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Tuesday, November 21, 2023
MRC Continues Poll Flip-Flop, Loving The Ones That Make Biden Look Bad
Topic: Media Research Center

We've documented how, after the 2020 presidential election, the Media Research Center lashed out at polls showing Donald Trump badly losing the election, screeching without evidence the polls were "intentionally wrong" as a part of its conspiracy theory that the election was stolen from Trump based, ironically, on biased polls it bought from Trump's election pollster and the polling firm founded by Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway -- but not long afterwards, they embraced without question polls from many of the same places showing President Biden not doing well. Over the past year, the MRC has continued to hype polls that make Biden look bad. For instance:

When others treated bad Biden polls like the MRC treated bad Trump polls, the MRC hypocritically objected. Mark Finkelstein complained in a Sept. 8 post:

Oh, the irony! Employing a famous James Carville phrase, on Friday's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough warned there'd be a lot of Democrat "bedwetting" over a CNN presidential poll showing Biden losing to Trump (and to almost all the other Republican contenders).

But Scarborough and his comrades on the panel then, obliviously, proceeded to besprinkle the linens themselves!

Historian and occasional Biden speechwriter Jon Meacham led off the leaky parade. Stamping his figurative feet, Meacham flatly declared, "I don't believe these polls, honestly."

Scarborough - after big-footing Mika who had tried to end the segment - and Mara Gay of the New York Times similarly cast doubts and aspersions on the poll. Gay even broke out the old chestnut that polls are "just a snapshot in time!"

And don't forget, Mara: the only poll that counts is the one on Election Day!

As for Scarborough, he resorted to the fingers-in-the-ears technique of blotting out bad news, admitting that he recently told a reporter, " I just -- you know what? Just, I don't want to hear the polls. I don't want to hear 'em."

Finkelstein didn't mention the irony of he and his employer flip-flopping on polls when they reinforce certain political narratives.

Jeffrey Lord touted the poll in his Sept. 9 column, noting that CNN is "famously a left leaning media outlet" and thus, should be taken seriously (unlike all those other times when Lord and the rest of the MRC lashed out at CNN):

The real question now is whether CNN, post its recent leadership changes, is determined to be about just-the-news as it is - no matter how it reflects on either Joe Biden or any other liberal favorite of the moment?

In fact, as the nation heads into the cauldron that will be the 2024 election, with a GOP opposition raising countless questions about the decidedly shady Biden family business, his age, mental condition and more, will CNN be on the job reporting the facts?  And if so, is that, as Hannity has also put it, the canary in the coal mine that says liberals are getting seriously uncomfortable with Biden and want him out of the race?

Or is it a return to the straight up just-the-facts journalism that made CNN what it was when it first appeared on the scene as created by founder Ted Turner?

Alex Christy complained in a Sept. 12 post when another poll was questioned:

Reacting to the news that Speaker Kevin McCarthy has authorized an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden on Tuesday’s Inside Politics on CNN, host Dana Bash blamed “the consuming of media” for a poll that showed 61 percent of Americans believe Joe Biden was involved with his son Hunter’s business operations and not because of any evidence. Ironically, later in the show, Bash would change into a sweater that read “be truthful, not neutral.”

P.J. Gladnick used a Sept. 15 post to mock an MSNBC column called "How not to have a psychic meltdown when you see new Trump-Biden poll numbers," neglecting to mention that the MRC's psychic meltdown over bad Trump numbers in 2020 involved accusing the pollsters of making up the numbers -- a malicious accusation for which, again, it has never provided a scintilla of evidence to support.

That's not to say the MRC doesn't still attack polls that don't fit its partisan narratives. Clay Waters spent an Aug. 8 post being angry that "Two publicly funded media outlets, National Public Radio and the PBS NewsHour, sponsored a Marist poll to find out how Republicans feel about an issue the press has decided is urgent -- 'climate change.' To their horror, it found Republicans would rather preserve living standards for humans rather than throw their money with the aim of somehow stopping the temperature from rising." Waters couldn't actually attack the poll outright -- Marist is a respected pollster, after all -- so he tried to hint at credibility issues by pointing out that PBS and NPR are "publicly funded," though he didn't explain the actual relevance of doing so.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:40 PM EST
Newsmax Dials Back On Promotion Of RFK Jr. After He Moves From Democrat To Independent
Topic: Newsmax

When we last checked in, Newsmax was pushing the idea that Robert Kennedy Jr. running as an independent instead of a Democrat would pull even more votes from President Biden in 2024. In that vein, an Oct. 3 column by Jeff Crouere declared that Kennedy running as an independent "a smart decision by Kennedy since he is going nowhere as a Democrat [sic] presidential candidate as the party’s nomination process is rigged in favor of Biden," adding: "Kennedy’s voice is being silenced as a Democrat. Becoming an independent candidate will not only boost his campaign, but it will also help Americans reclaim our country."

When Kennedy actually made the switch to running as an independent a few days later, however, Newsmax wasn't quite as supportive. It first ran an Oct. 9 wire article about the switch, but followed that with an article by Eric Mack repeating a Republican attack on Kennedy:

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. dropped his presidential primary campaign as a Democrat on Monday to run as an independent, but he will not be getting a pass from the Republican National Committee, saying he "is still a Democrat."

"Make no mistake — a Democrat in Independent's clothing is still a Democrat," RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel wrote in a statement.

RNC Research issued a detailed account of RFK Jr.'s political platform aligning with progressives, making him "just another radical, far-left Democrat."

There was no mention of how Newsmax and other Republicans had supported Kennedy before then, nor any explanation of why the RNC waited until Kennedy switched to an independent run to start attacking him.

On Oct. 10, Newsmax returned to cheerleader mode. An article by Mark Swanson hyped how Kennedy reported "raised more than $11 million in the six hours after he announced a switch from running as a Democrat to an independent for president," and he later appeared on Eric Bolling's Newsmax TV show, where he bashed Biden.

Newsmax's coverage of Kennedy slowed down after that. An Oct. 23 column by Chris Clem gushed that Kennedy's "proposals to address the [alleged border] crisis transcend the usual partisan polarization on the immigration issue and should garner broad support across the political spectrum," but an Oct. 26 article by Michael Katz noted that "Donald Trump Jr. reportedly accused Robert F. Kennedy Jr. of being a Democrat plant Thursday, saying the only reason Kennedy ended his challenge to President Joe Biden and run as an independent in 2024 was to hurt the former president's chances of winning the election." A Nov. 1 article by Eric Mack finally admitted the obvious, that Kennedy draws more from Republicans than Democrats:

Robert Kennedy Jr.'s third-party presidential bid is a talking point for Democrats and Republicans claiming he is going to effectively help elect the other side, but a new analysis shows the donors are more Republican than Democrat.

Donor data not only shows the large tranche of funds into the RFK Jr. campaign are coming from Republican-leaning donors — far more former of President Donald Trump's past donors than President Joe Biden's — but they are also 60% of his donors who have not donated in either of the past two political campaigns, Politico reported.

RFK Jr. is the champion of the American voter base that is disenchanted with both parties, but the donor data analysis sides with the polls saying he will be a greater threat to the Republican presidential nominee over Biden.


There were 2,100 donors giving nearly $2 million that previously made WinRed donations since 2020, while there were 1,700 donors totaling $1.4 million to ActBlue, according to the report, citing Federal Election Commission data on large-dollar donors.

Also, more than 500 of RFK Jr.'s biggest donors donated to Trump in 2020, a figure more than three times as high as those who gave to Biden.

