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Friday, October 1, 2021
MRC Psaki-Bashing, Doocy-Fluffing Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

Throughout 2020, Media Research Center writer Curits Houck repeatedly whined that reporters asked tough questions of his beloved White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany. Now, with Jen Psaki at the helm, he's cheering every tough and biased question that gets tossed her way, particularly on the Afghanistan withdrawal. Houck kept up the cheering in his take on the Sept. 1 briefing:

The continued decline of substantive Afghanistan questions continued on Wednesday’s edition of The Psaki Show with a shift towards the coronavirus and Texas’s abortion law, but ABC’s Stephanie Ramos and Fox’s Jacqui Heinrich kept up the heat with questions for Press Secretary Jen Psaki on the embarrassing collapse of the country following a two-decade war.

Along with other solid Afghanistan, questions from CBS’s Ed O’Keefe, Heinrich and Ramos honed in on a Reuters bombshell detailing a July 23 phone call in which President Biden pressured Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to “project a different picture” about the country’s state of affairs.

Since it's Houck's jjob as an MRC employee to portray anything the non-right-wing media does as some secret lockstep conspiracy, he went on to whine that the hearing wasn't all Afghanistan all the time: "It’s safe to say that, with this Texas abortion law, the liberal media may have found their opening to ditch Afghanistan."

For the Sept. 2 hearing, Houck came to the defense of a biased right-wing reporter who, surprisingly, wasn't named Peter Doocy:

Along with the decline of Afghanistan questions continuing into Thursday’s White House press briefing with only 13 being asked, the Texas abortion law gave the liberal media an off-ramp to drop that humanitarian and security disaster as they dedicated roughly 29 questions to defending the left’s rabid support for murder. But when it came to EWTN White House correspondent Owen Jensen standing up for life, Press Secretary Jen Psaki couldn’t stand that.

Jensen interjected roughly 10 minutes into Psaki’s Q&A with the fact Biden’s abortion views go against his Catholic faith:“Following up on the Texas law, why does the President support abortion when his own Catholic faith teaches abortion is morally wrong?”

Psaki has long exhibited testiness toward Jensen, so it wasn’t a surprise when she hit back: “Well, he believes that it’s a woman’s right, it’s a woman’s body, and it’s her choice.”

Jensen stayed tough as he fired off an excellent follow-up: “Who does he believe then should look out for the unborn child?”

By this point, Psaki couldn’t contain her annoyance: 

He believes that it’s up to a woman to make those decisions and up to women to make those decisions with her doctor. I know you’ve never faced those choices nor have you ever been pregnant, but for women out there who have faced those choices, this is an incredibly difficult thing. President believes their right should be respected. 

How offensive! Psaki needs to be cancelled for (a) not using the term “birthing people” or “pregnant people”; (b) not realizing that, according to her side of the aisle, men could become pregnant; and (c) assuming Jensen’s gender. What a mess!

Weird, we don't remember Houck ever saying that his beloved McEnany "exhibited testiness" or "annoyance" with the non-right-wing media -- he cheered her for being "passionate" and treated her inmmature insult-fests as "smacking down" the media.

(This was followed by a post from Kristine Marsh calling anti-Trump Repubican talking head Matthew Dowd "huffy" and "wildly illogical" for cfriticizing Jensen's biased question.)

Houck returned to the Doocy-fluffing beat after the Labor Day holiday for the Sept. 8 briefing, gushing that Doocy was being conservatively correct in continuing to hound Psaki about Afghanistan:

With a week off from the briefing room (having switched off with colleague Jacqui Heinrich) and the Labor Day weekend, Fox’s Peter Doocy returned Wednesday with plenty of questions for Jen Psaki about the Americans stranded in Afghanistan, the Taliban government having more people on the FBI’s Most Wanted List than women, and if engaging with them means they’ll be granted global legitimacy.

And Doocy wasn’t the only reporter on the case as he had plenty of help from CNN’s Phil Mattingly and Voice of America’s Patsy Widakuswara.

[...]

Doocy’s next question was fair and spicy: “There are now more terrorists wanted by the FBI in the new Afghan government than there are women. Does the President think that is a foreign policy success?”

Does Houck think that Doocy ever asked an "unfair" question? Doubtful -- the MRC is not paying him to criticize his man-crush.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:35 AM EDT
WND's Root Forwards More COVID Misinformation -- And A Cynical Political Argument
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Serial COVID misinformer Wayne Allyn Root ranted in his Aug. 16 WorldNetDaily column:

This is madness. Forced vaccination with an experimental "for emergency use only" shot has precipitated death or injury for over 500,000 Americans. Is this really happening? Are you sure this isn't 1938 Nazi Germany, or a communist country that provides no civil or human rights to its citizens? Because this can't be America.

That figure of over 500,000 total deaths, serious injuries and adverse effects linked to the COVID-19 vaccines is not from me … it's not from some wild, unreliable internet rumor … it comes from the vaccine adverse event reporting system called VAERS that's connected to the U.S. government and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It's more deaths and injuries than all the vaccines in the past three decades combined, by a mile. By the way, throughout history, VAERS has always underreported deaths and injuries by a wide margin.

Root is lying about VAERS. As we're repeatedly pointed out, reports of adverse effects to VAERS are not verified and are not designed to be comprehensive.

Root went on to claim that "In the European Union, the same vaccine reporting system reports over 20,000 dead and over 2 million injured by the vaccines" -- though the European system works the same way as VAERS in that reported effects have not been verified.

Root continued to fearmonger: "In Massachusetts, there are 9,969 "breakthrough cases" of vaccinated people with COVID-19, and over 100 vaccinated people are dead of COVID-19. That's reported by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health." But that 9,969 number is a mere 0.23 percent of all people fully vaccinated in the state.

Root then ranted:

If Trump were president, the media would be reporting those numbers in gigantic headlines and calling "Trump's vaccine" a "Frankenstein's monster." They'd be accusing Trump of murder. They'd be calling him "Hitler."

Not one Democrat in America would be taking these vaccines.

