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Monday, January 23, 2023
MRC Goes The Biden Whataboutism Route To Deflect From Santos' Lies
Topic: Media Research Center

The first reference to Republican Rep. George Santos at the Media Research Center was an attack -- not over his being a serial liar, but over his failure to toe the ideological line and parrot right-wing anti-"big tech" narratives, as Catherine Salgado complained in a Nov. 15 post:

Newly elected GOP Rep.-elect George Devolder-Santos (NY) has already assured the nation that he is not much interested in investigating pro-censorship Big Tech, saying he doesn’t want to “waste time,” according to a recent news report. 

Fox News co-anchor asked Santos, a “MAGA” Republican, about potential congressional investigations after Republicans presumably take control of the House in January. 

Santos classified probes of issues including Big Tech – which has colluded with the government to censor Americans – as “hyperpartisan,” according to The Hill. Because apparently nothing is more partisan than free speech?

The future congressman’s assurance could please Big Tech as much as it seemed to please the leftist Daily Beast. But free speech will suffer if a Republican Congress agrees with Santos.


This milquetoast attitude is especially odd since Santos caused controversy by praising former President Donald Trump’s speech on Jan. 6, 2021, and reportedly making contributions to get Jan. 6 political prisoners out of jail.

Salgado concluded by huffily noting that "Santos made history by winning the first House race with two openly homosexual candidates." She clearly did not see that as a good thing.

When it was first revealed that key elements of Santos' claimed biography appear to have been made up, the MRC stayed silent, as if it wanted to huddle with its fellow right-wingers to plot out a strategy to respond. And on Dec. 27 -- eight days after the allegations against Santos first went public -- a post by Mark Finkelstein announced the strategy: Biden whataboutism!

MSNBC's Morning Joe delighted on Tuesday in the case of Republican Congressman-elect George Santos, who's now admitted telling a series of fraudulent tales about his biography to get elected in the Third District on Long Island.

That's shameless, and the voters have every right to be angry and want him to resign. But if multiple lies about one's background are cause for a politician to resign, when will Democrats and the liberal media be demanding that Joe Biden quit, and how soon should we expect Ol' Joe to announce his departure from the White House?

Let's take a walk down the long Memory Lane of some of Biden's lies, shall we?


As documented above, Joe Biden has told a multitude of lies about his background. But naturally, Morning Joe never made mention of Biden's history of lying—let alone suggest that he should resign. There were "lying liars" who are typical in myth-making, and then there's Santos.

To the contrary, the panel chatted about Biden's "playbook" of exposing Republicans, and Lemire said the Santos story "certainly feels like the further Trumpification of the Republican Party."

Tim Graham used the same strategy in the promotion for his Dec. 28 podcast:

This week, the media elites pounced on the finding that Congressman-elect George Santos (R-New York) lied about nearly everything on his political resume. Democrats and the media played up the need for Santos to resign in disgrace. Conservatives responded with Biden's many tall tales about his life. Just days ago, Biden claimed that as vice president, he presented a Purple Heart medal to his Uncle Frank....who died ten years before he took national office.

The major difference here is that Biden's been exaggerating about his life for 50 years, while Santos hasn't even taken office yet. What is "whataboutism" and why is it objectionable?

In the podcast itself, Graham first and foremost blamed "liberal" media outlets for not vetting Santos, though he did eventually concede that Republicans failed to vet him as well and that "everyone can shre in the blame for not vetting this man." Graham touted how it how "it was very easy for people to make a list of Biden whoppers," then whined about the same "liberal media" not being hard on Barack Obama (whining extensively that he created composite characters in his memoir), Elizabeth Warren and even John Kennedy for alleged whoppers. He then complained that his whataboutism on Santos was being called out, and defended it as a key MRC strategy:

I don't generally like this term -- it cuts too close. Comparing political behavior and how it's evaluated by the press is what we do here at NewsBusters. Part of the charge of whataboutism is saying, "Well, now you're misdirecting away from an infraction by talking about someone else who did something kinda similar." I can get were you'd say youre changing the subject -- how convenient. But many examples of this so-called whataboutism are a part of politics, of comparing and contrasting. Pro-Clinton Democrats engaged in a ton of whataboutism when he was president.

Graham then complained that the MRC was criticized for not immediately denouncing Santos:

Finally, I find it mildly annoying when leftists get on Twitter and suggest that we as media critics have yet to make political denunciations on a timeline like -- "I see you haven't condemned Santos yet," they might write, like it's a great hot take. Likes the most important thing for us to do on a story is not evaluate the story but we have to lead with "We hotly denounce George Santos' lies."Well, OK, we're not in favor of politicans lying.  But our point here is to study how Santos is covered first and not to pronounce a verdict first. We're looking at patterns. We're saying, "this is the hot story, what other stories are they not doing?" Or, "notice how they're doing a story that pleases the Democrats more."

Graham might have a point if the MRC actually cared about legitimate "media research," but it doesn't -- it's a rapid-resonse political organization whose main goal is to drive right-wing political narratives in political conversation. Graham and the MRC want to drive those narratives in real time, so it's entirely appropriate to point out its days of silence on Santos while it devised an appropriate narrative.

P.J. Gladnick stuck with that narrative, serving up similar whataboutism in a Dec. 29 post:

The egg covering the face of poor Chris Hayes is the result of him sticking his foot into the controversy about the lies told by Congressman-elect George Santos versus what he called "normal" political lies told by Joe Biden. Here is Hayes' Tuesday tweet that caused a tidal wave of blowback mockery of the MSNBC host as to Biden's "normal" lies:


Unfortunately for Chris Hayes the mendacity record is not kind to Joe Biden especially as regards his failed 1988 presidential campaign which also included multiple allegations of plagiarism.

Finkelstein returned the same day to complain that it was pointed out how Republicans' failure to hold Donald Trump to account for his lies led to Santos:

Let's stipulate: George Santos running for Congress on a carpet of lies is beneath contempt. As Tulsi Gabbard, subbing for Tucker Carlson, said to him: "do you have no shame?"

But that doesn't mean that the Democrats, with a big helping hand from the liberal media, won't try to exploit the situation for their political gain.

And so it was that Morning Joe was only too glad to play its part today. The show invited on Democrat Congressman-elect Jared Moskowitz of Florida. Moskowitz has tweeted that, in contrast with Santos, he actually does have relatives who were victims of the Holocaust.

Moskowitz scalded Santos's lies about having Jewish relatives who escaped the Nazis as "the lowest form of humanity." Fair enough.

But Moskowitz then proceeded to try to turn the situation to his party's political advantage, predictably trying to blame Santos on Republicans in general, and Donald Trump in particular.

Moskowitz said that Santos's lies were:

"Not surprising, unfortunately, because this is what folks on his side of the aisle have learned. They have learned this from, you know, the leader of their party. That you can traffic in these lies and you can get away with it."

It remains to be seen whether either Trump or Santos will "get away" with things. But it's a certainty that the Democrats will try to milk the scandal for all its worth.

And Finkelstein played his part by unable to let his criticism of Santos stand without playing whataboutism for complaining that the criticism cuts a little too deep.

When a writer for the right-wing American Spectator bizarrely portrayed Santos' lies as some sort of "own the libs" moment -- which ignored the fact that he owned Republicans as well, who are now stuck with a congressman who has pretty much llied about everything -- Jeffrey Lord cheered the twisted logic inhis Dec. 31 column:

So whether intentional or not, Santos has effectively (and amusingly) set the liberal media up. He advertised himself -- without saying a word other than listing his bio “facts” - as one seriously woke guy. So the media gave him a pass. 

He says he’s openly gay? To challenge him by noting he was previously married to a woman means you’re a bigot, so no challenge there.  He worked at the woke investment company Goldman Sachs? Here’s a New York Post headline:

How Goldman Sachs exploits ‘woke values’ to pursue its own profit and power 

If you’re appealing to a woke media, claiming a background at woke Goldman will be silently applauded. He’s woke just like one of us.