Biden donors are not RFK Jr. supporters. Just a handful have given to those two, while more than 160 large donors have given to both Trump and RFK Jr., according to the FEC.

Mack didn't mention that his employer has been a big booster of Kennedy. An article the next day by Swanson reinforced the point:

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. pulls in 22% of votes in a hypothetical 2024 general election matchup against incumbent President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll.

According to the survey results of registered voters released Wednesday, Biden receives 39% to Trump's 36% in the three-way hypothetical. Kennedy, the subject of this month's cover story in Newsmax Magazine, would seem to siphon off more votes from Trump than Biden; the incumbent leads Trump by just one point in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup — 47% to 46%, according to the poll.

Yes, Newsmax had a cover story on Kennedy in his magazine, which it hyped by vclaiming, "He’s got Democrats running scared. Even if his popularity doesn’t gain steam, many say that’s enough to propel Trump back into the White House." But the only thing it's done on him since was a Nov. 20 article claiming that Kennedy "tops the list of most favored political figures in a Harvard CAPS-Harris poll."

Posted by Terry K. at 5:39 PM EST
Jack Cashill's Obama Obsession Continues
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Obama obsessive Jack Cashill is at it again. He spent his Sept. 13 WorldNetDaily column recounting the tale of one Susan Daniels, who promoted an Obama conspiracy theory about his Social Security number:

In 2009, a client asked Daniels to run a background check on Barack Obama. Daniels had run checks on thousands of individuals without anxiety or incident. This was different.

What Daniels planned to do was perfectly legal. That said, she had a generalized fear of retaliation. Had any of her seven children still depended on her, she probably would have punted. But with her 67th birthday looming, she figured, if not now, when?

The Social Security Number (SSN) she found attached to Obama immediately struck her as fishy. She knew the prefix "042" had to have an East Coast provenance. Inquiring further, she traced its issuance to Connecticut somewhere in the years between 1977 and 1979.

In March 1977, however, Obama was a 15-year-old living in Hawaii. Obama's half-sister, Maya Soetoro, was about that age when she received her SSN in 1985 or 1986 with a standard Hawaiian prefix of "576."

There was no getting around the obvious: President Barack Obama had been using an anomalous and possibly fraudulent SSN for more than 20 years.

This is one charge the media did not even try to refute. When WND reporter Les Kinsolving raised the question at a White House press briefing—"Do you know of any record that the president ever had a mailing address in Connecticut?"—Press Secretary Gibbs mockingly linked the question to the birth certificate issue and dropped it quick.

Like others in alternative media, I was intrigued. When passing through the Cleveland area some summers ago, I grabbed a lunch with Susan to get her take on things.

Like any good conspiracy theorist, Cashill ignores the most logical explanation: a typographical error. As Snopes explained:

The most likely explanation for the discrepancy is a simple clerical or typographical error: the ZIP code in the area of Honolulu where Barack Obama lived at the time he applied for his Social Security number in 1977 is 96814, while the ZIP code for Danbury, Connecticut, is 06814. Since '0' and '9' are similarly shaped numbers and are adjacent on typewriter keyboards, it's not uncommon for handwritten examples to be mistaken for each other, or for one to be mistyped as the other (thereby potentially resulting in a Hawaiian resident's application mistakenly being routed as if it had originated from Connecticut).

Oddly, Cashill made a point of adding that Daniels is, overall, too crazy even for him: "I cannot vouch for any of Susan's theories about Obama other than the SSN."

In his Sept. 27 column, headlined "Barack Obama: Pied Piper of smiley-face fascism," Cashill lashed out at Obama for wanting to fight online hate and lies, which caused him to rage again:

As Obama sees things, this disinformation inevitably comes from the right. Using social media, the Putin-Bannon crowd "flood a country's public square with enough raw sewage," "spread enough dirt" and "plant enough conspiracy theories" to weaken democratic institutions.

Although Obama, of course, believes in free speech – he is very nearly an "absolutist" on the subject – he thinks that some "level of public oversight and regulation" is needed to clean up the sewage.


Of note, while Obama was speaking theoretically about "disinformation" control, his proxy, President Joe Biden, was implementing it.

Thanks to the media induced hysteria about COVID-19, Biden had all the pretext he needed to offer the kind of public oversight that Obama could only dream about.

The 5th Circuit judges summed up Biden's efforts. "On multiple occasions [White House] officials coerced the [social media] platforms into direct action via urgent, uncompromising demands to moderate content."

The judges added specifics: "Privately, the officials were not shy in their requests – they asked the platforms to remove posts 'ASAP' and accounts 'immediately,' and to 'slow[] down' or 'demote' content. In doing so, the officials were persistent and angry."

Said the judges in summary, "The Supreme Court has rarely been faced with a coordinated campaign of this magnitude orchestrated by federal officials that jeopardized a fundamental aspect of American life."

Cashill didn't explain why lies and misinformation should be allowed to spread unfettered.Instead, he leaned into COVID vaccine conspiracy theories:

Obama gave his Stanford talk while this coordinated censorship campaign was in full flower. He pretended not to notice. He had, after all, a problem to solve.

"So inside our personal information bubbles," he said of his political enemies, "our assumptions, our blind spots, our prejudices aren't challenged, they're reinforced."

As the Gallup survey shows, however, it was his people who were living – and dying – inside the bubble. "And naturally," said Obama, "we're more likely to react negatively to those consuming different facts and opinions." Yes, precisely. We call them "Karens," Democrats almost to a person.

By April 2022, Americans, on the right at least, had caught on to the dangers posed by the various COVID vaccines. If Obama had, he kept that information to himself.

"And yet despite the fact that we've now, essentially clinically tested the vaccine on billions of people worldwide," he told the Stanford crowd, "around 1 in 5 Americans is still willing to put themselves at risk and put their families at risk rather than get vaccinated."

As we know now, virtually everything the Biden White House said about vaccines was false.

Cashill pushed the fringe narrative that because COVID vaccines don't offer 100 percent protection with zero side effects -- something no other vaccine has ever achieved -- they are worthless and dangerous, insisting without evidence that "young people who were at close to zero risk of dying from COVID were suffering and sometimes dying from the vaccine itself."

In other words, Cashill is invoking one conspiracy theory to bolster another. No wonder he opposes anyone calling out his hate and lies -- it might jeopardize his business model.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:22 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, November 21, 2023 1:33 PM EST
NEW ARTICLE: The MRC's Trump Indictment Distraction Game, Round 3
Topic: Media Research Center
For Donald Trump's third indictment, the Media Research Center first insisted that it wasn't newsworthy, then played its usual distraction-and-whataboutism routine. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:38 AM EST
Monday, November 20, 2023
MRC Continues Cheap Shots At Fetterman's Health, Hoodies
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center went hard after John Fetterman during the 2022 race for Pennsylvania Senate, portraying the Democrat as mentally incapacitated after suffering a stroke in an attempt to boost his Republican opponent, Mehmet Oz. The attacks waned around election day because 1) they weren't working, as Fetterman handily won, and 2) it looked more than a lilttle tacky to attack Fetterman over a health issue. The MRC started to feel better about attacking Fetterman as the year went on, though. A Feb. 17 post by Nicholas Fondacaro offered fake compassion after Fetterman checked into Walter Reed Medical Center to deal with depression:

The liberal media didn’t care about the people of Pennsylvania being properly represented when they propped up struggling now-Democratic Senator John Fetterman’s candidacy; they certainly didn’t care about his health as the stress from the job and the recovery caused the Senator to check himself into Walter Reed Medical Center to treat his clinical depression. As some of his most outspoken supporters, The View spent part of their Friday show suggesting his hospitalization was a victory for transparency.


