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Friday, September 24, 2021
CNS Promotes Falsehood That 'Illegal Aliens' Are Spreading COVID in U.S.
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com loves to push as many attack pieces on the Biden administration as it can crank out, and it doesn't bother to fact-check them first. For instance, it has made an effort to promote the right-wing narrative that immigrants coming across the southern border are responsible for the current surge in coronavirus cases.

In an Aug. 6 article, Craig Bannister uncritically quoted Republican Sen. Ted Cruz ranting: "If CNN really gave a damn about COVID, they’d come down to McAllen & see the THOUSANDS of illegal immigrants with COVID being released by the Biden admin without a care in the world into Texas cities & towns. There’s an invasion going on at the southern border but CNN is silent."

An Aug. 9 commentary by Andrew Arthur of the anti-immigrant Center for Immigration Studies hyped claims that COVID-positive immigrants were being released into communities: "Again, the Delta COVID variant is highly contagious, and a “hyperlocal outbreak” could overwhelm health resources (including hospital beds) in the small towns that dot the Rio Grande Valley. If the Biden administration is obstructing disclosures about COVID-positive migrants who have been released into those towns for political reasons, it needs to stop and put the facts out there./p>

An article the same day by Melanie Arter uncritically repeated:

Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe told Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures” that President Joe Biden’s handling of migrants at the southern border has resulted in a super spreader event in Texas.

[...]

“And you and I -- and you have documented that well on this program, Maria, but what neither one of us saw was that he would take a humanitarian crisis and now create a health -- public health crisis at our border as well. By his actions, he's created the largest COVID super-spreader event anywhere on the planet at the Southern border in Texas right now, and to criticize Texas over COVID is just -- is just nonsensical,” Ratcliffe said.

“I mean, let me put this in perspective for you, Maria. As you and I, as U.S. citizens, if we go to Mexico City, and we want to return to our home country, we can't do so. The Biden administration says we can't do so without a COVID-negative test,” he pointed out.

“At the very same time, the Biden administration is allowing thousands of COVID-infected illegal aliens not only into the country, but then transporting them around the country, and, again, in what has been the largest super-spreader COVID event anywhere in the world, and the Biden administration is directly responsible for that,” Ratcliffe said.

But there's little evidence that immigrants are responsible for the COVID surge in border states. As one actual news outlet reported:

While it is true that people entering the country without permission could be contributing to the overall number of Covid-19 cases — as has been the case recently in McAllen, Texas — experts believe the impact of these cases does not make a difference in the American health situation.

It is not migratory patterns that explain the recent outbreaks of Covid-19, but the low vaccination rates in certain states, Arthur Caplan, director of the division of medical ethics at New York University School of Medicine, told Noticias Telemundo.

"In some states, it isn't clear that there is very much migration right now at all, although there are big outbreaks," Caplan said. "As far as I know, the migration patterns in the past month are more north than south. That does not correlate at all."

Another news outlet noted:

Facts First: Public health experts dispute the notion that migrants entering the southern border are largely responsible for exploding Covid cases across a large swath of the country. Instead, experts point to the more transmissible Delta variant and relatively low vaccination rates as primary causes of this latest wave. It's also worth noting that some of the Republicans blaming the surge on migrants have banned mask mandates and pushed back against policies requiring vaccines.

Yet another news outlet reported:

The key factors behind the recent spike in COVID-19 cases are people in U.S. communities who are unvaccinated and are not following guidance from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the highly contagious delta variant, according to public health experts.

At a news conference last week, Dr. Ivan Melendez, who serves as the local health authority in Hidalgo County, Texas, acknowledged that arriving migrants were “part of the problem” but he also said they did not pose any more of a danger than he does. “I have been in seven COVID units today.”

He said migrants are not responsible for introducing the virus nor do they have higher infection rates compared with the general population.

“Is it a pandemic of the migrants? No, it is a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Melendez said.

Then again, CNS puts narratives first and facts somewhere below that.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:45 AM EDT
Thursday, September 23, 2021
MRC Pretends Right-Wing Anti-CRT Think Tank Activist Is Just An 'Independent Journalist'
Topic: Media Research Center

During the right-wing movement's -- and, thus, the Media Research Center's -- summer of freaking out over critical race theory, its guilding light has been activist Christopher Rufo. However, the MRC had to contort itself to pretend he's not an activist.

On June 18, Curtis Houck complained that MSNBC's Joy Reid "leveled a misleading attack on the Manhattan Institute’s Christopher Rufo" -- but apparently it was not so misleading that he made any effort to correct it. Houck is apparently referring to a statement by Reid -- the transcript was conveniently offloaded to a separate document outside his post -- who said right-wingers are "trying to label anything that makes them feel uncomfortable as a critical race theory. This is from a guy named Christopher Rufo is who’s at the — a conservative think tank — at a conservative think tank and he says “the goal is have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think ‘critical race theory’...We have decodified the term and we will recodify to annex the entire range of cultural constructions that are unpopular with Americans.” Basically using critical race theory as a brand name." 

That is effectively what Rufo wrote in a March tweet: "We have successfully frozen their brand—'critical race theory'—into the public conversation and are steadily driving up negative perceptions. We will eventually turn it toxic, as we put all of the various cultural insanities under that brand category."

In a June 24 post, Nicholas Fondacaro wrote about Rufo's appearance on Reid's show -- unsurprisingly in full rah-rah mode and insisting that "Reid didn't sdand a chance against" him -- touting him complaining that he's just a "think tank scholar," not the "political operative" Reid claimed he was (and the rest of the world sees him as). Fondacaro then complained: "As the interview progressed, Reid played a series of edited together soundbites of Rufo’s appearances and talks, which wasn’t actually damaging but she tried to put words in his mouth and prescribe his motive anyway. “You want to make a campaign and stuff everything in there and you want to stuff it all into Critical Race Theory,” she sneered." But Rufo's tweet says that's exactly what he's doing.

A July 6 post by Kristine Marsh laughably called Rufo an "independent journalist" (he's neither). The same day, Fondacaro returned to act as Rufo's PR agent:

On Tuesday, the Manhattan Institute’s Christopher Rufo unspooled another fantastic Twitter thread exposing how U.S. defense contractor Raytheon was polluting its employees with Critical Race Theory, including telling employees that they must view each other based on race. This massive exposé landed him on Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson Tonight, where he expounded his findings and noted that memes about the direction of wokeness had become prophetic.

Getting on Fox News, of course, is the goal of any right-wing activist. This was followed the next day by Joseph Vazquez typing up a rote "the non-right-wing media ignored our narrative" story on evening news broadcasts ignoring that "Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Christopher Rufo dropped a bombshell exposing a major U.S. defense contractor’s mission to shame its white employees and enforce critical race theory."

By this time, the MRC had moved into full defense mode for Rufo. On Aug. 8, Tim Graham got mad that the Wahington Post researched a fact-check of Rufo, then ... finding his claim was true, did nothing. Because he had nothing to attack, Graham attacked the Post for even trying to fact-check him. This non-story was the subject of Graham's podcast the next day.

