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Wednesday, May 10, 2023
MRC Went Into Trump Defense Mode On Arraignment Day
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center did a lot of ranting about Donald Trump's impending (and then actual) indictment and the district attorney who charged him. When the day of Trump's arraignment came on April 4, the ranting ramped up. Curtis Houck hit all the required talking points -- Bragg-bashing, Biden whataboutism -- in complaining about that a former president facing a criminal indictment is somehow consindered newsworthy:

Since Thursday evening, the media profession somehow found a way to even further embarrass itself by taking a steroids-induced trip back to 2015 and 2016 with wall-to-wall Trump coverage in light of his indictment by Soros-backed Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg on charges related to the infamous 2016 payments to Stormy Daniels. 

As such, a litany of stories that have significant bearing on the country have been ignored and one story has been reporting that the Chinese spy balloon did, in fact, gather intelligence on some of our country’s most sensitive military installations. ABC and CBS have shown zero interest in highlighting this, ignoring it on their flagship Monday evening and Tuesday morning news shows.

Tim Graham whined that NPR was committing the offense of covering news, with an added fit of Hunter Biden Derangement Syndrome:

On Monday night's All Things Considered newscast, co-host Mary Louise Kelly covered the indictment of Trump as a serious conundrum for the media. She was pandering to the leftist audience, angered that Trump will probably get away with all this again, that he's just milking this indictment for fame and fortune and another Republican nomination for president. Kelly brought on NPR vice president and executive editor Terence Samuel to think out loud about how the coverage might disappoint the audience. 

Samuel promised they would "flood the zone," as they say. "And what we have now is we have two reporters in the courtroom. We have two reporters outside the courtroom because the world is completely different now, and we will have to update that story as it's happening online in our newscast....It is constant and ongoing. We want to be authoritative. We want to be complete. And we're going to be relentless."

Now for conservative critics of NPR, Terence Samuel is infamous for proclaiming in 2020 that the Hunter Biden laptop was "not really" a story, a "pure distraction" that NPR shouldn't cover. They never wanted to be "complete" on that subject. None of that came up in this conversation, obviously.

When commentators on a couple of networks raised questions about the charges against Trump -- despite the fact that all the evidence has not been made public -- Kevin Tober spun: "You know the charges against former President Donald Trump by the corrupt Soros-backed prosecutor Alvin Bragg are in trouble when even ABC and NBC are skeptical about their legal standing. ... The case is in serious jeopardy if this is the way two of the three liberal broadcast networks are covering these charges against Trump." Tober returned later to defend Trump and inject the "Soros-backed" talking point:

During MSNBC’s special live coverage of former President Donald Trump’s speech where he gave his initial reaction to the Soros-backed Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg charging him with 34 counts of falsifying business records, co-host Stephanie Ruhle had a diva-like tantrum over Trump daring to fundraise off the controversy. Ruhle should check her emails because this writer has received dozens of fundraising emails from Democrats since Trump’s indictment Tuesday. 

Ruhle has no problem with being a hypocrite. Instead, she lashed out at Republicans for claiming this ordeal was good for Trump: “right-wing media has been saying scandal after scandal this is great for Trump. It is never great for Trump politically.”

“It's a win-in-one-place and one-place-only: fundraising,” Ruhle claimed. She then went into meltdown mode over how Trump has solicited donations:


No understanding the difference between a grift and fundraising for a presidential campaign. Ruhle cried that for Trump “this is always about the grift and fundraising.”

Why can't it be both? Tober didn't ask that question.

Houck came back to have a fit of CNN Derangement Syndrome:

Call it their Super Bowl, the greatest day of their lives, or the pinnacle of their careers. Either way, CNN went wall-to-wall Tuesday with coverage of former President Trump’s arrest and arraignment on charges by far-left, Soros-backed Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg in relation to payments made to Stormy Daniels. and, as such, CNN’s coverage showed a network relapsing back to its Trump-centric days of 2015 and 2016 with imbecilic hot takes masquerading as expert analysis.

NewsBusters suffered through Tuesday afternoon so you didn’t have to and below represents ten moments (in chronological order) from the embarrassing display of CNN’s non-existent status as a news organization.

CNN is "non-existent" as a news organization? Doesn't that description more accurately apply to Fox News, which actually lied to its viewers about election fraud?

Ther MRC's coverage on April 5 started with a post from Mark Finkelstein cheering that "the former lead prosecutor of Robert Mueller's Russia-Russia-Russia investigation of Trump" raised questions about Trump's prosecution despite the fact that, again, not all of the evidence has been made public. Clay Waters complained that right-wing attacks on  Bragg and his prosecution were called out, complete with 25-year-old whataboutism and an upgraded smeaer of Soros to an "international billionaire":

National Public Radio’s media reporter David Folkenflik, who has been on an anti-Fox News kick of late, went off on “right-wing media’s” “apocalyptic” coverage criticizing the legal case against Donald Trump and their attacks on Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg, who has brought charges against Trump involving payments to former porn star Stormy Daniels.

Earlier, Trump and his conservative defenders were baselessly accused on Friday’s PBS NewsHour of both racism (Bragg is black) and anti-Semitism (for accurately pointing out Bragg’s campaign for district attorney was funded by left-wing international billionaire George Soros).


Left out of these agitated takedowns were any sense of historical context – such as when media outlets like NPR and PBS went “apocalyptic” and “extreme” in defense of Democratic president Bill Clinton when he was supposedly persecuted by special counsel Kenneth Starr for lying under oath about his own hushing up of his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Go here for a taste of the way the press reacted to Starr’s attempt to follow the rule of law in pursuit of a president accused of sexual misconduct. It’s safe to say Alvin Bragg won’t be getting the Starr treatment.

The MRC continued to write up any little thing that  could be considered to be pro-Trump:

Graham summed up the day's bias in his podcast (bolding his):

The media's Trump obsession overflowed on Arraignment Day in New York City. They loved analyzing Trump's grumpiness in photographs taken in the court room, but they didn't love the substance of the actual indictment once it was widely released. The legal analysts expressed concerns that Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg didn't explain how misdemeanors could be promoted into felony counts, and there could be problems with the statute of limitations.

NewsBusters Associate Editor Nick Fondacaro joins the show to discuss all the video tweets we put out to analyze the events. At first, analysts like CNN's Jamie Gangel were excited to note from photographs that Trump looks like "he's in custody. He's in their control. I think this is very striking." But then lawyers who hate Trump -- like his former appointee John Bolton -- announced on CNN "I'm extraordinarly distressed by this document...This is even weaker than I feared it would be."

It was especially funny when Rachel Maddow announced MSNBC would be running no live coverage of Trump's speech in Florida, because it's the usual routine of "lies" and "grievances" about his "perceived enemies" (like he has none). But then she says MSNBC is such a serious news network: "there's a cost to us as a news organization of knowingly broadcasting untrue things."

Needless to say, Graham didn't mention that he didn't really didn't want to talk about the fact that Fox News had been recently exposed as knowingly broadcasting untrue things to its viewers.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:24 PM EDT
Newsmax Flip-Flops On Carlson, Stops Criticism To Woo Him And His Viewers
Topic: Newsmax

After Russia invaded Ukraine last year, Newsmax repeatedly called out Fox News for not being as pro-Ukraine as it should have been -- and, in particular, host Tucker Carlson for his pro-Putin attitudes. That criticism largely faded away in recent months; a Feb. 27 column by Allan Ryskind criticized Carlson's stance on Russia and Ukraine, though he framed it around praise for him:

Where would conservatives be without Tucker Carlson?

Though clearly a man of the right, he takes on conventional political wisdom espoused by all sides. He's pro-family, pro-marriage, pro-God, a deadly enemy of the cultural left.

Every week he takes on the Leviathan, causing federal bureaucrats to quake. And he's outspoken against those who seem eager to involve us in useless foreign wars. It's hard to think of a crusade Tucker pursues that most conservatives don't endorse, or, at the very least, take seriously.

Still, many of his loyal fans aren't happy with how he has dealt with the Ukrainian issue. His opposition to sending American troops to "save Ukraine" is what the overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens believe. (And Ukraine's leaders assure us aren't needed.)

But Tucker frequently teams up with Fox News contributor Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii's Democrat former House member, to verbally abuse any and all who think military or economic aid should be given to the Ukrainian resistance.


Tucker is surely right to fear that the U.S. may be involved in a war with Putin and Xi no matter what we do to confront them. But he has to ask himself this question honestly: Can any credible historian point to a single time in history that any nation that dismantled its military arsenal and abandoned its military alliances while two of its most deadly, brutal, and expansionary foes were on the march?

