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Tuesday, January 20, 2015
MRC Thinks Joy Behar Is A 'Journalist'
Topic: Media Research Center

In a Jan. 19 Media Research Center item headlined "Journalists Thrilled By All of Obama’s State of the Union Speeches," Rich Noyes makes no effort to discern between commentators allowed to express opinions and regular journalists, and he plucks the words of those journalists out of context to hide the fact that many of them simply appear to be making objective observations about Obama's speeches instead of the endorsements Noyes claims they are.

And then there's this section:

That's right -- Noyes is portraying Joy Behar, a former co-host of the decidedly not-journalism show "The View," as a "journalist."

Mind you, Noyes is the MRC's research director. But it's "research" like this that keeps the MRC from being taken seriously as a legitimate research organization -- it's too enslaved to its right-wing agenda for that.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:45 PM EST
Monday, January 19, 2015
WND's Cashill Changes Mind, Now Thinks Zimmerman Might Be Responsible for His Own Behavior
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily columnist has spent much of the past couple of years making excuses for George Zimmerman, who was acquitted of murder in the 2012 killing of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, even as Zimmerman's behavior became more erratic and violent. (Cashill did write a book about how Zimmerman was a civil rights martyr, after all -- currently submergeda at the flop-worthy No. 501,682 at Amazon -- so he had to try and preserve what little stream of his income that represented.)

But it now appears Zimmerman has gone too far even for a man inordinately fond of killers as Cashill is. In a Jan. 17 WND article, Cashill shows he's rather slow on the uptake by noting that Zimmerman's latest arrest on a domestic violence charge means he's "showing signs of trouble."

Cashill then goes into armchair-psychiatry mode, proclaiming without evidence that Zimmerman has no support network and, thus, needs to recommit to his Catholic faith:

Cashill thinks Zimmerman, a Catholic, needs to get back to his faith to turn his life around.

“I think what would be ideal for him is really to find a spiritual retreat for about six months where he could get his head straight,” the author said.

Cashill said Zimmerman will not find spiritual balance following his current path.

“He’s not going to find [balance] in the kind of pursuits he’s pursuing now – women or guns or whatever,” Cashill said. “He just needs to be re-grounded and re-moored to turn his life around.”

But lest anyone think Cashill has completely rediscovered the idea that a person should be held accountable for their own behavior, he just can't seem to completely stop making excuses for Zimmerman, lamenting that Zimmerman "must be the most unloved man in America right now" and making sure others share the blame for his plight:

Regarding the ongoing civil suit, which alleges that Zimmerman violated Martin’s civil rights, Cashill doesn’t believe there is much of a case.

“It strikes me as Eric Holder’s way of telling his radical black supporters, and white supporters, too, that, ‘We haven’t let him off the hook yet,’” he said.

[...]

Nevertheless, the New Black Panther Party has not rescinded the $10,000 bounty it placed on Zimmerman’s head in 2012. Cashill is appalled that the White House and the attorney general’s office have not denounced the organization.

“There’s no consequence, no negative consequence for the New Black Panther party,” he said.

When you've devoted your life to being an apologist for unsavory people, as Cashill has, it's apparently hard to go cold turkey.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:12 PM EST
MRC Unhappy Climate Deniers Are Accurately Labeled
Topic: Media Research Center

Mike Ciandella complains in a Jan. 14 Media Research Center item:

A group of climate change alarmists has demanded that the media stop being so nice to those with different viewpoints on climate. The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry petitioned the media to drop the term “skeptic” in favor of “denier,” when referring to anyone who questions their views on climate change.

The petition ignored more than 400 scientists who have publicly questioned the extent of mankind’s influence when it comes to climate change.

According to the Orwellian-sounding Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, “Public discussion of scientific topics such as global warming is confused by misuse of the term ‘skeptic.’” The Committee’s petition called for journalists to only use the term “denier,” and never “skeptic,” when referring to anyone not convinced that humans are responsible for climate change. CSI is a project of the Center for Inquiry, a group which, among other things, campaigns to prevent religious groups from being allowed to own hospitals.

