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Sunday, July 16, 2023
MRC Flip-Flops On Twitter's Community Notes Under Musk
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has generally approved of Twitter's "Community Notes" feature , which allowed people to append fact-hecks to tweets -- especially when non-conservativfes get fact-checked. In April, for example, Curtis Houck went on Fox News to praise how Community Notes were among tools right-wingers used to "push[] back on the insane notion 'that George Soros has nothing to do with the Alvin Bragg campaign.'" Houck gushed in a May 2 post:

Bob Hoge with our friends at RedState had a hilarious piece Tuesday pulling together the latest saga and kid-in-a-grocery-store meltdown MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan pitched last week after he was roundly condemned and fact-checked for one insane claim after another about crime and, of course, racism.

At the heart of it, Hoge noted that Hasan has objected Twitter’s Community Notes feature, which allows users to fact-check false claims, seeing more play under Elon Musk’s ownership and he was “getting awfully sick of” it.

Two days later, Houck cheered that "Twitter’s Community Notes sprang into action on AOC’s colleague Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) as she tweeted video of [Jordan] Neely dressed like Jackson on a subway. Joseph Vazquez hyped Community Notes further in a May 18 post:

NBC News used deceptive imagery in an apparent attempt to gloss over an outrageous sexually explicit book being pushed on children. Twitter’s Community Notes participants were having none of it.

NBC News tweeted out its story of how “[a]n Illinois teacher offered her middle schoolers a bestselling LGBTQ-themed book. Parents filed a police report over her book choice.” But the featured photo for the article included the teacher in question holding up a book titled: “Igniting Social Action in the ELA Classroom: Inquiry as Disruption.”

Except, that wasn’t the book parents reportedly complained about, as Community Notes exposed.

But when that exact same tool is used by liberals to counter right-wing falsehoods and misinformation, it suddenly became a terrible thing. David Marcus complained in a June 2 post:

Musk’s most significant change to content moderation policies at Twitter has been “Community Notes,” a crowdsourced alternative to professional fact-checking, and while some conservatives appear to like the results better, the warning labels are still a form of censorship, albeit by a different name.

To the extent we can understand the Byzantine practices at Twitter, it goes something like this: Users see a tweet they disagree with, they create a note either fact-checking, or worse adding context to the tweet. These notes are voted on by other users, and eventually, Twitter somehow decides what warnings appear below the offending tweets.

While this is more democratic than traditional fact checks, it still falls into many of the same epistemological traps that all efforts to censor do eventually. Let’s start with a fundamental problem: crowdsourcing is no guarantee of truth.


But the problems run much deeper. The most insidious tool in the fact-checker’s quiver is the phrase “Missing Important Context,” which is employed when a statement is true but the people in authority deem it misleading because it doesn’t include counter arguments that they prefer.

Let’s be completely clear, deciding what “missing context” is “important” is a wholly subjective enterprise, and when tweets are subjectively given warning labels, that is absolutely a form of censorship. 

Further, the Community Notes do not appear to operate independent of leadership at Twitter, with however many thousands (again we just don’t know the details) of suggested notes, it is eventually Twitter itself — whether through human decision-making or an algorithm — that decides what gets the censorship treatment.


The obvious question here is why these warning labels are needed at all, given that the platform already has a very simple way for the community of users to challenge the subject matter of a tweet: more tweets.

Honestly, there is no more popular sport on Twitter than users finding ridiculous statements by high profile accounts and spending hours publicly dragging the offender on the platform. Is there some reason this is not sufficient?

In fact, this combat bad speech with more speech approach is what most conservatives called for prior to Musk taking over. Good will towards the eccentric billionaire has seemed to make many on the right give Musk’s Community Notes the benefit of the doubt. This is a mistake.

Ultimately, the problem here is that “content moderation,” of which Community Notes is a type, is inherently an Orwellian business that winds up meaning censorship. Placing official warning labels on true statements is censorship whether you use a euphemism for it or not.


For now, some conservatives are celebrating Community Notes, others cutting Musk some slack on it, but at the end of the day, censorship is censorship, whether you like the results or not.

Twitter should take its thumb off the scale of discourse by abandoning Community Notes and trust the users to police themselves organically without making some more equal than others with special privileges. That, and only that, will truly be free speech.

When a fellow right-winger faced fact-checking from Community Notes, Catherine Salgado ran to their defense in a June 14 post:

Twitter’s Community Notes slapped a “Context” warning label on an actual photograph of a miscarried unborn baby, trying unscientifically and inaccurately to claim that the depicted embryo was not seven weeks old. 

When pro-life organization Live Action tweeted out photos and an article about 7- and 8-week-old unborn babies, with the back stories of the two tiny humans (Riley and Annabelle), Twitter’s Community Notes users attempted to discredit the photos.

Live Action President and Founder Lila Rose stating in a tweet, “Twitter posts a blatantly false ‘correction’ on our tweet showing a 7-week-old embryo from fertilization, who had been miscarried. What’s going on, @elonmusk?” The Community Notes “context,” shown in Rose’s screenshot, appears to have been removed since.

“This just goes to show the problem with so-called fact-checks, and ultimately the problem with Twitter’s Community Notes,” MRC Free Speech America & MRC Business Director Michael Morris said. “As columnist David Marcus pointed out in a recent piece, ‘“Community Notes” are a crowdsourced alternative to professional fact-checking, and while some conservatives appear to like the results better, the warning labels are still a form of censorship, albeit by a different name.’ Marcus is absolutely right.”

The "context" that was added was the fact that the embryo, as Salgado conceded, was the size of a blueberry -- the size of a coffee bean in the original Community Notes language -- important context when when you're representing an image as an "unborn baby" when you provide no sense sof scale. Salgado did not explain why Rose and Live Action chose to censor this relevant information in their original post.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:08 PM EDT
WND's Brown Melts Down Over Pronouns, Cheers Right-Wing Anti-LGBT Hate
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Our playing catch-up on Michael Brown's anti-LGBT activism continues: In his March 31 WorldNetDaily column, Brown had one of his occasional glimmers of self-awareness of how condescending he is by lecturing to LGBT people about how terrible they are while pretending to have compassion for them:

I am fully aware that some readers of this article will be deeply offended, accusing me of extreme condescension and transphobia. In a word, they would say, "We don't need or want your help or compassion. To the contrary, it's people like you who create problems for us."

Yes, I fully expect such reactions, but it is love for God, love for people and love for truth that compel me to write.

To be clear, I am not saying that we can generalize about trans-identified individuals based on the recent mass shooting at a private Christian school in Nashville by a trans-identified female shooter. That would be cruel and unfair.

But I am saying that we should focus on the serious needs within the transgender community, needs that no amount of surgery or hormones can fully address.

In the words of Robert L. Vazzo, M.M.F.T., a California-based, licensed marriage and family therapist and professional clinical counselor, "We need to educate pastors that the human condition is full of contradictions, paradoxes, and failings due to the fallen condition of the human race. There are many physical and psychological phenomena that illustrate this including autoimmune disorders, inflammation, mental retardation, autism, and yes, transgenderism."


