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Wednesday, September 14, 2022
MRC's Quibbling Over Definition Of Recession Continues
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has long been hypocritical about coverage of the economy and how the media should cover it. During the Trump years, it attacked the non-right-wing media for allegedly talking down the economy:

  • An April 2019 post by Julia Seymour huffed: "In spite of growing wages, extremely low unemployment and nearly 3 percent economic growth in 2018, the liberal media are becoming obsessed with recession. It didn’t matter that CFOs were confident the U.S. economy “will not experience a recession” in 2019. They were fixated by recession prospects in March anyway. Every. Single. Day."
  • In August 2019, Ryan Foley hyped how "FNC host Martha MacCallum reported that 'fears of a recession seem to be running high and some in the media seem almost giddy that an economic downturn would hinder President Trump’s chances in 2020,'" adding that "MacCallum slammed the 'unpatriotic' and 'inhumane' media for rooting for a recession in the hopes that an economic downturn will cause him to lose re-election."
  • In another August 2019 post, Kristine Marsh touted how Fox Business host Charles Payne complained about "how the media is now openly hoping for an economic recession under President Trump. Payne called the media’s newest obsession a 'deliberate' attempt to derail the good economy under Trump, and argued there was 'no economic data' to suggest a recession was near."
  • An August 2019 post by Julia Seymour,noted that "Fox News MediaBuzz anchor Howard Kurtz had an important question for anchor Maria Bartiromo: could negative media talk damage the U.S. economy?" adding: "Her answer was yes. She argued that the media could impact consumers and their spending decisions and that could harm the economy and said, 'Yes, you can actually have the media talking us into a recession.'"
  • Kyle Drennen grumbled in a September 2019 post about an ABC poll showing a "dramatic drop in the President’s approval rating" that "seems to be fueled by real concerns about the economy": "Following weeks of the media rooting for a recession to hurt Trump’s reelection chances, the ABC morning show appeared thrilled that tactic was working with some of its viewers."
  • Then, in a January 2020 post, Trump cheerleader Joseph Vazquez crowed that "President Donald Trump’s economy has continued to stupefy prognosticators going into the new year," quoting one analyst calling it "nearly recession-proof." That certainly didn't age well, did it?
That concern over the media talking down the economy disappeared when a Democrat became president. The MRC rushed to blame President Biden for uneven economic numbers early in his presidency that are more logically blamed on uncertainty in the midst of a pandemic -- a pattern it kept up throughout 2021. In a June 23 post, Kevin Tober actually attacked a MSNBC host for using the same argument that the MRC was praising Fox News hosts for using about whether the media can talk down the economy, while going ont to, yes, talk down the economy:

On Wednesday’s The 11th Hour on MSNBC, in her discussion with NPR business correspondent David Gura, host Stephanie Ruhle proved once again that she knows very little about economics or even basic business. While Americans are suffering under crushing inflationary pressures, Ruhle let the Biden administration off the hook and claimed the media and people with political agendas are leading the United States into a recession and enabling businesses to use the constant drum beat of inflation chatter as an excuse to raise prices. 

While Ruhle did tacitly admit that the amount of stimulus pumped into the economy helped lead to the forty-year high inflation, she excused the spending because we were in a once-in-a-century pandemic.


Ruhle then jumped in to claim her audience who she just whipped up into a panic, by explaining “a recession does not mean the great depression, they happen, they happen every few years. Sometimes for a long period, time sometimes for a short period of time, it is a normal part of our economic cycle.”

That is comforting to Americans who will lose their jobs if there is a recession to know that it could last for a “short period of time.”

We've also noted how the MRC has been quick to scream "recession!" -- indeed, it was rooting for one even though one definition of it, two straight quarters of non-positive GDP, had not even been confirmed yet. In a July 26 post before that number came out, Jeffrey Clark lashed out at a Biden economic adviser -- who he denigrated as a "lackey" in his headline -- for committing the apparent heresy of arguing that two straight quarters of negative GDP might not be the only standard:

President Joe Biden’s chief economic advisor claimed that the economy is “demonstrating resilience” and attempted to split hairs over the definition of a recession to protect his boss at the expense of the American people. 

Asked whether a recession was coming, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese nitpicked the “technical definition” of a recession on the July 25 edition of CNN’s New Day with John Berman and Brianna Keilar. “Certainly, in terms of the technical definition, it’s not a recession, the technical definition considers a much broader spectrum of data points.” Deese did not provide an example of the “broader spectrum of data points” to fit his spin.


And to Deese’s gaslighting on the economy, U.S. GDP fell 1.4 percent in the first quarter of the year, according to CNBC. If GDP falls once again — as the entire country will learn this Thursday — then the U.S. will enter a recession. But that seems to be a very inconvenient truth for the Biden administration.

When the GDP numbers finally did come in and showed a second  straight quarter of negative growth, Clark returned with a July 28 post under screaming headline "RECESSION":

Four liberal outlets peered into their crystal balls and declared that the economy would show signs of growth, not shrinkage, just days and weeks ahead of the government’s second-quarter GDP report. 

There was just one problem with that sordid attempt to get out in front of the news: The economy ended up contracting for a second quarter in a row, meeting the practical and long-held definition of a recession.

Bloomberg News, CNN, Reuters and MarketWatch promoted absurd predictions that the economy would expand in the second quarter, not contract. The federal government’s GDP statistics released this morning proved every single one of these outlets completely wrong.

Clark didn't explain how not pushing right-wing narratives about the economy made all four of those outlets "liberal." Still, he huffed that "These stories followed a barrage of articles from the liberal pravda machine attempting to shield President Joe Biden from any responsibility for a recession." As if Clark wasn't working for a right-wing pravda in talking down the economy.

A July 29 post by Vazquez whined that PolitiFact and even Siri wouldn't adhere to the newly preferred rigid right-wing definition of a recession:

Facebook fact-checker PolitiFact played the role of the village idiot by fact-checking an Instagram post that dared to slam the Biden White House for redefining the word “recession.”