Instead of going to the logical conclusion that Fetterman should have dropped out of the race so he could focus on his recovery, Sara Haines lamented that he needed to campaign while trying to recover:


Well, January came and went and Fetterman was still not out of the woods as promised. If he were a Republican (and who had a doctor that's donated to his campaign give him the green light), he certainly wouldn’t be getting this kind of favorable treatment. They would be calling him a liar and demanding his resignation.

Fondocaro, of course, cares nothing about Fetterman or his health -- he just fervently hoped that Fetterman would have dropped out of the race so Oz would win.

In an April 2 post, Kevin Tober whined that Fetterman and his wife did "a softball interview with liberal CBS Sunday Morning anchor Jane Pauley," pretending to be upset that Pauley "asked with a straight face if the brain-damaged Senator would be open to serv[ing] "beyond the United States Senatem," huffing: "He can barely speak and needs to read closed captioning to fully understand what people say to him yet Pauley apparently believes he could run and serve as President of the United States."

Tim Graham whined in his May 17 post that "The same media outlets that constantly questioned Donald Trump's mental fitness are acting very gentle and protective around their favorite partisans" like Fetterman. Tober returned fora May 21 post ranting that Fetterman is appearing in hoodies and shorts at the Capitol:

File this under the type of stories you'd never see written about a Republican member of the United States Senate. The article in question is an article written Sunday by Mary Clare Jalonick and Marc Levy (yes it apparently took two people) which claims Pennsylvania Democratic Senator John Fetterman wearing hoodies and gym shorts to work at the Capitol is proof he's recovering from his depression and other after effects of suffering a stroke last year. 

In the article titled "Back in hoodies and gym shorts, Fetterman tackles Senate life after depression treatment", Jalonick and Levy write in the opening paragraph that "Before Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman checked himself in to the hospital for clinical depression in February, he walked the halls of the Senate stone-faced and dressed in formal suits. These days, he’s back to wearing the hoodies and gym shorts he was known for before he became a senator."

The duo reveal how Fetterman gets around the Senate's strict dress-code: "He votes from the doorway of the Democratic cloakroom or the side entrance, making sure his “yay” or “nay” is recorded before ducking back out."

Tober ranted that "the AP apparently likes Fetterman degrading the institution of the United States Senate by dressing like a slob.," adding, "Sadly, it appears there isn't an institution in America that the media won't help the left tear down."

The MRC continued to have sartorial issues with Fetterman. Fondacaro raged in a Sept. 19 post when his hate-watching of "The View" brought up that the Senate dress code had been altered to allow Fetterman to wear his hoodies on the Senate fllor:

ABC moderator Whoopi Goldberg found herself the odd one out during Tuesday’s edition of The View; as the rest of the table largely didn’t support Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) dumbing down the Capitol Hill dress code so that John Fetterman (D-PA) could ditch a suit and appear on the Senate floor looking like a slob in work out attire. She proclaimed the dress code infringed on his rights and admitted to being a slob too.

Goldberg opened the show by praising Schumer for doing “a really wonderful thing for John Fetterman.” She followed up by scoffing at how “people are upset on the other side of the aisle. They think this is not something that should have been done, that it shouldn't have been changed.”


After admitting that she didn’t even dress up for church as a kid, Goldberg admitted that she supported Fetterman because she’s a slob too. “I don't care what you wear as long as you get the job done,” she huffed. “I'm more comfortable looking like me and Barbara [Walters] understood that and she allowed it. Okay? I dress in what I wake up in.”

Goldberg also flaunted her profound ignorance of what the word “decorum” meant when she stressed: “You can keep the decorum that works for you but if it doesn't work for him, let him have his thing.”

More whining about Fetterman's dress code came in a Sept. 21 post by Clay Waters:

New York Times congressional correspondent Annie Karni thought she had a good “gotcha” in response to Republican criticism of the Senate’s new relaxed dress code, imposed by Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), in response to a fellow Democrat’s insistence in showing up on the Senate floor dressed like a slob in defiance of Senate rules.

In Wednesday’s “For Some Senators, New Relaxed Dress Code Is Just Uncomfortable,” Karni changed the subject from the disheveled appearance of Democratic Senator John Fetterman by implying that Republicans were the true demeanors of Senate tradition. Not until the fifth paragraph was Fetterman -- the reason for the dress code change -- even mentioned. Karni briefly noted Fetterman’s hospitalization for depression, but the issue of Fetterman’s stroke was omitted entirely.

Curtis Houck added his own indignation in a Sept. 22 post with more shots at Fetterman's health:

On Friday’s CBS Mornings during the “Talk of the Table” segment, they came through with the first broadcast network news show coverage of the Senate dress code change in order to accommodate the mentally and physically incapacitated Senator John Fetterman (D-PA). And, instead of focusing on how the former was made to baby the ladder, the CBS crew laughed about opposition to axing a business professional requirement from the Senate.

Fill-in co-host Adriana Diaz began by touting there’s “another showdown brewing in Congress” and full of “dramatic twists and turns” and it wasn’t the looming shutdown: “[J]ust yesterday, a top Democrat broke with the party’s leadership to align himself with the other side, and this debate is over the Senate dress code.”

Tober added more cheap shots at Fetterman's health issues in a Sept. 26 post:

MSNBC doesn’t have a laugh track, but if they did, it would’ve gone off a few times on Tuesday evening when The ReidOut host Joy Reid gushed over brain damaged Senator John Fetterman (D-PA) for his “unique and proven ability to tell it like it is.” Anyone who has ever heard Fetterman speak since his debilitating stroke, knows he’s barely able to utter a coherent sentence. 

Previewing her upcoming interview with Fetterman, Reid heaped praise on the Democrat Senator: “John Fetterman joins me to talk about his unique and proven ability to tell it like it is on all things. Basically the shenanigans going on on the other side of the aisle.”

When Fetterman appeared on Steven Colbert's show in part to call out those right-wing cheap shots, Alex Christy spent an Oct. 12 post complaining about it:

For the second night in a row, Stephen Colbert welcomed a Democratic member of Congress to CBS’s The Late Show. On Wednesday, it was Pennsylvania Sen. John Fetterman’s turn as Colbert pretended that Fetterman is the first question to ever be questioned about his health, gifted him a tuxedo T-shirt, and fawned over this “excellent meme game.”

Colbert asked a hoodie and shorts-clad Fetterman, “Well, I can see how being more empathetic might make you a better senator. And being public about the disability that you have is a good thing. But how does it feel to have your private health become public news?”

Fetterman is hardly the first politician whose health has led people to wonder if he is capable of performing the job. As for Fetterman’s response, he took the opportunity to take a swipe at Fox, “you sign up for that gig and that's part of it and now, you know, the better I get, the sad, you know, Fox News becomes. Because they love -- every word I missed was like candy for Fox News, you know, and now they even started thinking, some people now think there's a conspiracy that I have a body double now, you know, so.”

Later, the conversation shifted towards the Senate dress code, which led Fetterman to wonder what the big deal was, “I was really struck by, you know, ‘oh, my god, the world is going to burn because he's going to wear a hoodie on the floor,’ but, I mean, like Ukraine or shutting down the government, or, you know, all these issues. I think it's much more important to seize, you know, what will this man wear on the floor of the Senate?”

