CNS Reporter Tells Only One Side of Flint Hearings Topic: CNSNews.com
Last week, a House committee hosted two days of testimony on the Flint, Mich., water crisis. CNSNews.com reporter Melanie Hunter wrote four articles about it:
An article on the former Flint mayor testifying that "he trusted the guidance he received from then EPA regional administrator Susan Hedman that the high levels of lead in the water in Flint, Mich., were 'limited to very particular cases' of lead service lines and plumbing in individual houses."
An article on EPA administrator Gina McCarthy allegedly [sidestep[ping] a question on whether she would have fired a regional administrator for her purported role in the crisis. McCarthy pointed out that the regional administrator resigned on her own so "that was an issue I didn’t need to face."
An article featuring a internal EPA email suggesting that "the federal agency might not want to 'go out on a limb for' the community of Flint, Mich."
An article featuring a Republican congressman's call for McCarthy to resign.
How biased is Hunter's reporting? Not only does quote only from Republican members of the committee, she almost completely disappears the fact that among those testifying was Republican Michian Gov. Rick Snyder. Only one of Hunter's four articles even mentions Snyder, a passing reference noting only that Snyder testified.
And because Hunter is interested only in parroting right-wing bashing of the EPA and protecting a Republican governor, her readers don't get the full story -- that Michigan officials under Snyder played a significant role in creating and extending the crisis, and that the EPA's hands were tied to a certain extent. The Washington Post's Dana Milbank summarizes:
Now members of Congress are blaming the EPA for failing to stop the problem — oblivious to the irony that they and their predecessors were the ones who denied the federal government the ability to enforce drinking-water standards in the first place.
It’s a vicious cycle: Washington devolves power to the states. When states screw up, conservatives blame the federal government, worsening the public’s already shaky faith. Having tied the hands of the feds — in this case, the EPA — they use the failure as justification to restrict federal power further, thus giving more control to the states, which caused the problem in the first place.
Even though the EPA should have acted faster once it learned of Flint’s troubles, there is no dispute that the state was solely responsible for the changes that caused the lead poisoning.
But you won't find any of that being reported by Hunter -- it's not part of her agenda.
In a Feb. 10 column, Malloch declared that "Trump is an Aristotelian – perhaps without knowing it." No, really:
What is Trump’s Ethos? In other words, what makes him credible? What is his “street cred,” in the modern vernacular? You need this to establish a first line of communication, and that has to be believable. Trump ‘s credibility is tied to his business acumen and success. It helps that he is universally recognizable as the chairman of the board on a popular TV reality show.
What is Trump’s Logos? He is employing the means of persuasion by using logic, data and facts to get people to understand the situation we are facing as a country in decline and by saying he, as speaker and potential president, has a sense of reasonableness. How is he demonstrating that he knows what he is talking about and that he is in command of the present political and economic reality? He is doing that by stating figures on where we have gone down the wrong path and how that could be righted.
What is Trump’s Pathos? His art of appealing to people’s emotions is working. The emotional bond he deploys is captivating audiences as they feel connected both to him as leader and to his message. He is one of them. He gets their predicament. He is able to make voters see he can do something no one else can. Clearly, he is going to do things differently. He gets things done.
So not quite Aristotlean in the great-thinker way -- just that he's able to give a speech competently. If Malloch thinks Trump uses "data and facts" in his speeches, he obviously hasn't heard Trump speak.
In his Feb. 15 column, Malloch insisted that "Donald Trump’s campaign remarks about Muslims were both taken out of context and decoupled from a necessary, larger framework" and that "Trump is neither anti-Muslim nor against states with majority Muslim populations." Malloch goes on to give Trump much more credit for having a thought-out plan on Muslims than the guy has actually demonstrated:
Trump understands that Islam is one of the three great Abrahamic faiths and that a minority of its adherents have hijacked Islam for violent political ends. Radical Islamic terrorists are destroying their own culture even as they strike out against everything they hate in Western civilization. The truth is Islam needs to undergo the type of reformation experienced by the other two Abrahamic faiths. Millions of Muslims throughout the world realize that the needed reformation must emanate from within Islam itself, such that it cannot be imposed on Islam from the outside.
On Feb. 23, Malloch touted Trump's appeal to the "white working and middle class." He gets credit for managing not to look as nakedly racist as fellow WND columnist and Trump fanboy Kent Bailey did; instead, he frames it as regular people vs. the elites, and that "What the Trump supporters from the WWMC want is simply restoration of the American dream!" Malloch adds: "The WWMC class needs a voice. Trump is the messenger of this voiceless group." He doesn't mention the irony of a guy who has been the epitome of elitism being the "voice" of anti-elitists.