There would be Black Lives Matter riots as black Americans accused Trump of racism and genocide. The American Civil Liberties Union would be filing lawsuits in every city, county and state in America. They'd call forced vaccinations under Trump "the civil rights issue of our lifetime."

And the children? Are you aware Johns Hopkins School of Medicine (the most respected in the world) just did a study of 45,000 American kids with COVID-19 and found zero deaths among healthy children? Zero as in 0. Only a handful of children in all of America died from COVID-19, and Johns Hopkins reports all of them had childhood cancer.

So, if Trump were president and the government demanded every schoolchild be masked and vaccinated with a dangerous and sometimes deadly experimental vaccine, even though there was zero risk of death from this flu bug, what would liberals say? How about feminist mothers?

You don't have to guess. I know. Liberal mothers across America would say, "Trump wants to murder our children."

Root's unspoken implication is that if Trump were still president, he'd be first in line to get the vaccine and would be downplayiong or dismissing the purported side effects he's now fearmongering about. After all, he has been nothing if not a major Trump suck-up over the past four-plus years.

Root's argument here is hollow and cynical. We wouldn't expect anything else.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:10 AM EDT
How Is CNS Freaking Out About LGBT People These Days?
Topic: Media Research Center

When you have an aggressive homophobe like Michael W. Chapman as your managing editor, anti-LGBT freakouts are to be expected at CNSNews.com. And indeed, Chapman and other writers continue to deliver. Chapman huffed in an Aug. 23 article:

Although Georgetown University is the nation's oldest Catholic institution of higher learning, founded by Bishop John Carroll in 1789, it has named transgender "female" Charlotte Clymer, a biological male and transgender activist, to be one of its fall 2021 "Fellows."

The Georgetown Fellows "lead weekly discussion groups," "hold office hours for students" and "mentor students," according to the Fellows' webpage. They also receive a stipend, may use campus resources, and may audit any class at the McCourt School of Public Policy, "one of the top public policy schools in the nation."

Chapman went on to complain that Clymer's talks to Fellows will touch on things like bigotry in America and climate change -- then went on to recite anti-LGBT aspects of Catholic Church canon.

In an Aug. 24 column, Bill Donohue freaked out that Biden appointed a gay man as ambassador to a very tiny European country:

Personnel is policy. The people a president appoints to any job reveal his priorities. Even ambassadors, who are usually just major campaign donors, can tell a lot about what a president wants to accomplish. From President Biden's appointment of Scott Miller to serve as the United States Ambassador to the Swiss Confederation and the Principality of Liechtenstein, we can see once again that Biden has clearly prioritized LGBT issues over Christians.

Scott Miller comes into his ambassadorship after serving as the co-chairman of the Gill Foundation, one of the largest militant and anti-Christian LGBT organizations in the country. The Foundation has long worked to trample the rights of anyone who morally objects to same-sex marriage. Miller, along with his "husband" Tim Gill, the founder and co-chair of the foundation, have not sought to find a compromise in which homosexuals and people of faith can coexist; rather, they have treated the relationship as a zero-sum game.

CNS loves freaking out over the idea that some of Biden's nominees aren't heterosexual.

On Aug. 25, Chapman was at it again:

Members of the Jamaican Coalition for a Healthy Society (JCHS) protested outside the U.S. Embassy in Jamaica this month against the flying of an LGBT Pride flag, denouncing the action as an "insult to our country."

The Biden administration has made flying the LGBT flag a top priority of its diplomatic mission, to condone and promote the homosexual lifestyle.

Chapman offered no evidence that flying the LGBT flag is a "top priority" for the Biden administration, or that being LGBT is merely a "lifestyle."

Chapman had another meltdown on Sept. 17:

Jared Polis, the openly gay Democratic governor of Colorado, "married" his long-time partner, Marlon Reis, in a small Jewish ceremony on Sept. 15. Traditional, orthodox Judaism teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman.

“Mawage. Mawage is what brings us together today," tweeted Polis, a former member of Congress, on Sept. 15.

Chapman is so homophobic, he couldn't even find humor in the "Princess Bride" reference in Polis' tweet.

After noting that the ceremony was performed by "a Jungian psychotherapist and a leader in the international Jewish Renewal Movement,"Chcpman called on his favorite right-wing (and borderline racist) Jewish group, the Coalition for Jewish Values, to denounce the "marraiges" (his scare quotes, not ours):

Asked for comment about the "marriage," Rabbi Yaakov Menken, managing director of the Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), told CNS News that his organization opposes such arrangements because marriage is reserved for a man and a woman.

"Marriage is described in Genesis as directly connected to having children," said Rabbi Menken. "So even without reference to clear prohibitions in Leviticus, it is obvious that a same-sex union is foreign to Judaism."  

The CJV represents 1,500-plus traditional, orthodox rabbis nationwide.

Chapman concluded by whining, "Polis has a long history of supporting liberal/left causes and voting (in Congress) for their advancement.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:26 AM EDT
Thursday, September 30, 2021
MRC Still Trying To Blame High Gas Prices On Biden
Topic: Media Research Center

We've noted the desperate attempts by the Media Research Center's Joseph Vazquez to blame higher gas prices on President Biden, despite a lack of evidence to support the claim. He's still at it. He huffed in an Aug. 11 post:

The Associated Press (AP) found a way to make President Joe Biden look like an American prophet warning about rising energy prices, without mentioning how his anti-oil agenda is contributing to the growing crisis.

AP ran a puff story headlined, “Biden administration sounds alarm on rising energy prices.” The lede paragraph was just as ridiculous: “President Joe Biden’s administration is raising alarms at home and abroad about rising energy prices slowing the nation’s recovery from the pandemic-induced recession.” GasBuddy Head of Petroleum Analysis Patrick De Haan argued in April that Biden’s energy plan was contributing to rising gas prices.

As we pointed out, De Haan cited no specific policy that was solely responsible for the rise in gas prices, which less biased obnservers have argued is more accurately blamed on a reduction in crude oil production during the pandemic and global demand generated by world economies come back to life.

