How Has The MRC's War Against Facebook Been Failing Lately? Topic: Media Research Center
It's been a while since we last checked in on the Media Research Center's failing waragainstFacebook -- a war that's failing because it clings to its discredited talking point that Facebook is exclusively "censoring" conservatives solely because they post things in the conservative mainstream. (That faulty narrative has forced the MRC to mainstreammany right-wing extremists as garden-variety conservatives.) We've shown how the MRC is lashingout at Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen for no real reason other than she's not an exreme right-winger like the "big tech" whistleblowers it has showered attention on in the past and that her criticisms have gotten more traction than anything the MRC has done. Let's go back to late July and August to see how that war has continued to fail.
Alexander Hall devoted a July 28 post to complaining -- under the ridiculously alarmist headline "Free Speech Armageddon" -- that Facebook had added another fact-checker called Meedan to focus on health misinformation: "Censorship incoming? Facebook makes a massive partnership with a leftist-supported organization to assist its so-called fact-checking about COVID-19 vaccines." He went on to issue personal attacks on Meedan personnel, including one board member who he claims "is part of a group of leftwing activists who created a pretender Facebook Oversight Board urging far more stringent censorship for Facebook."
On Aug. 6, Hall took a pro-censorship viewpoint (since said censorship makes conservatives look somewhat better than they would otherwise): "Leftists are furious that Facebook disabled research accounts analyzing the 'spread of misinformation on the platform,' according to Cybersecurity for Democracy. The real furor is because the left uses 'misinformation' as a synonym for conservative content they are desperate to censor." Hall offered no evidence to back up his claim that that the data was used only by "the left" to "censor" conservatives.
Putting "misinformation" in scare quotes or dismissing it as "so-called" is another way the MRC pushes its victimization narrative. That theme continues in later posts.
Gabriela Pariseau used an Aug. 17 post to rant: "Members of Facebook’s Oversight Board revealed that the board prefers to operate under the guideposts of globalism and so-called consistency — not American values enumerated in the First Amendment." Why? Because "the Facebook Oversight Board’s priorities lie in alleged consistency and globalism rather than the American values of free speech and free expression." Pariseau declined to admit that the First Amendment offers no protection to misinformation and lies.
Autumn Johnson pushed a government-facebook conspiracy in an Aug. 19 post:
Facebook is taking action after pressure from the White House. The Biden administration blamed the platform for the majority of coronavirus “misinformation.”
The news comes after the White House blamed accounts on the platform for spreading misinformation.
"There's about 12 people who are producing 65% of anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
Johnson offered no evidence that any "pressure" from the White House directly led to Facebook taking the action, despite going on to claim that "Some argue pressure from the federal government should classify Big Tech social media platforms as 'state actors.'" That list of 12 people who spread COVID misinformation, by the way, came from the Center for Countering Digital Hate, which the MRC impotently attacked a couple months later for putting it on a list of groups that misinform about climate change.
Facebook is reportedly creating an election commission to weigh in on political affairs across the globe, according The New York Times.
The commission is expected to be announced just in time for the 2022 midterm elections in the United States. It seems that Facebook wants to use the commission to make decisions about the content it chooses to allow on the platform in an effort to shield itself from criticism.
Facebook has been in the sights of both liberals and conservatives in recent weeks for its content moderation decisions.
Johnson went on to claim that "Facebook's alleged fear of looking bad to the left and its media allies shouldn't go unnoticed," ciring the infamous "poll from the Media Research Center, conducted by McLaughlin & Associates, shows 36 percent of Biden voters were NOT aware of the evidence linking Joe Biden to corrupt financial dealings with China through his son Hunter." Johnson failed to disclose that McLaughlin was Trump's election pollster, throwing doubt on the poll's accuracy and impartiality.
An Aug. 31 post by Pariseau featured her boss, Brent Bozell, whining that Facebook's plan to "reduce political and news content in its News Feed" will “disproportionately” affect conservatives. Johnson went on to inadvertently debunk the MRC's narrative that conservatives are victimized and "censored" on Facebook:
Bozell’s criticisms are not unfounded. Facebook wrote a blog last year that showed which Facebook pages generated the most engagements on posts that included links during the week of Oct. 23 through Oct. 29, 2020. The blog post showed that three of the top five pages and six of the top 10 pages included prominent conservatives, news organizations and groups including: Dan Bongino, Fox News, Breitbart, Ben Shapiro, USA Patriots for Donald Trump and Donald Trump for President. The Twitter account Facebook’s Top 10 shows that the weekly trend has similarly continued to the present.
CNS Finds Another Anti-Vaxxer Catholic Priest Topic: CNSNews.com
Michael P. Orsi isn't the only Catholic priest with right-wing anti-vaxxer leanings to which CNSNews.com has given a platform. Managing editor Michael W. Chapman wrote in a Nov. 30 article:
In his sermon on Sunday, Nov. 21, the day when the Catholic Church celebrates Jesus Christ as king of Heaven and Earth, Rev. Ed Meeks, apparently in reference to COVID vaccination mandates, said "no earthly king or president or public health official ... gets to dictate what we must put into our bodies."
If you seriously believe that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, given to you by God, then "no earthly king or president or public health official or billionaire technocrat gets to dictate what we must put into our bodies – into these temples of the Holy Spirit," said Rev. Meeks. "Because that’s between us and God."
Is Meeks saying that getting vaccinated against COVID is a violation of the idea that one's body is a "temple of the Holy Spirit" and, thus, disrespects God? That's a harmful thing for a Catholic priest to say. Even though he's not exolicitly portraying himself as an anti-vaxxer, he's leaning hard into it -- which would seem to violate Pope Francis' dictate that getting the COVID vaccine is a "moral obligation." The pope is Meeks' ultimate boss.
Chapman did not explain why Meeks is differing so drastically from the teachings of the head of his church -- or even tell readers that Meeks was, in fact, doing so. Indeed, the only times that CNS has referenced the pope's statement is in twoarticles around Easter complaining that President Biden had endorsed the statement.