CSI also relies heavily on the word of “experts” like Bill Nye (whose career depends on people not realizing that “science guy” doesn’t mean “scientist”) and Neil deGrasse Tyson (who has been criticized for fabricating quotes to make a point). Despite this, The Washington Post hyped this petition, and even used Nye’s name in the headline for credibility.

At no point does Ciandella dispute the accuracy of the label. While he tries to blur the issue by claiming that deniers merely have "different viewpoints on climate," he merely bashes those who support its (accurate) use.

Ciandella's complaining that Nye isn't a real scientist is rather rich considering that many of the leading lights on the denier side are even less qualified. For instance, Marc Morano, who leads the denier site Climate Depot, has a bachelor's degree in political science and spent much of his pre-denier career in media working for both Rush Limbaugh and the MRC-owned CNSNews.com.

Similarly, "Lord" Christopher Monckton also has no formal training in science; his degrees are in journalism and the classics. But Ciandella doesn't mention their purported lack of training in the subject in which they speak publicly on the most.

And it's quite rich of Ciandella to complain about the word "denier" when he uses the word "alarmist" to describe anyone who agrees with the demonstrated science of global warming.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:29 PM EST
WND's Unruh Dutifully Repeats Lies About Fired Atlanta Fire Chief
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Bob Unruh is in stenographer mode yet again in a Jan. 14 WorldNetDaily article about fired Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran. Unruh uncritically repeats the claims of right-wing groups that the city "fired him for nothing other than his faith" and that the city had granted Cochran permission to publish his "Christian book" that smeared homosexuals.

In fact, as we've pointed out, a city investigation into Cochran's firing found that Cochran was fired for his behavior, not his faith, and that he never sought the proper permission to self-publish his book.

Even though that investigation came out five days before Unruh's article appeared, Unruh makes no mention of it. In fact, Unruh made no apparent effort whatsoever to talk to anyone who would have told him the facts about Cochran's firing -- he simply regurgitates the factually deficient claims of right-wing activists who are trying to turn Cochran's firing into a cause celebre.

Of course, such laziness and bias is what WND is paying Unruh to do, so it's unfortunately not a surprise. It is, though, yet another reason why nobody believes WND.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:06 PM EST
Sunday, January 18, 2015
CNS Bases 'News' Article On Right-Wing Website's Rant
Topic: CNSNews.com

We have previously praised CNSNews.com's writer Patrick Goodenough for being an unusually fair and balanced writer for the ConWeb. But it appears he has been fully assimilated into the borg.

In a Jan. 14 CNS article, Goodenough fretted about Israeli "media bias" because the purported cause of "Reports claiming that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu angered French President Francois Hollande by taking part in Sunday’s mass rally in Paris":

Israeli media also charged that the prime minister had unceremoniously shoved his way to the front row, where he joined the leaders of France, Germany, Mali, the European Union, the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) and others.

The left-wing daily Ha’aretz cited an unnamed Israeli source as saying France had privately asked Netanyahu not to attend; that Netanyahu had agreed but changed his mind after learning that two political rivals were planning to go; and that France had then retaliated by inviting P.A. chairman Mahmoud Abbas to take part.

[...]

By contrast, a review of French media reporting on the rally finds no French officials – named or otherwise – cited as confirming tensions between Hollande and Netanyahu.

[...]

In an op-ed in the conservative Israel Hayom daily on Tuesday, Haim Shine, a member of board of governors of Jewish Agency, said the anti-Netanyahu media’s coverage of the Paris visit “shows the degree to which they resent Netanyahu and the Israel he represents.”


Note the pejorative labeling of Ha'aretz as "left-wing" while Israel Hayom is benignly described as "conservative." Actually, Israel Hayom appears to be as right-wing as Goodenough claims Ha'aretz is to the left.