Whatever else comes of this episode with George Santos, one takeaway lesson is that the lib media is so woke at this point that they will even not do their due diligence on a Republican candidate if that candidate passes a woke test with flying colors.

Whether by design or sheer accident, it appears that most if not all of his phony resume advertised by George Santos fit the woke bill - and the media shrugged.

You can’t make it up. Unless you’re George Santos.

Unmentioned, of course, is that Santos owned Republicans as well, who embraced every lie Santos told because it wanted a Latino candidate who was still willing and eager to toe the Republican line. If Republicans can't be bothered to seriously vet their own candidates, why is it the media's responsibility to do so?

UPDATE: A Dec. 29 post by Bill D'Agostino dismissed the idea that Santos committed voter fraud by lying as "absurd" but also cheered that Santos' opponent was criticized for failing to do opposition research into Santos, as if GOP officials weren't also responsible for vetting their own candidates.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:05 PM EST
Updated: Friday, January 27, 2023 6:07 PM EST
How Is WND's Moore Fearmongering About COVID Vaccines These Days?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily is all about spreading fake news and conspiracy theories about COVID vaccines to make their readers afraid of medical treatment. How has it been doing that lately? Here are a few examples.

Top WND misinformer Art Moore wrote in a Nov. 30 article:

CDC data turned over by court order shows health-care workers and others who were first to get the mRNA COVID vaccines suffered an extraordinarily high rate of complications.

Among earliest populations to get vaccinated, the data withheld by the CDC showed 1 in 3 reported needing medical care, missing school or work, or the inability to "perform normal daily activities," Just the News reported.

The CDC collected the data through V-safe, described by the agency as a "smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination."

The Informed Consent Action Network obtained the data through an ongoing Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the CDC.

Moore censored the fact that the ICAN is a leading anti-vaxxer group that spreads misinformation about vaccines of all kinds, so it clearly can't be trusted.

Moore ranted about the new COVID booster being approved for young children in a Dec. 8 article:

Americans clearly have become aware that COVID-19 poses little threat to most people while the mRNA vaccines don't prevent infection while evidence grows that they pose the risk of serious adverse events, including death, that have been downplayed or ignored by the government and medical establishment.

The evidence for that is the fact that, according to the CDC, less than 13% of Americans age 5 and older have received the new bivalent booster targeting the omicron subvariants.

Children are the most immune from COVID-19, with, statistically, virtually no chance of serious illness or death.

Nevertheless, the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved the bivalent mRNA booster for children aged 6 months to 4 years.


However, there is no clinical data supporting the efficacy of the bivalent booster. Federal regulators acknowledged they authorized the shot based on data from eight mice and other updated vaccines. And the safety data came from the old vaccines.

That's because the new boosters are virtually identical to the old ones aside for the addition of the second variant medicaton, and the original vaccine and boosters have proven safe despite all of WND's fearmongering.

Moore fearmongered further in a Dec. 12 article:

Of the 68% of American adults who took a COVID-19 vaccine, 41% say they have suffered at least a minor side effect, according to a Rasmussen poll.

A total of 7% said they experienced a major side effect, which would amount to 12 million adults.

The survey of 1,000 U.S. adults – conducted Nov. 30-Dec. 1. – also found that 57% of U.S. adults were at least somewhat concerned that the vaccines many have major side effects, including 31% who were very concerned.

Rasmussen head pollster Mark Mitchell said in a video presentation on the survey that "the COVID pandemic was so politicized that, literally, the tribal party group that you belong to is essentially what dictates your views on the effectiveness of a vaccine."

Moore dodn't mention that Rasmussen's polls have a right-wing bias, or that actual medical exports show a much lower rate of side effects.

Moore complained about a new study in a Dec. 14 article:

If you decided to forgo an experimental vaccine that does not prevent contracting a disease with a survival rate of nearly 100% while posing the risk of severe harm or death, you fit the profile of a person who is much more likely to get into a car crash.

That's according to a study reported by Fortune that was published in December in The American Journal of Medicine.

Canadian researchers concluded that people who didn't receive the COVID-19 vaccine were 72% more likely to be involved in a severe traffic crash – meaning at least one person was transported to the hospital – than those who were vaccinated.

The authors – after examining government-held records of more than 11 million adults – theorize that people who don't comply with public health recommendations might also "neglect basic road safety guidelines."

The unvaccinated, the researchers suggest, might "ignore" the rules of the road because of their distrust of the government, a belief in freedom, "misconceptions" of daily risks, "faith in natural protection," "antipathy toward regulation," poverty, misinformation, a lack of resources and personal beliefs.

Moore failed to mention that more than one million Americans hae died from COVID , or that even if you survive getting it, you stil have a notable chance of having lingering symptoms for months (also known as long COVID).

Moore expressed glee in another article the same day, in which he got to parrot that dubious poll result:

Halfway through a $475 million Biden administration campaign promoting the new bivalent COVID booster, only about 1 of 9 Americans have chosen to get the jab.

The federal government has spend more taxpayer funds purchasing 171 million doses of the booster, which was granted emergency use authorization after a brief Pfizer trial involving eight mice and no humans.

About 68% of Americans age 5 and older received the initial round of the COVID vaccines, but only 13.5% have taken the booster, which targets omicron subvariants. A little more than 120 million does of the shot remain unused.

A recent Rasmussen poll found that of the American adults who took a COVID-19 vaccine, 41% said they had suffered at least a minor side effect. A total of 7% said they experienced a major side effect, which would amount to 12 million adults.

Moore also hyped his own favorite COVID misinformer: "Acclaimed cardiologist Dr. Peter McCullough was among the health scientists calling for the COVID-19 vaccines to be immediately withdrawn." WND has served as a primary conduit for McCullough's medical misinformation.



Posted by Terry K. at 6:27 PM EST
MRC Even Attacks Twitter Founder For Not Adhering To Pro-Musk Narrative
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's insistence on lashing out at anyone who won't blindly adhere to the  predetermined narratives promoted by Elon Musk and its fellow right-wingers regarding Twitter even extends to bashing Twitter's founder, Jack Dorsey. Catherine Salgado complained in a Dec. 15 post:

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey released his opinion of the Twitter Files exposing his platform’s biased censorship, admitting his serious failures around free speech, while still claiming a lack of “hidden agendas.”

Dorsey tweeted his take on the Twitter Files Dec. 13, claiming it was based on the “principles I've come to believe” due to his experiences founding and leading Twitter. He began with a list:

“1. Social media must be resilient to corporate and government control.

2. Only the original author may remove content they produce.

3. Moderation is best implemented by algorithmic choice.”

This seemingly anti-censorship list is ironic in light of Twitter Files revelations that Dorsey was part of the top censorship team at Twitter and was at least aware of the reasons for banning former President Donald Trump despite Trump not violating any platform rules. Dorsey did at least admit in a blog post that he had messed up—badly.

Salgao is being highly disingenuous in claiming that Trump never violated any Twitter rules -- a claim that came from a previous "Twitter files" release (which, of course, Salgado hyped). As a more honest media outlet noted, the discussion focused only the final two tweets Trump made before his suspension (he had repeatedly violated Twitter standards before but was given a pass because he was a public figure), and some Twitter officials thought there was a coded call to incitement in those tweets. And that file release omited the fact that Twitter had warned Trump immediate after the Capitol riot that further violations of its rules could result in a permanent ban.

Salgado continued her complaint:

Dorsey then specifically referred to Trump’s ban, saying Twitter “did the right thing for the public company business at the time, but the wrong thing for the internet and society.” But the former CEO did not admit the full scale of Twitter’s bias under his watch. He denied any “ill intent or hidden agendas.” MRC’s CensorTrack has years of records of Twitter’s biased censorship.

People need tools to resist an enforced media or government narrative, Dorsey said. “Allowing a government or a few corporations to own the public conversation is a path towards centralized control.” 

But Dorsey did not expound upon Twitter’s secret coordination with the government to censor Americans.