At this point, Colbert pulled out a gift for Fetterman, “Well, just in case you want to stay casual and formal at the same time, we got you a tuxedo T-shirt.”

Christy didn't mention that among those taking cheap shots at Fetterman's health were his own co-workers.

Graham added more whining about Fetterman's Colbert appearance in his Oct. 13 column: "After six weeks in office, Fetterman was gone for two months being treated for depression. Fetterman attacked Fox News, but all the Democrat journalists were biting their nails over his absence." And Graham, like subordinate Fondacaro, was doing his own nail-biting in hoping he would have dropped out of the race so Oz would win.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:26 PM EST
WND Still Pushing COVID Vaccine Conspiracy Theories
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As we continue to compile evidence that WorldNetDailiy pub;lishes false and misleading claims about COVID vaccines, it keeps providing even more examples for further compilation. Peter LaBarbera tried to fearmonger in a Sept. 20 article:

A new study of lactating women who took the COVID vaccine finds "trace mRNA amounts were detected" up to 45 hours after vaccination in the breast milk of 10 the women – contradicting the government's and vaccine enthusiasts' official narrative that mRNA was safe for breastfeeding moms and their infants because it did not travel throughout the body.

"Our findings suggest that the COVID-19 vaccine mRNA administered to lactating mothers can spread systematically to breast milk in the first two days after maternal vaccination," states the study, "Biodistribution of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in human breast milk," published in the October 2023 edition of the British medical journal Lancet.

LaBarbera didn't explain, however, why this is an issue, even as he conceded that "The paper's authors remain pro-vax." Instead, he tried to tried to baseless claim that medical officials purportedly lied in earlier claims that mRNA did not travel to mother's milk -- never mind that this study just came out, meaning that earlier claims could not have been a lie. However, he failed to mention that the study also pointed out that "the mRNA vaccine seems to be translationally inactive," meaning that its presence in mother's milk appears to be irrelevant.

Bob Unruh served up straight-ahead quackery in an article the next day:

Another possible side effect of those COVID-19 shots demanded for Americans by many governments and employers during the pandemic has shown up, and it's not good.

It's that cancers are "occurring in excess," Dr. Harvey Risch explained in a report by the Epoch Times.

He's professor emeritus of epidemiology in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the Yale School of Public Health and Yale School of Medicine.

He appeared recently on EpochTV's "American Though Leaders" and explained that clinicians have been observing "very strange things."

For example, he said, there have been "25-year-olds with colon cancer, who don't have family histories of the disease – that's basically impossible along the known paradigm for how colon cancer works…"


He warned that those whose systems are compromised also could be subject to other infectious diseases, too.

"Those are the initial signals that we’ve been seeing, and because these cancers have been occurring to people who were too young to get them, basically, compared to the normal way it works, they’ve been designated as turbo cancers," he explained.

"Some of these cancers are so aggressive that between the time that they're first seen and when they come back for treatment after a few weeks, they've grown dramatically compared to what oncologists would have expected for the way cancer normally progresses."

By contrast, the folks at Science-Based Medicine debunked Risch's conspiracies:

Indeed, Prof. Risch’s “logic,” such as it is, entirely escapes me. Up front, he reiterated what I just said above, namely that it is the hematologic malignancies that appear first after an exposure to a strong carcinogen, with the solid malignancies coming much later, as many as 30 years later. Then he basically implicitly admitted that no such increase in hematologic malignancies is being observed. That didn’t stop him from pivoting to make the claim quoted in the article that I cited above about 25-year-olds without a family history or predisposing genetic mutation supposedly getting colon cancer and then declaring that to be “impossible” based on the “known paradigms” of cancer.

It’s clear to me from this claim alone that Prof. Risch is not a surgeon or an oncologist, because over my time training before I subspecialized in breast cancer, I recall a number of patients in their 20s with colorectal cancer and even a 19 year old with gastric cancer. Yes, it was very uncommon because these are malignancies associated with aging and I probably saw these patients because I trained at a tertiary care hospital, but it was not nonexistent, nor was it “impossible.” I suspect that Prof. Risch knows this, but also thinks that his audience will be impressed with this claim. Basically, he was either being dishonest or he’s ignorant, and, given that he is a professor emeritus of epidemiology who specialized in cancer epidemiology the latter possibility strikes me as much less likely than the former.

Science-Based Medicine also pointed out, while Unruh didn't, that Risch admitted that he has no evidence that the COVID vaccines are actually causing an increase in cancer. It also pointed out that Risch also pushed the baseless claim that hydroxychloroquine works to treat or prevent COVID, and that he has "gone all-in on antivax conspiracy mongering." Unruh won't admit that either -- but then, he's an anti-vaxxer too.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:02 PM EST
Updated: Saturday, November 25, 2023 8:53 PM EST
MRC's Houck Loudly Whines That NewsNation's Right-Leaning Bias Is Exposed
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Curtis Houck has long been a fanboy of upstart channel NewsNation, portraying it as "delightfully objective and refreshing" though the presence of former Fox News executives and on-air talent suggest a right-leaning bias (which is really why Houck praises the channel). When the Daily Beast pointed out this fact, Houck had a meltdown in a Sept. 15 post, arguing that NewsNation has people who didn't used to work for Fox News too:

The Daily Beast has always had a reputation as not only a leftist publication, but a contemptuous band of pricks buffered by layers of juvenile smugness. So, it was no surprise when they had writer Joe Berkowitz spend a week watching NewsNation and, on cue, he concluded with a piece dripping with disdain that was so thick he must of forgotten to get basic facts right, including who hosts what show and where many of them used to work.

Berkowitz opened with a whining about the existence of On Balance with Leland Vittert, calling it “a nightly opinion fabfest” and opposite of “‘fairest’ in the Snow White sense” and no different than content on Vittert’s former channel, Fox News. He then added Vittert was one of “many...Hannityville refugees” like former executive Bill Shine, but a basic consulting of their hosts would show a diversity of previous stops.

“Sometimes the NewsNation hosts seem to go out of their way to avoid saying anything bad about Republicans, as if doing so would put them in danger of being mistaken for Rachel Maddow,” he whined.

But who’s the showrunner for Vittert’s show. Oh, it’s a former executive producer for CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper.

Yes, Chris Stirewalt is their political contributor and he came from Fox News (as did fill-in anchor Elizabeth Prann), but who’s NewsNation’s Washington bureau chief? Mike Viqueira, former correspondent at CBS, NBC, and al-Jazeera.

Houck then seved up a "current breakdown of hosts and their previous stop(s) prior to NewsNation, from AM to PM. It includes a former World News Tonight anchor and, yes, Chris “Fredo” Cuomo from CNN (and ABC before that)." He also went on to highlight correspondents who didn't previously work for Fox News (a couple of whom hail from right-wing outlets like OAN and the Daily Caller) as well as a list of liberal contributors, though he didn't mention that the Daily Beast pointed out that one supposedly liberal contributor ghost-wrote a book for Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie.

All that list-making obscured the fact that Houck refused to address the substance of the Daily Beast article -- that NewsNation has a right-leaning bias. Here's one example it cited:

In a typical segment, Morning in America host Marni Hughes welcomes strategists from both sides to discuss Donald Trump’s glowering mugshot. Hughes asks the GOP strategist his opinion on why Fulton County D.A. Fani Willis insisted Trump take a mugshot, which prompts the strategist into a nearly two-minute tirade of MAGA talking points. When Hughes finally interrupts him, it’s not to push back on any falsehoods or mischaracterizations—that first Trump interview on NewsNation apparently having crystallized “zero pushback” into house style guidelines.