A March 8 article did note a text from Carlson released as part of the Dominion lawsuit stating that he "passionately" hated Donald Trump. The tide continued to turn, however, in a March 13 column by Deroy Murdock, who gushed that "My Fox News colleague Tucker Carlson last week refuted multiple lies that Democrats and their dinosaur-media bodyguards have trafficked since Jan. 6, 2021." That praise ignored the fact that the footage Carlson aired to manufacture that narrative was cherry-picked and misleading.

But when Carlson was fired from Fox News last month, Newsmax wanted you to forget it had ever critricized him at all. After an initial wire story on his departure as well as an unusually balanced article on the departure by Eric Mack, Newsmax took a two-prong approach: bashing Fox News for dumping their highest-rated host (with an eye toward luring those viewers away from Fox to Newsmax's TV operation) and touting what a great guy Carlson is (with an eye toward luring Carlson to be a host). The boss himself set the tone in an April 24 article:

Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax issued the following statement following Tucker Carlson's departure from Fox News:

"For a while Fox News has been moving to become establishment media and Tucker Carlson's removal is a big milestone in that effort," Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy said. "Millions of viewers who liked the old Fox News have made the switch to Newsmax and Tucker's departure will only fuel that trend."

In-house pundit Dick Morris went there even more the same day:

Political author Dick Morris on Monday said that with Tucker Carlson out at Fox News, Newsmax is now the number one network for conservatives.

Speaking on Carlson's departure, Morris says, "The obvious fact is that Newsmax has won — has won."

"Newsmax is now the sole conservative voice in media," Morris told "American Agenda" during his appearance. "And Fox News can talk about that, but by firing Carlson, they have decidedly moved to the left and to the center."


"The other big win here," Morris says of Carlson's departure, "is Donald Trump because Newsmax covers all of Trump's rallies. Fox News did not cover any of them because [News Corp Owner Rupert] Murdoch hates Trump. Because when Trump was President and Murdoch was the media boss, Trump didn't let him run the country — didn't let him call the shots."

Numerous articles over the next couple days served up some combination of those two talking points:

And because Newsmax is effectively the Trump News Network, Donald Trump was allowed to comment too:

The ouster of Tucker Carlson at Fox News has left former President Donald Trump "shocked," but perhaps the libertarian just needs "free rein," Trump told Newsmax on Monday.

"Well, I'm shocked, I'm surprised," Trump told "Greg Kelly Reports" in an exclusive interview just hours after the news broke. "He's a very good person, a very good man, very talented, as you know, and he had very high ratings."

Mack surprisingly noted that Carlson had bashed Trump as released in the Dominion lawsuit filings:

Trump told Kelly he had seen Carlson come around after some reports of a distaste for the former president.

"But I think Tucker's been terrific; he's been, especially over the last year or so, he's been terrific to me," Trump said.

"Maybe he left because he wants to be given his free rein. He wants free rein maybe, but I was surprised by it."

In several messages revealed in the lawsuit, Carlson suggested he had distaste for Trump at the time, but feared the network was losing viewers among the former president's fans, particularly to Newsmax.

Newsmax very much knows on which side its extremist bread is buttered, and it isn't afraid to cater to those viewers.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:02 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 10, 2023 10:48 PM EDT
WND Columnists Hyped Carlson's Cherry-Picked Capitol Riot Footage
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily eagerly swallowed Tucker Carlson's narrative of a peaceful Capitol riot based on cherry-picked video that he got from Kevin McCarthy, despite the fact that people who actually know about the riot pointed out the cherry-picked editing.When Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell pointed out Carlson's dishonest portrayal of riot events, Peter LaBarbera rushed to attack in a March 7 article:

Conservative reaction is now pouring in after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said it was a "mistake" for Fox News to allow Tucker Carlson to use the newly released Jan. 6 tapes to depict the events that day in a way contrary to the view of Capitol law enforcement.

"It was a mistake in my view for Fox News to depict this in a way that's completely at variance with what our chief law-enforcement official here at the Capitol thinks," McConnell said Tuesday.

McConnell's statement circulated widely on social media and was used by left-leaning media who have slavishly echoed the Democrats' "insurrection" narrative for more than two years to level their own attacks on Fox News and Carlson. Conservatives pushed back against the Kentucky senator and hailed Carlson for exposing the Democrats' J6 "insurrection" claim.


Missing in McConnell's statement was any mention of Carlson's key findings, especially that the newly exposed footage undercuts the Democrats' and media's mantra that Jan. 6 was a "deadly insurrection" inspired by Trump.

LaBarbera even defended one Republican senator caught running away from the riot he helped provoke:

Curiously, McConnell also failed to defend his fellow Republican colleague in the Senate, Josh Hawley of Missouri, by not mentioning Carlson's revelation that the Democrat-run J6 Committee had used its selective release of Capitol surveillance footage to make Hawley look like a coward.

As Carlson explained on his show Monday night, one of the J6 Committee hearings showed a clip of Hawley running out of the Capitol building, seemingly alone, thus making it appear as if Hawley was fleeing like a frightened chicken from the building. At the time, that potentially doctored clip actually drew derisive laughter from many attending the committee hearing, including reporters, as it purposely humiliated Hawley, one of the few GOP senators who supported Donald Trump's challenge to what Trump said was a "rigged" election.

However, the new footage aired by Carlson, thanks to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy opening up the full 41,000 hours of video footage, shows many legislators and their staff running out of the same Capitol exit, amidst the chaos, with Hawley actually one of the last people shown in the video clip to run out of the building.

In other words, even though Carlson's critics are accusing him of "cherry-picking" J6 footage to support his own, allegedly "conspiratorial, undemocratic" narrative, the popular Fox News anchor is actually exposing the cherry-picking done by the Democrats and the now-expired J6 Committee to sustain their overwrought "deadly insurrection" narrative.

LaBarbera omitted the fact that Hawley's fleeing was newsworthy and irrelevant to the "cheery-picking" accusation because he displayed a raised fist in a show of solidarity toward a crowd of Trump supporters shortly before the riot.

WND's columnists bought into Carlson's bogus narrative too, starting with editor Joseph Farah in his April 7 column:

They lied!

That was the conclusion of Tucker Carlson's review of 40,000 hours of the so-called "insurrection" at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. It was a sham. A not-so-clever ruse. Are you surprised?

The media establishment, Nancy Pelosi, Liz Cheney, every Democrat in Congress, Big Tech – they all lied to the American people. It wasn't an "insurrection" after all.

Five cops were not killed; only Ashli Babbitt was murdered by a deranged Capitol policeman. Most of the "protesters" were peaceful, cameras revealed. They were taking pictures, mostly, as they were ushered into the building by the police.

Jacob Chansley, a Navy veteran and the man dubbed as the "QAnon Shaman," never posed a threat. He was escorted, instead, by three to nine policemen. He prayed for them, the tapes revealed, which should make you wonder why he's serving four years in jail now for his role in the kerfuffle.


One person who became a household name was Officer Brian Sicknick, whom the media alleged was "attacked" by the mob and for days falsely claimed was hit in the head and murdered by Trump supporters with a fire extinguisher. Yet Sicknick was seen on one of the newly released videos, after his supposed murder, walking normally while guiding Trump supporters out of the building as he wore a helmet. He later died of a reported stroke unrelated to Jan. 6 events.

As we've documented, prosecutors pointed out that the Chansley footage ignored that part of the initial breach of the Capitol, repeatedly confronted law enforcement and surrendered only after enough law enforcement arrived to take him down, and that officials agree that what happened to Sicknick during the riot led to his deadly stroke the next day. Also, the police officer who killed Babbitt was not "deranged" -- that would be Babbitt, a domestic terrorist who was part of a violent mob trying to crawl through a broken window inside the Capitol and reasonably posed a threat to law enforcement.

Laura Hollis used her March 9 column to criticize right-wing writer Andy McCarthy for seeking "a happy middle ground between the factions warring over Fox News host Tucker Carlson's access to (and coverage of) 41,000 hours of video footage taken on that day":

McCarthy's criticisms of Democrats are, in essence, "Tsk, tsk – see? We told you guys you should have had a bipartisan committee," and "Democrats' narrative about Jan. 6 has been a bit overwrought."

I enjoy reading McCarthy, respect his expertise and generally appreciate his analyses of legal issues. But he's missing the larger point here.