WND loves that, of course. In June, WND's Art Moore touted Malone "warning that Americans don't have enough information to decide whether or not the benefits of getting the shots outweigh the risks" and that he opposed vaccinating children. Moore's headline falsely called Malone the "Inventor of mRNA vaccine." An August article by Bob Unruh repeated Malone -- whom he claimed "is recognized as knowledgeable" -- trying to muddy the waters over the Pfizer vaccine by making a big deal over the Pfizer vaccine that was "approved by the FDA is not the same as the one that's already been in use." In fact, the two vaccines are biologically and chemically the same thing despite having different legal designations.
A Nov. 8 article by Moore highlighted Malone's appearance at a" COVID summit" in Florida:
Dr. Robert Malone, inventor of the mRNA technology employed by the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines: Inoculating 28 million children 5 to 11 years old could lead to "1,000 or more excess deaths" while the risk from COVID-19 for healthy children is "about zero" and appears to be lower than the seasonal flu.
As we noted, that "summit" was put on by fringe anti-vaxxers , and several of the attendees came down with COVID afterward -- a fact WND has yet to report.
Moore devoted a Nov. 22 article to Malone's rantings, again falsely calling him in the headline the "vaccine inventor":
Americans should pay attention to the severe coronavirus-related restrictions on civil liberties in Australia, Canada and now Austria, said the inventor of the mRNA vaccine technology, warning the virus increasingly is becoming a "platform for advancing other agendas."
"The future of global totalitarianism is here, it's just not evenly distributed," said Dr. Robert Malone, an immunologist and virologist who researched the use of messenger RNA in vaccines at the Salk Institute in the 1980s.
He said in an interview Monday with Steve Bannon's "War Room" that Austria -- the first country to require that every citizen be vaccinated -- is "the most egregious example" of "the deployment of a totalitarian approach to this whole thing."
The European nation and others, Malone said, are using what professor Mattias Desmet of Ghent University in Belgium calls "mass formation psychosis."
"Basically, it's the madness of crowds," Malone said. "And a lot of these governments have been overtaken by this form of psychosis or hypnosis.
"They believe that these vaccines are effective. They clearly are not."
Moore did an fawning interview with Malone for a Dec. 2 article (whcih again falsely called him the "vaccine inventor" in the headline):
In a wide-ranging video interview with WND, the vaccine researcher who invented the messenger RNA technology behind the Pfizer and Moderna shots explained why he opposes universal vaccination for the COVID-19 virus and why he's been willing to risk the reputation he's cultivated over three decades and weather the scorn of the government and health-care establishment.
Dr. Robert Malone cited the evidence for his concerns about the vaccines, the mandates and policies he believes are causing serious harm, particularly to children, but he also offered insight on his personal journey during the pandemic that has rocked the world.
Unknown to most critics and allies alike, he said in the 80-minute interview, is that he's not "right wing."
"My wife and I are Central Coast Californians by birth and youth, and we actually come from slightly center-left on the political spectrum," he told WND.
Malone said the reason he is speaking out, in spite of the considerable personal risks, is simple.
"It's because I'm bloody well pissed off. It's not right, it's not fair, it's hurting people, it is breaking the rules, left and right, people are lying continuously, they're manipulating data," he said.
He believes the consequences will be fundamental, with a "damaged" hospital and medical-care delivery system and a loss of faith in the government.
The insertion of the government in the affairs of the family, with the lockdowns, school shutdowns, and the vaccine and mask mandates, is causing damage that is "deep and profound and will last for decades," he said.
"Evil can sometimes be intentional, and sometimes it's unintentional, but right now what we're seeing happening with our children is fundamentally evil," he said.
Moore made no apparent effort to challenge anything Malone has said about the vaccines, which is probably why he agreed to the interview with Moore; instead, he unironically complained that "Some of Malone's critics have insisted he's either lying about or embellishing his role in the development of mRNA vaccine technology" -- says the guy who put "vaccine inventor" in the headline -- and gave him space to repeat his claimed role in developing mRNA technology and huffed that "inventorship" is established by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and not by "fact-checkers that haven't graduated from college yet" or journalists.
In a Dec. 6 article also taken from the interview, Moore touted Malone's highly questionable assertion that "more than 500,000 American lives could have been saved if Dr. Anthony Fauci and the government health establishment did not undermine effective COVID-19 early treatments such as ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine." Moore went on to tout "a peer-reviewed study published in February by the American Journal of Therapeutics that found that ivermectin reduces coronavirus infections, hospitalizations and deaths by about 75%." But Moore got the date wrong; as we documented when Moore previously hyped this study, it had originally been set for publication in the journal Frontiers of Pharmacology, but was ultimately reject because the authors promoted their own ivermectintreatment instead of doing genuinely objective research. The study was ultimatley published in the American Journal of Therapeutics a few months later in May.
In a Dec. 13 article, Moore cheered how Malone "has issued a video statement explaining why more than 15,000 physicians and medical scientists around the world have signed a declaration that healthy children should not be vaccinated for COVID-19." in which Malone says fearmongering things like "Ask yourself if you want your own child to be part of the most radical medical experiment in human history." Strangely, Moore did not link to the declaration, which is essentially a form anyone can fill out, and there's no apparent mechanism for vetting the signatures to ensure those who signed it are actual "physicians and medical scientists," let alone proof that 15,000 of them signed it.
Malone did another interview with Moore for a Dec. 20 article that started out speculating about the impact of the Omicron variant, then went conspiratorial:
Malone also commented on the new release of emails showing that outgoing National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins asked White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci to carry out a "quick and devastating published takedown" of the Great Barrington Declaration in the fall of 2020.
Collins told Fauci the declaration came from three "fringe" epidemiologists, meaning Dr. Martin Kulldorf of Harvard, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford and Dr. Sunetra Gupta of Oxford.
Malone told WND the email showed the "hubris" of Collins, who doesn't have the training and experience in epidemiology that the three scholars possess.
"We have now clear, clear evidence of collusion by senior government officials to suppress scientific discussion and debate about one of the most crucial issues that we’ve addressed over the last two years, which is whether or not lockdowns make sense," Malone said. "And the data are overwhelming. They don't."
In fact, the Great Barrington Declaration is an anti-vaxx-adjacent document that pushed dangerous "herd immunity" before COVID vaccines were developed and was so poorly vetted that the declaration includes fake names.
And, yes, Moore yet again falsely calls Malone the "vaccine inventor" in the headline. That demonstrates the low level of journalistic accuracy at WND -- and, again, is the likely reason why Malone has agreed to do interviews with Moore.
