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Thursday, December 9, 2021
Epic Fail: MRC Tries To Discredit Study Naming It Among 'Toxic Ten' Climate Misinformers
Topic: Media Research Center

We've noted how the Media Research Center freaked out over a report from the Center for Countering Digital Hate that placed it on a list of "Toxic Ten" right-wing operations responsible for much of the Facebook climate-denier content that gets a high amount of interaction -- but it couldn't be bothered to refute any of the claims the study made, let alone supply a link to the study itself so the MRC's readers could judge for themselves. It took nine days after its release for the MRC to actually respond to the report itself, in a Nov. 11 post by Heather Moon and Gabriela Pariseau. Their opening set up the nasty tone of the piece:

The leftist U.K.-based Center for Countering Digital Hate just launched a broadside attack against nine conservative digital outlets with its “Toxic Ten” report. The report aimed to silence entire outlets for writing stories that don’t follow the leftist climate policy narrative.

The hyperbolic report used data out of context to make it appear that users should care about 0.00012 percent of Facebook engagements in the last year. It also equated any discussion of eco-hypocrisy, data manipulation, George Soros or Marxist ideology in relation to climate policy to so-called “disinformation” that must be silenced. 

Such pro-censorship behavior would allow no room for legitimate debate over real issues.

As if Moon and Pariseau are interested in legitimate debate. The fact that they too refused to link to the report is further evidence of that. That was followed by even more attcks on the CCDH:

The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), partly funded by a group with ties to communist China, had huge success in peddling its previous pro-censorship list. It highlighted what CCDH considered the top sources of so-called “disinformation” about vaccines, dubbed the “ Disinformation Dozen.” Then the organization turned its sights to online news media that occasionally cover the climate policy debate. 

The duo are referring to a CCDH report earlier this year on 12 mostly right-wing minformers about COVID vaccines. In a August post attacking Facebook for following CCDH recommendations, Autumn Johnson put "misinformation" in scare quotes, just like Moon and Pariseau are referring to "so-called 'disinformation'"-- part of the MRC's insistence that COVID misinformation is whatever someone thinks it is, not something that can be objectively defined.

Moon and Pariseau recycled old complaint about the CCDH report:

CCDH’s report lacked transparency and used questionable data from a biased source. Further, the method used to find so-called “disinformation” articles was full of prejudices.

The group claimed to analyze 6,983 “climate denial articles” for its study, but declined to provide a specific list of articles included. That’s a huge problem with research transparency. It only included the query that it used to find the articles, which raised multiple concerns.

The query was constructed to look only for articles that mention keywords related to climate change. It then also required the article have one or more keywords from a long list that the authors believe would indicate that it was an article questioning climate change. 

As we noted when Moon bashed another study for the same reason, the MRC frequently conducts "studies" that fail to make underlying data public about the subjective judgments it makes about the content being reviewed, so she has little room to complain about that.

They continued:

One of these was the word “realism,” as though anyone who wishes to debate what is and is not real about climate change is to be silenced. Another example are the words “hypocrite” or “hypocrisy.” Including those words shows that the authors consider any discussion of the excess use of carbon in private jets, large motorcades or enormous mansions by people pushing climate policy should be dismissed, demonetized and shut down.

The duo didn't mention that "climate realism" is actually a euphemism being used by right-wing anti-climate activists to soft-pedal their denialist views. Nor did they explain why attacking someone's alleged hypocrisy on climate issues is relevant to the debate.

They then tried to downplay significance of the report's finding that 69 percent of the Facebook interactions on climate-denial content comes from the "Toxic Ten" webistes:

CCDH does not provide a list of all of the posts evaluated for this study. It only provides a few examples in the report. Given the nature of the study, the logical conclusion is that most are linked posts. Linked posts generate a fraction of the engagement that other posts do. 

CCDH is exaggerating the significance of the climate posts in the overall scope of what happens on Facebook in order to peddle its own agenda that is toxic to free speech and open policy debate. Even a leftist reporter explained that its data on engagement with conservative sites and stories is overblown. Both his piece and an article by Western Journal explained that engagement metrics are an indicator of how controversial a post is rather than how many users are actually reading and being influenced by it.

The duo linked to a August post by Moon hyping that "A new Facebook report proved the @FacebooksTop10 daily list of 10 most-engaged link posts each day is wildly misleading, given that posts with the most views got far more engagement than posts on the list." But a month later, Moon was attacking data that comes from Facebook, declaring that reports about "severely flwed" data coming out of Facebok "discredited any study relating to so-called “misinformation,” alleged radicalization or political polarization that used the Facebook information" and that "Every study that used the flawed data should be retracted until a new analysis has been completed."

The duo further insisted that the study'snumbers be placed into context (which is friendly to their CCDH-bashing arguments), again citing Facebook data she has insisted elsewhere is misleading:

CCDH trotted out what it portrayed as a very concerning number: 709,057 total interactions with the so-called “climate denial articles” between Oct. 2020 and Oct. 2021. But numbers without any context are useless. 

To put that number into context, Facebook noted analysis of Facebook data by SMPerth, a social media marketing education service in Australia, showed that in a 30-day period, the typical Facebook user likes 11 posts, comments on 5 posts and shares one post, for a total of 17 average monthly engagements. 

Performing some basic math with these numbers, we discovered that the 706,057 interactions over a one-year period amounted to approximately 0.00012 percent of the total Facebook interactions over that time, a rather insignificant number. Certainly not a number worth the effort to demonetize and deplatform ten online organizations over.

From there, Moon and Pariseau moved on to citing previous predictions about climate catastrophe allegedly not coming true:

The first words used in the report are, “We are at a climate tipping point.” That is followed up with phrases such as “It is the greatest crisis ever faced by our species.” This language is alarmist by definition. Americans have been warned about being at such a tipping point to the point that it has become tantamount to the story of the boy who cried wolf. 

One example among many was an article from 2006 on a climate change-promoting website saying that we have only a 10-year window to act. That window closed five years ago, yet we are still not facing the climate catastrophe predicted if we failed to act. It is nonsensical to claim that calling out truly alarmist and hyperbolic language as such deserves to be demonetized and deplatformed — especially when using hyperbolic language to do it.

But that report did not say things would immediately get worse if nothing was done in that timeframe. Indeed, climate change has continued since 2016, and 2020 was tied with 2016 as the warmest year on record, so that prediction hasn't exactly been proven wrong.

The duo then returned to COVID misinformation:

The report then goes on to compare so-called climate “disinformation” to “ vaccine and COVID-19 disinformation,” saying that both “obfuscate the truth by overwhelming us with claims and questions designed in bad faith to confuse the debate so action is delayed. ”The authors chose this comparison because of the organization’s previous success with its “Disinformation Dozen” report. However, COVID-19 is a bad comparison for the point the authors tried to make.

The virus data proved “experts” wrong time and time again. Some stories initially labeled conspiracy theories” have borne out to in fact be supportable if not undeniably true, such as the Wuhan lab leak. Comparisons to the climate policy debate favor skeptics rather than the so-called “experts.”

