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Thursday, June 23, 2022
MRC Pushes Republican Playbook Downplaying Hearings On Capitol Riot
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center had its marching orders from the RNC or whatever dark-money right-wingers run the show: Pretend that the public hearings being put on by House committee looking into the Capitol riot are meaningless and biased, and conservatives should spend more time being fed right-wing propaganda instead of watching them. The flagship piece for this narrative was a June 6 item by Curtis Houck lashing out at non-right-wing outlets for covering the first hearing, which carried the desperate-sounding headline "No One Cares":

Amid a decaying culture, rampant crime, record-high inflation, struggling wages, and surging gas prices (among other things), Monday’s CBS Mornings and NBC’s Today want Americans to focus this week on a different issue: primetime hearings from the House Select Committee on January 6. On Monday’s shows, the two combined for five minutes and 37 seconds of coverage doing the bidding of their loyal source, Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA).

CBS co-host Tony Dokoupil boasted that come Thursday, his fellow liberals are “promising to show Americans never-before-seen evidence of the most violent assault on the capitol in more than 200 years.”

[...]

NBC’s Today was also enthused at a pet project that matters little to those outside insufferably elite and liberal newsrooms and The Swamp.

A post the same day from Tim Graham complained that the committee made use of a former ABC News executive to help polish their presentation:

Now imagine if the Republicans stacked an investigative committee and then hired a Fox News president as an "unannounced adviser" for prime-time hearings. The liberal outlets would all scream that there's no difference whatsoever between the GOP and Fox. So, in this case, there's no difference whatsoever between Pelosi's hand-picked committee and ABC, and CBS, and CNN, and so on. ABC News apparently has no concern that Goldston's advising will hurt the image of ABC News.

Actually, the Trump administration did hire former Fox News executive Bill Shine as an adivser. Graham was mad that people pointed out that this revolving door showed just how tight Trump and Fox were.

Three days later, Alex Christy dismissed the hearings as a "made-for-TV spectacle" becaiuse of the ex-ABC executive's hiring. He didn't mention that Trump also hired a TV executive to help turn his administration into a made-for-TV spectacle.

A post by Kevin Tober groused that CNN's Brian Stelter pointed out that right-wing outlets Fox News and  Newsmax would not be airing the first hearing live despite the word "news" in their channels' names:

CNN and particularly Stelter always want to dictate what the rest of the media should or should not be covering. Why would Fox News cover a hearing where Republican congressional leadership’s appointments to the committee were rejected by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi? 

Also the committee and their Democrat allies have repeatedly lashed out at Carlson and his network, so why would they give them airtime? Stelter doesn’t get to demand what Fox News puts on air.

Um, isn't the MRC's main job lashing out at non-right-wing media outlets for not covering things that advance right-wing agendas? Graham similarly played dumb in a June 6 podcast echoing Tober's Stelter-bashing.

The MRC did a lot of other whining about the hearings both before and after the first hearing:

And as usual, the MRC also tossed around agenda-driven ratings numbers. A June 10 post by Bill D'Agoistino cherry-picked numbers to portray the first hearing as a failure:

The preliminary broadcast network ratings are in for last night’s January 6 committee hearings, and they paint a disappointing picture for Democrats and their media pals.

Based on the most recent ratings data, January 6 hearing coverage on broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) drew significantly smaller audiences than those networks’ own evening newscasts generally do on a standard weekday. Evening newscast audiences on any given night last week were 1.6 times larger than the total number of broadcast viewers who tuned into the hearings on Thursday.

[...]

Perhaps CBS morning host Tony Dokoupil was right when he proclaimed on Friday morning: “Obviously, January 6 is the big story today.” But based on the numbers, it certainly wasn’t the big story last night.

Graham pushed the same talking point in his podcast that same day, sneering: "Democrats talked all the networks (except Fox News) into a breathless hearing (or retelling) of January 6. But it felt like a summer rerun."

Meanwhile, back in reality, the first hearing drew more than 19 million viewers across all channels that aired it, dwarfing Fox News' non-coverage.And Fox News was so afraid that viewers might be distracted enough to change channels to the hearing -- and, thus, learn that Fox News has been lying to them about the riot and the events (and bogus claims of election fraud) that led up to it -- that it didn't run any commercials while the hearing was on, costing it hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions in revenue.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:52 PM EDT
WND Ghouls Can't Stop Blaming People's Deaths On Clinton
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The "Clinton Body Count" -- a list of people tangentally associated with Bill and/or Hillary Clinton who have died, causing hate-filled right-wingers to tie their deaths to purported misdeeds by one or both of the Clintons -- was discredited a long time ago, well before we did an exploration of it way back in 2005. Unfortunately, the hatred at WorldNetDaily for all things Clinton is so virulent and irrational that it's no surprise to see it has insisted on perpetuating the bogus list for lo these many years. (It still hasn't apologized to its readers or to Seth Rich's family for cynically spreading lies about his death in 2016 in order to add him to the list.) And it's still adding to it today. Bob Unruh wrote in a June 6 article:

The family of a onetime Clinton family associate is working to keep concealed the circumstances of his recent death, adding fodder to the longtime suggestions that the "Clinton Body Count," as Wikipedia describes it, has risen again.

The death of Mark Middleton – he reportedly was found hanging from a tree in Arkansas with a shotgun blast to his chest – prompted the Daily Mail to say, "His death adds to the number of close associates of the former president and first lady who have died unexpectedly, many in small plane crashes. The phenomenon has led to a conspiracy theory called Clinton Body Count which even has its own Wikipedia page."

According to reports, Middleton was a Bill Clinton adviser who admitted Jeffrey Epstein to the White House at least seven times.

Now his family, including father Larry and widow Rhea, are fighting to keep photographs and other investigative content about his death away from the public.

They have filed for an injunction that alleges blocking the release would halt what they describe as "unsubstantiated conspiracy theories."

The reports so far have said the married father-of-two, who lived in Little Rock, Arkansas, shot himself at the Heifer Ranch in Perryville, a half hour's drive from his home.

The Middleton family's reason for hiding images of their loved one's suicide is abundantly clear: to keep ghouls likje WND and the Daily Mail from splaying them all over the internet solely because they still -- after 30 years -- are nursing a grudge against the Clintons and are still des[perate to destroy them efen if the lives of innocent people get damaged or destroyed.

Unruh went on to lovingly and ghoulishly detail the method of Middleton's death -- as if he gets some sort of sick pleasure from it -- and further hype the purported connection to Clinton and Epstein. Unruh also rehashed a WND from last year when it tried to add another name to the list. Unruh concluded:

The actual "list" of Clinton Body Count individuals now totals well over 30.

See the "Clinton Death List" here.