It's not merely that the "mythmaking" of J6 has been used as an excuse to smear half the country as "domestic terrorists," weaponize the Justice Department against irate parents at school board meetings, sic the FBI on pro-lifers praying at abortion clinics and create a new bogeyman – "white Christian nationalism" – as the greatest threat facing the republic.

It's that the J6 manipulation is just one of many instances of Democrats flat-out lying to the American people for political gain.


The point Andy McCarthy's NRO editorial misses is that the J6 hysteria is not merely unfortunate political hyperbole; it is part of an ongoing scheme to deceive the public and deflect attention away from the behavior of Democrats that legitimately threatens the health, stability and prosperity of our country and its people.

Tucker Carlson is unintimidated by those like Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer who object to the release of the J6 video footage to the public, accusing them of spreading "panic" and "fear."

Jack Cashill used his March 15 column to suggest that the Capitol riot should be treated as a sort of indepenence day based on  Carlson's cherry-picked footage:

On Jan. 10, 2021, I submitted an article to another publication titled "President Trump Takes a Hit for the Team." The article appeared on Jan. 12 of that year minus only the last sentence.

It read as follows, "If we the people refuse to apologize, refuse to back down, refuse to submit, January 6 may one day be celebrated as a mid-winter 4th of July."

I understood the publisher's prudence. At the time we all labored under the belief that Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick had been struck dead by a fire extinguisher-wielding "insurrectionist."

That, of course, proved to be a lie, one of many. As Tucker Carlson showed last week, the helmeted Sicknick was captured on video doing his job a half-hour or so after his alleged murder.


The Democrats excite themselves by comparing January 6 to Sept. 11, 2001, or even Dec. 7, 1941, but a more apt point of comparison might be July 14, 1789.

On that steamy day, Parisian rioters stormed the Bastille. Although they behaved far worse than the January 6 crowd – they actually killed people – the French subsequently made July 14 their national holiday.

America doesn't need another national holiday in January. What we do need, once the rot is cleared, is a day of truth and reconciliation. And January 6 is as good a day as any.

Given all the falsehoods and conspiracy theories he has promoted over the years, Cashill is the one who could stand to face a little truth and reconciliation.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:55 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 10, 2023 1:58 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE -- The MRC Flips Over Elon Musk, Part 9: New Year, Same Musk-Fluffing
Topic: Media Research Center
As the volume of "Twitter files" dwindled, the Media Research Center had to find new ways to promote Elon Musk's ambitions and massage his ego. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 2:34 AM EDT
Tuesday, May 9, 2023
MRC Complains About Media Coverage of Trump Indictment
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center spent its time in anticipation of an indictment of Donald Trump by engaging in whataboutism diversions and trying to tie his prosecutor, district attorney Alvin Bragg, to George Soros. When Bragg's indictment of Trump finally came down on March 30, the MRC spent a lot of time whining that it was reported on. Alex Christy complained that jokes were told about it:

For the late night comedy show hosts and their audiences, the Thursday indictment of former President Trump was more of a chance to enjoy a cathartic experience than anything else. However, buried beneath their joy was the sense that they haven’t completely thought through the ramifications.

CBS’s Stephen Colbert could not contain his glee as he opened The Late Show, “Ladies and gentlemen today I'm feeling a little extra American. One reason, today is baseball's Opening Day! Here in New York—here in New York—here in New York it was 40 degrees, but I still ate ice cream out of a baseball helmet. Why? Oh, just a little something worth celebrating today because literally three minutes before I walked out on this stage here, the New York Times reported a New York grand jury voted to indict former President Donald J. Trump.”

Colbert was so happy that he broke his self-imposed embargo on mentioning Trump’s name. After over 30 seconds of cheering from the audience during which he did eat ice cream out of a baseball helmet, Colbert declared, “he was right, we're finally saying Merry Christmas again!”

Curtis Houck got his pro-Trump "Soros-backed" talking points on Bragg and whined about a certain Democratic senator opined on it:

Friday’s CBS Mornings featured a whopping 24 minutes and 53 seconds on the indictment of former President Trump by far-left, Soros-backed Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg and it included their latest nauseating interview with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Co-host and Democratic donor Gayle King steered much of the conversation with softballs on Trump and a plea for gun control with her co-hosts touching on banking and TikTok.


She later added she found it “Trump is calling for, in his words, death and destruction” along with “allies to rally behind him” and “show out.” 

“Are you worried about violence in the streets,” she asked.

Co-host Nate Burleson chimed in to decry Trump using “dangerous rhetoric,” which gave King a shot to reemphasize her concern: “Yeah. It’s very – I'm very concerned about that.”

“It is dangerous,” Warren replied, “and violence is never the answer. This is part of the reason we have a court system so that we don't resolve these things in the streets.”

A forlorn King made one last plea on Trump: “Are you worried about it? Are you worried about it?”

Of course, Warren said she’s “always worr[ied] about violence.”

Houck didn't explain why Americans shouldn't be worried about a threat of violence from Trump, especially when he instigated an attempted insurrection.

Christy returned to complain some more:

With former President Trump being indicted there was bound to be some cable news historian who reached for an outlandish analogy while attempting to wax poetic on the news and Douglas Brinkley delivered on Friday’s CNN Newsroom, declaring Trump’s upcoming mugshot will be like the wanted poster for John Wilkes Booth.


Getting to Trump specifically, Brinkley claimed, “Now we're set up to see the biggest reality show that's actually real come to life and watching a the-- I can't even think of an artifact except maybe wanted John Wilkes Booth after the Lincoln assassination of a wanted poster or a mugshot that's going to be circulating around the world in the kind of way that this one of Donald Trump is.”

It says more about Brinkley and his fellow liberals that they would analogize the alleged falsification of business records with the assassination of a president. More to the point, New York doesn’t release mugshots, so those wanting that “artifact” should prepare to be disappointed.

Kathleen Krumhansl similarly groused that "While the Latino networks quickly buried Monday's deadly Nashville school shooting when it was learned that the assassin was a deranged transsexual, the prospect of a dream coming true in the shape of a Donald Trump mug shot was too much to ignore." As it turned out, the person who really wanted a Trump mugshot was Trump himself, whose own online store started selling a T-shirt with a fake mugshot on it.

Kevin Tober laughably attacked the hosts of "The View" as "immature and vindictive" when talking about Trump while, at the same time, immaturely and vindictively describing their audience as made up of "suburban liberal wine moms":

Ignorant legal commentary and gloating over Trump’s reported indictment was the theme Friday on ABC’s The View as the clucking hens who make up the cast made sure to let their audience know how immature and vindictive they were. 

After setting their audience up to believe the coven was about to discuss the indictment of Trump, a soundbite of the jury in the Gwyneth Paltrow case was aired. That got a laugh from the suburban liberal wine moms in the audience. 

“In other legal news,” co-host Joy Behar announced before gloating how “the twice impeached, one term, once indicted, but who's counting? Former President is reportedly facing more than 30 count them—criminal charges.” 


Butting in once again to showcase her chronic hatred of the former President, Navarro said she wanted to “thank this special grand jury” because they are “regular New Yorkers” and “not people with a political agenda.”

Getting in another juvenile shot at Trump, she shouted that he “finally won a popular vote yesterday. The Grand Jury voted to indict him!”

Tober couldn't even settle on an animal insult for the "View" hosts, starting off by sneering they were "clucking hens" but at the end declaring they were "hyenas." Looks like Kevin is the real juvenile here.

Mark Finkelstein spent an April 1 post bashing "Morining Joe" for talking about it:

From fascism to the Forbidden Fruit, and more, Morning Joe had it all on Friday when it came to the indictment of Donald Trump.

Al Sharpton gloried in the fact that Alvin Bragg, "a black man whose great-grandfather had no rights," could indict the former most powerful person in the country. Obviously, if a black Republican indicted a Democrat, this wouldn't be celebrated as cosmic comeuppance on MSNBC.


In a country-club allusion, Meacham referred to mainstream Republicans like Gov. Glenn Youngkin of Virginia: "These are men's grill enablers, right? These are 19th hole enablers of a quest for power above all." Jon the Preacher suggested our American experiment could die because Republicans obsess over "tax rates above all."

Joe Scarborough, fulfilling his contractual obligation to work "fascism" into every conversation concerning Trump, then added "the men's grill enablers of Trumpism, a form of fascism. Hope those drinks on the 19th hole are enjoyable for 'em."

