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Monday, June 19, 2023
MRC Complains CNN Didn't Suck Up Enough To Trump At Town Hall
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is loyal to Donald Trump -- almost as much as it hates CNN -- so it was thrilled that Trump was granted airtime on CNN for a live town hall. First, it had to bash any critic of it. A May 4 post by Nicholas Fondacaro whined that "On Wednesday’s edition of ABC’s The View a majority of the liberal cast voiced outright disgust or some form of frustration with CNN’s planned town hall with former President Trump next week." He further huffed that one co-host complained that CNN's Kaitlan Collins "wouldn’t make for a good host because Trump would simply talk over her and drown her out. She said this while talking over co-host Alyssa Farah Griffin and drowning her out."

A May 6 post by Tom Olohan touted the head of CNN's parent company defending the town hall, portraying anyone who criticzied it as a "leftist":

Despite leftist criticism, the CEO of CNN’s parent company said Trump’s upcoming town hall with the network will not be canceled.

During a Friday appearance on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Warner Bros. CEO David Zaslav, responded to leftist squawking about the Trump town hall.  When asked about former President Donald Trump’s May 10th town hall on CNN, Zaslav responded, “He should be.” Later on in the interview, Zaslav added, “He’s the front-runner, he has to be on our network,” before continuing that he was happy to have Trump on the network. 

Zaslav is responding to widespread condemnation from other leftist media figures. ABC News’ hosts Sunny Hostin and Whoopi Goldberg both criticized CNN for allowing former President Trump to speak to their audience. Political commentator Keith Olbermann hysterically tweeted that CNN “was committing journalistic suicide.” Journalist Scott Dworkin dubbed the town hall as “trash” and “absolutely ludicrous.” Similarly, leftist MSNBC host Chris Hayes said that inviting Trump on CNN was “hard to defend”.

On May 10, the day of the town hall, Alex Christy complained that a commentator accurately pointed out how young voters hate Trump anddon't like Republican transphobia, huffing in thresponse that the commentator "should’ve informed these young people that other people vote too."

For the event itself, Kevin Tober whined that it wasn't sycophantic enough to Trump:

Wednesday night’s CNN Town hall meeting at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire with former President Donald Trump was just as ridiculous as you would have guessed. From the very first moments until the end of the hour and a half long event, CNN’s Kaitlan Collins served not so much as a moderator for the town hall but more as a sparring partner with the former President. The night was so hostile to Trump that NewsBusters could have easily simply uploaded the entire event for you to watch. That would have been much easier than trying to decide the worst moments to bring to you. 

After spending over 25 minutes arguing with Trump over the January 6 riots at the Capitol and relitigating the results of the 2020 presidential election, Collins finally got around to asking Trump real questions that normal Americans care about. The first was from a Republican voter about the out of control southern border.


This town hall hosted by CNN was a giant waste of time for all involved. Especially voters in the room and watching at home. Very few substantive questions were asked and instead it essentially became a debate between Trump & Collins. 

Hours before this dumpster fire of a town hall began, Puck News published a piece titled “The Kaitlan Era Begins Tonight.” This "era" isn’t off to a good start, if tonight’s performance was any indication.

Tober didn't mention that Collins' background is in right-wing media as a writer for the Daily Caller, where whe wrote pieces about hot Syrian refugees and her bylines there have largely been removed (a la Alyssa Farah's work for WorldNetDaily).

Posted by Terry K. at 10:56 PM EDT
Newsmax Tried To Defend Trump Over Carroll Trial
Topic: Newsmax

Before the civil trial of Donald Trump over author E. Jean Carroll's accusations that he sexually assaulted her and defamed her, Newsmax did its best to bolster Trump's side of the story by attacking the victim. An April 28 article claimed that Carroll "admitted to sexually harassing the late Roger Ailes, and a May 3 wire article noted Trump's denials of attacking her in a video deposition. An April 27 column by Debra Saunders also attacked Carroll: "If Carroll's accusation is true, she should have spoken out at the time and called the police instantly. ... Instead, she waited until 2019 when she was hawking her memoir." As the trial itself was going on, Trump sycophant Dick Morris went on Newsmax TV to declare that "What Trump needs to do is to defame her a little bit more."

When a jury found Trump guilty of sexual abuse and defamation and ordered him to pay her $5 million, Newsmax published only a May 9 wire article about it. This was followed two days later by a wire article noting Trump's appeal of the verdict. A May 14 article by Sandy Fitzgerald repeated a TV appearance by a Trump defender who blamed the jury:

Former President Donald Trump has a solid appeal case against a federal jury's findings in the E. Jean Carroll rape and defamation case, as an appeals court is likely to be less politically motivated, America First legal board member and former acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker told Newsmax on Sunday.

Trump has difficulties in New York City in getting a fair jury trial, Whitaker told Newsmax's "Wake Up America," noting that with a civil trial, findings are based on whether the jurors believe there was more than a 50% chance a defendant had acted wrongly.

"I think it's important that a court that is a little bit away from the emotions of the trial courtroom hears what the evidence is and looks to make sure that the law was applied appropriately," said Whitaker.

A May 11 article by Jeffrey Rodack quoted evangelist Franklin Graham complaining that the verdict "was another attempt to "tarnish" the former president," while a May 16 article by Rodack touted how "President Donald Trump continues to receive strong support from women voters, despite a jury finding him liable for sexually abusing E. Jean Carroll."

And then there was a May 12 column by Paul du Quenoy claiming that Trump was being victimized by Trump:

Carroll admitted that she did not scream, seek medical attention, report the alleged assault to the police, or, until she published her book in 2019, discuss it with anyone other than her two witnesses, who also have no record of it other than their own hearsay, even though a significant part of Carroll’s career involves writing a romance advice column for Elle magazine.

