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Sunday, September 11, 2022
MRC's Jean-Pierre-Bashing, Doocy-Fluffing Watch
Topic: Media Research Center

Curtis Houck began his attack on Karine Jean-Pierre's Aug. 24 White House press briefing by unironically whining: "Thanks to President Biden’s seemingly endless vacations, Wednesday marked the first White House press briefing in 15 days." Houck never complained that White House briefings under Donald Trump were irregular at best -- with one press secretary refusing to hold any briefings at all -- and we don't recall him complaining about how much time Trump spent away from the White House at his properties. From there, it was back to his usual smears that Jean-Pierre was "stammering" and lacking "succinctness" while praising right-wing reporters Peter Doocy and Philip Wegmann as being "locked and loaded":

Wegmann got her [sic] turn in the first portion of the briefing with NEC Deputy Director Bharat Ramamurti when he asked Ramamurti whether it’s“really bottom up, middle out” considering the fact that they “structure[d] this policy in a way that would provide up to $40,000 in debt [relief] for a married couple making up to $249,000.”


Once her crutches (i.e. Ramamurti and [Domestic Policy Advisor Susan] Rice) were taken away, Jean-Pierre was on her own. Doocy eventually got his crack and, like usual, started with a short question: “[H]ow can the country afford such a massive handout?”

Jean-Pierre actually had the gall to reply that “Ambassador Rice said that she’s happy to have that discussion” and that it’s because Biden “brought down the deficit” by “$1.7 trillion” “at the end of the fiscal year.”

Doocy countered: “And might spend $300 to $900 billion extra.  So you can do that and not increase the deficit?”

Jean-Pierre had already run out of bullets, so she spent the remaining three-plus minutes with Doocy insisting “we are doing this responsibly” as it’s &ldDoocy kept asking who’d cover the tab for these student loan wipeouts, but she had nothing [.]


With that filibustering answer at the end, Doocy interjected to put a stop to this and asked six more times, but all Jean-Pierre could utter was that she had “laid out” how it’ll be done[.]

As if Doocy asking the same question six more times because he didn't like the answer he was given wasn't its own form of filibustering.

Houck wsent on the attack again over the Aug. 25 briefing:

Thursday’s White House press briefing represented the massive political landmine that’s become the Biden administration’s plan to forgive $10 to $20 million in student loans for Americans making under $125,000 as, for the second day in a row, reporters from across the political spectrum had serious concerns about its legality, purpose, and rollout.

Actually, it's $10,000 to $20,000 -- so much for attention to factual accuracy, which surely translates to giving readers no reason to trust his highly biased attacks on Jewn-Pierre. Indeed, Houck blew past his factual error to fluff another right-wing reporter for spouting biased talking points:

Fox’s Jacqui Heinrich got her first crack at Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in a some time by pointing out a basic truth about the disconnect between the alleged legal justification for the bailout and the administration’s rhetoric about the pandemic:

The Heroes Act hinges on student debt cancellation being tied to the pandemic and that being a national emergency, but the administration argued in court that the pandemic is over at the southern border to lift Title 42. It’s so over that the government is going to stop buying vaccines in the fall and shift to the private sector. 

“[H]ow is COVID a national emergency when it comes to student debt,” she asked.

Jean-Pierre insisted “it’s a good question and I’m glad you asked it,” explaining the Heroes Act (which was enacted after 9/11 for first responders) fit “because there are going to be some people when we lift the pause that's still going to suffer” with their remaining student loan payments.

Heinrich asked if it’s due to the economy, but Jean-Pierre insisted it was based on their earnings versus the payments since “the economy has been turned back on because of the work that this President has done.”

Jean-Pierre inadvertently walked right into Heinrich’s next point:

[T]he President often says...we're not in a recession because we've got...record job market, record low unemployment, businesses investing in America at record rates. So why are those appropriate conditions to forgive student debt?

Despite the record inflation and high gas prices, the press secretary acted as though Heinrich had done her a favor and thanked her “for laying out all the work that the President has done.”

Heinrich closed with the reality that even the liberal “Washington Post editorial board says, you know, takes money from the broader tax base, mostly made up workers who didn’t go to college, to subsidize education debt of people with valuable degrees.”

Heinrich added how, beyond that, “there are critics that are saying this is not about the pandemic. It’s not about those conditions. This is about getting people to vote ahead of the midterms, that the real national emergency is Democrats in the midterm elections.”

Jean-Pierre hit back that she “disagree[s] with everything that you just laid out” and noted that some Democrats are unhappy because it wasn’t big enough.

The MRC was cointinuing to denigrate Jean-Pierre's TV appearances as well. Kevin Tober huffed in an Aug. 25 post:

On CNN’s Don Lemon Tonight on CNN, host Don Lemon asked White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre to explain what President Joe Biden meant when he accused Republicans of holding a political philosophy of “semi-fascism.” Since nobody in the country including, presumably, the President knows what that means, Lemon thought it would be wise to ask his spokesperson Jean-Pierre. Unfortunately for Lemon, it was clear she was struggling to define it as well. 

Lemon got right to the question at the beginning of the interview: “the President likened what he called extreme MAGA philosophy to semi-fascism. What exactly is semi-fascism, Karine?” 

Jean-Pierre went into a long monologue about what Biden has allegedly done for the country:


Clearly frustrated with her filibustering and avoiding the question posed to her, Lemon interjected “with all due respect. We have a short amount of time. I want to get to all those things  But if you'll answer my question, we can get to those things.”

Instead of answering, Jean-Pierre got snotty with Lemon shrieking “by having this back and forth we are actually taking away from the time.” 

Jean-Pierre falsely claimed Republicans are “attacking our democracy, they are taking away our freedom, and they are trying to put on the chopping blocks Medicare and Social Security.”


Despite her lies and not actually defining what “semi-fascism” is, Lemon responded, “thank you for answering that question.” 

Tober didn't disprove any of the alleged "lies" Jean-Pierre told.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:02 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 11, 2022 9:30 PM EDT
CNS Still Treating Chicago Crime As An (Intermittent) Political Issue

As we detailed last year, loves to invoke crime in big cities -- and particularly in Chicago -- as a way to accuse non-right-wing politicians and prosecutors of being purportedly "soft on crime." It did so last summer in an article popsted just a week after we posted our analysis of its highly selective crime coverage, with the headline "Chicago Weekend: 77 People Shot, 5 Dead." Craig Bannister followed a couple weeks later in a July 2021 article, writing that "Homicides and gang violence are so out of control in Chicago that the city needs federal and state help, political commentator and Journalist Geraldo Rivera said Monday," adding reports from another biased source: "As Fox News reported Monday, at least 40 people were shot, 11 fatally, in Chicago over the weekend."

CNS then got bored with the issue for a while, until Bannister located a Republican politician who found it useful in an April 26 article:

“We’re going backwards here on crime, general,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) told U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland during Monday's Senate Appropriations Committee hearing.

Using rampant killings in Chicago as an example, Sen. Kennedy pressed Garland on his failure to recommend a policy of “stop, question and frisk” to state and local law enforcement and officials:


Garland replied by saying the federal government doesn’t get involved in policing at the state and local levels:

Bannister then hyped how Kennedy interrupted Garland to demand a different answer then the accurate one he gave.