CensorTrack is not a reliable tool because of its existence as a tool to further right-wing "censorship" narratives ahead of being a serious documentation system -- it's a partisan tool, not a research tool. And as we've pointed out, claiming the government engaged in "secret coordination with the government to censor Americans" is a conspiracy theory.

Salgado concluded:

Dorsey wrote that he knew people would distrust his recommendations based on his own record, and added that he wished he had made Twitter “uncomfortably transparent in all their actions.” 

He then ended the piece by condemning attacks on former Twitter colleagues and promoting new technologies for social media.

Only time will tell if the anti-free speech trend on social media is reversible.

Of course, the MRC is totally cool with "the anti-free speech trend on social media" when Musk himself is doing the censoring.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:51 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, January 29, 2023 12:58 PM EST
NEW ARTICLE: Hypocritically Hiding Herschel At CNS
Topic: was an early promoter of Herschel Walker's political ambitions and friendship with Donald Trump -- but it almost completely censored reports of abusive behavior and paying for abortions. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:32 AM EST
Sunday, January 22, 2023
MRC Lashes Out At All Who Won't Promote Musk's 'Twitter Files' -- Including The FBI
Topic: Media Research Center

While it was cheering Elon Musk's censorship of journalists on Twitter, the Media Research Center was continuing its defense and hero worship of Musk and his release of selectively chosen internal files to hand-picked journalists. Tim Graham cranked up the MRC's defense of Musk in a Dec. 15 post lashing out at NPR for pointing out the biased nature of the document release:

Taxpayer-subsidized NPR had been aggressively ignoring the "Twitter Files" revelations, but when they finally acknowledged them on Tuesday's Morning Edition, the new information was described as an "attention-grabbing stunt," "not a bombshell," and an "ugly" spectacle causing threats of violence to Dr. Anthony Fauci and former Twitter "trust and safety" czar Yoel Roth. 

The online headline was Elon Musk is using the Twitter Files to discredit foes and push conspiracy theories.

Morning co-host A Martinez said Musk and Twitter "released internal documents to a handpicked group of journalists who have been digging through them and posting excerpts on Twitter. But is this corporate transparency or just the latest attention-grabbing stunt by the billionaire CEO?"

Tech reporter Shannon Bond bizarrely claimed that Republicans are wrong to claim they were suppressed by Twitter's leftist executive clique:

Graham is never going to critiize the biased narrative Musk is feeding because it furthers the MRC's own narratives. And he offers no evidence that only consertvatives were "censored" by Twitter -- and he will never admit that Twitter's algorithm has always favored conservatives. Instead, he invited readers to harass NPR for pointing out inconvenient facts that he can't be bothered to disprove: "This report really reveals the NPR hostility to conservatives and how Twitter's 'a much less friendly place' for NPR types. Feel free to contact NPR's Public Editor and ask when they'll address their 2020 Hunter Biden mistakes."

Staying on message, a Dec. 17 post by Joseph Vazquez hyped the latest "Twitter files" release purporting to show "the leftist Big Tech platform’s extensive collaboration with Big Government on its bloated censorship operations," followed by a post from Alex Chrsty with the usual lament that "ABC, NBC, and CBS all ignored round six of the Twitter Files on their Saturday morning shows" because it instead reported on Musk's censorship of journalists, which he framed as "suspending several accounts for sharing information about his private jet and physical location," purportedly driven by an "alleged stalker video." As we've noted, Musk had previously vowed never to suspend the tracker account, and the alleged stalker never used the account (and was more interested in Musk's ex-gal pal and baby mama, Grimes, than Musk himself).

Meanwhile, the MRC was silent on the fact that even Musk supporters had criticized his suspensions of journlaists, or that Musk briefly killed Twitter Spaces, its grtoup-chat platform, after being unable to deal with questions fronm actual journalists about his censorship.

Vazquez served up more Musk stenography in a Dec. 20 post:

It turns out that not only did the Ministry of Truth brigade at the FBI push Twitter to censor the Hunter Biden laptop scandal, but it also reportedly paid the Big Tech platform millions of dollars.

Independent journalist Michael Shellenberger, who reported on the latest batch of Twitter files Dec. 19, noted that “The FBI’s influence campaign may have been helped by the fact that it was paying Twitter millions of dollars for its staff time.”

An associate of former Twitter Deputy General Counsel James Baker told him and former Twitter General Counsel Sean Edgett in a February 2021 email: “I am happy to report we have collected $3,415,323 since October 2019!” Baker was a prominent FBI figure that historically helped perpetuate the Russia-Trump collusion hoax. 

Twitter owner Elon Musk about the implications of the funding: "Government paid Twitter millions of dollars to censor info from the public."

Musk is lying, and so is Vazquez by extension. Actual fact-checkers pointed out that the FBI paid Twitter to fulfill document requests, not to "censor" anyone.

The stenography, and complains thatthose outside the right-wing media bubble weren't engaging in the same stenography, continued:

Gabriela Pariseau positively framed how "over 57 percent of respondents answered yes" to Musk's poll question about whether he should remain as Twitter CEO, declining to point out that it's a very public rejection of how Musk has run the company and instead uncritically repeating his statement that “I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job!"

When the FBI accurately pointed out that "conspiracy theorists" are spreading the false narrative that the agency paid Twitter to "censor" people, the MRC got mad about that too. Kevin Tober whined about the FBI being "defiant" while praising Fox News for pushing the narrative:

On Wednesday afternoon, the FBI released a defiant statement which denied any wrongdoing that was detailed in the latest Twitter Files which were made public this week by journalist Michael Shellenberger, who revealed that the FBI and Twitter colluded to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story. In the obnoxious statement, the FBI proved the contempt they have for average Americans concerned with tyrannical Big Tech censorship by calling them “conspiracy theorists.” 

As they have with the Twitter Files, the three evening news broadcasts (ABC’s World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, & NBC Nightly News) ignored the FBI’s nasty statement. Instead, the three networks obsessed over local weather reports and former President Donald Trump’s taxes.

During Fox News Channel’s Special Report, correspondent Lucas Tomlinson reported how “FBI officials confirm the agency paid Twitter nearly $3.5 million. Money critics say was used to help suppress information, including The New York Post Hunter Biden laptop story.”

Tober called this "bias by omission," though he didn't explain how not reporting a false story could possibly be "bias."

Catherine Salgado similarly huffed in a Dec. 22 post:

Th FBI finally issued an official statement on revelations of its work with Big Tech to censor Americans in the Twitter Files. The explanation? The people reporting on the files are“conspiracy theorists.”

Recent installments of the Twitter Files revealed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) directly flagged content and accounts for Twitter to censor. But if you have a problem with documents exposing the federal government colluding with Big Tech to restrict free speech, then you are the problem, according to the FBI’s statement shared with Fox News. “It is unfortunate that conspiracy theorists and others are feeding the American public misinformation with the sole purpose of attempting to discredit the agency,” the FBI’s gaslighting statement railed.


Experts, including Heritage Foundation senior legal fellow Hans von Spakovsky, warned Fox that the FBI may have violated the First Amendment with its actions.

Von Spakovsky is not an "expert" -- he is a partisan activist who gets paid to peddle this bogus narrative -- meaning that he and Salgado, not the FBI, are the ones "gaslightling" people. And Salgado couldn't finish without pushing the bogus narrative again:

The FBI apparently sees no issue with its censorship efforts that were happening behind the scenes. “The men and women of the FBI work every day to protect the American public,” the FBI’s statement continued. It’s unclear how the FBI could try to gaslight the American people with a straight face given that the Twitter Files revealed that the Bureau paid the platform over $3.4 million through a “reimbursement” program for helping its censorship efforts.  One of the Twitter accounts that the FBI flagged for the platform was the American-based, right-leaning Right Side Broadcasting Network.

Actually, Right Side Broadcasating is a highly biased, rabidly pro-Trump channel, and it's weird that Salgado made a big deal out of the fchannel being "American-based" -- as if the non-right-wing networks the MRC loves to bash are not. And Salgado censored the fact that there's no evidence that FBI ordered Twitter to "censor" anything.