No party to the case could account for the absence of security measures or sales staff during the alleged incident at Bergdorf’s, which normally has both in abundance and is hardly the sort of place that would look favorably upon a man accompanying a woman alone into one of its dressing rooms.


It is no coincidence, however, that Trump described the proceedings with considerable understatement as a "very unfair trial" and immediately announced his intention to appeal.

In the meantime, he should consider a defamation suit of his own against Carroll.

After all, in addition to her court complaint, which is legally privileged, for some four years now she has loudly and publicly claimed that Trump "raped" her, only to have even a biased jury in a biased court find that allegation to be not credible.

Regardless of the results, this latest "circus," as Trump’s lawyer Joe Tacopina describes it, is unlikely to derail Trump’s steady march back to the nomination in a country weary of seeing its institutions of justice weaponized by a fading professional-managerial caste terrified of losing power.

Quenoy's column was prefaced by an disclaimer stating that "The following does not constitute a legal opinion by Newsmax.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:13 PM EDT
MRC Touts Another Attack On A Search Site From Biased AllSides
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is a big fan of AllSides because it echoes the MRC's partisan narrative that any media outlet that isn't explicitly right-wing is somehow on the "left," which falsely most mainstream media outlets as partisan players. Joseph Vazquez hyperbolically touted a new AllSides "analysis" that echoed MRC narratives in a May 5 post:

A new study just obliterated any doubts that Microsoft’s Bing is just as leftist and radical as its top competitor Google.

Media solutions company AllSides conducted a new analysis of the news articles displayed on Bing News’ homepage “were from media outlets on the left.”

But here’s the kicker: “Bing’s homepage displayed rated Right or Lean Right by AllSides,” and only 13 percent of the sources displayed were from the “center.”

The top 6 outlets that Bing comnmonly curated were sources that AllSides rated as “Lean Left.” The top sources on Bing News’ homepage included “The Associated Press (Lean Left)(17% of the content), USA Today(Lean Left)(15%), and ABC News (Lean Left)(13%).”

It's absurd for Vazquez to describe the AP or USA Today as "leftist and radical" -- the fact that he believes this shows just how far-right he is. Also note that Vazquez is trying to hide AllSides' bias by describing it with its own "media solutions company" euphemism. More shilling for AllSides followed:

Bing’s egregious bias showed through even more explicitly when AllSides applied certain search terms. Unironically, AllSides noted that the search term which unveiled the most left-wing results was none other than “abortion.”

News items that the group identified as  "left" made up 63 percent of Bing’s curated results on abortion while only a paltry 9 percent of the results came from sources identified as “right.” The search term “economy” yielded the least amount of right-leaning sources at only 6 percent, according to AllSides, compared to 34 percent of the results being from sources on the “left.” 

AllSides didn’t mince words when it noted the dangerous implications of its assessment::

Bing News gave users an unbalanced perspective on major news stories. Biased search results have a grave impact on our understanding of the world around us. When we don’t have the full picture and cannot access the full scope of views, we are more likely to polarize against one another. Heavily biased search tools harm our democratic society, our communities, and our families.

But the AllSides "analysis" offers no evidence that the content of the individual stories themselves have any sort of bias -- it's just a broad-brush attack on outlets. Indeed, the AllSides chart of political leanings conveniently places major news outlets as the New York Times, CNN, CBS, ABC and Politico in the "left-leaning" category -- something it even admits is subjective -- which is made even more subjective and less scientific by including public opinion into the calculation.

Vazquez repeated the MRC's praiser of a similar AllSides report on Google News -- which we've similarly debunked -- he gushed meshed with his employer's partisan research: "The most explosive of MRC’s findings involved Google engaging in election interference in the 2022 midterm elections to benefit Democrats." Actually, those "findings" involved search terms normal people don't use and no explanation of why those search terms should have delivered the results it demanded.

Vazquez concluded by huffing: "It looks like Bing News is following Google News’ lead with its demonstrably nonexistent veneer of neutrality." AllSides clearly has a demonstratably nonexistent veneer of neutrality, but Vazquez won't complain about that.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:25 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: WND's Other Russia Apologists
Topic: WorldNetDaily
It's not just Scott Lively -- other WorldNetDaily columnists are also criticizing Ukraine and giving Russia and Vladimir Putin a pass for their unprovoked invasion. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:29 AM EDT
Sunday, June 18, 2023
Despite Conflicts With Musk, MRC Still Touting 'Twitter Files'
Topic: Media Research Center

Despite being critical of Elon Musk for not giving right-wing hate the impunity it demands, the Media Research Center was still hyping the release of selectively chosen "Twitter files" through hand-picked reporters (though it still censors from its readers the fact that original hand-picked reporter Matt Taibbi acrimoniously split with Musk, along with other early Musk stenographers). There wa a double drop of "Twitter files" -- meaning one effectively negated the other from a publicity standpoint -- the MRC devoted two separate articles on April 27 to hyping them. Gabriela Pariseau wrote up the first:

When every major sector of elite society promotes censorship using the same words like misinformation and "information pollution," it almost seems like these people are working in tandem. The Twitter Files part 20 indicates that they are doing just that.

Former Executive Director of EngageMedia Andrew Lowenthal wrote this recent batch of The Twitter Files showing just how enmeshed academics, journalists, government workers and tech executives actually were.

“In a functioning democracy there’s dynamic tension between government, civil society organizations, news media, and industry, all advancing their own interests, in theory keeping one another honest. In the #TwitterFiles we find them all working together, cartel-style,” he wrote.

Pariseau didn't explain why misinformation must always be allowed to spread unchecked, or why she smears efforts to do so as "censorship." A half-hour later, Catherine Salgado wrote the second:

The latest Twitter Files reveals how the old, Orwellan regime’s quest to find Russian bots spiraled out of control and ended in the wanton censorship of innocent Americans.

