MRC Gets Mad When Cuomo's Sexual Harssment Likened To Trump Topic: Media Research Center
In our summary of how the Media Research Center was gleefully dancing on Andrew Cuomo's political grave, we overlooked one instance in which the MRC got all huffy about Cuomo's sexual harassment scandal being likened to Donald Trump's long history of sexual harassment. In an Aug. 4 post, Alex Christy complained that for PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor, "one of the takeaways is that, unlike Republicans, Democrats have no tolerance for such behavior":
Repeating that Cuomo has no intention of resigning, she declared:
He is someone who thinks he can hold on and when I'm talking to people, Democrats, they are also pointing to people like former President Trump who held on after dozens and dozens of women accused him of sexual harassment, of abuse and rape he was able to continue to still be president and now has a lot of power in the Republican Party, that's in some ways what Andrew Cuomo is trying to hang on to power and act a bit Trumpian here.
According to Alcindor, the analogy falls part because, "Democrats don't seem to have the same appetite for this sort of behavior that the GOP has."
Mitchell agreed, "Yeah, 21 women and also holding on after the Access Hollywood tape was revealed when he was first running for office. So that is the playbook to just outlast the outrage, if he can."
At this point, we will remind you that the MRC went on a huge whataboutism kick regarding the "Access Hollywood" tape, playing the Clinton Equivocation card, and also that the MRC denigrated the women who made claims of sexual harassment (and worse) against Trump.
If you guessed that Christy would follow MRC tradition in attempting to rebut Alcindor, you would be correct. Cue the whataboutism and Clinton Equivocation:
For the media, it's as if Bill Clinton and his impeachment never existed. Liberal hero Sen. Ted Kennedy, "the lion of the Senate," left a woman to drown after a car accident, and, with fellow liberal Sen. Chris Dodd, allegedly sexually assaulted a woman in the infamous 1985 "waitress sandwich."
So no, Democrats do not have the moral high ground and it is easy for them to say Cuomo should resign when they know that the blue state governor will be replace [sic] by another Democrat.
Yes, Christy has to go all the way back to 1998 and 1985 and 1969 to deflect from Trump's actions in the much more recent past. And Cuomo eventually did resign under pressure with nobody on any side defending that behavior -- something that can never be said about Republicans and Trump, even though a resigned Trump would have been replaced by another Republican.
Christy never mentioned Trump again, by the way, so perhaps he was conceding that Trump is terrible to women -- he just doesn't want to have to say the words out loud.
It Wasn't True, And It Didn't Happen In August Topic: WorldNetDaily
On July 23, WorldNetDaily columnist Craige McMillan -- who has spread conspiracy theories about the election -- wrote a column headlined, "What if it's really true, and it all happens in August?" In it, he pushed a mishmash of QAnon and other right-wing conspiracy theories about Donald Trump returning to power in August:
The question I'm asking is, what if there has always been fire in the midst of all the smoke being blown about by big media huffing and puffing, Big Tech censorship and big government "we're gonna do it anyway" career civil servants?
Early in President Trump's term of office, amidst a room full of military brass and their wives, Trump referred to that particular moment in time as, "The calm before the storm." A reporter immediately followed up: "What storm, Mr. President?" The only response was, "You'll find out."
I'm ambivalent about Taylor Swift, but her song "August" was released on July 24, 2020. Her lyrics came up during a search for "August folklore." The month itself is named after the Roman Emperor Augustus.
Since the 2020 election there have been persistent rumors (smoke) that the election was stolen through absentee ballots (expanded for use during COVID-19) and electronic voting machines. This evidence is said to consist of packet captures from voting machines (that were not supposed to be connected to the internet).
There is no question that packet capture is a real thing. The amount of data for an entire election would have been enormous, and would have required access points (to connect the equipment) and a way to sort through the packets coming and going throughout the election. My thought is that only the military or an intelligence agency could execute such an operation. Big Tech, possibly. Hackers? I'm dubious.
Having set the stage, let's finally get to the real question. What happens if:
The U.S. election was stolen;
conclusive evidence to prove that it was stolen exists; and
our military or an intel agency gathered evidence of the real vote counts?
At that point, the calm before the storm will be over. The storm will be upon us.
McMillan went to argue this could result in military rule: "If the evidence shows a foreign actor conspired to aid the Democrats in the presidential election, we're looking at a period of military rule, not only nationally (D.C.) but in most large cities as well. This will have to happen while the bad actors are removed from their positions and punished for their crimes."
Of course, none of this happened. Mike Lindell's "cyber symposium" ended up demonstrating that "packet captures" were a bust, proving absolutely nothing about the election, let alone that it was stolen.
Needless to say, McMillan felt no need to apologize for being so wrong. His Sept. 3 column is a weird fantasy on the theme, "If you were God, would you save America today?" One gets the feeling he's rooting for that answer to be no ... simply because his beloved Trump lost.
Like many other WND employees and writers, McMillan is living in a fantasy world, unable to accept the reality that Biden legitimately won the election. He will continue to embarass himself by writing about his delusions (provided WND survives long enough to continue publishing them).