Vazzo's point was well-taken. There are underlying mental and/or emotional issues that lie at the heart of gender dysphoria, and affirming people's struggles and delusions is the worst thing we can do.

Treating transgender people as if they are diseased is not the way to show compassion, Mike. Still, Brown went on to hype that gun massacre aswell as a planned "transgender day of vengeance" that was later called off, as well as ranting about "the social insanity of allowing biological males to compete against biological females." Brown closed with leaning into his compassion schtick again:

Do I believe that a disproportionate number of trans-identified people are violent? No. Do I believe that, as people, they are a special menace to society? Certainly not. Are they our enemies? God forbid. Jesus died for them the same way He died for each of us, and we must recognize that our fight is with spiritual forces, not with people (see Ephesians 6:12).

But I do believe that trans-activism, sponsored enthusiastically by the Biden administration, is a real threat to our societal stability. And, more importantly, I believe that we need to recognize that the transgender community is filled with wounded and hurting people, and even with endless affirmation and unlimited medical options, their pain will not go away.

Let's continue to do our best to find constructive ways to help them, even as they view us as enemies, accuse us of genocide and, in some cases, threaten us with vengeance.

Brown had a pronoun meltdown in his April 5 column, first responding to a father whose college-age daughter was asked to identify her pronouns:

I immediately wrote back, "I would not list mine for sure," adding in jest, "or else I'd say my pronouns are 'He is Lord.' They either accept this or they don't."

I continued, "I would not comply, and the school has no right to require it."

The father fully agreed, being reinforced in his own convictions.

Brown then cited a "former lesbian feminist professor" who declared that her use of "transgendered pronouns" was a "public sin," adding:

Having interacted extensively in the past with trans-identified Christians (in particular), and having dealt with the question on a more personal level with a trans-identified, non-Christian relative, I do understand the extreme sensitivities involved in this discussion.

I can honestly say, without judgment or condescension, that I fully understand why some Christians would argue for the use of PGPs for the sake of compassionate outreach. I really do get it. Why risk hurting someone who has already been hurt many times? Why risk driving someone away who might be very fragile emotionally?

But at the end of the day, reality is reality and truth is truth, and to collaborate with someone's deep, heartfelt confusion is to hurt them more than to help them.

Do you agree?

Brown's tactics are more about hurting LGBT people than helping them, given how he sees LGBT people as "confused" targets to be converted rather than individual people.

Brown once again showed his true sympathies in an April 12 column lashing out at anyone who refuses to hate transgender people like he does, denigrating them by declaring that they suffer from a "mass delusion":

I have often written about "transanity," by which I mean the social madness that has swept our nation (and other nations). It has reached the point that biological males share locker rooms with biological females and compete against them in sports, often obliterating female records and accomplishments in the process. It has gone so far that a Supreme Court justice nominee could not answer the question, "What is a woman?" And it has reached the point that minors are undergoing chemical castration and young teenage girls are having full mastectomies, with the avid support of the Biden administration. This is what I mean by transanity.

How can it be, then, that so many Americans strongly support those who identify as transgender? How can it be that the current administration is fighting so passionately to guarantee the "rights" of trans-identified kids, meaning, the "right" to identify contrary to biological realities and the "right" to undergo irreversible chemical or surgical changes to their bodies? Has everyone become complicit with this social madness?

Part of the answer is yes, we have lost our minds, corporately speaking. We are celebrating the emperor's new clothes, which are not clothes at all. We have embraced a mass delusion.

Brown complained that it's hard to personally hate transgender people for the heck of it, then blamed social contagion for them existing:

But the other part of the answer is that there is a compelling, personal, pro-transgender argument. It is something we will need to understand if we are to have a full perspective of the challenges at hand, remembering that we are dealing with both people and issues.

To be sure, I do believe that the vast majority of young people identifying as transgender today have been heavily influenced by the society at large, without which many would never have been confused about their gender identity.

Brown then took another stab at compassion:

But, to repeat, we do need to understand the pro-transgender argument and why some are so passionate about it.

In short, there are people, young and old alike, who have been deeply tormented with the sense that they are trapped in the wrong bodies. Try as I might to understand how this feels, I can't come close to wrapping my mind around it. It must be something terrible to live with.

But there are people who have felt like this for decades, suffering silently and feeling that hormone therapy and sex-change surgery are their only hope.

There are people who truly believe that accepting their transgender identity saved them from suicide. And there are parents who feel that the truly loving thing is to affirm their child's perceived identity. They are convinced that this is the path to wholeness.

And, just as quickly, he rejected that compassion:

Naturally, we would push back against many, if not all of these points, especially the idea that affirming our child's trans-identity is a healthy and good thing to do. There are plenty of professional counselors, therapists and psychologists who would heartily disagree.

As expressed by the American College of Pediatricians, "Americans are being led astray by a medical establishment driven by a dangerous ideology and economic opportunity, not science and the Hippocratic Oath. The suppression of normal puberty, the use of disease-causing cross-sex hormones and the surgical mutilation and sterilization of children constitute atrocities to be banned, not health care."

Brown didn't tell his readers that the American College of Pediatricians is a fringe-right group that peddles anti-LGBT hate like him.He concluded by once again pretending he's not attacking people, just "activism":

Trans-identified people are not our enemies, even if they consider us as such. And as much as we oppose their activist agenda – and we should oppose it wholeheartedly and unreservedly – we must always care about them as fellow image-bearers of God and objects of His redemptive love.

Brown did it again in his April 14 column cheering the rise in anti-LGBT hate:

Before speaking recently at an event at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., a pastor approached me and said that we had met 20 years ago when I spoke at a particular church in Virginia. Then he said, "You warned us back then about all the stuff that would be coming with gay activism and how everyone thought you were crazy. And now," he added, "it has all happened."

I smiled at him and said, "The same God who showed me what would happen with LGBTQ+ activism back then also showed me there would be a pushback!"

Day by day, that pushback continues, as the radical left continues to overplay its hand.

Btown was particuarly gleeful over right-wing rage against Bud Light for working with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney. And he tried yet again to pretend he hates only "activism" and not people:

As I've said endlessly over these years, my issue is with the activism, not with the people. (In fact, I addressed that again just a few days ago.) But I will continue to speak out against the corrosive effect that LGBTQ+ activism is having on our nation while reaching out to individuals on a personal level.

Thankfully, more and more Americans are pushing back, be they parents who are offended by drag queens grooming their kids or by major companies pushing males as females.

May the pushback continue to gain ground (but without crushing LGTBQ+ people in the process).

Oh, please. Brown would be more than happy to see people like Mulvaney crushed for the crime of being transgender in public -- after all, crushing activism inevitably means crushing people.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:52 AM EDT
Saturday, July 15, 2023
Buttigieg Derangement Syndrome Surfaces Again At The MRC
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center does have a bit of a case of Pete Buttigieg Derangement Syndrome -- we've documented how it tried to blame the effects of an Ohio train derailment (even though right-wingers typiclly oppose governmental intrusion in local matters and that the railroad, not the government, was really to blame).Alex Christy followed up in an April 26 post complaining that Buttigieg appeared on "The Daily Show" and "accused some Republicans of not being tough enough on railroad companies when it comes to rail safety," then whined that he "incorrectly use[d] the word 'literally.'"