Independent journalist Matt Orfalea released Part 21 of the Twitter Files April 25, “How to Find Russians Anywhere.” A Senate Intelligence Committee request to identify Russian agents on Twitter led to false identifications.

“After Twitter's early attempts to identify Russian accounts resulted in such low numbers, they used different methodologies, tallying ever-increasing numbers of ‘Russians,’” Orfalea explained.

This appears to be a rehash of previously discredited attacks on Hamilton 68 for truying to alert Twittter about Russian bots. And, of course, if Orfalea is serving as Musk's stenographer like the other writers, he's not an "independent journalist."

The MRC doesn't care about facts, of course -- they care about clicks and narratives. So the MRC's Curtis Houck and Stephanie Hamill ran to Fox News on April 28 to push the "censorship" narrative, with Hamill stating that ""the Twitter Files really exposed a lot of what many of us already knew was going on, but now it's official. Now there was actual evidence to show that maybe the possibility of the government persuading, having Big Tech censoring conservatives and dissenting voices." And Houck effectively demanded that lies and misinformation be allowed to spread: "Houck said you had to appreciate ABC's transparency in announcing what they had decided was too dangerously wrong to include [in its reporting on COVID], but that doesn't mean 'the speech should be silenced.'" Actually, it's the responsibility of a news organization to report facts and not amplify falsehoods and misinformation.

A May 2 post by Autumn Johnson lashed out at Twitter founder Jack Dorsey for starting a new Twitter rival and regurgitated old attacks on him about purported "censorship":

Anti-free speech Jack Dorsey created a new social media app that looks a lot like Twitter.

CNN Business reported Friday that Dorsey’s app, named “Bluesky,” is gaining attention from prominent leftists, like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and anti-Trump social media influencer Chrissy Teigen. But as Twitter is allowing more free speech on the platform Dorsey could be taking his anti-free speech ideas to his new platform.

The Twitter Files revealed late last year that Dorsey reportedly played a key role on Twitter’s censorship team and was aware of the concerted effort to ban former President Donald Trump, despite the fact that Trump did not violate the platform’s rules. Interestingly enough, Dorsey admitted his mistake in a blog post last year. “The Twitter when I led it and the Twitter of today do not meet any of these [listed] principles,” Dorsey wrote.

Johnson also claimed that "MRC’s exclusive database has years of records of Twitter’s one-sided censorship" -- but CensorTrack is a partisan tool that complies examples of purported "censorship" only against conservatives, so citing it to claim "censorship" is "one-sided" is false.

Pariseau hyped someone else's Musk-fluffing in a May 10 post:

Entrepreneur and tech investor David Sacks got candid in an interview with podcaster Benny Johnson about the government's attempt to silence speech.

Sacks applauded The Twitter Files for unveiling how federal agencies weaponized their authority against Americans in an interview on Benny Johnson’s The Benny Show Sunday. He credited Twitter owner Elon Musk for releasing the files. “I think we would have very little knowledge of what was actually happening inside these social media companies if Elon hadn’t opened up The Twitter Files,” Sacks said. “The only conclusion you can come away with is you know we have these security agencies that have been weaponized against the American people. They’re propagandizing the American people. They’re surveilling the American people. They’re censoring the American people. They’re completely out of hand and unacceptable.”

Pariseau didn't disclose that Sacks is a buddy of Musk's, or that Johnson has a history of plagiarism and promoting conspiracy theories.

Meanwhile, amid reports that Musk's Twitter approved more censorship requests from other countries than pre-Musk Twitter did, the MRC had to run to his defense again. Salgado derw the short straw and endorsed Musk's capitulation in a May 17 post:

The newest Twitter Files defended Twitter CEO Elon Musk after Twitter complied with Turkish government censorship requests.

Musk went along with Turkey’s censorship demands leading up Michael Shellenberger highlighted three key points from the new Twitter Files, providing context on the apparent anti-free speech collusion. First, he wrote, “Twitter sought compliance with Turkey’s censorship demands long before @ElonMusk bought the company.” Shellenberger also wrote that Twitter is more transparent than Google or Meta, and that even some of Musk’s harshest critics have defended him in this instance.

Platformer writer and Musk “hater” Casey Newton and senior reporter at The Verge Zoe Schiffer actually defended arguing that non-compliance could result in an outright ban, Shellenberger reported in The Twitter Files. “It’s typically better for the cause of speech to have at least some content available,” Newton and Schiffer wrote in an article for The Verge.

Salgado then quoted an MRC official making the bizarro-world claim that censorship is freedom when Musk does it:

“It’s good to see that Musk is attempting to push back against foreign government censorship operations and providing a platform for people to speak all across the world,” said MRC Free Speech America & MRC Business Director Michael Morris. “But more can still be done. American companies like Twitter should be exporting the American ideals of free speech and expression, not importing the globalist notion of top-down, totalitarian suppression, control and censorship.”

Salgado did concede, however, that "The Twitter Files, however, did not address whether Musk permits censorship of content at the request of other governments," though she refused to present evidence available elsewhere that he, in fact, does.

Pariseau touted yet another selective "Twitter files" release in a May 18 post: "This week’s Twitter Files reveal that The Washington Post columnist Taylor 'The Troll' Lorenz and NBC’s Ben Collins had privileged access to Twitter and its censorship apparatus under the prior regime." (Yes, the MRC is still angry at Lorenz for using factual public records to reveal the person behind the homophobic Libs of TikTok account, Chaya Raichik.) She credited "independent journalist Paul Thacker" even though, by definition, a truly independent journalist would not be slavishly following Musk's orders to do stenography for him.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:44 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, June 18, 2023 10:44 PM EDT
CNS's Shots At VP Harris Continued Until Its Shutdown

We've documented how nitpicked and misled about Vice President Kamala Harris the way it did about President Biden, and that negative coverage of her continued until CNS was shut down in April. A March 7 article by Melanie Arter carried to misleading clickbait headline "VP Harris: ‘Why Are Conservatives Bad, Mommy?’"