On Aug. 13, Vazquez gushed once more over his favorite accused sexual assaulter, Fox Business' Charles Payne, touting how he "placed the blame for spiking energy prices right at the feet of President Joe Biden's fossil fuel 'war.'" Again, no specific policy was cited; instead, Payne was allowed to uncritically rant that "West Texas Intermediate oil, 'a week ago, was $75 a barre[l]' compared to '$35 a barrel' on Nov. 2, 2020" -- completely and dishonestly omitting the pandemic's effect on the economy that drove down oil prices last year.

In an Aug. 17 post, Vazquez played the correlation-equals-causation fallacy:

The terrible effects of President Joe Biden’s war on fossil fuels are taking a serious toll on the nation as the left-wing media have consistently attempted to defend him from bad press.

U.S. Energy Information Administration data revealed that gas prices per gallon were at about $2.42 when former President Donald Trump left office. Under Biden, prices have increased every single month to a discomforting $3.23, a 33.47 percent increase. The gas data follow a hot Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Producer Price Index (PPI), both key inflation indicators released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The New York Post reported in a recent story on the CPI data that gasoline prices had risen “2.4 percent from May and is now up almost 42 percent from a year ago."

[...]

The media have consistently played the role of lapdogs for Biden’s agenda by gaslighting and hoodwinking viewers and readers on Biden’s culpability concerning rising prices.

Vazquez again invoked De Haan's dubious reasoning. And like DeHaan, Vazquez identified no specific policy that is directly linked to rising prices.

Vazquez ranted in an Aug. 19 post otherwise attacking New York Times economist Paul Krugman :

Biden’s actions enabled an economic crisis by allowing the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to gain “more leverage over U.S. gas prices, especially Saudi Arabia.” Biden all but begged OPEC to produce more oil while U.S. production remains stagnant. A climate agenda that hamstrings the U.S. economy by subjecting it to foreign oil cartel manipulation was clearly lost on Krugman.

This time, though, Vazquez actually cites someone who could be a credible expert to back him up: "Transversal Consulting President Ellen Wald Ph.D. reportedly told Axios that President Joe Biden’s climate agenda has kept 'American [oil] production down.'" You know Vazquez is desperate to pump up someone's credibilty by adding Wald's doctorate degree to her name.

But Wald has also cited another reason gas prices are high, one that has nothing to do with Biden. Marketplace reported in June:

But Ellen R. Wald at the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center said oil prices are up because of what’s going on in the U.S.

“The really big story, I think, about what’s helping keep prices rising is that American production hasn’t come back to the same levels that it was in 2020,” Wald said. 

Shareholders are demanding a return on investment, Wald said, which has led U.S. producers to reduce spending and keep output flat.

That's an explanation Vazquez will never report to his readers.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:41 PM EDT
WND's Cashill Somehow Blames Hillary For Cuomo's Resignation
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've detailed some of the conspiracy theories WorldNetDaily columnists have promoted about the resignation of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a sexual harassment scandal. Well, conspiracy-monger extraordinaire Jack Cashill worked up his own in an Aug. 4 column, and you will be totally not surprised who he thinks is behind it. 

Cashill starts by blaming the New York Times for having "found the story of Cuomo's vaguely inappropriate comments more newsworthy than the story of Joe Biden's sexual assault of intern Tara Reade, let alone the newest tale of Hunter Biden's depravity," then set up his conspiracy:

The word was out. Cuomo was expendable. Coumosexuals turned Cuomophobes overnight. As new accusers came forward, Hillary Clinton responded in a March 1, 2021 statement, "These stories are difficult to read, and the allegations brought forth raise serious questions that the women who have come forward and all New Yorkers deserve answers to."

Ah yes, Hillary. Top cop on the sexual harassment beat, the New Yorker's Ronan Farrow smelled blood. In a lengthy profile of Boylan, Farrow wrote: "Since childhood, Boylan had idolized Hillary Clinton. She once waited in line for hours to have a photo taken with her, an experience that she said 'changed my life.'"

In that same article, however, Boylan expressed dismay at Hillary's tempered response to the accusations against Cuomo, who had served as HUD secretary in Bill Clinton's second term.

"There's no way you don't know who this man is if you've worked with, or around, him for decades," Boylan told Farrow.

The politically savvy Boylan was 14 when Clinton was impeached for his role in the Monica Lewinsky affair. As Trump made clear throughout the 2016 election, Hillary served as Bill's enabler in chief for his sexual misadventures up to and including rape.

Boylan had to know this. And now she was publicly disowning Hillary for her entirely appropriate response to the Cuomo accusations?

This somehow leads to Cashill asserting that Hillary got Cuomo out of the way so she could become president when Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are supposedly inevitably removed from office:

If either Biden or Harris steps down or is forced out before January 2023, a Democrat-controlled Congress will be able to dictate the replacement.

That replacement will, in turn, dictate terms to either the feeble Biden or the feckless Harris and prepare to run for 2024.

Before December 2020 there would have been no stopping rock star Andrew Cuomo. During four election cycles and 10 years in office, the media noticed nothing awry in the governor's office. Even during the hysteria post-Weinstein, Cuomo's star still shone brightly.

Now, he's a monster. Now, that VP opening will be up for grabs. My suspicion is that Hillary and her feminist friends are already measuring the Oval Office for drapes.

The only surprise here is that Cashill couldn't find a way to work Barack Obama -- with whom he remains obsessed -- into his conspiracy.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:07 PM EDT
MRC Hides The Fact That Politico's 'Biased' New Owner Actually Has A Right-Wing Bias
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Joseph Vazquez has a weird meltdown in an Aug. 30 post:

The left-wing Politico has been sold to a German company for a ridiculous $1 billion.

The Washingtonian reported that the Virginia-based news outlet is being sold for a whopping $1 billion to Axel Springer SE. The two entities had reportedly “been joint venture partners since 2014” when Politico Europe was launched, according to Business Wire. But the company is plagued with bias. Axel Springer Chairman and CEO Mathias Döpfner falsely accused President Donald Trump of being behind the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riot by saying he “call[ed] for a coup against democratic institutions.” Even more damning was Döpfner’s op-ed in 2017, which nonsensically flailed that “Trump speaks the language of the mafia.” Really. “What does Trump have to do in order to be perceived by a sufficiently large number of Republicans as a democracy threat and thus no longer acceptable,” Döpfner whined. But Politico attaching itself to a company with explicit bias is characteristic of the publication’s years-long rap sheet of leftist bias.