For a May 27 article, Bannister found some Chicago crime he apparently approved of, since the victims were members of the media that CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, exists to heap hatred upon:

As Fox 32’s “Good Day Chicago” was in the middle of a live broadcast Thursday, about the steep rise in gun violence in the city, a pedestrian walked on-camera and pointed what appears to be a gun at the camera, crew and reporter.

“Around 7 a.m., at the corner of Clark and Hubbard, while our reporter was in the middle of a live report about Chicago gun violence, a man walked up and pointed what appeared to be a firearm at our crew,” Fox 32 reports.

“Good Day Chicago’s” Joanie Lum was reporting on the 66% surge in shooting incidents in the city from 2019 to 2021 when the unidentified man came up from behind and, apparently, pointed a gun.

After skipping down the sidewalk, the man then stops and points the object in his hand at something across the street, before continuing on.

Melanie Arter sent more love Fox News' way in a June 3 article:

When asked Thursday what gun laws would have prevented 47 people from being shot in Chicago over the Memorial Day weekend, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre cited red flag laws, which allow the police or family members to petition the court to take away guns from someone deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.

“You got Chicago, for example. They already have plenty of very strict gun laws — some of the strictest in the country. Forty-seven people shot there over the Memorial Day weekend. Nine of them died. So, which law would have prevented any of that? Do we think that all these people in Chicago who are shooting each other are legally buying their guns?” Fox News White House Correspondent Peter Doocy asked.

Arter didn't explain her impication that Jean-Pierre is wrong.

The worlds of Fox News and Chicago crime merged again in a July 7 article by intern Stephanie Samsel:

Following the murder of his younger brother in Chicago in June, Fox News political analyst Gianno Caldwell pleaded for justice amidst weekly reports of violence, stating, “Living in Chicago should not come with a death warrant.”

Caldwell condemned the city’s “soft-on-crime policies” and called for reversing some of them, a move he told Fox News “could have prevented [his] brother’s death.”

Samsel didn't fact-check anything Caldwell said.

Another intern, Lucy Collins, crannked out a summer of weekend crime in  Chicago for an Aug. 8 article:

Fifty-four people were shot in Chicago over the weekend, leaving eight dead and 46 wounded. Police Superintendent David Brown acknowledged the spike in violent crime and said, “Every neighborhood is seeking more and more police officers right now.”

Brown has pledged increased police presence in Chicago’s public transportation system but has faced criticism for a recent policy change that some claim will “handcuff” the police. There have been 399 homicides in Chicago so far in 2022.

Collins did eventually get round to explaining that policy:

Superintendent Brown faced criticism earlier this summer, when his department released a new policy that limits when police officers are allowed to engage in foot pursuits. The new policy requires that the chase only be done “if they believe a person is committing or is about to commit a felony, a Class A misdemeanor such as domestic battery, or a serious traffic offense that could risk injuring others, such as drunken driving or street racing.”

This policy was enacted a year after two Chicago police chases ended in the deaths of a 13-year-old suspect and a 22-year-old, both of whom were fleeing from police and were armed.

Collins went on to repeat Caldwell's criticism of purportedly "soft on crime" Chicago officials, without explaining how it's "soft on crime" to have a policy against a suspect for a minor offense without a trial.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:55 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 11, 2022 10:56 AM EDT
Saturday, September 10, 2022
Nixon Revisionism: MRC Cheers His Media Hatred, Complains That He Was Besmirched
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has been peddling Watergate revisionism for some time in order to portray Richard Nixon as a victim. Mark Fionkelstein served up a mocking version of this in a July 12 post in a discussion of Donald Trump's apparent crimes:

Those old enough to remember Watergate, or who have studied it, know just how hyperbolic the liberal media and the Democrats were in terms of the threat to democracy they claimed Nixon posed.


As you'll see, the liberal media are now prepared to let Nixon off with a parking ticket! Liberals today are happy to soft-pedal the seriousness of Nixon's misconduct—in order to emphasize the gravity of Trump's alleged culpability for January 6th. 

Going hand in hand with that is Nixon revisionism. A July 16 post by Scott Whitlock recalled Nixon's petulant 1962 press conference after his loss in an election for California, the one on which he infamously whined that "you don't have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference."Whitlock didn't mention that or his overall petulance, of course; the point was to proclaim that Nixon was right about media bias:

As conservatives gear up for a contentious midterm election, Republicans such as Ron DeSantis have been battling the bias and dishonesty of the press. As those on the right know, it’s not a new complaint. But it predates 2022, as well as Donald Trump, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan. Way back on election night in 1962, after Richard Nixon lost his bid to be governor of California, he called out the liberal slant of the press. 

In the so-called “last press conference,” Nixon blasted the assembled reporters, highlighting his days as an anti-communist crusader: “For 16 years, ever since the Hiss case, you've had a lot of- a lot of fun...You've had an opportunity to attack me and I think I've given as good as I've taken.” He lectured the press: “If they're against a candidate, give him the shaft, but also recognize if they give him the shaft, put one lonely reporter on the campaign who will report what the candidate says now and then.”

Showing just how long the liberal press has been a problem, Nixon argued: 

I would hope that in the future, as a result of this campaign, that perhaps they would try at least simply to see that what both candidates say is reported, that if they have questions to ask of one candidate they ask the same questions of the other candidate.

Whitlock didn't mention that Nixon "acknowledged well into his remarks that the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962 did not allow his campaign to get his message across during the final two weeks in his election bid" -- which would seem to undercut his media bias complaint.

When Nixon was unflatteringly depicted in a TV miniseries, Whitlock returned to comolain in a July 30 post:

The vile new TV series Gaslight has mercifully ended. The show, centered  around Richard Nixon and the Watergate burglary, went out in gross fashion. Even considering how Hollywood hates Republicans, the Starz series went way beyond, finding it necessary to feature Nixon farting, showering, and a shot of his bare behind. 

Those images, such as a scene of Nixon tucking his t-shirt into his underwear, were contrasted with shots of the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and the overall grandeur of the White House. 

In case you were too dense to understand the metaphor, the show’s creators decided to spell it our for you. Farting/naked Nixon was unworthy of such a high office. Get it?

First, Whitlock got the name of the series wrong -- it's called "Gaslit." Second, rather than engage in any actual defense of Nixon -- perhaps because he knows he can't -- Whitlock instead plays whataboutism by detailing "a few of the things alleged sex predator John F. Kennedy is accused of doing in the White House." Which would make sense if JFK was mentioned in any form in the miniseries -- but he offers no evidence of that. Instead, more whining ensued:

In 2011, the History Channel willfully complied with the Kennedy family to remove a miniseries that portrayed the family negatively. It wasn’t until 2018 that Hollywood got around to making a movie about Ted Kennedy and Chappaquiddick. 

So don’t expect a movie or TV series tearing down JFK as a bullying, disgusting sex monster who destroyed the majesty and dignity of the White House. The legend must be preserved. 

Whitlock, by the way, did not explain exactly what was "vile" about the series -- no MRC writer reviewed it, let alone complained about it.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:04 PM EDT
Larry Elder Still Engaging In Trump Revisionism
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily columnist Larry Elder is a Donald Trump suck-up and apologist who has pretended that Trump didn't mock a disabled reporter and didn't praise neo-Nazis in Charlottesville. He took another stab at Trump revisionnism in his July 27 column:

In an editorial called "Trump's Silence on Jan 6 Is Damning," the New York Post wrote: "His only focus was to find any means – damn the consequences – to block the peaceful transfer of power. There is no other explanation, just as there is no defense, for his refusal to stop the violence. It's up to the Justice Department to decide if this is a crime. But as a matter of principle, as a matter of character, Trump has proven himself unworthy to be this country's chief executive again."