UPDATE: By contrast, an Aug. 9 WND column by Michael Brown admitted that no matter what proof Mike Lindell might offer in his then-upcoming cyber symposium (and he didn't offer any), "Trump will not be reinstated to the presidency this month":
That should be self-evident, since President Biden is not about to be arrested and imprisoned, and the military (or any other power) is not about to restore Trump to the White House. All the dates predicted thus far for the big shift, be it by pro-Trump prophets or QAnon conspirators, have come and gone, and none of the predictions have come to pass.
On that score, the ship has sailed, and it is high time to move on (really, well past high time).
MRC Has Lost Its Love For Lindell Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center spent the first part of the year inserting MyPillow guy Mike Lindell into its "censorship" victimization narrative because of his wseirdly aggressive defense of Donald Trump and his promotion of the never-proven conspiracy theory that the eleciton was stolen. The last time we checked in April, the MRC was gushing over the idea that Lindell planned to launch his own social media platform, as well as comtinuing the victim narrative by complained that Lindell's falsehood-filled video "Absolute Proof" got pulled from a couple video platforms, claiming he faced a "constant barrage of Big Tech censorship." Of course, if Lindell and other right-wingers want to live in "a world without the constant barrage of Big Tech censorship," they should stop telling lies and respect the terms of service of social media platforms.
The MRC continued to promote Lindell's ventures. An April 13 post by Joseph Vazquez touted how Lindell "is launching an online store to combat Big Tech giant Amazon’s hold over e-commerce," which Lindell insisted would be “a patriotism-themed e-commerce platform.” The site has apparently launched, though we haven't heard much about it since; Lindell was planning to launch an IPO for the operation, but claimed that his getting sued by Dominion Voting Systems for $1.3 billion over false claims he allegedly made about the company supposedly put those plans on hold. Still, Vazquez went on to rehash Lindell's victimhood bona fides:
Just recently, both YouTube and Vimeo removed Lindell’s documentary Absolute Proof. The documentary called the results of the 2020 presidential election into question.
The Washington Post celebrated Dominion Voting Systems launching a lawsuit against Lindell for his election claims in a news item that read like a venom-spewing op-ed: “Mike Lindell made his bed with Trump’s bogus conspiracies. Now, he gets to lie in it.”
In January 2021, Twitter banned Lindell from the platform “due to repeated violations of our Civic Integrity Policy,” a spokesperson told MRC Free Speech America.
But Lindell’s election claims are not the only reason why he’s been attacked by the far left. His faith as a Christian has also come under heavy fire.
On April 15, Alexander Hall promoted the launch of Lindell's social media operation:
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell chose to take matters into his own hands after Twitter banned him in January. He has now created a new social media platform called “Frank” that is reportedly close to launching for conservatives seeking to speak their minds in a more wholesome atmosphere.
Lindell explained the idea behind the platform in a short video on the FrankSpeech website before its limited April 16 opening: “This is gonna be a platform like no other. It's kinda like a YouTube-Twitter combination.” Lindell made sure to assure viewers: “We’re going to be attacked, but I have my own servers and everything,” he explained. “We’re not gonna be worried about Amazon taking it down or YouTube or Google or Apple.”
Lindell also explained that his plan for a more family-friendly platform was a feature, not a liability: “You don’t get to use the four swear words: you know, the c-word, the n-word, the f-word or God’s name in vain,” he explained. “Free speech is not pornography. Free speech isn’t, ‘I’m gonna kill you.’”
Well, actually, it kinda is. If you block certain kinds of speech you find objectionable, -- even to create "a more wholesome atmosphere" -- you're no longer a "free speech" operation.
Hall didn't bother to do any follow-up on the issues it had at launch that prevented people from actually signing up (which Lindell blamed without evidence on a "massive attack" against the operation), or about the event promoting the operation in a half-empty Corn Palace in South Dakota.
In a May 7 post, Vazquez got some amusement out of the Democrats allegedly compiling an opposition-research file on Lindell in case he does something political in the future: "Allies of President Joe Biden are apparently so worried about his political future that they decided to compile an entire opposition file on MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell." Actually, that's smart political work, because it's a good idea to be prepared for anything in the political arena.
That, however, was the last post dedicated to Lindell (he received passing mention in twoposts in August). The Frank platform appears to have not caught fire (unless you count the dumpster fire of its launch) -- the MRC seems to have put its rhetorical chips on GETTR, the site run by former Trump aide Jason Miller (which also has its dumpster-fire aspects). And it may be that Lindell has become too crazy for the MRC -- which would be an achievement given the kind of extremists it has portrayed as mainstream conservatives who are being "censored" by "Big Tech" in order to pad its victim narrative. The MRC did not promote last month's "cyber symposium" hosted by Lindell, and it didn't even note that Fox News "censored" Lindell by refusing to run ads for it, causing Lindell to pull all his MyPillow advertising off Fox News.The abject failure of the symposium made Lindell look even worse than he already did.
Too crazy for the MRC? Not exactly a pillow-soft landing for Lindell.