PolitiFact ran one of its so-called “fact-checks” July 27 with a headline that blared: “No, the White House didn’t change the definition of ‘recession.’” PolitiFact senior correspondent Louis Jacobson chose to attack an Instagram post that used Siri to define the meaning of a recession. “The White House is now trying to protect Joe Biden by changing the definition of the word recession,” said Dear America podcast host Graham Allen. Allen then asked Apple's Siri, which defined recession as a “period of temporary economic decline” that is “generally identified by a fall in GDP in two successive quarters.” But Jacobson, in all his wisdom, accused Siri of having just “plucked” the definition from an “online dictionary." “ This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed,” Jacobson squealed.

Vazquez found a biased economist from the libertarian American Institute for Economic Research Research to complain that the National Bureau of Economic Research is not "the official arbiter of recessions," as PolitiFact suggested.

Tim Graham grumbled in a post promoting his July 29 podcast on the subject:

When the fact emerged that we've had two quarters of negative economic growth, marking a recession, the so-called "reality-based press" suddenly folded and let the Biden people "push back" at reality.

Let's talk about recession denialism. Recession denial is worse than "climate denial." There's a traditional definition by economists that now is all "informal" and "not definitive."

Graham didn't mention that he and his employer have been working to make "misinformation" a subjective thing lest he and his fellow right-wingers be accused of spreading it.

That was echoed in a July 30 column by Jeffrey Lord, under the headline "Journalists Tank Their Remaining Credibility With Recession Denial":

As noted here in NewsBusters, the liberal media’s reflex to protect Biden is yet again on display, this time with the Biden problem being that yes, indeed, the U.S. has just experienced two quarters of negative economic growth — considered by economists as the official sign the US is in a recession. (For more, see Accuracy in Media's comprehensive round-up of media spin.) 

But wait! That’s Joe Biden in the White House, not Trump or some other Republican! The media has quickly rolled out its latest “protect Joe” campaign.

Says the guy who spent years protecting Donald Trump and has tanked what little credibility he has by defending the corrupt, falsehood-laden right-wing channel One America News.

Clark then showed how much more important pushing a political narrative is to him by using an Aug. 3 post to promote another discredited activist: "Glenn Beck RIPS Biden: The President ‘Refuses to Recognize Truth’ on Recession, Inflation." On at the MRC would a charlatan like Beck be considered a credible observer.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:30 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, September 22, 2022 9:45 PM EDT
Newsmax Continues To Take Shots At Its Fox News Competition
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax loves to take shots at its much bigger competitor, Fox News, by trying to portray it as insufficiently right-wing and pro-Trump. It has continued to do so. Dick Morris delivered in a July 28 Newsmax TV appearance:

Rupert Murdoch's media empire is only hurting itself, not former President Donald Trump, by turning away from him in the wake of the Jan. 6 committee hearings, political strategist and author Dick Morris told Newsmax.

"I don't know if it will have an impact on Trump, but I think it will have a big impact for Fox News," Morris, the host of Newsmax's show "Dick Morris Democracy" and author of the bestselling "The Return: Trump's Big 2024 Comeback," said on Newsmax's "Prime News" Tuesday night. "I think that the Murdoch policy, which is making Fox flip and turn on a dime, is going to really hurt them.

"You know, Trump is very popular with the Republican base and is going to win that nomination, overwhelmingly. I don't think he'll even have a primary fight, and I think Murdoch is making a big mistake."

Morris' comments were in response to an opinion piece on Politico that said Murdoch is "finally done" with Trump and points out not only Fox News but opinion pieces in the Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal and the New York Post that criticized Trump and show the media giants have "viciously" turned against him, potentially in favor of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Fox News has quit covering Trump's rallies and did not cover his speech in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, said Morris, adding that only a couple of the network's stars, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, are still pro-Trump, but Brett Baier is "openly hostile" to the former president.

Newsmax, of course, remains in full Trump suck-up mode -- particularly Morris, who has a new pro-Trump book to sell.

A couple days later, Rudy Giuliani popped up on Newsmax TV to similarly whine about Fox News:

Fox News' shadow ban of former President Donald Trump shows it is feeding into anti-Trump propaganda of the House Jan. 6 Select Committee "liars" over the Trump truth-tellers, Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani told Newsmax.

"I don't get how they're buying into the Jan. 6 committee fraud — I mean, completely fraudulent committee," Giuliani told "Saturday Report=." "Look, the people on the Jan. 6 committee are the same ones that told us that there was Russian collusion. Trump and I — and the people that Fox apparently is banning — said there wasn't any Russian coalition. The people running the Jan. 6 committee were lying about that, and we were telling the truth.


Giuliani noted Fox News' reported ban of Trump comes less than a year after the network blocked him from appearing to talk about the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center attacks on New York.

"They blacked me out, or banned me, for I don't know how long," Giuliani said of "interviewing me, mentioning me," adding it has continued through attempts to cover raging New York crime and ignoring the former mayor who once had it held in check.

"And of course, they're covering crime in the city, and the person who probably knows the most in New York City about crime is me, and they will never put me on," he continued.

The same day, Eric Mack wrote an article hyping that "The New York Times is reporting that Fox News has not had Donald Trump on its network in over 100 days, which the paper said was part of a larger strategy to eliminate the former president as a major GOP player." He then promoted Morris' book claim that "Trump will easily win the upcoming Republican primary, but is the only GOP candidate who can win against the Democrats in 2024" -- but he didn't mention that Newsmax published Morris' book.

For an Aug. 1 article, Newsmax found a "roving media critic" to help it trash Fox News for not liking Trump enough:

Fox News' decision to ignore or shun former President Donald Trump is "not surprising," roving media critic and former New York City Commissioner Brian Andersson says.