I disagree.

Former President Donald Trump felt robbed, understandably so. NPR's Domenico Montanaro said, "Just 44,000 votes in Georgia, Arizona and Wisconsin separated Biden and Trump from a tie in the Electoral College."

Elder rehashed the usual attacks on mailing ballots to all voters in Michigan and greater access to drop boxes, complaining that the Trump campaign's challenges to them were dismissed on procedural grounds -- but offered no proof that any of those things resulted in any election fraud.

Elder then insisted that Trump did no incite the riot by citing ... another Trumo yes-man:

As to fomenting an "insurrection," Kash Patel, chief of staff for the acting secretary of defense, said that on Jan. 4, "Mr. Trump unequivocally authorized up to 20,000 National Guardsmen and women for us to utilize should the second part of the law, the request, come in. But those requests never did." Patel says he testified under oath to the Jan. 6 committee that he was in the room when Trump made this authorization.

What part of "peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard" – as Trump said in his Jan. 6 speech – do the Jan. 6 committee members not understand? Yes, the speech ended with, "We fight like hell. And if you don't fight like hell, you're not going to have a country anymore." But politicians have long used rhetoric like "We're going to fight," or "We're going to take back America," or "This is war."

Trump made unsuccessful legal arguments against the certification of the election, as did congressional Democrats following the presidential elections of 2000, 2004 and 2016. But when they did so, the media did not characterize them as "undermining our democracy."

Perhaps because Democrats kept their objections in the proper legal venues, accepted the results and did not incite a riot inside the Capitol to attempt to overthrow the election.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:37 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, September 11, 2022 6:30 PM EDT
Friday, September 9, 2022
MRC Gloats Over Stelter's Departure From CNN
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has hated CNN's Brian Stelter for year for daring to criticize right-wing media in general and Fox News in particular, and it has not-so-quietly begged for CNN to fire him for those offenses. A February post by Kyle Drennen hyped a an anonymously sourced Fox News report calling for Stelter's firing over "not exposing CNN president Jeff Zucker’s romantic relationship with another high-ranking colleague." On June 7 -- a day after he whined that Stelter was telling Fox News what to cover (as if the MRC doesn't repeatedly tell the non-right-wing media what to cover?) Tim Graham hyped a report that CNN's new owners and bosses were planning to fire Stelter "if he can’t adopt CNN’s new tone of being more straight-ahead news and less partisan trash talk" (a complaint we don't recall Graham ever making about Fox News).

So when CNN did, in fact, fire Stelter and cancel his show "Reliable Sources," it was like Christmas at the MRC, except with more giddy gloating. Curtis Houck rejoiced in an Aug. 18 post:

CNN’s chief media correspondent and liberal media janitor Brian Stelter — perhaps one of the most polarizing liberal journalists of all-time —is being pushed out of the network and his show Reliable Sources being cancelled following a final episode this coming Sunday.

Stelter confirmed the news Thursday to NPR media reporter and fellow lefty David Folkenflik, saying he was proud of his work that showcased “the media, truth and the stories that shape our world.”

According to Folkenflik, the decision to move on from Stelter came down late Wednesday from new CNN boss Chris Licht, who’s promised to make changes to the network (see here, here, here, and here) following years of sagging ratings and exponential levels of partisanship under former puppetmaster Jeff Zucker.

Yes, Houck is still using the anti-Semitic "puppetmaster" slur against the Jewish Zucker., with bonus points for the hateful "media janitor" smear of Stelter. And, yes, the right-wing media bubble would find a critic of said bubble to be "polarizing."

Graham quickly pounded out an Aug. 19 column taking some of his last shots, rehashing old complaints about CNN's promotion of Michael Avenatti (as if the MRC and Fox News didn't promote its own off-the-rails lawyer in L. Lin Wood) and didn't call out hyperbole on CNN -- then played whataboutism to avoid having to express offense to hyperbole on Fox News:

On June 27, 2021, after watching a pile of Sean Hannity shows, he disparaged Hannity for uncorking a montage of words like "socialist, stalker, weak, failure, shameless, psychotic, indoctrination, hell holes." But in the same segment, Stelter used "authoritarian, poisonous, abusive, propaganda, Big Lie, filth." He proclaimed Hannity wasn’t offering “opnion,” he was offering “poison.” Did Stelter ever reflect on his own harsh verbiage?

CNN launched a ridiculous “Facts First” advertising campaign as it veered ever more heavily into opinion. But Stelter underlined the arrogance: “We’re not anti-Trump. We’re pro-truth.” When Kellyanne Conway referred to his side of the aisle, Stelter acted offended: “I’m not on a side of the aisle.”

CNN has a long way to go to get out of its “side of the aisle.”

Graham has never demanded the same from Fox News, which delegitimizes his attacks on Stelter.

Geoffrey Dickens followed with a roundup post purporting to detail "Stelter's ludicrousness," further alleging that Stelter "ineptly attempted to play the role of objective media critic" and "exposed his leftist bias in his copious criticisms of Republicans and news outlets (like Fox News) that refused to carry water for Presidents Barack Obama and Joe Biden." Dickens didn't complain about right-wqing media critics who issued copious criticisms of outlets that refused to carry water for Donald Trump -- perhaps because carrying water for Trump was (and remains) the MRC's main mission.

After Stelter's final show on Aug. 21, Kevin Tober served up a predictably malicious and hateful review:

We won’t have Brian Stelter to kick around anymore because Sunday’s Reliable Sources on CNN is officially no more. This last episode of Reliable Sources did have plenty of cringeworthy moments and leftist chest pounding over the media’s failure to go after “anti-democratic” Republicans enough.


Stelter sent shockwaves throughout the nation with the horrifying admission that his show is “a part of journalism school curriculum” and that “teachers use segments from this show all the time in classrooms, in lessons, guiding and teaching the next generation.” 

Unless teachers use Stelter’s show as an example of what not to do as a journalist, the journalism profession is in more trouble than originally thought. 

Perhaps proving why the show was canceled in the first place, Stelter brought on disgraced Watergate-era journalist Carl Bernstein who wailed that the media needs to cover how “the pendulum [is] swinging against democracy all over the world.”


If there was any doubt that Stelter believes his show is more important than it is, he showed it in his closing remarks where he claimed “I believe America needs CNN to be strong. I believe the free world needs CNN to be strong. And it will continue to be. Because all of us are going to help make that happen. The free world needs a reliable source.” 

Apparently, CNN doesn’t think the free world needs a reliable source because they canceled his show. Or perhaps CNN knows there was nothing reliable about Stelter’s “ Reliable Sources.” 

Goodbye Stelter! You won’t be missed.

Tober followed up with another post hyping attacks on Stelter from Fox News' Howard Kurtz:

The news of CNN canceling Brian Stelter’s Reliable Sources wasn’t just relegated to chatter on CNN, towards the end of the only other national media analysis show MediaBuzz on the Fox News Channel, host Howard Kurtz had his own thoughts to share. What many people may not remember is Kurtz hosted CNN’s Reliable Sourcesbefore Stelter took the reins and ruined the show’s reputation. So it’s fitting that he spoke out about the show’s inevitable demise. 