Vazquez is being deliberately imprecise. Actually, Döpfner stated  notthat Trump was "behind" the Capitol riot but, rather, that he was "dangerously inciting his followers to violence," which is clear from the content of Trump's speech beforew the riot. And his statement that "Trump speaks the language of the mafia" is not "nonsensical flailing" as Vazquez would like you to believe, but an observation that has been made by many.

Clearly, Vazquez is a slave to the MRC's anti-media narrative, which describe every non-right-wing outlet as "left-wing" or "leftist" -- indeed, he citesonly ahandful of cherry-picked articles out of the thousands Politico publishes each and every year to support his hyperbolic, overbroad claim. As Eric Boehlert noted, there are plenty of Politico articles to support the claim that the publication views the world "through a Republican prism." Boehlert also points out that, contrary to Vazquez's slave-to-the-narrative rantings, Axel Springer actually has a bias he would love:

Two years ago, The Guardianprofiled the “German company founded in 1945 by the rightwing publisher of the same name.” When the founder died back in 1985 the Los Angeles Times was straightforward. “Axel Springer, Conservative W. German Publisher, Dies,” read the headline. The Times noted that all of Springer’s media properties “served as staunch supporters of Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s conservative Christian Democratic Union.”

As The Tablet observed recently, “Springer was the closest thing that the Germans had to a Rupert Murdoch. Springer’s politics were decidedly conservative: capitalist (though comfortable with the German consensus on a “social market economy”); traditionalist; ferociously anti-communist, and pro-American. And much as Murdoch has come to embody everything that bien pensant liberals loathe, Springer was hated by the West German left.”

In 1952, Springer founded Bild, a national tabloid daily that soon became the most-read newspaper in Europe, with a circulation that peaked at 6 million. Der Spiegel once characterized the paper as “serv[ing] up tripe, trash, tits and, almost as an afterthought, a healthy dose of hard news seven days a week.” It added that Bild, “has taken on the role of a right-wing populist party, which does not yet exist in Germany."

[...]

The daily recently launched its own TV station, which the Irish Times dubbed “a milder, German equivalent of Fox News.”

Boehlert also pointed out that Axel Springer employees are required to sign a pledge of allegiance to the company's "essentials," which include a demand to "uphold the principles of a free market economy and its social responsibility" and "advocate the transatlantic alliance between the United States of America and Europe." Boehlert added: "If an unabashedly liberal, international publisher that demanded its employees sign an oath supporting socialism had swooped in to buy a mainstay of American political journalism, do you think its partisan DNA would be mentioned in the news coverage? I certainly do. In fact, it would be mentioned in every headline."

Yep, and the MRC would be first in line to scream about it. Instead, Vazquez has to defy and distort reallity to portray both Politico and Axel Springer as irredeemably (and falsely) "left-wing."


Posted by Terry K. at 12:24 PM EDT
CNS Attacks Biden Officials Over U.S. Response To Afghan Attacks (After Attacking Biden For Not Responding Soon Enough)
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've documented how CNSNews.com attacked President Biden for allegedly not responding quickly enough to a suicide bombing in Afganistan, then being slow to report the response when it happened. The attacks didn's stop after that: CNS decided to fixate on attacking the response -- a series of drone strikes on suspected members of ISIS-K, which is believed to be responsible for the suicide bombings.

CNS first focused on whether the drone strikes killed civilians. A Sept. 14 article by Melanie Arter hyped that "Secretary of State Antony Blinken admitted on Tuesday that the Biden administration is reviewing whether the U.S. military killed an aide worker or an ISIS-K terrorist in the drone strike in Afghanistan in retaliation for the murders of 13 U.S. military members. That was followed by a Sept. 16 article by Arter that sought to push the narrative that the drone strikes were ineffective and killed civilians:

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that there is always an investigation when a drone strike “could have impacted innocent civilians,” which is why the Biden administration is investigating the drone strikes in Afghanistan last month that targeted ISIS-K terrorists.

“How much confidence does the president have that the drone strikes in Afghanistan have killed ISIS militants?” a reporter asked Psaki.

“How much confidence in which aspect of it?” Psaki asked.

“How much confidence does he have that the drone strikes killed the targets that were intended to be ISIS fighters, as opposed to innocent victims on the street? And does he take responsibility if the innocent victims were killed?” the reporter asked.

“Well, first, there is an investigation that’s ongoing, as there always is in any event of drone strikes that could have impacted innocent civilians, and the United States takes incredibly seriously our role in preventing civilian casualties whenever we possibly can. So, I’m going to let that play out,” Psaki said.

CNS devoted an anonymously written Sept. 17 acticle to intoning that "Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin issued a statement this afternoon saying that the drone strike that the U.S. military launched at a vehicle in Kabul, Afghanistan on Aug. 29—with the intent of killing ISIS-K terrorists—ended up killing ten people who were not terrorists, including 7 children." The same day, an article by Arter highlighted CENTCOM Commander Kenneth McKenzie taking responsibility for the civilian deaths.

Patrick Goodenough went on another petty, partisan angle of attack in a Sept. 20 article:

The Pentagon has yet to release the names of two individuals killed in an airstrike in Afghanistan last month, two days before a second airstrike near Kabul airport which killed not an ISIS-K terrorist but ten civilians, seven of them children.

The August 27 unmanned strike in Nangarhar province came a day after terrorists killed 13 U.S. service personnel and more than 160 Afghan civilians in a suicide bomb and gunfire attack at Kabul airport, where the evacuation mission was underway.

More than three weeks since the Nangarhar strike, the identities of the two people, described by Pentagon officials as “high-profile” ISIS-K “planners” and “facilitators,” remain unknown.

Showing his partisanship, Goodenough invoked the conservative Heritage Foundation to support his demand that the killed terrorists be identified. He later added an update of another Pentagon official who wouldn't name names.