This is the kind of pseudo-news CNS usually provides -- Goodenough offers no particular demonstrated expertise on "media bias" in Israel, and even CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, does next to nothing on the subject. Then he cuts to where he apparently got the idea for his article:

Writing on the Frontpage magazine site, Freedom Center fellow Daniel Greenfield said the sources of the reporting were “a major reason to be skeptical of the claims” about the Hollande-Netanyahu spat, adding that “the lack of French reports confirming it are suspicious.”

“While it’s entirely possible that Hollande really did not want Netanyahu to come, the sourcing on this story is from Ha’aretz,” he said. “Ha’aretz is a left-wing Israeli publication that will print absolutely anything negative about Netanyahu that it can.”

“Israel is in an election season now, and one of the domestic political attacks against him is that he alienated Obama and Europe. So this particular line plays all too well into the attack campaign by Ha’aretz’s favorite candidates.”

Strange that in an article that's supposed to be about biased news outlets, Goodenough doesn't identify the political Leanings of FrontPageMag. It's the digital platform for far-right activist David Horowitz and is not interested in actual "news" or unbiased research, as Greenfield's completely unsupported claim that Ha'aretz will "will print absolutely anything negative about Netanyahu that it can" amply demonstrates.

Greenfield goes on to sneer that "Haaretz is an untrustworthy source in general and a particularly untrustworthy source for anything involving Netanyahu," again without providing any evidence to back it up.

Horowitz and his FrontPageMag are so far out of the political mainstream that the last time we wrote about them, it was because a Greenfield rant about "the leftist hijacking of black identity" contained a doctored image of Hillary Clinton in blackface.

That's the level of discourse that takes place there. Why did Goodenough think this screed needed to be sanitized and elevated?


Posted by Terry K. at 10:24 PM EST
WND's Unruh Censors Evidence of Fraud In Houston Anti-Gay Petitions
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As a lazy reporter and a homophobe, WorldNetDaily's Bob Unruh enjoys spreading lies about Houston mayor Annise Parker (whom Unruh is unusually eager to have us know is a lesbian) and that city's anti-discrimination ordinance.

Unruh carries water for anti-gay forces once again in a Jan. 15 WND article about the court fight over the ordinance. After injecting in the very first paragraph that Parker is a lesbian, Unruh plays stenographer to the anti-gay forces, this time ranting about how petitions attempting to overturn the ordinance were thrown out by city officials: "But the city attorney, David Feldman, then stepped in and disqualified most of the signatures that had been collected, and the city has been fighting efforts to overturn the ordinance ever since."

What Unruh won't tell you: there's ample evidence of fraud in those petitions.

While collecting manymore signatures than needed to force a citywide vote on the anti-discrimination ordinance, many signature pages were invalid because some of the circulators who collected stacks of signatures were not qualified Houston voters, as required by law, while some of those signatures themselves were not from valid Houston voters.

There's also evidence that signatures purportedly from different people apparently share the same handwriting -- also evidence of fraud.

Unruh is utterly silent about the clear evidence of fraud in the petition process. Apparently, he -- like the Houston pastors for whom he's serving as stenographer -- doesn't think there should be any validation process and that the fact that a signature exists automatically means it's valid.

Unruh also uncritically quotes local anti-gay pastors complaining that the city was trying to "assault on the right to trial by jury" by having the pastors' case over the petitions heard by a judge instead of a jury. But as one blogger points out, Houston's charter determines that this type of issue is settled by a district judge. So it is the pastors who are circumventing the established rule of law by changing the procedure. Unruh mentions nothing about that.

So, we have a reporter censoring information that contradicts the political agenda of his employer. Anyone surprised?


Posted by Terry K. at 8:24 PM EST
Saturday, January 17, 2015
NewsBusters Publishes Tony Perkins' Falsehoods About Fired Atlanta Fire Chief
Topic: NewsBusters

The Media Research Center is getting as bad about peddling falsehoods as WorldNetDaily is.

On Jan. 14, the MRC's NewsBusters published a post by Family Research Council chief Tony Perkins on the case of fired Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran. Perkins ranted about a New Yorkk Times editorial about Cochran, which noted that Cochran did not have permission from city authorities to publish his self-published book that includes homophobic rants. RetortsPerkins: "Not only did Cochran have permission from the city’s ethics office to publish his book, but he only distributed it in his personal capacity at church -- where a handful of his coworkers attend."