Tim Graham, however, had a total meltdown over a Wired magazine profile of Buttigieg in a May 18 post headlined "Internet Ipecac":

Wired magazine used to tout itself as “the Rolling Stone of technology,” and like Rolling Stone, it enjoys publishing sticky valentines to leading Democrats. Conservatives are pointing and laughing at this profile by Virginia Heffernan, a Los Angeles Times columnist and Wired contributor: 

Pete Buttigieg Loves God, Beer, and His Electric Mustang
Sure, the US secretary of transportation has thoughts on building bridges. But infrastructure occupies just a sliver of his voluminous mind.

This clearly invokes 2007-era Obama hagiography, minus the admiration for Barack’s “chiseled pectorals.” Liberal minds are so incredibly sharp and expansive! Even their photographs of Buttigieg are ponderous:

Graham went on to whine that the profile noted that Buttigieg is religious, going on to sneer: "Anyone touting the 'robust Catholicism' and religious sincerity of President 'Rosary in my Pocket' Biden is clearly a Democrat. Biden is robustly pro-abortion and devoutly pro-LGBTQ." Graham did not provide evidence that Catholicism demand that people hate LGBTQ people the way that he and his fellow right-wingers do.

Graham closed with one more meltdown:

After a pile of denigrating remarks about Ted Cruz and Tucker Carlson and the  “androgen-addled, Putin-besotted ideologues” on the right, this question takes the religion cake: 

HEFFERNAN: Running DOT seems to suit you. Are there more ways the challenges of transportation speak to your spiritual side?

BUTTIGIEG: There’s just a lot in the scriptural tradition around journeys, around roads, right? The conversion of Saint Paul happens on the road. I think we are all nearer to our spiritual potential when we’re on the move. Something about movement, something about travel pulls us out of the routines that numb us to who we are, to what we’re doing, to everything from our relationships with each other to our relationships with God....

Virginia Hefferman is paid by Wired, but she clearly earned a generous payout from Buttigieg in his persistent attempts to paint himself as Caucasian Obama.

That complaint is rich coming from someone who turned the blog he runs into an aggressive PR division of Ron DeSantis that he and his subordinates really should be on his payroll.

(Graham wasn't alone: Fox News was also bothered by the interview, pulling the MRC-style rhetorical trick of portraying a single article as a purported indictment of the entire non-right-wing media.).

Posted by Terry K. at 10:40 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, August 28, 2023 1:45 PM EDT
WND's Lewis Pushes Famine Conspiracy By 'Elites'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Patrice Lewis has decided that the world's "elites" deliberately want the world to starve. She declared in her May 19 column:

We live in an age of manufactured crises. It's not enough to complain about racism, or sexism, or inflation, or immigration, or food shortages. No, the elites manufacture these crises where none existed before. They teach children to hate each other based on skin color, they destroy any strides women have made in the last few decades, they create shortages and increase the money supply, they throw open borders willy-nilly, and they close farms or start wars or declare certain foods to be evil so as to create food shortages. Oh, and then they stifle and punish anyone's attempts to point out the obvious by attacking free speech as "misinformation." I think Cloward and Piven had something to say about these tactics.

In other words, manufacture a crisis, then implement draconian responses to that crisis. Now the entire global food supply is being put at risk from the disastrous responses to the so-called "nitrogen crisis." Don't believe me? Ask the people of Sri Lanka how things are going.

"Nitrogen is a vital component of plant metabolism which is obtained from the soil," notes this article. "Alas, there is not enough nitrogen in the soil to grow plants at the scale needed to feed global populations. Before the arrival of commercial nitrogen fertilizers, famine was a frequent feature of the unreliable food supply across parts of the world. Without the fertilizer, famine will resume its gruesome role, something mainstream Net Zero politicians have to address in the near future. Virtue-signaling green delusions about 'rewilding,' bug diets and organic farming will not feed the world, probably not even a quarter of it."

In other words, the elites are poised to orchestrate famines in the near future by forcibly reducing the food supply through this nitrogen "crisis."

Modern farming has bred food security, which in turn has bred food complacency among the elites. Only those who have never known hunger can so cavalierly condemn others to die by starvation. Read that again: Only those who have never known hunger can so cavalierly condemn others to die by starvation.

Lewis offered no evidence that "elites" want people to starve or that they are intentionally limiting thte global supply of nitrogen. But the nitrogen shortage is real and is being discussed, despite Lewis claiming that there is "a curious and inexplicable silence among mainstream media and government officials." Instead, she went on another anti-"elite" rant:

And here's what "puzzles" me (/sarc/): The elites themselves need to eat. Why would they jeopardize even their own food supply by implementing these policies? I don't see them offering to eat crickets or live in caves; or better yet, kill themselves so as to remove their offensive carbon footprints for the good of the planet.

The answer, of course, is it's not about nutrition or climate change. It is, as always, about control.

We are on a madhouse collision course. Author Ayn Rand put it best: "We can ignore reality, but we cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality."

Lewis repeated a lot of this in her July 7 column:

There are few things more heartless than condemning people to die by starvation. Famines are cruel, capricious things. In ancient times, crop failures could happen for endless reasons: locusts, plant diseases, floods, droughts, etc. But in modern times, the vast majority of famines have been man-made. It is impossible to understate the horror of such events.

So here we are, looking into the yawning chasm of an unknown future, and being warned that famine once again is on the horizon. If this should come to pass, once again it will be a man-made event – and not because of climate change, but because of meddling governments fighting for power.

"It's curious to me that, at the very time the globalists are warning about food shortages and famine, their mouthpieces at the World Bank, the U.N., and within the administrations of the U.S. and its allies (notice China and Russia are nowhere to be found in these preposterous anti-food policies), are talking about converting over to a new and unproven form of 'sustainable' farming that's based more on reducing methane than it is on producing the highest yields of food," observes journalist Leo Hohmann.

You might remember Hohmann as the wildly Islamophobic onetime WND reporter who was so bad at his job that his anti-Muslim reporting had to be stealth-edited sometimes months after the fact, presumably to avoid lawsuits. He has discreditted himself quite thoroughly, so it's puzzling that Lewis would treat him as credible. But Lewis had more fearmongering to do:

Government takeover of farms is not uncommon, nor are the resulting famines. The Soviets' collectivization of farms ultimately led to the Ukrainian Holodomor. The Great Chinese Famine (which occurred as a result of the "Great Leap Forward" and "people's communes") is regarded as one of the greatest man-made disasters in human history. Is it any wonder Dutch farmers are fighting the same takeover agenda by their government? It's not hard to see the end result.

At the risk of repeating a cliché, whoever controls the food controls the people. The weaponization of food is nothing new in the annals of history, except this time it's being done on a far more international scale. Globalists and their useful idiots (the climate activists) have been desperate to reduce the human population for generations. If they can't do it indirectly, then by golly they'll do it directly by creating food shortages.