Instead, she turns to the Dem strategist to ask whether he agrees that Trump is the victim of a double standard, given that recent NewsNation guest Alan Dershowitz—who, Hughes stresses, did not vote for Trump—thinks Al Gore reacted after the 2000 election pretty much the same way as Trump did after 2020. The Dem strategist offers a cogent 40-second rebuttal before Hughes throws it back to the GOP stooge for a long rant on Hilary Clinton’s emails and similarly relevant topics. End of segment.

It’s as if the host, the GOP strategist, and Alan Dershowitz for some reason, are all on the same side, with the Dem strategist on hand just to play devil’s advocate.

Houck continued to whine:

We’re approaching dead horse territory, but Berkowitz seemed hellbent on embarrassing himself in the piece that he claimed was merely “a Yassified Fox News—with all unseemly biases artificially buffed and ironed into a centrist façade” and fixating on how some of the first hires left the network.

Was that NewsNation focuses on the border? Or drug addiction? Or other topics Americans actually care about, and not just all Trump scandals, all the time? He wouldn’t say.

Of course, "the border" and "drug addictions" are Houck's whitewashed descriptions of right-wing talking points-- "the border" is typically labeled at NewsBusters as "Biden border crisis," and "drug addiction" is essentially fentanyl crossing the border, which the MRC also loves to blame on Biden even though most drug smugglers are Americans.

Meanwhile, here's how the Beast article described NewsNation's Trump coverage:

NewsNation treats Trump’s indictments like potential baggage; as though he stood accused of mild tax evasion decades ago, rather than recently plotting to overturn an election, obstructing justice, mishandling nuclear secrets, and dozens of other extremely serious charges. Everyone on-air seems to regard the GOP’s continued love affair with him as a questionable quirk, not an unmistakable sign of rot from within the party.

Networks like MSNBC and CNN may get too bogged down in the melodrama of Trump’s alleged criminal activity, but to avoid acknowledging the gravity of these charges—and to provide friendly cover for alternative facts about some of the dead-to-rights evidence supporting them—is a massive overcorrection. It’s not unbiased; it’s untethered to reality.

Houck did note the latter paragraph, but his response was to cherry-pick criticism of Trump on the channel and present it without context:

A simple perusing of their coverage from said time period found all kinds of guests saying the Georgia charges (and the other three cases) against Trump were serious. It included historian Douglas Brinkley, who’d never be confused with being pro-MAGA.

Also that day, criminal defense attorney Jon Sale said: “If I were his lawyer, I would really cringe.”

NewsBusters -- of which Houck is managing editor -- regularly attack channels that have on guests exposing such Trump-critical opinions. But he'll never criticize NewsNation for doing the same thing because he can use it as cover to attack anyone, like the Daily Beast, who points out NewsNation's right-leaning bias. As we've seen with Fox News, peddling right-wing talking points buys a lot of brownie points from the MRC, which comes in handy when you're accused of, say, lying to your viewers.

Besides, Houck has effectively admitted NewsNation's bias by being so aggressive to defend the channel when that bias is pointed out. He would not do so if that bias wasn't there.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:56 PM EST
NEW ARTICLE -- Fake News At WND: Coronavirus Edition, Part 8
Topic: WorldNetDaily
The falsehoods and misinformation about COVID and its vaccines never stops at WorldNetDaily, even though all that fake news doesn't make anyone want to read the cash-strapped site. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 1:48 AM EST
Sunday, November 19, 2023
MRC Whines That Musk And Twitter (Well, X) Are Being Criticized
Topic: Media Research Center

As the first anniversary of Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter (well, X) approached, the bad news and overall pettiness continued to mount:

  • For some reason, Musk felt the need to stage an photo op at the border, during which he may have worn a cowboy hat backwards and his livestram was riddled with glitches.
  • People hate that headlines were removed from stories embedded in Twitter posts because Musk insisted that doing so will "greatly improve the esthetics."
  • I was revealed that Musk's actions on Twitter largely followed recommendations of an anonymous manifesto that appeared on a right-wing website
  • Musk petulantly removed the verification badge from the New York Times' Twitter feed.
  • Twitter itself is becoming a black hole of value as advertisers flee the platform amid the explosion of extremism.

The Media Research Center, of course, cared nothing about this -- it's Musk's PR operation, after all, and he must be promoted and defended. Clay Waters rushed to Musk's defense in an Oct. 15 post about a PBA "Frontline" documentary on Musk:

On the newest episode of tax-supported PBS’s notorious left-wing series Frontline, they spent two hours obsessing over Elon Musk's Twitter takeover. Twitter was never this problematic when it was colluding with the Democrats and the media to suppress conservative speech. Now they're forwarding former Twitter censor Yoel Roth's ridiculous denials of the platform's ideological bias before Musk.

Correspondent James Jacoby traced space entrepreneur Elon Musk's journey from “provocative” Twitter user to sole owner of the social media platform (which he renamed “X”). Jacobs provided a mixed bag of a report, but did draw out Twitter’s former “trust and safety” guy Yoel Roth to make some ridiculous denials of the platform’s ideological bias.

The episode opened with an ominous montage of quotes from Musk critics, including Roth saying “harassment has increased” since Musk’s takeover. That was followed by showing a 2018 launch of one of Musk’s SpaceX reusable rockets, with Jacoby foreshadowing that Musk “provided running commentary at his favorite place to express himself: the social media site Twitter.” (Musk’s would purchase Twitter in 2022 and rename it X).

Musk is being investigated for having too much influence in the "wrong direction" in a time of "deep division."

Waters went on to whine that former Twitter official Yoel Roth -- whose harassment by Musk and Donald Trump, which prompted him to flee his home over fears of violence, the MRC disgustingly cheered -- pointed out the right-wing anti-Twitter narrative before Musk entered the picture:

Jacoby did question Yoel Roth, former head of “trust and safety” at Twitter, taking conservative complaints about free-speech suppression on Twitter more seriously than most mainstream journalists. At one point he asked Roth: “How did you think about your role as sort of an arbiter of truth?….But it does put you at Twitter in the uncomfortable position of having to kind of determine something as misinformation, determine something as being a lie.”

Isaacson took up for his colleagues in the mainstream media: “But it was mostly a signal that [Musk] had joined that, I'd call it the somewhat conspiratorial people on the right who feel that the media and the establishment are imposing a narrative on us.” Yet Isaacson actually conceded a “conspiratorial” point, that Musk was “noticing that on Twitter if you said that lockdowns could cause more harm than good, you'd be kind of repressed on Twitter. So this made him upset.”

Waters didn't explain how right-wingers like him and the MRC who repeatedly lashed out at pre-Musak Twitter were not "conspiratorial people."

Waters returned to whine in an Oct. 22 post that New York Times columnist Paul Krugman was promoting Twitter alternatives:

Since there’s evidently nothing else going on in the world worth commenting on, economist turned partisan hack columnist Paul Krugman is again going after the left's current public enemy No. 1, Elon Musk and his ownership of X (formerly Twitter).

Krugman wrote a similar column-length rant in December 2022 about how Twitter was doomed under Musk’s leadership, under the headline“Why Petulant Oligarchs Rule Our World,” concluding by pushing his own esteemed presence on new X-type “micro-blogging” platform, Mastodon. (You remember Mastodon, right? Even with encouraging press coverage, the platform is still far behind X in regular users.)