And MRC boss Brent Bozell ran to Fox Business, where he knows his talking points will never be challenged, to add his two cents:

Locked and loaded Thursday morning on the Fox Business Network’s Varney & Co., Media Research Center Founder and President Brent Bozell told fill-in host David Asman that the FBI “disinformation” in a statement smearing the Twitter Files with it having been “none of [their] damn” business to suppress the New York Post’s Hunter Biden reporting.

Asman explained in the lead-in that the FBI responded to the Twitter Files by insisting they give “critical information to the private allow them to protect themselves” and that it’s “unfortunate that conspiracy theorists and others are feeding the American public misinformation for the sole purpose of attempting to discredit the agency.”

If Congress wanted to “do its job,” Bozell replied, they’d investigate Twitter and “look at that statement...because that was classic disinformation.”

Bozell then noted the importance of the FBI’s role in suppressing the spread of the original Post story in having allowed the media to steal the 2020 election:

That's yet another reference to the MRC's election fraud conspiracy theory fueled by polls it bought from Trump's 2020 election pollster and the polling firm founded by Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway. Of course, given the highly selective nature of the documents Musk has released, one can easily argue that he and Bozell are the ones spreading disinformation.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:11 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, January 25, 2023 11:47 AM EST
CNS Followed MRC Parent In Gushing Over Musk's Purchase of Twitter

We've documented how echoed its Media Research Center parent's early enthusiasm for Elon Musk purchasing Twitter and memory-holing its previous criticism of him, which devolved into gushing over every public utterance by Musk as a state statement. As Musk wavered on buying Twitter over the summer, CNS' interest in him dwindled, doing only one story on him, a July 27 piece touting how Musk snarked "bon voyage" to Russia's plans to exit the International Space Station.

In the meantime, however, CNS' (and the MRC's) anti-Twitter narratives were still operative -- as were the corporate narrative that there is no such thing as an objective definition of misinformation -- which explains an Aug. 11 article by Craig Bannister attacking Twitter's plans to fight misinformation:

On Thursday, Twitter announced “Our Approach to the 2022 U.S. Midterms,” detailing its plan to suppress some speech regarding the elections, and to advance other narratives it deems acceptable.

Specifically, Twitter says it is will be using “prebuttals” to “get ahead” of political narratives it subjectively considers “misinformation” - and “proactively” promote other speech it endorses:


Twitter will also actively suppress and denounce comments of some of those who question the legitimacy or results of elections, the announcement says:

“The Civic Integrity Policy covers the most common types of harmful misleading information about elections and civic events, such as: claims about how to participate in a civic process like how to vote, misleading content intended to intimidate or dissuade people from participating in the election, and misleading claims intended to undermine public confidence in an election – including false information about the outcome of the election.”

When Twitter sees a tweet it considers “misleading” or “false,” it will suppress and label the tweet and prevent it from being liked or shared in order to “prevent the spread” of speech it doesn’t like:

Bannister offered no evidence that pre-Musk Twitter's definition of "acceptable" speech it "endorses" involved anything beyond allowing facts and discouraging lies and misinformation. He also did not explain why any attack on "the legitimacy or results of elections" should be allowed to stand if it's based on falsehoods and misinformation.

After Musk finally agreed to buy Twitter at the terms he originally agreed to, Bannister fed a conspiracy theory in an Oct. 5 article:

Following Tuesday’s news that billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s original offer to buy Twitter had been accepted by both parties to the deal, prominent conservatives began tweeting complaints that they had suddenly lost thousands of followers on the giant social media platform.

Conservatives have long attributed sudden, massive, loses of followers to a Twitter “purge” of right-of-center voices. But, on Tuesday, many added the theory that Twitter has begun deleting “bots,” automated accounts passed off as accounts managed by humans. The contention that bots have inflated the number of users accounts on Twitter, and thus, Twitter’s value, had been a major sticking point in Musk’s purchase deal.

When Musk ultimateluy closed on his Twitter purchase, intern Laruen Shank spent an Oct. 27 article gushing over it, uncritically quoting Musk self-aggrandizing claim that he didn't buy Twitter “because it would be easy. I didn’t do it to make more money. I did it to try to help humanity, whom I love. And I do so with humility, recognizing that failure in pursuing this goal, despite our best efforts, is a very real possibility."

More hero worship of Musk followed:

There was also an agenda item in the form of a Nov. 7 article from Patrick Goodenough complaining that certain people have yet to be "censored" by Twitter: "Amid concern in mostly liberal quarters that Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter will amplify harmful content, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday again used the platform – as he has done for years – to spread anti-America sentiment to his well over one million followers."

A Nov. 15 article by Bannister helped CNS complete its Musk flip-flop by attacking President Biden for pointing that Musk's foreign entanglements are worth monitoring (while falsely claiming that Biden was demanding an investigation):

“It has nothing to do with national security,” former Director of National Intelligence (DNI) John Ratcliffe says of President Joe Biden’s call for Elon Musk to be investigated as a national security threat because the billionaire owner of SpaceX acquired Twitter.

“Whether or not he is doing anything inappropriate, I’m not suggesting that. I’m suggesting that it’s worth being looked at,” President last week, when asked by a reporter if Musk should be investigated as a national security threat now that he has purchased Twitter.

“What the hell’s going on here?” Host Dan Bongino asked Ratcliffe in an interview Saturday on “Unfiltered,” noting that, in America, “We don’t investigate people in search of crimes; we investigate crimes in search of people.”

“That’s absolutely right, Dan. And, you’re right: I do have an informed view on this,” the former Director of National Intelligence for the Trump Administration agreed. “This is clearly personal. This is clearly political. It has absolutely nothing to do with national security.”

“And, it does have everything to do with weaponizing the national security apparatus for political reasons,” Ratcliffe said, explaining that the Biden Administration has shared some of the nation’s most sensitive technologies with Musk and given him billions of dollars of contracts over the past year:

Bannister cheered Musk's restoration of the Twitter account of the right-wing "satire" site Babylon Bee in a Nov. 18 article, while intern Peyton Holliday gushed that "entrepreneur and business magnate" Musk advanced the current right-wing obsession with hating investments that focus on environmental, social and governmental issues by declaring that "ESG is the devil." Bannister returned for a Nov. 29 article again pushing the idea that any claim of misinformation is inherently subjective:

Billionaire Elon Musk’s recently-purchased Twitter has ended enforcement of its controversial, subjectively-enforced policy of censoring and suspending accounts posting COVID-19 comments and claims.

“Effective November 23, 2022, Twitter is no longer enforcing the COVID-19 misleading information policy,” Twitter declares on its “Transparency” page.


Prior to Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, and his subsequent promise to open it up to free speech, the behemoth social media platform had come under fire for punishing accounts for posting content that challenged liberal claims, mandates, shutdowns and policies regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

In April, when Musk joined Twitter’s board of directors after purchasing a 9.2% stake in the company, physician and Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has led the charge to refute false COVID narratives promoted by the Biden Administration, expressed optimism that Musk’s commitment to free speech would improve the platform.

Bannister offered no evidence of how pre-Musk misinformation policies were  "subjectively-enforced," and he hid the fact that Musk had been suspending accounts that made fun of him, putting significant doubt about his purported "commitment to free speech."

Posted by Terry K. at 9:48 AM EST
Updated: Monday, January 23, 2023 3:23 PM EST
Saturday, January 21, 2023
MRC's Vazquez Still Laughably Thinks George Soros Dictates Wikipedia Articles
Topic: Media Research Center

We documented how the Media Research Center's Joseph Vazquez is under the bizarre delusion that Wikipedia accepting money from George Soros means it also takes dictation and editorial direction from him -- which completely ignores the fact that users write and edit Wikipedia articles, not Soros or even what paid editors Wikipedia has. He clearly remains under that delusion, as demonstrated in a Dec. 18 post that advance the MRC's hypocritical glee that Elon Musk suspended the Twitter accounts of several journalists:

Leftists at the George Soros-funded Wikipedia attempted to paint the elitist journalists who shared the real-time flight location information of Twitter owner Elon Musk as victims of a “massacre.”