You've been warned.

Lewis' sources cannot be trusted, so one would be urged to work elsewhere for something more credible and less alarmist.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:23 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, July 15, 2023 2:24 AM EDT
Friday, July 14, 2023
MRC's Jean-Pierre-Bashing, Hunter Biden Derangement Edition
Topic: Media Research Center

Curtis Houck did his best to suck up to a right-wing reporter who wasn't Peter Doocy -- and insert a dose of Hunter Biden Derangememnt Syndrome -- in his writeup of the June 26 White House press briefing:

Real Clear Politics’s Philip Wegmann closed out Monday’s White House press briefing as the only reporter in the press corps to grill ever-inept Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre over what’s, at minimum, a questionable lack of ethics by President Biden having son Hunter attend last week’s state dinner for the Indian prime minister with Attorney General Merrick Garland.

“It’s not unusual for presidents to invite members of their family to official White House functions, like the State Dinner last week. I’m curious, though, in light of some of the recent legal controversy, if the President communicated to members of his family not to conduct business on White House ground,” he asked.

He added on a more specific addendum: “Can you tell us a bit about any kinds of guardrails that are up?”

Jean-Pierre started with the usual caveats that she need to “be...very mindful” because it concerns a Justice Department case.


Wegmann re-upped the part about whether he or anyone has called for there to be “guardrails” for the First Family when they conduct business, but Jean-Pierre scoffed, twice saying she wouldn’t “speak to anything that’s related to this case” except to say “ethics” are “take[n] that very, very seriously here in this administration.”

The next day, Houck took shots at a Jean-Pierre stand-in (as well as a former stand-in who wasn't even there) as the right-wing Hunter derangement continued:

Sadly depriving the public of the comically partisan White House Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates, the Biden regime trotted out Principal Deputy Press Secretary Olivia Dalton on Tuesday to fill in for Karine Jean-Pierre. In turn, Dalton faced some hardballs about the Biden economy, a faux-hardball from a Team Biden apple polisher, and new queries about Hunter Biden’s life of corruption.

The Fox News Channel’s Jacqui Heinrich greeted Dalton with questions about Hunter Biden, a topic the press corps had let go of after Friday.

“What message is the President trying to send to the American people when he invites his son to the state dinner and Camp David as we saw this past weekend amid everything he’s going through,” Heinrich first asked.


Always one for hardballs to Team Biden, the New York Post’s Steven Nelson invoked reported interference in the Hunter probe as well as rumored comments former President Obama gave to Biden in 2020 almost begging him to not run for president (click “expand”):

And that was pretty much it for the month, aside from Tim Graham touting in his June 28 podcast how he and guest (and subordinate) Nicholas Fondacaro "took some time to mock White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre for skipping out on ABC’s The View for the lamest reason possible." Which tells you just how much a need to incessantly mock and smear this woman dominates their lives.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:00 PM EDT
Newsmax Columnists Also Boosting RFK Jr.'s Presidential Bid
Topic: Newsmax

Newsmax's "news" side isn't the only part of the organization to give Robert Kennedy Jr.'s presidential campaign a boost in the hope that it might interfere with President Biden's re-election plans -- its columnists have been happy to hype him as well. Jeff Crouere used his May 1 column to defend Kennedy over a TV outlet declining to air his anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories:

ABC News obviously did not care for the claims that Kennedy was making about vaccines and the pharmaceutical industry. According to Kennedy, “47 USC 315 makes it illegal for TV networks to censor presidential candidates but Thursday, ABC showed its contempt for the law, democracy, and its audience by cutting most of the content of my interview.”

The censorship involved Kennedy’s comments about the government’s actions during the COVID pandemic. He said, he will be “happy to supply citations to support every statement I made” and lamented that “Instead of journalism, the public saw a hatchet job. Instead of information, they got defamation and unsheathed Pharma propaganda.”

In his response to such blatant censorship, Kennedy asked, “How can democracy function without a free and unbiased press?” If elected President, Kennedy promised to “free FCC from its corporate captors and force the agency to follow the law by revoking the licenses of networks that put the mercantile ambitions of advertisers ahead of the public interest.”

Of course, a "free and unbiased press" also means that the media is allowed to choose what it publishes and airs. Crouere would freak out if Newsmax was ordered to air all points of view.

In his May 2 column, Daniel McCarthy touted how President Biden "has to contend with a real Kennedy for next year's Democratic presidential nomination," then hyped how he went conspiratorial over assassinations of family members, noting that "He's convinced Sirhan Sirhan did not fire the fatal shots" that killed his father and that "He also holds the CIA culpable for the murder of his uncle in Dealey Plaza 60 years ago." McCarthy then insisted that Kennedy's penchant for conspiracy theories is somehow noble and that his family name legitimizes them:

Robert Kennedy Jr.'s penchant for "conspiracy theories" leads Biden-friendly commentators and political strategists to dismiss him.

He threatens to spoil their myth that Republicans are the crazy party, whether or not he poses any risk to Biden.

But in fact conspiracy theories have as much of a home in the Democratic Party as in the GOP, if not more of one.

The difference is that Democratic conspiracy theories, such as those alleging Russian responsibility for the election of Donald Trump in 2016, often come with the imprimatur of prestigious media outlets.

RFK Jr., on the other hand, is a Democrat whose conspiratorial beliefs don't dependably align with the elite media's prejudices.

He's long believed that vaccines contribute to autism. And he's a fiery critic of Anthony Fauci and the response by government and the medical establishment to COVID-19.

Views like those are supposed to be the province of QAnon, not Democratic primary voters, according to the commentators who routinely burnish the party's image — and tarnish the GOP's.

But the guardians of the Democratic Party's respectability are in for a rude awakening.

The Kennedy name, Biden's weakness and the profound distrust millions of Americans feel toward institutions such as the CIA, the media and the pharmaceutical companies will make RFK Jr. formidable.

McCarthy concluded by insisting that RFK Jr. is the real "Kennedy dream":

Biden, leader of a party whose liberalism is very different, hid behind the Kennedy dream.

RFK Jr. takes that away. And the bottomless sense of betrayal that animates Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is an epitaph for a generation.

Boomer Democrats loved the American dream. But they failed the real America.

A May 12 syndicated column by Mona Charen, however, deviated from the agenda. She noted Kennedy's penchant for conspiracy theories and his offensive claim that COVID vaccine mandates were like the Holocaust, adding that "he cost tens of thousands of Americans their lives thanks to minimizing the seriousness of COVID." She declaring that he "belongs in the select company of major figures who have used their power for harm. Perhaps he isn't quite right in the head. Who knows?" But she also admitted that he "appeals to significant numbers of Americans, and particularly to those who have always been on the other side of the aisle." Unlike with Crouere's and McCarthy's columns, though, Newsmax felt the need to stick a disclaimer at the top of it stating that "The following is not an endorsement, on the part of Newsmax, of any political candidate, or political party" -- even though it's clear she was not endorsing Kennedy.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:46 PM EDT
WND's Farah Still Can't Stop Indulging In Election Fraud Fantasies
Topic: WorldNetDaily

After all these years of being proven wrong, WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah still can't let go of his 2020 election truther fantasies. He huffed in his May 10 column:

The Democrats don't seem very concerned that they will inevitably lose the 2024 presidential election – probably because they plan to cheat again.