On Sept. 9, Alexander Hall had another right-wing victim of "censorship," because Rufo was "unverified" by twitter "and reportedly targeted by a 'Government-backed attack' after he allegedly exposed Critical Race Theory policies at Google." Hall identified Hall only as a "Manhattan Institute senior fellow," not a right-wing activist.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:43 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 23, 2021 8:48 PM EDT
WND Columnists Manufacture Cuomo Conspiracy Theories
Topic: WorldNetDaily

You'd think that WorldNetDaily would be done with Andrew Cuomo following his resignation as New York governor following multiple allegations of sexual harassment. But because it's WND, its columnists felt the need to build conspiracy theories around it.

In his Aug. 11 column, Nicholas Waddy suggested that Cuomo had to resign in order to keep from hurting Democrats' political chances in the 2022 elections:

The problem, however, is that, while most of us may want to believe that Cuomo, for instance, is guilty of sexual harassment, because it is so easy to think ill of a man so widely disliked, this does not necessarily make him guilty of any crime or "misdemeanor" in point of fact. He can be a jerk without being a criminal jerk. The distinction matters.

Keep in mind that, toward the end of "Cuomo-gate," Democrats in New York wanted Cuomo to be guilty, because if he were, then he could be removed – as a political liability to Democrats. Republican politicos likewise wanted Cuomo to be guilty, because their conservative constituents would never have forgiven them if they did not vote to impeach and remove such a hated figure on the right.

For different reasons, therefore, politicians of both parties in New York agreed on Cuomo's preferred fate – it was resignation or removal, period/exclamation point – but the nature of the accusations and the amount of hard evidence underlying them never made much difference to anyone's political calculus.

[...]

Did Cuomo really harass 11 women, or were those charges merely a convenient means by which the New York political establishment could rid itself of a man who had become "dead weight" and an impediment to Democratic electoral success in 2022 and beyond? We may never know the answer to these questions, and that is highly unfortunate.

Waddy also complained that "President Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives in January 2021 without the presentation of any evidence, without the examination of witnesses and without meaningful deliberation." Of course, the "evidence" was Trump's actions in the runup to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot he instigated, which was out in the open for everyone to see, and it was Republicans, not Democrats, who blocked the introduction of witnesses and the gathering of new evidence in Trump's impeachment trial.

Scott Lively, meanwhile, used his Aug. 12 column to theorize that the harassment claims were a distraction from Cuomo's purported killing of thousands of people by transferring COVID patients to nursing homes in the early part of the pandemic to make room for more patients in hospitals:

On March 25, 2020, as the human death toll attributed to COVID-19 was skyrocketing, and the official government narrative for granting itself extraordinary emergency powers was centered on hospitals being overrun with COVID patients, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the executive decision to sacrifice the very elderly and infirm so that more hospital beds would be available for younger people. That's my most charitable possible theory as to Cuomo's motive for issuing what in retrospect was clearly a death warrant for over 15,000 nursing home patients in the Empire State. That death warrant was the now infamous Cuomo Nursing Home Directive, stating in pertinent part:

"No resident shall be denied re-admission or admission to the NH solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19. NHs are prohibited from requiring a hospitalized resident who is determined medically stable to be tested for COVID-19 prior to admission or re-admission."

My less charitable, more realistic theory is that Andrew Cuomo intentionally murdered those "useless eaters" with the same Malthusian imperiousness he displayed in championing New York's ghoulish 2019 late-term abortion law.

[...]

But even in today's Amerika, mass murder is hard to get away with, and so, when his damage-control efforts proved ineffective, Andrew Cuomo needed a survivable exit strategy.

Enter Lindsey Boylan (aka "Andrew Cuomo's Monica Lewinski") as the first in a parade of "me too" accusers.

To be absolutely clear, I am not accusing Ms. Boylan of complicity in Cuomo's public diversion scheme, any more that I think Monica Lewinski was in on the Bill Clinton diversion strategy (though in Lewinski's case, I think it's possible). I'm only saying that Cuomo is following the Clinton playbook to the letter by allowing an almost certainly ally-orchestrated (or at least nudged), fully survivable (and "stud-status" enhancing) sex scandal to draw public attention away from the real scandal and its risk of truly serious consequences.

Lively went on to claim that President Clinton's Monica Lewinsky sex scandal was a diverson from alleged shady deals with China. But he can't even be bothered to spell Lewinsky's name right, which hurts his credibility on the conspiracy-theory front.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:25 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE -- The MRC's War on Jen Psaki (And Man-Crush On Peter Doocy): June 2021
Topic: Media Research Center
Media Research Center writer Curtis Houck loves to help biased Fox News reporter Doocy push right-wing talking points in White House press briefings. PLUS: Houck once again covers for Doocy by burying the stupid question he asked President Biden. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 2:19 PM EDT
CNS Can't Stop Promoting Boebert, Hiding Her Extremism
Topic: CNSNews.com

Lauren Boebert is one of CNSNews.com's favorite members of Congress -- though it has to hide her extremism in order to treat her as a normal politician. The gushing has unsurprisingly continued. Melanie Arter touted in an Aug. 13 article:

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) said Friday that she has introduced a resolution to censure President Joe Biden for his handling of the border crisis, and she supports her colleague Rep. Andy Biggs’ (R-Ariz.) efforts to impeach DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

“In my censure resolution that I introduced to censure President Biden for his dereliction of duty to secure the southern border, I called for the removal of Secretary Mayorkas, and I certainly support Chairman of the Freedom Caucus Andy Biggs' efforts to impeach Secretary Mayorkas,” the congresswoman said told Fox News’s “Mornings with Maria Bartiromo.”

Managing editor Michael W. Chapman followed on Aug. 26:

In the wake of the bombing at the Kabul airport in Afghanistan that killed at least 12 U.S. soldiers and an unconfirmed number of civilians, House Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) said President Joe Biden has blood on his hands for failing to competently plan and execute the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

"There is blood on Joe Biden’s hands," she tweeted today. 

While CNS was serving as Boebert's press office, here's what it didn't report:

But that's not news at CNS. Hating on Biden is, and it doesn't hare how extreme or marginalized the right-winger attacking him is.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:53 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 23, 2021 12:57 PM EDT
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
MRC Lies To Again Portray Babylon Bee As Victim
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center loves to portray the Babylon Bee as a victim of social media "censorship" because its right-wing satire tends to get fact-checked -- while omitting the context that it gets fact-checked because its fellow right-wingers like to potray its satire as fact (while it also fact-checks satire). Autumn Johnson did this again in an Aug, 18 post:

Lead Stories, a liberal fact-checker site, labeled a satire article from The Babylon Bee as “false.”

The fact-check on the Facebook post said the article had “false information” and that “independent fact-checkers say the information has no basis in fact.”

The Bee article mockingly accused CNN of “praising” the Taliban for wearing masks during its Afghanistan takeover.

[...]

The Babylon Bee has been subjected to multiple fact-checks for its satire.

But that's not what happened here. The Babylon Bee article was promoted in a Facebook post that literally states, "This is no joke." In other words, Johnson is lying to her readers by omitting thte context in which the "fact-check" was made.

Johnson also rehashed the MRC's old attacks on Lead Stories, declaring that "Notably, Lead Stories is no stranger to left-wing bias." But it's not "left-wing bias" to point out that a story that someone presented as "no joke"is, in fact, a joke.