Last Friday, The New York Times reported Fox News has decided to downplay Trump and has not had him on-air for over 100 days.

"I would say they are shunning him," Andersson told Newsmax's "John Bachman Now," predicting Fox News will very occasionally have Trump on air.

Newsmax surprisingly had on a New York Times reporter on Aug. 2 -- though he was there to talk smack about Fox News host Tucker Carlson, a particular Newsmax target for siding with Russia in its war against Ukraine:

Days after reporting on Fox News' shadow ban of former President Donald Trump, The New York Times' Jeremy Peters told Newsmax's Eric Bolling on Monday night that star host Tucker Carlson didn't vote for Trump and thinks little of his supporters.

Videos surfaced over the weekend of Carlson laughing it up with Trump at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf course as supporters broke out into boisterous "Let's go, Brandon" cheers.

But Peters insists Carlson is not a Trump fan.

"There are a lot of people, Eric, who snicker behind Trump's back, who say that they support him publicly and they like his ideas, and they like him, but privately, it's a different story," Peters said.

"In private, what [Carlson] says about Trump is very different than what he says about Trump in public, and it benefits him to be seen having photos taken with Trump at the golf course and everything," Peters said.

Peters ultimately argued, however, that the alleged war between Fox News and Trump is at least somewhat contrived:

Both Fox News and Trump ultimately benefit from the ongoing tension, Peters continued.

"The media loves tension," the Times media analyst said. "We love stories about fights, especially, if you're in my position: fights among Republicans."

Trump and Fox News have had a long contentious relationship, including the 2016 presidential campaign and the 2020 presidential election night coverage, but one where both need each other, according to Peters.

That's probably close to Newsmax will come to admitting that it may be hyping tension between Fox News and Trump so that Trump ultimately benefits.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:05 PM EDT
WND Columnists Freak Out Over Mar-a-Lago Raid
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've shown how WorldNetDaily's "news" coverage of the FBI search at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago compound was highly biased. Its pro-Truum popinion columnists were even more hyperbolic. Here's a sample:

Fresh off the Democratic Party empowering the Internal Revenue Service with 87,000 new agents, many of them armed to the teeth, the FBI conducted one of its famous early morning raids – the first ever against a former president, the one widely thought to have been cheated out of the last election, the popular Donald J. Trump.

It was one of darkest days in America – Aug. 8.

It came on the anniversary of another dark day – exactly one year to the date that 18 RINO senators joined the Democrats to break a filibuster and advance the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill to a final vote, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell joining the Democratic majority.

These are the betrayers of America, the Deep State. They include ALL elected Democrats, the intelligence agencies and much of the federal bureaucracy, which is at war with the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and decency. These are people who are at war with America.

The unprecedented raid of Trump's home at Mar-a-Lago, his castle, was slammed hard by most Republicans for overwhelming evidence of abuse by Joe Biden and the Department of "Injustice" for political weaponization. But not McConnell. He's part of the Deep State.


The date of the raid also coincided with the date of Richard Nixon's televised resignation for Watergate.

If Donald Trump's home is not safe from this kind of raid by the FBI, is anybody's home safe? Of course not. America has indeed become North Korea or China.

What's the answer? We must give a stunning victory to the new brand of Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections. Then we must we must return Trump to the presidency by 2024. And then we must remember how Democrats reigned like they did – like fascists – when they had the chance.

Remember in November – or we may not have another chance.

-- Joseph Farah, Aug. 9 column

By launching a surprise attack on President Trump's home in Florida, while Trump was away, the Biden administration has breached even its own low standard for decency. Biden's Attorney General Merrick Garland should resign immediately for allowing it.


No, the real reason for this raid on Trump is as plain as the advancing dementia on Joe Biden’s addled face. With each successful election result this year, Trump is on track to win back the White House in 2024, and panicky Democrats are exploiting their control of the federal government to try to prevent that from happening.

-- Andy Schlafly, Aug. 9 column

Having watched the Department of Justice in action these last 20 or so years, I see the raid on Mar-a-Lago as unprecedented only in its conspicuousness.

After Al Gore's bitter loss in 2000, Democrats across the board have dedicated themselves to bureaucratic sedition, enabled by an equally embittered and increasingly imbalanced media.

The FBI and the Department of Justice, which oversees the FBI, are riddled with leftist careerists, many of them in key positions. The symptoms of rot have been hard to avoid since at least 2004.

-- Jack Cashill, Aug. 10 column

Without the raid, the media would be forced to continue to focus on inflation and economic disaster, the classroom chaos brought by a communist-spawned CRT curriculum, the death and destruction wrought by the criminal class, repeated foreign-policy debacles, the abandonment of America's borders, massive homelessness, record drug abuse and general failure of the Democratic Party in Congress and the White House.

But with this raid, the media, which are 99.9% pure Democratic leftist, will be able to focus on their Nemesis, Donald Trump. Let the nightly shock and awe begin.

To make sure the scandal runs the up to Election Day, the U.S. Justice Department and FBI "will not comment" on "an ongoing investigation," which leaves the press free to speculate.

The press speculation will portray Donald Trump as the worst criminal in history. No insult will be left unsaid. As the partisan work of the faux Jan. 6 Committee fades into nothingness, like the two impeachment trials before it, the chief players in the justice system have set the table for a Democratic victory in November. A Nov. 8 victory is the Democrats' target, not Donald Trump.


A fair-minded person might ask, since Donald Trump had nothing to do with the packing of those boxes, why would he be held responsible for the content? If he knew there was classified material in those boxes, why did he grant access to the FBI? Since the boxes were in a secure, locked room, a room that had been locked according to the direction of FBI agents, how could Donald Trump be guilty of carelessness? If the content was not secure, since the FBI ordered a lock, the FBI is responsible.