MRC's Double Standard On One-Day Dow Drops Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center -- proving that it's a partisan political organization and not a "media research" one -- lovestoembrace whatever the Republicans' anti-Biden talking point du jour is, only to abandon it when it proves to be overblown or outright false (while not explaining that fact to readers). Joseph Vazquez gave it the ol' biased try in a July 19 post trying to exploit a large one-day stock drop to blame it on President Biden:
CNBC had the spin on the massive stock market sell-off story so fast it was as if the outlet was just waiting to protect the Biden administration from any bad news.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell a whopping 725.81 points July 19 as “anxiety mounted over the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant and its potential impact on the global economy,” The Wall Street Journal reported. It was the “worst session since October” for the index.
But CNBC seemed to already know how it would spin the story at 10:42 a.m. when the market was in the heat of its nosedive: “Stock market volatility can be an opportunity for investors. Here’s why.”
CNBC pulled the nothing-to-see-here angle from its back pocket and pontificated how “[w]hile volatility can be troubling for investors, experts caution against any hasty selling when markets fall.” Really?
The outlet ran two subheadings in its piece that were just as absurd given the extent of the market downturn. The first was “Volatility is common.” The second was “Volatility can be your friend.”
Vazquez went on to insinst that "CNBC’s gaslighting of the potential effects of the market’s drop made the news outlet’s irresponsible behavior toward the stock market news all the more egregious."
Later, Curtis Houck complained that "the “big three” networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC played the role of PR professionals for the White House" becuase it didn't sufficiently report on "the pitiful day on Wall Street."
But the MRC never brought up this attack again. Why? Because the very next day, the Dow increased 549 points -- and by the end of that week on July 23, the Dow had increase more than 1,000 points from the July 19 close. In other words, CNBC was right about stock market volatility, and Vazquez's attack was bogus.
As one can assume, the MRC has a double standard on this. In 2019, the MRC complained that the media covered an 800-point Dow drop -- a much bigger drop than the one Vazquez fearmongered over because the Dow average was lower at the time -- and even quoted CNBC's Jim Cramer to demand that the media "dial back the hysteria." Vazquez and Houck didn't pick up that lesson, apparently.
MRC's Bozell Give Trump Jr. A Pass On Cashing In On His Father's Presidency Topic: Media Research Center
In July, Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell sat down for an interview with Donald Trump Jr. (And we though the MRC hated softball interviews.) An excerpt posted to NewsBusters featured Don Jr. spouting the MRC's anti-"Big Tech" narrative against "censorship" of conseravatives online (though no proof was offered that mainstream conservatives are solely being targeted), but the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, was given a clip of Don Jr. unironically accusing Hunter Biden of trying to cash in on his father's presidency:
“People have to wake up; they have to get their news from alternative sources,” Donald Trump, Jr. tells Media Research Center President Brent Bozell in an exclusive interview discussing the left-wing media’s bias and hypocrisy when it comes to the treatment of presidents’ family members.
The former First Son explains that, while his father was in the White House, the liberal media would never have allowed him to claim to be an artist and sell paintings for half a million dollars to anonymous buyers, as President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, is doing.
Even some Picassos sell for far less than what Hunter is charging, and yet the media looks the other way, Trump, Jr. says:
“I take that one pretty personally, because I went through a lot. What do you think would happen, Brent, if for, I don’t know, for example, Donald Trump, Jr. started finger-painting, like Hunter Biden, and started selling them to unknown buyers for half a million dollars?
Bozell positioned this issue in an incredibly softball way, effectively playing T-ball with Don Jr. He made no mention of the fact that Don Jr. did, in fact, cash in on his father's presidency to perhaps an even greater degree than Hunter Biden was accused of doing.
The big one was that the Republican National Committee bought $300,000 worth of copies of Don Jr.'s book -- a massive bulk purchase that dishonestly put the book on the bestseller list. Interestingly, Don Jr. self-published his book, so gets all to keep that RNC money for himself. Bozell even plugged the book in question, "Liberal Privilege," during the interview, but at no point did he acknowlege it becamae a best-seller because the RNC bought a bunch of copies -- the epitome of cashing in on a presidential father's fame.
But there's more: In 2019, Don Jr. made $50,000 for giving a single speech, and as Business Insider summarized: "He also works at his father's company, overseeing the business empire since his father took up the presidency. Most of his present-day media profile comes from discussing his father and his presidency."
No MRC employee is ever going to call out Bozell for his softball interview of Don Jr. -- not if they want to keep their job, that is.
MRC Falsely Labels Film It Doesn't Like As A 'Hollywood Film' Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Gabriel Hays ranted in a July 13 post headlined "Filthy Hollywood Film With Lesbian Nuns and Virgin Mary ‘Dildo’ Makes Waves at Cannes":
Surprise! A French shock Jaques director hates the Catholic Church and has created a movie calculated to outrage the faithful and win plaudits from the elites. Showgirls director Paul Verhoeven's latest flick is an anti-Catholic porno.
Benedettais a profane trash heap about 17th century lesbian nuns that’s full of violence and extremely gratuitous sex scenes between women whose vocations are supposed to involve a life of dutiful chastity before God. Supposedly it’s based on a true story. And of course this kind of disgusting, subversive content sets just the right mood for the foreign film fest circuit, and apparently Benedetta is all the rage at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
One little problem with Hays' rant: "Benedetta" is not a "Hollywood film." According to Wikipedia, the film was shot in Europe in the French language. The film's two main producers, Said Ben Said and Jerome Seydoux, are Tunisian-French and French, respectively. A third producer, Michel Merkt, is also French.