Kurtz started by informing viewers why he’s kept quiet about CNN’s Reliable Sources since coming to Fox: “When I came to Fox nine years ago to launch MediaBuzz, I made it a personal policy not to talk about the rival show on CNN. Well, that program has now been canceled.”

Quick not to look like he’s gloating, Kurtz quickly followed up by noting “TV is a tough business. Ratings bounce around, talents get let go, including hard working staffers, so I'm not going to get personal, not going to knock anybody, just wish them well.”


Kurtz ended by gloating that his show is the last media analysis show standing: “We've shown there's a loyal audience that grades fairness over partisanship. So now there's only one media analysis program on national television, and you're watching it.” 

Well deserved! Congratulations to Howard Kurtz and the entire Fox News team! This shows viewers want serious media analysis and criticism, not someone who will defend the media and apologize for them even if they’re wrong.

Tober isn't going to complain about the right-wing, pro-Fox News bias of Kurtz and his show -- perhaps because that bias is one the MRC heartily approves.

Desperate to attack anyone who would dare to say nice things about Stelter, Clay Waters devoted an Aug. 31 post to complaining that a writer at Slate lamented Stelter's firing:

After CNN’s new ownership cancelled its media news show Reliable Sources and fired its host, the reliably liberal Brian Stelter, Slate magazine’s Justin Peters came to Stelter’s defense, while bashing his many conservative critics as “bad-faith” actors, in “A Reliable Source of Concern -- Why Brian Stelter’s axing is a very bad omen for CNN.”

New CNN chief Chris Licht is moving away from liberal opinion toward a more balanced news product, which spelled doom for Stelter, who took over Reliable Sources in 2013 but came into his fiery own when Donald Trump entered presidential politics, giving him a villain to focus on along with Fox News.

Meanwhile, Stelter made no efforts to hold his own network accountable, skipping former chief executive Jeff Zucker’s personal and professional controversies, but remaining fixated on Fox -- as is Peters himself, judging by his oeuvre.

Waters didn't explain why Stelter's "conservative critics" -- you know, like him -- are not bad-faith actors.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:00 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 13, 2022 4:47 PM EDT
CNS Marks Ex-Reporter's Death By Recounting A Manufactured Controversy

When former reporter Penny Starr -- who moved on to Breitbart -- died in mid-August, her former employer's first attempt at a tribute was to repost a 2010 article by her in which she "discovered that the National Portrait Gallery was hosting a Christmas-season exhibit that featured an ant-covered Jesus."

We remember that story well. As we documented at the time, it was a completely manufactured controversy from a reporter known for manufacturing controversies. By using right-wing buzzwords like "homoerotic" and "ant-covered Jesus," Starr was able -- with a little help from the outrage machine of CNS' parewnt, the Media Research Center -- to turn it into a culture-war issue. She also spammed Republican congressmen with emails hyping the story to draw responses from them demanding that the exhibite be censored and shut down. The controversy provided a platform for right-wingers like her boss, MRC chief Brent Bozell, to spew homophobia and engage in rants that stereotyped LGBT people, while omitting the fact that the person who manufactured the controversy was on his payroll.

Starr got a more formal obituary in an Aug. 15 article by Craig Bannister:

Veteran Investigative Reporter Penny Starr, who spent a decade with exposing news that drove the national debate, died over the weekend, following a bout with cancer.

On Monday, was the first to report of her death. She joined Breitbart in December of 2017, following ten years with the Media Research Center’s (MRC) news division. When she joined, she had more than 25 years of experience in print journalism.

Bannister rehashed the bogus art exhibit story, as well as some of her other alleged greatest hits, with added comments like these:

“Penny was a hard-working journalist and unabashed conservative. She wanted to make an impact with her reporting and the movement needs more like her,” former MRC colleague and current Fox News Digital freelance Opinion Editor Dan Gainor said Monday.

Translation: Starr was a highly biased reporter -- as we've also documented. In addition to manufacturing culture-war controversies, Starr used her "reporter" perch to push anti-abortion activism and narratives, such as attacking Planned Parenthood. She also used her so-called reporting to issue biased attacks on President Obama and LGBT people, among other things designed to advance right-wing narratives.In 2015, Starr whitewashed the homophobia and anti-abortion extremism of the sons of notorious anti-abortoin extremist Flip Benham to create a victim narrative for them after they lost a TV deal when their extremism was made public. She also served as a reliable shill for the oil industry.

Starr's use to the conservative movement was as a propagandist -- and, as such, she could never be considered a true "investigative reporter" since she only "investigated" things that advanced her ideology.She cared about reporting only certain truths, not anything that reflected badly on her fellow right-wingers.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:45 PM EDT
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center really hates it when successful non-right-wing media operations demonstrate their success by being sold to other people. When Politico was sold to German publisher Axel Springer last fall, the MRC desperately tried to portray Politico as "left-wing" and its new owner as similarly oriented -- even though the company is on record as publishing conservative newspapers in Germany and and starting a Fox News-esque cable TV operation. When the online news operation Axios (coincidentally, founded by the same people who founded Politico) was sold to Cox Media Group, an Aug. 9 post by Catherine Salgado carried the screaming headline "BIG TECH COLLUSION?" How? Because Facebook is a sponsor of Axios' email newsletters:

Meta (Facebook) helped liberal outlet Axios’ growth allowing it to secure a $525 million sale price, part of a wider problem of tech companies funding D.C. media outlets, according to a new report.

Facebook helped recent media startup Axios sell itself to Cox Enterprises for $525 million only five years after Axios’ founding, according to Vox’s Peter Kafka. Tech companies are “pouring” money into Washington, D.C. media organizations, Kafka reported. 

Axios is “a five-year-old media startup, backed by venture capital, that succeeded journalistically and financially,” Vox explained. The culmination of that financial success was the Cox purchase. Vox said that tech companies, including Meta and Google’s parent Alphabet, have been funding “digital publishers” focused on D.C. recently in an effort to repair their reputations. Axios isn’t alone. Liberal outlets like Politico and Punchbowl News are also among the media organizations that received tech company funding, Kafka wrote.

How typical that Salgado thinks any non-right-wing outlet cannot possibly make it on their own without help from "big tech" -- ironic, since major right-wing publications like the Washington Times and the New York Post are money-losers that in business only through the grace of rich, ideologically motivated owners (and her own paycheck depends on the good graces of right-wing moneybags like Rebekah Mercer).

Salgado then tried to tar Axios with the "leftist" tag, using two incredibly lame examples:

Axios is a leftist news outlet, that has demonstrated bias multiple times. Axios claimed the New York Post’s report on the now New York Times-authenticated Hunter Biden scandals “rings all the foreign-disinformation alarms in the book.” Axios also urged families in 2021 to have Thanksgiving “bouncers” to deny entry to any holiday guests who would not show a negative COVID-19 test.

Salgado didn't mention the pertinent fact that the Post offered no independent authentication of Hunter's laptop at the time of publication before the 2020 election, and the story's origin among right-wing fever swamps like the Post and Trump operatives like Rudy Giuliani provided no reason to take it at face value. She also didn't explain how taking care to avoid contact with possibly infected people in the middle of a pandemic is inherently "leftist."