During a conversation on climate on Monday in Colorado, Vice President Kamala Harris said that as a child, she mistook conservationists with conservatives, which she thought were “bad.”

The vice president was asked how her life shaped her work on climate and the environment.


<“In fact, I’m going to share with you a very simple story, which is that I went home one day, and I said, “Well, what’s — why are conservatives bad, Mommy?” Because I thought we were supposed to conserve things. I couldn’t reconcile it. Now I can,” she said, laughing.

Susan Jones devoted a March 16 article to complaining about a TV interview Harris did:

In a lengthy interview with the "Late Show's" Stephen Colbert on Wednesday, Vice President Kamala Harris called it "inhumane" for states to pass pro-life laws; she touted U.S. boldness and leadership on climate change; she called Joe Biden a "true partner" and an "extraordinary leader"; and at the very end of the interview, she explained why she loves the United States.

An anonymously written article the next day grumbled that Harris didn't hate a gay foreign official:

Leo Varadkar, the gay Taoiseach—or prime minister—of Ireland, celebrated St. Patrick Day's with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris by attending a breakfast convened at the Vice President’s official residence in Washington, D.C.

Harris concluded her introduction of Varadkar by toasting him and his partner, Matthew Barrett. “I will now raise a glass to toast the Taoiseach, Mr. Barrett, and all of you on St. Patrick’s Day,” she said. “Cheers.”

The anonymous writer reminded us that "St. Patrick, who was born in Scotland in 387, was commissioned by Pope Celestine I in the fifth century to focus on converting the people of Ireland to the Catholic faith" -- as you'd expect from the more-Catholic-than-the pope folks who ran CNS -- then gratutiously called Varadkar a "gay Taoiseach" again, as you expect from a "news" organization run by a deeply homophobic managing editor.

Another anonymously written article, on April 7, grumbled about Harris' support for abortion rights:

Vice President Kamala Harris this Holy Week put out a statement criticizing pro-life elected officials for seeking to “undermine and attack reproductive freedom."

In doing so, Harris pointed to Tuesday’s election in Wisconsin, where voters elected a pro-abortion judge to the state’s Supreme Court.

CNS' final attack on Harris came on April 18, when Jones began an article this way:

At a march for reproductive rights in Los Angeles on Saturday, Vice President Kamala Harris (who uses the pronouns she/her) blasted the U.S. Supreme Court for taking away a "constitutional right, that had been recognized, from the people of America."

That's a reference to a previous CNS attack on Harris for announcing her pronouns at an even for people with disabilities where she was asked to do so.

Jones went on to complain about other statements by Harris, framing one by using "transgenders" as a noun:

She defended the right to abortion and "the rights of women" specifically. She also mentioned "the ability of people to be themselves and be proud of who they are," an apparent reference to transgenders.

Harris touted her world travels, saying every time she goes to a new country, "I'll meet with women to talk with them about how they’re doing. Because I fundamentally believe that you can gauge the strength of a democracy based on the strength of women in that democracy.

"So, when they dare attack the rights of women, understand, for all of you who are watching, who walk around wearing those lapel pins, requiring that people look at you with some level of respect: When you attack the rights of women in America, you are attacking America. All of this is at stake."

Some Americans view transgenderism as an attack on women's rights, particularly when biological men, with their innate physiological advantages, participate in biological women's sports.

After Harris referenced "the next generation of the people who will help lead and fight in this movement for freedom and liberty based on our love of our country," Jones sneered, "For the record, Harris included herself in 'the next generation' of leaders."

Two days later, CNS was shut down.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:54 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, June 19, 2023 6:11 PM EDT
Saturday, June 17, 2023
MRC Mad That Dubious Arrests Of Anti-Coronation Protesters Was Reported
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Clay Waters whined in a May 9 post:

Saturday’s edition of PBS News Weekend led with a story on the coronation of King Charles in England, but the story was dominated by anti-monarchy protesters. This was not the BBC. Special correspondent Malcolm Brabant insisted "Charles isn`t as popular as his late mother the Queen. Several anti-monarchists were arrested before the main event got underway."

Brabant heavily featured anti-monarchy activist Graham Smith and his group Republic. Smith trashed the royal family: " They misuse public money all the time for private use, they misuse public office to advance their own interests. I think that if Charles were to stand in an election against other candidates in a free and fair election that he would lose and lose badly. And yet here he is, as a head of state."

When anti-monarchy protesters were arrested, Smith blamed King Charles himself, and then Brabant touted Human Rights Watch saying the protester arrests somehow turned King Charles into Putin:

Waters didn't explain why it was a bad thing that Human Rights Watch criticized the arrests, but he left in a blockquote a statement from the protest group statement that the protest was peaceful and that organizers were arrested for no apparent reason.Indeed, the same day Waters' post was published, London't Metropolitan Police apologized for arresting and detaining six protest leaders despite having no proof of a crime or planned crime, even though protest leaders had been working with police in preparation for the protest.

Waters also complained that "Smith also appeared in a PBS NewsHour segmentmon Friday night before the coronation." He didn't explain why Smith's viewpoint should be censored.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:17 PM EDT
Irony: Columnist For Misinfo-Laden WND Complains About Misinfo
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In the grand tradition of WorldNetDaily writers complaining about things -- the decline of journalistic objectivity, fearmongering, spreading hate -- without acknowledging that WND does those very same things, we have an April 4 column by David Lightsey complaining about the spread of misinformation. He started out strong:

The rampant misinformation and deception that dominate the culture – resulting in advice, guidance and national leadership no more helpful than a wet roll of toilet paper – can be attributed to seven things, which have catapulted us into the abys of stupidity.