This was followed by an Aug. 24 post by Johnson in which she let the Babylon Bee play victim yet again:

Facebook is doubling down on its efforts to suppress conservative satire, according to Seth Dillion, CEO of The Babylon Bee.

Dillon said Facebook uses biased fact-checkers to flag content that leans conservative, especially satire that makes fun of prominent Democrats like President Biden and Speaker Pelosi.

"Facebook uses politically aligned fact-checkers to flag, suppress, and sometimes remove content they deem objectionable. This is not necessarily an issue, but it becomes an issue when it results in politically motivated viewpoint discrimination done under the guise of cracking down on ‘misinformation’ and ‘hate speech,’" Dillon told Fox News on Monday. "We're certainly getting caught up in that."

Dillon believes Facebook’s efforts resulted in traffic dips from the platform and noted that the platform seems to be classifying the publication’s content as “news” instead of “satire.”

But neither Dillon nor the Fox News article from which Johnson pulls her post don't address the issue of people presenting Babylon Bee satire as fact, which is what prompts the fact-checks. Indeed, Fox News was determined to help push the false narrative, complaining that "In 2018, Snopes fact-checked a Babylon Bee satire article claiming that CNN had bought a washing machine to 'spin the news.'" In fact, the Snopes article specifically states: "Although it should have been obvious that the Babylon Bee piece was just a spoof of the ongoing political brouhaha over alleged news media 'bias' and 'fake news,' some readers missed that aspect of the article and interpreted it literally." Again, a "satire" article was fact-checked because people presented it as fact.

Johnson went on to reference her earlier post, repeating her false statement that "Lead Stories, a liberal fact-checker site, recently labeled a satire article from The Babylon Bee as 'false'" -- again omitting the fact that ithad been posted on Facebook by someone asserting it was "no joke."

This is "media research" at its shoddiest.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:44 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 22, 2021 10:55 PM EDT
Newsmax Pushes Martyr Narrative For Capitol Rioter Who Was Killed
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax has embraced the narrative that Jan. 6 Capitol rioter Ashli Babbitt is a martyr of some kind because she was shot to death by a police officer, even though she was arguably a domestic terrorist who was in the midst of committing a crime when she was shot -- with a big assist from her husband.

After authorities announced in April that the officer who shot Babbitt would not be prosecuted, Newsmax had on Babbitt's widower, Aaron Babbitt, to complain: "They're just lambasting her on social media and mainstream news. You know the term 'insurrectionist' keeps getting throwing around, 'rioter.' To me, she was just a blue-collar American veteran who wanted her voice to be heard and nobody was listening." He was also given a platform to tout the lawsuit he planned to file over her death. No mention, of course, of the fact that Ashli was a QAnon supporter and conspiracy theorist, which would seem to run counter to Aaron's description of her as someone who "loved talking to people with opposing views."

Indeed, the next month, an article by Fran Beyer touted the lawsuit Aaron Babbitt was planning to file "demanding accountability for her slaying," followed by an article in early June on the actual filing of the lawsuit.

Also in June, an article by Jeffrey Rodack touted Aaron Babbitt's demand that the name of the officer who shot Ashli be released,  quoting him unironically stating: "It sickens me to hear what people say about Ashli. There has never been a person Ashli ran across in her daily life that didn't love her and wouldn't remember her in some way, shape, or form for the rest of her life," he said. "But this is the game. This is the social media craziness that people just run with a theory and just take off with it."

Later that month, Newsmax TV had on Aaron Babbitt again, and he was allowed to whitewash her again: ""If any of these people ever had the opportunity to be my wife, they fall in love with her, ... She was just a gem to be around. She was a beautiful person. She was an amazing patriot. She served her country from the age of 17. She did four tours overseas, you know, and I haven't mentioned this before, but she was scheduled for a fifth. So these people that are demonizing her from you know, the left and wherever else, they had no problem seeing her in the war four times, almost five, you know, and now they just wanted to demean her and kick her down and it's sad, it's disgustingly sad."

Newsmax touted how other right-wing activists got on the martyrdom bandwagon. Sandy Fitzgerald wrote in an Aug. 5 article:

Details about the shooting death of Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt at the Capitol on Jan. 6 are being withheld to keep her killing from distracting from the Democrats' political agenda to use the events of that day to "attack their political opposition," according to Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, which has filed a lawsuit seeking information on her death. 

"There's no law enforcement reason for the delay," Fitton told Newsmax's "Wake Up America" Thursday, later adding that "we know what the delay was. We know what happened to him (in) that period of time, which was the crazed impeachment of President (Donald) Trump."

Fotton, of course, offered no evidence to back up his claim. The same day, Fitton appeared on Newsmax again to talk about this.

Meanwhile, on July 1, Beyer declared that "Former President Donald Trump is looking for accountability" in Babbitt's death; in an Aug. 12 article, Charlie McCarthy hyped Trump's demand that "there must be justice" for Babbitt. Neither article, however, mentioned the inconvenient fact that Trump played a major role in instigating the riot that got Babbitt killed. A July 12 article by Eric Mack, meanwhile, promoted Rudy Guiliani's conspiracy theory (stated on Newsmax, of course) that the investigation into Babbitt's death was "completely phony" and that there is somehow a "whole plot behind" a video of Babbitt being shot was "taken by an Antifa member."

On Aug. 6, McCarthy touted another lawsuit Aaron Babbitt was planning, a wrongful-death suit against the Capitol Police and the then-unidentified officer who shot her.

An anonymously written Aug. 20 article on the officer's formal exoneration in Babbitt's death touted how "Trump has aligned himself with Babbitt and her family, urging justice in her shooting death" and complained that "Democrats have characterized those who breached the Capitol as intent on damaging democracy and obstructing the peaceful transfer of power." nWhen it was announced that the officer who shot Babbitt would reveal himself, Sandy Fitzgerald wrote on Aug. 25 that "The identity of the man who shot Babbitt has been demanded not only by her survivors but by Republicans including former President Donald Trump, who has characterized her death as murder."

After the NBC interview in which the Capitol Police officer Michael Byrd discussed the events that led up to Babbitt's death, Newsmax was not in a police-supporting mood. Newsmax had on Aaron Babbitt again to attack an officer doing his job and to sound like a right-wing Newsmax guest:

"He was complaining that he's getting threats. Join the club, bud," Babbitt told Thursday's "Greg Kelly Reports." "I've been getting them since Jan. 7, and the only thing I did on Jan. 6 was become a widower, and I've had death threats and the most hateful crap thrown at me every single day, sometimes five or 10 a day, so I don't have sympathy in that aspect."

Byrd's name was long held from being revealed as the officer who fatally shot Ashli Babbitt on Jan. 6, but Aaron Babbitt said the interview might have tried to be a distraction for Democrats and President Joe Biden.

"I had my suspicions when it first came out that it was possibly going to be a distraction from the dumpster fire going off in Afghanistan right now, but it seems like ISIS said 'hold my beer' on that one," Babbitt said, turning his sympathy to more than a dozen U.S. service members killed Thursday morning in Kabul.

Michael Dorstewitz devoted an Aug. 28 column to attacking Byrd as well -- demanding a show trial against him -- as whitewashing not only Ashli Babbitt but the entire Capitol riot:

Despite her stature (described as 5’2” and 125 pounds soaking wet) and the fact that she was unarmed (as were all the protesters) he believed that his actions were heroic.