That makes me wonder what they have up their sleeve. Is Joe Biden actually running? Is Kamala Harris actually running? Will there be a late surprise from Michelle Obama? Or are they depending on China for another pandemic? How about another indictment of Donald Trump? They're not yet giving anything away.


Biden has made a mess of the economy. He made a mess of the Afghan withdrawal. He's made a mess of the border. He's made a mess of everything. Some 48% of Democrats don't even want him to run again.

So, what does he do for an encore to save his illegitimate administration? Or will he just lose in 2024 fair and square with Trump on the verge of a seismic victory – even an electoral realignment?

Will it be a "2000 Mules" replay? The Dems are just playing cool for now – just too cool. They keep arresting more and more Jan. 6 bystanders and calling them "insurrectionists." They keep indicting Trump on bogus charges. They make a mockery of our two-party state, playing their advantage with media, hyping Big Tech, using the Deep State and turning America into a laughingstock. And now Tucker Carlson has been summarily dismissed as the nation's highest-rated anchorman by Fox News.

No wonder Biden isn't worried. Somehow the fix is in. That's what he is thinking in his obviously cognitively challenged state.

If Farah thinks "2000 Mules" is credible, that nobody was violent at the Capitol riot or that Trump never committed any crimes, it's clear who the real "cognitively challenged" person is here.

Farah was still at in his May 22 column:

Google, Facebook, Bing and the "mainstream media" insist that real Americans shouldn't even whisper that elections were rigged.

It's become naïve. It's superstitious to be talking about vote fraud – the one thing you can't discuss about elections. Of course, we know it has not always been this way.

Democrats, who accuse Republicans uniquely of harping on the 2020 election, forget all the times they questioned previous races – including the 2016 presidential race, which Hillary Clinton lost. They even try to block out of our minds all the times the U.S. fixed foreign elections as well.

The U.S. is no stranger to interfering in the elections of other countries. Back in 2016, in fact, the Los Angeles Times featured one professor's database citing 81 different attempts by the United States to subvert foreign elections in a range of countries. No one questioned that rhetoric, let alone Big Tech, back then.

Of course, that was then and this is now.

Back then, it was President Barack Obama who slapped Russia with new penalties for meddling in the U.S. presidential election, kicking out dozens of suspected spies and imposing banking restrictions on five people and four organizations the administration says were involved.

The CIA accused Russia of interfering in the 2016 presidential election by hacking into Democratic and Republican computer networks and selectively releasing emails. There was never any proof offered.

Actually, there is much more proof of 2016 Russian hacking with the goal to influence the 2016 election than there is that the 2020 election included massive amounts of voting fraud (which is to say, virtually none).

After an irrelevant diversion into U.S. attempts to influence foreign elections, Farah decided to blame Barack Obama for this nonexistent voting fraud because he and Biden are "still in charge of the Deep State throughout 2020 and still today":

Do you recall Zuckerbucks? Did you watch "2000 Mules"? Remember, these are the people who have no shame calling fellow Americans the greatest threat America faces. They're telling you just what they think. They were telling you when they coalesced around Joe Biden in the late stages of the election of 2020.

Yes, it was Obama who did this to us, again. I wonder what he has planned for 2024?

Why, yes, we do recall "Zuckerbucks" -- which means we remember that any election office could have gotten that money if they had simply requested it. The fact that some election offices used that money to reach out to voters and help make it easier for them to vote during a pandemic does not mean that money "stole" the election. It is not illegal to want more people to vote, and Farah is lying by suggesting "Zuckerbucks" were an attempt to steal the election.

But then, no amount of evidence will dissuade dead-enders like Farah from their fantasies. It also shows who among us really has cognitive issues.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:06 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, July 14, 2023 12:09 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: The MRC's Trump Indictment Distraction Game
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center played all its usual cards in the face of Donald Trump's (first) indictment -- distraction, whataboutism and outright dismissal -- along with more attacks on the prosecutor as "Soros-backed." Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:16 AM EDT
Thursday, July 13, 2023
MRC's DeSantis Defense Brigade Went Into Cleanup Mode After Botched Twitter Launch
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center all day on May 24, the day Ron DeSantis officially announced his presidential campaign on Twitter, in full DeSantis Defense Brigade mode, despite the fact that there was little that actually needed to be defended. But the launch turned out to be a mess -- the Twitter Spaces server that was to host it crashed repeatedly, and DeSantis gave served up rote right-wing talking points instead of having any sort of real conversation with voters. Which means the MRC had to seriously spin the disaster away the next day. First up was Alex Christy, who complained that DeSantis was fact-checked, first serving up the Soviet-esque claim that teachers are teaching critical race theory even if they don't know they are:

How many PolitiFact fact-checkers does it take to fact-check a presidential announcement? Apparently four, as that is how many reporters it took to assess seven statements from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s Wednesday campaign launch on Twitter Spaces.

The first claim the intrepid quartet checked was “We eliminated critical race theory from our K through 12 schools.”

PolitiFact responded by claiming Critical Race Theory is a non-controversy, “University of Missouri education professor LaGarrett King previously told us that the problem is blown out of proportion. ‘The majority of teachers are not even familiar with what critical race theory is, nor do they teach it in their classrooms,’ King said.”

That doesn’t debunk DeSantis at all. It doesn’t matter if the majority of teachers are unfamiliar with CRT, because that ignores that one does not need to use the literal words “Critical Race Theory” to teach its worldview and that there is more to schools than what goes on in classroom, such as teacher trainings.

Christy then baselessly ranted that anyone in themilitary who defends President Biden's miliary policies is by definition "Democratic" and that "wokeness" is a barrier to recruitment despite the fact that nobody can actually identify anyone dissuaded from joining because it was too "woke":

In non-education policy, DeSantis argued “Biden’s politicized the military and caused recruiting to plummet.”

Fact-checkers have used Democratic service secretaries to fact-check Republicans on military matters before, but PolitiFact did it again, citing Army Secretary Christine Wormuth, “wokeness in the military or the COVID vaccine mandate, for example, those were relatively low on the list of barriers to service.”

A low barrier is still a barrier.

Curtis Houck grumbled that the eminently newsworthy failures at DeSantis' launch were treated as news by news organizations:

On Thursday morning, the major broadcast networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC were ebullient at the initial technical failures of Twitter Spaces for Governor Ron DeSantis’s (R-FL) 2024 presidential campaign announcement, seeking to kill DeSantis’s campaign and clear the GOP field. 

Over five different segments, they barely touched on what DeSantis said and instead reveled in the “mess” that was “roundly mocked” and was a sign of “rough...waters” for his campaign against Donald Trump, who “[had] a field day.”