Lightsey's first point was lament "the war on truth" -- then framed it in Chjristian terms repeating an author who claimed that "It is impossible to make sense of truth without acknowledging God as the necessary starting point through Scripture. Truth is what God decrees and is not any individual's opinion or imagination. It is not clay you can shape any way you want." That was followed by a declaration that "The Bible provides clarity and discernment, not man."

After citing things like "Declining religious affiliation," "Hummingbird attention spans," "Declining lack of critical thinking and reasoning skills and the growth of illiteracy" and "One's worldview" as reasons -- suggesting he might get to the point -- he then lost the thread again by complaining that right-wing Christianity wasn't being enforced on people:

Since public education completely opposes a biblical worldview, and less than 6% of purported Christian schools in America teach a biblical worldview, one should only expect the disastrous results we see in America and around the world today. All the issues we see before us, such as gay marriage, abortion, pedophilia, racism, gender issues, euthanasia, etc. are not the main problem, but symptoms of the main problem, which is a secular worldview – man's word over Scripture, God's Word, which clearly defines these issues, or symptoms. So, if the foundation of your thinking is wrong, then any actions undertaken, our cultural symptoms, are going to be wrong as well.

The irony is that WND is run by hardcore Christians who have spread more falsehoods and misinformation than any news organizaiton run by secular people -- which tells us that proclaiming to be a committed Christiann is no guaranteed of being interested in the truth. Not that Lightsey made any mention of WND's lengthy record of dishoensty, of course.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:26 AM EDT
Friday, June 16, 2023
MRC's Jean-Pierre-Bashing, Doocy-Fluffing Watch, With Added Mayorkas-Bashing
Topic: Media Research Center

Karine Jean-Pierre apparently didn't offend the Media Reearch Center's Curtis Houck enough, so he spent his writeup of the May 11 press briefing lashing out at her special guest:

Thursday’s White House press briefing was a barn burner ahead of Title 42’s expiration with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas playing stand-in for the ever-inept Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. Not surprisingly, Mayorkas spun a fantastical tale of border security, order, and speedy deportation of illegal immigrants who fail to have their ducks in a row. And, also not surprisingly, some reporters came with substance while others came lacking a noggin.

Below are some of the best (and worst) questions/exchanges from the briefing, including far-left hack April Ryan resurrecting false claims about border agents whipping illegal immigrants and, at the other end of the ledger, Fox Business’s Edward Lawrence on how much illegal immigrants have strained our country’s education and welfare systems.

If Lawrence really is on "the other end of the ledger" from Ryan, why didn't Houck call him a "far-right hack"? You know, for the sake of fairness and balance? Needless to say, Houck's "best" questions for Mayorkas came almost exclusively from reporters from right-wing outlets, whiile the "worst" questions came from non-right-wing outlets.

From there, we must skip to the May 23 briefing, in which Houck manufactured more outrage at Ryan:’s April Ryan is always carrying water for the far-left Black organizations and doesn’t take too kindly when called out. But examples like Tuesday afternoon fall into the former column as she used the NAACP’s faux “travel advisory” for the State of Florida to cue her up to trash “misguided” and “discriminatiary [sic] policies” put forth by “extreme Republicans,” led by Governor Ron DeSantis (R).

“NAACP has made a move — a travel advisory from the State of Florida after several issues, against ‘the other,’ if you will, from Governor Ron DeSantis. And they’re saying that the hate that is coming out of this political season is dangerous,” Ryan pontificated without a strain of neutrality.

Only then did she ask what she viewed as a question: “What do you say to what the NAACP has done? I mean, they're following behind other groups, be it groups on race, on LGBTQ+, but they’re making a bold statement. What do you say to that?”

Jean-Pierre insisted she wouldn’t “comment on travel advisories specifically,” but proceeded to do just that.

We don't recall Houck ever accusing Peter Doocy or Philip Wegmann of "carrying water for far-right organizations," despitre their clear ideological bias and pontificating without neutrality.

For the May 31 briefing, Houck's tone was much different as he praised a right-wing reporter for inserting his preferred narratives:

Wednesday’s White House press briefing featured, among other happenings, a rare feat with not one but two bouts featuring Biden flunkies and the New York Post’s Steven Nelson as well as a sudden curiosity surrounding Tara Reade now that she’s emerged as a flunky herself for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

Nelson’s first bout came during National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby’s latest appearance as ever-inept Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s crutch with Nelson doing what few White House reporters will focus on for more than a few seconds (if at all): Biden family corruption.

After citing the “many developments in the House investigations into the First Family’s international business dealings recently,” Nelson explained how, “[a]mid all of this, there was a Harvard/Harris poll this month that found that 53 percent of the public, including a fourth of Democrats, believe, ‘Joe Biden was involved with his son in an illegal influence peddling scheme.’”

Nelson then asked: “There’s, of course, evidence that the President interacted with his relative’s associates from China, Mexico, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine, so what do you say to the majority of Americans who believe that the President is himself corrupt?”

Kirby was more than a little incredulous, blurting out “wow” while someone else (perhaps Jean-Pierre) in his vicinity could be heard muttering, “Jesus.” 

HOuck didn't epxlain why nobody should have asked about Reade -- you'd think someone whom the MRC has lavishly praised for her evidence-free claim about Biden misbehavior defecting to a country currently waging unprovoked war against a neighbor would be newsworthy. But apparently not; this article is the only reference at the MRC to Reade's defection.