Middleton's name had not yet been added to the list, but that's presumbly coming.

Yep -- Unruh and WND are nothing but sick ghouls.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:51 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 23, 2022 8:24 PM EDT
Newsmax Joined ConWeb Spin On Durham's Failure
Topic: Newsmax

Like the Media Research Center, WorldNetDaily and CNSNews.com, Newsmax didn'dt take it well when its beloved biased special counsel John Durham's prosecution of Democratic lawyer Michael Sussman failed with him receiving a quick acquittal. A May 31 article by Eric Mack repeated Jonathan Turley's conspiracy theory that the jury was too liberal because the trial was held in Washington, D.C., as well as rantings from the MRC's Curtis Houck:

Special counsel John Durham thanked the Michael Sussmann jury for their service, but critics are blasting the Washington, D.C., judge and jury for the verdict Tuesday.

Constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley denounced a stacked jury that delivered the verdict, including admitted donors to Hillary Clinton, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and even a woman whose daughter plays sports with the Sussmann's daughter.

"I mean, he is facing a jury that has three Clinton donors, an AOC donor, and a woman whose daughter is on the same sports team with Sussmann's daughter," Turley said in a video posted to Twitter. "With the exception of randomly selecting people out of the DNC [Democratic National Committee] headquarters, you could not come up with a worse jury."

[...]

"Breaking: Ultra-liberal D.C. jury acquits their friend and former Hillary Clinton attorney for having concocted collusion between Donald Trump and Russia," Newsbusters Managing Editor Curtis Houck tweeted Tuesday.

Former federal prosecutor Brett Tolman said Americans should not be surprised a D.C. judge and jury followed the politics instead of the law.

As with his fellow ConWeb outlets, Mack did not mention that Durham had the opportunity to remove jurors he thought were biased during jury selection, and he also had the option to attempt to move the trial to a jurisdiction he thought could be more favorable to his prosecution.

An article by Sandy Fitzgerald turned to a Republican congresswoman to complain about the verdict:

Rep. Nancy Mace, speaking to Newsmax after a Washington, D.C., court's verdict that former Hillary Clinton-connected attorney Michael Sussmann was found not guilty of lying to the FBI, said she does not feel that special counsel John Durham or his prosecutors got their fair day in court, and that "no one is ever held accountable" for breaking laws.

"No one is ever held accountable in this country for breaking the law, particularly in the highest echelons of campaigns and the federal government," the South Carolina Republican said on Newsmax's "John Bachman Now." "It's inexcusable, really, and the frustration of the American people I'm sure will be palpable with this verdict. We just want someone, anyone, to be held accountable for the laws that they're breaking."

Speaking of politicians who haven't been held accountable for the laws they broke, Jay Clemons gave Donald Trump an article to rant about the verdict and other stuff. Clemons made no attempt to fact-check anything Trump said.

Dick Morris called in from bad take-ville for a June 1 column:

The acquittal of attorney Michael Sussmann by a Washington D.C. jury effectively means that no Democrat can ever be convicted of any crime involving corruption as long as the crime has political implications and the trial is before a D.C. jury.

We now have one-party justice in America.

Despite overwhelming evidence that he lied to the FBI, Sussmann was found not guilty by a jury filled with Democrats.

Hillary Clinton got 91% of the votes of the residents of Washington D.C. in 2016.

Biden got 95%, proving that the jury pools are so highly partisan there that they're  incapable of judging the facts and acting impartially in a criminal case involving political charges against prominent Democrats.

Since the Department of Justice (DOJ) is located in the nation's capital, this effectively means there is no way to hold Democrats responsible for their corrupt activities.

Morris went on to huff that "Defense attorneys must be allowed to successfully pursue motions to change venue" -- which ignores the rfact that Durham was the prosecutor, not the defense, and he apparently made no effort to seek a change of venue. He went on to ignore Sussmann's actual defense to assert that "The case against Sussmann was overwhelming" and "His perjury could not be more obvious."

Larry Bell used his June 3 column to rant about the purportedly biased jury, then praise Durham for advancing right-wing narratives:

Durham must have recognized slim odds in a Washington, D.C., court venue where 91% of the electorate voted for Hillary; presided over by an Obama-appointed judge whose attorney wife has represented related scandal compromised former FBI attorney Lisa Page; and with a jury with one member whose daughter is on a high school rowing team with Sussmann’s daughter and as many as three were Hillary Clinton donors — including one who also supported U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Whereas a small rodent was set free, we can safely bet that Durham’s larger plan was always to use the trial as means to release information already in his possession as bait to bag much larger game in upcoming indictments and hearings.

Horace Cooper sung from the same choirbook as his Newsmax compadres in his June 4 column:

The evidence presented at trial was overwhelming.

By many accounts, Michael Sussman had indeed lied to the FBI about his reasons for meeting with FBI general counsel James Baker.

He did so to cover up his part in an elaborate role to weaponize the FBI against candidate Donald Trump.

On the other hand, the trial, to use G. Gordon Liddy’s term, was "stacked and packed."

Several Clinton campaign donors were seated on the jury and the presiding judge, an Obama appointee, issued rulings that prohibited Durham’s case preventing him from showing how Sussman’s false statement fit in as part of a far larger narrative.

This greatly affected the trial’s outcome.

[...]

Jury nullification is a poison that having been unleashed by the left could harm everyone.

Regardless of political sympathies, our legal system works best when all citizens — whether in blue or red states — truly do their duty and not simply follow their political allegiances.

Cooper failed to point out that Durham could have tried to move the trial but apparently did not, and also that Durham could have done a better job of keeping allegedly biased jurors off the jury but also apparently did not.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:33 PM EDT
CNS Intern Writes Fake-News Article
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com summer intern Ben Kelley wrote in a June 6 article:

The Oak Park and River Forest High School in Chicago reportedly will change its grading system next year to “equitable grading,” an approach that eliminates such grading factors as class participation and turning homework in on time because underprivileged students may not be able to master those skills.

According to the school’s Strategic Plan, dated May 26, 2022, the school has found that “traditional grading practices perpetuate inequities and intensify the opportunity gap.” The presentation goes on to explain that teachers have begun implementing equitable grading practices such as “eliminating zeros from the grade book” and that the school “will continue the process necessary to make grading improvements that reflect our core beliefs.”

Supporters of “equitable grading,” such as educator Ken Shelton, claim it minimizes grading biases, which are “rooted in racism, anti-Blackness, sexism, transphobia, and ableism.” Critics, however, say “equitable grading” hurts students of color and “impede[s] their success as adults” – it is “bigotry of low expectations,” remarked Wesley J. Smith, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute.