“I know that day I saved countless lives,” Byrd said. “I know members of Congress, as well as my fellow officers and staff, were in jeopardy and in serious danger. And that’s my job.”

There’s no question but that he was frightened. Most people would be under those circumstances. But Babbitt clearly didn’t even know Byrd was there. Had she known a gun was trained on her, it’s doubtful that she would have taken another step.

[...]

Despite claims from Democrats and media that it was an “insurrection,” the FBI found little evidence to indicate that the attack on the Capitol was coordinated.

“Insurrection” is defined as “an organized attempt by a group of people to defeat their government and take control of their country, usually by violence.”

Accordingly, it was no insurrection. It was disturbing, it was frightening, and yes, it was wrong. But it was also “Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour” — or in this case, three hours.

Any other officer working for any other agency under similar circumstances would have been indicted by now, and have been given a public trial.

[...]

Byrd shouldn’t be given special treatment just because he works for Nancy Pelosi.

Actually, the Capitol police do not work for Pelosi

McCarthy returned on Sept. 16 to note that Aaron Babbitt "has requested there be no violence" at a Sept. 18 gathering of extremists purporting to "show support for people arrested after the Jan. 6 attack."


Posted by Terry K. at 9:04 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 22, 2021 11:09 PM EDT
CNS Is Mad COVID Vaccine Got Approved Because It May Lead To Mandates
Topic: CNSNews.com

Only a highly biased "news" organization like CNSNews.com could see the unambiguously good news that a COVID vaccine received official approval as a bad thing. And that's exactly what Craig Bannister does in an Aug. 23 article:

On Monday, the FDA gave its stamp of approval to Pfizer’s COVID vaccine – a move cheered by liberal media outlets as “opening the door” and “paving the way” for the government to issue a host of vaccine mandates.

The FDA approval is will make it easier for companies and universities to issue mandates, in addition to those imposed by the Biden Administration, the Associated Press reports:

[...]

Other media outlets with quick to produce headlines announcing that the FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine ensures that a range of new mandates are coming:

  • CNN: FDA grants full approval to Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, opening door to more vaccine mandates
  • Politico: FDA approves Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, making way for more vaccine mandates
  • USA Today: Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine becomes first to win FDA's full approval, paving way for boosters, mandates
  • Barron’s: FDA Fully Approves Pfizer Vaccine, Opening the Door for Widespread Mandates

“Experts praised the decision, saying approval could help ease some vaccine hesitancy and pave the way for more vaccination mandates,” NBC News reported.

“Pfizer's full and formal approval will now pave the way for further vaccine mandates in both the public and private sector, akin to existing vaccine mandates for other FDA-approved vaccines,” ABC News agreed.

Bannister made sure not to mention that the Pfizer vaccine was among the vaccines developed with help from the Trump administration. That would have interfered with the right-wing agenda-pushing against vaccine mandates that he was pushing.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:53 PM EDT
WND's Kupelian Doesn't Flesh Out Election Fraud Conspiracies, Still Obsesses Over Trump-Hitler Comparisons
Topic: WorldNetDaily

David Kupelian's introductory essay from the issue of WND's sparsely read Whistleblower magazine pushing bogus election fraud claims is headlined "How the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump." Because it wasn't, Kupelian can't possibly prove otherwise. First of all, he's obviously so filled with hate and bile for Biden that he can't possibly bne objective. He writes:

The numbing spectacle of America being humiliated and mocked by the rest of the world and ordered around by Afghan terrorists, and of the greatest nation on earth being led by a babbling, obviously senile, unprincipled, corrupt, mindless shell of a man – with a vice president arguably even worse – should compel every American to carefully consider how on earth we got here, and whether the presidential selection process so employed was truly legitimate.

[...]

A shuffling, peevish and often confused Joe Biden attracted no more than 100 to 200 people to his pre-election rallies where he stumbled through short scripted speeches. His vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris, selected entirely for being a woman of color (Biden had committed publicly to choosing a woman VP and said he’d prefer one of color), turned out to be so jarringly repellant, even to Democrats, that she dropped out of the presidential race during the primaries, winning zero electoral votes.

Yet Biden and Harris won the 2020 election – supposedly.

Kupelian then ranted:

Most allegations that last November’s election was stolen from Donald Trump center on election fraud and abuse. Indeed, the number of documented “irregularities” is overwhelming: five crucial swing states bizarrely announcing on election eve they were going to stop counting votes for the night when Trump was ahead, only to report the next morning that Joe Biden was in the lead; the clearly unconstitutional last-minute changes in voting regulations in various states, all obviously intended to invite fraud and abuse; Philadelphia election workers refusing to allow Republican observers to witness the vote count and Detroit election personnel likewise plastering cardboard over windows in a vote-counting room to avoid being observed as required by law; the refusal of some states to check voters’ signatures on ballots; the hundreds of affidavits, sworn under penalty of perjury and imprisonment, all testifying to having witnessed overt election fraud; and so on ad infinitum.

We addressed most of these bogus claims here. But Kupelian simply tossed out allegations that he makes no effort to defend (perhaps because he knows they're bogus and discredited). Instead, most of this essay is devoted to re-litigating Trump's presidency, painting him as a wonderful man and his critics as nothing less than evil. He concluded:

From the Trump-Russia collusion hoax, to the two fake impeachments, to false claims Trump praised “very fine” Nazis in Charlottesville, to claims he instituted a “Muslim travel ban,” to claims he “locks children in cages” and “makes women and children drink from toilets,” to the continual comparisons with Hitler, the media and tech monopolies, along with Democrats and the “deep state,” had been interfering with Trump’s re-election bid for more than four years.

One more thing: If a nation’s leader truly is another Hitler, as top Democrats and media personalities insisted continually, not only should that leader obviously be defeated, but there is an absolute moral imperative to cheat in order to defeat him.

Except they never really believed Trump was another Hitler. They were just lying – because they love power more than truth, more than honor, more than what’s right. More than anything.

We would once again remind Kupelian that he and the rest of WND spent years likening President Obama to Hitler and other Nazis. By his own reasoning, if Kupelian believed that Obama was another Hitler, that meant not only that he believed Obama should be defeated but also that there is an absolute moral imperative to lile in order to defeat him. That explains WND's obsession with Obama's birth certificate. Portraying it as fraudulent was a lie and Kupelian likely knew it, but he and Joseph Farah also knew it could build a conspiracy theory around it that perpetuate itself throughout Obama's presidency and possibly beyond.

Kupelian's repeated harping on this particular talking point is not the brilliant argument he seems to think it is -- it's more of a self-own. He's accusing Trump's critics of doing what exactly he and WND did to Obama and are doing to Biden. Talk about an unrepentant hypocrite.

And, of course, Kupelian doesn't have the guts to venture outside of his far-right bubble to push his case -- again, because he likely knows he's lying and would get immediately shredded apart (as we've already done). That's why he's stuck doing things like appearing on the allegedly "popular" podcast of a former WND columnist to promote this bogus venture.