Posted by Terry K. at 7:15 PM EDT
CNS' Jeffrey Pushed His Partisan Federal Deficit Narratives Before Shutdown

One of Terry Jeffrey's pastimes as editor for editor was blame Democrats for deficit spending while absolving Republicans of the same offense -- even when Republicans controlled the White House and at least one house of Congress. He got in a couple more of those deficit complaints before CNS was shut down in April. He complained in a March 9 article:

President Joe Biden released a fiscal 2024 budget proposaltoday that estimates the federal debt will hit $50.712 trillion dollars by the end of fiscal 2033.

That would be an increase of $17.988 trillion from the $32.724 trillion that Biden’s budget estimates the debt will be by the end of this fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30.

As of March 8 of this year, which is the latest date currently reported by the U.S. Treasury, the total federal debt was $31.459 trillion.

In his budget —which proposes increasing the debt to $50.712 trillion over the next ten years—Biden emphasizes his commitment to fiscal responsibility.

Jeffrey also did a fact-check of sorts that emphasized pre-pandemic budgets and downplayed the huge federal deficits during the pandemic -- but he didn't mention that a Republican president presided over those huge pandemic deficits.

Jeffrey complained more about the deficit in an April 12 article:

The federal deficit topped $1 trillion in the first six months of fiscal 2023 (October through March), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement released today.

This was despite the fact that federal tax revenues in the first six months of this fiscal year were $2,048,196,000,000, which was the second-highest in the nation’s history (when compared to the inflation-adjusted numbers for the tax revenues collected in the first six months of previous fiscal years).

In noting that "this year’s October-through-March federal deficit is the fourth largest in the nation’s history," Jeffrey did concede that the largest was in fiscal 2021 -- but, again, failed to mention that Republican Donald Trump was president for most of that period. He did, however, make sure to illustrate his article with a picture of President Biden and Sen. Chuck Schumer.

As usual, he also complained that "The Department of Health and Human Services led all government departments and agencies in spending during the first six months of this fiscal year. It spent $843,257,000,000 from October through March."

CNS was shut down eight days later.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:11 PM EDT
MRC Lashes Out Anytime DeSantis Is Besmirched
Topic: Media Research Center

Part of being a member of the Media Research Center's DeSantis Defense Brigade is that you are obligated to lash out at any criticism of Ron DeSantis, no matter how minor or throwaway the line is. Tim Graham served up a name-calling whine in a Feb. 28 post huffing that the "leftists" at NPR quoted a Florida student who likened DeSantis to Fidel Castro, then whining fiurther: "This is how the Left puts out misinformation about anyone trying to check leftist activism and propaganda on campus. They want colleges to sound just as one-sided as NPR does. State-run radio is statist to the core."

Tierin-Rose Mandelburg ranted in a March 9 post about another remark directed at DeSantis:

Everyone knows that Ron DeSantis doesn’t support kids reading about sex, gender surgeries or porn in elementary school…celebs need to get over it already. 

The latest attack on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ (R) anti-porn for kids policies came from ABC’s "General Hospital" actress, Nancy Lee Grahn, who compared DeSantis to the late, genocidal German dictator Adolf Hitler. As a matter of fact, Grahn claimed that DeSantis “will end up making Hitler seem nice.”


These books are disgusting and have no place being in schools or around children whatsoever. But leave it to a freakin' celeb to get out of her own lane and put her two-sense in. 

Mandelburg added: "This chick really just likes insulting people she doesn’t agree with. She needs to get a life." She didn't medntion that her employer is eager to go Godwin on people it doesn't like, and is particularly fond of smearing those who fact-check conservatives online or who seek to curb right-wing hate as "digital brownshirts."

Kevin Tober demonstated in a March 14 post that he couldn't handle a quip critical of DeSantis:

On Tuesday's edition of MSNBC's All In, former Republican turned Lincoln Project activist Stuart Stevens was the latest on MSNBC to reveal how much Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis was feared by the left and that every statement he made would be overblown and distorted to take him down. The latest example came when DeSantis dared to respond to a questionnaire issued by Fox News host Tucker Carlson asking current and potential Republican presidential candidates where they stand on America's involvement in Ukraine. 

Since DeSantis didn’t have the approved opinion of the Ukraine conflict, Stevens lost it and smeared the Florida governor as being a supporter of Putin’s Russia.  

Stevens didn’t beat around the bush, he went there and straight-up accused DeSantis of liking Russia because it’s apparently a place where “there are no gay people, where there are no women in power. Where they're all Christians.”

“That's why they love Putin, and they love autocrats,” he added. 

This is remnicient of a meltdown Tober had in January when "disgraced former Obama National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes attempted to associate ousted Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro with former President Donald Trump and Florida Republican governor Ron DeSantis by claiming he fled to Florida because it’s an authoritarian state." Tober actually tried to defend Bolsonaro: "What was never explained was Bolsonaro traveled to Florida after leaving office to go on vacation since Florida is a popular destination spot with beautiful weather this time of year. He then subsequently got sick and was hospitalized. This kind of nuanced reasoning is a foreign concept to the deranged crackpots that appear on MSNBC."