This is simple stupidity on Hays' part, making a lazy assumption that all films are "Hollywood films." People in other parts of the world make movies too, but Hays is apparently too ideologically nearsighted to realize that. And apparently the MRC has no editors (or at least none who do anything meaningful), so Hays' lazy mistake slipped right on through, even though it's right there in the headline.
MRC Is Weirdly Obsessed With Insisting Mormon-Owned Paper Is 'Liberal' Topic: Media Research Center
Rich Noyes devoted a July 20 post complaining that the editor of the Deseret News, a local newspaper in Salt Lake City, says his paper doesn't have a "leftist agenda." After noting that the editor cited "quasi-scientific sources" to prove his contention about the paper lacking ideological bias, Noyes huffed in response:
Bottom line: these charts may satisfy the Internet’s desire for a quick side-by-side comparison of news sources, but they don’t offer any substantive examples to back up their grades. Just trust them.
That’s not how we study media bias here at NewsBusters. Our daily output consists of endless examples, with transcripts and embedded video so everyone can see the coverage themselves. Our empirical studies focus exclusively on content, rigorously examining all coverage on a specific topic, from one or more designated news sources, for a specific period of time. In my 30+ years of experience, that’s the only way a study’s conclusions have merit.
But the MRC's approach is even less "quasi-scientific" than the bias monitors he dismisses. Yes, the MRC loves cranking out anecdotal examples, but they are used to push partisan narratives, not support legitimate "media research." Further, the MRC always starts with the conclusion -- the non-right-wing media has a "liberal" bias -- and searches for evidence to support that claim while ignoring everything else that might disprove it, as we documented with the methdology its uses in many of its "studies" of "bias" (a subjective measure), which focuses on a tiny sliver of all coverage, ignores neutral coverage, won't make the raw data public and completely refuses to apply the same standards to Fox News.
Noyes then wrote:
And as it happens, I’ve managed two studies of the Deseret News, and both showed coverage skewed pretty heavily against conservatives.
In 2013, our analysis showed the Deseret News tilted 6-to-1 (24 stories vs. four) against Utah Senator Mike Lee and other conservatives’ strategy of holding up government funding as a way to oppose ObamaCare. This wasn’t as lopsided as coverage at the neighboring Salt Lake Tribune, which tilted 41 to zero against the conservative strategy, but it’s hardly a “lean right” result.
Then last year, we looked at coverage of the 4th Congressional District race between incumbent Democrat Ben McAdams and Republican challenger Burgess Owens. Our analysis showed Owens, the conservative, received significant negative coverage, while McAdams faced none. That’s not the work of a paper that “leans right,” either.
As it happens, we critiqued both of those alleged studies at the time. The underlying premise for both -- as it is for much of the MRC's "media research" -- is that any criticism of a conservartive, no matter now newsworthy or justified, is ipso facto evidence of "liberal bias." For the 2013 study, we noted that Noyes was admitting false balance by conceding that public opinion was largely against Lee's strategy of forcing a government shutdown as leverage to defund Obamacare, meaning that the two newspapers were at least somewhat accurately reflecting public opinion. For the 2020 study, Noyes was complaining that several scandals involving Owens were being reported by the News -- even though he seemed to concede that the negative coverage was justified -- while not offering any evidence of scandals involving McAdams that should have been reported but were not.
And in both cases, Noyes censored the fact that the Deseret News is owned by a division of the Churst of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- a.k.a. the Mormons -- meaning that it has little genetic incentive to be a "llberal" media outlet. Nevertherless, Noyes insisted:
To be clear, I do not think the Deseret News is on the same level as a woke/progressive/leftist newspaper like the New York Times. But when we’ve analyzed their political coverage, it reads more like Democratic talking points than a “leans right” newspaper.
The fact that Noyes has determined that the Deseret News is nothing but a "Democratic talking points" based solely on two tiny, highly flawed "studies" done seven years apart tells us all we need to now about just how "quasi-scientific" the MRC's methodology really is. That, and the fact that he apparently believes that "woke," "progressive" and "leftist" mean exactly the same thing.
How Is The MRC Freaking Out About George Soros Now? Topic: Media Research Center
Joseph Vazquez is the Media Research Center's designated George Soros-hater, and he's continued to crank out the hate since the last time we checked in.
A February post by Vazquez listed Soros as among a group of "America’s most notorious liberal billionaires" who are purportedly targetingFox News host Tucker Carlson, though he (and apparently Carlson) never stated how, exactly, Soros is targeting Carlson. Vazquez kept up the piling on of hyperbolic accusations:
Vazquez even tried to blame Soros for things he had nothing to do with. On August 2, he pushed a salacious story under the headline "SICK: 6 Women Sue Soros ‘Right-Hand Man’ After BDSM in His ‘Sex Dungeon'.' In fact, the person in question, Howard Rubin, hadn't worked for Soros Fund Management since 2015. Vazquez also sourced his claim largely from the notoriouslyunreliable Daily Mail, which offered no evidence to back up its claim that Rubin was ever Soros' "right-hand man,'" and from the New York Post, which has a notorious right-wing bias.