Perkins is lying. A city investigation into the Cochran case, released five days before Perkin's post was published, confirms that Cochran never had city permission to publish the book:

At the outset of the investigation, Chief Cochran admitted that he did not inform Mayor Reed that he was publishing the book and did not have the Mayor’s permission. The only indication there was any mention of the book to anyone in the Mayor’s Office is the Chief Operating Officer at the time of publication remembering that Chief Cochran had talked about writing a book on leadership.

Chief Cochran insists Ethics Officer Hickson authorized both the publication of the book and the reference in the book to his position as AFRD Chief. His recollection is that he first contacted Ms. Hickson to determine if it was permissible to publish the book and that he later asked if it was appropriate to identify himself in the book as AFRD Chief. Ms. Hickson indicated that she did not approve publication of the book and had no authority to grant such approval. She said she told him that he would need to get the Mayor’s permission as well as a formal opinion from the Board of Ethics.

Further, contrary to Perkins' claim, Cochran did in fact distribute his book at the workplace. From the investigation:

Chief Cochran stated that he provided the book to certain members of his command staff as a personal gift. He originally stated that he did not provide it to anyone who did not request a copy. The investigation disclosed that the book was distributed in the workplace to at least nine (9) individuals. Three (3) of these officers stated that the book was given to them without a request on their part.

Perkins insisted that "At no point did Kelvin Cochran 'foist' his views on anyone." But if Cochran is giving his book to employees who did not request one, he is in fact foisting his views on people.

Perkins asserted that the city of Atlanta, in firing Cochran, is engaging in a "campaign of discrimination against Christians." In fact, Cochran was not fired because of his Christianity but, rather, because of his unprofessional behavior. As the city investigation points out, Cochran was fired because he failed to obtain proper approval for his book and because of his insubordination by speaking publicly about his ordeal.

Does the MRC not vet the blog entries it posts? Apparently not.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:26 PM EST
WND Shockingly Covers Teacher-Student Sex Story That Isn't About A Female Teacher
Topic: WorldNetDaily

For years, WorldNetDaily has been pruriently fixated on female (but not male) teachers who have affairs with students, for reasons it has never explained.

But WND is finally expanding beyond that narrow, disturbing focus. A Jan. 13 WND article by Joe Kovacs surprisingly focuses on a male teacher who had sex with a student.

Kovacs doesn't explain this new coverage strategy or why a male teacher having an affair with a student is suddenly newsworthy to him after years of ignoring it. But this may be an aberration; the article includes a link to WND's lovingly detailed "big list" of "Female teachers with students."

Of course, Kovacs will never publicly admit one real reason for obsessing about such things: Sex sells, and writing about sex draws readers. WND may profess to operate on Christian principles (even though its founder and editor is an inveterate liar), but it knows what attracts eyeballs.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:55 AM EST
Friday, January 16, 2015
MRC: Fox News Dispute With Dish Network Is A Democratic Conspiracy
Topic: Media Research Center

The last time we saw Media Research Center videographer Dan Joseph, he was embarrassing himself by pathetically pretending to be transgender to mock the idea that transgendered people have rights. Now he's on the conspiracy bandwagon in a Jan. 13 blog post (boldface his):

Dish Network dropped Fox News and its sister network Fox Business Channel at the end of last year and the network still remains blacked out for Dish’s 14 million subscribers. Dish Network claims that they dropped the nation’s number one cable news network because of a contract dispute. 

However in recent days Fox News has begun to suggest that Dish Network is engaged in an effort to censor the network's content.

While it’s not entirely clear who’s in the right in this matter, digging into the background of Dish Network’s  founder and chairman Charles Ergen may help to illuminate why animosity between Dish and FNC has reached such epic proportions.

As it turns out, Charles Ergen is a big-time donor to the Democratic Party.  According to Open Secrets, Ergen donated a total of $64,000 to the Democratic Senatorial campaign Committee in 2014. 