The Pentagon did eventually name one killed terrorist, and Goodenough had a complaining article about that on Sept. 26:

The Pentagon has named one of two men killed in an airstrike in Afghanistan a month ago, describing him as an ISIS-K attack “facilitator” who was “directly connected” to the ISIS-K leaders who coordinated the terror attack at Kabul airport that killed 13 U.S. service personnel and more than 160 Afghan civilians.

U.S. Central Command spokesman Army Maj. John Rigsbee said in a statement Kabir Aidi (also known as “Mustafa”) had been directly connected to the threats facing the U.S.-military led evacuation mission at the airport, including “the reported distribution of explosives and suicide vests.”

[...]

Rigsbee’s statement did not name – or refer to – the second person killed in the August 27 drone strike in Nangarhar province. The Pentagon at the time described the two as “high-profile” ISIS-K “planners” and “facilitators.”

For almost a month after the Nangarhar strike, the Department of Defense declined to name the two men, although it said their identities were known.

The refusal to do so began to raise more questions after CENTCOM’s admission following an inquiry that a second drone strike, carried out near Kabul airport on August 29, had killed ten civilians, seven of them children, and not an ISIS-K terrorist as initially reported.

As recent as September 20, a Pentagon spokesman maintained that the information on the Nangarhar targets was “classified.”

Goodenough rehashed that "President Biden vowed that the U.S. would hunt down those responsible and make them pay" -- but didn't mention the fact that his employer mocked Biden's declaration as coming "someday" and that Biden's response came the day after that mocking.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:26 AM EDT
Wednesday, September 29, 2021
MRC Touts New Book From Discredited Google 'Whistleblower'
Topic: Media Research Center

In 2019, the Media Research Center embraced former google employee Zach Vorhies as a purported whistleblower who claimed the company manipulated search results to disfavor conservative ideas -- while hiding the fact that Vorhies, according to the Daily Beast, is a far-right copnspiracy theorist who is also "an avid promoter of anti-Semitic accusations that banks, the media, and the United States government are controlled by 'Zionists.'” Well, Vorhies is back with a new book to promote -- and the MRC is more than happy to do so. Autumn Johnson uncritically repeated in an Aug. 14 post:

Google whistleblower Zach Vorhies says Google altered its news algorithm to directly target former President Donald Trump.

Vorhies was a senior software engineer at YouTube and Google. He left >after discovering the companies censored conservatives.  

Vorhies’s new book, Google Leaks: A Whistleblower’s Exposé of Big Tech Censorship, took a deep dive into Big Tech’s censorship of right-of-center conservatives:

[...]

He also said Google’s algorithm tacked new negative stories about Trump onto old ones in order to keep them at the top of search results longer.

“They allowed the mainstream media to structure their stories so that they could remain in the top of their search index,” he said.

Johnson apparently did no fact-checking to verify anything Vorhies said. In fact, her fact-checking was so lax that her post originally appeared with Vorhies' name spelled wrong.

Needless to say, Johnson said nothing about Vorhies' far-right lunacy and anti-Semitism. And there's more that Johnson censored:  Last year, Vorhies made a video laying out a plan to turn a discredited anti-vaxxer film, "Plandemic," into a viral sensation, which included running the social media accounts of the film's maker, Judy Mikovits.

Despite Vorhies' utter lack of credibility, Johnson continued to promote him. She repeated Vorhies' claims in an Aug. 20 post on a seperate Google-related issue ... which also managed to mislead. The post carries the headline "Google’s ‘Geofence’ Warrants Have Increased 12x Over 3 Years," which falsely suggests that Google is the one seeking the warrants. In fact, as the post itself explains, it is law enforcement agencies who are demanding that data from Google. While noting legitimate privacy concerns, Johnson's reference to Vorhies' dubious claims falsely frames this as a conservative-only issue, which it is not.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:49 PM EDT
CNS Columnist Shills For E-Cigarettes
Topic: CNSNews.com

Hans Bader sounds like he's getting paid by the e-cigarette industry in his Sept. 13 CNSNews.com column, which also forwards a conspiracy theory:

The FDA has banned the e-cigarettes commonly sold on the market, by either rejecting them, or delaying their approval. It isn't enforcing the ban against the biggest brands yet, and it may eventually approve those brands for sale. The FDA's ban on a vast range of e-cigarettes will make it harder for many smokers to quit smoking, by depriving them of alternative ways of satisfying their craving for nicotine.

[...]

E-cigarettes ave lives by weaning many smokers (like my wife) off of cigarettes. If retailers stop selling e-cigarettes, that will cost many lives, because e-cigarettes are a substitute for cigarettes, which cause cancer. Curbing the sale of e-cigarettes will also enrich the powerful trial lawyers who bankroll Democratic politicians. That's because curbs on vaping increase cigarette consumption, and rising cigarette consumption increases payments to trial lawyers under the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement.

[...]

“E-cigarettes could replace much or most of cigarette consumption in the U.S. in the next decade,” said William T. Godshall, Smokefree Pennsylvania's executive director. His group had campaigned in the past for smoke-free public vicinities, higher cigarette taxes, and cigarette pack graphic warnings.

“There is no evidence that e-cigarettes have ever harmed anyone, or that...nonsmokers have begun using the products,” Godshall said. Godshall rated e-cigarettes a 2 or lower on a scale of harm ranging 1 to 100, where lozenges and nicotine gums are 1 and cigarettes are 100.

When smokers switch from cigarettes to e-cigarettes, that reduces cancer deaths. But it also leaves greedy lawyers and state governments with less cigarette revenue.

Bader won't tell you, but Godshall is lying. E-cigarettes have been linked to lung disease, and they have been shown to serve as an introduction to smoking for young people, who then go on to use cigarettes. And Bader's personal anecdote aside, it's far from clear that e-cigs are an effective way to quit smoking.

Bader actually did note some of this later in his column, but dismissed it by putting "research" in scare quotes when describing them.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:41 PM EDT
Shocker: Newsmax Columnists Raise Concerns Over Texas Abortion Law
Topic: Newsmax

The ConWeb has been unsurprisingly enthusiastic about Texas' new, highly restrictive law that effectively bans abortion in the state. But surprisingly, a couple of Newsmax columnists have raised questions about law, particularly its "bounty hunter" legal mechanism of letting civilians enforce it and its possible effects on Republicans in future elections.