As reported on May 30, 2022 by the West Cook News, “Oak Park and River Forest High School administrators will require teachers next school year to adjust their classroom grading scales to account for the skin color or ethnicity of its students.”

Just one problem: that's not true. The story was effectively manufactured by the West Cook News -- a anonymously written "pink slime" website run by right-wing dark-money operatives (the leader of which has his own shady journalistic history) posing as legitimate local news. As a legitimate news operation pointed out:

But the erroneous story cited no actual policy changes, and the school said in a statement that the claim is false. “OPRFHS does not, nor has it ever had a plan to, grade any students differently based on race,” the statement said.

The article instead mischaracterized a May 26 school Board of Education meeting, at which a committee focused on grading and assessment presented an initial report. The report noted at one point that “traditional grading practices perpetuate inequities and intensify the opportunity gap.”

At “no time were any statements made recommending that OPRF implement a race-based grading approach,” the school’s statement continued.

Bizarrely, Kelley violated journalistic ethics by waiting until the sixth paragraph of his story to explain that the previous five were false:

On May 31, following criticism of the school’s reported decision, the Oak Park and River Forest High School announced that a final decision to implement a race-based grading system had not been made.

The school said the West Cook News article contained “a variety of misleading and inaccurate statements,” and explained that before any grading changes are made they must first be “made to the Board at a public meeting.”

Kelley then tried to justify spreading this lie by adding: "So, although Oak Park and River Forest High School has not made a final decision, it is discussing and considering 'equitable grading.'"

Again: Despite the fact that the real story is that an secretive right-wing website spread a falsehood, Kelley spread the falsehood and downplayed the fact that it was false.

It's hard to know who to blame for this. This story was debunked a few days before Kelley's story was published, so there's basically no possible way he could not have known that.Which leaves two explanations: 1) Kelley knew the story was false and wrote it up anyway, and 2) Kelley was made to do a bogus story by his CNS overlords. Neither of which makes CNS look good.

If Terry Jeffrey and Co. are going to force interns to write stories they know are false, what exactly is the value of a CNS internship? It certainly has nothing to do with "news" -- it's all about forwarding right-wing narratives no matter their accuracy.

If CNS is knowingly publishing false stories, that's a black mark on the organization and a reason nobody should trust its work.

We've contacted CNS to give it a chance to respond to our concerns. We'll let you know if it responds.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:06 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 23, 2022 2:32 PM EDT
Wednesday, June 22, 2022
After Texas Massacre, MRC Goes To Kneejerk Defensive Pro-Gun Stance
Topic: Media Research Center

The bodies weren't even cold in the school in Uvalde, Texas, when the Media Research Center kicked in its usual right-wing post-massacre stance: protect the guns, attack anyone who calls for even the slightest bit of gun regulation or criticizes the pro-gun absolutism of Republicans as an extreme radical who wants to take all weapons away from everybody.

A May 24 post by Kevin Tober got mad at Michael Moore for pointing out that stance and saying that "we love our guns more than we love our children," going on to whine that "Moments later he ghoulishly suggested that the parents should leave the caskets of the children who were shot to death open for the world to see their wounds. The thesis is that this would force Americans to support Moore’s beloved gun control."Tober didn't mention, even though Moore did, that this is how Emmitt Till's mother got America's attention on the issue of racism, or that his employer has endorsed the publishing of graphic images in one specific instance, so that "The world needs to see these images and know about the true tragedy of abortion." Tober apparently does not believe the world needs to see what gun violence does to children.

Nichoklas Fondacaro desperately tried to flip the script, bizarrely claiming that anyone who criticized the Uvalde massacre was getting off on the violence:

As their coverage of the tragic shooting in a Uvalde, Texas elementary school progressed into the night Tuesday, things on CNN got downright ghoulish and disgusting as paid analysts and guests were allowed to take things to dark and terrible places. Between former Homeland Security official Juliette Kayyem showing a bizarre satisfaction in talking about the “destroyed” “little bodies” of the 18 students killed in the attack and radical anti-gun Parkland parent Fred Guttenberg calling Republicans “evil,” the network was in a downward spiral.

While speaking with host Erin Burnett, Guttenberg praised Democratic Senator Chris Murphy (CT) for acting “heroic” today with his screed on the Senate floor. He then attacked Republicans by claiming they don’t love their kids.

[...]

For this go around, Kayyem flaunted a sick satisfaction with talking about the mutilated bodies of the young children. “I think it's important to be graphic. I think the word shooting can sound sanitary since we're dealing with them so often,” she argued as her justification. 

Fondacaro also lashed out at Kayyem for calling the weaponry the killer used "heavy artillery," insisting that it really wasn't:

Claiming they were killed by “heavy artillery” was a gross exaggeration that went unchallenged by Cooper. The school was not shelled from miles away. Reports are conflicting but we believe the shooter had a handgun and a rifle.

Do you know whose schools are getting shelled by artillery and multi-launch rocket systems? Ukraine’s, by Russian invaders. And Cooper should have known better since he’s been there recently.

Well, that artillery was certainly heavy enough to put the body count in double digits, wasn't it, Nick? Poor guy doesn't understand that insisting guns aren't really deadly in the wake of a massacre is not only a losing argument, it makes him look like an idiot. Maybe Fondacaro finds some kind of sick satisfaction in doing that.

Margaret Buckley complained that Republicans pro-gun absolutism was called out:

On Wednesday, most people are mourning the losses of young innocent lives along with two teachers at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. However, that did not prevent those on MSNBC’s Morning Joe from continuously blaming Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Governor Greg Abbott, and the rest of the Republican Party for the school shooting that took place.

The show started out with its main host Joe Scarborough going after Republicans, branding them as cowards, liars, hypocrites, barbarians among other things. Scarborough compared their reactions to those on 9/11 and January 6, expressing how “they want you to forget about it”, or simply think “that’s just the cost of freedom.”

However, the blaming did not stop there, as MSNBC contributor Mike Barnicle remarked that you get Cruz and Abbott “when you mix insanity with hypocrisy.”

Scarborough even went after Fox News. He accused them of spreading paranoia across America, alerting gun owners that the government is coming for their guns and scaring these “freaks” and conspiracy theorists as a result. “We also hear something really gross from the same people who will desperately seek, to find any crime that an illegal immigrant causes and then run it on the TV network for 24 hours a day,” he added.

Buckley didn't dispute anything being said, instead rather lamely tried to distract by huffing, "It is easy to determine that the media will not get anywhere by tirelessly blaming the GOP on the mass shooting."

Tober concluded the day with a post headlined "WATCH: Tucker Reacts to Biden's Divisive Speech in the Way Only He Can." He thinks Tucker ranting and spewing hate "in the only we he can" is a good thing, of course:

Fox News host Tucker Carlson blasted President Joe Biden in the immediate aftermath of his bitterly partisan and divisive speech to the nation on the tragic elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas in which 18 elementary school children and one teacher were killed.