The whole censorship conspiracy Joseph is pushing had one big hole in it: as a substitute for Fox News, Dish Network made available another right-wing "news" channel, The Blaze, to its subscribers. Joseph didn't mention that.

Joseph then tries to back down, claiming that such a donation "does not necessarily mean that he is targeting Fox News due to a disagreement with the network’s content." Then he negates it by bringing out the boldface again: 

But, Ergen may have a history of abusing his position of power to promote his political preferences.

In 2012, a federal complaint was filed against Ergen in which several company executives alleged that he had intimidated them into making contributions to specific candidates, the majority of which were Democrats.

The claim was filed by an unnamed company insider who accused Ergen of "forcing" Dish Network’s Chief Operating Officer Bernard Han to donate to a Democratic Party candidate in the 2009/2010 election cycle.

The complaint also claimed that Han was “encouraged" to attend Democratic functions and fundraisers and that other Dish employees were strong-armed by Ergen in a similar way.

Curiously, a couple days later when noting that Fox and Dish Network had reached an agreement to return the channels to the service, Joseph mentioned nothing about his big Democrat censorship conspiracy.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:51 PM EST
WND Tries To Sell Discredited Book In Middle of Article Admitting It's Discredited
Topic: WorldNetDaily

You can't make this stuff up, folks.

A Jan. 15 WorldNetDaily article steals a Washington Post article on a Christian book publisher recalling the book “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven” after the boy and his mother recanted the book's central claim by admitting he did not go to heaven and said so because "I thought it would get me attention."

But what's that in the middle of WND's stolen excerpt? A plug to buy the book from WND's online store. No, really:

That's right -- WND is trying to sell you a book through an article that admits the book is a lie. 

If that wasn't insulting enough, WND isn't even offering you much of a deal on this discredited book. As of this writing, it's available for the "discount price" of $19.99, a mere $5 off the cover price.

Wouldn't be easier for WND to simply return those books to the publisher instead of cynically trying to sell a book it knows is false?

Then again, WND has no problem selling discredited books, as demonstrated by its selling of David Barton's book on Thomas Jefferson, also recalled by its publisher for its numerous falsehoods.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:40 AM EST
Updated: Friday, January 16, 2015 10:41 AM EST
Thursday, January 15, 2015
CNS' Hunter Still Obsessing Over Money Spent on LGBT Issues
Topic: CNSNews.com

Last month, CNSNews.com deputy managing editor Melanie Hunter tried to start the ball rolling again on the website's crusade to portray any money spent on LGBT issues as wasteful. She does it again this week:

$661,858 Federal Study: Will 'Rapid HIV Home Test' Reduce HIV Infection Among Gays?

$210,871 Federal Study Uses Smartphones to Stop Spread of HIV among Gay Men – in Romania

Of the five articles Hunter has written over the past month highlighting government spending , all five have singled out LGBT issues. She has not explained why she apparently finds such spending so offensive.

It may also be that Hunter is simply providing catnip to CNS readers. Each of her articles include dozens, if not hundreds, of comments from CNS readers that can only be described as virulently homophobic. CNS has not explained why it feels the need to perform such a service to let its readers vent their hatred.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:42 PM EST
Why Won't WND's Klein Identify Key Figure Named In Sex Scandal?
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Aaron Klein writes in a Jan. 11 WorldNetDaily article:

One largely unasked question surrounding the Jeffrey Epstein affair is whether any current or former U.S. political figures were videoed frolicking with the financier’s alleged ring of underage “sex slaves.”

There is evidence Epstein kept cameras hidden in the bedrooms of his various homes. Damaging videos of sitting U.S. politicians abusing schoolgirls could constitute a national security threat, providing sources of blackmail for foreign countries.

Prince Andrew is the only currently serving political figure alleged to have participated in Epstein’s underage activities. In court filings, Jane Doe No. 3, identified as 31-year-old Virginia Roberts, says that when she was 17 she was forced by Epstein to have repeated “sexual relations” with the Duke of York in London, New York and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Klein is lying when he writes that Prince Andrew is the only political figure who has been named in the case. He makes no mention of the fact that lawyer Alan Dershowitz has also been implicated in the scandal (he has vociferously denied any involvement).