Salgado went on to accuse Axios of the grave offense of [checks notes] selling ads:

While Big Tech companies like Facebook parent Meta make billions of dollars every year, publishers like Axios can thrive on the portion of tech companies’ profits spent on ads. Axios can allegedly charge as much as $300,000 for a week-long ad campaign, Kafka wrote.

Kafka also noted that various companies’ “corporate responsibility ads” in D.C. publications may account for $350 million spent yearly, with as much as one-third of that coming from tech companies.

Um, isn't that called capitalism? We thought the MRC liked capitalism.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:14 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: Joseph Farah's COVID Conspiracies
Topic: WorldNetDaily
Of course WorldNetDaily's editor leads by example in pushing coronavirus misinformation. That's what he does. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 8:57 AM EDT
Thursday, September 8, 2022
MRC Slowly Reacts To FBI Search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago
Topic: Media Research Center

Like its "news" division, the Media Research Center avoided immediately weighing in on the FBI search of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago compound, apparently taking the time to figure out how to put the right spin on it to avoid having to label their beloved Trump a criminal. The first post on the subject on Aug. 9, from Mark Finkelstein, whined that certain of the MRC's designated enemies were talking about the raid, like Joe Scarborough:

Some media people have been restrained, but MSNBC morning hothead Joe Scarborough was in all his predictable glory on today's Morning Joe over yesterday's FBI search of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago.

Inevitably, Scarborough broke out his "fascist" shtick, using the term nine times in one exchange with Michael Steele in describing Trump and his followers.

The exchange ended with Scarborough literally screaming at the camera

"You break the law, you go to jail . . . In America&mdasheven in the age of Trump! No! Man! Is above the law "

Steele, the former RNC Chairman turned “MSNBC Republican,” dutifully responded: "Amen brother. I can't say it better than that."

Alex Christy complained that NBC's Andrea Mitchell called out House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's kneejerk demand to investigate Attorney General Merrick Garland to punish him for approving the search:

On her Tuesday show on MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell blasted House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s “outrageous” pledge to investigate Attorney General Merrick Garland if the GOP were to regain the House in November in the aftermath of the FBI’s raid on former President Trump’s home.

After declaring that all the cries for the FBI and Justice Department to explain themselves are wrong because commenting on an on-going investigation would be improper, Mitchell focused on critics of the raid, “And yet, you have an unrestrained, you know, litany of comments from Trump World and as we’ll get to later with Ben Collins and others, you know, online, you know, threatening comments.”

Given the FBI's recent history, one can be critical without endorsing the behavior of the worst parts of the internet. Yet, Mitchell tied that to the ordinary pledge of one party promising to investigate the other if they take control of Congress, “Kevin McCarthy, with really, you have to say an outrageous attack on Merrick Garland. You know, you know, brace yourself when we take over, you know, clear your calendar, we’re going to investigate you.”

Curtis Houck, meanwhile, was giddy that his hated "liberal media" outlets called for transparency from the FBI and Garland, as if they didn't have a plan or evidence before approving the search:

The “big three” networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC dedicated extensive time Tuesday morning to the stunning news that former President Trump’s Palm Beach, Florida home of Mar-a-Lago was raided Monday night by the FBI with a search warrant reportedly pursuant to a possible Presidential Records Act violation. 

However, the liberal networks were surprisingly not ready to celebrate with ABC and CBS noting there’s been very little “transparency from the Justice Department or the FBI” and, if they had only sought boxes of presidential records, it would be correctly viewed as “overreach” by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Kevin Tober was similarly thrilled that some on CNN worried that the search was a "daring and dangerous move by the Department of Justice," and he gloated that ABC called for transparency as well. Nicholas Fondacaro, meanwhile, grumbled that an MSNBC analyst "suggest[ed] that the secrecy surrounding the raid was on par with the secrecy of the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden."

Aidn Moorehouse served up a different complaint:

With news of Trump’s home of Mar-a-Lago being raided by the FBI dominating the news, substitute host Dr. Jason Johnson brought on Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank on Monday night's ReidOut to spread fear that news of the raid would inspire a latter-day Timothy McVeigh to commit an act of terrorism comparable in scale to the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing that killed 168 people and injured nearly 700.


Blaming Republicans for the Oklahoma City bombing is sadly not a new phenomenon, and the MRC reported it when they did it right after the bombing.

As for the bomber’s true motivation, Timothy McVeigh stated in a letter published after his execution in 2001, “When an aggressor force continually launches attacks from a particular base of operations, it is sound military strategy to take the fight to the enemy.”

Needless to say, somebody worried about federal overreach is not the same as someone who views the federal government as an enemy combatant.

And finally, the reaction of Trump supporters on the ground drive to Mar-a-Lago and protest the raid with signs and flags.

Moorehouse seems to have missed the past several years of right-wing ranting about the "Deep State," which, yes, does portray the federal government as enemy combatants. And pro-Trump activists are certainly seeing the Mar-a-Lago search as something an enemy combatant does.

Christy came back to whine that late-night comedians were making jokes about the search:

CBS The Late Show host Stephen Colbert must live a rather dull life because how else does one come to the conclusion that the FBI raid on former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home is like Christmas? Not only did Colbert compare the raid to that holiday on Tuesday, he also declared the related news headline “the most beautiful sentence America has ever produced.”

Colbert kicked off his opening monologue by reporting that while it may have been 96 degrees outside, “in here it's Christmas.”

To a rambunctious applause from the studio audience, Colbert continued, “Because yesterday, we all got the present we wanted: FBI agents raided Mar-a-Lago.”


Admitting to not knowing the context around something, but still comparing it to Christmas and treating it as historically positive development is why so many people have reacted to the raid with suspicion or even outright hostility.

Hostility? Wasn't this what Moorehouse was denying that Trumpies were engaging in after the raid?

Posted by Terry K. at 10:14 PM EDT
Chuck Norris Continues Bromance With Authoritarian Dictator Orban
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A few years back, we noted how Chuck Norris struck up a "bromance" (a word he has accepted as a good description) with authoritarian Hungarian dictator Viktor Orban, riding around Budapest with him and gushing over Orban's irrational hatred of George Soros. Well, Orban came to the U.S. last month and there was some name-dropping and more bromancing, and WorldNetDaily was there for it in an Aug. 6 article by Bob Unruh:

Longtime action movie and "Walker Texas Ranger" star Chuck Norris, a longtime WND columnist, says he'd be happy to work with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban for "that better future."

Norris' comment came on Friday in response to Orban's message to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Texas that America needs now "more Chuck Norris."

Orban, a firebrand who frequently has triggered liberals and progressives over and over with his comments, got a hero's welcome at the CPAC events and pleaded with his audience not to pull punches in a culture war – going on globally – with liberals.

In America, under Joe Biden, that fight has erupted over and over with the president's blatant promotion of abortion, the LGBT ideology, progressive government priorities like massive spending and more.

 Orban explained that Hungarian state institutions define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and he said Americans in the fight need to trust their Judeo-Christian tradition.

"We have to be brave enough to address even the most sensitive questions, migration, gender and the clash of civilizations," he said.

His election victories – four in a row – have shown that his perspective is appreciated in his home country, and he lobbied for the same in America.