Kupelian's essay was capped off with a plea to buy the magazine, with Kupelian adding: "I urge you to get this issue. It is flying off the shelves, but we printed 10,000 extra copies to meet the demand." Kupelian offered no proof that such "demand" for the magazine exists -- heck, he won't even release Whistleblower's circulation numbers.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:50 AM EDT
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
MRC Rushes To Defend DeSantis Over COVID -- Again, Part 3
Topic: Media Research Center

Almost as if it was the remote office of Ron DeSantis' press operation, the Media Research Center has been aggressively defending the Florida governor and complaining he gets criticized for his largely hands-off approach to the COVID pandemic, which many blame for the surge in cases in the state. Charlotte Hazard groused that DeSantis got called out again for the path the state is going on Aug. 13:

On Thursday’s Late Show, leftist host Stephen Colbert once again took it upon himself to take shots at Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R). The so-called comedian gleefully touted President Biden forgetting the Republican's name when a reporter asked Biden to respond to DeSantis saying “I am in the way to block too much interference from the federal government."

This resulted in Colbert making a joke that DeSantis didn’t care if his voters died: “Mr. President, show some respect. He should be addressed by his full title: Governor who...doesn't care if his voters live or die.” The liberal audience then broke into applause.

When Colbert played a clip of DeSantis saying he didn't "want to hear a blip about COVID" from President Biden, Hazard protested it was taken out of context:

Placed in the full context, DeSantis was calling out Biden for being a hypocrite when it comes to COVID, particularly when it came to outbreaks among illegal immigrants entering the U.S.. "Why don’t you do your job?" the Florida Republican said during a press conference on August 4. "Why don't you get this border secure? And until you do that, I don’t want to hear a blip about COVID from you, thank you."

"This is a guy who ran for office saying he’s going to shut down the virus," DeSantis added. "And what has he done? He’s imported more virus from around the world by having a wide open southern border."

Why is DeSantis wasting his time taking shots at Biden over the "souther border" when he has more pressing concerns regarding COVID deaths in his own state? Hazard didn't answer that question.

After that, the defenses got more sporadic -- perhaps indicating even the MRC got tired of defending the guy.

On Auig. 26, Tim Graham huffed that "MSNBC's Joy Reid smeared Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as 'Dr. Death,' who is 'pro-COVID' and 'rolling out the red carpet for this ravenous virus.'" Kathleen Krumhansl grumbled on Aug. 27 that Spanish-language media was trying "to criminalize red-state governors that support parental choice instead of blanket mask mandates in schools, i.e. Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott."

Clay Waters ranted on Aug. 31 that New York Times columnist Charles Blow was "SICK" for criticizing DeSantis:

Besides being hateful, Blow’s column is incredibly thin on facts to support his case for DeSantis the killer. He can’t fault DeSantis on vaccinations, because Florida is at the national average on that score, and better than most states in the South. Instead, his sole attack line is mask mandates in schools, which could not have affected the number of Covid cases yet anyway.

[...]

Take out the nasty innuendo about DeSantis sacrificing his citizens for political gain, and Blow’s sole factual complaint remains the fact that DeSantis banned Florida school districts from establishing mask mandates for students.

Children in schools are not major Covid spreaders, and there are severe instructional disadvantages to children being masked up all day.

Scott Whitlock played whataboutism in a Sept. 6 roundup item:

For an entire month, the ghouls in the media repeatedly labeled the GOP a “death cult” led by Republican governors like Ron “DeathSantis” of Florida and “Dr. Evil” Greg Abbot of Texas.

MSNBCers Joy Reid and Joe Scarborough viciously attacked the leaders of those states who tried to balance the physical and fiscal health of their citizens. Reid cursed DeSantis for “rolling out the red carpet” for the virus and claimed GOP governors were “in favor of death.” Scarborough, along with his co-host Mika Brezinski, condemned the religious faithful and Republican voters as a “death cult.” 

[...]

But when it came to disgraced former New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, CBS correspondent Ed O’Keefe proclaimed “he did a masterful job of keeping the state safe” during the pandemic. 

When CNN highlighted how President Biden called out DeSantis and Abbott for trying to penalize schools for mandating masks against their dictatorial orders, Alex Christy sounded like a bit like an anti-vaxxer as he rushed to the governors' defense in a Sept. 10 post:

When we talk about mask mandates and freedom, it is not at all clear that science mandates kids wear masks nor is it clear that the CDC relied on science when it said otherwise.

[...]

Just because the vaccines are safe and effective does not give the government the power to mandate them, but that didn't stop [hostd John] King from offering up a poor analogy to suggest that it does.

Curtis Houck freaked out on Sept. 15 that Reid criticized DeSantis and other Republicans again, effectively demanding she be censored for doing so: "With a rant like that, NewsBusters readers, take particular note of how Comcast has given its approval to this dangerous and inciting rhetoric as well as the advertisers listed at the bottom of this blog."

Weird how the MRC loves to cry "censorship" whenever a right-winger gets inconvenienced on social media for spreading lies and misinformation, yet it demands a critic who doesn't toe the right-wing ideological line be muzzled -- which is the only reason Houck wants readers to contact advertisers.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:15 PM EDT
Surprise: Newsmax Reports That Radio Hosts Who Died Of COVID Advocated Against Vaccine
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax's reporting on right-wing radio hosts who died of COVID mostly got one thing right: they reported that the hosts were major skeptics of COVID vaccines. Let's look at it did, shall we?

A July 23 article by Charlie McCarthy noting that radio host Phil Valentine was "fighting for his life" against COVID in the hospital quoted a family statement saying, "Phil would like for his listeners to know that while he has never been an 'anti-vaxer' he regrets not being more vehemently 'Pro-Vaccine.' ... Please continue to pray for his recovery and PLEASE GO GET VACCINATED!" The next day, an article by Charles Kim noted that Valentine was unvaccinated and that he had "said people that were not at a high risk were “safer” not getting vaccinated for COVID-19." An Aug. 17 article by Brian Freeman, though, tried to play that aspect down a bit, stating that "Although Valentine had publicly voiced concerns over the safety of the vaccines and was opposed to mask mandates, his family said he was never an 'anti-vaxxer.' However, he does regret not being more 'pro-vaccine,' and his family is urging his fans to get vaccinated." And an Aug. 21 article by Solange Reyner on Valentine's death did note that "Valentine previously expressed disagreement with mask mandates and the COVID-19 vaccine, writing in a blog post last December that he wasn't an anti-vaxxer but following logic in not getting vaccinated," and it also stated that Valentine's brother ">said his brother was regretful that he wasn't a more vocal advocate for getting vaccinated."

An Aug. 9 article by Eric Mack reported the death of Florida radio host Dick Farrel. But it was not until after Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy said good things about him -- he had served as a fill-in host on Newsmax TV -- that it was mentioned that he was an anti-vaxxer, though Mack framed it by stating "Farrel's skepticism of the COVID-19 vaccines abated when he contracted the virus in his final days."

An  Aug. 30 article by Sandy Fitzgerald on the death of another Florida radio host, Marc Bernier, acknowledged that "in recent months that Bernier had become an outspoken opponent of vaccinations," though it wasn't mention that Bernier had called himself "Mr.  Anti-Vax."