--Mike Pottage, Aug. 15 column

Now, Donald Trump's home has been raided in an unprecedented move by 30 FBI agents. It's like a nightmare come true. No other president has had his post-White House estate invaded in an unannounced attack. It was sanctioned by Attorney General Merrick Garland – "the highest law enforcement official in the land," a joke!

The stakes just went up. He's been investigated more than any president without cause. There's nothing the left will not do him – nothing. He's enemy No. 1.

America loved this man. And this man loved America. That's why he scares the ruling class so much.

They won't be happy until he is gone – out of the public conversation. That's how they protect their interests.

-- Joseph Farah, Aug. 16 column

More than a week after the Gestapo-like raid of President Trump’s home, the Democrat-controlled Justice Department has disclosed nothing to justify the unprecedented action against America’s leading presidential candidate. As a first step among many to come, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., filed articles of impeachment against Attorney General Merrick Garland, who admitted that he approved the raid.


Garland's conduct is an affront to our democratic republic, and it improperly disrupts our upcoming elections in 2022 and 2024. His armed raid on the home of the leading presidential candidate while refusing to disclose the basis for it cannot stand.


Political prosecutions hide behind secrecy, and transparency would help stop them. There was no justification for federal agents to demand that Mar-a-Lago staff turn off the surveillance cameras so that the agents could violate limits on the scope of the warrant without accountability.

Despite the deliberate intimidation caused by more than 30 armed agents ransacking Trump’s home, his skeleton summer staff courageously refused the agents’ improper demand to turn off the cameras. Yet there remains no accountability for how federal agents tried to hide their own misconduct from surveillance.

-- Andy Schlafly, Aug. 16 column


Posted by Terry K. at 3:10 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE -- Doing It For Durham: The Sussmann Trial
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center returned to hype mode when right-leaning special counsel John Durham hauled a former Clinton campaign attorney into court on a flimsy charge of making a false statement -- then threw a fit when the jury acquitted him. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 8:57 AM EDT
Tuesday, September 13, 2022
MRC Quotes Militia-Loving Podcaster To Attack NewsGuard
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center found a new person to play victim of the allegely evil machinations of designated MRC enemy NewsGuard, a website rating service. Joseph Vazquez was the servile stenographer in an Aug. 10 post:

Podcast icon Tim Pool slapped leftist website ratings firm NewsGuard for making “false and misleading statements” about his website.

Pool took to Twitter to blast NewsGuard for its sloppy work: “News Guard has had to issue several corrections already on their false and misleading statements about” In addition, Pool said the firm “fabricated a quote from me and they have not issued a correction notice in violation of their own correction policy.” NewsGuard’s label, which rates with a 82/100, rebuked the website for allegedly not gathering and presenting information “responsibly.” Talk about irony.

Vazquez is hiding a couple very important things here. First, Pool is a supporter of right-wing militias, making him yet another extremist whom the MRC is trying to mainstream in order to maintain its victimhood narrative of conservatives being "censored" by "big tech." Second, there's a reason NewsGuard called out Timcast: it has a history of plagiarism, as the Daily Beast documented, uniroinically stealing from the mainstream media Pool purports to hate. Indeed, two of the people who help Pool run the editorial side of Timcast are Hannah Claire Brimelow, daughter of white nationalist Peter Brimelow, operation of the white nationalist site VDARE, and Cassandra Fairbanks, whom the MRC defended after she was flagged after tweeting out a video she falsely claimed was evidence of election fraud. Pool only intermittently corrects information that appears on Timcast, usually only after the complaints get too loud to ignore.

Rather than address the plagiarism issue forthrightly, Vazquez let Pool play it off and helped him play whataboutism:

Pool is right on point. NewsGuard continues to rate the liberal newspaper USA Today with a perfect 100/100 score even after a major journalistic scandal involving at least 23 stories that included fabricated sources. Pool pointed out NewsGuard’s blatant double standard when it came to the legacy liberal newspaper:

NewsGuard says we are not responsible because out of 3,892 articles around 5 either were too similar to other outlets reporting or did not provide fact checks on quotes. They refuse to say USA Today, which admitted to fabricating 23 stories, is irresponsible.

NewsGuard’s label for USA Today hilariously praises the newspaper because it supposedly “[g]athers and presents information responsibly, “[d]oes not repeatedly publish false content” and “[r]egularly corrects or clarifies errors.” What a joke.

Perhaps that's because USA Today handled that issue like a professional news organization -- fired the reporter involved, deleted the stories and apologized to readers. Meanwhile, Pool is misrepresenting the number of plagiarized articles found at Timcast (which, of course, Vazquez made no effort to fact-check). The Daily Beast found four articles in a group of 84 to have been plagiarized as well as two later ones -- a far higher ratio than the 5-of-3,892 Pool claimed. They weren't deleted until the Daily Beast emailed Pool for comment. The reporter who wropte those did say he was fired for plagiarism only after, ironically, NewsGuard contacted Pool about them. Vazquez never mentioned that pertinent fact.

Vazquez went on to rehash the MRC's old exam[les of NewsGuard's purported "extreme leftist bias"; of course, Vazquez thinks anyone who's not as far-right as he is is an "extreme leftist."

Gabriela Pariseau gave Pool another opportunity to rant about NewsGuard in an Aug. 17 post, and let him repeat his false statements:

Fox News “Unfiltered” host Dan Bongino asked podcast host Tim Pool about his website’s recent clash with NewsGuard. “I think it’s a joke,” Pool said. “They gave us a good rating, but it is not a legitimate agency.”

NewsGuard is a browser extension that rates news supposedly on the basis of “credibility and transparency,” but Pool said he caught the website breaking its own criteria and basic journalistic ethics.


“They gave us one strike for irresponsibility,” Pool told Bongino. “They first emailed me questioning why I reported on the Hunter Biden laptop emails and my response was, ’Your agency certified two outlets that claimed the emails are verified. And they immediately said ‘oh, oh, whoops, whoopsy.’”