Miles Taylor Derangement Taylor Syndrome At The MRC Topic: Media Research Center
When Trump administration official Miles Taylor came forward in 2020 as the author of an anonymous article (and later book) stating how he was part of a group in the White House keeping President Trump from acting on his worst instincts, the Media Research Center lashed out, dismissing him as merely a low-level staffer (he was actually a Cabinet secretary's deupty chief of staff, hardly the low-level flunkie" the MRC insisted he was) who did it for the money -- while failing to prove anything Taylor said was false.
The MRC has continued to bash Taylor whever he appears on TV to talk about Republican extremism. We noted that in September, when Taylor defended Joint Chiefs of Staff head Gen. Mark Milley from Republican accusastions of treason when it was revealed that he secretly contacted Chinese officials to assure them that the U.S. wouldn't attack amid Trump's increasingly unstable behavior after losing the 2020 presidential election, Mark Finkelstein sneered that "There's something of the callow youth about the 33-year-old Taylor."
When Taylor appeared on TV again to call out Republicans' disturbingly casual attitude toward the COVID pandemic, Finkelstein returned to have a Miles meltdown in a Nov. 30 post:
Miles Taylor is one of those Trump-loathing "Republicans" that the liberal media likes to trot out. The sort that can be relied upon to take shots at their supposed fellow party members.
Taylor's the guy who, as "Anonymous," in 2018 wrote an op-ed for the New York Times vaingloriously describing himself as part of the anti-Trump "resistance" inside the White House. At the time, the Times billed Taylor as a "senior" official in the Trump administration. But when the curtain was pulled back, Taylor was revealed to have been at the time of writing the op-ed nothing more than a mere deputy chief of staff at DHS: a " low-level flunkie," as our former colleague Rich Noyes put it.
This was elevated into a book deal as well -- ka-ching. There's gold in those Trump-bashing hills.
As if Finkelstein wasn't getting paid for writing this tirade. Maybe he's jealous that nobody will give him a book deal.
After noting in passing that Taylor dismissed a Republican congressman and claimed that "Republicans are quite literally murdering their base of support with their disinformation," Finkelstein didn't even respond to it -- a clue that he knows the statement is true, no matter how much he complains that it was said. Instead, he continued to spew personal attacks against Taylor:
Various questions arise around Taylor's truthfulness. Although he describes himself as a Republican, Taylor has admitted to having supported and donated to Barack Obama in his 2008 presidential campaign.
And remember, Obama wasn't running against one of those scary, far-right Republicans. His opponent was John McCain. If you ditched McCain to support Obama—the man with the most liberal voting record in the Senate—it's fair to say you ain't no Republican. Question: if McCain wasn't good enough for Taylor, did he turn around and vote for Trump in 2016—or did he seek and accept a position in his administration under false pretenses?
And then there's the matter of Taylor having flat-out lied about his identity. When CNN's Anderson Cooper interviewed him in 2020, Taylor, who at the time was a paid CNN contributor, denied being Anonymous. When the lie was revealed, CNN said that Taylor would nonetheless "remain a CNN contributor."
But Taylor doesn't mention a CNN affiliation in his Twitter profile, and in his LinkedIn profile, he describes himself as having been a CNN contributor in "2020, less than a year."
Sounds like CNN might have quietly dumped the mendacious Taylor. But the apparent CNN reject is still good enough for the likes of Nicolle Wallace and MSNBC . . . just so long as he's willing to reliably spew colorful anti-Republican attacks.
Perhaps Taylor's best bet would be to slink back into anonymity.
Nasty, partisan personal attacks are not "media research," but Finkelstein apparently thinks they are. And rants and insults are what the MRC has desended to these days.
The MRC's Year Of Being Triggered By Lil Nas X Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center -- always a haterofallthingsLGBT -- spent a good part of 2021 being triggered by things that rapper Lil Nas X did (which showed that Lil Nas X knew what he was doing). Veronica Hays kicked things off in a March 26 post with a meltdown over the "optics of heinous gay stuff" in Lil Nas X's latest video:
Lil Nas X’s latest music video is an abomination that may have just prompted the coming of the next extinction age of humanity. Prepare accordingly.
Rapper Lil Nas X -- real name is Montero Hill -- released the highly-anticipated music video for his most recent self-titled single “Montero (Call Me by Your Name)”, on Friday March 26. Nas’ creation consists of surreal and provocative visuals that include a stripper-pole extending from heaven to hell, and a gay lap dance with the devil.
The pornographic take on the Christian themes present are twisted blasphemy that brainwashed libs on twitter are greeting with an “outpouring of love and support.” The Root calls it a “gorgeous video” and applauds Nas’ vulnerability and courage for unapologetically showcasing his authentic self. It is sad that as we approach Holy Week and Easter, the holiest time of the year for Christians throughout the world, he drops this piece of trash to peddle deviant smut to the masses.
Nas embodies the left’s progressive fantasy: a flamboyant and young black man, overtly homosexual, highly favored among the masses, and who acts as a mouthpiece for their poisonous ideology. It would almost lend one to think that his sudden skyrocketing to fame in 2019 over his insanely popular single “Old Town Road” and his coming-out as gay was purposely maneuvered as an industry plant. Regardless if that's true, Nas can certainly be considered an evil pawn meant to disrupt the already bankrupt morality of today’s society. Perhaps that's giving him too much credit.
ABC’s Nightline on Monday proved, yet again, that journalists have no concept of religion or what might be offensive. The late-night news program promoted Lil Nas X and his “Satan Shoes,” as well as the singer's new video in which he “slides down from heaven to hell on a pole and twerks on Satan.” This, apparently, is only offensive to “conservative Christians,” a label that reporter Ashan Singh uses twice.
As though this were all normal, Nightline co-host Juju Chang hyped, “Lil Nas X taking the old town road to hell. Going viral again and igniting controversy. How the 'Call Me By Your Name' singer is confronting homophobia and selling out a special edition of Satan shoes.”
Sounding like PR for the Satan-loving song, Singh touted, “It's these words and these images where Lil Nas X, who is openly gay, is seduced in the garden of Eden and then slides down from heaven to hell on a pole and twerks on Satan, that has people glued to their scenes.”