NBC’s Today was brutal. Co-host Hoda Kotb bragged in a tease of a “[r]ough rollout,” “troubled launch,” and “chaotic start to the Ron DeSantis presidential campaign, marred by technical glitches on Twitter.”

She added ahead of the first report that the server issues with Twitter left “the campaign scrambling on day one.”


Over on the Disney-owned ABC, there was never any doubt as to whetherGood Morning America would join in. 

After co-host and former Clinton official George Stephanopoulos described the launch as “marred” and “riddled with technical difficulties,” chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl conceded DeSantis is “the most formidable Republican challenger to Donald Trump” with some “advantages.”

Aside from that, it was more of the same.


Socialist CBS Mornings co-host Tony Dokoupil came with jokes: “[I]t was billed as a great American comeback, those are the words of Ron DeSantis and you could set your clock by it, but you could not set your clock by that Twitter event.”

Note that Houck did not criticize Musk for the botched launch, though it was arguably his fault that Twitter was not robust enough to handle the launch's traffic. (Houck has irrelevantly decided that Dokoupil is a "socialist" solely because he did a news report a few years back on income inequality. Really. That's it.)

Houck also didn't disclose his personal interest in DeSantis' candidacy. The day before the launch, he gushed about it on his Twitteraccount: "Great move making the announcement with @ElonMusk. Heads on all sides will explode." he also took place in a launch-related event the day of the announcement, which he also touted: "The great folks at @FLVoiceNews (led by @BrendonLeslie) are doing a Twitter Spaces after @RonDeSantis's 2024 announcement with @ElonMusk. I'll be joining the action -- lots to discuss!"

Kevin Tober was also on cleanup patrol -- this time for his fellow right-wing writers as well as DeSantis:

On Wednesday, Florida Republican governor Ron DeSantis made his long-awaited presidential campaign announcement during a Twitter space with Elon Musk followed by numerous appearances on cable news and radio. Later on Wednesday evening, DeSantis held a call with members of conservative media where they asked the governor questions about how he’ll beat Donald Trump and what he’ll do if he’s elected President. 

The call which was helpfully transcribed by Mediaite showed leftwing propagandists like The View’s Alyssa Farah Griffinand Puck News’s Tara Palmeri were wrong about DeSantis hiding from the press or simply only speaking to “friendly press” since the call with conservative reporters frequently challenged the governor on a wide range of issues. 

DeSantis kicked off the call by addressing the elephant in the room which was the Twitter space that crashed a few times during his announcement event with Musk: “We are at a internet-breaking start with Elon Musk. You know, he offered me the ability to do either a SpaceX rocket or Twitter. I just figured Twitter would be safer. Turns out that we had too many people that tried to join. So in some respects, you know, that’s a that’s a good sign.”

Despite not citing any actual challenging questions -- in fact, most were softballs and not very probing at all -- Tober insisted this was somehow a victory for right=wing media:

This call shows that conservative media by and large can be trusted to hold their own side’s feet to the fire and ask probing questions. 

That’s not something you see from reporters on the left who simply give their favorite candidates and politicians a foot massage.

Only in Tober's right-wing bubble can Farah Griffin -- whom the MRC irrationally hates -- be considered a "leftwing propagandist." And the fact remains that DeSantis refused to talk to anyone who wasn't from a right-wing media outlet, which that he is, in fact, afraid to venture beyond a "friendly press."

Posted by Terry K. at 11:20 PM EDT
WND Attacks Wash. Post After Durham Report -- But Doesn't Back Them Up
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Bob Unruh complained in a May 17 WorldNetDaily article:

The Washington Post, the personal newspaper of Amazon billionaire and noted Democrat donor Jeff Bezos, says it is standing by its Trump-Russia stories, and the Pulitzer Prize they won.

That's even though a 300-page report from Special Counsel John Durham this week confirmed what President Trump has argued all along, that the reporting essentially was a "witch hunt," about a conspiracy theory based on zero evidence.

The now-debunked claims were begun and funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and contended that Trump, somehow, was obligated to Russia for his campaign. Actually, those on Clinton's payroll to create the allegations, to divert the public's attention from her own decision to post national secrets on an unsecure email system, used their own Russian sources to fabricate their claims.

The trouble is that the New York Times and the Washington Post both were given Pulitzers for their reporting on what now is known to be fiction.

Only the Pulitzers weren't in the "fiction" category.

Unruh's report is essentially a rewrite of a right-wing Daily Mail article making the same claim. But Unruh offered no evidence of anything in the Post's reporting that was proven wrong by Durham's report -- not even anything claimed in the Daily Mail story. Further, Unruh is falsely claiming that the investigation into Trump was "begun and funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign." As Washington Post writer Philip Bump documented, a timeline of events shows that there were plenty of shady events -- Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort giving campaign data to a Russian operative, Trump saying surprisingly nice things about Vladimir Putin -- that didn't involve the Clinton campaign at all, and Bump argued that the Durham report actually undermines right-wing efforts to blame Clinton for the investigation. But Unruh continued to whine anyway:

Durham's conclusion was blunt: "Neither U.S. law enforcement nor the Intelligence Community appears to have possessed any actual evidence of collusion in their holdings at the commencement of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation."

Yet the prize-winning reports were based on the false assumption there was evidence.

Unruh offered no proof of this.

Unruh also noted that "A Post spokesman claimed a Pulitzer board review claimed no elements of the stories 'were discredited by facts' at that time," but said nothing more about it. In fact, Unruh misled about who the Pulitzer board review said. Here's a fuller quote as reported by the Post:

In an unusual move, it authorized two independent reviews of the articles submitted by the newspapers — and essentially recertified the results.

“The separate reviews converged in their conclusions: that no passages or headlines, contentions or assertions in any of the winning submissions were discredited by facts that emerged subsequent to the conferral of the prizes,” it said in a statement.

Unruh also claimed that "Not not ago, the Columbia Journalism Review released a scathing report that specifically targeted the Times for its reporting." But as critics have pointed out, that report was little more than revisionism that ignored inconvenient facts while advancing Trump's self-serving criticism of the investigation.

We know that WND these days is little more than a content mill and that Unruh just rewrites stuff and doesn't do any actually reporting, but this is a serious hack job even for him -- he just repeats partisan assertions and provides no evidence to back them up. Is this laziness what WND News Center donors are paying for?

Posted by Terry K. at 6:23 PM EDT
MRC Does Guest Ideology Counts For Late-Night Shows -- But Not Gutfeld
Topic: Media Research Center

Alex Christy's main job at the Media Research Center is to complain that late-night TV isn't right-wing enough. this meams that, in addition to be a comedy cop, he's also complaining about the guests who appear on the shows. So when late-night hosts departed their shows in recent months, Christy was quick to churn out posts complaining their guests were somehow too liberal. When Trevor Noah left "The Daily Show," Christy had his complaints ready for a Dec. 9 post:

During his seven-year tenure as host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, Trevor Noah brought a reliably liberal bias to the program, a NewsBusters study has found.