Actually, Orban wins because he rigged elections in Hungary to make sure that he does, and he also suppresses political opposition to make sure criticism of him never finds a large audience. Then it was bromance time again:

Norris, to WND, issued a statement that, "In 2018, my wife Gena and I were invited by Hungarian Baptist Aid to visit Budapest. We love the Hungarian people and were honored to spend time with Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

"We heard he fired up conservative Texans at CPAC in Dallas this week by saying America needs 'more Chuck Norris.' I'm humbled and honored to fight with Orban and all conservatives to rebuild America (presently and in 2024 with a new president) from the depression (in economy and spirit) too many Americans are experiencing right now. Let's pray and fight for that better future! We've done it before, and we can do it again!"

Unruh, for his part, was eager to dismiss the most recent controversy surrounding Orban:

Some of Orban's comments have, in fact, raised controversy in recent months, including his statement about Hungary not becoming a "mixed race country."

But President Trump said he and Orban had had good discussions on various issues just recently.

"Great spending time with my friend, Viktor Orban, the prime minister of Hungary," Trump said. "We discussed many interesting topics – few people know as much about what is going on today."

Of course, the first event has nothing whatsoever to do with the second. And Unruh did not mention the obvious racism of Orban's "mixed race" comment. Good to see that WND is as cool with white nationalism as usual -- as is Norris, apparently.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:21 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 8, 2022 6:22 PM EDT
Distraction: MRC Censors Hawley Fleeing, Obsesses Over 'Squad'
Topic: Media Research Center

Criticism of Republican members of Congress is forbidden at the MRC -- unless, of course, they're being criticized for not being right-wing enough. Thus, when footage of Republican Sen. Josh Hawley running out of the Capitol to escape the mob of pro-Trump insurrectionists (who had been partly incited by Hawley himself at the pre-riot rally lead by Donald Trump) was released at the July 21 hearing by the House committee looking into the insurrection, the MRC said nothing. Even when the video sparked memes on social media, the MRC continued to censor it.

A few days later, in an apparent attempt to distract attention away from Hawley, the MRC issued a July 25 post by Scott Whitlock attacking the liberal Democratic congresswomen right-wing media likes to package as "the Squad":

We are just 15 weeks away from election day in what is already shaping up to be a contentious 2022 midterm season. If the press follows their typical campaign play book, journalists will pick out certain conservative candidates who commit gaffes or make odd comments and try and make them the face of the GOP.

One thing they won’t do is single out the radical, extreme nature of some of the Democratic Party’s most well known congressional members: The Squad. 

Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as well as far-left representatives like Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley, have been gaffe machines in the last few months. Most recently, some of them pretended to be restrained by police officers using invisible handcuffs while protesting for abortion at the Supreme Court.

And the leadoff "scandal" was, yes, the "invisible handcuffs":

Last week, Ocasio-Cortez and 16 other far-left members of Congress were detained at a pro-abortion rally in front of the Supreme Court. Embarrassing footage showed Ocasio-Cortez holding her hands crossed behind her back, pretending to be handcuffed. Seeming to forget the invisible cuffs, she lifted her hands in a show of defiance. 

In fact, she wasn't pretending to be handcuffed. Whitlock censored her logical explanation: “Putting your hands behind your back is a best practice while detained, handcuffed or not, to avoid escalating charges like resisting arrest.”

Whitlock then tried to make a deleted tweet into a "scandal":

Finally, we have Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley. You may not know her as well as other members of the Squad. But she’s just as radical. And this past spring, she appeared to tweet support for Will Smith’s violence against Chris Rock at the Oscars. 

The tweet was quickly deleted and she sent out a series of comments attempting to clarify: “I don’t endorse violence in any form.” We’ve all seen how ill-advised tweets by conservatives and Republicans are jumped on by the press. But the networks quietly looked the other way on this one.

Whitlock didn't mention his employer's double standarrd on this -- obsessing over deleted tweet by liberals but censoring them when, say, boss Brent Bozell deletes one with an embarrassing factual error.

The others involve versions of the usual right-wing attacks on these people, such as portraying comments critical of Israel as "anti-Semitic" and accusations of ties to terrorist groups. Whitlock went on to lecture -- and then praise others in his right-wing media bubble for hyping these stories:

Expect Squad members to make more embarrassing moments this fall, to embrace more shocking and radical positions. But there’s one thing the American people should demand: If journalists are going to highlight some obscure Republican candidate who says something outrageous, be sure and cover the scandals coming from the socialist Squad in Congress. 

Kudos to Fox News and Newsmax, two outlets that did take the time to cover the gaffes and controversies of the Squad. Newsmax host Eric Bolling especially has been reporting on this in detail. He and others have done so in the past and are continuing to put the spotlight on extreme members of Congress. If only the rest of the press would do the same.

Whitlock undercut all this, however, by having to admit to an embarrassing factual error:

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Rashida Tlaib is Somali-born. She is not. The article has been updated and we regret the error.

If Whitlock had been more concerned about facts than making a partisan attack, he wouldn't have made himself look so bad.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:07 PM EDT
CNS Coverage Of Trump Raid Laden With Right-Wing Spin
Topic: was slow to respond to the Aug. 8 search warrant that the FBI executed on Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago compound seeking classified documents-- perhaps it was taking its time to figure out the best way to spin things to make Trump look good and law enforcement look bad. But the next morning, it was loaded for bear and spewing out all the right-wing hot takes it could throughout the day:

CNS churned out even more right-wing attacks over the next couple days:

There was also a hot-take column that CNS published on Aug. 10 in which Michelle Malkin raged against the raid and "Feds Behaving Incorrigibly" and called President Biden "the White House occupant."

CNS also tried to play the whataboutism game with Nancy Pelosi. Jones wrote in an Aug. 10 article:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Tuesday that she did not have advance knowledge that the FBI was executing a search warrant on Donald Trump's Palm Beach home, leaving with some ten boxes of material.

"It will be interesting to find out exactly what the warrant was, what the order was to have a search warrant and for what purpose. But again, we can only speculate," she told NBC's "Today" show.

"But nonetheless, we believe in the rule of law, and that's what our country is about and no person is above the law, not even the president of the United States, not even a former president of the United States," Pelosi said.

She did not question the unprecedented move by the FBI and Biden Justice Department, searching the home of a political rival of the sitting president. Nor has Pelosi commented on the FBI seizure of Rep. Scott Perry's cell phone.

It wasn't until Aug. 11 that CNS published an article that led with a defense of the raid, in which intern Stephanie Samsel also tried to play whataboutism with Pelosi:

"No person is above the law...not even a former president of the United States,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Aug. 9, when she discussed the FBI’s raid of former President Donald Trump's Florida home.

While Republicans like House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) say the Department of Justice (DOJ) has reached “weaponized politicization,” Pelosi called McCarthy’s claims “idle” during an interview with TODAY host Savannah Guthrie.

“We believe in the rule of law, and that’s what our country is about,” said Pelosi. “And no person is above the law, not even the president of the United States, not even a former president of the United States.”


Despite there being an ongoing investigation into potential crimes of President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, Trump is the only U.S. president to have his home raided by the FBI. 

When Attorney General Merrick Garland addressed the raid later on Aug. 11, Melanie Arter served up a stenographical article on it. That was followed a half-hour or so later by Arter serving up Republcian Sen. Lindsey Graham's hot take on Garland. The right-wing hot takes continued on Aug. 12:

CNS also took offense at a soap opera actor who, in Arter's words, that "suggested Wednesday that the FBI dig up the body of former President Donald Trump’s ex-wife Ivana Trump in its search for classified documents."