Remember when Nightline used to be a news program? It's been quite a while since the era of Ted Koppel. Twerking with Satan makes Nightline's fascination with "bootleg butt injections" look positively classy.
In a March 31 post, Curtis Houck complained that MSNBC's Joy Reid refused to hate Lil Nas X's video: "During a rant that reveled in the R-rated Lil Nas X video and Satan-themed Nike sneakers as a way to own Christians, Reid ruled that opposition to thing such as Lil Nas X’s sexuality, transgenderism, and even China’s communist government would encourage violence against Asian Americans and LGBT people." Hays returned on April 5 to complain about a fictional version of Lil Nas X after "Saturday Night Live" satirized the right-wing freakout over him:
Saturday Night Live paints a perfect portrait of today’s tragic cultural landscape by opening the April 3 episode with a fictional talk show “Oops, You Did It Again," “that will shine light on the social pariahs of the week.” Lil Nas X, Pepe Le Pew, and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), appear as this week's worthy candidates who explain themselves before the host Britney Spears, played by cast member Chloe Fineman. She then decides if these most-discussed cultural figures are “innocent or not that innocent.”
Rightly so, the first guest to join Spears is Lil Nas X, played by Chris Redd. The 21-year-old rapper has been the topic of much controversy in recent days surrounding the explicit lap dance he administered to Satan in his “Montero” music video along with the “Satan shoes” he designed and which Nike sued him for. In order to even the playing field, Spears suggests Nas also gives a lap dance to God. He agrees and immediately a guy dressed in a white cloak with long white hair and a beard is summoned for him to dance on.
Lil Nas X knew this would happen, and he was definitely trolling right-wing Christian like the folks who staff the MRC with the video and the shoes, as a little payback for having to grow up in a homophobic Christian environment.
But rather than feel ashamed for getting played so easily, the MRC doubled down on the hat. When Lil Nas X did something else controversial in June, Gabriel Hays was right on cue with the performative hate and outrage:
Proud anti-religious homosexual Lil Nas X continued his war against the Catholic Church and traditional marriage at the 2021 BET Awards.
Appearing on the red carpet for the annual BET Awards, Nas X, whose real name is Montero Lamar Hill, turned heads with his ball gown. Though the homosexual man wearing a dress with a plunging neckline wasn’t the controversy of the moment, believe it or not. It was that the blue and white pattern on his dress featured a message attacking the Catholic Church by equating it with Nazi-ism.
For full outrageous effect, Hays also devoted three paragraphs to recounting the events in the months-old "Montero" video.
When Lil Nas X got named to a position at Taco Bell in August, it was Joseph Vazquez's turn for performative outrage, complete with insisting on calling him by his birth name instead of his stage name:
Infamous rapper Lil Nas X, who made an anti-Christian statement by straddling the Devil in a hellish music video, is now being promoted by a famous fast-food company as its chief impact officer.
Taco Bell, in its infinite wisdom, picked Lil Nas X — whose real name is Montero Lamar Hill — to become “the brand’s first Chief Impact Officer,” according to Adweek. The outlet described the new position for Hill, who has allegedly worked at Taco Bell in the past, as an “‘honorary’ gig that’s expected to run for several months and fan out over the release of his much-anticipated record, Montero, and the restaurant’s scholarship program for young creatives.”
“Young creatives” for the taco giant clearly include overtly gay artists who get a kick out of giving Satan a lap dance. Hill also caused a media firestorm this year when he announced his “>Satan Shoes,” allegedly made with a drop of human blood. Maybe Taco Bell was trying to tell consumers something when it first started selling its now-popular “Diablo” sauce.
Hill wrote a letter accompanying the video to his 14-year-old self and tweeted it with the admission that he had an agenda behind his Satanic indiscretion: “[T]hey will say i’m pushing an agenda. but the truth is, i am. the agenda to make people stay the fuck out of other people’s lives and stop dictating who they should be.” It’s worth noting that Hill’s target audience has been reported to be “children.”
Welcome to Taco Hell.
for Lil Nas X's appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards in September, the performative outrage baton passed to Karen Townsend. After noting that he "recreated a gay prison shower scene from the music video for "Industry Baby" in his performance of the song," she went on to lament that he won an award:
Alas, Lil Nas X won the award for Video of the Year for “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).”
Lil Nas X: Wow! Let's go! Wow, oh my God!Okay, first I want to say thank you to the gay agenda! Let's go, gay agenda!
He thanked “the gay agenda” as he accepted the award for a video of him riding a stripper pole to Hell to give a gay lap dance to Satan, so it was very appropriate.
If that wasn't enough -- and it clearly wasn't -- Matt Norcorss spent an Oct. 9 post lamenting "an increasingly debased and woke culture," with his main exhibit being you-know-who, complete with yet more performative outrage over the "Montero" video:
And you won’t believe the praise that piece of garbage got from liberal publications. Also, guess who promoted Lil Nas X to “Chief Impact Officer” after he released this filth? Does the name Taco Bell sound familiar? That’s definitely going to alienate a lot of potential customers.
And all of this is just fine with the liberal media, which celebrates filth like Lil Nas X, as well as the smut and woke lectures that go along with it. Even worse, if you think any of this content is offensive or disgusting, you’re a right-wing gasbag with partisan outrage in the eyes of organizations like MSNBC.
That's rich coming from someone whom (we assume) got paid to write about his outrage. Of course, it is partisan -- the MRC is a partisan organization with a specific agenda to oppose LGBT rights. And it spent the past year targeting someone for his sexuality -- which, of course, Lil Nas X knew would happen. The MRC played their hateful role because hating is their job -- they couldn't do otherwise. And Lil Nas X reeled them in so easily.
Before the rise of the Omicron variant, CNSNews.com -- as it likes to do -- labored to downplay the COVID pandemic ... with one exception.
An Oct. 11 commentary by Ryan McMaken of the libertarian Mises Institute insisted that the COVID pandemic is nowhere near as severe as the 1918 influenza outbreak, and those who claim otherwise are wannabe tyrants trying to "justify unprecedented increases in state power and violations of human rights": "And to what end? Apparently, to rob people of their livelihoods if they refuse to receive a vaccine. It’s to attempt to make pariahs of anyone who makes health decisions of which the regime does not approve. It’s to continue to justify 2020’s ineffectual lockdowns. It’s to justify government spending at levels unprecedented in peacetime. It’s to deny that natural immunity provides meaningful resistance to the disease."