Carlson, who suspected Biden might decide to further divide the country during his speech warned viewers moments prior to the President coming to the podium that “if the President uses the deaths of children to try to make himself more powerful, he really is a loathsome man unworthy of leading this country.” But if he doesn’t, Carlson hedged, “he will get praise from us and from every American.”

Sadly, Biden did the former.

Instead of giving a speech to unite and calm a heartbroken nation, Biden decided to go after his political opponents and the “gun lobby.”

Only in Tucker's -- and the MRC's -- world is trying to stop future massacres considered "divisive." They, of course, deny that there's anything divisive about their pro-gun absolutism.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:21 PM EDT
CNS Sticks To Right-Wing Spin After Durham's Trial Failure
Topic: CNSNews.com

Even though the Media Research Center obsessed over John Durham's prosecution of Michael Sussmann, its "news" division CNSNews.com largely ignored Sussmann's trial. Prior to the trial, an April 5 article by Craig Bannister hyped how "In a court filing Monday night, Special Counsel John Durham presents an alleged text message from Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann falsely telling the FBI that he was not working on behalf of any client when he delivered anti-Trump research in 2016," citing biased website Just The News, and a May 6 article by Bannister touted how Republican Rep. Jim Jordan proclaimed that Durham "wants jurors to know the truth about the origin and handling of the FBI’s so-called 'Trump-Russia Collusion' investigation."

CNS devoted no "news" coverage to Sussmann's trial while it was going on; the only mention came in a May 26 column by R. Emmett Tyrrell promoting campaign operative Robby Mook's testimony at the trial. then unironically complaining that "I looked through The New York Times and The Washington Postwith my legendary thoroughness and could find no hint of Mook's testimony. Not even in the Help Wanted sections, not even in the much-vaunted Style section." He wouldn't have found it at  CNS either, but he didn't mention that part. In an apparent bit of pre-verdict spin, Tyrrell then declared, "Once again, Hillary has been caught in a lie, perhaps the most shocking lie of her career. She tried to throw an election."

After the verdict -- in which Sussmann was acquitted -- a "news" article finally discussed the trial, in a June 2 stenography piece by Melanie Arter quoting former Trump attorney general Bill Barr spouting the approved talking points, that the jury was biased Durham advanced right-wing talking points:

A federal jury in Washington, D.C. -- a jury that included Hillary Clinton donors and supporters -- on Tuesday acquitted Washington attorney Michael Sussmann on a charge of lying to the FBI in 2016 about his actions on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign.

The case was prosecuted by Special Counsel John Durham, who was asked three years ago by then-Attorney General Bill Barr to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia "hoax," as President Donald Trump called it.

Barr on Wednesday praised Durham for doing "an exceptionally able job, both digging out very important facts and presenting a compelling case to the jury."

Barr told Fox News's Jesse Waters [sic] on Wednesday that although Durham did not persuade a D.C. jury to convict Sussmann, "I think he accomplished something far more important, which is he brought out the truth in two important areas.

[...]

“And in government cases, that means a D.C. jury, which is a very favorable jury for anyone named Clinton and the Clinton campaign. Those are the facts of life, and to get mad at law enforcement people because proving these cases beyond a reasonable doubt is difficult work --it's childish.”

[...]

"There are two standards of the law. And we've had to struggle with that," Barr said. "And people have done, I think, a very good job trying to develop this case in the face of very strong headwinds.

“And part of this operation is to try to get the real story out. And I've said from the beginning, if we can get convictions, if they're achievable, then John Durham will achieve them," Barr said.

Since this was only a stenography piece, Arter made no effort to balance her article with someone who supported the verdict and the rule of law, let alone mention that it was Durham's responsibility to keep potential jurors he thought were biased off the jury or to try and move the trial to a jurisdiction he believed might be more favorable to his case.

No other articles have since discussed the trial or its verdict, leaving Arter's biased piece as the only one, despite CNS' own pledge in the money beg at end of her article that it "covers the news as it should be, without fear or favor."


Posted by Terry K. at 6:17 PM EDT
Joel Hirschhorn COVID Misinformation Watch
Topic: WorldNetDaily

How is prolific COVID misinformer Joel Hirschhorn misinforming people now? Let's take a look! He ranted in his April 28 column:

Here are the latest data from CDC:

Many billions of dollars spent. Not that much accomplished.

Despite massive use of COVID vaccines, COVID in 2021 was again the third-leading cause of death in the United States. COVID stayed the third-leading cause of death for the second year in a row, according to provisional mortality data collected by CDC from death certificates.

Not only has mass COVID vaccination not stopped high death levels, those who are fully vaccinated including booster shots, like Vice President Harris, keep getting new COVID infections.

hirschoorn didn't mention the anti-vaxxer movement he's part of that deliberately held down the number of COVID vaccinations, making that number less "massive" than he wants you to think it is.He also forgot to mention that the Omicron variant is much more contagious, making vaccines less effective against infection -- but that current vaccines do, in fact, protect against an infected person becoming hospitalized or dying, so it's not like the vaccine is a waste.

Hirschhorn used his May 12 column to return to the issue of long COVID, specifically focusing on the symptom of brain fog -- but, again, he tried to blame it on vaccines despite scant evidence to support it. Hirschhorn's May 16 column looked at those who didn't catch COVID despite "high exposure" to the virus; he dubiously declared that "They had no need for COVID vaccine shots."

Hirschhorn was back to misinformation mode in his May 27 column:

This is the big ugly truth many people will have trouble facing:

Only a small fraction of physicians have been heroic during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In some of my past writings, I have spoken about the failure of most physicians to truly understand pandemic issues and think and act independently to serve the public. Instead, they have served the interests of Big Pharma, their corporate employers and government agencies, most clearly as big pushers of COVID vaccines. They do not follow or know the medical research on many pandemic issues. They either do not have the time or interest or skills to independently follow medical research. Instead, they rely on big medical societies and government agencies.

However, the first "heroic" doctor he cited was Robert Malone -- a prolific misinformer in his own right.The second one was Vladimir Zelenko, a right-wing darling for his early advocacy of hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID despite his lack of credible documentation to back it up. He continued to whine:

One terrible pandemic impact is the rational view by many people that their doctors have let them down. The many millions now suffering from long COVID and getting very little help from the medical establishment. Doctors had a choice to challenge what federal agencies were telling the public. They could have done what only a handful of doctors did, namely respect the considerable data showing ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine really did effectively prevent COVID infection when given early enough to stop viral replication. A number of other nations did what the Fauci-controlled U.S. government refused to do: namely promote early home treatment with generics. Instead, Fauci pursued a wait-for-the-vaccine strategy. And then as a lacky of Big Pharma, he lied to the public about the safety of COVID vaccines.