Actually, the "Wuhan lab leak" has not yet proven to be true, in fact, the idea that it originated in a Wuhan food market remains quite viable. Many of the things Moon and Pariseau linked to to claim that people were wrong about things that turned out to be true -- like a Fox News attack piece on Anthony Fauci's purported "contradictions" about the virus -- can be linked to the evolving nature of knowledge about COVID. The duo had to go to far-flung places like a Turkish website and an article by known COVID quack Joseph Mercola, which don't exactly prove their point.

Moon and Pariseau concluded by whining:

CCDH stated in its report that the websites highlighted “are the main producers of content that sows climate change skepticism” pretending there is “more extensive debate than there really is.” This statement relies on the old “97 percent consensus” myth that has been debunked. The fact that the report must dredge up a debunked statement to make its point discredits its own argument.

The duo cited a 2016 Forbes piece written by an instructor at the University of Houston who previously had a career in the oil and gas industry, who claimed that the consensus level is closer to 81 percnet -- but even then, the writer conceded that "support over 80% is strong consensus." Meanwhile, outside the right-wing bubble the MRC resides in, the 97 percent number continues to hold up.

Weirdly, Moon and Pariseau not only did not refute anything the report stated about the MRC -- such as its funding from fossil-fuel interests -- it censored the fact that the MRC was one of the "Toxic Ten." They also didn't mention that another outlet on the list was Russian state media operations like RT and Sputnik News, though they appeared to be trying to write around that by referencing "nine conservative digital outlets" in the lead paragraph.

This is not exactly the takedown of the CCDH report that the MRC thinks it is -- it's more evidence justifying the MRC's place on the CCDH's list.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:15 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, January 4, 2022 11:29 PM EST
WND Trashes 'Natural Immunity' Study That Doesn't Conform To Its Anti-Vaxx Agenda
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A key component of WorldNetDaily's fake-news campaign against COVID vaccines has been obsessing about "natural immunity" -- the idea that the immunity gained from surviving a bout of coronavirus is superior to that gained from a vaccine. Fort months, WND has been publishing articles and columns touting natural immunity:

Now, in medical reality, there is no significant difference between disease-acquired and vaccine-acquired immunity -- and WND largely ignores the inconvenient fact that to obtain "natural immunity," once must become infected with a disease that has killed more than 700,000 people in the U.S. alone.It's a political hijacking of a medical term by anti-vaxxers like those who run WND; as one observer noted, "The standard vocabulary of medical science thus unwittingly undermines the very public health goals it is meant to serve by implicitly endorsing immunity that doesn’t come from vaccines."

So when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a study showing that vaccinated people have better COVID immunity than those with disease-induced immunity and that those who have recovered from a COVID infection should still get a vaccine, WND rushed into action. COVID misinformer Art Moore wrote in a Nov. 2 article:

Amid more than 100 studies showing the superiority of natural COVID-19 immunity over vaccine-produced immunity, the Centers for Disease Control released the results this week of a study claiming to show the opposite.

But Dr. Martin Kulldorf, who has worked on vaccine epidemiology since joining the Harvard faculty nearly two decades ago, is among many epidemiologists who have quickly pointed out the CDC study's fatal flaws.

In an article for the Brownstone Institute, he compared the CDC research with an Israeli study that found people vaccinated for COVID-19 are 27 times more likely to have a symptomatic COVID infection than those previously infected by the virus.

Kulldorf is one of the founders of the Great Barrington Declaration , a document signed by anti-vaxx-adjacent doctors and other activists that pushed "herd immunity" to COVID -- something most virus experts disagreed with -- and it was so poorly vetted that the declaration includes fake names.

Further, that Israeli study Kulldorf referenced raises questions. First of all, it was published not at a peer-reviewed journal but on a preprint server called MedRxiv, where studies that have not undergone peer review can be published. As a fact-checker pointed out, the numbers Kulldorf pushed were based on small sample sizes and still showed that the risk was still quite small:

For instance, the study’s finding that never-infected vaccinees were at higher risk for COVID-19-related hospitalization than the previously infected non-vaccinees was based on no more than about two dozen hospitalizations in either of the comparisons.

[...]

Among a group of more than 32,000 people either previously infected or fully vaccinated between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28, the authors found a 13-fold increased risk for breakthrough infection with the delta variant as opposed to reinfection. The frequency of either event, however, was still very low, as this was based on 238 breakthrough infections, or infections in fully vaccinated individuals, and 19 reinfections among unvaccinated people who had recovered from a previous bout with the virus.

The authors also found a 27-fold increased risk for symptomatic breakthrough infection after full vaccination as opposed to symptomatic reinfection. That was based on 191 infections in vaccinated individuals and eight in previously infected people.

Moore gave space for Kulldorf to attack the CDC study's methodology and portray the Israel study as more "reliable," but omitted the fact that the Israel study has been criticized for selection bias and survivorship bias. Moore made no effort at a fair, balanced and detailed accounting of the CDC study, since his job was to undercut trust in that study because it contradicts WND's anti-vaxx agenda.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:29 PM EST
NEW ARTICLE -- The MRC's School Wars, Part 1: The Agitator
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center hyped battles over critical race theory and LGBT issues in a Virginia school district so its followers would create chaos -- and it could then hype that chaos. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 2:13 PM EST
CNS Freaks Out Over GOP Launching 'Pride Coalition'
Topic: CNSNews.com

Earlier this year, CNSNews.com was angry that the Conservative Political Action Conference wasn't hating LGBT people to its satisfaction. Now it's mad that this failure to hate has crept into the Republican Party itself. A Nov. 8 article by Megan Williams startedo off innocuously:

The Republican National Committee (RNC) announced its partnership with the Log Cabin Republicans at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort this weekend, creating its first “Pride Coalition,” which will invest in and mobilize LGBTQ+ communities ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, Fox News reported.

The Spirit of Lincoln Gala, held at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida was hosted by the Log Cabin Republicans, an organization representing LGBTQ conservatives and their allies, on Saturday night.

Williams balanced that with a couple right-wing gay-haters:

However, some conservatives have expressed their disagreement with the RNC’s new partnership.

Daily Wire contributor Matt Walsh tweeted how the Republican Party was simply adopting the left’s social agenda.

“If the Republican Party is going to fully embrace leftist sexual identity politics, then it officially serves no purpose,” Walsh wrote.

Walsh, if you'll recall, was the homophobe CNS' owner, the Media Research Center, touted when he pretended to move to a county in Virginia for the expresed purpose of spewing anti-LGBT hate at members of the local school board.

By the end of her article, though, Williams had gone into full hate-editorial mode:

Other conservatives have often explained that there is no such thing as a “gay conservative,” because homosexual behavior is contrary to Nature and the natural law, which follows God’s design in the physical world.  “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Gen. 1:27)

Homosexual behavior and its acceptance and promotion contribute to the destruction of the entire natural order, and therefore cannot be conservative but always revolutionary.