Never mind, of course, that the MRC is not exactly known for nuanced reasoning. Tober also censored the fact that Bolsonaro played the Trump card in baselessly claiming alleged voting machine malfunction as the reason he lost re-election, thern fled the country in an apparent bid to avoid blame for his supporters rioting in the Brazilian capital. It's more likely that Bolsonaro was seeking plausible deniability more than he was attracted to Florida's "beautiful weather."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:54 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE -- The Trump Stenographers At Newsmax: Indictment Edition
Topic: Newsmax
Newsmax hyped Donald Trump's unsupported claims of his imminent "arrest." When an indictment actually happened (well past Trump's declared date), Newsmax cranked out dozens of attack-and-defense pieces -- and plugged a Newsmax author. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 2:19 AM EDT
Thursday, June 15, 2023
MRC's DeSantis Defense Brigade, Pudding Edition
Topic: Media Research Center

It's been a while since we checked in on the Media Research Center's DeSantis Defense Brigade, determined to act like Ron DeSantis was personally paying them to defend him against any and all criticism -- with a focus on ... pudding. Curtis Houck complained in a March 16 post:

The Daily Beast offered a reminder Thursday of how there’s no bottom to their juvenile but slimy reporting as reporters Jake Lahut and former conservative-turned-real-life-Randall Zachary Petrizzo offered an audition for the grocery store tabloids in “The GOP Campaign Trail Is Already Getting DeSantis-Proofed.” The big scoop? Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) isn’t a social butterfly and allegedly ate a cup of pudding with his fingers.

The big find came near the end of the 1300-plus-word hit piece, insisting “[t]he chatter over DeSantis’ public engagement has also surfaced past unflattering stories about his social skills—particularly, his propensity to devour food during meetings.”

They then cited “a former DeSantis staffer” (who’s likely rather disgruntled) that claimed DeSantis “would sit in meetings and eat in front of people” as if he were a “starving animal who has never eaten before… getting shit everywhere.”


The rest of the piece reads like it belongs in the warped dreams of someone like Joy Reid or Tommy Vietor or Bulwark fan fiction, built on anonymous sources insisting they’re important to DeSantis’s 2024 chances.

Houck -- who is acting in a very juvenile and slimy manner in comparing Petrizzo to a character from the cartoon "Recess" -- is very bitter about writers who, unlike him, escape the right-wing bubble and thus feels he must personally insult them; CNN's Oliver Darcy is another target. Still, Houck insisted that the sources with "grievances" were the problem, not himself or DeSantis, accusing one source of "channeling their inner Mean Girl" even though Mean Girl tactics (which we call Heathering) are a common MRC strategy.

Houck took Pudding-gate into a second day by continuing to whine about it being covered:

The liberal media have been pulling out all the stops with pointless mud-slinging against Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL). On Thursday, the ever-juvenile Daily Beast penned what they thought would be a direct hit against DeSantis's hypothetical 2024 chances by alleging he’s socially awkward and one time used three fingers to get a lick of pudding. 

Also on Thursday, New York Magazine huffed at this horror as and joked it could impale his campaign. And at Puck News, Tara Palmeri claimed “some” are “wondering if on Ozempic, the diabetes-turned-weight-loss drug” because of said media-driven reputation around his love of food.

New York Magazine Intelligencer section editor Margaret Hartmann had the duty of beclowning herself in “Ron DeSantis Eating Pudding With His Fingers Will End His 2024 Bid.”

Quipping that “[p]oliticians should really consider only taking in sustenance alone in a darkened room, just to be safe,” Hartmann boasted DeSantis was “hit with a food-related accusation so weird it may end his 2024 presidential bid before it officially starts.”

It was Alex Christy's turn to complain that Pudding-gate was being talked about in a March 18 post:

MSNBC’s Joy Reid has discovered another scandal plaguing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday’s edition of The ReidOut. Not only does DeSantis eat pudding with his fingers, he is also short. Meanwhile, the Lincoln Project’s Rick Wilson stuck to the classic DeSantis fake scandals as he falsely accused DeSantis of trying to ban books about Rosa Parks and Hank Aaron.

After Wilson claimed that DeSantis lacks the charisma to win a presidential election, Reid turned to Democratic strategist Don Calloway to talk about the pudding scandal, “put up three fingers and be like ‘save me some pudding ‘cause I got three fingers right all ready to grub’ That's so gross, though. That's just nasty.”

For good measure, Christy defended DeSantis over charges that his attacks on education in Florida led to a book about Hank Aaron being banned:

Nobody’s banning books about Hank Aaron. As for Parks, what Wilson is referring to is a New York Times report about a textbook that was submitted for review. What Wilson didn’t say was the publisher did this because of what they thought was needed in Florida, not what was actually required. Additionally, the Times itself said “It’s unclear which of the new versions was officially submitted for review” and the book was rejected for unrelated, bureaucratic reasons. 

Christy returned to DeSantis pudding defense in a May 19 post:

MSNBC's All In host Chris Hayes lamented on Thursday that when people think of authoritarians, they tend to think of people like Stalin or Mussoulini [sic] and not “Mr. Pudding Fingers” because for Hayes, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s education, abortion, Disney, and drag show policies are all hallmarks of “authoritarianism.” However, the worst bit of so-called authoritarianism to come out DeSantis’s Florida is that parents will no longer be able to give their kids “gender-affirming care.”

Christy didn't belabor the pudding point further.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:00 PM EDT
Newsmax Leans On Megyn Kelly To Defend Carlson, Bash Fox News
Topic: Newsmax

More than two weeks after Fox News fired Tucker Carlson, Newsmax continued to defend him and shill on his behalf, with the ulterior motive of luring him to Newsmax (and maybe even give him control over the channel) once his contract issues with Fox News get cleared up. There was more fretting on May 8 and 9:

Then it was time to gush over an announcement from Carlson, as demonstrated in a May 9 article by Luca Cacciatore:

Tucker Carlson announced Tuesday that he is making his next move through Twitter as his lawyers accused Fox News of fraud and breach of contract in a separate letter.

Carlson first revealed in a nearly three-minute video that he would be taking his talk show and other future projects to the social media platform after lambasting mainstream media's stranglehold over the public square.

This was followed by a article the following day touting that Carlson's video "generated more than 106 million views in less than 24 hours, as well as another article noting that Elon Musk has said there is no deal between Twitter and Carlson. One more article noted that Musk invited Don Lemon -- who was fired from CNN the same day that Carlson was fired-- to "resuscitate his career with a show on Twitter."