Freeman was up front in a Sept. 14 article on the death of Colorado radio host Bob Enyart, stating in the lead paragraph that he had "urged his listeners to boycott  coronavirus vaccines" and that "Enyart is the fifth anti-vaccine radio personality to die from COVID-19 in recent weeks."

Newsmax even published a Sept. 9 article by Peter Malbin on how Howard Stern "ranted against conservative radio talk show hosts who died from COVID-19 after promoting anti-vaccination views to their listeners," specifically taking Bernier to task for having "likened the vaccination drive to fascism in Nazi Germany."Malbin tried to give the hosts a pass, however, stating that "All four radio talk-show hosts who died this past summer were older than 60 and therefore more vulnerable to COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And all lived and worked in two states, Florida and Tennessee, that have been particularly hard hit by the delta variant."

Newsmax didn't screw up this story, though it very well could have. Credit where credit's due.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:18 PM EDT
WND Lets Ex-Reporter Push Claim That Pandemic Is Just A Big Propaganda Psyop
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In July, WorldNetDaily allowed former reporter Leo Hohmann -- best known around these parts for bhating Muslims and for forcing WND to stealth-edit articles he wrote to remove claims in which he falsely accused yogurt maker Chobani of importing Muslim immigrants to work at a manufacturing plant in Idaho -- to return for the purpose of spreading misinformation about COVID vaccines. WND gave him another shot at misleading its readers in an Aug. 11 article, and he went full conspiracy theory.

Any student of military history will tell you: Wars don’t just happen.

They are always foreshadowed by a propaganda operation intended to soften up the target, wear people down, weaken their resolve to fight.

Like any halfway decent misleader, Hohmann began by pumping up the credentials of the person he was invoking to help him mislead:

The most successful operations come down to this simple strategy: Identify your enemy, segregate, isolate, then annihilate.

Piers Robinson, co-director of the Organization for Propaganda Studies, is an internationally recognized expert on propaganda, but not just any propaganda.

His focus is on conflict and war and the role of propaganda within that framework. He is also an associate researcher with the Working Group on Propaganda and the 9/11 "War on Terror" and has served as an advisor to NATO leaders.

From 2016 to 2019, Professor Robinson chaired the department of politics, society and political journalism at the University of Sheffield.

That led to Robinson'swild claim that the entire  COVID-19 pandemic has been one big propganda psyop:

“COVID-19 is probably one of the biggest propaganda operations we’ve seen in history because of the global nature and the resources put into it,” Robinson said.  “It was pretty clear from the beginning that propaganda was being employed.”

In the U.S., one of the main spigots of propaganda has been Dr. Anthony Fauci and the media’s elevation of him to god-like status, hanging on his every word and never pressing him to provide data to back up his constantly swerving pronouncements. Every Western government has its version of Fauci, spouting ever-changing, confusing information meant to keep the population off balance, afraid and confused.

A fearful, dazed and weary public is less able to resist the dizzying array of draconian policies coming from governments, from facemask rules and incessant testing to quarantines of the healthy and mandatory mass vaccinations.

In his latest effort to prepare Americans for even greater medical tyranny, Fauci went on national TV Aug. 8 and said “a flood” of new COVID vaccine mandates are coming down the pike as soon as the shots get FDA approval, which he expects to happen as soon as next month.

[...]

Fauci has continually frightened the American public for 18 months, wearing everyone down with a steady diet of propaganda.

Which brings the subject back to Robinson, who has decades of studies under his belt in the art of propaganda in war time.

Robinson documents how the British government sought expert advice from behavioral psychologists on how to use the media to manipulate public opinion by ratcheting up the level of fear surrounding the COVID pandemic.

Unsurprisingly, this leads to Hohmann spreading more COVID misinformation:

Blaming the unvaccinated for continued flare ups of the pandemic is everywhere.

“This should ring alarm bells for anyone who has even the most basic grasp of history. You start to talk about segregation, you start to talk about people who are unclean, unhealthy, unvaccinated versus vaccinated,” Robinson said.

None of these policies is based on scientific data.

“All of the level-headed epidemiologists that I listen to are very clear that this idea that the unvaccinated spread the virus is not accurate scientifically, but that is the kind of message which is being communicated by people who have been pushing the agenda from the beginning,” Robinson said. “And that will create divisions, and we’ve been in this kind of place in history and it ends very badly when we start segregating people and we start using that language. But, quite terrifyingly, this is the language which is being used by the people who have been pushing draconian restrictions, vaccines, for the last two years.”

In fact, unvaccinated people not only spread the virus, they make it more likely for more virus mutations and variants to happen -- making the pandemic even harder to control -- and the unvaccinated are more likely to be affected more severely if they catch the virus. Robinson went on to whine: 

“Very credible, eminent scientists, are now being smeared in the media because of their anti-lockdown views or for questioning the Covid vaccines. The casual smearing is certainly a big part of what’s going on. This should be another warning sign to those who think everything is OK and there are no problems out there. People should ask themselves, why are very eminent scientists from the beginning [like Dr. Peter McCullough and Dr. Robert Malone] being smeared and being censored and shut down and shut out from debates? That tells you something. That tells you this isn’t a rational response that’s going on. This is a propagandized response. And it’s being carried through by shutting people up, by humiliating them, smearing them and so on.”

In fact, both McCullough and Malone have been caught pushing lies and misinformation about COVID vaccines.

By the end of his article, Hohmann and Robinson were throwing in other conspiratorial tangents into their argument:

“All the alarm bells are ringing with anyone who has a knowledge of history, and a knowledge of propaganda, how governments don’t always operate in the best interests of their populations. All the alarm bells are ringing, and we are in extremely dangerous times, unfortunately, and very worrying for the future.”

So what is the end game?

“There are some great investigative journalists out there, who have reported on the World Economic Forum and the idea that the end game is a restructuring of society which involves more control over individuals and their lives by the state,” Robinson said.

“There are many theories out there. But one thing is clear; this all seems to be driving toward a real end to proper freedom. If you have a vaccination passport which you need to get into your supermarket, you’re not actually free anymore.”

Digital currencies are another thing that seems to be in the offing.

“This gives a tremendous shift in power to governments,” he said. “This is all pretty anti-democratic. If you think democracy and freedom are generally good things, and I’m one of them who does, this is all extremely concerning.

“We are at a pivotal moment…it could go either way. That’s why people must mobilize and realize something is wrong beyond COVID-19.”

As for the QR codes on the vaccine passports, “we should have all learned a lesson after 9/11, with the Patriot Act, surveillance, monitoring everything, and governments, if they can get away with it, will exploit all of this.”

Seeing the writing on the wall, some resisters are already talking about buying swaths of land and forming self-supporting communities that exist off the grid.

“Hopefully,” Robinson mused, “it isn’t coming to that.”

Hohmann didn't mention that Robinson has a record of failure. When the pandemic first started, Robinson falsely insisted that it was a "low fatality virus" no different than the flu. He has also been accused of serving as an apologist for unsavory leaders like Russia's Vladimir Putin and Syria's Bashar al-Assad.