Dick Morris fretted oer the latter in his Sept. 2 column:

Last night’s Supreme Court decision to let Texas abortion law stand effectively undermines Republican chances in the coming elections of 2022 and 2024.

The Biden ratings crash caused by the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan is now over. The page has been turned. Now, it's going to be all about abortion.

The gender gap in American politics began in 1974 after the Roe V Wade decision. This new Texas law, that effectively reverses the decision, will bring the abortion issue back to center stage. Recent polling suggests that 74% of the American voters support keeping abortion legal.

[...]

With Biden reeling and, on the ropes, this Texas law and the Court decision, comes as a welcome reprieve for Democrats nervous about the ’22 elections.

In the hands of a hysterical media, it might even encourage court packing and facilitate election-altering changes like those in HR 1.

This decision changes everything.

Paul F. deLespinasse spent his Sept. 7 column concerned that the law's enforcement mechanism could have severe implications on things like gun rights if it was upheld by the Supreme Court:

The Texas abortion ban cleverly obstructs legal challengers. The cleverness was needed because the statute is clearly unconstitutional given the precedent of Roe v. Wade.

The legislation denies Texas officials power to enforce it but authorizes private citizens to bring civil suits against anyone performing or contributing to an abortion. This blocks the way legislation is usually challenged before anyone is convicted for violating it. .

Challengers usually sue the official who could enforce the law, but here there is no such official. Since any private citizen could enforce this law, it is unclear who challengers could sue.

[...]

The more cautious abortion opponents have avoided putting the issue squarely before the Supreme Court, fearing that some justices personally opposed to abortion might uphold Roe on grounds of stare decisis — the importance of stable rules people can rely on.

Instead, they have enacted increasingly severe procedural limits on abortion, seeking to nibble Roe to death. But Texas has chosen to be "in your face" about it.

The Supreme Court therefore may not be able to evade the basic issue forever. It might either have to overrule Roe or strike down the Texas statute. I predict the latter.

Texas is playing with constitutional fire. Its approach is one that conservatives could never support as a general rule. It could also be used to protect other legislation violating the Constitution, including laws prohibiting ownership or possession of all guns.

We've not seen these issues discussed elsewhere in the ConWeb.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:54 AM EDT
WND Defends The Honor of Ivermectin
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Art Moore has been one of WorldNetDaily's biggest promoters of dubious COVID medication ivermectin, even though he's supposed to be an unbiased journalist and tell both sides of the story and admit the ivermectin promotion he has been doing has been highly biased and tied to pro-ivermectin activists. When it was pointed out that ivermectin is best known as a horse dewormer -- and that people are buying the horse version of ivermectin from farm stores, resulting in cases of ivermectin poisoning -- Moore rushed to the medicine's defense in a lengthy Sept. 2 article:

Even NPR – albeit in its signature erudite, carefully modulated tone – couldn't hold back the preening sarcasm shared by its media allies when it became known this week that a chief critic of the establishment narrative on COVID-19 revealed he tested positive for COVID-19 and treated the disease with ivermectin.

The public broadcaster reported that the host of the world's No. 1 podcast, Joe Rogan, was "taking a cocktail of unproven treatments – including ivermectin, a deworming drug for cows that the FDA warns people should not ingest."

Political commentator Andrew Sullivan was among many who pointed out that while the drug indeed is used for farm animals, there is a Nobel-prize-winning, FDA-approved version of ivermectin for human consumption. In fact, ivermectin, touted as a "wonder drug" in the Journal of Antibiotics, was shown in both in-vitro and in-vivo studies long before the COVID-19 pandemic to have strong antiviral as well as antiparasitic properties. And since the spring of 2020, ivermectin – which is on the World Health Organization's list of essential medicines and is being administered to refugees entering the U.S. – has been the subject of 113 published studies presenting statistically significant evidence indicating it is safe and effective for both treating and preventing COVID-19. Among them are 73 peer-reviewed studies, with 63 comparing treatment and control groups. Significantly, a June 2020 study found ivermectin inhibits the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in-vitro. And based on promising results in human trials, the University of Oxford is studying ivermectin in the U.K.'s PRINCIPLE trial, the world’s largest clinical trial of possible COVID-19 treatments.

"At this point you have to assume that NPR knowingly lies to its listeners," Sullivan said in response to the broadcaster's tweet.

Moore didn't mention that his source for that "113 published studies" claim is an anonymously run website that is dedicted to mysteriously promoting ivermectin. And that Journal of Antibiotics study calling ivermectin a "wonder drug" came out in 2017 and, thus, is not applicable to COVID. Simiarly, ivermectin wa named an "essential medicine" by WHO -- but in 2015, meaning it also does not apply to COVID treatment. And it's irrelevant that there is a "Nobel-prize-winning, FDA-approved version of ivermectin for human consumption" becaue the FDA has not approved ivermectin for treatment of COVID.

Moore went on to hype: "More recently, the American Journal of Therapeutics published a paper analyzing 18 randomized controlled treatment trials of ivermectin in COVID-19 that found 'large, statistically significant reductions in mortality, time to clinical recovery, and time to viral clearance.'" But as we documented -- and Moore has never told his readers -- this study was manufactured by pro-ivermectin activists, and it was rejected for publication in a different journal because of unsubstantiated claims violated editorial policies. Also, thte study is a database analysis, not any sort of actual clinical study.

Moore also hyped that "ivermectin – already widely used in low- and middle-income countries to treat worm infections – has been touted by government officials in treating COVID-19." But as we documented, reports from India at that time did not support the idea that a decline in COVID cases and thte use of ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine.

Moore took a while to get around to mentioning the issue of people buying the horse version of ivermectin, but he insisted it wasn't that big of a deal.

While some local health authorities are reporting they've received calls from people who have become sick from ingesting the animal version of ivermectin, the reporting of the Daily Beast and others offers no hard evidence that the scope of the poison-control reports is significant and should detract from the drug's potential to save lives.

The vast majority of Americans, who have taken the drug through a doctor's prescription, apparently can tell the difference between horse pills and people pills.