A May 11 article by Solange Reyner complained that Carlson was accurately labeled:

CNN on Tuesday labeled former Fox News host Tucker Carlson a "right-wing extremist" in a Twitter post related to his new platform.

"Right-wing extremist Tucker Carlson will relaunch his program on Twitter, a platform he praised as the only remaining large free-speech platform in the world after Fox News fired him late last month," CNN wrote.

CNN also called Carlson a "right-wing extremist" in its story about his announcement. 

Reyner didn't dispute the accuracy of the label. This was followed by even more Tucker-defending over the next several days:

Newsmax also continued to be enamored by Kelly's attacks on her former employer (which make her sound a tad disgruntled) and aggressive defense of Carlson. A May 20 article hyped a Kelly interview in which right-wing radio host Dan Bongino declaring that Fox News made ""an enormous catastrophic mistake" by firing Carlson with Kelly adding, "They've gotten too big for their own britches. ... They're on the way down. They're not on the way up anymore in terms of audience share and popularity, and they no longer have a monopoly." Kelly appeared on Newsmax to cheer him and bash Fox News some more, as summarized in a May 24 article -- a full month after Carlson was fired:

Journalist and commentator Megyn Kelly told Newsmax that her old network Fox News is "terrified" of its viewer loss in the aftermath of booting Tucker Carlson off the air.

Joining "Eric Bolling The Balance" on Tuesday, Kelly said there was no end in sight to Fox News' audience hemorrhaging as more and more Americans tune into alternative networks like Newsmax every day.

"They're terrified. They don't know what to do," Kelly stated. "There was a day when they didn't view digital as a threat, as a competitor. That day is gone. Fox won't let any single personality come on my show ... because they understand that we're a threat."

"Fox is not the monopoly it used to be," she continued. "I don't have to tell you that, given the ratings surge that you're enjoying at the moment, and well deserved. So, they can't let him go because he's a threat to them."

Given all this promotion of Kelly, though, she may be more likely to end up with a Newsmax show than Carlson.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:52 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, June 20, 2023 4:42 PM EDT
Nearly 30 Years Later, MRC Can't Stop Whining That Right-Wing Influence On McVeigh Is Noted
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has long been sensitive about the idea that burgeoning right-wing activism in the 1990s -- particularly radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh -- helped inspire Timothy McVeigh to bomb a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995, even though right-wing activism indisputably influenced McVeigh beliefs and motivations. Tim Graham whined about this yet again in his May 5 column:

One way you can tell our most undeservedly prestigious media outlets are liberal is that Liberalism with a capital L has never been blamed for anything heinous. Mass killing – like the more than 60 million abortions since Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion – would never be blamed on their political movement.

On April 19, 1995, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma was blown up by a truck bomb, killing 168 people, including 19 children. It took just two days after the FBI tied Timothy McVeigh to the bombing for those prestigious media outlets to blame conservatives. The Sunday shows were unofficially indicting a “climate” of rhetoric.

Why is Graham bizarrely portraying abortion as "mass killing" akin to terrorism? Is he trying to justify the murders of abortion doctors like George Tiller and Barnett Slepian?

What is prompting Graham's revival of an ancient grievance is the release of a new book:

That old smear is now being renewed by liberal legal pundit Jeffrey Toobin, who is shamefully associated with the words “Zoom masturbation incident.” He has a new book titled Homegrown: Timothy McVeigh and the Rise of Right-Wing Extremism. The publisher touts his thesis with a blurb from The New Yorker, Toobin’s long-time employer before the indecent incident. “In Toobin’s view, it wasn’t just militarism that made McVeigh—it was Republicanism." The book reviewers hailed it as “depressingly relevant” to today.

Politico’s “Playbook” team helpfully promoted Toobin’s statist thesis, warmly touting “Jeff emailed Playbook with a preview.”  Toobin explained his book is meant to show “that the conventional view of McVeigh — as an ‘antigovernment’ ‘lone wolf’ — is wrong.” He was “part of the conservative movement opposing Bill Clinton’s federal government, not all government,” and that’s just like today’s conservatives “seen most dramatically on January 6, 2021.”

Just as the media-Democrat complex have been using January 6 as a political weapon against Republicans in the post-Trump era, they used McVeigh to re-elect Clinton.

Graham made no effort to prove pointing out the fact that McVeigh's extremism was of the right-wing variety is a "smear" -- it's not a smear if it's true, after all. Instead, he descends yet again into Clinton Derangement Syndrome:

Of course, Toobin would make Clinton the “hero” of his book -- two exposed sexual harassers trying to remake themselves into noble public servants. But as The New Yorker piece on Toobin’s book pointed out, McVeigh was obsessed with the disastrous Waco standoff in 1993, which ended in a federal raid that caused the deaths of 76 people, including 28 children. Was President Clinton the “hero” of that fiasco?

Graham blaming Clinton for what happened at Waco would seem to confirm that this was a right-wing talking point at the time -- and, thus, not so far from McVeigh's extremism as he would like us to believe.

Graham concluded with a boilerplate rant:

The liberal elite’s first draft of the Clinton presidency was ridiculously self-serving, and Toobin is providing the second verse, same as the first. That doesn’t make it accurate.

In the broadest sense, this is why liberal journalists cannot be trusted. They offer no respect to conservatism as a legitimate philosophy. How can you tell conservatives to trust you at the same time you associate them with domestic terrorism? Toobin is underlining the problem. Liberal journalists don’t want the conservatives to trust them. They only want conservatives to be defeated and exiled from Washington, scattered to their cartoonish fringes.

Graham is a right-wing activist and denier who wants liberals defeated and exiled, and he provides no reason anyone should trust him.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:09 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 15, 2023 2:12 PM EDT

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