This got the attention of the powers that be at CNS. In response, it published a Nov. 11 column by the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins attacking the party for creating the coalition while pretending he's not as homophobic as he actually is:

A good number of people, myself included, have no problem if people who identify as gay or lesbian want to join the Republican Party. What we object to is RNC leaders hanging a flashing neon sign over the entrance saying, "We support the LGBT cause," because we don't. The GOP platform made that abundantly clear in 2016 and again in 2020. And if prominent Republicans who live that lifestyle are saying "we're not going to make sexual orientation be the be-all, end-all, center of everything that we do," then what exactly is the point of this PR campaign? Certainly not to endear the RNC to parents, the GOP's greatest new ally, or longtime conservatives, who've been fighting for decades to keep this extremism at bay.

[...]

Obviously, there are Republican leaders, many of whom I know and respect, who haven't made their sexuality a defining issue. But the sad reality is, they can't help but open the door for others who will. History shows that statements like this -- even innocent ones -- have laid the groundwork for sweeping change. And while people at the Log Cabin Republicans or RNC may not have that intention, it will almost certainly be the outcome if more conservatives don't stand up and remind Republican leaders that we already have one Democratic Party. We don't need two.

That was quickly followed by an article from CNS managing editor and chief homophobe Michael W. Chapman rehashing Perkins' column and throwing in some additional hate from Walsh and bashing an openly gay GOP player:

Responding to gay Republican Richard Grenell, a former top Trump administration official who attended the Log Cabin gala, Walsh tweeted, "I’m not going to ask permission privately before stating my opinion. I think 'gay pride' is leftist sexual identity politics bulls**t and has no place in any conservatism I recognize. It also won’t succeed in attracting the voters you’re going after. But don’t let that stop you."

At the gala, Grenell gleefully denounced conservative Pat Buchanan and his 1992 culture war speech at the Republican National Convention.

In that speech, Buchanan defended the family, real marriage, parental rights, religious freedom, school choice, the police, a strong national defense, and the right to life from conception to natural death. Buchanan also denounced abortion, pornography, and so-called gay marriage.

CNS has previously attacked Grenell, though it took a while because it was so reluctant to criticize anything Trump did. And Chapman failed to disclose that his boss, CNS editor Terry Jeffrey, worked for Buchanan's presidential campaigns in 1992 and 1996.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:30 AM EST
Wednesday, December 8, 2021
MRC Loses It Over Being Names To 'Toxic Ten' List Of Climate Misinformers
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center can't handle criticism of its own work. So when the Center for Countering Digital Hate listed the MRC and NewsBusters on its list of the "Toxic Ten" right-wing purveyors of misinformation and denial about climate change, the MRC unsurprisingly went ballistic. Joseph Vazquez used a Nov. 2 post to lash out at the group and tout his boss, Brent Bozell, going full Godwin over the report:

The U.K.-based Center for Countering Digital Hate wants to censor organizations that disagree with it on climate policy. It released an absurd report attacking the Media Research Center and eight other conservative organizations in an attempt to shut them down online.

The leftist group behind the attack is led by a socialist who co-authored a book about “how to defeat” conservative ideas. The group promotes leftist eco-extremism, but behind all that are its deep ties to Communist China. The CCDH is funded by a leftist eco-group that financed a “greening” scheme for Communist China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

The propaganda report headlined “THE TOXIC TEN: How ten fringe publishers fuel 69% of digital climate change denial” includes three recommendations to censor the organizations the group doesn’t agree with. These include: “Stop monetizing” their content; stop allowing them to buy ads and it even wants social media firms to “comprehensively label” what it calls “climate denial.”

MRC founder and President L. Brent Bozell slammed the attack. “Digital brownshirts are attacking conservative organizations for daring to have an honest debate on climate policy. These anti-free speech bigots want to shut down anyone who dares to disagree with them. Calling for more biased fact-checks as a way of silencing scientific debate is insane. This is another typical left wing cancel culture attempt borne out of anti-conservative bigotry. Stop Big Tech Cancel Culture!”

Vazquez not only did not rebut anything in the report, he didn't even provide a link to it so his readers could judge for themselves.

Later that day, MRC executive Tim Graham rushed out a column attacking the report, dismissing the CCDH as a "British socialist group," smearing the group's leader Imran Ahmed as an "ayatollah" and complaining that it wants encourage advertisers from patronizing these operations: "Once again, the Left wants to win debates by stopping any debate from happening." Graham seems to hvae forgotten that the MRC has an entire operation dedicated to letting its followers attack advertisers who support non-right-wing outlets - and, thus ,stopping debate.

Like Vazquez, Graham refused to link to the report to readers could judge for themselves. He didn't address the report, but he did complain about MRC-related images in it:

My column on Climate Depot founder Marc Morano’s book Green Fraud was pictured under the Daily Wire section of the report. The MRC section is illustrated with a Joseph Vazquez article on NewsBusters about...Marc Morano. He’s apparently Digital Hater Number One.

In my Morano column, I noted that the Climate Panic lobby is never held accountable for failed predictions of doom from decades ago. In one PBS series called Race to Save the Planet, Meryl Streep claimed “By the year 2000 -- that's less than 10 years away -- the earth's climate will be warmer than it's been in over 100,000 years. If we don't do something, there'll be enormous calamities in a very short time.” 

In 2021, that can be defined as climate misinformation.

Graham didn't mention that Morano -- a former co-worker of Graham's at the MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com -- is not mentioned in the report at all outside of those screenshots, which puts the lie to his claim that the report portrays Morano as "Digital Hater Number One." He also didn't mention that Morano is not a climatologist or has any other related scientific background; his Climate Depot has received funding from fossil-fuel interests and, thus, can't be taken seriously as an independent, legitimate view of climate change, since his paycheck depends on his denying it. Graham's column touting Morano's book uncritically repeats his arguments and doesn't challenge them at all, and Vazquez's NewsBusters post was another hagiography, touting a fawning interivew with him about "An Inconvenient Truth after its 15th anniversary."

Graham railed against the report for purportedly trying to censor opposing views -- but views that oppose the right-wing climate-denial narrative are never allowed to stand un-attacked at the MRC. Who's the real censor here?

The MRC found a friendly Republican congressman to parrot its attacks on the CCDH, as described in a Nov. 4 post by Alexander Hall:

Congressman Greg Steube (R-FL) raked the U.K.-based Center for Countering Digital Hate over the coals for its call to silence conservative organizations.

Representative Steube slammed the “CCP-sympathizing socialists” of the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), who he summarized “have made it their mission to suppress the facts and silence conservative organizations,” in a Nov. 3 tweet. The CCDH called to censor organizations that disagree with its radical leftist agenda on climate policy. CCDH listed the Media Research Center, along with eight other conservative outlets, among the so-called “toxic ten” sources condemned for not kowtowing to leftist politics. Steube proclaimed: “It’s past time for them to be held accountable for the left-wing front groups that they are. We cannot stand for this.”

Steube tweeted a blog from NewsBusters featuring Media Research Center Founder and President Brent Bozell who torched the study’s creators as “Digital brownshirts” who are “attacking conservative organizations for daring to have an honest debate on climate policy.”