To sum up: CNS' reporting on the raid was entirely dominated by right-wing bias -- contradicting the boilerplate text in the money beg at the end of each article that purports to claim that CNS "covers the news as it should be, without fear or favor." Or maybe the massive right-wing bias is CNS' idea of covering the news "as it should be."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:24 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 8, 2022 10:05 PM EDT
Wednesday, September 7, 2022
MRC Would Rather Keep Griner In Russian Prison Than Trade Her For Arms Dealer
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has been looking for excuses to keep WNBA star Brittney Griner rotting away in a Russian prison on trumped-up drug charges. The latest: It doesn't like the person the Biden administration is reportedly offering in a prisoner exchange for Griner. John Simmons huffed in an Aug. 3 post:

As we wait for the Brittney Griner situation to reach its drawn-out conclusion, President Joe Biden has proposed a moved to get Griner out of Russia … but at a terrible cost.

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby has confirmed that Biden has signed off on a plan to potentially swap Griner and corporate security executive Paul Whelan for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence in the U.S. 

“The president and his team are willing to take extraordinary steps to bring them home,” Kirby said. “We believe it’s important for the American people to know how hard President Biden is working to get Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan home.”

Bout isn’t some low-tier player in the arms dealing world, he was formerly once one of it’s most dangerous and powerful operatives.

Simmons went on to approvingly quote Donald Trump smearing Griner:

Any sane individual would see this deal and think, “I’m all for freeing American citizens, but we cannot let Bout go free.” Former President Donald Trump basically said the same thing when he went on the Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show.

“She went in there loaded up with drugs into a hostile territory where they’re very vigilant about drugs. They don’t like drugs,” Trump said. “And she got caught. And now we’re supposed to get her out – and she makes, you know, a lot of money, I guess – and we’re supposed to get her out for an absolute killer and one of the biggest arms dealers in the world.”

Griner was not "loaded up with drugs"; she had two vape cartridges of cannibis oil.

Scott Whitelock devoted an Aug. 5 post to a "nets ignore" item on how terrible "vicious terrorist-backer" Bout is and how unworthy of a trade he is for Griner.He did somehow manage to avoid slandering Grainer like the MRC's sports bloggers love to do: "Americans want to see any imprisoned fellow citizens brought home quickly. But when Joe Biden is considering releasing a violent terrorist-supporter who has been intent on killing Americans, viewers should be told just how serious a decision that may turn out to be." Jay Maxson played the whataboutism card in another post the same day:

Vice-president and world class hypocrite Kamala Harris is in full virtue signal mode with her condemnation of Russia for sentencing WNBA all-star Brittney Griner to nine-plus years of prison for drug possession. 

As the district attorney for San Francisco, Harris was the bane of marijuana users. She jailed 1,900 of them. Now all of a sudden, with her higher profile as VP, Harris has done a 180 with her opposition to a black, lesbian basketball player’s cannabis conviction. If it weren’t for double standards, leftists like Harris would have no standards at all.

Maxson went on to sneer that Harris is now "enlightened about marijuana users. Especially if they can attract black, lesbian voters."

Yet another post that day cheered an NBC reporter for criticizing the proposed swap but but complained that he said he was "sorry to say it."

Simmons found yet another person to criticize the proposed swap in an Aug. 9 post: "Most current and former NBA players have a shockingly low amount of common sense, but former Boston Celtics forward Enes Kanter Freedom is a welcome exception. ... Freedom, like any human being with a shred of common sense, sees this proposed plan as foolish and potentially detrimental to the United States in the long run."

Maxson was back to laughably smearing Griner as a drug smuggler in an Aug 17 post -- then pretended he (or she) cares agout Griner's plight:

Our bad. Shame on us for failing black women who try to smuggle drugs onto planes. Through our bigotry, we have really let down Brittney Griner, the black lesbian basketball star serving a nine-year prison sentence in Russia for drug smuggling.  

Our accuser is Yahoo writer Sughnen Yongo-Okochi, an immigrant from Nigeria, who says the narrative on Griner needs to change. She assailed the people who say Griner should not have broken the rules in Russia, for they are “overly righteous and puritan when a black person gets into the slightest trouble.”


The harsh reality is that Griner has been detained for months, and has allegedly been treated poorly, not by Russian detainers, but by Americans. Instead of investing in wisecracks, showing genuine support is what is needed now. 

Yet the empathy for Griner has been underwhelming, writes her defender. It’s deeply insensitive for people to counter that LeBron James would not have put himself in the situation (she tried to carry vape cartridges containing cannabis onto a plane in Moscow and got busted.) 

Maxson quickly returned to hateful ways, though: "Griner’s story demonstrates that we need to do a better job of protecting black women. Who knew that she needed us to protect her by yelling “no!” before she tried to board that Russian jetliner?"

Maxson ramped up the homophobia in an Aug. 18 post maliciously cheering low TV ratings for the WNBA:

With a strong LGBT-ISK3FG flavor, the WNBA has become one of the most woke, left-wing, unappealing professional sports enterprises in the United States. 

This is also a league that adorned its courts with BLM and Brittney Griner decals. It named Griner, the Phoenix Mercury center imprisoned on drug charges in Russia, an honorary starter for its 2022 all-star game. Apparently, that's their idea of a 'heroic figure.'

An Aug. 22 post by Simmons, though, somehow managed to avoid spewing hate at Griner to evoke a more universal sentiment: skepticism that an offer by Dennis Rodman to help free Griner will amount to anything.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:54 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 7, 2022 9:06 PM EDT
Newsma's Morris Shills for Trump After Mar-a-Lago Raid
Topic: Newsmax

After the FBI search warrant on Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago compound in search or improperly held classsified documents, Newsmax writer Dick Morris had to shift his narrative from promoting the pro-Trump book he wrote (and Newsmax published) to defending Trump against being held accountable for his own actions and portraying the raid as a motivating incident for die-hard Trump supporters (and hopefully selling a few more copies of his book in the process). An Aug. 8 article detailed Morris' first post-raid appearance on Newsmax TV:

The FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago is not intended to send former President Donald Trump to jail as much as just damage him to keep him from running for president again, according to presidential adviser Dick Morris onRob Schmitt Tonight." "The appellate courts, even if they find the district judge under a rock who will rule that way, the appellate courts would never agree to that.

"But what they are trying to do is to make Trump so damaged, such damaged goods, that Democrats and Republicans look for primary alternatives – and all of a sudden, they see virtue in Mike Pence or Ron DeSantis. Not that they're fomenting it. Those people are being used, but they're being used to try to generate a primary fight against Trump, because the Democrats feel that's the only way they can win."


Morris hailed Trump as a "ruthless S.O.B.," but one that plays within the rules.

"Donald Trump plays between the foul lines, on the playing field," Morris continued. "He never goes outside of it. He never engages in this kind of underhanded tactic. Even when he controlled the FBI and controlled the CIA, sort of, he doesn't do that. The Democrats do.

"I've worked side by side with Trump; he's a ruthless S.O.B., but on the playing field within the foul lines, not in extraneous stuff."