MRC analysts found that from when Noah began hosting The Daily Show on September 28, 2015 through his final show on December 8, 2022, Noah had on 159 partisan guests including 109 unique individuals. Of these 159 guests, 137, or 86.16 percent, were Democrats or in some way affiliated with the Democratic Party.

When James Corden's late-night show ended, Christy had a very similar complaint ready:

During his eight-year stint as host of CBS’s The Late Late Show, James Corden could be counted on to use the show to advance the electoral interests of the Democratic Party, a NewsBusters study has found.

MRC analysts found that from March 23, 2015, through April 27, 2023, Corden had on 26 partisan guests including 17 unique individuals, 100 percent of whom were Democrats or in some way affiliated with the Democratic Party. At CBS, Stephen Colbert is far more aggressive in booking Democrat politicians, but Corden has a "perfect record."

The most memorable of these softball sessions was Nancy Pelosi’s April 2020 appearance where Corden fell in love with her freezer full of expensive ice cream. It ended with him asking Pelosi about her opinions of individual Republicans, holding up their pictures. He ended with a picture of Darth Vader, and Pelosi quipped “Even the party has gone beyond Darth Vader.” Corden shot back: “Darth Vader? I thought it was Dick Cheney!”

The British transplant would also give solemn monologues trashing America for a lack of gun control, declaring the country to be "one of the most backward places in the world,” and on abortion, declaring Dobbs to be "the biggest rollback of human rights in modern U.S. history."

It's worth noting that the MRC dishonestly plays both sides of the fence here: It has a history of encouraging conservatives to not appear on shows deemed too "liberal," then attacking those very same shows for not having conservatives on.

When the late-night shows shut down production due to the writers' strike, Christy had another guest count in a May 19 post under the headline "Good Riddance":

With the Writers Guild of America going on strike, it is likely that America has seen the last of the first half of 2023’s late night comedy shows. Whether America wants them to return is an open question as 95 percent of their 2023 guests have been liberal, a NewsBusters study has documented.

MRC analysts found that from January 3 through May 1 (the last night of shows before the strike ended production of new episodes), liberal guests outnumbered conservative guests by 77 to 4.

The study looked at the daily six late night comedy shows: ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Late Late Show with James Corden (up through its April 27 termination), and Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. FNC's Gutfeld! was not included.

That's right -- Christy once again excluded Gutfeld's show from scrutiny, even though his job is presumably to evaluate all late-night snows. That's presumably because he doesn't want to be caught demonstrating the fact that Gutfeld is at least as biased to the right as he claims the other shows are to the left.

Christy also laughably whined that "Zero guests from Fox News appeared on any of the programs" -- though he identified no person associated with another network who ever appeared on Fox News.He also put "comedy" in scare quotes in the headline of his post because he has decided that these comedians are making fun of right-wingers like him, they cannot possibly be funny. That makes him a good right-wing activist, but a poor judge of comedy.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:41 PM EDT
FAKE NEWS: WND Republishes False Infowars Story About London Mayor
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has an unfortunate tendency to publish fake news, but even it should know better than to republish anything from the notorious conspiracy site Infowars. Yet that's exactly what it did with a May 23 article:

London Mayor Sadiq Khan revealed in his new book, Breathe, he suffered a heart attack during the 2021 COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

Khan explained as he spoke to the COP26 crowd, “out of nowhere, I felt a knot in my chest – a kind of tightening” and he had to be “carried off the stage” while “barely conscious.”

The book stated, “My shirt was drenched with sweat and I felt like I was on fire.”

That's all of the article WND published -- indicating that it was stolen from Infowars -- but it still contains a major error. As a fact-checker pointed out Khan did not suffer a heart attack at the conference -- and there is no mention of a cardiac arrest in Khan's book, from which this story is derived.

It's also mentioned in the headline of WND's version of the article that Khan's purported cardiac event "days after [a] COVID booster." The Infowars article pushed a baseless conspiracu theory:

Just twelve days after taking both a Covid booster and flu shot on the same day, Khan suffered the heart attack.

It’s likely the health scare was kept from the public until now as it would have surely created more skepticism of the experimental mRNA jabs.

Needless to say, no evidence was presented to link the two events. Like WND, Infowars doesn't need no stinkin' facts when there are malicious and false narratives to promote.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:13 AM EDT
Wednesday, July 12, 2023
Even Before Twitter Campaign Launch, MRC DeSantis Defense Brigade Was Fully Mobilized
Topic: Media Research Center

In a May 14 post, Mark Finkelstein complained that "Rick Wilson of the disgraced Lincoln Project" besmirched Ron DeSantis' chances in a presidential race, and took particular offense to a prediction of how Donald Trump will treat him:

Wilson began by attacking DeSantis's personality, claiming that he "doesn't like humans, has to pretend to be human." He insisted DeSantis has a "mean streak." Yes, Rick Wilson said that, without any introspection about his own behavior.

In contrast, despite being sure to get on record that he dislikes everything about Trump, Wilson argued Trump does have "charisma" and "energy." 

In a particularly gruesome metaphor, Wilson then predicted that in a debate, Trump would "tear Ron DeSantis's head off and kick it around like a soccer ball."

Again, this could well just be Wilson trying to tear down DeSantis because he and the Dems see him as the biggest threat to Biden.

Note: Imagining DeSantis's head being torn off and kicked around is in keeping with Wilson's creepy penchant for violent fantasies about Republicans.

Turns out DeSantis didn't need an assist from Trump on his campaign launch -- he and Elon Musk botched things all by themselves. On the day DeSantis' campaign was to launch his campaign in an Twitter event, on May 23, Finkelstein returned to defend both DeSantis and Musk:

Morning Joe was on brand as a daily DNC messaging board. There wasn't a positive word on tonight's anticipated Ron DeSantis campaign announcement on Twitter this evening with Elon Musk. From Mika Brezinski to Jonathan Lemire, Willie Geist, Katty Kay, and Elise Jordan, all expressed their energetic reservations and criticism of the DeSantis strategy.

Sykes also mocked DeSantis for somehow going "all in on Elon" and described Musk as displaying "brain worms"—whatever that means.


Sykes did see one upside to DeSantis making his announcement with Musk, claiming that it will "throw a certain amount of chaos into MAGA world." 

One thing Sykes failed to mention was the contrast in announcement styles between DeSantis and Biden. When the latter announced his re-election bid, he did so via a carefully scripted and produced video. No live speech in which Biden's inevitable fumbles would be on full display. In contrast, DeSantis will reportedly be doing a live chat with Musk: no training wheels necessary!

Finkelstein also complained that Sykes said that DeSantis was "bowing the knee to a tech oligarch, somebody who has been very publicly decompensating, an erratic narcissistic megalomaniac like Elon Musk."

Curtis Houck tried to pre-frame criticism of DeSantis' launch plans in a post headlined "They're Terrified," with a particular obsession about the Trump-related books the correspondents had written:

On Wednesday morning ahead of Governor Ron DeSantis’s (R-FL) 2024 presidential announcement with Twitter owner Elon Musk, the “big three” networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC lambasted DeSantis from the left and touted former President Trump’s attacks, all in an attempt to bury DeSantis before he officially enters the race.