Surprisingly, Hall did link to the CCDH report, but he failed to refute any of its contents.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:38 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, December 9, 2021 9:18 AM EST
Newsmax Plugs Newsmax-Published Book By Newsmax Host
Topic: Newsmax

An Oct. 26 Newsmax article weirdly credited to "Newsmax Wires" states (bolding in original):

Sean Spicer warns that the Biden-Harris administration is not only the most progressive administration in history, it is also the most destructive to the nation.

The Newsmax host and former Trump White House press secretary is out with his latest bestseller today, "Radical Nation: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s Dangerous Plan for America."

"Radical Nation," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says, "presents a clear and concise understanding of the direction we are headed."

In "Radical Nation," Spicer writes: "We need to understand how wrongheaded, destructive, and dangerous the current Biden-Harris agenda is. We must present a strong opposition to the many deluded and divisive notions this president has put forward."

Apparently, Newsmax press releases are released on "Newsmax Wires."

Newsmax can be expected to promote a book by one of its hosts, but it left out just how vertical and self-serving this operation is: Spicer's book was published by Humanix Books, which is owned by Newsmax.

In short: Newsmax promoted a book by a Newsmax host that was published by Newsmax. That achieves astronomical levels of self-dealing, and portraying this corporate press release as "news" is utterly dishonest.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:52 PM EST
CNS Columnist Joins The MRC's Misinformation Scare-Quote Army
Topic: CNSNews.com

The Media Reserarch Center's disdain for Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen for not being the kind of whistleblower they prefer -- that is, a right-winger like them -- spilled over to its "news" division, CNSNews.com. The Heritage Foundation's Lora Ries huffed in a Oct. 8 column:

Tuesday’s Senate hearing with Facebook “whistleblower” Frances Haugen was part of a slick, well-produced rollout of a former Facebook employee, complete with a prerecorded and well-timed “expose” on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” harmonious media cheerleading, and paid Democratic consultants.

With this razzle-dazzle, the witness and her handlers want the audience to use the pretext of child protection to increase government power over Facebook, resulting in increased censorship, which likely will inure to the detriment of conservatives in the long run.

To identify—and avoid—the key takeaway of the hearing, members of Congress and the American public need to see through the glossy performance and focus on Haugen’s former role at Facebook and what she advocated for in the hearing; namely, more censorship of “misinformation.”

Note those scare quotes around the word "misinformation," which indicates that she has bought into the MRC's narrative that there is no objective definition of the word and that lies are free speech. Indeed, she goes off on that later in her column:

But government should not encourage or expand the current favorite tool of the left, companies such as Facebook, and Haugen herself; namely, identifying and removing “misinformation.

[...]

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) advocated for her legislation to hold digital platforms accountable for health misinformation posted online. Haugen lamented that Facebook does not have the capability to prevent COVID-19 misinformation because it overrelies on artificial intelligence to catch such content, and AI only catches a small fraction of it.

Americans should have visceral reactions against efforts to label and censor “misinformation.” COVID-19 and the 2020 election have shown that such labels are often proven wrong and that “misinformation” is a euphemism for content the left does not like or want shared.

Two prime examples were the Wuhan, China lab being the source of COVID-19 and the Hunter Biden laptop. News of the latter was likely suppressed by Haugen’s own team.

Actually, the "Wuhan lab leak" hypothesis has not yet proven to be true and the idea that it originated in a Wuhan food market remains quite viable, and the Hunter Biden laptop story remains murky.

Ries concluded with a reinforcement of thenarrative: "Americans need to see through this setup of a 'whistleblower' hearing and avoid being tricked into weaponizing so-called 'misinformation' labeling and censorship." She didn't explain why dubious stories that advance right-wing narratives must be trusted without question and shouldn't correctly be described as misinformation.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:45 PM EST
Joel Hirschhorn COVID Misinformation Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

COVID misinformer Joel Hirschhorn is stil at it. In his Oct. 28 WorldNetDaily column, he insisted that the official number of deaths from COVID are overblown: "U.S. federal and state agencies have, for the most part, been very liberal in declaring deaths as COVID ones. This has resulted from both financial incentives, political motivations (maintaining public fear and acceptance of authoritarian government actions) and procedural government guidance." He added:

In other words, many people, especially the elderly, could have died with COVID but not from COVID. They may have died from their underlying medical problems and weakened immune system more than effects directly associated with COVID infection. Some die because they have been given the very expensive approved drug remdesivir that causes acute liver and kidney problems and has a death rate of over 25%. Yet their deaths go into the COVID death column.

In fact, remdesivir is not killing people, and patients must undergo kidney and liver tests prior to treatment to make sure it is safe for them. Hirschhorn is simply repeating that false claim to fearmonger about treatment. Later in his column, Hirschhorn wrote:

Receiving major attention on alternative news sites in October 2021 are the views of Dr. Joseph Mercola that will now be summarized. He has been a strong proponent for explaining non-infection deaths on the basis of COVID vaccines.

"The number of Americans who have died between January 2021 and August 2021 is 16% higher than 2018, the pre-COVID year with the highest all-cause mortality, and 18% higher than the average death rate between 2015 and 2019. Adjusted for population growth of about 0.6% annually, the mortality rate in 2021 is 16% above the average and 14% above the 2018 rate."

Mercola asked the key question: "Did COVID-19 raise the death toll despite mass vaccination, or are people dying at increased rates because of it?"

[...]

To recap, Mercola's reporting provided different sources to support the range of 82,800 to 207,000 for vaccine deaths to date.

The fact that Hirschhorn is treating anything from a documented quack like Mercola seriously is a reason to never take Hirschhorn seriously. Hirschhorn then wrote:

The September 2021 study "Government's Own Data Reveals that at Least 150,000 Probably DEAD in U.S. Following COVID-19 Vaccines," by Jessica Rose and Mathew Crawford, is the most detailed and impressive effort to determine vaccine deaths. It has been criticized by FDA: "Although under reporting is a limitation in VAERS, with regard to COVID-19 vaccine safety monitoring, there currently is not evidence to suggest it would underestimate the amount of COVID-19 vaccine-related deaths to such a large degree." This author disagrees with FDA. Here is the official view of CDC: "'Underreporting' is one of the main limitations of passive surveillance systems, including VAERS. The term, underreporting refers to the fact that VAERS receives reports for only a small fraction of actual adverse events." As you will see below, the 150,000 figure for vaccine deaths is a low, conservative estimate.

This is the summary of its findings: "Analysis of the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) database can be used to estimate the number of excess deaths caused by the COVID vaccines. A simple analysis shows that it is likely that over 150,000 Americans have been killed by the current COVID vaccines as of Aug 28, 2021." This is close to the high end of the range given above.

An actual fact-checker talked to actual government experts, who ruled the study bogus:

An FDA spokesperson told Reuters in an email that it “strongly disagrees” with the analysis put forth in the report.

They added that the claim 150,000 people have died in the United States as a result of COVID-19 vaccines is not accurate and is based on data from VAERS that was not properly interpreted.

The spokesperson said: “Although under reporting is a limitation in VAERS, with regard to COVID-19 vaccine safety monitoring, there currently is not evidence to suggest it would underestimate the amount of COVID-19 vaccine-related deaths to such a large degree.”