Yes, you read that right.

A Wikipedia article was published with a babbling headline that needed no explanation: “Thursday Night Massacre (Twitter).” The article’s logic was just pure nonsense: “The ‘Thursday Night Massacre’ is a term that refers to the December 15, 2022, account suspension of several high-profile journalists from the Twitter platform.” The article mourned: “At least nine journalists who covered the social media company and its owner, Elon Musk, were all suspended without warning. This included ‘reporters’ Keith Olbermann, Steven L. Herman, and Donie O'Sullivan, and journalists from The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, and The Intercept.” Soros committed at least $2 million to Wikipedia in 2018.

Vazquez is apparently too young to understand what metaphors are, or to know that the term is actually an allusion to the infamous "Saturday Night Massacre," in which President Nixon order the attorney general to fire the special prosecutorlooking into the Watergate scandal (he and his chief deputy resigned rather than do so, leaving the third in command, future failed Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork, to do the dirty work).

Vazquez also uncritically quoted Musk saying that "They posted my exact real-time location, basically assassination coordinates, in (obvious) direct violation of Twitter terms of service." As we've noted, Musk had previously promised never to censor the Twitter account that tracked Musk's plane, to which the journalists were referencing (which hardly makes them "elitist," as Vazquez claims). Ironically, a couple days later, Musk tweeted out his own assassination coordinates by posting a real-time photo of himself at the World Cup final in Qatar; Vazquez and the other boys at the MRC were completely silent about that.

Vazquez concluded by ranting:

The irony is that Soros said at the time of his endowment to Wikipedia that his gift “represents a commitment to the ideals of open knowledge—and to the long-term importance of free knowledge sources that benefit people around the world.” Apparently the “ideals” Soros’ Wikipedia funding supports are only those that cater to leftist propaganda.

Remember, Vazquez is the MRC's current point man in its dirty war against Soros. Vazquez is obviously so consumed with irrational hatred of Soros that he doesn't understand that its Wikipedia articles are written by website users, not Soros himself.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:52 PM EST
WND's Lively Rejects White Supremacism -- But Only As A Purported 'Elite' Plot
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily columnist Scott Lively may be an unapologetic Putin-lover and in serious denial about the anti-Semitism of Gab founder Andrew Torba, but it turns out there are some right-wing extremists he won't embrace -- albeit in his own weird, conspiratorial way. His Dec. 9 column didn't start out that way at first, serving up his version of right-wing arguments against civil rights reforms:

The problem of racism continues, not for the lack of Christian ethics among whites in racial matters, but because the "elites" have always embraced the slave-master mentality and have cynically used the very "civil rights" machinery ostensibly designed to solve the problems to instead deliberately perpetuate them. After almost a century of floundering and piecemeal stopgap measures, they recreated the old plantation-system in LBJ's Civil Rights Act of 1964, using government largess to lure blacks into liberty-negating government dependency where they became the crop rather than the field hands: each one a cash cow to facilitate the transfer of federally collected tax revenues from vast centralized "entitlement" reservoirs to elite-managed overseers in the big cities. All for the purpose of creating and funding massive armies of entitlement-dispensing election-controlling foot-soldiers called public-employee unions.

And, to ensure that blacks never collectively broke free from the dependency system, the elites kept them centralized in the inner-cities, destabilized their families in numerous ways, sabotaged any meaningful entrepreneurial success among them, indoctrinated their children with every leftist narrative and ensured that the fire of resentment against white people was always kept smoldering in their hearts. Racism in America today is coming mostly from blacks against whites – intentionally stoked by Critical Race Theory and other polarizing tactics.

He then weirdly and without evidence portrayed right-wing extremists as secret government agents designed to justify alleged left-wing extremism:

But the most important secret weapon in this strategy is the exploitation/manufacture of white resentment against elite-sponsored/directed black thuggery and destructiveness. The key to elite control is hyper-polarization among the "common" people. Marxist radicalism always grows its own opposition to have an enemy to point to, to justify its rage: a "Proud Boys" for every "Antifa," if you will. When the commoners fail to produce a counterpoint of their own, one is created for them by the FBI or whatever other social-engineering asset is best suited to the task. In the "gay marriage" wars I always suspected Fred Phelps was a government "agent provocateur" sent out to incite public outrage against the pro-family movement by protesting the funerals of war heroes with "God Hates Fags" signs. In Charlottesville (the blueprint for J6) it was tiki-torch-bearing, Trump-costumed "Antifa" assets fabricating evidence of "white supremacy."

It's through that lens that Lively denounced white supremacist Nick Fuentes -- not because white supremicism is bad, mind you, but because he justifies liberal criticism of right-wing extremism (and, since Lively is a homophobe, that Fuentes leans a bit to much into neo-Nazi homoeroticism as hyped in Lively's discredited book "The Pink Swastika"):

In the Current Act of the continuing stage play, I suspect Nick Fuentes and Jared Taylor (whom I just learned about this week) are also assets of the elites (wittingly or not). I actually caught Fuentes' performance at the "Gathering of the MAGA Tribes" in D.C. on Dec. 12, 2020. Being very familiar (by virtue of co-writing "The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party") with how Nazi propaganda was facilitated by vaguely homoerotic visual imagery in the 1920 and '30s, I was literally shocked to encounter what looked to me like a deliberate re-staging of a particular infamous Nazi poster with Hitler (reenacted by Fuentes) addressing an adoring all-male flock of acolytes packed tightly around him like sardines. And what I heard Fuentes shouting, with all the passion and charisma of Der Fuehrer, was a string of borderline white-supremacist platitudes.

What most bothered me was that Fuentes was literally and blatantly vindicating the accusations of the left against the MAGA movement, and that struck me as intentional, and thus Obiden-orchestrated. That hypothesis and the whiff of a potential homoerotic undercurrent in Fuentes' network was partially vindicated in the recent (joint venture?) sabotage of President Trump by self-declared "ex-gay" (but still "gay" acting) Milo Yiannopoulos, using Fuentes and Kanye West as either allies or props.

Thankfully, Fuentes was only a small sideshow in the wild carnival atmosphere on 12/12, where tens of thousands of MAGA faithful from every conceivable constituency flowed and swirled like white-water rapids around both the several officially planned and the many spontaneous mini-rallies all over the Washington Mall and its environs – none of which echoed Fuentes' themes (except a suspicious-seeming speech-maker at the Proud Boys stage the members there didn't seem to know).

My point here is that the MAGA faithful need to carefully guard ourselves against the temptation to join the "right-wing" polar extreme that is characterized by blaming "the Jews" or "the blacks" collectively as the problem because that is just another "Whitmer trap" of the elites – used to justify the violence and cancel culture of the left, and to prevent the empowering unification of the conservative/populist Jews, blacks and whites against the elites themselves.

Lively's claim that he only just now "learned about" Jared Taylor strains credulity because the white supremacist has been a fixture on the fringe right (where Lively operates) for decades -- we first wrote about him in 2003. And that "Whitmer trap" is apparent reference to the right-wing extremist kidnapping plot against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, which right-wingers blame not on the extremists but on FBI agents who infiltrated the plot. But as one judge pointed out, it's hard to entrap people already eager to commit a crime.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:39 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, January 21, 2023 12:48 PM EST
Friday, January 20, 2023
MRC Parrots Bogus Election-Denier Attack On Ariz. Election Official
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center dabbled in election denierism by hyping right-wing claims that the midterm election vote in Arizona may be fraudulent because it took so long to count the votes (which was actually due in large part to mail-in ballots being delivered to polling place on the day of the election because of right-wing scaremonging about mail-in ballots). It did further dabbling when Catherine Salgado took dictation directly from a discredited Trump lawyer in a Dec. 14 post:

Maricopa County, Arizona’s County Recorder Stephen Richer asked the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) for help censoring alleged election “misinformation,” according to a tweet by 2024 Trump campaign attorney Christina Bobb.