Susan Jones -- who had spent much of 2020 massaging COVID death numbers to make President Trump look good -- returned to the number-massinging business in an Oct. 26 article, presumably to deny the need for children to get vaccinated:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration was meeting on Tuesday to consider authorizing Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 years old.
As part of the daylong presentation, Fiona Havers, a member of the CDC's COVID-19 Response Team, gave an overview of COVID-19 in children ages 5–11, noting that children are at least as likely as adults to be infected with SARS-CoV-2, but they are far less likely to die:
Jones pushed that claim again in an Oct. 20 article:
As soon as federal health authorities approve the Pfizer vaccine for young children -- a decision that hasn't been made yet -- the White House is ready to get shots in arms, President Biden's COVID team announced on Wednesday.
As of October 13, CDC counts 513 COVID-involved deaths among children 0-17 since the pandemic started. That's 0.071 percent of the total 712,930 people who have died of COVID complications since January 2020.
Nevertheless, the Biden administration made it clear this morning that the push is on to vaccinate young children:
Jones went on to complain that in a Biden administration news conference on the subject, "No one asked about myocarditis, a rare heart inflammation that has occurred "especially in male adolescents and young adults" after the mRNA COVID vaccination."
There was one place that CNS felt free to fearmonger about COVID: when "illegal aliens" have it. We've already documented how CNS has spread the false fear that undocumented immigrants coming across the southern border; that attitude continued ina Sept. 10 article by Melanie Arter complaining that "White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki couldn’t explain Friday why the Biden administration is mandating COVID vaccinations for people who work but not for migrants crossing the southern border." An Oct. 13 article by Arter uncritically quoted Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham ranting that "illegal immigrants are getting preferential treatment, because people traveling into the U.S. from other countries must be vaccinated and have a negative COVID test, unless they cross the southern border."
MRC Cheers How Its Bogus Research Was Cited At Congressional Hearing Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Catherine Salgado squeed in a Dec. 1 post:
The Heritage Foundation technology policy research fellow Kara Frederick in congressional hearing testimony cited Media Research Center ground-breaking analysis on the political impacts of Big Tech’s censorship, including how Big Tech stole the 2020 election. “You have the Media Research Center, which is acting as a lion in this regard,” Frederick said, explaining how tech companies dishonestly pretend they are not biased.
Frederick testified at a hearing on Big Tech “reforms” of the House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee on Dec. 1. Frederick explained how she worked for Facebook like leftist activist “whistleblower” Frances Haugen.
Frederick’s viewpoint on Big Tech was very different from censorship-supporting Haugen’s, however. Frederick said she joined Facebook because she believed in “the democratization of information,” but now Big Tech just engages in “viewpoint censorship.” Frederick cited original MRC research and polling to prove her point.
Frederick cited original MRC research. “The confluence of evidence is irrefutable. Twitter and Facebook censor Republican members of Congress at a rate of fifty-three to one, compared to Democrats. Twitter suspends conservatives twenty-one times more often than liberals,” Frederick stated. “These practices have distinct political effects.”
Frederick then cited MRC’s explosive polling on the 2020 election. “The Media Research Center found in 2020 that one in six Biden voters claimed they would have modified their vote had they been aware of information that was actively suppressed by tech companies. Fifty-two percent of Americans believe social media suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story constituted election interference.
Salgado will not tell her readers about the shadiness and dubious methods of the MRC's "research." The "explosive polling on the 2020 election" she cited were actually numbers bought from Trump's election pollster, McLaughlin & Associates, who arguably has a vested interest in promoting Trump and trashing Biden (just like the MRC does), meaning those numbers cannot be considered reliable. The poll find that "Fifty-two percent of Americans believe social media suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story constituted election interference" is also from poll data manufactured by McLaughlin for the benefit of the MRC. The MRC has never disclosed in any of its promotion of these polls that McLaughlin was Trump's election pollster.
Its claim about Republican members of Congress being "censored" much more than Democratic ones (the more accurate description is that the Republicans violated social media terms of service much more than Democrats did) is even more dubious because, as we noted, while the MRC is aggressive in finding Republican examples, no evidence was offered that it was similarly aggressive -- or even made any effort at all -- in seeking Democratic examples. The MRC also weirdly revised the ratio upward, from 53-to-1 to 54-to-1, a couple weeks later without explanation -- also something legitimate researchers don't do.
And Salgado's attack on Haugen as a "leftist" whistleblower seems to be sour grapes that her claims about Facebook -- which the MRC repeated when the Wall Street Journal reported them and didn't know Haugen was the source -- are getting much more traction than the MRC's long war against Facebook has gotten.
Uncritically repeating such shoddy "research" -- especially at a congressional hearing -- doesn't make the Heritage Foundation look credible.
WND Columnist Backs Insurrectionist As 'Peaceful,' Censors Threat He Made Topic: WorldNetDaily
Andy Schlafly ranted in a Nov. 23 WorldNetDaily column:
When an Antifa protester used an ax to violently crash through Republican North Dakota U.S. Senator John Hoeven's office window, the attacker recently received a sentence of merely probation, a small fine and a return to him of his ax. His attack was captured on video, and there was no doubt about his guilt.
But when a peaceful man engages in a pro-Trump rally inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, and makes every apology imaginable afterward to the sentencing court, he receives a shocking 41-month prison sentence. He has also been held in jail all year without ever receiving a trial to which he was entitled.
His real offense and those of others receiving long prison sentences is to dare to humiliate the pompous Deep State in D.C. The message is clear: Do not embarrass the Swamp creatures or else they will retaliate as harshly as they can.
Trump seems headed to win back the White House in less than three years, and will probably pardon all of them. But in the meantime the 41-month sentence of the harmless Jacob Chansley raises doubts as to why any of the hundreds charged should be pleading guilty before a merciless, anti-free-speech court.