Doctors did not live up to their ethical commitment to first do no harm. They did harm by following the government dictates. They share the blame for 1 million dead and hundreds of thousands harmed by both COVID and vaccines. They take refuge in narrowly helping their patients with conventional illnesses, but they ignore what is all around them, namely the death and harm from COVID and vaccines.

Meanwhile, in the real world, studies claiming the efficacy of ivermectin in treating COVID continue to be retracted. Hirschhorn doesn't say how many people have died of COVID because they were deceived by charlatans and put misplaced faith in ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine.

Hirschhorn had a new anti-vaxx conspiracy theory to  peddle in his June 16 column:

If you are a critical thinker who appreciates truth-telling about COVID vaccines, then you should be deeply concerned that there are data indicating the vaccines can produce one of the deadliest diseases known to medicine.

The disease is always fatal. Normally, only about a thousand Americans die from it annually. But now? Who knows? The government is not working hard to track Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), which is known as a prion disease.

[...]

The mainstream media have ignored truly amazing research linking CJD to COVID vaccines.

A recent French pre-print on CJD and COVID vaccination has indicated that the COVID vaccine may have contributed to the emergence of a new type of sporadic CJD disease that is a lot more aggressive and rapid in progression as compared to the traditional CJD.

The French found that within days of receiving a first or second dose of Pfizer or Moderna COVID vaccines, patients got the disease.

Hirschhorn's link for this went to the anti-vaxxer Children's Health Defense, another COVID misinformer. Meanwhile, actual fact-checkers pointed out that the French preprint -- which has not been peer-reviewed -- did not establish a causal link, with a medical researcher adding, "if there was any kind of link, it would be much more present than in one patient in Turkey and in 26 cases in France."

Nevertheless, Hirschhorn went on to cite unverified anecdotal cases and huff that "many vaccine-related deaths may have been CJD and gone undiagnosed because it takes a large effort to confirm CJD."


Posted by Terry K. at 2:05 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 22, 2022 2:40 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: Psaki-Bashing And Doocy-Fluffing At The MRC, April 2022
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Curtis Houck has nothing but contempt for Jen Psaki and nothing but cookies for Peter Doocy and other biased reporters who advance right-wing narratives. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:38 AM EDT
Tuesday, June 21, 2022
MRC Fearmongers About 'Pro-Abort' Violence, Censors Decades Of Anti-Abortion Violence
Topic: Media Research Center

After the leak of a draft Supreme Court decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade and, thus, the right to an abortion across America, the Media Reserarch Center was eager to hype isolated incidents of violent protest into an huge issue. A May 4 item by Kevin Tober was typical:

Late Tuesday night, violent pro-abortion mobs took the streets in Los Angeles to express their rage over the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade and handing the abortion issue back to the states to decide. In videos posted to Twitter and reported online by Fox News and The Daily Caller, among other reputable outlets, the violent left-wing abortion activists were seen attacking police officers. 

While all three networks mentioned protests taking place across the country, none of the big three evening news broadcast programs reported on the violence that took place across the city. Instead, they showed images of peaceful abortion advocates chanting in front of the Supreme Court or marching down the city streets with protest signs.

The fact that Tober thinks wildly biased outlets like Fox News and the Daily Caller are "reputable" reflects the MRC's own untrustworthy bias.

The MRC went on to rant that even demonstrably peaceful protests outside Supreme Court justices' homes were a threat:

The MRC then found an actual isolated incident of violence to obsess about, as Tober wrote in a May 9 post:

After a weekend of leftist abortion activists tormenting the six conservative Supreme Court justices at their homes and desecrating or setting pro-life clinics on fire, ABC’s World News Tonight decided on Monday to move on from the destruction of property and menacing behavior that took place for the simple reason that their behavior makes their demonic abortion agenda look bad.

ABC did cover it on Sunday’s World News Tonight and the overnight Monday shows World News Now and America This Morning, but left this act of terrorism in the dust by Monday’s Good Morning America.

[...]

ABC clearly realized letting their viewers witness what pro-abortion advocates are doing is detrimental to the pro-abortion cause. This is why they were moving the eyes of viewers away from images of their fellow leftists burning pro-life clinics with Molotov cocktails.

Kathleen Krumhansl highlighted this same incident in a May 12 post:

News of a violent terror attack against a pro-life clinic in Madison, Wisconsin, got the quickie treatment at the Latino networks, which spent a total of 74 seconds reporting the attack that included throwing two Molotov cocktails into the facilities, lighting a fire and posting a menacing graffiti warning that “If abortions aren't safe, then you aren't either”.

[...]

At MRC Latino we will be looking out for further reports on the arrests of the perpetrators of this intimidating and vicious attack over the Spanish-speaking press. Always watching.

Scott Whitlock ranted that "the corrupt network morning and evening newscasts" devoted "a scant 77 seconds" to the "terroristic attack" on the clinic, unironically adding, "Harassing citizens into complicity is not the way we do things in this country. And the press should call attacks like Madison for what they are: Terror."

By contrast, neither Tober nor Krumhansl mentioned an incident a few months earlier that, by their defintion, was also a violent terror attack: A Planned Parenthood clinic burned down in Knoxville, Tenn., on New Year's Eve, which investigators have determined was arson -- perpetrated, one may safely presume, by an anti-abortion activist. No fretting about something "demonic" happening here, of course.

The MRC also got mad when the history of violence from anti-abortion activists was brought up. A May 6 post by Alex Christy complained that CNN reported on "hypothetical Roe-related violence…from the 'far-right.'" A May 10 post by Christy noted that folks on CNN brought up "anti-abortion protesters outside of abortion clinics, blocking the way, making it almost impossible for women to go in and out of those clinics" as well as "sadly, bombing of some clinics,” then played whataboutism with the Wisconsin incident: "While CNN warns of right-wing violence, it makes excuses for left-wing intimidation tactics while pro-life facilities are targeted with Molotov cocktails." Curtis Houck similarly whined, right down to the same example of whataboutism, in a post the same day:

Tuesday’s CBS Mornings had a maddening end to its segment about the increasing threats to the lives of Supreme Court justices for striking down (or at least weakening) Roe v. Wade as congressional correspondent Scott MacFarlane claimed intelligence shared with CBS views “extremists” (meaning the far-right) as the group to worry about amid tensions surrounding the issue.

Why, you ask? According to MacFarlane, such “extremists” could be looking to carry out attacks on “abortion clinics and government officials.” If all that sounded familiar, it is as CNN spent Friday telling its viewers the same thing.