The FDA and CDC have multiple systems in place in addition to VAERS to monitor vaccine safety. “A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records, has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines,” the FDA told Reuters.

Hirschhorn went on to write:

Lastly, it is relevant to note what the eminent medical researcher Dr. Judy Mikovits has said. Her medical science credentials are impeccable, including a long stint at the National Cancer Institute. Her views may seem extreme to some people, but they are based on a deep scientific understanding and are consistent with the highly frightening forecasts of other scientists and physicians.

She said: "I just can't even imagine a recipe for anything other than what I would consider mass murder on a scale where 50 million people will die in America from the vaccine." Time will tell whether this dire prediction will materialize as more people get the shot. The shot that kills.

Actually, Mikovits' medical science credentials are the farthest thing from "impeccable" -- she's the woman behind the discredited COVID conspiracy theory film "Plandemic," and another quack Hirschhorn is in league with that should make people doubt his own claims.

Hirschhorn then fearmongered about booster shots: "Since the start of the third booster shot on July 30, the COVID death rate in Israel has been reported to have jumped from about .15 to 3.5 per million in early September. Is it possible that a similar negative impact will happen in the U.S.?" In fact, severe cases of COVID among vaccinated people declined after they received a booster shot.

Hirschhorn pushed his usual, unsupported claims about how "Public health officials failed to promote early wide use of generics and foolishly pushed mass vaccination that has not proven effective. The former could have prevented over 600,000 infection deaths." Again: Given who Hirschhorn is in league with, there's no reason to believe that.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 AM EST
Tuesday, December 7, 2021
MRC Aghast That Superman Is No Longer A Straight White American
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has made it clear that the only allowable depiction of Superman is one of a straight white American (even though he's an illegal alien from Krypton). Gabriel Hays called in his favorite right-wing ex-Superman to help him sling some hate at the idea of a bisexual Superman in an Oct. 12 post:

Take it from a real man of steel, this new bisexual Superman that has generated controversy in recent days is in no way brave or heroic, but conformist. The fact that DC Comics has decided to make a bisexual Superman shows that comic book creators aren’t pushing the envelope but just hopping onto the general cultural “bandwagon.”

That’s former Superman Dean Cain’s assessment of the latest update to the beloved caped crusader. 

The new bisexual Superman, named Jon Kent, is actually the son of the original Superman, or Clark Kent's (Kal-El) son. The first issue involving the son of Superman showing off his bisexual preferences will hit store shelves on November 9 and is titled Superman: Son of Kal-El.

Of course, Cain, who played the comic book legend in the popular nineties TV show Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, was not impressed. In fact, he told the hosts of Fox News Channel’s Fox and Friends: First that this bisexual Superman is lame and most definitely not a “bold and new direction” for the character, as the media hailed the comic. 

“They said it’s a bold new direction, I say they’re bandwagoning,” the 55-year-old actor and Hollywood conservative said on the FNC program.

Yeah, it’s bandwagoning. For the last several years, practically every piece of Hollywood or entertainment media has promoted a non-heterosexual theme. Even DC Comics has broken this ground before, announcing that their current rendition of Batman’s trusty sidekick Robin is bisexual as well.

Yes, Hays freaked out about that too. And Cain is no "real man of steel" -- he's the actual conformist by insisting on viewing the franchise through his biased right-wing lens. If he didn't, he wouldn't be given any more of those Fox News hits that make up the bulk of what's left of his acting career these days.

Even worse, Superman's tagline is being altered, with "the American way" being switched to "a better tomorrow." Lydia Switzer had the outrage honors in an Oct. 20 post, centered on a CNN conversation between Brian Stelter and John Berman:

The conversation then turned to the new Superman, the son of original Superman Clark Kent. Jon Kent is bisexual and reportedly cares about the climate crisis and refugees. The Superman motto, “Truth, justice, and the American way,” has also received a rewrite: “Truth, justice, and a better tomorrow.”

“That’s days of programming on Fox News,” mocked Berman.

Switzer didn't that characterization of Fox News' handling of the story, which is, in fact, pretty much what happened. She continued:

According to Stelter, “the American way” as an ideal is ethno-nationalistic – defining America in terms of ethnicity. Even American values are racist. Of course he would prefer something “vague and simple” for the woke reimagining of a superhero “messiah figure.” 

Berman and Stelter then continued to demean those who dislike this change. “Are you against a better tomorrow?...Tonight at 9:00 P.M,” Berman joked. 

The message is clear: the leftist hosts on CNN couldn’t be happier about the liberal takeover of culture, even at the expense of the values of one of America’s most treasured heroes.

But as Wonkette pointed out, Superman's motto in the original comic did not mention "the American way," and even the late 1940s Superman film serial referenced only "Truth, Tolerance and Justice." The "American way" phrase didn't appear until the 1950s TV series.

Hays returned in an Oct. 21 post to parrot the whining of a DC Comics colorist -- not even a writer or story creator, just a colorist --  qutting in manufactured disgust:

Perhaps DC Comics’ woke agenda will be its own kryptonite. One can only hope.

In the latest chapter of the comic book company’s Marxist rehabilitation of Superman, a gentleman who actually works on the comic book illustrations for the Man of Steel is quitting the company. He can’t take the woke BS anymore, in his own words saying the company is “ruining these characters.”

Well, that’s an understatement.

[...]

Anyways, one brave man decided he couldn’t put up with this anymore. DC Comics Colorist Gabe Eltaeb said he will not be renewing his contract with DC Comics.

Eltaeb announced his decision during a YouTube livestream video with comic book creator Ethan Van Sciver, a former DC Comics employee. Eltaeb told his co-host and the audience, “I’m finishing out my contract with DC. I’m tired of this shit, I’m tired of them ruining these characters; they don’t have a right to do this.”

Geez, we’re sorry to hear that. But we’re also grateful that Eltaeb is open about this. It’s nice to hear that some people who work in these pop culture labs aren’t mindless proggies.

[...]

Eltaeb mentioned that the last straw was when they changed the motto. “What really pissed me off was saying truth, justice, and a better world. F–k that, it was Truth, Justice, and the American way,” he said.

He explained that changing the line was a sign of disrespect and ingratitude towards great Americans, men like his grandfather who served in World War II. “My Grandpa almost died in World War II; we don’t have a right to destroy shit that people died for to give us,” he said. “It’s a bunch of fucking nonsense.”

Hays had to further enshrine Eltaeb's victimhood by transcribing his profane rant:

They call us bigots and racist and shit. I would ask them, find me in the fucking mainstream, not on the fringes, one fucking book, one fucking t-shirt, one movie that says that leftism is bad and conservatism is good, find it for me. They fucking won’t. They’re not letting people have a voice, they’re the fucking bigots.

Yep, Eltaeb is definitely not a writer. But he is the kind of self-made victim that the MRC loves.

Hays then signed off: "Geez, clearly that's a man who’s extremely frustrated with today’s media landscape. Hopefully, there are more like him who will push back before they start cancelling things that are even more important to Americans than Superman."