In other words, exactly the kind of shoddy source you'd expect Hohmann and WND to promote.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:03 PM EDT
CNS Touts Rand Paul's Medical Credentials, Censor His Lack Of Medical Expertise On COVID
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com loves Republican Sen. Rand Paul, and it especially loves to hype his medical credentials whenever he speaks out on coronavirus-related issues or other medical-adjacent issues:

  • Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a medical doctor who was infected with COVID, recovered, and is now vaccinated against the virus, advised people to stop listening to "government scolds" about the pandemic, and said once you are vaccinated, to "trash your mask and live free again." -- Michael W. Chapman, March 10
  • During the hearing, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a medical doctor, questioned [Rachel] Levine about his [sic] left-wing views on sex-change surgery for minors, an issue that would be protected from discrimination under the Equality Act. -- "A. Kim", March 16
  • “Sorry Dr. Fauci and other fearmongers,” physician and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) says, touting newly-released findings of a study on the effectiveness of vaccines and naturally-acquired immunity against COVID-19 variants. -- Craig Bannister, March 22
  • There are much worse viruses than COVID-19 – and the Chinese scientists Dr. Anthony Fauci says he trusts are working on them using U.S. taxpayer money, medical doctor Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) warns. -- Craig Bannister, June 7
  • Paul, a medical doctor, said the risks of contracting COVID are "wildly different" for different people: -- Susan Jones, July 21
  • “There’s no science behind” the government forcing people with natural immunity to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Dr. and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said on Tucker Carlson Tonight on Thursday. -- Elizabeth Nieshalla, July 30
  • As for new mask mandates, Sen. Paul, a medical doctor, said, “If you look objectively at mask mandates ... there’s no correlation between a mask mandate and a reduction in terms of the disease. In fact, it’s just the opposite. The more mandates we got, the more of the disease we got." -- Michael W. Chapman, Aug. 5
  • Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a physician and sitting U.S. senator, is slamming YouTube for removing two videos from his YouTube page, then suspending his ability to upload videos for seven days. -- Susan Jones, Aug. 11

Just one problem: Paul has no training in viruses or epidemiology, He's an opthamologist -- an eye doctor. His experience as a doctor is not directly relevant to anything COVID-related. None of the above articles mention what Paul's medical specialtiy is -- or that it doesn't really bring anything to discussions of COVID or transgender surgery.

That's dishonest reporting -- but hiding the truth about Paul serves CNS' editorial agenda.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:18 AM EDT
Monday, September 20, 2021
MRC's Sports Blogger Goes Anti-Vaxxer, Whines About Vaccine Mandates For Athletes
Topic: Media Research Center

When he (or she) isn't hating on LGBT people or spreading conspiracy theories about election fraud, Media Research Center sports blogger Jay Maxson is going anti-vaxxer, raging at sports teams and leagues for requiring their players to receive the COVID vaccine. Maxson ranted in a June 17 post:

The micro-managing, freedom-stifling NFL control freaks are going way out of bounds in newly announced vaccination requirements. The league on Wednesday released a list of 10 ways it can punish teams without a full roster of vaccinated players. 

SB Nation reports teams without 100 percent of their players vaccinated “will have a much, much more difficult season under new rules.” Along with: “Players can still choose not to get vaccinated, but they’re not free from consequences.” Both are huge under-statements.

The NFL’s new guidelines are so petty that they extend to family interactions and player use of team cafeterias, weight rooms and saunas. Fully vaccinated teams don’t have any restrictions in these regards.

[...]

It’s fair game to say some of these draconian rules challenge individual and civil rights.

Maxson followed that up on June 21 by complaining that anti-vaxxer athletes were getting called out:

Sports media outlets over the weekend unleashed their fury on former and current pro athletes who spoke out against COVID-19 vaccinations. NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton and current Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley are expressing concerns about vaccines.

NBC Sports Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio went ballistic on Beasley, saying he “unfairly assailed the NFL Players Association for agreeing to rules that give vaccinated players far more freedom in 2021 than players who refuse to get vaccinated.”

[...]

Deadspin writer Bryan Fonseca piled on Stockton, too: “The ex-Gonzaga Bulldog even went on to add that he conducted his own research, which he’s holding to a higher regard than the health professionals who are researching all this for a living, a common pivot from people who have yet to be vaccinated, and probably won’t be.” 

Research can apparently only be trusted if it’s in agreement with the beliefs of the left-stream media. Or if it comes from the mouth of LeBron James, who boasts of how well he educates himself on issues (but won't say if he's been vaccinated or not). Then it’s the Gospel truth.

On July 30, Maxson grumbled that one NFL player ultimately did the right thing:

Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill was not planning to get the COVID-19 vaccine. However, he has backed down out of fear that the NFL will make his life miserable if he refuses to get the shots, and he’s getting the vaccine.

Many are roasting the NFL for his draconian vaccine-or-else pressure. Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins >even suggested he may end his pro football career over being made to get vaccinated.

On the flip side, Vanity Fair thinks the NFL imposing the choice on athletes is peachy-keen. Its headline declares "The NFL Is Setting the Standard for COVID Vaccine Crackdowns."

Maxson then forwarded a typical anti-vaxxer argument, claiming that "Numerous athletes have tested positive for COVID despite having been vaccinated." Maxson didn't mention that the Delta variant is much more transmissible than the original strain of COVID-19 -- even among vaccinated people -- or that vaccinated people who catch COVID are much less likely to be severely ill from it, which is the best argument for getting vaccinated.

Maxson huffed on Aug. 13 that a college football team was making the safety of its spectators a priority:

Vaccine mandates have reached into college football. Tulane University is the first major college football school to require so-called vaccine “passports,” and it now remains to be seen if other universities will follow like lemmings.

To attend a Tulane home game this season, fans will be required to prove they’ve been vaccinated or have tested negatively for COVID-19 within the past 72 hours. On top of these stipulations, all fans must wear masks at the outdoor game site.

[...]

All of this assumes that vaccines still lacking full FDA approval are the be-all, end-all to the spread of coronavirus infections. When in fact, that’s not true. News apparently hasn’t yet reached New Orleans about vaccine failures and complications, or people catching COVID-19 for the second time. Tulane only averages 20,000 fans per home game to begin with, and now the school wants to make it tougher to draw fans? Go figure.

Maxson then sounded like a full anti-vaxxer by pushing horror stories of alleged adverse effects to the vaccine:

A few weeks ago, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (Rep-Wis.) held a press conference featuring individuals who’ve suffered terrible reactions to vaccines. Among them was the wife of former Green Bay Packer Ken Ruettgers, who received the Moderna vaccine in January. Four days after receiving the first dose, she experienced severe neurological reactions that still inhibit her ability to live a normal life, including muscle pain, numbness, weakness and paresthesia. Others told similar horror stories, including one woman who incurred $250,000 in medical expenses.

Does Tulane University really want to flirt with liability for similar stories resulting from its football games? Do other universities across the nation want to be complicit in health horror stories as well? Football fans can choose to stay home and direct their own health decisions, rather than take unneeded risks forced on them by football teams. This fall, we’ll find out how essential Tulane football really is in the minds of fans.

Maxon is apparently referring to a June 28 press conference that Johnson held. Johnson was later forced to concede that there's no actual evidence any COVID vaccine caused the side effects he was hyping. Maxson didn't mention that more than 600,000 Americans have been killed by COVID, and that many millions of Americans have received the vaccine without incident.