Schlafly offered no proof that the assailant at Hoeven's office, Thomas Starks, is a member of Antifa. A local news report on Starks' sentencing made no mention of Antifa; his attorney stated that Starks was frustrated that action on a COVID relief package had been blocked. Near as we can tell, the claim that Starks is a member of Antifa stems from an article at the right-wing site the Post Millennial, which claimed that a Facebook account under the name "Paul Dunyan" is Starks -- but no evidence is offered to support that link. A "Dunyan" post suggests the ax was returned to Starks, but the ax in the picture doesn't quite look like the ax Starks was wielding in security videos.
Meanwhile, Schlafly continued to push Chansley's alleged victimhood as a purported political prisoner:
The colorful Chansley had a winnable case had it gone to a jury trial, but he was brutally confined all year in a D.C. jail, often in solitary confinement that many consider to be a form of torture. He was denied a speedy trial even though required by federal law, and he endured hunger strikes to protest his inhumane detention.
Essentially, Chansley was tortured by the confinement until he could be misled to plead guilty in the expectation that he would be released for time served. Instead, the court punished him incredibly harshly for engaging in a form of political protest.
Colonial patriots would be turning over in their graves if they could see how the freedoms they died for have been usurped by this deprivation of fundamental rights. Chansley is being punished for humiliating the powers-that-be.
There are copious amounts of video of Chansley committing his crime. Schlafly didn't mention the threat he scrawled on a piece of paper he left on Pence's desk inside the House chamber: "It's Only A Matter of Time. Justice Is Coming."
Chansley broke the law by entering the Capitol in the manner he did, with his fellow rioting thugs, and by breaking into the House chamber, but Schlafly thinks that's totally cool: "The Capitol is a public building that should be accessible to the public. Peaceful political protests in the Capitol should not result in long prison sentences that are not imposed on leftist protesters."
Schlafly went on to rant: "The lengthy sentence of the Shaman protester is a setback to all Americans who value our First Amendment rights. When sentences are enhanced because a protester is outspoken or humiliated public officials, all Americans suffer from that retaliation." The only proof he offers that Chansley was punished for being "outspoken or humiliated public officials" was an interview Chansley conducted with "60 Minutes" a couple months after the riot, for which he failed to obtain the proper clearance that all other prisoners must receive.
Schlafly places himself firmly on the side of lawlessness and insurrection with his support of Chansley -- a sad position for a lawyer to take.
Despite Declaring Her Irrevelevant, MRC Still Bashes Bette Midler Topic: Media Research Center
For someone it has deemed irrelevant, the Media Research Center sure continues to spend an inordinate amount of time monitoring what Bette Midler says and attacking her for it. the MRC published 20 articles referencing Midler in 2021 (a drop from the 40 articles that referenced her in 2020), some of which we noted here.Tim Graham whined in a Sept. 6 post:
Sister Toldjah at RedState is reminding us that actress Bette Midler is once again expressing her outrage at pro-life legislation (this time in Texas) by demanding all the ladies engage in a "sex strike" until the liberals win and abortions are as easily available as a manicure.
>Bitter Bette is the same Hollywood scholar who tweeted in 2018 after the Kavanaugh accuser parade failed to defeat him that “‘Women, are the n-word of the world.’ Raped, beaten, enslaved, married off...enduring the pain and danger of childbirth and life IN SILENCE for THOUSANDS of years...”
Graham sure seems quite well versed in all things Bette, even though we're not supposed to care about her or anything she has to say.
Graham returned to whine on Dec. 4 that the New York Times did an article on Midler's current book-reading habits, pettily complaining that the drawing of that that accompanied the article "was also very complimentary."
Gabriel Hays devoted a Dec. 21 post to ranting about something else Midler tweeted:
Bette Midler has a history of mean-spirited and obnoxious tweets, even by the standards of Hollywood progressives. But Midler has outdone herself.
After West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin (D) refused to vote for President Biden’s massive government spending package – dubbed the $1.75 trillion “Build Back Better Bill” and its various radical leftwing policy proposals and purchases – Hollywood wench Bette Midler cracked her knuckles and typed a furious and demeaning message to the senator and his constituents in West Virginia.
She began by tweeting, “What #JoeManchin, who represents a population smaller than Brooklyn, has done to the rest of America, who wants to move forward, not backward, like his state, is horrible.” Yep, a nearly $2 trillion spending package filled with Democrat regulations and policies is the only way forward. How could Manchin not see the light!
The message revealed exactly what Hollywood elitists think of middle America and was very much in line with the stereotype. Midler loathes middle Americans and by loathe we mean gleefully thinks about them as illiterate morons who can’t help but be “strung out” on opioids in their free time.
The tweet did not go over well, especially with conservatives. One influencer, Catturd, responded to Midler’s tweet, saying, “This is one of the most horrible tweets in history - pure evil.” He might be right.
Conservative comedy duo, The HodgeTwins tweeted, “You suck as a person.” And while we can’t condone that, it’s hard not to agree.
So Hays is following the orders of someone named Catturd? That sounds like him.
The MRC concluded the year by giving Midler the "Celebrity Freak-Outs Award" for the offense of reminding people what a terrible person Rush Limbaugh was upon his death, declaring her "soulless" for doing so. Then again, Limbaugh showed how soulless he was while he was alive by viciously smearing a woman as a "slut" because she took birth control -- and the MRC was just as soulless in defending him by running an "I Stand With Rush" campaign.
But somehow Midler is the evil person here. And is apparently so irrelevant that the MRC can't stop writing about her.
Fake News: WND Publishes Bogus Story About Pelosi Buying House In Florida Topic: WorldNetDaily
Bob Unruh wrote in a Nov. 24 WorlddNetDaily "news" article:
California has serious water problems, housing costs that are simply a joke for many families, a reputation for life-ending forest fires, a social agenda that leads the nation in attacks on traditional marriage and people of faith, and more.
And don't forget the possibility of the "Big One," an earthquake that films portray as turning the San Andreas fault into another Grand Canyon and leveling cities.
No wonder House Speaker Nancy Pelosi apparently wants to leave, even though she's done much in her decades in Congress to make the state what it is.
After all, she's represented in Congress one of the state's prominent districts since the 1980s – before the fall of the Berlin Wall.
And she undoubtedly can afford it, because even though her congressional salary has been what most families would consider great, it doesn't nearly add up to the hundreds of millions of dollars in assets she, along with her businessman husband, have reported.
So now there are reports that she's purchased a $25 million beach estate in Hobe Sound, Florida, about half an hour away from President Trump's estate in Palm Beach.