In his latest column, “Can Twitter, uh, X, Survive Elon Musk?” Krugman, for some reason, doesn’t even mention Mastodon, and indeed he doesn’t appear as active there as he is on X, perhaps because his followers haven’t followed him there (he has 41,000 Mastodon followers vs. 4.5 million on X, a disparity of over 100 to 1). This time around, Krugman suggests the hot new sites that will overtake Twitter are Threads and/or Bluesky.[...]

But so far those “network externalities” Krugman talked about are holding up. Despite Musk’s seemingly capricious changes to the platform, X is still where the mass audience Krugman wants to reach remains, and so far they are not following him anywhere else. Perhaps more trademark stellar Krugman prophecy is required to find the killer app that will finally take down X?

Actually, the number of active Twitter users in the U.S. has dropped 18 percent in the year since Musk bought it, so it's not so much of the "mass audience" Waters believes is still there.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:15 PM EST
Updated: Monday, November 20, 2023 2:26 AM EST
WND's Massie Has Another Rage-Bender Over Michelle Obama
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Remember when Mychal Massie recently went on a rage-bender about the idea of Michelle Obama running for president (despite the fact that she has expressed absolutely no interest in doing so)? Well, he was at it again in his Oct. 16 column, pushing more unsubstantiated rumors that she might run:

There's a mounting symphony of prediction that to my sensitive ears sounds as enjoyable, i.e., tolerable, as fingernails being scraped on a chalkboard. That sonic unpleasantness is the growing number of prognosticators predicting the Democratic Party is preparing to parachute the Obama woman into the presidential race to replace Biden.

I should note also that my longtime friend and colleague who is a Capitol Hill bloodhound with remarkable olfactory ability for political secrets, has been telling me the same thing for the past year.

I disagree with my friend, colleagues and those who are starting to publicly make the same prediction.

The Obama woman is enormously unlikeable. She's a humiliatingly uncouth harridan; she's lazy, contumelious, and if persons with firsthand knowledge are to be believed, a lush who imbibes more vodka than water; she's at best boorish.

Additionally, she is without accomplishment. Her cheering section will claim otherwise, but apart from the perks associated with her husband, she in fact has accomplished nothing of merit on her own. Seriously, let's be honest: What has she done in her life? Exactly what was her professional career before cashing in on Barry's political ambitions? She was little more than a beard for her sexual-deviant pervert of a husband. Do we forget the alleged reasons for her mother moving into the White House, what amounted to a bribe to keep her from divorcing her perverted husband immediately after his first election?

With all of the other questions she would be bombarded with during even a short campaign, you can bet she would be confronted with mention about how it truthfully made her feel when her husband unsolicitedly revealed he dreamed about having sex with men, but nothing about fantasizing about his wife.

We've preiviously noted that Massie's purported evidence for Michelle being "a lush who imbibes more vodka than water" is an article from foreign right-wing rag the Daily Mail that is nothing but a rewrite from supermarket tabloid rag the National Enquirer citing no named sources and offering no actual evidence to back anything up.

Massie then slipped in a backhanded complement, arguing that he's not completely unhinged about Michelle by conceding she's not transgender, as some far-right consipiracy theorists insist:

And you can bet the very last thing she is prepared to endure would be the questions and open discussions about her real gender.

For the record, I don't like the Obama woman, but I've done more to defend her being a true woman than her husband has. She's a grotesquely unattractive woman, but I find the accusations of her being a transsexual beyond absurd. However, I may be in the minority of opinion on said subject. I'm certain practically everyone reading this commentary has also heard/read ridiculous assertions she was born a man.

From there, Massie rehashed an old conspiracy theory that the contract to build the original Obamacare website "was awarded to the Canadian company CGI in a no-bid contract and that has as their senior vice president the classmate and friend of Michelle Obama, Toni Townes-Whitley." In fact, three other companies also sought the contract, the bidding process was walled off from politics, and there's no evidence of any close friendship between Michelle and Townes-Whitley. Massie also provided no evidence to support his claim that any contract money was "funneled back into the Obamas' pockets by way of charitable donations by CGI to various interests of the Obamas, in this case specifically Michelle Obama's."

Massie concluded by admitting what everybody else has known:

Her penchant for unprecedented usufruct would be rubbed in the faces of the people being crushed by what is sure to be under her leadership a rapid descent to what will make the Great Depression seem like a bright sunny day.

All of that leaves out her conspicuous hatred for those she mocks as bitter white people who are afraid of her kind.

All that I've mentioned is what she will be forced to confront daily in her effort just to defeat President Trump in a head-to-head battle. Not only do I not believe her capable of the task; I don't believe she is remotely interested in it.

But Michelle has repeatedly said she' not interested in running for president. Why did it take so long for Massie to admit the truth? Because he wouldn't have column fodder otherwise. How cynical and dishonest of him.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:02 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, November 25, 2023 8:16 PM EST
Saturday, November 18, 2023
MRC's Graham Has Thoughts About GOP Debates
Topic: Media Research Center

Tim Graham grumbled about how Republican debates were being treated by, well, pretty much everyone in his Sept. 29 column:

We’ve been subjected to years of lectures about how Republicans are a “threat to democracy,” but watching the post-debate reactions to the second GOP presidential debate at the Reagan Library made you wonder who exactly hates democracy. Like the first debate aftermath, journalists assert debates are pointless.

It wasn’t October yet – and about 14 weeks from the Iowa caucuses – and the horse race-obsessed prognosticators suggested that if debates don’t move any polling needles, why bother with debates? The liberal media are lining up neatly with Trump, asserting that he’s paying no price for skipping debates, so who cares?

“Does anybody see a VP in that group? I don't think so,” Trump quipped in his counter-programming speech in Michigan. Trump believes everyone daring to challenge him for the nomination is engaged in some kind of pro-Biden conspiracy, so they’re all disqualified. Only MAGA devotees are “qualified.”

Trump and the media are not completely aligned, since George Stephanopoulos on ABC was wondering why we need debates if they’re not obsessing over Trump’s allegedly damaging array of indictments and civil lawsuits. This tells you how ABC would run a GOP debate, which is why the GOP has started with Fox channels so far.

MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan tweeted the same line, that it’s not a debate if we’re not obsessing about Trump allegedly over-valuing his real estate. “Not a single candidate has said a word about it. Not a single question on it from the moderators. This is not actually a debate.”

Note Graham's conspiracy theory here: that "the media" (read: non-right-wing outlets) want Trump to be the Republican nominee because they think his numerous scandals will drag Republicans down to defeat. He didn't acknowledge that a sizable majority of Republicans also want Trump to be the nominee. Are they in on the conspiracy too? Graham then changed his story -- Trump's scandals don't affect his popularity so there's no need to discuss them at all, and the real reason the non-right-wing media opposes the debates is beause they are are full of Biden-bashing:

Now imagine if we turned the logic around on the pundits and proclaimed that all these indictments and civil lawsuits aren’t damaging Trump’s standing at all, so why don’t we just call all the legal maneuvering off? Turn off the courtroom theatrics. If that sounds incredibly irresponsible if not premature, then why all this grumbling about debates being unnecessary?

With the pro-Biden press, we might imagine why they don’t like these events. It allows a national television audience to absorb an hour or two of fairly animated assaults on the competence and wisdom of the Biden team. We certainly know that these “guardians of democracy” have absolutely no interest in primary debates on the Democrat side, since they realize Biden is always 30 seconds away from a verbal face-plant. Instead, Joe Scarborough and others just denounce the debate as a “disaster” for everyone involved.