[...]

MacFarlane should share this with Wisconsin Family Action out in Madison, Wisconsin after their headquarters was terrorized, a Northern Virginia pregnancy center whose building was defaced, and Concerned Women for America, whose building was vandalized with someone urinating on it.

The MRC appears deathly afraid of reminding people of the anti-abortion movement's decades-long history of violence and aggressive protesting. As Lauren Rankin summarized at Slate:

At Metropolitan Medical Associates in Englewood, New Jersey, where I volunteered as a clinic escort for six years, protesters would stand right by the front doors, pointing their cellphones at patients walking in while screaming “You’re a murderer!” into a bullhorn. Some of the protesters would write down the license plate numbers on the cars of my fellow clinic escorts and sometimes those of patients. I have been smacked in the face, elbowed in the ribs, and sexually harassed by anti-abortion protesters while volunteering as a clinic escort.

[...]

Eleven abortion providers and clinic staff have been murdered by anti-abortion terrorists since 1994, including Dr. Bart Slepian, who was shot and killed in his own kitchen after returning from synagogue, and Dr. George Tiller, who was gunned down while serving as an usher in church.

Anti-abortion protesters have harassed the children of abortion providers at their own schools and harassed the landlords of abortion clinics. Recently, anti-abortion fanatic Lauren Handy and her co-conspirators were charged with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act after they invaded an abortion clinic in D.C. The FACE Act, enacted in 1994 with bipartisan support, made it a federal crime to block access to or intimidate someone from entering a reproductive health clinic.

[...]

This isn’t an issue of the past. Operation Save America, a spinoff of the fanatical anti-abortion group Operation Rescue that blockaded clinics, laid siege to EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville, Kentucky, in 2017—cutting off access and supplies. Since 2010, death threats and physical threats of harm, as well as instances of assault and battery, have been steadily climbing at abortion clinics. In 2020 alone, there were five reported instances of arson at abortion clinics.

How’s that for “civility”?

Nope, the MRC isn't going to bring that up at all -- those facts conflict with its narrative of pro-choice people as the real violent ones. At no point in these posts did the MRC denounce ani-abortion terrorism, let alone admit that it exists, thus demonstrating that it is, in fact, quite cool with "harassing citizens into complicity."


Posted by Terry K. at 10:19 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, June 21, 2022 10:39 PM EDT
WND Spins Durham Prosecution Failure
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Like the Media Research Center, WorldNetDaily also sought to spin the acquittal of Democratic lawyer Michael Sussmann on charges of making false statements to the FBI that were pushed by right-leaning special counsel John Durham. A May 31 "news" article by Art Moore downplayed Durham's prosecutorial failure to praise him for injecting anti-Hillary narratives into right-wing media:

A Washington, D.C, jury on Tuesday acquitted former Hillary Clinton lawyer Michael Sussmann of lying to the FBI, but the most important outcome of the case for special counsel John Durham was the confirmation of Hillary Clinton's role in a plot to weaponize the FBI to launch an investigation of her Republican opponent in the 2016 election.

The jury saw compelling evidence that Sussmann falsely presented himself as a concerned citizen rather than as a member of Clinton's campaign when he gave the FBI data to support the bogus claim that Donald Trump had a secret communications channel with the Kremlin through computer servers owned by a Russian bank.

[...]

In Durham's indictment of Sussmann, he said the evidence against the Clinton lawyer reveals "a scandal much deeper than merely Sussmann's role in a second Russian hoax — a scandal that entangles the Clinton campaign, multiple internet companies, two federally-funded university researchers, and a complicit media."

The prosecution said during the trial that the material Sussmann gave to the FBI was "pure opposition research" for the purpose of concocting an "October Surprise" in the 2016 election.

The case also revealed that the FBI's top brass were excited about Sussmann's claim. An agent told a colleague in a text, "People on 7th floor to include Director are fired up about this server," referring to James Comey and the bureau's top brass.

And further, the Sussmann prosecution confirmed the Clinton campaign paid the opposition research firm Fusion GPS to produce the infamous dossier of unverified and now debunked claims against Trump compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele.

Moore then set up the same conspiracy theory that the MRC did in blaming thepurported bias of the jury for the acquittal:

Constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley summarized the jury bias in an interview with Bret Baier of Fox News.

"I mean, he is facing a jury that has three Clinton donors, an [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] donor, and a woman whose daughter is on the same sports team with Sussmann’s daughter," said the George Washington University professor of law.

"With the exception of randomly selecting people out of the DNC headquarters, you could not come up with a worse jury."

Turley apparently didn't mention that it was Durham's responsibility as a prosecutor to keep potential jurors he believed were biased off the jury or, failing that, try to move the trial to a jurisdiction that might be more favorable to his anti-Hillary bias.

The next day, Bob Unruh pushed the jury conspiracy angle further:

Jury nullification in America's judicial system is the simple act of a jury deciding the outcome of a case based on what it wants, a decision that is not necessarily in alignment with the actual law.

It dates to the beginning of the nation, when in 1735 John Peter Zenger was on trial for seditious libel, at that time banning any statement against British rule, and he was acquitted.

Courts later condemned it, but it remains within the authority of jurors to decide – alone – the result of their jury room discussions.

And that's what the acquittal of former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann looks like, according to several experts.

In fact, Unruh cited only two: Turley and onetime acting Trump attorney general Matt Whitaker, whose take could hardly be considered unbiased. And, like Moore's article, Unruh didn't mention that the Durham's prosecution team signed off on every one of those jurors, meaning that the existence of purportedly biased ones can be laid squarely on Durham. Instead, he repeated Moore's praise of Durham for injecting more anti-Hillary narratives into right-wing media.

 


Posted by Terry K. at 7:50 PM EDT
Newsmax Actually Asked Zelensky If Trump Would've Stopped Russian Invasion -- Then Buried It
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax has demonstrated one key streak of independence from slavish right-wing orthodoxy by being a (mostly) solid supporter of Ukraine after it was invaded by Russia -- to the ppoint that it sent TV host Rob Schmitt to Ukraine and scored and interview with Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelensky. Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy announced the interview in a May 31 article:

Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy met Tuesday in Kyiv with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at his presidential offices.

Mr. Ruddy expressed his admiration for the courage and tenacity of the Ukrainian people in their fight for freedom and sovereignty.

President Zelenskyy expressed his gratitude to the Newsmax audience for its strong support and for the strong support of the American people in Ukraine’s struggle to defend their country from Russian aggression.

[...]

After the meeting, President Zelenskyy sat down with Newsmax primetime host Rob Schmitt for a half-hour discussion about the security situation in Ukraine and across Europe.