The proximity of the property to the ocean reveals clearly that she has no concern for rising sea levels caused by global warming – or climate change as it's now known.
The property she reportedly has acquired recently was listed as sale "pending" rather than available.
Unruh's source for his "reports" is just a single one, a far-right websitenotorious for the misinfiormation it publishes.
Unfortunately for Unruh, the story is not true. As conservative site The Bulwark documented:
So random people on Twitter said that Pelosi had already bought a $25 million dollar house. Pelosi’s office called the story “completely false.” And the Washington Examiner could only say that the story “may just be too juicy to be true.” After all, can any of us truly know anything?
The good news is that someone was willing to do actual journalism.
The bad news is that the someone was Realtor.com, where a writer named Claudine Zap—who does not appear to be an “investigative reporter” at Fox News—actually made some calls, got to the truth, and wrote a responsible piece headlined “No, Nancy Pelosi Did Not Buy a $25M Mansion in Jupiter Island, FL.”
That's right -- a real estate site did the journalistic legwork Unruh -- an employee of a "news" operation -- couldn't be bothered to do. The Bulwark went on to write of the right-wing outlets thatmindlessly pounced on this story:
As is usually the case, after these fringe outlets write vague, unsourced stories, slightly more respectable conservative sites aggregated them under the guise of “according to” various “reports” without noting how disreputable the sources of the reports are, or making any attempt to confirm them. These aggregations exist solely to farm clicks.
A disreputable fringe click farm, you say? That's pretty much what WND has become these days. Needless to say, Unruh's story remains live and uncorrected.
MRC Bashed Biden For Not Tapping Oil Reserve -- Then Bashed Him When He Did Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Joseph Vazquez huffed in a Nov. 4 post:
New York Times economist Paul Krugman claimed President Joe Biden has no control over the rise in gas prices. This, of course, comes after Krugman pilloried former President Donald Trump a year earlier for allegedly exercising the same control he said Biden didn’t have.
Krugman took to Twitter to try to explain away the abysmal election results for Democrats Tuesday in an attempt to protect Biden: “One issue that seems to have influenced voters Tuesday was the price of gasoline — over which Biden has no control.”
Vazquez went on to cite self-proclaimed environmentalist (though more of a dubious contrarian and, thus, a right-wing favorite) Michael Schellenberger as saying that Biden "may open the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lower prices." Never mind, of course, that it is true that Biden has very little direct control over oil prices
Well, Biden tap the SPR later that month -- and the MRC rushed to dismiss the action as ineffective. Nicholas Fondacaro grumbled in a Nov. 23 post:
During ABC’s World News Tonight on Tuesday, anchor David Muir and congressional correspondent Rachel Scott were President Biden’s personal cheer team as they praised him for releasing 50 million barrels of oil from the strategic reserves; after he had to be dragged kicking and screaming to do it. Meanwhile, on the CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News, they warned it was just a “drop in the bucket” and would be used up in less than three days.
Fondacaro censored the fact that the SPR release was coordinated with releases from other countries to have a greater impact on prices.
It's as if the MRC will criticize Biden no matter what he does, and that perhaps the Biden White House should stop trying to please such constant bad-faith critics whose support it will never win because they are more about partisan politics than helping the country.
CNS Embraces Convoluted Fantasy To Return Trump To White House Topic: CNSNews.com
Remember the convoluted fantasy promulgated by Steve Bannon and WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah that Donald Trump could be named House speaker if Republicans take the House in the 2022 elections, then a Republican-controlled Congress impeaches President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris (for reasons yet to be identified), thus forcing them out of office (never mind that no impeached president has ever been successfully removed from office) and, thus, elevating Trump back to the presidency? Well, it seems that CNSNews.com has now bought into it. Craig Bannister wrote in a Dec. 10 CNS article:
Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz says he’d like Donald Trump to be the next Speaker of the House and analysis by NBC News says there’s nothing prohibiting the former president, or anyone else, from serving in the position.
On Tuesday, a reporter asked Rep. Gaetz if he wants Trump to be elected Speaker, if Republicans win back control of the House.
Grinning ear to ear, Gaetz didn’t just say that he likes the idea, he added that he’s even discussed it with Trump himself. But, when pressed for further details, Gaetz simply smiled and said the content of the conservation is privileged information:
The congressman liked the exchange so much, he tweeted out video of it, along with the hashtag “#SpeakerTrump.”
Gaetz appeared to be heartily enjoying the opportunity to strike fear in the hearts of liberals, as The Western Journal explains:
“Unlikely as this all is, the question of Trump becoming speaker has gained enough steam for a reporter to ask Gaetz about it during a news conference. This may indicate that even the slightest inkling of a Trump resurgence is causing the left to panic.”
“As speaker, Trump would have the authority to bring impeachment articles against Biden and/or Vice President Kamala Harris,” the Journal reports.
Of course, it's less about the idea of a "Trump resurgence" and more about how far Republicans would go to abuse the Democratic process to return Trump into office, knowing that he could not return in any legitimate way -- and how in thrall they remain to a man who incited a riot at the Capitol based on lies about the election. Bannister will never admit any of that, of course -- he's in thrall to Trump as well and desperate enough to want this goofy fever dream to work.
Bannister was also gracious enough to Gaetz to not mention the fact that he's under investigation over his skeevy sex life, which reportedly includes having sex with a minor.
MRC Sports Blogger Loves Herschel Walker, Dismisses Credible Abuse Allegations Topic: Media Research Center
Like its "news" division CNSNews.com, the Media Research Center has been a cheerleader for ex-football player, Trump buddy and now carpetbagging Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker. Unlike CNS, though, mystertious MRC sports blogger Jay Maxson made an effort to whitewash spousal abuse allegations agaist Walker.
Maxson's cheerleading for Walker began last April by helping Trump encourage a Senate run:
We don't know what kind of U.S. senator Herschel Walker would make, but all the right people already hate him. Deadspin and Democrat partisan Dustin Foote is on high alert over news reports that former President Donald Trump urged the football great to run for the U.S. Senate in Georgia. Walker was selected as one of Deadspin’s 2020 “Idiots of the Year,” he believes in God and is a good friend of Trump’s. In other words, he’s a real nightmare.