In June, Vazquez complained that a "A U.K.-based fact-checking outlet financed by liberal billionaire George Soros tried as early as February 2020, to swat down the idea that COVID-19 had leaked from a laboratory in communist China." In fact, there is still little proof to substantiate that theory (though that's in no small part because the Chinese have been less than cooperative), and it remains at least as likely that it is a naturally occurring virus and was not genetically altered in the Wuhan lab.
We've previously noted the MRC trying to blame a "Soros-funded group" for what it called a "flawed" study of Facebook being used as a platform for misinformation, and Vazquez attacklng Swiss financier Hansjörg Wyss as the next Soros in the "evil liberal billionaire" sweepstakes. We also caught Vazquez cheering a ProPublica report on how little in taxes rich people play when it exposed Soros -- only to flip-flop a few days later to condemn that very same report because it exposed the financial info of non-liberal rich people.
CNS Deflects Trump From Blame Over His Deal With The Taliban Topic: CNSNews.com
As the U.S. pullout from Afghanistan led to the unexpectedly quick takeover of the country, CNSNews.com knew what it had to do, besides blaming President Biden: absolve and deflect President Trump from blame for his role, given that he negotiated the peace and withdrawal deal with the Taliban that Biden was carrying out.
In an Aug. 13 article, Patrick Goodeneough -- who has been CNS' leader in defending Trump after his departure from office -- touted a Trump statement in which heclaimed that “I personally had discussions with top Taliban leaders whereby they understood what they are doing now would not have been acceptable,” then tried to defend Trump's Taliban deal:
In fact, the U.S.-Taliban agreement did make the withdrawal of U.S. forces by May 1 contingent on the Taliban meeting certain obligations: It declared as “interconnected” and “interrelated” the timeline for the troop withdrawal on one hand, and on the other a Taliban commitment to “prevent the use of the soil of Afghanistan by any group or individual against the security of the United States and its allies.”
The agreement did also call for a “permanent and comprehensive ceasefire,” but to be negotiated and agreed upon in “intra-Afghan” talks. Those talks have yet to produce an agreement.
On Aug. 15, Goodenough highlighted how "Chuck Todd pointed out that Biden has walked away from other decisions he inherited from the Trump administration that he considered 'bad,'" then hyped a right-wing activist dragging Barack Obama and Benghazi into the argument:
Pushing back at the blame-Trump talking points, Heritage Foundation vice president for foreign and defense policy studies James Jay Carafano said Biden “can make all the excuses and spin all the narratives he wants, but a narrative can’t stop a bullet.”
“The situation did not collapse until he withdrew troops – and it is impossible not to conclude this happened because of what he decided.”
Carafano placed the decision in the broader context of the “Obama-Biden foreign policy,” recalling the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq at the end of 2011 – and resulting rise of ISIS – and a response to the Libya crisis which, he said, included “the spiraling decline in the security situation until our diplomatic facilities in Benghazi were smoking ruins.”
Susan Jones did more of her usual editorializing in an Aug. 16 "news" article:
From the moment he took office on January 20, President Joe Biden began signing a flurry of executive orders to undo or reverse many of the policies instituted by President Trump.
But Biden did not scrap Trump's plan to withdraw all remaining troops from Afghanistan. And in a statement on Saturday, Biden -- who has not been seen since his departure for Camp David on Friday -- blamed Trump for the mess he "inherited."
Jones then uncritically repeated Trump and then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defending the peace deal with the Taliban and excluding the Afghan government from taking part.
Later that day, Jones complained that Republicans Ben Sasse and Liz Cheney criticized Trump's role in setting up the situation in Afghanistan, and that Cheney reminded people that Trump had at one time invited the Taliban to meet with him at Camp David.
In a speech on Monday, President Joe Biden blamed his predecessor, Donald Trump, and the Afghan people, for his administration’s botched withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and the rapid takeover of the country’s capital by Taliban forces.
As a candidate, however, Biden repeatedly promised that, if elected, he would “take responsibility” and not blame others.
In fact, Biden said in the speech that "I stand squarely behind my decision," adding that "Nor will I shrink from my share of responsibility for where we are today and how we must move forward from here. I am President of the United States of America, and the buck stops with me." Meaning that he did, in fact, take responsibility for how the withdrawal played out, which does not preclude him for pointing out that Trump felt the need to negotiate with the Taliban.
Two days later, Bannister was back defending Trump's Taliban deal:
The Taliban committed to honor five conditions stipulated in the agreement it signed with the United States on February 29, 2020 regarding the planned U.S. withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
As the Associated Press reported at the time, in the deal struck by President Donald Trump’s State Department, the Taliban promised to oppose terrorist threats to the U.S. and thwart efforts by terrorist groups seeking to establish a safe have in Afghanistan, while the U.S. agreed to withdraw its troops by May of 2021:
Bannister later touted how "On Tuesday, Trump said that President Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan will go down as one of the most disastrous evacuations in world history." His article was weirdly illustrated with a file photo of Trump awkwardly hugging a flag.
Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley equated negotiating with the Taliban to negotiating with the devil, but “you have to negotiate with the devil from a point of strength,” and the United States has no leverage with the Taliban right now, she told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
“Well, I think let's be clear, President Trump very much wanted to see soldiers come out of Afghanistan, so it's not about soldiers coming out. It's not what you do. It's how you do it. He would never have pulled our soldiers out without making sure Americans and all of our equipment and our weaponry was out beforehand,” Haley said.
“He would never have allowed the Taliban to take over Afghanistan without conditions. So anyone that wants to say this was already set in motion, it's not what was going to happen. It was how it happened, and this happened in the most embarrassing, humiliating way that has-- really angers soldiers like my husband and all those that-- that sacrificed,” she said.
Arter followed up on Aug. 26 with an article claiming that Biden "said Thursday that he bears responsibility for what “happened of late” in the Afghanistan withdrawal, but he blamed former President Donald Trump for making a deal with the Taliban in the first place to withdraw U.S. forces from the region by May 1," repeating an exchange Biden had with biased Fox News reporter Peter Doocy.
In a Sept. 1 article, Bannister uncritically repeated claims by retired general and Fox News talking head Jack Keane that "Biden not only misrepresented former Pres. Trump’s conditions-based deal with the Taliban, but also 'blew off those conditions, just like he blew off the military advice and intelligence advice,' in order to set an arbitrary withdrawal deadline of August 31."
We at the Media Research Center and NewsBusters are sad to report that veteran journalist and MRC employee Randy Hall passed away on July 16, 2021 at the age of 66. Hall suffered a stroke in 2020 and had been dealing with health issues since last October.
Randy spent the bulk of his career at MRC serving as a writer and editor for the CNSNews.com news division, where he covered a broad range of political, cultural and human interest issues. A versatile writer, Randy produced every type of content for CNSNews.com, from quick, breaking news posts to hard-hitting, meticulously researched investigative stories.
From March of 2007 to October of 2020, Hall was a contributing writer for NewsBusters.org. He often wrote about conservative media figures fighting back against the left.
In actuality, he was a biased writer, dating abck to his days as a CNS reporter, according to the ConWebWatch archives:
In 2005, he reported on then-President George W. Bush's recess appointment of John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations without mentioning the fact that the reason Democrats had blocked his appointment was bacuase of the Bush White House's refusal to turn over documents related to Bolton.
In 2007, he pushed bogus right-wing talking points about a proposed hate-crimes law and weirdly described LGBT peopole as "individuals who engage in homosexual behavior."
Hall repeated unsourced claims about a critic of a right-wing college professor who blamed biased college officials for denying him full professorship.
He also hyped a sex scandal involving a Kansas attorney general, but ignored apparent improprieties involving the previous, Republican attorney general.
His work for NewsBusters largely involved parroting whatever right-wing blather needed amplification, but he had its share of bias and misinformation as well:
He promoted then-Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren gushing over Sarah Palin's return to Fox News after a yearlong absence without any mention whatsoever of certain notable conflicts of interest: that Van Susteren's husband served as a Palin adviser or that Van Susteren herself played media handler for Palin's husband.
He whined that Nancy Pelosi called then-President Trump and Republicans "enemies of the state" -- but he had no problem portraying the media as the enemy by falsely blaming Rachel Maddow in part for a shooting of Republican congressmen.
He gloated that a film about Fox News' sexual harassment scandals bombed at the box office, but ignored that a film pushing anti-media narratives that falsely smeared a real-life reporter bombed even harder.
He insisted that Fox News anchor Bret Baier was impartial -- but didn't mention hisf alse hit job on Hillary Clinton before the 2016 election (which the MRC also heavily promoted but still hasn't corrected the recored).
It's unfortunate that Hall has passed away, but the MRC will likely have no problem finding someone at least as biased to take his place at NewsBustesrs.
Farah Gushes Over Trump And His Lawsuit Against Big Tech Topic: WorldNetDaily
As you'd expect with his history of Trump fanboying and his embrace of Trump's Big Lie, WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah can't stop gushing over Donald Trump. He was especially gushful when Trump filed his dubious lawsuit against social-media operations that banned him after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot that he played a key role in instigating. Farah slobbered in his july 7 column:
Former President Donald Trump, who has long complained about censorship by social media giants, filed class-action lawsuits Wednesday against Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
That's it: Trump is my hero!
Trump's suit likely faces an uphill battle, according to experts, who say the First Amendment can't apply to private companies, even if they do benefit from government policies like Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
But that is one of the reasons I love the guy. He thinks big. Trump thinks the power of social media companies is growing too great. Who doesn't agree?
Farah gushed again over Trump's lawsuit, along with actions by other states against tech operations in his July 9 column, adding: "I'm looking at filing my own lawsuit against Google for wrecking the oldest online news service, WND.com, in case anyone can point me to a high-profile nonprofit attorney. I seek to recover lost revenues of at least five years and then some." But Google didn't "wreck" WND -- Farah did, by insisting on publishing conspiracy theories instead of reporting facts.
Farah's gush-a-thon continued in his July 12 column:
President Donald Trump said it so anyone could understand why he was suing Big Tech.
He said something everyone should be able to understand:
"If Big Tech can censor me, they can censor you."
I never believed it would come to this. I didn't think brute censorship could ever come to America. But I saw it begin in earnest in 2016 – as a response to Trump's unexpected election victory that year.