Moore went on to tout something called the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance -- Moore dutifully let the group describe itself as "a group of highly published, world-renowned critical care physicians and scholars" --complaining that federal officials who point out a lack oflegitimate medical evidence for using ivermectin to treat COVID " ignore the growing body of scientific evidence from peer-reviewed research, over 40 medical trials, and results from Ivermectin’s use in medical settings worldwide, showing the safe and effective use of the drug in fighting COVID-19." Moore didn't mention that the FLCCC is an activist group created to push dubious treatments like ivermectin, and it was the group behind the study that was rejected by one medical journal, as noted above.

Moore then went back to hyping the drug:

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed on ivermectin, David R. Henderson and Charles L. Hooper ask "Why Is the FDA Attacking a Safe, Effective Drug?"

"If the FDA were driven by science and evidence, it would give an emergency-use authorization for ivermectin for Covid-19. Instead, the FDA asserts without evidence that ivermectin is dangerous," they write.

In fact, that op-ed is highly dubious --  one of the co-authors used to work for a company that marketed ivermectin, and the op-ed itself cited as part of its evidence a study that had been retracted after accusations of data manipulation.

In short, Moore is back to his old shenanigans, violating acceptd rules of journalism to act as a salesman for a drug so dubious he has to ramp up the hype and build conspiracy theories around.

 


Posted by Terry K. at 1:38 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 29, 2021 1:51 AM EDT
Tuesday, September 28, 2021
MRC's Graham Fights Another Losing Battle With Context
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Research Center executive Tim Graham is having yet another issue with context. He complained in an Aug. 22 post:

The fact-checkers at Snopes.com haven't done a single fact check on President Biden's statements since the Taliban took over Afghanistan. But they did do a fact check on October 18 attacking President Trump for being soft on the Taliban. A meme by the leftists at Occupy Democrats was ruled "Mostly True." The Snopes headline was “Did Trump Admin Get Taliban Leader Out of Pakistani Prison?”

Snopes only checked the meme, and not the language that came with it on Facebook. It wasn't apparently false to boast "This is ALL on Trump!"

When a liberal is targeted, the "independent fact checkers" often suggest conservative critics are "Missing Context." Well, in this case the missing context is this: Trump’s State Department pressured Pakistan to release Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar of the Taliban as a ploy to help peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government. It wasn't out of admiration. The Occupy Democrats meme suggested Trump’s team sprung this terrorist from prison, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo validated him with a meeting....without any reference to trying to help peace talks.

Context is not really Graham's friend here. If the end result was that pressure from the Trump administration got a Taliban leader out of prison, does the claim that it wasn't done "out of admiration" really help the argument? After all, Graham is conceding the point that Baradar was freed because of Trump's involvement. And does the context that Pompeo met with Baradar while "trying to help peace talks" really mitigate the fact that maybe we shouldn't be trying to negotiate peace with the Taliban?

Perhaps sensing how dumb his argument was becoming, he changed tactics and decided to issue a personal attack on the Snopes researcher, grumbling she once worked for "Arab propaganda network Al Jazeera," then a couple of shows on Comedy Central, followed by a show starring former "Daily Show" regular Hasan Mihnaj, where she complained the show's "progressive ethos" were nbot practiced behind the secnes. Graham went on to sneer: "Then she was hired by Snopes...from Al-Jazeera to comedy shows to "fact checking." It's all a young worker's career of cultivating a 'progressive ethos on screen.'" But he idenbtifies nothing "progressive" in her fact-check -- he's just lazily playing guilt by association.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:16 PM EDT
WND Columnist: Afghanistan Withdrawal Is Distraction From Arizona Audit
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily columnist Craige McMillan has been spending months spreading discredited election fraud conspiracy theories. He's latched on to another one in his Aug. 27 column, claiming without evidence that President Biden's withdrawal from Afghanistan was designed as a distraction from the (bogus) Arizona election audit:

Who would have thought? Afghan bombings are caused by Arizona election audits! It's such a coincidence that it's almost like it's not. For months now the Big Lie in Big Media in America has been that the Arizona Senate's audit of election processes in Maricopa County has already been discredited. Or maybe "discredited" is just a secret code word that shuts down most of the 81 million Democrat-voter thought processes that supposedly cast a ballot for Joe Biden.

The word "discredited" sitting off there in the corner by itself is an odd claim, though. The entire audit process was live streamed on the internet. Anyone with concerns about the audit processes could have watched everything and raised the alert on Big Media. Perhaps there are none so blind as those who will not look.

[...]

Perhaps the real news in the images of Afghanistan human trauma and carnage is that our own elites know that free and fair elections really didn't happen in America on Nov. 3. Maricopa County is the most populous in Arizona. It only needs 13,000 disqualified ballots to flip the vote from Biden to Trump. The larger the election discrepancies, the greater the pressure on the Arizona Senate to withdraw its Biden electors and appoint Trump electors, to correctly reflect the lawful popular vote.

he election audits are necessarily going to extend to all states with questionable election results, and there is a well-established move afoot to extend the audits to all 50 states. Long before that happens, however, the states with troubled election results will succumb to audits, and if fraud is verified that would have changed the result, they will be unable to resist the will of voters who will consider Biden to have been fraudulently elected, and they will decertify their electors. At that point the Biden government becomes illegitimate in the minds of a majority of Americans, and perhaps most foreign nations, with the possible exception of Communist China.

That's why Afghanistan is suddenly in the news, folks. Atrocities and fear push aside election-audit results. The Democratic elites know they are standing on a bridge too far. They cannot stop the audits, because presidential elections are a state issue in the Constitution. Cackling Kamala is not going to step in and fix their problem, as most of us don't think this is a laughing matter. Nancy Pelosi wants Kamala out of the way while she is still speaker, because she sees herself as next in line after Kamala for president.

McMillan ignores that the reason the Arizona audit is considered to be discredited is because of its numerous security issues and the fact that the head of the company conducting it has spread election conspiracy theories.