NewsGuard complained of multiple issues in several different articles when it rated the site. Pool said in one case, NewsGuard penalized Timcast for accurately reporting something that former President Donald Trump said. “They came and claimed that because we quoted Donald Trump in a factual news article on our website,, that it was irresponsible because Donald Trump is a liar and they said his quotes are provably false.” 

Pool told Bongino that he responded by saying, “We are not fact-checking what he said. We’re reporting he responded with a statement.” Pool also said he told NewsGuard he and his colleagues would “implement a new policy moving forward on all quotes to fact-check them all so we’re not being irresponsible.”

Pool noted his website has a “very good rating from NewsGuard” despite Timcast’s slightly tarnished score. He also tweeted that NewsGuard lowered Timcast’s score based on five articles which is concerning because wildly biased and openly inaccurate news sites–like BuzzFeedNews, USA Today, and The Nation–have perfect or near-perfect scores.

“NewsGuard says we are not responsible because out of 3,892 articles around 5 either were too similar to other outlets reporting or did not provide fact checks on quotes,” Pool tweeted. “They refuse to say USA Today, which admitted to fabricating 23 stories, is irresponsible.”

Like Vazquez, Pariseau did not fact-check any of Pool's claims.

In between those posts, Vazquez and Catherine Salgado teamed for an Aug. 12 post complaining that a NewsGuard adviser expressed an opinion they didn't like:

A former CIA director and NewsGuard advisor yesterday seemingly promoted the execution of former President Donald Trump on Twitter.

A Washington Post “exclusive” released Aug. 11 speculated that the FBI raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, Fla., estate to locate alleged missing nuclear documents. NBC News presidential historian Michael Beschloss tweeted shortly after the “exclusive” was released that the “Rosenbergs were convicted for giving U.S. nuclear secrets to Moscow, and were executed June 1953.” 

Retired Gen. Michael Hayden quote-tweeted Beschloss’s post with the comment, “Sounds about right.” 

Washington Examiner Justice Department reporter Jerry Dunleavy blasted Hayden and Beschloss for their apparent flirtation with killing a former president.

Vazquez didn't dispute that execution is an appropriate penalty for stealing classified documents, as the Rosenbergs were accused of doing and it appears that Trump has done, or why Trump should be let off with a less severe penalty simply because he's a "former president."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:44 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 13, 2022 9:49 PM EDT
WND Flip-Flops, Suddenly Finds A Vaccine It Likes
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has spent the past couple years spreading fear, misinformation and lies about vaccines in general and the COVID vaccines in particular. So it was a bit of a surprise to see this anonymously written Aug. 12 article:

Polio, extremely rare since the disease was virtually eradicated years ago, now has been detected in the sewage system in New York City, alarming state Health Commissioner Mary Bassett, according to a new report.

Bassett said local and federal officials are trying to determine how far it has spread, according to a report from CNBC.

The disease raged across the United States in the 1920s, when the Iron Lung machine was developed to assist breathing for patients who had been paralyzed by the health threat. Those encased a person's body, and created a negative air pressure, essentially "breathing" for the paralyzed victims.


The report noted some 14% of New York City children ages 6 months to 5 years have not finished their vaccination series against polio.

In fact, the report said there are some areas of the city where fewer than 70% of the children have fully vaccinations completed.


There is no cure, and one in 25 infected will develop viral meningitis and one in 200 will be paralyzed.

"The risk to New Yorkers is real but the defense is so simple – get vaccinated against polio," warned New York City Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan.

That's right -- WND has apparently found a vaccine it can support.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:33 PM EDT
Newsmax Kept Up Post-Raid Pro-Trump Stenography
Topic: Newsmax

We've documented how Newsmax went into full Trump defense mode immediately after after the FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago compound for classifed documents. It continued that defense mode for several days afterward. Its coverage on Aug. 11, three days after the raid, relegated Attorney General Merrick Garland's statement that he approved the raid to a wire story. featured the usual stenography of pro-Trump toadies:

Newsmax did offer a little more balance this day, though: One article noted that "Former White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said 'somebody very close' to Donald Trump tipped off the FBI before the bureau's raid at Mar-a-Lago, another noted a Washington Post report that "classified documents relating to nuclear weapons" were being sought in the search, and yet another article surprisingly highlighted how hated Republican Rep. Liz Cheney "blasted her fellow GOP lawmakers for the ''sickening'' attacks they have directed at the FBI agents who executed a search warrant at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home, saying the comments are putting lives at risk."

The top stories on Aug. 12 involved the pro-Trump talking point of the day, that the classified documents seized from Mar-a-Lago were supposedly declassified by Trump before he left office. One article touted how  Trump claimed he had "the power to classify and declassify documents," while another, by the apparently unironically named Charlie McCarthy, hyped that "White House documents that former President Donald Trump brought with him to Mar-a-Lago had been declassified, Trump allies said," while burying the balancing viewpoint that "Trump foes, however, reject the notion a president can declassify documents so easily" in the last few paragraphs of the article.McCarthy also whined that "Former CIA Director Michael Hayden made a comment on social media that seemed to promote execution for leakers of nuclear secrets."

Then it was Trump sycophancy time:

There was also one more piece of Trump misdirection stenography, courtesy of Jeffrey Rodack:

Former President Donald Trump said former President Barack Obama kept 33 million pages of documents, many of them classified, and speculated that quite a few pertained to nuclear weapons.

Trumps comments came in a statement released Friday: "President Barack Hussein Obama kept 33 million pages of documents, much of them classified. How many of them pertained to nuclear? Word is, lots."

A New York Post column claimed Tuesday that at the end of his presidency, Obama took 30 million pages of his administration's records, vowing to digitize them and put them online. The column, by author James Bovard, said the National Archives reveals that no pages have been digitized or disclosed.

In fact, the Obama records that were moved to Chicago are unclassified and remain in possession of the National Archives; the classified documents remain at a National Archives facility in Washington, D.C. Obama has no personal possession of any of those documents.