But even then, it can't completely stop injecting a pro-Trump viewpoint into it. According to a report from the UK Independent:

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky dismissed the suggestion that Donald Trump could have stopped Russia from invading his country in an interview with Newsmax.

Speaking on Tuesday with anchor Rob Schmitt, the Ukrainian leader said he “cannot predict” what would have happened if Mr Trump was still US president.

Schmitt proposed: “There are many Americans that believe that if somebody like Donald Trump was still in the White House that this invasion would not have happened. What is your position?”

“I am sorry if I’ll be saying something that you don’t like but for us as the country in war, it doesn’t matter whether it’s Democrats or Republicans,” Mr Zelensky replied.” It’s the people of the United States that support us”.

Mr Zelensky continued by saying that “anybody could become the [US] president”, including those who did not like Ukraine and those who were empathetic towards Vladimir Putin, the Russian president.

“Some might like Ukraine more, some less. Some might have respect for Putin, and some might not ...but the values our country is fighting for are definitely the ones shared by the US,” Mr Zelensky said.

Meanwhile, Newsmax cranked out several articles about its Zelensky interview:

But it was only in that last one that it was mentioned that Schmitt asked, and then it wasn't mentioned until the fourth paragraph. The article, by Eric Mack, reprinted much of Zelensky's response but not the part where he said to Schmitt, "I am sorry if I’ll be saying something that you don’t like." That statement still appears in the accompanying video clip.

It seems like Newsmax knew Schmitt's question was dumb and sought to downplay it. That's a sign of self-awareness that we haven't seen from WorldNetDaily.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:24 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, June 21, 2022 3:23 PM EDT
CNS Giving Scandal-Tarred Gaetz (But Not His Scandal) The Headline Treatment Again
Topic: CNSNews.com

We've noted how CNSNews.com loved to quote Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz until last year, when he had to lay low after allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a 17-year-old girl surfaced as well as questions about whether that constituted sex trafficking. AFter a brief article when the allegations first went public, CNS has almost completely censored news of the scandal, even though a close Gaetz friend pleaded guilty to charges in the case and his ex-girlfriend was granted immunity so she could tell her story to a grand jury. (And they certainly weren't going to mention Gaetz's abysmal book sales.)

Now, it appears both Gaetz and CNS are tired of laying low -- and CNS is back to giving Gaetz free publicity. It eased into giving Gaetz the headline-stenography treatment it gave him before his scandal went public at the start of this year for spouting conservatively correct things:

There was an interlude where it didn't go well for Gaetz; when CNS sent an intern out in April to pester senators about whether they use marijuana after the House voted to decriminalize it, it noted that Gaetz was one of the few Republicans who voted for that bill.

Then, starting with an April 27 article, CNS resumed the headline treatment with four more articles:

The one about Russia, of course, is a reflection of CNS' editorial policy of appeasing Russian leader Vladimir Putin because he spouts conservatively correct things and bashes President Biden.

You will not be surprised to learn that none of these articles mention the fact that Gaetz remains under federal investigation for his scandals.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:22 AM EDT
Monday, June 20, 2022
After Sussmann Is Acquitted, MRC Blames Biased Jury, Not Durham
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center relentlessly hyped every little claim special counsel John Durham made that alluded to possible wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign as a "MASSIVE" development as it reported on the trial of lawyer Michael Sussmann for allegedly making a false statement to the FBI. But when the jury acquitted Sussmann, had to find a new narrative: attacking the justice system. In a May 31 post, Kevin Tober suggested the verdict was illegitimate because the jury was mysteriously "dubious":

In one of the most outrageous examples of leftist media bias, ABC’s World News Tonight and CBS Evening News decided to finally report on the Durham/Sussmann Russia hoax trial, but only after Michael Sussmann was acquitted of lying to the FBI. Both networks had no interest in covering the trial while it was ongoing. It wasn’t until the Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer was found not guilty by a dubious Washington D.C. jury that they decided to take a victory lap. While NBC Nightly News made no mention of the jury verdict. 

On World News Tonight, anchor David Muir gloated about the “major defeat” for special counsel John Durham before tossing it to the network’s chief justice correspondent Pierre Thomas.

For Thomas’s part, he joyfully reported the “Washington jury handing special counsel John Durham a stinging defeat, acquitting a lawyer with ties to Hillary Clinton's campaign of charging that he lied to the FBI.”

Unlike with previous articles bashing those channels' lack of coverage of the trial, Tober did not mention how Fox News covered the verdict.

When CNN's John Avlon took right-wing media to task for its embarrassing  Durham cheerleading. Aidan Moorehouse had a meltdown in a June 1 post:

If you ever feel like being lectured by someone who thinks you have the mental capacity of a toddler, look no further than CNN’s John Avlon. On Wednesday’s New Day, Avlon decided to use his five-minute monologue Reality Check to gloat over the acquittal of Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann and ironically tout CNN as “reality-based media” as opposed to “partisan media.”   

Avlon could barely contain his glee as he recounted, “Yesterday, the hammer was supposed to finally come down. . .But instead, it was time to cue the sad trombone soundtrack, as the jury came back with an acquittal for the Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, who’d been charged with a single count of lying to the FBI.”

Avlon compared the Durham probe with the Mueller investigation, which “took less than two years, and it resulted in prison sentences for five members of the Trump circle, including Paul Manafort and longtime political advisor Roger Stone — both of whom Trump later pardoned — as well as former consigliere Michael Cohen.”

He then decided to take a swipe at CNN’s rival (and much more popular) network, “The folks over at Fox News obligingly hyped up the Durham investigation big time. Get this, according to LexisNexis transcripts, they mentioned it at least 625 times on their air since 2019. The repetition reflects the alternate reality that gets created by partisan echo chambers.”

[...]

Avlon continued, “As it became evident that the trial was going sideways, right-wing media was already primed to explain away an acquittal, blaming the jury as biased and saying it contained Hillary Clinton donors. But this wasn't a close call. It was a fast six-hour deliberation followed by a unanimous verdict.”

Does Avlon think that pointing out the speed of the deliberation and clear conflicts of interest will make people trust D.C. more?

But if jury members had the "clear conflicts of interest" that Moorehouse claims, wasn't it Durham's duty to make sure those people never got on the jury, since both prosecution and defense attorneys must sign off on jury members?

Emma Schultz lodged a similar complaint in a June 2 post, grumbing that the acquittal means "outlets like CNN are suddenly excited to spike the football. On Tuesday night, Don Lemon and guests cheered the verdict as won 'fairly and squarely.' They also derided 'partisan folks' who watch such trials in bad faith." She then tried to raise the specter of a biased jury by citing a highly biased Fox News employee: "Fox News host and former Trump spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany explained that 'the D.C. jury pool, this is an area of the country where 76 percent of people in the District of Columbia are registered Democrats. Believing that the jury did not 'buy what Durham was selling,' she feeds right into what the left thinks." Like Moorehouse, Schultz failed to mention that Durham approved this jury. Clay Waters followed with a June 4 post grousing that the New York Times pointed out Durham was just chasing right-wing conspiracy theories.