Apparently, Eltaeb and Hays believe that right-wing self-victimhood is "the American way" too. 


Posted by Terry K. at 8:48 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, December 7, 2021 9:04 PM EST
WND's Root: NFL Needs Racists And Homophobes Like Jon Gruden
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The Media Research Center isn't the only ConWeb component to  be upset that NFL coach Jon Gruden lost his job for racist and homophobic remarks in old emails. Wayne Allyn Root underwent much wailing and gnashing of teeth in his Oct. 18 WorldNetDaily column:

The NFL has betrayed us again, this time with the God-awful firing and public lynching of Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden.

But why should the way the NFL treated Gruden surprise anyone? After all, the NFL is always wrong about everything.

Actually, it's clear the NFL's whole goal in life is to throw their own customers under the bus while courting people who have never watched NFL football and never will.

Remember the recent TV ads reporting that "(t)he NFL is gay … lesbian … bisexual … transgender." Really? Is that who sits in the stands? Is that who lives and dies with NFL football? Is that who bets on games?

The people who love football, who live and die with NFL football, are overwhelmingly just like me. And we're just like Gruden. We're rough, tough, macho, disciplined, take-no-crap, patriotic, primarily white, male, middle-class Trump voters. There, I said it. Like it or not, that's the raw truth.

The NFL's main customer base is Trump voters.

Root somehow worked Hillary Clinton into his weird outrage:

Hey, NFL, want to know what your own customers think? We don't care what Gruden said in private emails from 10 years ago. This was a witch hunt. This was a shameful public lynching of a Super Bowl-winning coach. Somebody had it out for Gruden. They wanted to ruin his life. They wanted to end his career.

I'm guessing the guilty party is the pathetic, bleeding-heart, liberal NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell who was filled with rage when he found out Gruden called him a "pu–y."

Gruden made a big mistake. He should have sat down with his team's owner and said, "Hell no, I won't resign over words, in a private email, from a decade ago. I'm coming out of the closet. I self-identify as Hillary Clinton."

Those should have been your magic words, Jon. "I am Hillary Clinton. I am woman, hear me roar." End of witch hunt. You'd have been celebrated the next day for being the first openly transgender coach. They'd have thrown you a ticker-tape parade down the Vegas Strip. ESPN would have awarded you an ESPY Award for courage. The Raiders would have built you your own bathroom.

As a bonus, the NFL would have erased your emails. Clinton erased 33,000 emails upon getting a subpoena from Congress. Not a word was ever leaked from Clinton's 33,000 emails. The media blacked out the story. Gruden just needed to become a liberal woman.

Root concluded by ranting: "This was a shameful public lynching of Gruden. It's time to look at the emails and texts of everyone in the NFL. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." But if that is taken to its logical extreme, there are no longer any standards, and people will do whatever with impunity. Root never addresses that.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:31 PM EST
Newsmax Writer Plugs His Old Employer
Topic: Newsmax

An Oct. 19 Newsmax article by John Gizzi seized on an obscure anniversary to go off on a tangent about a conservative opinion publication:

Last week was the 35th anniversary of the storied summit in Reykjavik, Iceland, between then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, then-General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

In what initially was considered a failure when both men left without an arms agreement, Reykjavik soon became a synonym for the beginning of the end of the Cold War. 

Three years later, the USSR split like a giant amoeba and Gorbachev became the last leader of the Communist colossus.

Little known is the role that Human Events, the nation’s oldest conservative news weekly played in the events of the summit of Oct. 11-12, 1986. 

Founded in 1944, Human Events was the nation’s oldest conservative publication — and Reagan’s favorite, something on which biographers of the 40th president universally agree.

"I’m addicted to it," then-former President Reagan told me during a visit to his Los Angeles office in June of 1992.

It's not until the very endof his article the Gizzi finally hinted at the reason for his piece: "John Gizzi was a correspondent and later political editor of Human Events from 1979-2013."

The print version of Human Events ceased publication in 2013, moving to a limited online schedule. The website was purchased by new owners in 2019 with the goal of pushing it farther right. CNSNews.com editor in chief Terry Jeffrey is a former Human Events editor.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:37 PM EST
CNS Flip-Flops On The Johnson Amendment To Own The Libs
Topic: CNSNews.com

As part of its efforts to get a Republican elected Virginia governor, CNSNews.com tried to play gotcha in an Oct. 19 article by Megan Williams:

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley questioned whether Vice President Kamala Harris deliberately tried to violate the law by creating a video played to black Virginia churchgoers, urging them to vote for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe. 

"The Biden Administration has to enforce our tax laws, including rules governing 501(c)3 organizations, including churches," Turley told Laura Ingraham on Monday's "The Ingraham Angle." "Now part of those regulations include what’s called the Johnson Amendment, and that prohibits direct politicking in churches in order to be tax-exempt."

Williams added a Turley quote in a transcriopt: "So, if churches play this video, they would be in violation of federal law. If the White House participated in this plan to have direct politicking, they would have assisted in that violation. Now that puts them in a rather awkward position since their administration has to enforce this very rule."

But Williams left buried in the transcript another statement by Turley:

What’s interesting, Laura, is President Trump really did not like the Johnson Amendment, insisted that he was going to get rid of it. 

“And when he did, many Democrats, many legal experts cried foul, and they said this is destroying the separation of church and state, this is encouraging the violation of federal law. And yet, after this video played, there was nothing but crickets from many of those areas.”

But if Trump got rid of the Johnson Amendment, why is Turley accusing Harris of violating something that doesn't exist? That's because Trump didn't actually get rid of it; he just issued an executive order that basically didn't do anything and left the statute on the books.

This was followed by an Oct. 27 column by Star Parker, who declared: "According to some opinions, Harris' politicking for McAuliffe in churches violates either or both the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits tax-exempt entities such as churches from electioneering, and the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal government officials from using their position to influence the outcome of an election."

But like it was with the Logan Act, CNS is being hypocritical about the Johnson Amendment: the desire to see it enforced depends on which party is controlling the White House. Indeed, it aggressively cheered efforts by Trump and its fellow conservative to blunt to repeal the amendment. Let's look at how that was done:

  • An August 2016 article by Susan Jones touted then-candidate Trump telling evangelicalpastors that "we're going to get your voice back" because, he said, "he told his people to add repeal of the Johnson amendment into the Republican Party Platform."
  • A column the next day by Alliance Defending Freedom's Erik Stanley declared that "Pulpit freedom won’t truly exist in America until something is done about the Johnson Amendment."
  • An October 2016 column by Family Research Ceouncil president Tony Perkins huffed: "Today, many pastors and churches have been intimidated into silence by guidance from the Internal Revenue Service that relies on the Johnson Amendment to repress speech from the pulpit. This is not right, and it must change."
  • A November 2016 column by John Stonestreet gushed that in a meeting with Trump and his aides, it was clear that one of the definitions of "religious liberty" they had was "=repealing the Johnson Amendment."
  • A February 2017 article by Melanie Arter touted how then-Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said he endorses "Trump’s plan to get rid of the Johnson amendment, which bars pastors from endorsing political candidates from the pulpit." Another article that month highlighted Trump's claimed desire to, in the words of Vice President Mike Pence, "take action on the Johnson amendment."
  • A column that month by Bill Donohue lamented that Trump was being "criticized for his desire to repeal the Johnson Amendment" and attacked one critic's claim that it might open a "dark money loophole for political donations."