Of course, Trump hasn't been "censored" -- private companies have simply exercised their right not to give a platform to someone who repeatedliy violated their terms of service, which is completely legal. By that same standard, we could sue WND for blocking us from using its commenting platform, even though we have never violated any posted terms of service. That's a lot closer to "censorship" than what happened to Trump.
Nevertheless, Farah continued to play victim: "Big Tech calls the shots as if they were in charge of the press. Of course, they are not – but they act as if they are. They terrorize independent, conservative and Christian sites like WND. They TELL our site what we can publish and what kind of audience we will be limited to. They see themselves as the only arbiters of 'truth.'" We've repeatedly documented how WND publishes lies, so maybe this isn't the hill that Farah should want to die on.
The next day, Farah cheered the alleged chances of success of Trump's lawsuit:
Donald Trump's First Amendment suits against Facebook, Twitter and Google are being panned in the media.
But never count him out. He's way underrated!
They say the First Amendment ordinarily applies only to government – not private companies. Many make this mistake, especially conservatives.
When the plaintiffs claim in their class-action lawsuit that the tech companies should be treated as state actors and therefore are bound by the First Amendment when they engage in selective political censorship, they have precedent to back it up. Big Tech censorship constitutes state action because the government granted them immunity from legal liability, has implicitly threatened to punish them if they allow disfavored speech, and has colluded with them in choosing targets for censorship.
Actually, courts have a history of ruling that tech companies are not state actors when they enforce their terms of service. But Farah was much more interested in once again playing victim:
But Trump's lawsuit also is important for this independent news agency. We have been severely hurt – singled out, slammed, maligned by Big Tech. They have done everything possible to squeeze us – including things you don't know.
Since Big Tech suppressed, de-monetized, maligned and banned us – and also destroyed the advertising-based business model on which we have long depended – to survive we have regrouped and established the WND News Center, an IRS-approved 501(c)3 nonprofit, which allows us to receive your tax-deductible donations. WND used to be a wildly successful for-profit enterprise – bringing in some $15 million dollars a year. We published books then, and made movies too. But it was all too much for Big Tech to take.
Now we're fortunate if we survive.
Given WND's long history of misinformation and outright lies, WND's survival would not be "fortunate" for anyone who cares about accurate and balanced journalism.
MRC Psaki-Bashing, Doocy-Fluffing Watch, Hide-The-#PsakiBomb Edition Topic: Media Research Center
Curtis Houck spent his summary of the Aug. 10 White House press briefing so enraged that non-right-wing reporters asked inconvenient questions about a Republian governor that he almost forgot to mention his man-crush, Peter Doocy:
Yet again, reminding viewers that they’re scared to death of Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL), White House reporters and the Biden administration played off each other during Tuesday’s press briefing and presidential press conference to lob barbs at DeSantis for refusing to bring back mask mandates and/or threaten to bring back Covid restrictions from 2020.
He did, however, express joy that CBS reporter Ed O'Keefe "laid a trap for Biden by asking him to assess" resigned Newe York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's "performance on policy," then touting how other reporters "realized the insanity of this endorsement amid the claims he sexually assaulted and harassed at least 11 women." Never mind, of course, that Houck and his MRC co-workers will defend to their dying day Donald Trump's performance in office, demanding you ignore his paying hush money to a porn star,the 20-plus women who have adcused him of sexual harassment, the pandemic, and the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Houck waited until the final paragraph to mention in passing "questions from Fox’s Peter Doocy on inflation and immigration." But don't worry -- Houck made up for it the next day:
For the Hump Day edition of the White House press briefing, Fox’s Peter Doocy grilled Press Secretary Jen Psaki on whether then-candidate Joe Biden and his campaign created vaccine hesitancy because of their efforts in 2020 to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the coronavirus vaccines since they were developed during the Trump administration.
Doocy started off easy by asking Psaki about something Biden was asked a day earlier about when he plans to appoint a permanent FDA commissioner. But the small talk went out the window when he fired off this hardball about how Biden said during the campaign that Americans shouldn’t “trust Donald Trump.”
Of course, Psaki replied that Biden and company had always been on board with the vaccines because approval came from government health experts (ignoring the fact that now-Vice President Kamala Harris directly questioned their efficacy)[.]
Houck offered no evidence that Harris ever "questioned their efficacy." The MRC has repeatedly and falsely attacked Harris over this by taking her remarks out of context. Houck's astonishment that Doocy asked that question -- as suggested by "How About THAT" his headline -- is manufactured, since it's not exactly a surprise that Doocy, a biased right-wing reporter, would inevitably push this biased right-wing talking point.
Psaki got a zinger back at Doocy that Houck downplayed because showing Doocy's screw-ups doesn't serve his agenda. Houck complained in passing that "Psaki dismissed Doocy’s line of questioning by citing Trump’s bleach comments," the exchange was much more withering; as Mediaite documented -- and Houck refused to quote in his item, relgating it instead to a transcript attachment -- Paski told Doocy, “I would note that at the time, just for context, the former president was also suggesting people inject versions of poison into their veins to cure Covid. So I think that’s a relevant point.”