Maxson moved his (or her) ire from football to basketball in an Aug. 30 post:

The National Basketball Association announced over the weekend a new vaccine mandate for its referees, coaches and others who work with players. With few exceptions allowed, these people must get the jab and recommended boosters. However, players and fans are not facing a vaccine ultimatum. How unfair is that for those under the mandate?

Referees – as well as trainers and coaches -- appear to be the NBA’s low-hanging fruit. The league may be too cowardly to try to force LeBron “King” James and other high-profile players to take the jab. The National Basketball Referees Association sold out its constituency on the vaccination mandate. What will happen with referees who suffer adverse reactions to vaccines is anybody’s guess at this point.

Maxson spent an entire Sept. 2 post ranting about "draconian vaccine mandates": "Like the rest of society, the sports realm is spinning out of control over draconian vaccine mandates. Vaccine-related madness is dominating today’s media reports on pro football, basketball and baseball." Like mosdt anti-vaxxers, Maxson never explains why it's so "draconian" to try to save lives and maintain public health so sports can go on.

Maxon went on to rant about his current cause celebre, NFL player Tyrann Mathieu: "He got vaccinated. Then he caught COVID-19. So vaccines do not guarantee insulation from the coronavirus. And besides, the vaccine gestapo are now hyping boosters, which further undermine the efficacy of vaccines." Again: Vaccines don't completely eliminate the threat, but they do keep you from getting severely sick if you catch it again. (Again, Maxson censored the fact that the Delta variant has changed the game.) And the claim that vaccine boosters "undermine the efficacy of vaccines" is nonsensical. The effectiveness of many vaccines wane over time, and at least some of them require booster shots -- there's a reason one gets a flu shot every year.

The MRC has generally not been an anti-vaxxer organization -- it's all about politics, being against whatever liberals are for just to be contrarian -- but it allows Maxson to act like a far-right anti-vaxxer. Not good for the MRC's image.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:32 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 21, 2021 10:06 AM EDT
Newsmax Touts Lindell's Bogus Election Claims ... To Keep His Ads?
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax gave the controversy over MyPillow guy Mike Lindell pulling his ads from Fox News because it refused to run ads for his (bogus) election "cyber symposium" ... perhaps because it wanted to keep Lindell's ads on Newsmax TV.

A July 30 article credited only to "Newsmax Wires" hyped the controversy, then added: "Newsmax is planning to the air the Lindell ad on its network." That included a further statement: "Newsmax, in a statement, noted, 'We do not endorse any political or issue ad that appears on our network. We do believe, however, that all Americans have a First Amendment right to free speech.'"

The next day, an article by Sandy Fitzgerald touted how Newsmax hosts Diamond and Silk "slammed Fox News for refusing to run advertising for My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell's upcoming cyber symposium on election fraud, calling the decision a denial of Lindell's freedom of speech. Fitzgerald went on to note that "Newsmax is airing the Lindell ad," adding a minor dig at Fox by pointed out that "The duo came to Newsmax for their show "Diamond and Silk Crystal Clear" last August after leaving Fox Nation." Fitzgerald didn't mention that Diamond and Silk lost their Fox Nation gig for spreading false coronavirus conspiracy theories.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Newsmax invited Lindell on one of its TV shows to to talk about the Fox News controversy, as summarized in an Aug. 5 article by Bill Hoffmann, who helpfully recited the ad -- but adding a disclaimer to keep it out of further legal trouble:

In the one-minute ad Fox refused to air, Lindell looks into the camera and says: “Hi, I’m Mike Lindell and I'm coming to you with the most important commercial that I've ever done. All of you know what MyPillow and myself have gone through in the last five months in my efforts to bring the truth forward.

“Well it's all come down to this. I'm having a cybersymposium on Aug. 10, 11 and 12. This historical event will be live-streamed 72 hours straight on my new platform, FrankSpeech.com.''

Lindell then makes a pitch for MyPillow products, which he says are available at discount prices through FrankSpeech.com.

Newsmax, along with several other networks, has accepted the ad.

The network said in a statement it does not endorse any advertisements that appear on the network and editorially has accepted the 2020 election results as “legal and final.”

Newsmax also let Lindell hype his symposium, which he claimd "will feature 65 forensic cyber experts who will challenge the official results of the presidential election" and " will include a re-creation of election night vote counting 'in real time' so viewers can better understand what happened." A clip of the ad Fox wouldn't run (but Newsmax will) was embedded in the story.

Speaking of legal trouble, an Aug. 10 article by Marisa Herman on Dominion Voting Systems' $1.6 billion lawsuit against Newsmax for spreading false claims about the company  also included a Lindell disclaimer:

The Dominion lawsuit was filed on the opening day of “Mike Lindell’s Cyber Symposium” in South Dakota, a three-day event in which he and panels of experts, government officials and other political figures were to discuss the MyPillow CEO’s claims of election fraud.

Newsmax — as well as other outlets — aired paid television advertisements for the symposium. Fox News declined to air the advertisement citing pending litigation.

Herman and Logan Ratick gave Lindell's symposium sympathetic treatment in an Aug. 11 article:

Halfway through Mike Lindell's 72-hour cyber symposium concerning claims of 2020 election fraud, roughly 90,000 viewers are tuning online for his revelations.

The MyPillow CEO has promised the "proof" that will show that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, a sentiment that has been echoed by the former president himself.

[...]

Lindell has been promoting the three-day cyber event as the forum that will ultimately demonstrate the 2020 election was hacked.

For months, Lindell has claimed that Chinese government hackers changed votes in every state.

Herman and Ratick did have to conceded a couple nods to reality, admitting that "Election infrastructure and Trump administration cyber security officials all have deemed the 2020 election the 'most secure in American history'" and that "All 50 states have certified the election as legal and final, a conclusion that was sealed by the Electoral College and Congress."

But when the symposium turned out to be a fraudulent bust, Newsmax didn't do a story on that. It did, however, publish an Aug. 12 article by Jeffrey Rodack uncritically repeating Lindell's claim that he had been "attacked" at his hotel after the symposium (Lindell later admitted the alleged assailant was a fan who "aggressively poked" him in trying to get a selfie). Rodack also wrote that Lindell "promised the 'proof' that will show that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, a sentiment that has been echoed by the former president himself" -- but didn't tell readers none of that proof ever surfaced.

Newsmax's kid-gloves handling of Lindell appears to have paid off. Not only are there still MyPillow ads on Newsmax TV, he returned to Newsmax to tout his new social media platform, as summarized in an Aug. 31 article by Jack Gournell:

Fox News might have rejected advertising for Mike Lindell's new social media platform, FrankSpeech.com, but he said several others, including Newsmax and two national broadcast networks, did accept it, which just shows Fox wants to censor his platform, he told Newsmax.

"Where does it end with the censorship?" Lindell said Tuesday on "The Chris Salcedo Show." "We have [Twitter CEO] Jack Dorsey and [Facebook CEO] Mark Zuckerberg and what those guys have done in Google. ... These guys have exposed themselves."

Gournell didn't mention that Fox News rejected the ad for Lindell's symposium, not his social-media platform. He didn't mention the symposium at all, let alone that it was a major bust that made Lindell look terrible.

Like the rest of Newsmax, Gournell clearly knows on what side is bread is buttered.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:32 PM EDT

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