Morning Joe and the rest of the liberal media might revel in Trump's predicament. But our country is headed into uncharted waters from which no one might emerge a winner. At least Willie Geist was willing to suggest that it's possible that a judge will dismiss the whole thing. 

Nicholas Fondacaro attacked "The View" again for talking about the Trump indictment in an April 3 post, asserting that co-host Whoopi Goldberg spread "disinformation" in suggesting that Trump was "lying to the FEC" by bragging about how much money he has raised in fund-raising done since the indictment. He didn't explain what, exactly, was "disinformation."

Posted by Terry K. at 10:41 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 10, 2023 11:12 AM EDT
WND Pushed Bogus Narratives About Cherry-Picked Capitol Riot Video
Topic: WorldNetDaily

A Feb. 23 WorldNetDaily article by Peter LaBarbera tried to rehash an old story about the Capitol riot:

Newly surfaced Jan. 6 video footage shows D.C. police firing stun grenades into a crowd of peaceful, pro-Trump protesters, raising the specter that police brutality and reckless, provocative actions by incompetent officers enraged the crowd and led people to rush past them into the Capitol.

Another video shows D.C. police accidentally showering themselves with tear gas, causing them to flee from protecting the Capitol. Conservative Charlie Kirk's Rumble page description sums it up this way: "Bodycam footage shows a cop shooting a tear gas grenade *into police lines* causing them to retreat."

The shocking videos, obtained by the group "Investigate J6," undermine the Democrats' and the media's dominant "insurrection" narrative by showing the crowd reacting to the police show of force, rather than engaging in any kind of planned or aggressive "assault" on the nation's legislative body. The group's GiveSendGo page states, "Investigate J6 is a coalition of forensic video investigators, attorneys, journalists and intelligence analysts. Your funds will help the investigations of many dedicated patriots and bring much needed truth to light."

The initial Investigate J6 tweet states: "What led to the storming of the US Capitol on January 6th? #FollowTheTimeline. POLICE BRUTALITY evidence thread."


"You know what happens when you launch multiple stun grenades into peaceful J6 crowds?" O'Handley says in his next tweet. "The same thing that happens when you rattle a dog's cage. This is why they don't want more J6 videos released. It exposes their setup VC: @InvestigateJ6"

But it's long been known that police used flash grenades and tear gas to disperse the agitated pro-Trump crowd outside the Capitol during the riot -- it was reported the day of the riot -- so there's no actual news here. Given that police correctly believed that the rioters were a possible threat, efforts to disperse them were justified, and no independent evicence was provided that the crowd was "peaceful."

This ended up being a prelude to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy giving access to unreleased video from the riot to then-Fox News host Tucker Carlson. Bob Unruh was quick to hype the footage Carlson aired in a March 7 article:

There long have been reports that some of the "rioters" during the Jan. 6, 2021, events at the U.S. Capitol, in which there were some election protesters who did vandalism, were allowed into the building by security officers.

Now video showing exactly that has been revealed.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy granted "Tucker Carlson Tonight" access to some 40,000 hours of security camera film from the Capitol – video that has been concealed by Democrats from the public for over two years – and it shows, Carlson explained, that "lawmakers and the media were 'lying' about the events that took place on Jan. 6," Fox News documented.

"Capitol police officers were seen escorting Jacob Chansley, a Navy veteran widely referred to in the liberal media as the 'QAnon Shaman,' around the building without incident. Carlson reported that officers were seen showing Chansley around, even trying to open locked doors for him. At one point, at least nine police officers were seen in close proximity to Chansley, and none of them slowed him down, as Carlson noted," the report said.

The Daily Mail confirmed, in fact, in footage screened on his show, Chansley was apparently seen being escorted into the Senate by Capitol police officers.

In fact, that video was taken out of context. Prosecutors responded that the "video did not show Chansley, who was sentenced to 41 months in prison for his actions on January 6, facing off with officers for half an hour outside the Senate chamber or when Chansley refused to be escorted out of the Capitol by an officer and only left after being forcibly removed," adding: "Chansley was not some passive, chaperoned observer of events for the roughly hour that he was unlawfully inside the Capitol. ... He was part of the initial breach of the building; he confronted law enforcement for roughly 30 minutes just outside the Senate Chamber; he gained access to the gallery of the Senate along with other members of the mob (obviously, precluding any Senate business from occurring); and he gained access to and later left the Senate floor only after law enforcement was able to arrive en masse to remove him.”

The Capitol Police also pointed out that the video Carlson showed "conveniently cherry-picked from the calmer moments of our 41,000 hours of video. ... The commentary fails to provide context about the chaos and violence that happened before or during these less tense moments."

Unruh added:

Carlson also reported Democrats used Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick’s death for their political agenda.


The media alleged Sicknick was "attacked" by the mob and falsely claimed was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher.

"Sicknick was seen walking normally while guiding Trump supporters out of the building as he wore a helmet, which appears to contradict the media narrative that he died of a head injury," the report said.

In reality, Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger attacked Carlson over his cherry-picked footage of Sicknick, as did Sicknick's family:

"Finally, the most disturbing accusation from last night was that our late friend and colleague Brian Sicknick’s death had nothing to do with his heroic actions on January 6. The Department maintains, as anyone with common sense would, that had Officer Sicknick not fought valiantly for hours on the day he was violently assaulted, Officer Sicknick would not have died the next day."

Sicknick’s mother and two brothers responded to Carlson's characterization of the officer's death by saying Carlson's "'truth' is to pick and choose footage that supports his delusional views that the Jan 6th Insurrection was peaceful."

But pushing right-wing narratives is more importantto Unruh than telling the truth, so these rebuttals went ignored. Interestingly, Fox News itself largely ignored Carlson's videos, suggesting that even its highly compromised "news" operation knew this was a nothingburger and it was just red meat for far-right, pro-Trump partisans -- like WND.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:55 PM EDT
Newsmax Spins To Insist That Its Dominion Lawsuit Is Different From Fox News' Lawsuit
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax's coverage of Dominon Voting Systems' lawsuit against Fox News over claims that it knowingly broadcast lies about election fraud after the 2020 election was largely subdued -- perhaps not surprising given that Dominion is also suing Newsmax for the same thing. It ran the occasional story on revelations found in the lawsuit, and it even tried to defend Fox News by noting a claim that Dominion officials were invited on Fox News but refused.

When Fox News settled with Dominion for a whopping $787.5 million, coverage was muted on its website, largely limited to a single wire story on the settlement. But given that, it also had to do some damage control. Thus, an April 19 article by Marisa Herman declared that "Dominion Voting Systems still has a pending lawsuit against Newsmax, but the media outlet says there are different facts in its case that will enable it to prevail in court." Herman then cited how MSNBC's Joe Scarborough noted Newsmax made the occasional attempt to swat down election fraud claims during an appearance with New York Times media critic Jim Rutenberg:

Rutenberg told Scarborough: "I don't see how Newsmax can get through this case [the] way that [they] just did. Look at the resources Rupert Murdoch has . . . they don't have the money to settle like the way Rupert Murdoch did."

But Scarborough quickly noted major differences between Fox's and Newsmax's coverage.

Scarborough recounted: "We had that moment when you had an anchor, when Mike Lindell, Mr. Pillow, came on and started lying. The anchor literally got out of his chair, and basically in the words of Eric Cartman, basically said, 'Screw yourself, I'm going home.' And he got up and walked off the set."

Scarborough asked Rutenberg, "Didn't that show that Newsmax, at least, tried to move beyond and made their apologies and tried to mitigate any damages?"

Rutenberg agreed: "That was certainly a moment."

Scarborough's story referenced a Feb. 2, 2021, appearance by Mike Lindell and his exchange with Newsmax anchor Bob Sellers.

That, of course, was more than three months after the election, long after Newsmax had promoted attacks on Dominion and fellow voting-tech company Smartmatic, which we've documnented.

Herman then recited her employer's legal defense against Dominion, which it portrayed as different from the situation Fox News was in:

After Fox's settlement was announced Tuesday, Newsmax released another statement:

Newsmax believes that the facts at issue in Dominion's case against it are materially different from those that may have driven Fox to settle, and no conclusion about Newsmax should be drawn from that settlement. Newsmax stands by its coverage and analysis of the 2020 election and will continue to vigorously defend against the claim.

Dominion sued Newsmax in Delaware state court in August 2021, and the case is ongoing.