Newsmax served up more of the same on Aug. 13:

It did, however, also publish a wire story noting a report that "A lawyer for former U.S. President Donald Trump signed a statement in June that said all classified material held in boxes at Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence had been returned to the government" -- an apparent false statement, which governmental agencies tend to frown upon.

Even more pro-Trump stenography was delivered on Aug. 14:

There was also an article on a statement by press secretary Karine Jean=Pierre that the White House is not interfering or otherwise "involved" in the investigation into Trump.

On Aug. 15, McCarthy returned to serve up some painfully unironic stenography of Trumpoffering "to do 'whatever I can to help the country' during 'a dangerous time' following the FBI's raid of his Mar-a-Lago home." and that the "temperature has to be brought down" McCarthy didn't mention, of course, that Trump is primarily responsible for raising that temperature -- even though a few hours earlier, he wrote an article touting Trump's inflammatory claim that the raid was "a 'sneak attack on democracy' that was conducted purely for political reasons." The usual cascade of Trump lackeys followed:

And there was still more on Aug. 16:

Newsmax also served up a reader poll asking if the raid was "an abuse of power" and if FBI director Christopher Wray should resign, adding, "Newsmax will provide the results of this poll to major media outlets. Newsmax's results also will be shared with popular radio talk-show hosts across America." It's a meaningless poll nbecause it's an opt-in poll for a highly biased audience.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:07 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 13, 2022 10:11 PM EDT
CNS' Jeffrey Still Implicitly Blaming Democrats For Federal Spending
Topic: editor Terry Jeffrey is continuing his dishonest tradition of implicitly blaming Democrats for spending too much money and taking in too much revenue, even though he refused to offer any blame, implicit or explicit, to Donald Trump and Republicans for high deficits during his adminstration. He wrote in a June 10 article:

The federal government collected a record $3,374,629,000,000 in total taxes in the first eight months of fiscal 2022 (October through May), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement.

Before this year, the largest October-through-May federal tax collections came in fiscal 2021, when the Treasury collected $2,833,846,070,000 in total taxes in inflation-adjusted May 2022 dollars.

Jeffrey waited until much later in the article to admit that federal spending has actually decreased from last year:

While federal spending has declined this year from last year’s record high, this year’s spending in the first eight months of the fiscal year is still more than the federal government spent in the first eight months of any year prior to fiscal 2020 (when it spent $4,445,575,070,000 in constant May 2020 dollars).

Jeffrey went on to repeat previous complaints that Health and Human Services and Social Security take thelargest chunks of the budget while defense only comes in fourth.

Jeffrey updated the numbers for a July 18 article:

The federal government hauled in a record $3,835,390,000,000 in total taxes in the first nine months of fiscal 2022 (October through June), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement.

That was up $502,438,730,000—or 15.07 percent—from the then-record $3,332,951,270,000 (in constant June 2022 dollars) that the federal government collected in taxes in the first nine months of fiscal 2021.

Jeffrey repeated his complaint about spending priorities, but he didn't mention that spending has dropped from last year.

The numbers got another update for an Aug. 10 article:

The federal government collected a record $4,104,725,000,000 in total taxes in the first ten months of fiscal 2022 (October through July), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement.

That was up $503,787,000,000—or 13.9 percent—from the then-record $3,600,938,000,000 (in constant July 2022 dollars) that the Treasury collected in taxes in the first ten months of fiscal 2021.

Again, Jeffrey complained about spending priorities but censored that spending is lower than last year.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:50 AM EDT
Monday, September 12, 2022
MRC Flip-Flops On Kansas Abortion Vote
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has been more than a bit sensitive about a vote in Kansas on a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow the state to ban abortion. When questions rose about the amendment's confusing language -- in which one must vote no to say yes to keeping the current rigtht to an abortion, and vice versa -- Alex Christy rushed to defend it in a July 23 post:

Kansas’s wording is not that confusing. The question is “the constitution of the state of Kansas does not require government funding of abortion and does not create or secure a right to abortion.”

If voters are genuinely confused by the inclusion of word “not,” then right beside the question on the state’s official voter guideon the question is the meaning of  yes and no votes. The measure also has to be worded that way, because pro-lifers are seeking to amend the state constitution in response to a Roe-like Kansas Supreme Court ruling.

Christy offered no proof that this was the reason the amendment "has to be worded that way." Indeed, given that the amendment is driven by right-wing anti-abortion ideologues, the confusing language is meant to be deliberate.

Christy returned for serve up the same unsupported defense in an Aug. 2 post complaining that "CNN Newsroom host Alisyn Camerota teamed up with pro-abortion activist Ashley All of Kansas for Constitutional Freedom to accuse pro-lifers of using trickery in the wording of the ballot measure.":

It is one thing to say this could be confusing, it is another to say this was some malicious trick played by pro-lifers, but that is exactly what Camerota suggested, “Is this intentionally convoluted?”

The correct answer is no. The Kansas Constitution, like the federal constitution, does not mention abortion anywhere, but that didn’t stop the state supreme court from saying that it does. Therefore, any amendment to reverse the Kansas Supreme Court’s ruling is going to have to include the word “not.” Any confusion is the fault of the activist court.

However, CNN viewers are not provided access to such inconvenient facts.

Again, Christy did not back up his claim, nor did explain how the Kansas Supreme Court was "activist" in issuing its ruling.

When the anti-abortion amendment was decisively defeated, the MRC switched to complaining that the defeat was considered news. Scott Whitlock complained in an Aug 3 post:

On Tuesday, a pro-life referendum in Kansas went down in defeat that would have removed abortion rights from the state’s constitution. Showing that there’s no bigger supporter of the abortion agenda than the liberal media, MSNBC devoted a whopping 65 minutes to touting the vote. And that was just in a 12 hour span. 