Why would Klein not report Dershowitz's alleged links to this scandal, even though he's a brand-name political figure? Perhaps because he's a buddy of Klein and WND.

In 2012, Dershowitz appeared on Klein's radio show to rail against Media Matters (disclosure: my former employer) for employing a blogger who had been critical of Israel. WND has promoted Dershowitz's views when they align with WND's right-wing political agenda (which seems to be increasingly often).

It appears that Klein is trying to protect Dershowitz by not naming him in the Epstein scandal -- after all, it can't be because the accusation may not be true, since WND has no problem publishing falsehoods.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:12 PM EST
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
MRC Defends The Honor of France's Far-Right National Front
Topic: Media Research Center

It's nice to know that the Media Research Center is running to the defense of the National Front, the far-right French political group.

In a Jan. 7 item, Scott Whitlock took offense at the "false equivalence" of right-wing extremists in Europe like the National Front being likened to extremist Muslims, making sure to tell us: "Militant non-Muslims are not beheading and shooting Muslims in Europe. In general, they are calling for changes in immigration laws."

Whitlock doesn't mention that those "changes in immigration laws" he presents as so benign actually involve a complete moratorium on immigration, or that National Front leader Marine Le Pen has likened Muslims in France to a Nazi occupation.

Two days later, Curtis Houck took offense at a pundit on MSNBC claiming that the National Front has "no business" taking part in Parliament, disdainfully noting how the pundit "drew a moral equivalency between the murdering Islamic jihadists who committed the attacks and caused so much angst since Wednesday and a French political party."

And a Jan. 8 NewsBusters post by Tom Blumer sneer at the New York Times highlighting the anti-immigrant sentiments of far-right nationalists like the National Front, snarkily adding: "Yeah, those are Europe's biggest problems, not Islamic terrorism."

We'd say something about strange bedfellows, but the right-wing MRC defending other right-wingers is not strange at all.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:51 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, January 14, 2015 8:53 PM EST
NEW ARTICLE: Joseph Farah's Year of Lies About Obama
Topic: WorldNetDaily
The WorldNetDaily editor spent 2014 spreading falsehoods about him -- and lying about previous lies he has spread. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 11:51 AM EST
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
The MRC's 'No True Scotsman' Theory of Christian Violence
Topic: Media Research Center

"No true Scotsman" is the informal name of a logical fallacy that seeks to exclude a person from a group for certain behavior by claiming that through engaging in that behavior, they aren't a "real" member of that group.

Or, as the Media Rsearch Center interprets it: If a Christian committed an act of violence or terror, he or she is not a Christian. The point, of course, is to  drive home the point that Muslims who commit terroristic acts, i.e. the Charlie Hebdo attack, are acting in accordance with their group.

In a Jan. 7 MRC item, Kristine Marsh took offense when someone brought up an incident of a Christian who beheaded someone last year. Marsh insisted that the perpetrator was "heavily drugged man with fanatical 'Christian' beliefs," then huffed: "While this man was rightly described as a “religious zealot,” if there’s a beheading revival sweeping Christian denominations, we’re unaware of it. It takes an awful lot of magical thinking to seriously compare one random psychotic event to a the near-weekly decapitations by ISIS – not to mention al Qaeda’s fondness for sawing off infidels’ heads on video – and other common atrocities committed explicitly in the name of Islam."

When another person on TV pointed out that Anders Breivik, who massacred dozens in Norway, was a Christian, Matthew Balan denied it in a Jan. 12 item, claiming that Breivik "considered himself to be a 'cultural Christian,' and condemned then-Pope Benedict XVI, as well as Protestant churches. So, just as in the case of the Lord's Resistance Army, Breivik isn't a serious Christian."

Yet all Muslims are somehow responsible when someone claims to kill in the name of Islam. Interesting.


Posted by Terry K. at 7:29 PM EST

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