In May 2017, Craig Bannister hyped Trump's executive order that "directs the IRS to exercise maximum enforcement discretion to alleviate the burden of the Johnson Amendment" and how "Priests, nuns, the largest women’s public policy group in the U.S., and the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. all gave thanks" for the order -- though, as noted above, it didn't really do anything.

That was followed by Arter gushing over Trump's signing of the order, which she falsely claimed repealed the amendment:

President Donald Trump marked the National Day of Prayer on Thursday by signing an executive order repealing the Johnson Amendment, which targets religious leaders who engage in political speech by threatening their tax-exempt status.

“For too long, the federal government has used the power of the state as a weapon against people of faith - bullying and even punishing Americans for following their religious beliefs,” the president said.

A column by Stonestreet, however, surprisingly admitted that Trump's executive order was largely for show: "the Johnson Amendment is bad law, but it’s rarely, if ever, enforced. So the order effectively tells the IRS to continue doing what it is already doing." A column by Ryan T. Andersaon a few days later similarly conceded that "legislation is required to actually address the Johnson Amendment—which isn’t the prime priority on religious liberty."

Nevertheless, Arter returned to gushing in a June 2017 article that in a speech, Trump "talked about how he repealed the Johnson Amendment, which made prohibited nonprofits - including churches - from endorsing political candidates and participating in political campaigns or risk losing their nonprofit status." A separate article the following uncritically quoted Trump saying, "I just signed an executive order following -- and this is something that makes me very happy and very proud -- following through on my campaign pledge to stop the Johnson Amendment from interfering with your First Amendment rights."

The confusion over what exactly Trump did, and CNS' failure to consistently report the facts, continued:

  • An October 2017 article by Arter uncritically quoted Trump claiming that his executive order "followed through on one of my most important campaign promises to so many of you - to prevent the horrendous Johnson Amendment from interfering with your 1st Amendment rights."
  • A February 2018 article by Craig Bannister quoted Pence saying that " we’ll continue to free up the pulpits of this country by repealing the Johnson Amendment, because freedom shouldn’t stop at the doors of our churches, synagogues, or places of worship.”
  • A May 2018 article by Arter uncritically quoted Trump: "Last year on this day, I took executive action to prevent the Johnson Amendment - a disaster- from interfering with our First Amendment rights. I was so proud of that."
  • Patrick Goodenough similarly quoted Trump saying in August 2018, “We have stopped the Johnson Amendment from interfering with your First Amendment rights,” though he did parenthetically add: "(Trump signed an executive order in May 2017 instructing the Treasury Department not to enforce the provision against religious organizations. Initiatives are underway in Congress to repeal it.)"
  • That same month, a column by Alveda King listed "Rescind the Johnson Amendment" among Trump's campaign promises, misleadingly suggesting he has fulfilled it.
  • In a May 2019 article, Arter uncritically wrote that "Trump said he’s most proud of repealing the Johnson Amendment, a provision in the U.S. tax code that prohibits non-profit organizations from endorsing or opposing political candidates," adding Trump's false claim that "we got rid of the Johnson Amendment. That’s a big thing."

Why would CNS want a Democrat prosecuted under a law it and its allies want repealed? Because they're a bunch of hypocrites.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:18 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, December 7, 2021 1:31 AM EST
Monday, December 6, 2021
MRC Crams A Lot Of 'Big Tech' Victimhood Into A Single Post
Topic: Media Research Center

Alec Schemmel puts every bit of the Media Research Center's "big tech" victim narrative he could muster into a Sept. 21 post:

Big Tech overwhelmingly censors Republican members of Congress by a rate of 53-to-1 compared to congressional Democrats.

That censorship has hit Republican Senators Rand Paul (KY) and Ron Johnson (WI), Rep. Jim Jordan (OH) and other Republicans in Congress. Facebook and Twitter have used their censorship mechanisms at least 30 separate times against Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA), including five Twitter suspensions and the flagging of at least 24 tweets with some type of warning label. Democrats have had just one member from the last two U.S. congressional delegations censored.

YouTube has deleted content posted by Senators Rand Paul (KY) and Ron Johnson (KY) and suspended both their accounts.

But besides censoring those Republicans already in Congress, Big Tech has also reportedly taken measures that impact new Republicans attempting to join the legislative body. Republican candidates running for U.S. Congress have been censored at least 15 times since November of 2019. Free Speech America could not find a single example of Democrat candidates facing censorship.

As is usual for the MRC, Schemmel is being deliberately dishonest. Social media did not "censor" these people; they simply enforced their pre-existing rules, polices and terms of service on their users. (The MRC, normally a supporter of private property rights, has tried hard to avoid acknowledging that these are private companies that have the right to set policies and enforce them.)  Schemmel offers no evidence to support his assertion mainstream conservatives are exclusively being "censored" for expressing mainstream conservative views. While he claims that "Free Speech America could not find a single example of Democrat candidates facing censorship," he provides no documentation to prove that FSA made any actual effort to find those examples. After all, the MRC has no interest in demonstrating ideological parity on this issue. It may very well be that, unlike Republicans, Democrats care about following the terms of service of social media operations -- something Schemmel has apparently not considered.

Further, Schemmel portraying Greene has a prolific "victim" of "censorship" is particularly dishonest. The MRC loves to do that while, ironically, censoring the extremist views and offensive behavior that repeatedly get her in trouble with social media. Again, it serves the MRC's narrative better to not to tell the full truth about her.

Schemmel went on to complain:

Facebook is aiding incumbent candidates, according to a Sept. 13, article. The Wall Street Journal uncovered internal Facebook files indicating the platform was keeping a so-called “whitelist” of powerful figures that it was “shielding” from its typical censorship procedures. “While the program included most government officials, it didn’t include all candidates for public office,” The WSJ reported, “at times effectively granting incumbents in elections an advantage over challengers.”

Schemmel didn't mention that one of the chief beneficiaries of that Facebook policy was Donald Trump, who was repeatedly given a pass to violate the platform's rules until the Jan. 6 insurrection demonstrated his violaions could no longer be ignored -- something the MRC censored in a separate post on it. Also, it was later revealed that the Journal's source for this and other claims made about Facebook is Frances Haugen, whom the MRC is trying to denigrate for not being a right-winger.

And it wouldn't be the MRC if Schemmel didn't portray Donald Trump as the ultimate victim:

Big Tech began labeling virtually everything being posted by former President Trump and his campaign around the 2020 election. Platforms dispensed one of several censorship labels used to challenge and suppress information. The former president was eventually universally deplatformed by Big Tech and is still fighting to return.

Note that Schemmel is completely silent on the nature of the Trtump content that was "censored" -- because he knows that Trump was spreading lies and conspiracy theories about election fraud. Schemmel -- as MRC writers are wont to do -- conflates merely labeling a Trump post as false as "censorship," even though in most cases the original post could still be read.