Whitlock quickly shifted to the MRC's usual whataboutism to distract from the anti-abortion movement's 50 years of violence and murder:

At 7:21 p.m. Eastern, far-left host Joy Reid talked about Kansas for 10 minutes and 51 seconds. She assailed the threat of violent pro-lifers: “Anti-abortion violence is a current domestic terrorism threat that began in the early 1970s. We're talking vandalism, arson, bombing, along with threats of harassment and intimidation.” 

In reality, it’s pro-abortion terror groups like Jane’s Revenge that fire bombed and committed arson against pro-life pregnancy centers. Of course, journalists weren’t interested in covering that.

Curtis Houck similarly complained that news shows were covering news in another post that day, which he bizarrely and hatefully described as a "celebration of murder":

The broadcast networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC were ebullient Wednesday morning as they basked in what they deemed a “resounding victory” and “earthquake” for abortion in Kansas as there was a “massive show of support” to defeat a referendum that would have given the state legislature the power to enact pro-life measures in the Sunflower State.

ABC’s Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts hyped that “voters...[made] a statement about abortion rights” that would have “remove[d] protections” for women to kill their unborn child. Currently, Kansas law bans abortion after 20 weeks.

Co-host and former Clinton official George Stephanopoulos called it a “surprising” result on a referendum that must have “triggered a strong backlash” in “a deep red state where there are far more Republicans than Democrats.” 

Nowhere in ABC’s coverage (and on CBS and NBC) was the fact mentioned that not only does Kansas have a Democratic governor, but three of the last five have been Democrats.

Houck failed to mention the fact that the Kansas legislature is dominated by Republicans.

When "so-called 'Republican' Ana Navarro" quipped on CNN that the amendment lost because  "Republicans have young girls, young daughters who get pregnant too. Because Republicans have mistresses," the humor-impaired Kevin Tober refused to find that funny:

Of course, Navarro never explained how this amendment would take rights away. Neither did she provide any statistics that prove there are enough voters with “mistresses” to defeat a statewide ballot initiative. Nor did she explain what the two have to do with each other.


Nobody should be surprised at Navarro’s hateful and fact-free comments. One only has to be reminded that she once proclaimed that children in foster care and her disabled relatives should’ve been aborted<. This is the kind of person she is. She’s perfect for CNN & The View.

Christy was tapped for an Aug. 4 post again omplaining that news was reported:

The three main broadcast networks spent Thursday morning hyping the defeat of a pro-life Kansas ballot measure as “blowback” for the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling, left conservatives “flat-footed,” and has the potential to motivate Democrats to vote in November.

CBS Mornings/em> was the worst offender. Host David Begnaud introduced a report by Steven Portnoy by hyping, “The backlash to the Supreme Court's decision to throw Roe v. Wade has taken on new shapes. One day after Kansas voters rejected a measure to remove abortion rights from the state's constitution, President Biden announced a new executive order to assist abortion seekers.”

As part of his recorded report, Portnoy declared, “The loss has left conservatives flat-footed.”

Christy then tried to downplay the importance of the vote by insisting that Kansas merely voted to keep the status quo:

Portnoy also played up the idea that the Kansas vote proves Republicans are in trouble, “he defeat of the proposed constitutional amendment which was aimed at undoing the effects of a state Supreme Court decision girding abortion rights shows not only how the issue has galvanized Democrats, but how it could also threaten Republicans.”

To try to prove his point, Portnoy showed counties that voted for Donald Trump also voted against the amendment. For CBS, this shows abortion is popular, as University of Kansas political science Prof. Patrick Miller explained, “To those of us who watch politics, that abortion is not as polarizing as really we think… On this one issue when they were allowed the opportunity to vote on abortion they did so, and they expressed their preference.”

Kansas voted to leave things the way they are; it did not vote to embrace the Democratic line of no restrictions. If pro-lifers had put forth a more specific question, the results could’ve been very different.

Still, Portnoy then highlighted the four states that will have abortion-related ballot measures in November. One of those is Montana, where “Republicans have proposed an amendment requiring care for any infants that might survive attempted abortions.”

Surely, that cannot be considered controversial. No doubt the media will still try.

Well, yes, it can be considered controversial when those protections already exist and the the apparent goal of such legislation is to scare doctors out of performing abortions.

An Aug. 4 post by Jorge Bonilla began by ranting taht "Univision’s report on the Kansas ballot initiative regarding abortion simultaneously managed to disinform viewers, promote a pro-abortion agenda, and undermine our democratic institutions. It is not surprising, then, that Hispanics continue to lose trust in corporate media." Bonilla then contradicted his employer's previous narrative on ballot language by arguing the initiative lost because anti-abortion activists were confused:

Furthermore, no explanation is given with regard to the confusing ballot language, which was essentially a double negative and could’ve easily led a number of pro-lifers to believe that they were voting to ban abortion.

So now the amendment's language is an issue because anti-abortion forces lost? Bonilla didn't mention that anti-abortion forces wrote the amendment.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:57 PM EDT
WND's 'News' Coverage Of Mar-a-Lago Raid Was Highly Biased
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It's sadly indicative of WorldNetDaily's aggressively right-wing bias that its initial "news" story on the Aug. 8 FBI search of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago compound, by Art Moore, leads with several paragraphs of Trump whining about it:

Former President Trump said Monday evening his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida, was "under siege" by a "large group" of FBI agents in a predawn raid.

"Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before," he wrote in a statement.

"After working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate," Trump said. "It is prosecutorial misconduct, the weaponization of the Justice System, and an attack by Radical Left Democrats who desperately don't want me to run for President in 2024, especially based on recent polls, and who will likewise do anything to stop Republicans and Conservatives in the upcoming Midterm Elections."

Trump said that such "an assault could only take place in broken, Third-World Countries."

"Sadly, America has now become one of those Countries, corrupt at a level not seen before," Trump said.