Graham concluded by whining: "If people really claim to love and honor democracy, they would let the primary campaigns and debates play out, and perhaps even suggest Joe Biden should have to submit himself to a primary debate." He's presumably referring to Robert Kennedy Jr., whose campaign the MRC had been ironically promoting because it might hurt Biden's re-election, not because Graham and Co. actually want him to be president.

For his podcast the same day, Graham rehashed the MRC's smears of a debate co-moderator who committed the offense of not being employed by Fox News like the other moderators:

The second GOP presidential debate on Fox Business took an odd turn to the Left in the questions of Univision anchor Ilia Calderon, who pressed the candidates like an MSNBC host on guns, fentanyl, '"dreamers," LGBTQ issues, and Florida's black history curriculum. The woman who co-anchors with leftist Jorge Ramos sounded like a Ramos echo.

We haven't listened to the podcast, but we can presume that Graham did not ask guest Nicholas Fondacaro to back up his vicious smear of Calderon as "anti-American" with any sort of actual evidence beyond her asking challenging questions of Republicans.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:46 PM EST
WND's Alexander Actually Tries To Defend Boebert's Grope-And-Vape Session
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It has come to this: Rachel Alexander is defending far-right congresswoman Lauren Boebert's audience antics during a theater performance. She did this in her Sept. 18 Newsmax column:

The left-leaning mainstream media are blasting fake outrage over Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., getting escorted out of a theater with her boyfriend for vaping, taking some video of the performance and briefly putting her hand in his lap. I've never heard of anyone getting kicked out of a theater for something that minor; usually people get kicked out for things like fights, having sex and getting really drunk. Remember Pee-wee Herman?

It was dark in the Colorado theater, but strangely there was an infrared camera directly on Boebert, and even stranger, the video was leaked to the public. In contrast, whenever video favors Republicans, there are always tons of fake excuses provided to prevent it from being released. Look at how long it took for the government to release the J6 video surveillance. The high-profile trials of the J6 defendants aren't being filmed for the public, even though it's tradition to stream trials like that; everyone older remembers breathlessly watching the O.J. Simpson trial and more recently the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard libel trial.

Meanwhile, far worse behavior on the left has been mostly ignored, such as by Democrat Susanna Gibson running for the Virginia House of Delegates, who posted sex videos with her husband online and asked for money. Nothing has happened to her; she's still running, and the Democrats are defending her, in fact raising money for her off of the scandal.

Boebert apologized for her minor slip-up. In contrast, Gibson, who says she has an open marriage with her husband and offered to film herself and her husband engaging in sodomy in exchange for money from viewers, is not apologizing, and is instead blaming whoever released the video.

Alexander failed to note the difference between the two incidents: Gibson was doing her performance in a priviate online forum for paying customers; Boebert was very much in public as part of a theater audience that very much didn't come to see her and definite didn't come to see her grope a man.

Alexander went on to complain that other right-wingers have criticized Boebert's behavior:

Compounding the problem is all of the holier-than-thou people on the right piling on. Former Trump attorney Jenna Ellis, who is expected by many to turn on Trump during the Georgia prosecution due to her selling out to the Colorado State Bar last year, said on X that the Colorado GOP needs to primary Boebert. Ellis, who is now supporting Ron DeSantis for president, is known for frequently citing the Bible to defend RINO positions, such as when she admitted to the Colorado State Bar that she made "misrepresentations" when she said there was fraud in the 2020 election.

The left and its helpful enablers on the right such as Ellis like to use Old Testament judgment against Christians, while ignoring the New Testament where Jesus preached forgiveness. It's rather hypocritical, considering if the left doesn't believe in biblical principles, why would it use something "made up" and a "fairytale" to judge others? It's even more hypocritical when you consider the left conveniently ignores one of the few verses that it loves to cherry pick from the Bible, directly from Jesus, "Judge not, that ye be not judged." Or Jesus when he said, "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."

The "log" in Ellis' eye, in Alexander's view, is that she stopped being a Trump toady and is trying to save her skin since Trump clearly can't be bothered to help people who were loyal to him. Alexander continued to whine:

Boebert was targeted because she has a 98.53% lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union, almost the highest in Congress; and dares to take stands on issues many Republican members of Congress wouldn't dare to. Since she won reelection last fall by 546 votes, the left sees her as vulnerable so they are trying to create controversy.

Boebert apologized, unlike many on the left who have no remorse when they do far worse. But as we all know about the left, if they didn't have hypocritical standards, they'd have no standards at all.

"The left" didn't create this controversy; Boebert did. All she had to do is properly behave in public, and she couldn't even clear that low bar. Alexander is blaming everyone but the person actually responsible.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:44 AM EST
Friday, November 17, 2023
MRC Nitpicks GOP Debate Fact-Checkers
Topic: Media Research Center

Along with its defense of the second Republican presidential debate, the Media Research Center engaged itn its usual sniping of fact-checkers who responded to claims made at the debate. Alex Christy, in full DeSantis Defense Brigade mode, nitpicked one fact-checker in a Sept. 28 post:

During Wednesday’s GOP Presidential Debate, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis defended his state’s history standards on slavery by labeling criticisms of them a “hoax” that has been perpetrated by Vice President Kamala Harris. Such a defense did not sit well with the fact-checking industry despite DeSantis being correct.

On CNN’s post-debate coverage, Daniel Dale told Anderson Cooper, “Governor DeSantis's hoax claim is false, Anderson. It is not a hoax. Florida social studies standards for middle schoolers includes the sentence that the moderator read to him here. And I think Governor DeSantis effectively admitted it was not a hoax when immediately after he called it a hoax, he pivoted to defending that sentence as being written by great scholars who are descendants of slaves.”

Dale continued, “So, here are the facts. Florida's new standards for sixth through eighth graders say they will -- quote – ‘examine the various duties and trades performed by slaves,’ and it gives a bunch of examples. And then it goes on to say that this -- it says that the standards say that this ‘instruction includes how slaves develop skills, which in some instances could be applied for their personal benefit.’”

However, Dale undermined his own point that DeSantis was almost certainly referring to Harris’s conclusion of the curriculum, not what it literally says, “So again, the moderator wasn't making it up, Vice President Harris didn't make it up, it is there in black and white. Now, some context, the governor, his allies and various other Republicans, I've heard an argument from our Scott Jennings, they've said that the so-called hoax is making it sound like the curriculum broadly is pro-slavery.”

Conceding that they have a point, Dale observed, “They correctly note that the standards include item after item after item about the evils of slavery in addition to this line. And they're entitled to make that argument, though some other elements have also received criticism from historians. But in this debate, you know, he was read the precise line. He made it sound like it was a line made up by VP Harris.”

So, what exactly is Dale fact-checking? DeSantis called accusations that Florida is teaching that somehow slavery was a good thing a hoax and Dale conceded that he is correct, but still labeled him false.

Christy returned a couple hours later to grumble about more fact-checks:

During Wednesday’s GOP presidential debate, the various reporters at The New York Times assembled to fact-check the various candidates and it did go well as they attacked them everything from “Joe Biden hides in his basement” to Iran to energy to transgenderism.

On former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s claim that “Joe Biden hides in his basement,” White House correspondent Michael Shear got hyper-literal, “this is false.”

Of course, Christie was speaking metaphorically about how Biden dodges accountability for things like the national debt. Christie also accused Donald Trump of hiding behind his golf clubs, but since that was obviously metaphorical and an attack on Trump, Shear left it alone.