Newsmax, in its court filings, has stated that:

  • It reported fairly and accurately on the public statements made by President Trump, his attorneys, and surrogates.
  • Newsmax reported on both television and online claims by multiple officials and experts that the election was not "stolen" or "rigged."
  • Newsmax published online at least a dozen articles sharing Dominion's response to Trump campaign claims. Those headlines appeared on Newsmax TV.
  • On Dec. 19, 2020, Newsmax published to its website a statement, "Facts About Dominion, Smartmatic You Should Know," which read, in part, "No evidence has been offered that Dominion or Smartmatic used software or reprogrammed software that manipulated votes in the 2020 election."
  • Newsmax shared its statement over the course of months during segments related and unrelated to the 2020 election.

It should be noted that Fox News has never made a statement, even after its settlement, as strong and specific as Newsmax's statement of Dec. 19, 2020.

It should also be noted that Newsmax made that Dec. 19 stdatement only after Smartmatic sent Newsmax a legal notice demanding a retraction.

Herman continued to push her employer's (or, more to the point, her employer's lawyers') defense again Dominion:

Dominion has cited more than 3,600 communications it purportedly sent to reporters and producers throughout the Fox News organization correcting allegations and asking it to clarify its reporting, which were largely ignored.

Meanwhile Dominion purports to have sent a handful of communications to a single Newsmax employee — which they have not produced to date.

Newsmax acted promptly in clarifying its reporting and attempted early on to have Dominion representatives on the network, Newsmax has stated.

"Newsmax believes that it acted well within the First Amendment to provide Americans with facts and opinions that helped them make an informed opinion about the 2020 election results," Christopher Ruddy, Newsmax CEO, said.

Ruddy noted that the first mention on Newsmax of an allegation about Dominion by Trump attorney Sidney Powell was on Nov. 16, 2020. In the ensuing weeks she and others within the Trump campaign promised to reveal evidence of software manipulation.

When that evidence failed to appear, Newsmax, in a reasonable time, noted that failure.

"Anyone who looks at this fairly, including jurors, will conclude we acted reasonably," Ruddy said.

Not only did Herman offer no supporting evidence to prove this defense, she also didn't give Dominion a chance to respond to the claims. She also didn't mention that Newsmax reached an out-of-court settlement with Dominion executive Eric Coomer, which included retracting defamatory claims it made about him.

Newsmax followed this with an attempt to capitalize on the settlement in an anonymously written April 19 article touting how "A recent study of major American media by the respected Economist magazine found that Newsmax rates among the top cable networks in public trust" -- though the numbers show Newsmax still running far behind CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. Still, it quoted Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy insisting that ""The Economist/YouGov findings show a large and increasing number of Americans trust Newsmax's 'real news' — a significant accomplishment for a relatively new network."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:58 PM EDT
CNS Promoted Biden-Bashing Sheriff -- But Censored His Extremism
Topic: managing editor Michael W. Chapman did his part to forward Republican talking points on the border in a March 3 article:

In just one area of Arizona, not even on the border with Mexico, fentanyl pill seizures have gone up 610% in two years and human trafficking has risen 377%. Testifying about the crisis, Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb told Congress to "stop saying the border is secure, because the border is not secure."

Sheriff Lamb spoke before the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security on Feb. 28. He was joined by Rebecca Kiessling, a private citizen, whose two teenage sons were killed by ingesting fake Percocet pills that were made with fentanyl. They did not know what they were consuming.


"In 2018, we had zero seizures" of fentanyl, he said, "and in 2019 we had around 700 pills. In 2020 we had over 200,000 pills. In 2021 we had over 1.2 million pills, and this last year we had over 1.4 million pills come into my community."

In the state, in 2021, "we lost 44 children to [fentanyl] poisoning, under the age of 17," said Sheriff Lamb. "Seven were under the age of one year old. If that doesn't mobilize the forces of the country to stop this problem, I don't know what will. This is what we deal with on a daily basis."

Chapman dutifully censored the fact that Lamb is a right-wing extremist. There's a reason he's called the "QAnon Sheriff," according to Salon:

To date, Lamb has appeared on at least five QAnon-friendly shows, including the podcasts "X22 Report" and "Uncensored Abe" as well as shows hosted by John Michael Chambers and Sean Morgan, both prominent figures in the QAnon movement who have pushed a variety of conspiracy theories to their audiences.

During his appearance on "X22 Report" last January, Lamb said: "I follow the show, so this is a treat for me." That show literally features a section on its website titled "Latest From QAnon."


Law enforcement agencies have warned about the potential for violence by QAnon believers, and very few Republicans in elected office have engaged the movement directly, which makes Lamb a notable exception.

On top of that, Lamb's son hosts a podcast that has featured "election deniers, QAnon-adjacent activists, and right-wing vigilante Kyle Rittenhouse." Further, Lamb is a guy who actually cares more about advancing his own political career than engaging in responsible law enforcement;a month after the congressional testimony Chapman lionized, Lamb announced his campaign for an Arizona Senate seat.

But pushing Republican narratives was more important to Chapman than doing his job as a reporter, so Lamb's extremisim was ignored.

That's not the only thing Chapman underreported in his article. Describing Rebecca Kiessling only as "a private citizen" is a bit disingenuous; in fact, she's an anti-abortion activist who's so extreme she opposes abortion even for rape victims. And despite Chapman's implication that the overdose deaths of Kiessling's sons were somehow the fault of Biden's border policies, they occurred in 2020, before Biden took office.

That became a point of contention in a couple other CNS articles. When extremist Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tried to blame Biden for the deaths of Kiessling's sons, Patrick Goodenough complained in a March 2 article that even tried to defend Greene a little:

President Biden on Wednesday evening hit back at Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) for blaming his administration for two fentanyl deaths that occurred before he took office.

Addressing a meeting of House Democrats in Baltimore, Biden suggested that GOP lawmakers such as Greene were going to cause a lot more Republicans to seek bipartisan cooperation with Democrats.


After the House Homeland Security Committee heard testimony from a Michigan woman whose sons died after unknowingly taking the synthetic opioid in 2020, Taylor Greene tweeted a clip from the hearing.

“Listen to this mother, who lost two children to fentanyl poisoning, tell the truth about both of her son’s murders because of the Biden administrations refusal to secure our border and stop the Cartel’s [sic] from murdering Americans everyday by Chinese fentanyl,” she tweeted.

Biden said he probably “shouldn’t digress,” but then continued, “I’ve read – she was very specific recently, saying that a mom, a poor mother who lost two kids to fentanyl, that – that I killed her sons.”

“Well, the interesting thing is, that fentanyl they took came during the last administration,” he said, chuckling.


While Taylor Greene in her tweet did link the two young men’s “murders” to “the Biden administration’s refusal to secure our border” she did not – as Biden said in Baltimore – accuse him of having “killed her sons.”

After right-wingers maliciously portrayed Biden's chuckling as directed toward Kiessling and not Greene, CNS surprisingly came to a rare defense of Biden with a March 3 article by Melanie Arter featuring press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre pointing out how Biden's words were being "mischaracterized."

If that rare stab at fairness was meant to stave off the day that the Media Research Center would shut down CNS, it appears not to have worked.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, May 9, 2023 1:08 AM EDT
Monday, May 8, 2023
MRC Prepped For Trump Indictment With Lots Of Whataboutism
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's coverage (and equivocation and dismissal) of Donald Trump's latest round of legal troubles began with an odd flashback to the 1990s -- read: a lingering case of Clinton Derangement Syndrome -- courtesy of Tim Graham, who huffed in a March 14 post:

On Monday's Good Morning America, co-host George Stephanopoulos grilled Trump lawyer Joseph Tacopina about the Manhattan District Attorney apparently pressing forward with an indictment for a $130,000 payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016 to squash a National Enquirer story about her alleged affair with Trump.

As usual with Trump's prosecutors, Stephanopoulos never told the audience that the current and former Manhattan DAs are elected Democrats. Typically, the people still investigating Trump are elected Democrats, and typically, the media imply they are simply prosecutors without a party. The news here was that Tacopina said Trump will not accept an invitation to participate in the grand jury proceeding. The invitation usually implies an indictment is coming.

You don't have to believe Trump is innocent here to find a role reversal. For about five years, this was what George Stephanopoulos did for Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton trusted him to squash "bimbo eruptions," to claim Bill Clinton was innocent and partisan persecutors were trying to destroy him with lies about sex. Why would ABC pick Stephanopoulos to be the interviewer on this? Are they saying the other hosts aren't qualified?

Four days later, Graham's CDS was still inflamed, so he went after Stephanopoulos again, complete with antoher "bimbo erpution" reference:

It happened again. First, ABC Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos interviewed current Trump lawyer Joe Tacopina about a hush-money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. Then on Friday, Stephanopoulos returned to the bimbo-eruption beat to interview former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.