Meanwhile, MRC writer Curtis Houck was more explicit about  blaming a biased jury on his Twitter account, lashing out in one tweet at an "ultra-liberal D.C. jury" and calling Sussmann their "friend" (despite offering no evidence that any jury member had any sort of "friendly" personal connection with Sussmann). He whined in another tweet that "This [is] what happens when you try a Democratic operative in a city with Saddam Hussein-like election returns for Democrats." At no point did he mention that Durham signed off on these jurors and that if he felt they were overly biased, he shouldn't have done that.

Houck further complained: "If a Trump lawyer were to be tried in a scheme similar to how Michael Sussmann was charged with lying to the FBI and faced a D.C. jury, the trial would be held in Fulton County, PA where Trump got 85.5% in 2020." But Houck offered no evidence that Durham tried to move the Sussmann trial to find a supposedly less Democratic jury.

It wouldn't be an official MRC narrative, however, if Tim Graham didn't weigh in. In his June 1 podcast, rehashing his subordinates' whining that the "liberal media" didn't cover the trial but only noted when Sussmann was acquitted, rehashed right-wing complaints about the Mueller report and even went way back to the 1990s to complain that Lawrence Walsh indiced Caspar Weinberger before the 1992 election. Graham further whined that the trial was held in "midnight-blue D.C., so pretty much every prospective juror was a Democrat." Like Houck, Graham offered no evidence Durham tried to move the trial outside D.C. He added: "Basically, the jurors came out and told reporters this was a waste of our times, which just tells you the jurors were Democrats." Graham seems incapable of admitting that jurors' assessment of Durham's case could not possibly be objective.

Graham went on to handwave Durham's failure as a prosecutor and cheer his work in perpetuating right-wing anti-Hillary narratives: "So in this case the prosecution failed, but in media terms, the John Durham probe keeps giving us details on how the media and the Clinton campaign colluded to create the Russian collusion narrative that ended up being false."

Graham regurgitated a lot of his podcast ranting in his June 3 column: "John Durham was guaranteed a hostile reception from journalists who wanted everyone to believe the most overwrought tales about Trump while they posed as the Guardians of Facts and Truth. Any attempt to dig into the manufacturing of their sensationalist narratives has to be disparaged as a 'debacle.'" And Durham was guaranteed a fawning reception from Graham and the MRC because he was advancing right-wing anti-Hillary narratives. That was too good of a story for anyone at the MRC to fact-check beyond his "MASSIVE" claims -- which might have revealed they weren't so massive after all.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:45 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, June 20, 2022 10:24 PM EDT
CNS Unemployment Coverage Distortion Watch
Topic: CNSNews.com

Under a headline that sneeringly dismissed great employment news as merely "not bad," Susan Jones' lead CNSNews.com article on May's employment numbers still -- still! -- made a point of reminding people that things were even better in the pre-pandemic Trump years and, in CNS style, continued to obsess over the labor force participation rate since that's a number that can be used to obscure the unambiguously positive numbers:

Non-farm payrolls added 390,000 jobs in May, better than the consensus estimate of 350,000, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday.

With that gain, non-farm employment is down by 822,000, or just 0.5 percent, from its pre-pandemic level in February 2020.

The number of employed people increased by 321,000 to 158,426,000; the number of unemployed people also increased, by 9,000, and this produced an unemployment rate of 3.6 percent for the third straight month. (The number of employed Americans set 25 records under President Trump, reaching an all-time high of 158,866,000 in February 2020.)

In a positive move, the labor force participation rate moved up slightly.

In May, the civilian non-institutional population in the United States was 263,679,000. That included all people 16 and older who did not live in an institution, such as a prison, nursing home or long-term care facility.

Of that civilian non-institutional population, 164,376,000 were participating in the labor force, meaning they were either employed or unemployed -- they either had a job or were actively seeking one during the last month. This resulted in a labor force participation rate of 62.3 percent in May, up from 62.2 percent in April, but still a tenth of a point lower than the 62.4 percent achieved in March.

The participation rate was 61.4 percent when Joe Biden took office. Today's number, 62.3 percent, is still below the Trump-era high of 63.4 percent in February 2020, just before COVID shut things down.

CNS downplayed this good news further by failing to place it in the lead-story slot at the top center of CNS' front page. That honor went to editor Terry Jeffrey's usual sidebar on government employment that "increased by 57,000 in May," which passes as bad news in the CNS bubble because government employment is evil, apparently. But Jeffrey didn't play the Trump game that Jones did, because the graph accompanying his article shows that government employment, like general employment, peaked in early 2020 before the pandemic -- and, thus, under Trump, whose history of prolifigate spending has also been hidden by CNS because it conflicts with the official (and bogus) narrative of him as a fiscally responsible conservative.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:38 PM EDT
MRC Hypocritical Whoredom Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center -- specifically, writer Scott Whitlock -- loves to denigrate other media outlets as being "whores" for its owners by promoting projects by corporate siblings, despite the MRC's own longstanding practice of whoring out its "news" division, CNSNews.com, to promote MRC narratives and other projects. Whitlock did this again in an April 27 post:

If you ever hear ABC News investigate some politician or organization for doing the bidding of corporate overlords, be sure and laugh. Because it’s hard to find journalists more compromised than those at Good Morning America. On Wednesday, they devoted a combined eight minutes and 24 seconds to shilling for corporate bosses Disney.

At the same time, however, they have important, tragic stories, like the drowning of Army National Guardsman Bishop E. Evans. He drowned while heroically attempting to save migrants crossing the Rio Grande. ABC’s morning and evening newscasts devoted 20 seconds total since last Friday.

Instead, GMA on Wednesday devoted three segments to promoting Disney cruises and one to promote the Disney movie Encanto. Take a look at this clip and see if you can figure out: News story or Disney PR? 

As we've documented, the MRC used CNS for a combination of whoredom and logrolling earlier this year around boss Brent Bozell's new book. The whoring began when CNS editor Terry Jeffrey did an extremely softball interview with Bozell to promote the book;' it followed that up with a fawning review of Bozell's book by Craig Shirley, after which Bozell gave Shirley a gushing review of his book, bollowed by Jeffrey tossing softballs to Shirley for a promotional "interview."

Funny how Whitlock is unable to see that ridiculous whoredom happening right under his nose. He must get paid pretty well to be able to ignore such blatant hypocrisy.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:49 PM EDT

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