Shear also rode to Biden’s defense when North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum accused him of setting “a price on anyone’s head who’s a tourist from America. Who’s a student from America, for kidnapping” by paying $6 billion to Iran. Shear gave this claim the dreaded “this requires context.”

Burgum’s claim is a policy opinion that handing over money to Iran encourages more hostage taking. That the money was “in Iran’s oil revenues that were sitting, unusable, in South Korean banks” doesn’t matter because if Burgum’s opinion is correct it would require the release of more sanctioned money in the future without any change in Tehran’s behavior.

But Christy made no effort to prove Burgum correct -- which means that the fact-check stands.

Joseph Vazauez spent his own Sept. 28 post that Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler wouldn't fall in line with right-wing narratives on the economy:

Apparently The Washington Post’s in-house fact-butcher Glenn Kessler hasn’t learned his lesson. He regurgitated one of his already-debunked arguments spinning inflation data to protect President Joe Biden.

Kessler used the second GOP presidential primary debate to once again target candidates who dared to suggest that American families lost significant spending power as a result of President Biden’s inflation crisis. Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley asserted that Biden’s economy has cost “$7,000 more a year for families,” which Kessler got triggered over. He attributed Haley’s statement to analysis conducted by Heritage Foundation economist EJ Antoni, which the fact-checker brazenly misrepresented. Kessler falsely claimed that Antoni’s analysis was faulty because it supposedly “relied on a change in purchasing power and a change in borrowing power. The change in borrowing power relied on mortgage rates — and not every family is looking for a new home.” This isn’t the first time Kessler has done this.

Vazquez featured a lot of ranting by Antoni accusing Kessler of getting things wrong. He couldn't be bothered to obtain a response from Kessler, however, since narrative trumps facts and fairness at the MRC.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:15 PM EST
Newsmax's Hirsen Gushes Over Mexican Presidential Candidate, Hides His Right-Wing Extremism
Topic: Newsmax

James Hirsen was in a very gushy mood in his Sept. 13 Newsmax column:

In Mexico, Eduardo Verástegui is a household name. He's a musical entertainer and telenovelas superstar.

His career blossomed in the United States as well as in Mexico, with his celebrity status rising as he worked with high-profile industry figures such as Calvin Klein, Jennifer Lopez, and Sofia Vergara, to name a few.

Over the years he acquired a number of movies and television shows under his belt, which include "Chasing Papi," "Bella," "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2," "CSI: Miami," and "Charmed."

Most recently, he played the roles of lead producer and cast member for the international film phenom "The Sound of Freedom," which has now reached a level close to $200 million in global box office.

In his latest project, he has chosen to enter the political arena, and he's going for a top-tier spot. The necessary paperwork has already filed for his run as an independent presidential candidate in Mexico's June 2024 election.

Verástegui's motivation to have a role with a purpose in the public square may relate to the time period in which he experienced one of his big Hollywood acting breakthroughs.

Hirsen went on to soft-pedal Verástegui's views:

In his recent Mexican presidential candidate announcement, he emphasized life and freedom as the key driving principles in his decision.


In the past, he campaigned for pro-life causes and conducted prayers on social media. In addition, he put his faith into action, establishing Manto De Guadalupe, a pro-life organization based in Los Angeles, which includes a crisis pregnancy center.

His announcement of a presidential run comes after the Mexico Supreme Court issued an unthinkable landmark decision that legalizes abortion in a once-fervently faith-filled country; it's a decision that paves the way for a massive increase in the killing of life in the womb, as of yet unborn.


Verástegui is portraying himself as a new kind of leader. This may be advantageous for him because he is able to stand in stark contrast to the established parties, which the public, in large part, distrusts.

PAN, Mexico's purported right-of-center party, is likely to be targeted by Verástegui's presidential campaign in a manner reminiscent of U.S. candidates that have run against Republicans of the establishment kind.

But Hirsen is hiding just how extreme Verástegui's right-wing politics are, which include anti-abortion extremism and admiration for right-wing authoritarians. According to Reuters:

Eduardo Verastegui, an outspoken Mexican actor and right-wing activist who calls Donald Trump "my friend," is hoping to unite his country's conservatives with a long-shot presidential bid ahead of next year's elections.


He called doctors performing abortions assassins and said they should be imprisoned for "a minimum of 100 years."

"We're a Catholic country governed by an anti-Catholic government," he said.


In 2022, Verastegui organized CPAC Mexico, a local spinoff of the conservative political conference that has boosted hard-right leaders like Trump, Bolsonaro and Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Verastegui told Reuters he looks to Orban, as well as Hungary's President Katalin Novak and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, as models among global leaders.

"The Hungary model seems very good to me: country, family, freedom," Verastegui said.

Verástegui also danced around how "Sound of Freedom" -- which of course, Newsmax loved -- leans into QAnon conspiracy theories, according to reutiers: Verastegui said he had heard of QAnon, but that he did not know anything about it. Asked if he rejects the idea that Democrats are engaged in a pedophilia ring, Verastegui said "there are good people and bad people on all sides."

Instead of telling his readers the truth about Verástegui, Hirsen chose to gush even more over him:

An amazing arc of success surrounds Verástegui's life. A providential win of the presidency could be forthcoming.

If this happens, positive changes will surely be in store for our neighboring country South of the Border.

And the world will get to see a glimmering example of how celebrity power can work for the good.

Only someone like Hirsen would portray Verástegui's right-wing authoritarianism as something "good" and "positive.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:14 PM EST
Updated: Friday, November 17, 2023 8:15 PM EST
WND -- Which Raged That Ray Epps Hadn't Been Arrested -- Now Rages That He Is
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Some folks just can't be pleased. Ever since the Capitol riot, WorldNetDaily has obsessed over Ray Epps, a particiopant whom it has portrayed without evidence as a secret federal agent whose goal it was to provoke violence -- never mind that both Epps and federal officals have repeatedly testified that he was not. Well, Epps finally got arrested for his actions at the riot, and WND predictably wasn't happy about that either. Bob Unruh huffed in a Sept. 19 article, under a headline calling Epps "infamous":

Ray Epps, the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol protester who was cast as a provocateur by multiple commentators because he was on video urging the crowd to break into the Capitol, yet was not charged, now has been charged.

With a misdemeanor.

As more than 1,000 people who sometimes did not do even as Epps had, urging the crowd to violate the Capitol, were charged, sometimes with felonies, he remained without a court date. There have been cases against people who were not even in Washington that day.

And that very circumstance caused some to claim he was there to provoke the crowd into doing the things it should not.

The Washington Examiner reported Epps "became the focus of online theories about the government plotting the incident," and now has been accused of disorderly conduct.

Unruh went on to tout attacks on Epps by Steve Bannon and right-wing Ome America News, then added: "A sympathetic report from NBC suggested Epps was set to agree to a plea bargain." Unruh failed to mention that the NBC report also noted one key reason why Epps is facing less severe charges than others: "Video shows that Epps attempted to deescalate tensions between the police and rioters, though he's also shown with his hands on a giant Trump sign the rioters jammed into the police line."

Unruh complained that Epps said the right-wing conspiracy theories about him "had torn his life apart," but didn't disclose that WND helped ot spread them. Rather, he spread them again, quoting his boss, editor Joseph Farah, repeating them.

And WND wonders why nobody wants to read its website anyone. Why would they, with all the fake news and conspriacy theories it publishes?

Posted by Terry K. at 1:46 PM EST

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