George was much milder this time. He sounded like he was prepping Cohen for the hard work ahead. He began: “So you have spent days with prosecutors. Based on all that, are you convinced an indictment of President Trump is coming? Are you prepared for cross-examination?”

Cohen said “absolutely,” and added “I talk about the credibility issue that everybody wants to attack me on. They want to attack me on the five counts of the tax evasion or the misrepresentation.”

In his toughest line to Cohen, he noted “Well, you are a convicted liar.” Cohen objected, naturally, saying he lied for Trump, so you should believe him now.

Mark Finkelstein played whataboutism to distract from Trump's violent rhetoric in another March 18 post:

On her MSNBC show this morning, Katie Phang and two lawyer guests all suggested that Trump's Truth Social post calling on people, in response to his apparently imminent arrest, to "Protest, Take Our Nation Back," could be the basis for additional criminal charges against him.

Are the MSNBC folks aware that not long ago, another prominent politician repeatedly used a virtually identical phrase? Indeed, that politician actually gave a speech entitled, "Taking Our Country Back," employing that phrase no fewer than six times in the course of remarks.  The speech repeatedly called on people to "fight!" 

Even more shocking, the speaker bragged to the audience, "I come to you with bloody knuckles" after 120 days of fighting the Trump administration. 

Bloody knuckles? Such violent imagery . . . Kamala Harris! Yes, it was Harris who, as a US senator, gave that speech to the California Democrat [sic] Convention, just two years before launching her ill-fated, short-lived quest for the White House.

Finkelstein didn't mention that Harris, unlike Trump, has no record of inciting supporters to launch a violent insurrection because of a mental inability to accept an election loss.

The following day, Finkelstein spun away another commentator's argument that Trump's words had a violent intent by insisting the commentator had "a vivid imagination" -- again, ignoring that Trump has previously incited an attempted insurrection -- and even tried to justify Trump's tone by claiming that "Trump is trying to gin up outrage at an elected Manhattan Democrat [sic] district attorney arresting a former president of the United States for political reasons." He offered no evidence of those purported "political reasons."

Graham served up a different (though more current) brand of whataboutism  distraction in promoting his March 20 podcast:

Over the weekend, Donald Trump proclaimed on Truth Social he would be indicted by a Manhattan grand jury and "arrested on Tuesday," leading to many hours of speculation on TV news channels over the weekend about how the walls were closing in again. The network Sunday shows on ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC aired almost 47 minutes on the topic, and zero seconds on the latest Biden family cash-grabs from China.

Most politicians throw red meat at their supporters, but Trump is throwing red meat at his enemies in the press. They expressed horror that Trump asked his supporters to protest, which they suggested was another incitement to rioting. Who exactly is the president now? These networks could have covered both Trump and Biden, but the protection racket for the Bidens looks intense in this contrast.

After Trump's proclaimed arrest date passed with no arrest, Nicholas Fondacaro grumbled in a March 22 post that this "annoyed the cast of ABC’s The View on Wednesday, as they whined about being duped and getting their hopes up to see him in cuffs and his mug shot." And, yes, Fondacaro libeled co-host Sunny Hostin yet again as a "racist" because he doesn't understand how metaphors work.

Finkelstein returned to whine on March 27 that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough urged Republican voters to ditch Trump and support Ron DeSantis:

"Endorsed by Joe Scarborough!" -- Not something you're likely to see in any Ron DeSantis GOP presidential primary ads anytime soon.

But Scarborough did come close to doing that on today's Morning Joe.

Condemning Trump for what he described as his disregard for the rule of law, Scarborough addressed himself to Trump supporters, saying, "go to DeSantis." His notion was that DeSantis represents policies similar to Trump's without posing what Scarborough sees as Trump's threat to democracy.

Scarborough, presumably mentioning DeSantis because he's closest to Trump in preliminary polling, suggesting "it could be anybody." Maybe he's hoping for Larry Hogan to enter the race?

Finkelstein further complained that "This is a departure from most ex-Republican Trump haters, who are currently hating DeSantis with the same ardor that they hate Trump." But he didn't explain why anyone should stick with Trump in the first place.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:18 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, May 8, 2023 10:47 PM EDT
Flashback: WND Loves Promoting Dubious COVID Vaccine Studies
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has cranked so much misinformation about COVID vaccines that some occasionally slip through without being debunked. One of these is an anonymously written Feb. 23 article:

A new study from the government in the United Kingdom appears to doom the idea that your life depends on COVID vaxes.

A new report from Exposé reveals that official numbers from the U.K. government show that the "fully/triple/quadruple vaccinated population has accounted for 9 in every 10 COVID-19 deaths in England over the past two years."

The report revealed that just days ago, the U.K.'s Office for National Statistics showed that for the month of October, there were 125 COVID deaths among unvaccinated residents.

But there were 24 deaths for those getting at least the first dose, 100 among those who got their second dose at least six months ago, more than 2,100 among those who have their third does or booster and nearly 2,300 of those ever vaccinated.

"This isn't an anomaly," the report said.

It is data used badly, however. As fact-checker Lead Stories reported:

Are vaccines proven ineffective by a U.K. report published in February 2023, which found that 92 percent of "deaths involving COVID-19" occurred in fully vaccinated individuals? No, that's not true: Implying causality from a limited set of data leaves out consequential variables such as the ages of the dead, other underlying diseases, and whether booster recommendations had been followed. While it is possible to derive 92.4% from one of five tables of data included in a U.K. government report, the U.K. Office of National Statistics (ONS) told Lead Stories that such a generalization is a "highly misleading" interpretation of the data. Furthermore, the report is not meant to be a measure of vaccine effectiveness, as many other factors can impact mortality rates, according to an ONS senior statistician.

More than 93 percent of the U.K. population 12 years and older had received at least one vaccine dose by the end of August 2022, which means there is a higher likelihood that a person who died during the timeframe evaluated had been partially vaccinated. The report specifically stated that those who had received "at least a third dose" were less likely to die of COVID since September 2021 compared with people who were unvaccinated.

Lead Stories further found that according to those same numbers, "COVID mortality rates were the lowest for those with at least three vaccinations (the last of which was administered within 21 days) compared with both unvaccinated people and those with only a first or second dose." Further, the Expose has been repeatedly busted for spreading COVID misinformation.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:20 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, May 8, 2023 10:11 PM EDT
MRC Still Cheering Djokovic's Selfish Refusal To Get COVID Vaccine
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has long served as an anti-vaxxer cheerleader for tennis star Novak Djokovic, whose petulant refusal to get a COVID vaccine kept him out of some tournaments. As a new round of tennis tournaments got started this year, it continued to cheer on his selfishness. Sports blogger John Simmons write in a Feb. 22 post:

As it currently stands, Novak Djokovic would not be able to play in either the Indian Wells Master Tournament in California or the Miami Open in the coming weeks. It’s not for a lack of talent -- he’s ranked No. 1 in the world in men’s tennis and just won his record 10th Australian Open. At the moment, he’ll be prevented from playing in both these tournaments because he's unvaccinated.

As such, Djokovic is appealing a current Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requirement that says any foreign individual entering the country must have the jab or else they can’t get in. This requirement has been extended to April 10th.

"Everything is currently in the process," Djokovic said at his training ground in Belgrade, Serbia. "I have a big desire to be there. I am really thankful to the Indian Wells and Miami tournament [officials] and community for their support publicly, and they would like me to be able to play in their tournaments."

Simmons went on to rant that a vaccine requirement "shouldn’t be in place":

The rest of the world has gotten the memo that the COVID-19 virus isn’t as deadly as the progressive media and politicians wanted us to believe, and many countries have relaxed their rules on foreigners entering their countries. Heck, Australia, which was COVID craziness capital of the world, allowed an unvaccinated Djokovic to enter their country before the U.S. did!

It’s time for our government to drop the COVID fear-mongering and stop using it as an excuse to grab power in ridiculous ways. Let Djokovic into the U.S.

Nobody's stopping Djokovic from entering the U.S. -- he just has to get the same vaccine that millions around the world have received. Simple, really.

When Djokovic's appeal failed, Simmons went on another rant in a March 7 post, weirdly forwarding the whataboutism argument that if illegal immigrants don'thave to be vaccinated to get into the country, Djokovic doesn't either:

The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells will begin tomorrow. But Novak Djokovic, who just set the record for most weeks ranked No. 1 in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) rankings, will not be there.