Pro-censorship ex-Twitter executive Vijaya Gadde also attended the meeting, endorsing government-tech collusion to “pre-bunk” so-called “misinformation,” according to the tweet’s screenshot.

Christina Bobb tweeted on Dec. 7, “Well look at what we found!! Turns out @CISAgov has been collaborating with Maricopa County @stephen_richer to censor election information and keeping it from the public.” The document she shared had a CISA heading and was marked “FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY.” 

The document recorded what Richer and the CISA Protecting Critical Infrastructure from Misinformation and Disinformation Subcommittee discussed during a March 29 meeting.


The tweeted CISA document shows that Richer described supposed mis-, dis-, and malinformation online and asked CISA to help in five areas. According to the document, the five areas included were:

“- Educate the public and determine how people are manipulating the public’s understanding of the truth;

“– Funding and resources;

“– Intelligence and metrics;

“– Partnership with social media; and

“– Share best practices on pre-bunking.”

That means, per the document, Maricopa’s recorder asked the federal government to partner with social media to recommend censoring election-related content he deemed “misinformation,” “disinformation” or “malinformation.”

So Salgado is back to insisting that misinformation cannot possibly be objective. And she and Bobb are objectively misinforming people about the nature of that meeting; as one writer pointed out, Richer and other officials "were trying to prevent outright lies from being used to try to undermine democracy. Again, that is. As usual, Salgado doesn't explain why lies and misinformaton should never be countered with facts, even though she works for an organizaiton that spends millions of dollars a year claiming to do exactly that by calling it "bias."

Salgado huffed that Richer "previously 'started a Super PAC' to prevent so-called 'election deniers' from taking office, according to Bobb." Which is true -- but Salgado doesn't explain why this is a bad thing. Shouldn't people who spread election lies and misinformation be kept out of political office?

Salgado further complained:

Twitter’s ex-general counsel Vijaya Gadde, who pushed Twitter to ban former President Donald Trump despite no violation of platform rules, recommended that social media work with election boards to remove “false information.”

Gadde added praise for the “effectiveness of pre-bunking on Twitter,” noting that pre-bunk efforts caused a decrease in supposed “false information” online, the document showed. Gadde and Richer then agreed that censorship needs to occur within 24 hours of posting. The subcommittee recommended pre-bunking to encourage state and local officials to “release accurate information” on the handling of elections “prior to misinformation and disinformation campaigns.”

Richer cited the 2020 election as a learning experience for media in the meeting, noting as one challenge that some media outlets are “not open to government feedback.” The Media Research Center previously found that Big Tech and media censorship of the now-verified Hunter Biden scandals helped steal the 2020 election for Joe Biden.

To be fair, nobody thought a sitting president would try to incite an insurrection because he couldn't mentally handle the fact that he lost. And that MRC finding that the election was stolen from Trump is based on polls the MRC bought from Trump's 2020 election pollster and a polling firm founded by Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, so it should be treated as the partisan, biased narrative that it is.

Salgado also huffed:

Bobb also tweeted on Dec. 4 that Democrat Arizona Secretary of State and gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs’s office had asked Twitter to have “posts removed.” Bobb said in the tweet that Hobbs “ran the AZ election, censored her political opponents, disrupted Election Day votes, and then threatened counties with prosecution if they didn’t declare her the winner.”

As we documented when WorldNetDaily regurgitated this talking point, the posts Hobbs requested to be taken dow ntook place months before she even entered the race for governor and involved the objective falsehood that Arizona's voter registration system is controlled by foreigners; again, Salgado doesn't explain why such a falsehood shouldn't be countered. Further, the secretary of state's role in certifying elections is largely ceremonial, and those counties brought threats of prosecution by refusing to certify the election -- not just Hobbs' victory but the entire election -- by a longstanding state-mandated deadline.

Salgado concluded by whining that media outlets pointing out that social media was serving again as a conduit for election misinformation was "propaganda" -- even though she herself had just peddled propaganda by uncritically promoting a Twitter post filled with misinformation without bothering to fact-check it first.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:08 PM EST
CNS Unemployment Coverage Distortion Watch, Inability To Distort Edition

The monthly job numbers have been so consistently good that they haven't been doing the hoped-for trick of making President Biden look bad, forcing to fall on its usual trick when a Democrat is president to cherry-pick the numbers. That meant CNS had to find something else to keep up its narrative, and Craig Bannister found that for a Dec. 19 article:

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia has revised the number of new jobs created in the second quarter of 2022 down by more than a million, prompting a Bloomberg market expert to issue a warning.

In its Q2 Vintage Early Benchmark Revisions of State Payroll Employment released last Tuesday, the Philadelphia Fed reports that actual job growth was “significantly” different than the number reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):


On Monday, Bloomberg Senior Editor for Markets and Opinion Columnist John Authers characterized the revision as a “startling finding ” that could prompt the Federal Reserve to continue to raise interest rates:

Because that number was too good to look into further, Bannister didn't report what other observers noted, that the Philly Fed's metric is new and untested, seasonality is not fully accounted for, and that private secotor numbers did not show a dramatic employment slowdown for that period.

Even then, the jobs numbers continued to prove too strong for CNS to effectively spin. Even Susan Jones' favorite cherry-picked number, the labor force participation rate, looked good enough that she led with it in her main article on December's employment numbers:

Reversing recent declines, the percentage of the population that is either working or actively looking for work increased slightly to 62.3 percent in December, up one-tenth of a point from November, and four basis points higher than the 61.9 percent in December 2021.

In its final report for 2022, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics counted a record 159,244,000 employed Americans in December, an increase of 717,000 from last month's 158,527,000 (revised number); and the number of Americans counted as not in the labor force dropped below the hundred million level to 99,879,000.

Despite higher interest rates, the economy added a strong 230,000 jobs in December, above expectations of 200,000. Notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, health care, construction, and social assistance.

Along with the record number of employed Americans, the number of unemployed -- no job but actively looking -- dropped by 278,000 to 5,722,000 last month, producing an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent, one-tenth of a point lower than it was in November.

The only sidebar this month was editor Terry Jeffrey's counting of manufacturing jobs, and even he couldn't spin things: "There were 12,934,000 people employed in the U.S. manufacturing sector in December 2022, which is more than in any month since November 2008, when there were 13,034,000 people in this country employed in manufacturing."

Posted by Terry K. at 5:39 PM EST
WND Still Annoyed That Capitol Riot Is Called An Insurrection
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has long tried to downplay theseverity of the Capitol riot. The latest attempt came in a Dec. 16 article by Bob Unruh complaining that the riot is being called an "insurrection" and that Donald Trump might be held accountable for his actions in fomenting it:

Outside of fairly extreme rhetoric from Democrats, President Trump has never been accused of "insurrection," much less convicted.

Nevertheless, Democrats are intent on characterizing his reaction to the anomalous 2020 election results and his concerns that the election was stolen – as well as his response to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol, as the actions of an "insurrectionist."

Which, they say, means he never can hold any public office again. Ever.

Breitbart reports 41 House Democrats filed a bill that would bar Trump, and they claim for their effort support from Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.


Mainstream media and Democrats repeatedly have insisted that it was an insurrection, and that President Trump was its leader. But they have to argue that to support their claim he should be disqualified from holding office.

Unruh referred to an August article by Art Moore touting a Harvard studyclaiming to examine the reasons for the riot:

WND also reported on a Harvard study that said those protesters "motivated by loyalty to President Trump" actually "were not attempting to carry out an insurrection."

Mainstream media and Democrats repeatedly have insisted that it was an insurrection, and that President Trump was its leader. But they have to argue that to support their claim he should be disqualified from holding office.

The Harvard study was based on court documents from 417 of the more than 800 defendants prosecuted for the riot, the Harvard Crimson said in a report spotlighted by Just the News.