Taking a shot at current Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock, Maxson huffed, "Walker’s considerable fame and reputation in his home state of George greatly surpass that of Sen. Warnock." Unlike Walker, though, Warnock currently lives in Georgia, something Maxson didn't see fit to mention.
Maxson slobbered all over Walker in a Sept. 27 post under the gushy headline "Herschel Walker Shines for Conservativism at Save America Rally":
Former University of Georgia and National Football League star Herschel Walker is fast becoming one of the leading ball-carriers for the conservative movement. He appeared in Perry, Ga., Saturday with former President Donald Trump and other conservatives at a “Save America” rally.
It only makes sense for Americans to support conservative ideals, Walker told the fired-up audience: "People always ask me what qualifies me to run for this office, and I said, 'Well you’re right, I’m an American.’" The former Heisman Trophy winner said being conservative is just part of being an American. He had the crowd firmly with him, as people chanted “run, Herschel, run:”
Formalizing his decision last month to run for the U.S. Senate and take out radical lefty Sen. Raphael Warnock, Walker said it’s “Because I love America. And I’ve got to fight for America. It is time for us to stop wondering what we’re going to do but do it because what we’ve got now — we’re fighting over the same things we were fighting over when Jimmy Carter was in office. Have you noticed that?”
Trump told the crowd that Walker is a "special man" and a "great” man. He endorsed the candidacy of the man who’s expected to win next year’s Georgia GOP primary. Walker is polling at a whopping 75 percent among Republican Senate hopefuls in his home state.
"Welcome a man who really knows how to win the United States of America. So proud of this man,” Trump exclaimed. “One of the greatest athletes of our country's history. The greatest running back that I've ever seen.
"Not only an American hero, he is an American legend born and raised in this state," Trump said.
Maxson again failed to mention that Walker has not lived in Georgia for years. Nor did he metion that a guy who help foment an insurrection against the government of the United States is perhaps not the best character witness for anyone, let alone a potential political candidate.
When a Walker supporter was criticized for backing a guy credibly accused of spousal abuse, Maxson's response in a Nov. 5 post was, essentally, that if he never faced criminal charges, it must not have happened:
It should not be considered “news” that a Major League Baseball owner donates money to Republican political candidates. But then there’s California’s wildly left-of-center media that contends it is newsworthy. The San Francisco Giants’ owner Charles Johnson supported the Georgia Senate campaign of Herschel Walker, and now he’s getting raked over the coals.
The San Francisco Chronicle disparaged Walker, the former football star and Heisman Trophy winner, as a “stop the steal enthusiast” who suspected voter fraud in the 2020 election. Walker has announced his candidacy for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia for the 2022 election, and he leads polling among Republican candidates in that Georgia Senate primary race. Walker’s support from former President Donald Trump also soured the Chronicle on his reputation.
Though Walker has never been charged with domestic abuse, the Chronicle and Associated Press both accused him of that crime against his former wife.
Maxson conlcuded with this bizarre assertion: "Give the Chronicle well-deserved 'F' grades for journalistic fairness and failing to recognize Johnson's right to free association, along with an 'A' grade for doing the Democrats’ bidding." What grade to we give a guy who's so in the tank for Walker he might as well be on the campaign payroll -- and who so blithely dismisses credible accusations that he's a spousal abuser?
Is WND 'News' Article An Ad In Disguise? Sure Looks That Way! Topic: WorldNetDaily
An anonymously written Nov. 24 WorldNetDaily "news" article claimed:
You've seen the legacy media and network reporting on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol: those hordes of sword-waving, window-smashing (likely drooling) President Trump supporters who assaulted not just the entire nation but democracy itself.
Democrats have said, maybe 10,000 times, it was an "insurrection."
A new movie, "Capitol Punishment," is being released on Thanksgiving Day that reveals first-person accounts of what looked, on that day at that location, like "a trap."
The plain facts of what happened support suspicion. There were tens of thousands at a rally with Trump that day, and hundreds then went to the Capitol. Many protested peacefully about Congress' adoption of those still-suspect 2020 presidential election results that gave the White House to Joe Biden.
Since then, an analysis has confirmed that the legacy media suppressed damaging information about Joe Biden and son Hunter enough that the actions likely changed the results from a Trump victory to a Biden win.
Filmmakers Nick Searcy and Burgard said they wanted to expose the truth – and the government's politically driven tactics, in the movie.
Searcy told the Western Journal, "As shooting progressed, it became more evident that our real story had to be about the people who were being persecuted for nothing, for just going to Washington, basically for just saying out loud that they believe the election is stolen."
There is no "analysis" of Hunter Biden's purported lack of impact on the election, though there is a bogus poll the Media Research Center bought from Trump's election pollster making that claim. But that shoddiness is expected. More interesting is the fact that on the same day this article was published, WND sent a "sponsorship" email to its mailing list that sounds not unlike that article:
The establishment media tells the story of Jan. 6 as one of domestic terrorists threatening American democracy. They hope you will believe them and not look too closely at the man behind the curtain because it could foil their plans for America.
There is another side to the events of Jan. 6 and people need to know what happened. The stakes have never been higher! Award-winning TV star and unashamed conservative Nick Searcy and filmmaker Chris Burgard set out on a deep investigation to determine what really happened on Jan. 6 and what is still happening. Their finds will shock you!!!
The film Capitol Punishment: Everything They Told You Is A Lie is a riveting documentary told through the eyes of the people who were there on the ground in our nation’s Capital on Jan. 6, 2021. Jan. 6 was years in the making and the threat to the survival of America as we know it has never been greater.
In pother words: If that WND article reads like an ad, it appears that's because that's what it is. WND has a longhistory of runnings ads in the form of thinly disguised "news" articles, and it does nothing whatsoever to inspire confidence in the journalistic integrity of its "news" product.
It should also be noted that the movie, made by right-wing filmmaker Nick Searcy, is little more than pro-insurrectionist claptrap. As the Daily Beast noted in highlighting Will Sommer's podcast aboiut it: "The film really wanted to feature the Twisted Sisters song 'We’re Not Gonna Take It,' but since they couldn’t get permission to use it, they had to settle for pleading with viewers to sing along at home. Sommer’s professional review: 'I mean, it really is the lowest budget operation I’ve ever seen.'"