Not actually true, but Morris is in hard-shill mode here. Morris did get in his usual shilling in another Aug.8 TV hit, declaring that "Republicans could pick up between 5-7 seats in the Senate this November, taking the majority in that chamber."

In an Aug. 11 Newsmax TV appearance, Morris lamented that Trump "will be indicted on a "technical violation" of the National Archives and Records law," just for egregious mishandling of classifed documents:

"The archivist apparently cares whether the archives gather dust in the basement of Trump's house or the archives place, but they're still going to use any excuse they can to try to knock him out of the race," said Morris. "I don't think that will knock him out. It does not legally preclude him from running, but they can get a D.C. grand jury stacked with Democrats to indict [anyone] for anything."

The Democrats, he added, "need to knock Trump out and they will do anything they can."

And the raid at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, he added, "was just a brazen example of that, as they clearly see this as a zero-sum game."

After that, though, Morris was largely back to his usual shilling. In an Aug. 15 appearance, he baselessly asserted that "the hiring of 87,000 new Internal Revenue Agents is designed to "intimidate" American citizens into silence instead of criticizing the government." The next day, Morris cheered Liz Cheney's loss in her Republican primary, then tried to tie Cheney's work on the House committee investigating thte Capitol riot to the Mar-a-Lago raid:

But the Jan. 6 committee, of which Cheney is a vice chair, has failed to prove that, so now the Democrats have turned to "Plan B," which was the raid of Trump's Mar-a-Lago home, said Morris, author of the book "The Return: Trump's Big 2024 Comeback." 

"This was simply designed to get them in the door to Mar-a-Lago so that they can search for documents to try to prove that this was an insurrection, and that Trump led a revolution, so they can try to invoke the 14th Amendment," Morris said.

The Democrats know the courts likely will block that move, he added, but they hope that the accusation will be enough to keep the Republicans from nominating Trump, which won't likely happen.

Morris ranted in an Aug. 18 TV appearance:

Fearing they can't beat former President Donald Trump, or his movement, in elections, "Democrats have abandoned the political process" to stop him, presidential campaign adviser Dick Morris said on Newsmax.

"In my book, 'The Return,' I make the case that I think is very important: That the Democrats have abandoned the political process and are using criminal justice process and the judicial process to try to stop Donald Trump, and they weaponized the IRS and the FBI to be the enforcement arm of the Democratic Party," Morris, who has advised Democrat President Bill Clinton and Trump's presidential campaigns, said on Thursday's "John Bachman Now."

"The raid at Mar-a-Lago, the pretext was the archives. Who cares about the archives? They are in there to try to find documented evidence — or planted — to frame Donald Trump for the Jan. 6 riot, and to claim that somehow this was a revolution against the United States government, because they want to invoke the 14th Amendment that says that anyone who was involved in an insurrection against the government can't hold public office."

The following day, Morris declared that the raid ""has energized" Trump:

"I've worked with so closely with President Clinton and with President Trump; and with Clinton, if people liked him, it energized him," Morris said during "Spicer & Co." Friday. "With Trump, if he's facing opposition, particularly due to the low-level opposition using dirty tactics, that energizes him, and I think that the effect of the Mar-a-Lago raid ... is energizing. I think he relishes being in a fight, and I think he really feels that his adversary made a huge mistake, and he's determined to capitalize on it."

Morris said he predicted something similar to the raid, some kind of major legal move, in his new book, "The Return: Trump's Big 2024 Comeback" but could not predict the Mar-a-Lago raid.

"It's kind of like Pearl Harbor. They predicted they'd attacked Guam; they didn't realize they'd attack Hawaii," he said. "I knew that they would raid; I didn't know they would raid the president's home.

An Aug. 20 article repeated Morris' claim on TV that "Democrats are giving up on replacing Trump in a 2024 GOP primary, and instead are focusing on using the legal system to preclude him from seeking another term in office," going on to downplay the Capitol riot:

"The Democrats are trying to manufacture the idea that Jan. 6 was such a rebellion because — and the timing of this is very significant to the Mar-a-Lago raid — because it came after Trump had a winning streak in primaries, thereby debunking the notion that he could be defeated by the ballot box," he said. "[The search warrant] was executed precisely 90 days before the midterm elections, so it did not run afoul of the FBI rule that you can't do anything to affect the election within 90 days."

Morris didn't mention that Trump isn't running for anything in the midterms.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:39 PM EDT
CNS Blamed Rising Gas Prices On Biden -- But Largely Censors Falling Gas Prices

We've documented how has spent the past several months blaming President Biden for high gas prices, though it could never identify any specific Biden policy that resulted in a specific rise in prices (not even the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline).n But the fact that gas prices have on a continual decline since a mid-June high -- and that they are expected to continue to do so, dropping below $3 in some areas -- isn't news at all at CNS. After all, it's CNS editorial policy to avoid giving attention to the achievements of a Democratic president.

The only CNS story we could find that had lower gas prices as a main focus is a July 22 article by Melanie Arter. It's a stenography piece in which she simply transcribes what Biden said:

One day after being diagnosed with COVID, President Biden on Friday hosted a virtual economic briefing on gas prices from the White House residence, taking credit for gas prices dropping below $4 a gallon in “more than 30,000 gas stations in more than 35 states.”

“Let me start by apologizing for my voice. I feel much better than I sound. We’re meeting today on gas prices, and we have really good news. Gas prices are coming down. In fact, gas prices have fallen everyday this summer for 38 days in a row. You can find gas for $3.99 or less in more than 30,000 gas stations in more than 35 states,” he said, appearing on-screen.


The president said that while the good news is that gas prices are falling, “it’s not happening fast enough.”

“We made progress, but prices are still too high, and so here's what I'm going to do to talk about today with all of you. We need to work on this,” Biden said.

To this end, the president announced that the administration would “look at ways to increase oil production from the existing wells and permits that exist today.”

Surprisingly, more biased CNS reporters like Susan Jones were not moved to hunt down Republican members of Congress attacking Biden for taking credit for lower gas prices -- of course, theuy all spent months blaming him for prices rising, and it would be a contradiction if they flip-flopped. Instead, it's helping to keep Republicans on brand (and on the attack), such as this Aug. 9 article by intern Janey Olohan:

During an interview on FNC’s Sunday Morning Futures, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 will raise gas taxes for Americans, and that Democrats supporting the legislation are voting to “make our consumers pay more at the pump.”

“Every single Democrat, all of them voted to increase gas taxes,” Cruz told host Marie Bartiromo. “So the next time you see a Mark Kelly in Arizona, or Raphael Warnock in Georgia, or a Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire, or a Michael Bennet in Colorado, or Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada say, ‘Hey! We want gas prices to be lower!’”

“You know they are lying because they stood up and voted raise the gas taxes, stick it to the producers, make our consumers pay more at the pump,” said Cruz, and “that’s the end result they want and their voting record proves it.”

Because CNS doesn't fact-check its fellow conservatives and don't train their interns to do so, Olohan didn't report that Cruz was wrong about the Inflation Reduction Act "increas[ing] gas taxes." What the act actually does is increase a superfund excise tax on crude oil and production rates on oil wells on federal land -- none of which can be plausibly called a "gas tax," and which the federal government is not forcing oil companies to pass on to consumers (which they don't actually need to, given the record profits they have been making while jacking up those gas prices).

Posted by Terry K. at 2:58 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, September 7, 2022 11:42 PM EDT

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