"The folks with QAnon T-shirts, and signs, and flags were so prominently displayed in much of the visual imagery that came out of the Capitol attack," said Kaylee Fagan, one of the authors of the study.

"So we expected to see more QAnon-related concepts come through in the documents."

The study showed fewer than 8% said they wanted to start a civil war or armed insurrection.

That doesn't excuse the riot, no matter how much Unruh thinks it does.

Unruh whined further that the House committee on the riot was holding Trump accountable for his actions in a Dec. 19 article, which additionally framed the committee as "partisan" and "activisdt":

A partisan committee set up by soon-to-be-replaced House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to review the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol, and essentially find ways to blame President Trump, has released its report.

And to no one's surprise it insists that the Department of Justice should review charges against President Donald Trump, including make a false statement, defrauding the U.S., conspiracy and inciting insurrection.

The Washington Examiner reported that at this point the recommendations are considered largely "meaningless" by legal experts, as the committee is expected to be dissolved as soon as the GOP becomes the majority in the House in just weeks.

Unruh didn't dispute any of the committee's findings despite his attack on it, preferring to quibble over words instead:

Democrats have been harping on the riot, describing it as an "insurrection" although it was more or less a riot, ever since it happened. That's because a conviction for insurrection would prevent Trump from ever being in office again – one of the major goals of the entire Democrat party [sic].

At no point in either article does Unruh deny that Trump played a key role in fomenting the riot.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:03 PM EST
NEW ARTICLE -- Slanties 2023: Ultra Slantie
Topic: The ConWeb
For the 20th time, it's time to honor (as it were) the worst ConWeb reporting and craziest ConWeb opinions of the year. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:06 AM EST
Thursday, January 19, 2023
MRC Hypocritically Cheers Musk's Suspension of Journalists He Doesn't Like
Topic: NewsBusters

For an organization that purportedly hates censorship, the Media Research Center sure loves it when journalists who don't share its right-wingn ideology get censored -- and even more when it's Elon Musk doing the censoring. Kevin Tober justified the censorship in a Dec. 16 post:

Late Thursday night, Elon Musk banned the Twitter accounts of a group of leftist reporters from various left-wing outlets like CNN, The Washington Post, and The New York Times for violating the site's terms of service agreement against doxxing. They weren't just doxxing anyone, they were dumb enough to reveal the location of Musk's private jet which puts his personal safety in jeopardy. Needless to say, the lefty meltdowns both on Twitter and cable news were explosive and fun to watch.  

The leftist media tears were especially delicious on MSNBC & CNN where the respective networks gathered their panelists to wail about the attack on freedom of the press. On MSNBC's The 11th Hour, host Stephanie Ruhle was apparently terrified about Musk banning leftist reporters. "This seems really scary. Okay?" Ruhle cried. 

"These are reporters who covered Elon Musk, who have covered the changes on Twitter since he took over. Now he's claiming these suspensions are taking place because these reporters put him at risk," Ruhle added. She then attempted to deny that the reporters have put Musk's safety at risk: "there's not even evidence any of them did that."

Ruhle's guest Alex Stamos from the Krebs Stamos Group claimed Musk was just trying to intimidate reporters from reporting critically on him:

Tober offered no evidence that the suspended reporters were "leftist," nor did he offer the evidence Ruhle said was lacking to justify the suspensions.He also failed to mention that the Twitter account that tracked Musk's jet -- which the journalists got suspended for linking to -- used publicly available data, or that Musk himself had previously said he would not ban the tracking account because of his claimed support for free speech.

Alex Christy demanded "nuance" on this discussion, something the MRC is not known for:

Friday’s CNN This Morning reacted to Thursday night’s suspensions with none of the nuance that a discussion about doxing and flight tracking information should have. Instead, it was claimed that non-democratic governments around the world will use the incident to clamp down on free speech in their own countries.

While some of the panel was hesitant to give Elon Musk more attention, senior media reporter Oliver Darcy claimed, “You don't want to give someone attention if they're looking for attention. But I think it's important to talk about what's happening on this platform because it is such a crucial information platform. This is how a lot of the world communicates. I mean, world leaders are on this platform.”

Christy didn't mention Musk's previous vow not to suspend the tracker program; instead, took offense when the CNN discussion turned to theidea of foreign dictators taking cues from Musk's banning of journalists:

Not only did CNN not have this story under the old Twitter leadership when they were banning New York Post< links, but the idea that dictators needed Thursday night to clamp down on free speech and press freedom is so obviously wrong, CNN should be embarrassed. Many of these countries had already banned Twitter.

The fact that dictators had already banned Twitter strongly suggests that pre-Musk Twitter wasn't as censorious as right-wing narratives depicted it, but Christy didn't comment on that.

Chrsity then tried to argue the tracker account was illicit because it "evaded the FAA’s privacy program," linking to a tweet claiming the account's owner made a workaround to get informaion on Musk's plane.

Curtis Houck served up more glee at the suspensions:

On Friday, ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s were in a state of anger, shock and sadness over a number of their fellow leftists propagandists being suspended from Twitter late Thursday over what new boss Elon Musk insisted was a violation of the company’s doxxing policies and sharing information about his movements.

Agree or disagree with the decision, but one has to acknowledge the irony of ABC and NBC setting aside time to lament the plight of their comrades in keyboarding whereas conservatives faced years of censorship, election interference, and anti-American browbeating from Big Tech and their media allies.

Houck agrees, obvioiusly -- while failing to prove thaty any of the suspended journlaists were "leftists" -- while adding: "The suspensions came after Musk said a stalker had tracked down his son Tuesday and attacked the car he was traveling in by even jumping on the hood." But that story turned out not to be true: There was no link between the tracking account and the alleged incident, which happened at a gas station and not an airport, and the stalker was actually more interested in Musk's ex-girlfriend and baby mama, the singer Grimes, than in Musk himself.

The MRC then dragged Rich Noyes out of retirement to complain about the coverage the suspensions were getting:

CNN and MSNBC are pouncing on Twitter’s suspension of several liberal journalists, but those same cable news giants had about 15 times less interest in evidence of the same platform’s suspensions, blacklists and shadow banning aimed at conservatives when the so-called Twitter Files were released two weeks ago.

Last night, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 was first to report the suspension of the reporters, breaking the news at around 8:54pm ET. “Musk seems to be just stamping out accounts that he doesn’t like,” CNN reporter Donie O’Sullivan, one of those whose account was affected, told Cooper.

Between then and noon on Friday, CNN pumped out 38 minutes, 25 seconds of coverage to the suspension of these journalists. MSNBC didn’t pick up the story until shortly before 10pm on Thursday, but they have also been busily griping at the move, churning out 31 minutes, 51 seconds of coverage.

The whining continnued from Christy in a Dec. 17 post:

CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan was one of the journalists suspended by Twitter on Thursday for spreading information that Twitter considers to be reach the threshold of doxing. On Friday, he traveled over to Amanpour and Company which airs domestically on PBS and internationally on CNN International to warn of the “chilling effect” this may have on other journalists who cover Elon Musk.

With no sense of irony, guest host Paula Newton wondered if Musk is so sensitive, would he ban President Biden or French President Emmanuel Macron next, “Yeah. I mean, the point is -- Donie, it's you today. Is it the president tomorrow? Is Biden going to say something? Is Macron going to say something to criticize him? I mean, there is a lot at stake here.”

Christy didn't mention his own lack of irony in cheering these suspensions as his employer raged about "censorship."

Musk PR agent Autumn Johnson ranted:

Leftist MSNBC host Chris Hayes had an absolute conniption over Twitter owner Elon Musk not tolerating journalists sharing his real-time flight location on the platform.

Hayes went on a rant against Musk’s changes to Twitter on the December 16 edition of All in with Chris Hayes. He spewed that Musk was a “power mad billionaire attempt[ing] to coerce and capture the American discourse.” He argued that Musk’s suspension of journalists that shared information “doxxing” him and his children was somehow authoritarian. 