A slight amount of comfort can be taken in that Schemmel didn't repeat the MRC-promulgated lie that Trump was removed from social media because he called for "peace" after the Jan. 6 riot (which he helped incite).


Posted by Terry K. at 9:16 PM EST
CNS' Donohue: Columbus Day Justified Because Native Americans Were Violent Thugs
Topic: CNSNews.com

Leading up to Columbus Day, CNSNews.com published a three-part series by dishonest Catholic Bill Donohue on why Americans should celebrate Columbus Day enthusiastically and without guilt.

In his Oct. 6 column, Donohue complained about Howard Zinn and other professors who stray from the narrative that Columbus was a univerally good person:

The fact is that many professors, especially in the humanities and social sciences, hate Western civilization; they have a particular animus against the United States. That this is happening at a time when many poor people from Latin America are crashing our borders is perverse. Yet the  pampered professors still keep railing against the U.S. They just don't get it.

[...]

To top things off, those who are bashing Columbus are simultaneously lauding the legacy of Indigenous peoples. Yet a closer, and independent, examination of their historical record raises serious questions about their assigned "oppressed" status. But given the Manichean dualism that is operative—the good guys are non-whites and the bad guys are white—the outcome is predictable.

On Oct. 7, Donohue railed at the National Education Association for favoring changing Columbus Day to Indigtenous People's Day:

This is not a healthy situation. A country that cannot agree on whom to honor is in trouble. Worse, a country whose public officials take no action against those who destroy statues on public land of those who have made significant contributions to American society are sending the wrong message. When a nation's historically renowned figures become part of our throw-away culture, it does not bode well for instilling patriotism in young people.

Judging past historical figures through today's lens will likely mean that some of those in favor of excising tributes to legendary persons will themselves be erased from history. So be it.

We at the Catholic League are taking off Monday, in honor of Christopher Columbus. Sorry NEA, you carry no weight with us.

Donoue used his Oct. 8 column to serve up what he promised two days earlier would be "a politically incorrect look at Indigenous Americans," which started off this way:

Just as bad, some promote the idea that virtually all the Indians were kindly souls who respected the land and treated each other with dignity. This is a romantic fairy tale having no basis in history. The truth is that some were gentle while others were brutal. 

It is also part of the conventional wisdom that almost all the Indians were massacred by the white man. Wrong.

He then disproved his own point by citing a researcher who admitted that nearly all Indians died after "the coming of the white man," and that it "occurred through such factors as the importation of virulent diseases previously unknown in the Americas, the destruction of settled life-styles, enslavement, and the psychological effects of conquest rather than through overt murders and slaughters, although plenty of these took place." Just because a large number weren't outright massacred doesn't mean that the "white man" didn't kill them.

Donohue then denigrated the idea that Native Americans were "indigenous":

Before detailing the dark side of Indigenous peoples, as a corrective to the prevailing notion that only the white man acted unjustly, it is important to note that the term "Indigenous" is misleading. The Indians were immigrants who came here from Asia. In "prehistoric times," they "crossed the land bridge across the Bering Strait to the lands of the Western Hemisphere." 

Donohue followed that with a list of alleged Native American atrocities; while some were between tribes, others were against British and American settlers. He didn't explain why Native Americans should not have fought to defend their lands and livelihood. In his final example on the series of U.S.-Indian wars, Donohue seemed to be blaming Native Americans for their demise because defeating Custer at Little Big Horn led to the U.S. increasing its military activity, which "culminated in the Wounded Knee Massacre on December 29, 1890," which he frames as at least somewhat justified because U.S. troops feared "a repeat of Little Big Horn" so they fired on a tribe of disarmed Lakota tribe, killing 250 Lakota men, women, and children.

And that, Donohue wants you to believe, is why Americans should celebrate Columbus Day.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:55 PM EST
Updated: Monday, December 6, 2021 11:21 PM EST
Flip-Flop: MRC Hypes Murdoch Scandal It Once Tried To Hide
Topic: Media Research Center

Media Research Center writer Joseph Vazquez has been lashing out of late against James Murdoch, son of Fox News chief Rupert Murdoch, for ceasing to be as right-wing as his father and other siblings and donating money to -- gasp! -- environmental causes and non-Fox media ventures. Vazquez tried to serve up a lame "non-conservative media ignored thing that advances right-wing narratives" gotcha in an Oct. 13 post:

CNN’s cable shows have salivated at least seven times over climate activist James Murdoch’s virtue-signaling against Fox News in the past year, all while ignoring any mention of an atrocious media scandal that nearly nuked his career.

News blew up in 2011 on how the now-defunct U.K. newspaper News of the World< was set to publish its last issue following a massive phone-hacking scandal that occurred in the mid-2000s, which ultimately led to its demise. News Corporation Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch’s estranged son James was executive chairman for News International — then-parent company of News of the World — at the time. James Murdoch would later resign. The newspaper “presided over a large-scale policy of hacking cell phones and computers belonging to celebrities, politicians, and private citizens,” according to the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. The scandal even involved hacking the communications of Prince Harry.

But CNN has all but ignored the phone-hacking scandal while propping up Murdoch’s attacks against Fox News. A Nexis search of CNN transcripts mentioning James Murdoch between September 30, 2020, and September 30, 2021, found that none of the CNN cable shows mentioned the phone-hacking scandal whenever they cited Murdoch’s anti-Fox News stances.

But as we reported at the time, the MRC did its best to downplay the News of the World scandal in order to protect Fox News. When the scandal first broke, MRC executive Tim Graham dismissed a British paper that reported on it as "socialist" and NPR's reporting as suspect because of alleged ties to George Soros. When the scandal exploded later that year, the MRC spent days ignoring it, then tried to deflect from it.

First, it tried to play whataboutism by arguing that far lesser actions in the so-called "liberal media" were just as bad as hacking cell phones. Then, it insisted that the investigation into the scandal was being driven by "politics ... not rational detective work." Graham later got himself quoted by the Washington Post claiming that  "It’s blatantly obvious that this pile-on . . . is all about Murdoch and his perceived noxious effect on American politics and media."

From there, the MRC went into full protect-Fox News mode, defending Fox News' paltry, late-to-the-game coverage of the scandal -- it averaged three segments a day, actually not a lot for a 24-hour "news" channel -- even though Fox's then-Sunday morning media watch program explicitly stated it would not cover the story when it broke (though it eventually did).The MRC's "news" division, CNSNews.com, weighed in as well, complaining the scandal was being used to target Fox News, which "is pegged as a conservative news outlet (perhaps because it is, in fact, a conservatrive news outlet?).

Rather than admit that his employer once labored to downplay the scandal he's now trying to exploit because it can be used to bash a new MRC enemy, Vazquez spent the rest of his post grumbling about "pro-James Murdoch fanboying" on CNN over him ceasing to be rabid right-winger. But it's the MRC's job to protect Fox News at all costs -- even when it involves flip-flopping on a major story.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:25 PM EST

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