CBS chief campaign and elections correspondent Robert Costa — whose stock rose culminated in a book with Bob Woodward — painted a picture on CBS Mornings that DeSantis’s campaign is already on death’s door: “Our latest polling shows Governor DeSantis trailing former President Donald Trump by more than 30 points. The question now is can he close that gap. But doing so will not be easy.”


Over on Disney-owned ABC, Good Morning America had chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl on the case.

Karl — who cashed in on the Trump hysteria with two New York Times bestsellers about Trump (here and here) and recently announced plans for a third — made sure to downplay DeSantis’s unique launch: “But DeSantis’s campaign team says the official statement will come with an audio-only discussion on Twitter with Elon Musk. The first campaign appearance not planned until next week[.]”

Noting DeSantis has already made stops in early-voting states, Karl jabbed the Florida governor as having spent time in Iowa and New Hampshire “trying the person-to-person campaigning he is not known for” and, on a trip overseas, “he awkwardly avoided questions about running for president.”

Likely fearful of losing his money spigot, Karl again attacked: “His challenge now is to try to find a way to beat Trump without alienating Trump supporters. In his first campaign for governor, DeSantis ran as a clone of Donald Trump.”

Karl even closed with the Trump team’s response and how “Trump has already spent millions of dollars on television ads attacking DeSantis” to the point of “having spent more money attacking DeSantis than they spent in the entire 2022 midterm cycle supporting Republican congressional candidates.”

Nicholas Fondacaro had his daily meltdown over "The View" in another pre-announcement post, unable tounderstand that Whoopi Goldberg was joking when she suggested that an image of DeSantis in a teaser video shot almost entirely from behind was a body double, then ranted at her further:

She even had a Luddite moment and shared her irritation that DeSantis was going to announce his campaign via Twitter. “And look, you know what, this idea of announcing on Twitter, I’m – I'm old and I'm okay being old, do that on television. Okay?” she shouted. “I want to see you do it on television. I want to see you actually take real Americans' questions. That's what I want.”

Goldberg’s comments spiraled into the unhinged as she stoked the audience’s hatred of DeSantis, suggesting he “dislike[d] people of color.” She even seemed to threaten him, saying “gay folks” would rise up and come for him:

Then in his podcast recorded before the actual Twitter debacle, this was all rehashed, with the help of Fondacaro.

The MRC also published a May 24 column by Ben Shapiro headlined "Will Elon Musk Break the Legacy Media Stranglehold?" in which he crowed that DeSantis’ decision to launch his campaign on  Twitter "represents yet another blow to the power of the legacy media." He concluded by gushing further: "Conservatives no longer need the approval of reporters at The New York Times. They no longer need to suffer the indignities of skewed grilling at the hands of partisan hacks who work for the alphabet networks. Times have changed. And DeSantis’ Twitter launch is just the latest evidence." What that actually means, of course, is that Shapiro and other Republicans don't want their candidiates to face any scrutiny outside the right-wing bubble, even though they must eventually face voters who don't live there.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:08 PM EDT
Newsmax Gives Congressman's Falsehood A Pass
Topic: Newsmax

Sandy Fitzgerald wrote in a May 17 Newsmax article:

This week's House Administration Oversight subcommittee hearing on the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol revealed an "absolute failure of leadership with the Capitol Police on that day," Rep. Greg Murphy, one of the congressmen grilling Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger, said Wednesday on Newsmax. 

Murphy, a North Carolina Republican, also told Newsmax's "Wake Up America" that he thinks some of the "obstruction of justice" by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office on that day became "almost like an invitation for a riot to occur."

"There was a refusal to allow the National Guard to come in with the anticipation that this could get rowdy," said Murphy.

However, he said he thinks with new leadership in place, including with the Capitol Police, "a lot of those mechanisms of the line of order have been corrected. ... I'm a lot more optimistic about the role of the Capitol Police as we move forward, but the last leadership was absolutely derelict in their duty."

In fact -- as we documented when WorldNetDaily pushed this same claim -- the conservative website the Dispatch reported that Donald Trump gave no order to deploy the National Guard, and not only did Pelosi not reject a request to deploy them, she was not in a position to because she wasn't in the chain of command -- in Washington, D.C., the National Guard can be deployed only by the president.

Not only did Fitzgerald refuse to fact-check Murphy's false claim, the Newsmax TV host didn't either, responding only, "Yeah, absolutely." Not exactly a good sign for journalism at Newsmax.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:03 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 12, 2023 8:05 PM EDT
WND Touts A Dubious Study Attacking Masks
Topic: WorldNetDaily

If there is a study that touches on COVID vaccines or face masks, it's pretty much a certainty that any reporting WorldNetDaily does on it will be highly misleading or false in a way that falsely demonizes them and ignore flaws in the study that have been identified by others. For one recent study, WND started off with an April 23 article it stole from the Daily Mail, with the provocative claim that "Face masks may raise the risk of stillbirths, testicular dysfunction and cognitive decline in children." This was so alarming -- and so clickbait-y -- that Bob Unruh cranked out his own article on the study on May 10:

A new study suggests that those COVID masks, pushed on the American public by the likes of Biden medical adviser Anthony Fauci and multiple state and local officials, actually caused problems with high blood pressure.

And they "reduced thinking ability."

And "increased respiratory problems."

And more.

Essentially, they were having people "effectively poisoning oneself by breathing in too much carbon dioxide."

"What can breathing too much carbon dioxide do to you? The authors write that 'at levels between 0.05% and 0.5% CO2,' one might experience an 'increased heart rate, increased blood pressure and overall increased circulation with the symptoms of headache, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, dizziness, rhinitis, and dry cough.” Rates above 0.5 percent can lead to 'reduced cognitive performance, impaired decision-making and reduced speed of cognitive solutions.' Beyond 1 percent, 'the harmful effects include respiratory acidosis, metabolic stress, increased blood flow and decreased exercise tolerance,'" explained a City Journal report.

It was based on a study from Germany that quantifies "the harms" from wearing masks.

You will not be surprised to learn that the study's results are being overstated and may not actually hold up. As a fact-checker found:

Experts told us the article is flawed.

Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said the review article relied partly on studies of animals that are chronically exposed to carbon dioxide. 

Those studies are not applicable to humans intermittently wearing face masks, he said.

Jeremy Howard, a scientist at the University of San Francisco, said the review article overestimates by 60 times the amount of carbon dioxide people breathe when wearing masks.


Scientists have found little evidence that the kind of masks worn by schoolchildren negatively affect oxygen or carbon dioxide levels. Scientists also say contamination levels on masks are no worse than contamination levels on other common objects.

Studies have not found significant health problems even from prolonged mask wearing.

But Unruh cares about fearmongering, not facts, so he uncritically repeated partisan claims from the right-wing City Journal that "Evidence continues to mount that mask mandates were perhaps the worst public-health intervention in modern American history" and that wearing masks "ignored centuries of Western norms, the best medical evidence, and common sense."

Posted by Terry K. at 1:01 PM EDT

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