That is because the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) still requires foreigners to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter the country. They do not enforce this requirement on the nearly 3 million illegal immigrants< that crossed our Southern border last year, but they're trying to make a political statement, and consistency doesn’t matter to this joke of an administration.

Djokovic sent an exemption request to President Biden (which Florida senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio co-signed), but he was predictably denied by Homeland Security, an extension of an administration that refuses to give up the ghost on COVID protocols. As such, he withdrew on the eve of the draw for matchups in the tournament.

Djokovic has long been a vocal believer in allowing individuals to choose whether or not to get vaccinated, and as such he has remained unvaccinated. It is a shame that after so many countries have realized that COVID is not the supremely dangerous virus we were told it was, the United States remains unwilling to change its policies and that Djokovic has to pay the price for our stupidity.

That's right -- Simmons thinks vaccinations are stupid.

When the U.S. dropped the vaccine requirement for foreign visitors as the pandemic emergency wound down, Simmons cheered on Djokovic's behalf in a May 2 post, claiming without evidence that the requirement was "useless":

The Biden administration has finally ended its travel ban for foreigners who are unvaccinated against COVID-19. Granted, the ban lasted about two years longer than it should have, but at this rate, we have to celebrate any wins we get.

This means that ATP world No. 1 Novak Djokovic will finally be able to play in tournaments held on American soil. He has already missed out on two prominent tournaments this season after the Biden administration extended its original end date for the travel ban, and has had an exemption request from this useless restriction denied.


Djokovic is a player who thrives on overcoming conflict and getting revenge on those who have stood in the way of his goals. With that in mind, it's safe to assume that the Joker will be a force to be reckoned with once play at Arthur Ashe stadium begins this summer.

Or it could be that Simmons is in thrall to a man who's too selfish to do what's good for himself and society as a whole.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:41 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: Riding The Anti-ESG Bandwagon
Attacking investments that take into account environmental, social and governmental issues is all the right-wing rage these days -- and did its partisan duty to promote those talking points. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:20 AM EDT
Sunday, May 7, 2023
Musk PR: MRC Childishly Mocks NPR For Quitting Twitter Over Twitter's Arbitrary Label Change
Topic: Media Research Center

We've shown how the Media Research Center took the bait when Elon Musk needed a distraction from bad right-wing press and happily embraced how he arbitrarily changed the label of NPR's Twitter account to "state-affiliated media" -- even though nobody can plausibly argue that NPR is anything like state-controlled media in authoritarian countries. When NPR decided it would no longer publish anything on Twitter due to Musk's capricious targeting of it, the MRC found this hilarious and decided that NPR -- not Musk -- was the bad guy, even though it had done nothing to provoke Musk. Curtis HOuck ranted in an April 12 post:

On Wednesday morning, taxpayer-funded National Public Radio (NPR) upped the ante in its hissy fit against the Elon Musk-owned Twitter as, in light of the fact that Twitter added the “state-affiliated media” label to NPR’s account and then tweaked it to say “government-funded media.” The far-left crackpots are quitting the social media platform because Twitter was “falsely implying that we are not editorially independent.” 

To reiterate, NPR quit Twitter in a childish fit of rage because the free speech platform accurately labeled them as government funded in the same way as wholly state-run media outlets in China and Russia are labeled. Therefore, staying would be a supposed affront to their “journalism”.

NPR and its litany of liberal defenders also purposefully left out the fact that Twitter has slapped the same label on BBC, who’s also incensed despite existing thanks to a royal charter and fee set by the government and charged to nearly every British business and household.

To reiterate -- correctly, unlike what Houck did -- NPR quit Twitter because Musk had a childish fit of rage and decided that he alone could decide how media organizations are labeled, ignoring that nobody, not even NPR, is obligated or mandated to use Twitter. (He also didn't support his assertion that NPR is "far-left.") Houck then maliciously described NPR justifying their decision as "whining" (though identifying no actual whining) and playing games with how NPR describes its funding:

On NPR’s website, media correspondent David Folkenflik took a pause from his life’s mission to kill Fox News to report his outlet “quits Twitter after being falsely labeled as ‘state-affiliated media’”.

Talk about some serious coping and seething. Folkenflik would probably hate if we shared links harkening back to the days when defunding NPR and PBS were seen as killing Big Bird.

Folkenflik explained the move extended “to its 52 official Twitter feeds” and parroted his bosses in whining it was offensive to NPR to being depicted with “the same term it uses for propaganda outlets in Russia, China and other autocratic countries.”

He insisted in a comical take that NPR isn’t “government-funded” and rather “a private, nonprofit company with editorial independence” that “receives less than 1 percent of its $300 million annual budget from the federally funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting.”

So, NPR receives money from a federal board? That sure seems like government funding. Also, what a relief to know tax dollars are so infinitesimal to NPR’s survival that it wouldn’t be a threat to their existence if Congress defunded and shuttered the CPB, which received $465 million in 2022.

Simply put, Folkenflik and his likeminded lemmings play accounting games.

Houck and the MRC might be taken more seriously as "media researchers" than they are if they didn't engage in such gratuitious, childish insults. And his attempt to claim that Folkenflik as a " life’s mission to kill Fox News" is rather hilarious considering his own liffe's mission to kill NPR, CNN and every other media outlet that's not as right-wing as Fox News.

Houck then bizarrely accused Folkenflik of engaging in "mind-numbing egotism and use of stochastic terrorism" by pointing out that journalists could be endangered by Musk's arbitrary relabeling." Of course, Houck couldn't be bothered to actually prove Folkenflik wrong, instead choosing to hurl even more immature insults instead. He concluded with one more petulant rant:

According to longtime NPR lefty Steve Inskeep, [NPR CEO John] Lansing stopped by Morning Edition’s production meeting to insist Musk’s site “no longer has the public service relevance that it once had” (meaning it’s no longer controlled by pro-censorship leftists).

Those cries you hear? That’s the sound of a liberal political strategy firm realizing they’ve lost control of a key medium to shovel their propaganda.

Houck seems weirdly outraged by all this, considering that absolutely none of it affects him personally. It's almost as if he's getting paid by the insult -- but by who, the MRC or Musk?S

Speaking of petulant: Later that day, Tim Graham devoted a post to Musk reacting badly to NPR quitting Twitter (though, of course, that's not how he framed it) by repeating the right-wing mantra "Defund NPR":

For many years, NewsBusters has urged the Congress to "defund NPR." It doesn't mean taking away all their funding -- just the government funding. They often claim only two percent of their funding comes from government. In that case, why not give it up? Today, Elon Musk tweeted out "Defund NPR" in the wake of NPR's arrogant proclamations about how great they are. So now we have celebrity endorsers! 

Musk tweeted an email from NPR’s tech reporter Bobby Allyn asking for comment on NPR’s decision to abandon Twitter.  “Because of the label, NPR is quitting Twitter across all of our 50+ accounts. Our executives say the government-funded media label calls into question our editorial independence and undermines our credibility," huffed Allyn. "Some wonder if this will cause a chain reaction among news orgs. What’s your reaction?” He probably wasn't prepared for the answer.


But note Allyn begging for a "chain reaction" of liberal media following NPR off Twitter. CNN's partisan liberal media reporter Oliver Darcy tweeted "NPR becomes first major news org to stop using Twitter," as if they'll be the first of many. Will CNN be next? This shows that the leftist media are unhappy that Twitter has become a free-speech platform that doesn't bend to NPR whims -- like insisting the Hunter Biden laptop was a "pure distraction."

Like a feisty NPR liberal, Allyn cried hypocrisy at Musk: Tesla, "which has received billions of dollars in government subsidies over the years, does not appear to have the label."

NPR’s main Twitter account has (had?) 8.8 million followers. This means that Twitter has one less major national misinformer.

Needless to say, Graham didn't describe Musk as acting on a whim by arbitrarily relabeling NPR's Tweitter feed for no reason other than an attempt to own the libs and generate right-wing clicks and attention.

Kevin Tober dutifully regurgitated Houck's malicious "hissy fit" framing when noting that other media outlets reported on Musk's hissy fit:

Hours after National Public Radio threw what NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck described as a "hissy fit" against the Elon Musk-owned Twitter and left the platform over being accurately described as "state-affiliated media" and later "government-funded media," CBS Evening News anchor Norah O'Donnell clearly seemed saddened by the left-wing outlet leaving. CBS later attempted to slime Musk's stewardship of Twitter by falsely claiming that "misinformation" on the platform was up 42 percent. They then omitted a BBC reporter getting called out by Musk when he couldn't point to an example of "hateful content" on Twitter. 


