a story in April headlined, “All that stimulus is sending inflation higher.” CNN said in the April story that the “biggest driver” behind the spike in the U.S. Producer Price Index — “which measures sale prices for goods and services” — was “a sharp 8.8% jump in gasoline prices.”

Vazquez didn't offer any facts to contradict any of the reporting in the CNN story, and he didn't acknowledge that the "Twitter users" who ratioed the CNN tweet are all right-wing activists and personalities who, like Vazquez, have an anti-Biden agenda.

As an actual fact-checker pointed out: That's not how it works, folks.

By contrast, when some tried to blame Trump for a crash in oil prices at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Vazquez complained that a reporter was "exploiting" the crisis to "get an amateurish zinger at the president." Kinda like what Vazquez is trying to do to Biden?


Posted by Terry K. at 8:12 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, July 20, 2021 8:28 PM EDT
Failing Downward: Eric Bolling Ends Up At Newsmax
Topic: Newsmax

An anonymously written June 28 Newsmax article put the best possible spin on the development:

Newsmax, America’s fastest growing cable news network, announced today that it is adding acclaimed television host and best-selling author Eric Bolling to its impressive talent roster.

Chris Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax, said: “Eric Bolling is a consummate media professional who isn’t afraid to ask tough questions, get provocative answers and challenge establishment thinking. His background in business and politics separates him from the competition.”

Bolling will begin as a guest host for shows on Monday, June 27, and is slated to host a new show in July with details to be announced soon.

Bolling said, “Like myself, Newsmax is concerned with the direction that Big Tech and Big Corporate Media have taken journalism and our nation. I’m excited to join an organization that delivers programming you can trust.”

[...]

Most recently, Bolling hosted a popular talk show called “America This Week With Eric Bolling.”

The show aired weekly across the Sinclair broadcast platform of 200 stations.

At Fox News, Bolling was its most visible and popular guest host, sitting in for Bill O’Reilly more than 200 times and guest hosting for top-rated “Hannity” more than 70 times.

Needless to say, Newsmax didn't tell readers why Bolling is no longer employed at those previous jobs. He was fired from Fox News in 2017 after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced in the form of sending lewd photos to colleagues, part of a wave of allegations against Fox News hosts and executives. He was fired from Sinclair Broadcast Group earlier this year after repeatedly getting busted for spreading misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic.

Newsmax did not provide an explanation of why it has chosen to hire a man with such a dubious track record.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:26 PM EDT

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