He alleged the FBI agents broke into his safe.

What is the difference between this and Watergate, where operatives broke into the Democrat National Committee?" he asked. "Here, in reverse, Democrats broke into the home of the 45th President of the United States."

Moore's story is filled with quotes of outrage and speculation from Republicans and Trump toadies, including Alan Dershowitz -- he made no effort to quote anyone who wasn't, aside from a mention that "An FBI source confirmed to [Fox News] that FBI agents from Washington, D.C., conducted the raid.

Bob Unruh followed that with a hyperbolically alarmist claim by another trump toadie:

re Democrats in power in Washington under the Joe Biden administration capable of trying to assassinate President Donald Trump to prevent him from running in 2024?

A report in the Daily Mail reveals that former New York Police Department Commissioner Bernard Kerik believes they absolutely are.

"I would not put assassination beyond these people," he said, if the FBI raid this week on Trump's home fails to lead to criminal charges.

Kerik said he was "deathly afraid" for the former president when federal authorities, weaponized against their political foes by the Biden administration, went to Mar-a-Lago.

Unruh made no effort to make his article fair and balanced by seeking out other views pointing out Kerik's bizarre claims. He also didn't mention that Kerik is a convicted criminal who received a pardon from Trump.

Moore returned to uncritically spout right-wing talking points attacking the judge who signed off on the FBI's search of Mar-a-Lago because he allegedly "was a donor to President Obama and represented employees of convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein." Moore didn't mention that Dershowitz, whom he quoted in his initial article, was Epstein's defense attorney and, thus, has a much closer connection to Epstein than the judge did -- indeed, he was the guy who engineered "the controversial 2007 deal that allowed Epstein to plead guilty to state charges rather than federal crimes" that Moore referenced in this article. Funny that Moore didn't mention any of that when quoting Dershowitz defending Trump.

Unruh echoed his hyping of Kerik in an Aug. 12 article under the alarmist headline "Leftists now suggesting executions over Mar-a-Lago raid":

Kerik said he was "deathly afraid" for the former president when federal authorities, weaponized against their political foes by the Biden administration, went to Mar-a-Lago.

Those fears gained added substance on Friday when Michael Hayden, a government official under George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, "responded approvingly" to social media demands for "executions" for those who "spill nuclear secrets."

There have been claims that the FBI raided Trump's home in search of documents containing nuclear secrets. There also have been claims the FBI was there to hunt for anything Democrats could use against Trump in 2024, that the FBI planted evidence at Mar-a-Lago and even that the FBI planted listening devices there.

It is former CIA chief Michael Hayden who went on social media to endorse a suggestion for "executions" for those who spill nuclear weapons.

Unruh didn't explain how, exactly, a former CIA chief could be considered a "leftist" beyond noting that he endorsed Biden for president in 2020.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:56 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, September 12, 2022 7:03 PM EDT
MRC's Transgender Meltdown, AP Stylebook Edition
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's hatred of transgender people extends to being mad that the Associated Press will treat them with respect by using respectful words -- which, of course, Tim Graham frames as "trans activist terminology" in a July 25 post:

Abigail Anthony at National Review reports The Associated Press Stylebook, the longtime style manual for most news organizations, has issued a “Topical Guide” for transgender coverage that encourages writers to use “unbiased language” and to “avoid false balance [by] giving a platform to unqualified claims or sources in the guise of balancing a story by including all views.”

You know there’s a heavy dose of politics when they claim it’s “unbiased” to “avoid false balance.”

Of course, the agenda of Graham and the MRC is to politicize journalism and treat everything journalists do that don't advance right-wing narratives as "biased."

When the AP stated that "A person’s sex and gender are usually assigned at birth by parents or attendants and can turn out to be inaccurate" and that "Experts say gender is a spectrum," Graham raged in response:

The gender “assigned at birth” is merely a social construct that can “turn out to be inaccurate.” Remember that AP sells itself to the public as “Advancing the Power of Facts.” When they consult "Experts," then "Facts" go out the window. In 2017, the AP Stylebook commissars embraced “they” as a singular, gender-neutral pronoun.

Graham then complained that right-wingers like him hate transgender people:

The AP explicitly sides against conservatives. A section on “legislation” explains: “Starting in 2020, conservative-leaning U.S. state legislatures began considering a wave of bills aimed at transgender youths. Many political observers assert that the legislation is being used to motivate voters by falsely framing children as under threat.” This is an interesting claim, since transgender activists routinely frame any opposition to their agenda with threatening 'trans' children with suicidal thoughts.

Graham never explained what the transgender "agenda" is, nor did he admit that conservatives have an anti-transgender agenda. He went on to grumble that "In today's leftist media, the 'marginalized' people are the powerful influencers, which means 'marginalized' isn't an accurate term, either," without mentioning that he gets paid to try and keep transgender people marginalized.

Grahanm concluded by ranting some more:

The most Orwellian terminology is describing hormone treatments and even the amputations of breasts or penises as “gender-confirmation procedures” and “gender-affirming care.” the guide explains that “treatments can improve psychological well-being and reduce suicidal behavior.” AP will insist everyone ignore examples of people who were more suicidal after gender-denial surgery.

Graham linked to a 2021 piece by subordinate Curtis Houck in which he maliciousluy smeared people who raised concerns about a "60 Minutes" piece on transgender people who de-transitioned as "Woke-O-Haram" -- as in the terrorist group Boko Haram. Who's the one pushing an "agenda" here, Tim?

Graham frequently gets mad when non-right-wing media outlets don't use biased right-wing terminology. We recently caught him trying to Heather Fox News for the sin of using the universally mediall term "fetus" to describe a fetus.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:42 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: The Gun Defenders At CNS
Following in the footsteps of its Media Research Center parent, spent its time following a rash of gun massacres trying to defend guns and deflecting criticism of the right-wing-beloved race-oriented replacement theory. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:04 AM EDT
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

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