The #PsakiBomb ownage is total, and it exposes Doocy as the biased right-wing reporter he is -- which is why Houck didn't want to call more attention to it than he had to.
WND Suggests Capitol Police Officers Who Committed Suicide Were Actually Murdered Topic: WorldNetDaily
An Aug. 2 WorldNetDailiy article by Joe Kovacs started sanely enough:
In an unnerving trend, a third police officer who responded to the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 has reportedly committed suicide.
The latest case involves Officer Gunther Hashida, who was assigned to the Emergency Response Team within the Special Operations Division of Washington, D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Department.
The MPD says Hashida "was found deceased in his residence on Thursday, July 29."
"We are grieving as a Department as our thoughts and prayers are with Officer Hashida’s family and friends," the department said.
But because Kovacs works for WND, the article quickly went off the rails as he decided to embrace fact-free conspiracy theories that the officers who committed suicide were actually murderred:
"You can't tell me that's just a coincidence," said President Trump supporter Lauren Witzke, who made headlines herself in June when Wells Fargo mysteriously canceled her bank account without warning and explanation.
"They are either overwhelmed with guilt or were about to release information about the federal government & intelligence agency's involvement," she added.
"Don't be fooled, something here is very, very wrong."
Some commenters online are openly questioning the statements that the officers killed themselves, with some saying:
"Suicide or suicided???"
"Or they were actually murdered which is what usually happens when people are going to blow the whistle."
"That is too far out of the statistical [likelihood] to be ignored. These men being suicided have families; families which the coup d'etat participants don't give two squirts about."
"Suicide my a**. They've been Clinton'd."
Unspurprisingly, Kovacs doesn't list wheere he found these "commenters online" or cite any actual evidence to back up their speculation. Also, Witzke is a wacky QAnon conspiracy theorist who hangs out with anti-Semitic folks like Rick Wiles, and last time we checked, the prinicples of capitalism give the right to private businesses to run them as they choose.
This is a cynical, ghoulish piece of work from Kovacs, exploiting someone's tragedy for political gain -- just like it exploited the death of Seth Rich to pursue its anti-Hillary conspiracy theories. Kovacs apparently has no better way to spend his life than dancing on the ruins of other people's tragedies.
CNS' Jeffrey Defends The Right To Misinform People Topic: CNSNews.com
Unsurprisingly, CNSNews.com editor in chief Terry Jeffrey has embraced the mantra of his Media Research Center parent that misinformation is a squishy term that means nothing and is entirely subjective. Then again, he is the head of what purports to be a "news" organization, so deffending the right to misinform people is not a good look.
In his July 21 column, Jeffrey did some hand-wringing over the Biden administration apparently working with Facebook to address misinformation and false claims on the platform regarding coronavirus and vaccines. He tried to portray White House press secretary Jen Psaki as making dark accusastions about who is spreading that misinformation:
"There's about 12 people who are producing 65% of anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms," Psaki said. "All of them remain active on Facebook, despite some even being banned on other platforms, including ones that Facebook owns."
Jeffrey then defended misinformation as speech, as if all speech has merit and should be treated the same:
Obviously, a person can make a true statement about a particular subject or a false one. They can also make a statement that presents a reasonable hypothesis based on facts, or that presents an unreasonable hypothesis based on the same facts.
Or they can make an unreasonable hypothesis based on no facts or on blatant falsehoods.
But whatever the merits or demerits of a person's thoughts and conclusions, when they express those thoughts and conclusions, they are invariably engaging in speech.
But the headline of Jeffrey's column is "What Type of Speech Will Biden Ask Facebook to Suppress Next?" so his point is that nothing should be suppressed. He's lying, because that's what he does for a living.As the head of "news" organization, he picks and chooses what gets covered and what doesn't -- and, thus, has the power to suppress speech he doesn't agree with or doesn't advance his and his employer's partisan political narratives. And Jeffrey is suppressing facts, not misinformation.
Jeffrey concluded by taking his argument to the absurd by shoehorning abortion into it:
Now, put this in the context of a subject other than COVID-19 where human lives are also at risk.
In its latest annual report, Planned Parenthood said that in fiscal year 2019, its affiliates did 354,871 "abortion procedures."
In a 2012 vice presidential debate with former Rep. Paul Ryan, as this column has noted before, Biden presented a scientific fact as if it were a religious position.
"Life begins at conception," Biden said. "That's the church's judgment. I accept it in my personal life."
On its Facebook page, by contrast, Planned Parenthood presents abortion as a form of "health care" provided by "heroes."
"Abortion is an essential part of health care," Planned Parenthood said on Facebook on July 17.
"Abortion providers are heroes," it said in a March 11 posting.
Does Biden — who said life begins at conception — believe it is misinformation to call the deliberate taking of a human life "health care" and those who do that taking "heroes"?
Does he believe Facebook needs to take action "against harmful posts" that promote the taking of unborn lives?
Does Jeffrey really think that trying to fight misinformation about COVID vaccines is the same thing as political arguments about abortion? Of couise, we know what information Jeffrey would suppress: anything that makes the argument that abortion is a human right or that shows the extremism of some anti-abortion activists. And because you will never find a balanced discussion of abortion at CNS, he has clearly already done that.