But with the audit's ultimate conclusion that it not only found no actual evidence of fraud but that Biden got even more votes than Trump, will McMillan now decide the audit was "discredited" because it failed to confirm his conspiracy theories? We shall see.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:34 PM EDT
Trump-Fluffer Kessler Laughably Inisists That Biden Is The Real Narcissist
Topic: Newsmax

Ronald Kessler has found a narcissist in the White House and it is ... Joe Biden? He wrote in a Sept. 1 Newsmax article:

From running for president as a moderate who is actually governing from the left, to projecting himself as empathetic and caring, Biden has done a good job of fooling the American people.

But the whispery voice he adopts to project compassion is yet another act.

The truth is that Biden exhibits all the signs of a narcissist.

According to the Mayo Clinic, narcissistic personality disorder is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, and a lack of empathy for others.

These individuals take advantage of others to get what they want and have an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others.

Biden’s character flaws are magnified by what insiders call White House-itus, a malady of arrogance that is common to U.S. presidents.

Of course, the idea that Biden is a raging narcissist is ridiculous on its face -- perhaps Kessler could identify some of those supposed "insiders" he invoked to make his case. What makes this even more ridiculous is that Kessler has spent the past couple decades in thrall to a genuine narcissist and former Whjite House resident, Donald Trump.

We've documented how Kessler has been fluffing Trump since the late 1990s, when he featured Trump in a book he wrote on rich people in Palm Beach. Kessler was aggressively feeding Trump's ego by publicizing Trump's presidential ambitions as far back as 2011.

Before the 2020 election, Kessler worked with Newsmax to put together a long campaign ad masquerading as a "documentary" called "Trump and Me: A Conversation with Ron Kessler," which purported to tell "the true story of how Donald Trump became leader of the world’s most powerful nation — and how he made it great again."The gushing continued:

In "Trump and Me," Kessler describes how Trump worked his way up the ladder of success, graduating from the prestigious Wharton School to help run his father's real estate business, eventually turning it into a multibillion-dollar enterprise.

Kessler looks at Trump's uphill battle in Washington to reform the bureaucracies of the FBI, CIA, VA, and other agencies that are in desperate need of fresh blood and renewed ethics.

And he discusses Trump's efforts boost the economy, reign in trade agreements, end poverty, and fight bigotry.

"He was very prepared for becoming president because he had a grasp on a lot of world issues and a grasp of conservative approaches to the government — and he simply implemented them," Kessler says in "Trump and Me."

He adds, "Trump really cares about his country. He is a patriot."

Kessler also reveals Trump's most personal side, including his relationship with his wife Melania, family, and his staff.

That was followed by this laughable claim: "It's an unvarnished, unbiased look at Trump that you will not find anywhere else." Oh, please -- if this was really "unvarnished" and "unbiased," Trump would not have permitted it, Kessler would not be taking part, and Newsmax would not be airing it.

Given that Kessler has spent the past couple decades enabling a narcissist, Kessler has no credibility in dubiously accusing Biden of being one.

(Photo: Ronald Kessler and his wife, Pamela, with Donald Trump, from Kessler's 1999 book "The Season.")


Posted by Terry K. at 11:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 28, 2021 12:35 PM EDT
CNS Mocks Biden For Responding To Afghan Suicide Bombing 'Someday' (Though It Happened The Very Next Day)
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com served up three articles on President Biden's remarks after a pair of suicide attacks outside the Kabul airport on Aug. 26. The first was a basic stenography piece by Melanie Arter under the headline "Biden: ‘We Will Hunt You Down and Make You Pay’." The second, written by SusanJones under the headline "Biden: 'These ISIS Terrorists Will Not Win.'," included the objective journalism-violating editorial comment that Jones is known for, touting the suicide attacks as "a propaganda victory at the very least" and after noting that Biden he ordered his commanders to "develop operational plans to strike ISIS-K assets, leadership, and facilities," sneered, "Those plans, then, are just now being developed." Jones also made sure to add Republican criticism: "Long before Biden's disastrous exit from Afghanistan began, a number of politicians and pundits were warning that terrorists are exploiting Biden's lifting of restrictions at the southern U.S. border."

The third, by Craig Bannister, cherry-picked Biden to make him look like a weak leader, under the biased headline "Biden: We Will Respond to the Terrorist Attack, Someday":

Addressing Americans following Thursday’s deadly Kabul Airport bombing, President Joe Biden promised that the U.S. will strike back at the terrorists responsible, at some point.

Biden said that the U.S. will strike back at the terrorists, someday, whenever it chooses to do so:

“I’ve also ordered my commanders to develop operational plans to strike ISIS-K assets, leadership, and facilities.

“We will respond with force and precision at our time, at the place we choose, and the moment of our choosing.”

Last Friday, however, Pres. Biden vowed there would be a “swift” military response to “any attack on our forces or disruption of our operations at the airport”:

The next day, the U.S. launched a drone strike against ISIS-K militants. CNS didn't bother to report on it. It was only after the second day of drone strikes that CNS' Patrick Goodenough felt compelled to write about the response his employer initially mocked:

For the second time in two days, the U.S. military on Sunday carried out an unmanned airstrike targeting suspected ISIS-K terrorists, destroying a vehicle in Kabul which it said posed an imminent threat to the Kabul airport where the U.S.-led evacuation mission is drawing to a close.

“We are confident we successfully hit the target,” U.S. Central Command spokesman U.S. Navy Capt. Bill Urban said in a statement. “Secondary explosions from the vehicle indicated the presence of a substantial amount of explosive material.”

But even then -- apparently under orders to put a negative spin on things -- Goodenough felt compelled to portray the drone strikes as a possible failure by emphasizing the possibilities of civilan casualties:

“We are assessing the possibilities of civilian casualties, though we have no indications at this time,” he said. “We remain vigilant for potential future threats.”

Hours later, Urban in an updated statement said the military was aware of reports of civilian casualties, suggesting they may have resulted from the secondary explosions, rather than the initial strike on the vehicle.

Goodenough did something similar to the Biden administration earlier this year -- complaining that Biden hadn't acted quickly enough in responding to Russian misdeed, then virtually ignored it when Biden did respond the day after his complaint appeared.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:03 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 28, 2021 12:05 AM EDT

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