Later on in the report, correspondent Jonathan Vigliotti whined about "rampant misinformation" on Twitter and cut to a BBC interview Musk gave where he addressed those false claims: 

MUSK: I actually think there's less these days because we have eliminated so many of the bots, which were pushing scams and spam. And previously, previous management turned a blind eye.

Despite just explaining why claims of "misinformation" were untrue, Vigliotti pushed a bogus study claiming "accounts that often linked to false information have seen engagement increase 42 percent since Musk purchased the company last October."

Tober offered no evidence to support his claim that the study was "bogus."

Graham concluded the MRC's April 12 activity on the subject by having Houck on his podcast to rant some more. Graham tried to addhis own purported zingers: "They like to think they are a herd of independent minds, but they sound like National Public Relations for Democrats. Or National Press Release." Never mind that both he and Houck are actively doing PR for Musk by allowing themselves to be distracted by his clickbait.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:14 PM EDT
CNS' Last Biden-Bashing Crusade: Nitpicking His Trip to Ireland
Topic:'s final anti-Biden crusade before being shut down last month involbved doing a lot of whining about President Biden's trip to Ireland. Susan Jones sneered in an April 5 article headlined "WH: Biden 'Is Going to Focus on the American People' -- But He's Going to UK and Ireland Next Week":

The Biden White House had no comment Tuesday on former President Donald Trump's arraignment.

President Joe Biden, however, flashed a big, wide smile when reporters shouted questions about Trump’s indictment as they were ushered out of the room where Biden was meeting with his science and technology advisers.

At the White House press briefing on Tuesday, spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said, "It's an ongoing case, so we’re just not going to comment on the case specifically itself.

"Look, the President is going to focus on the American people, like he does every day," Jean-Pierre said.

"He is not — this is not something that is a focus for him.  He is going to focus on things like making sure that the — that we lower — continue to lower prices for the American people."

At least seven times, in response to other questions, Jean-Pierre repeated that Biden's focus "is on the American people."

So it came as a bit of a surprise on Wednesday morning, when Jean-Pierre announced that "President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will travel to the UK (Northern Ireland) and the Republic of Ireland from April 11-14."

It's unclear how this underscores Biden's focus on the American people.

Jones ramped up the nastiness (with added nitpicking) in an April 7 article headlined "With All That's Going On in the World, Why Is Biden Going to Ireland?":

"How does a Biden trip to Ireland help counter China or end the war in Ukraine?" a reporter asked White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Thursday:

"So, let me just say a couple of things," Jean-Pierre responded:

"The President is certainly looking forward to taking this trip to Northern Ireland and also the UK" (she meant Northern Ireland, which is in the UK, and the Republic of Ireland).

Jones pushed her anti-Biden partisanship again over the trip in an April 11 article:

With all that's going on in this chaotic world, President Joe Biden is taking time to visit Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom, and then the Republic of Ireland. The trip, which mixes business with pleasure, begins today.

As of Monday, the White House could not or would not say which members of his family will accompany the elderly president on a sentimental visit to his ancestral home.

Jones added in an update: "Biden, asked if his family will accompany him on trip, said, "Just two of my family members who hadn’t been there before." No names given." All of these articles, mind you, were presented as "news" despite Jones' blatantly partisan attacks.

Once actully on the trip, Jones' partisan sniping continued in an April 13 article:

The American president waxed sentimental about his Irish roots on Wednesday at a community gathering in Dundalk, Ireland, saying, "coming here feels like coming home."

"Well, it feels like home," Biden said at the beginning of his speech.

"I said last time I was here, in a sense I know why my ancestors and many of your relatives left during the famine. And -- but you know, when you're here, you wonder why anyone would ever want to leave. No, I mean it, so it's good to be back."

Biden noted that he brought along his sister Valerie and his son Hunter on a trip that is more personal than policy-dominated: "Stand up, guys," he said. "I'm proud of you."

There was nitpicking, of course; Patrick Goodenough spent an April 14 article bashing Biden for getting the name of a rugby team wrong:

The “All Blacks” is the nickname for New Zealand’s national rugby union team, one of the world’s best.

The “Black and Tans” was the nickname for British police recruits, often notoriously brutal, who were sent to Ireland to bolster the local force during the guerilla war against British rule just over a century ago.

President Biden evidently got the two mixed up during his nostalgia tour of the Republic of Ireland this week.


In Dublin on Thursday, National Security Council senior director for Europe Amanda Sloat was asked by a reporter whether Biden was aware that he had misspoken when he referred to the “Black and Tans.”

“I think for everyone in Ireland who is a rugby fan, it was incredibly clear that the President was talking about the All Blacks, and Ireland's defeat of the New Zealand team in 2016,” she said.

“Did he realize that right after he said it, do you know?” Sloat was asked.

“You know, I think it was – it was clear what the president was referring to,” she said. “It was certainly clear to his cousin sitting next to him who had played in that match.”

Addressing Irish lawmakers in Dublin on Thursday, Biden again mentioned Irish rugby victories against New Zealand, but this time referred to the “All Blacks.”

In that same address, Biden said he would rather have his children play rugby than American football.

That last comment, by the way, drew its own article, headlined "Biden Disparages American Football in Address to Irish Parliament." Its author was anonymous but was mostly likely writtten by editor Terry Jeffrey, lover of all things football.

Such blatant editorializing and partisan targeting presented as "news" is a big reason why CNS' readership was in decline, which likely played a role in the MRC shutting it down six days later.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:22 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, May 7, 2023 2:42 PM EDT
Saturday, May 6, 2023
MRC Tries To Defend Right-Winger's Brain Freeze On Defining 'Woke'
Topic: Media Research Center

Right-wing activist Bethany Mandel got a little attention some weeks back when she was unable to define "woke" during an interview in which she was promoting a book she co-wrote that raged against "the current woke indoctrination happening in politics, education, medicine, mental health, entertainment, and culture." (Of course, right-wingers have used the word to describe anything and everything they don't like, to the point that it no longer has a fixed definition, if indeed it ever had one.) The Media Rsearch Center's Kevin Tober rushed to Mandel's defense in a March 19 post, partly by insulting others:

During the inaugural episode of MSNBC’s Inside With Jen Psaki, the former Biden White House press secretary dedicated an entire segment on her otherwise bland show to mocking conservatives for their fight against the left’s woke ideology. She particularly focused in on a moment from an interview given by conservative author and commentator Bethany Mandel in which she had a brief brain freeze when asked to define wokeness. 

Of course, it's all the more hypocritical when you recall that Psaki’s immediate successor, the inept diversity hire Karine Jean-Pierre, is incapable of putting a coherent sentence together even on her best day. 

“In a recent interview, it was even too difficult for at least one conservative commentator to define what woke actually even means. Conservative author Bethany Mandel has written a book that covers this exact subject.” Psaki started off noting.

She then cut to video of Mandel’s interview on The Hill’s Rising in which the leftist co-host Briahna Joy Gray asked the gotcha question: 

Yes, Tober really did call Mandel being asked what "woke" means a "gotcha question" even though, again, she had just co-written a book railing against "woke indoctrination." And all the insult-hurling suggests that he really doesn't have a coherent argument to defend her.

Tober continued to whine that Psaki mocked Mandel's brain freeze on the subject on which she has presented herself as a expert, going on to insist that Mandel is "extremely smart and articulate" based on alleged personal experience:

We all have our bad moments, Psaki knows that better than anyone. This writer has met Mandel and she’s extremely smart and articulate. Despite that, Psaki decided to use this as an opportunity to claim that the GOP’s attacks on the left’s woke mind virus aren’t a winning issue.

Psaki lectured Mandel and the GOP: “Just two cents from someone who has worked a few years in communications. If you can't explain it, and people don't understand it in 15 seconds, it may not be the winning message you think it is.”

“So everyone out there, it sounds like you can let your woke flag fly,” Psaki proclaimed.

Yes leftists, keep imposing your woke ideology on Americans. See how that works out for you in 2024.

Strangely, Tober failed as well to offer a definition of "woke," despite using it in right-wing-insider terms like "woke mind virus," a term that seems to have an even more ambiguous defintion than "woke."

If neither Mandel nor Tober can define "woke" despite using the word as a main part of their activist vocabularies, why should they be listened to about anything?

Posted by Terry K. at 10:25 AM EDT

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