“You cannot trust anyone with absolute power, in any domain,” Hayes flailed. “No matter if it is the U.S. presidency, a social media enterprise, a cable news show, a condo board association, even a pillow company. Left unchecked, they will drive it into the ground."

It’s worth asking what Hayes thinks about censorship-obsessed CEOs like leftist Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Perhaps Hayes doesn’t have as much of a problem with them since all three have the correct left-wing politics.

Johnson censored the fact that Musk reneged on his earlier promise not to suspend the tracker account. There was also no mention that the jet doesn't even belong to Musk -- it's owned by one of the companies Musk leads, SpaceX, which means that, since it's a corporate jet and not a personal one, there's no guarantee Musk would even be on the tracked plane.

Christy continued to whine:

CNN Newsroom host Jim Acosta returned to his old form on Saturday of hyperbolically warning about threats to press freedom as he compared the Twitter suspension of several journalists to the Trump White House revoking his press credentials. He also managed to compare tracking Elon Musk’s jet to reporting when senators arrive on the Senate floor or athletes who arrive at a stadium.

Acosta was not pleased with Musk’s trolling of hypocritical journalists, “Mike, Elon Musk initially mocked his critics over this ban, tweeting ‘so inspiring to see this newfound love of freedom of speech by the press.’”

Christy further whined that a CNN guest "accused Musk of making up the policy as he goes along and that he appears to be driven by emotion," which Christy didn't dispute.

Jeffrey Lord served up his own brand of whining in his Dec. 17 column:

Back in the early days of 2021, former First Lady Michelle Obama led the charge that Twitter and other social-media giants needed to permanently ban then-President Donald Trump. Twitter’s leftists scrambled to do as she asked.

Not to mention that one conservative after another was either suspended, banned or shadow-banned over the years. All of this has come tumbling out into very public view in recent days thanks to Twitter’s new owner, the redoubtable Elon Musk.

And there was not a peep of outrage from this interesting collection of left-wing journalists who suddenly are outspokenly outraged that - gasp! - they themselves have suffered a version of the fate Mrs. Obama was recommending for then-President Trump in 2021 and that had been regularly dished to a collection of conservatives.

Lord somehow forgot to mention that Trump was suspended for inciting an insurrection -- an arguably more serious offense than following the location of Musk's plane.

Tober ran to Musk's defense again in a Dec. 18 post:

During Sunday's edition of ABC's This Week, there was a lot of crying over Elon Musk suspending the Twitter accounts of lefty journalists who purposefully broke Twitter's rules against doxxing other people on the platform. New York Times national political reporter Astead Herndon either couldn't understand this concept or didn't care, and instead proceeded to ironically accuse Musk of violating the tenants of free speech and being a hypocrite. 

In reality, Musk isn't being hypocritical since he bought Twitter to restore free speech to Twitter users who were suspended or shadow banned for saying objectively true things like "trans women" are men or tweeting out the New York Post's story about the massive scandal surrounding Hunter Biden's laptop. 

Conservatives have been consistent that free speech doesn't protect you from threatening people by posting their real time locations, which is what the slew of leftist journalists did to get banned on Twitter.

Clay Waters mocked the New York Times' concern about the jornalists being suspended and cheered the revenge aspect: "Yes, after years of bans on conservative accounts and deletion of conservative content by social media behemoths Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, suddenly it’s a 'free speech and online censorship' problem when it happens to left-wing journalists." Waters offered no evidence the suspended reporters were "left-wing."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:03 PM EST
WND Puts Crass, Glib Headline On Story About Actress' Death
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has done some notably crass things in 2022, from invoking 9/11 to sell website subscriptions to illustrating an article about black farmers with a picture of watermelons. It added to that crassness with its reprint of a Dec. 5 Fox News article on the death of actress Kirstie Alley. The WND headline read 'Drop Dead Gorgeous' star Kirstie Alley dead."

The Fox News article it republished did not put "Drop Dead Gorgeous" in its headline -- in fact, it didn't even mention that film until the very last paragraph, instead giving more prominent mention to more prominent roles, such as on the TV show "Cheers."

The crassness may have an point, however. It was likely designed to allude to WND's current obsession with depicting anyone who dropped dead or died suddenly of having done so beause of COVID vaccines.

It's not clear why WND thinks that engaging in such crassness will draw readers, but if its fake news and conspiracy theories aren't bringing in eyeballs, it's unlikely this will either, no matter how desperately WND needs the money.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:40 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, January 19, 2023 6:50 PM EST
MRC Childishly Mocks CBS For Fact-Checking Hunter Biden Laptop Story
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Hunter Biden Derangement Syndrome is so bad that it childishly mocks anyone who did their homework to actually verify the story about his Hunter's laptop before running with it -- unlike, of course, the MRC's fellow residents of the right-wing media bubble, who decided it was too good to fact-check before relentlessly hyping the partisan story. We saw that immaturity in a Nov. 21 post by Curtis Houck:

With Democrats having secured the White House in 2020 and fared better than expected in the 2022 midterms, Monday’s CBS Mornings spent nearly six minutes (five minutes and 41 seconds) finally conceding something ludicrously obvious: Hunter Biden’s laptop from hell is real.

CBS let the intrepid Catherine Herridge out to report on a story purposefully censored by the liberal media and Big Tech. And, sure enough, Herridge commissioned an independent review of a “clean copy” from former Delaware laptop repair shop owner John Paul Mac Issac that found there’s no evidence it was tampered with.


Herridge shared “the laptop’s backstory” dating back to 2019 and then, in an attempt to excuse the media’s censorship campaign, fretted that “versions were widely shared by Republican operatives” in the 2020 election cycle and “questions were raised about whether additional files were added to those versions.”


Following clips of moderate Republican strategist Doug Heye warning investigations into Hunter could “backfire,” Herridge threw in a dismissal meant to suggest there’s no there there: “After two years of scrutiny, the laptop has not produced evidence President Biden directly benefited from his son's business deals.”

This all led co-host and Democratic donor Gayle King to fret: “Hmmm. Could be a lesson to pay your bills. $85 could have changed everything had the bill been paid.”

Where in the world was this take two years ago, Gayle?

As usual, Houck never explained why anyone should have trusted the story at face value when it came out, given that it came from a pro-Trump newspaper that offered no independent verification and even seasonsed intelligence professionals said it looked like Russian disinformation. Instead, he took the lazy conspiracist's way out and claimed without evidence that the story was "purposefully censored."

This was followed by a mocking, unprofessional item later that day by Bill D'Agostino purporting to be "a list of things that somehow took less time than CBS took to finally admit to the existence of Hunter Biden’s laptop."

Then, the next day, Houck went on Fox News to clown around over the story:

Making his latest appearance on the Fox News Channel’s Fox News @ Night, NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck and host Trace Gallagher slammed CBS News early Tuesday for having finally admitted 768 days after the New York Post’s first report to concede Hunter Biden’s laptop is real and anything but a conspiracy theory.

“And another black eye for CBS. After dismissing the Hunter Biden laptop as disinformation and unable to be verified, the network once called Tiffany now having an epiphany, yet sadly it comes two years too late,” said Gallagher in a tease.

Going later to Houck, he noted that “the phrase better late than never...might not apply this time” with CBS waiting until two major elections passed to consider the laptop’s “authenticity” as well as the fact that CBS’s 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl mocked the idea it was real in an October 2020 interview with then-President Trump.

Note that Gallagher unironicially complained that CBS had "dismissing the Hunter Biden laptop as disinformation and unable to be verified" -- even though that was exactly the case. Gallagher certainly didn't criticize the New York Post for providing any independent verification at the time.

Houck went conspiratorial here too: "Houck later agreed with Gallagher’s recognition that CBS made this call in order 'to get ahead of' next year’s House probes, adding it could be that as well as simply being 'on the other side the midterm elections, but I think it's definitely more about wanting to get ahead of the House Oversight Committee'."

It's immature and totally rehearsed, but it got Houck on TV, right? Getting TV hits and website clicks is much more important than legitimate "media research" at the MRC these days.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:15 PM EST

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