And on March 6, Malloch portrays Trump as a "principled actor" in politics, again ignoring his actual history:
For all three traditional definitions of political politicians – political theorists, principled political actors and unprincipled political actors – the real problem is that Trump believes it is true American can be great again, and he dares to say without any reservation that he has the talent and the means to accomplish that goal, even if he must do so against all odds.
For Trump, to exude confidence not only inspires others to confidence, but becomes a self-fulfilling act. But the truth is that to make America great again, one has to believe that one is a partial expression of that greatness. Trump wants all Americans to be included in that greatness he sees as possible for America, and he dares to extend his reach beyond party, class, race, gender and region.
In this sense Trump has much to share with both Reagan and Lincoln in that all three gentlemen have embraced the highest ideals of our Founding Fathers with the naiveté to believe their destiny was to assist this nation in fulfilling that dream.
In the final analysis, Trump – like Reagan and Lincoln before him – loves America and welcomes the challenge to return this country to the glory our forefathers intended to bequeath to future generations. In the final analysis, Trump can embrace this challenge in this age because he is, after all, an entrepreneur.
A race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will post an unprincipled politician against a principled one – with neither qualifying as political theorists. That much should be clear.
What remains harder for many on the left and on the right to grasp is that understanding Trump is really not all that difficult, not after you realize that Trump might actually achieve what he says he wants to achieve.
Ignoring reality is the stuff of fanfiction, and Malloch has that down cold.
MRC Lets GOP Activist's False Birther Claim Stand Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's history on Obama birtherism is an ambivalent one -- it would alternate tepid endorsements with tepid denials. It's only when Ted Cruz faced birther-style claims that it got aggressive on the subject -- and even then it wouldn't target close personal friends of the MRC for going birther on Cruz.
That particular Trump-induced birther storm has passed ... which apparently has made it OK for the MRC to promote Obama birther attacks again.
Brad Wilmouth uses a March 13 MRC NewsBusters post to promote how a CNN anchor Poppy Harlow was "confused" by how "her guest, Ohio GOP chairman Matt Borges, turned the tables by implicating Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign in dabbling in similar mischief against her then-opponent Senator Obama." Wilmouth uncritically repeated Borges' assertion that Obama birtherism was "created by Hillary Clinton in 2008," noting only that Harlow pointed out that "Hillary Clinton never asked for the President's, you know, then-Senator Barack Obama's birth certificate."
In fact, numerous fact-checkers have found no link between Hillary Clinton and birther attacks on Obama.
USA Today: "While it's true that some of her ardent supporters pushed the theory, there is no evidence that Clinton or her campaign had anything to do with it."
PolitiFact: "It’s an interesting bit of history that the birther movement appears to have begun with Democrats supporting Clinton and opposing Obama. But Trump, and others who have made this claim, neglect to mention that there is no direct tie to Clinton or her 2008 campaign. The story appears to have started with supporters of Clinton, an important distinction."
Washington Post: "This is simply not true. Clinton's campaign, one of the most thoroughly dissected in modern history, never raised questions about the future president's citizenship. The idea that it did is based largely on a series of disconnected actions by supporters of Clinton, mostly in the months between Obama's reaction to the Jeremiah Wright story and the Democratic National Convention. ... the Clinton campaign never pursued the idea that Obama was literally not American, and therefore ineligible for the presidency."
It would have been nice if Wilmouth was honest and told the truth. But telling the truth about Obama is simply not in the MRC's best political interest.
WND's Cashill Fires Up The Conspiracies for Supreme Court Nomination Topic: WorldNetDaily
Last week, WorldNetDaily renounced birtherism to support Ted Cruz, so it was in the market for a new conspiracy theory. So it's returning to an old one, thanks to Merrick Garland.
On March 16, President Obama named Garland as his Supreme Court nominee. A short time later, conspiracy-monger extraordinaire Jack Cashill was up with a WND column claiming to tie Garland to not one but two conspiracies, the Oklahoma City bombing and the TWA 800 disaster -- then immediately backtracks on one of them:
Whatever his merits, Garland served as Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick’s “principal deputy” during the two most corrupt years in American political history – the years leading up to Bill Clinton’s reelection in 1996 – and that service alone should kill his candidacy.
Although Garland has no known connection with the TWA 800 investigation, it happened during his watch, and his boss oversaw its unprecedented misdirection.
nevertheless, Csshill insists that "Senators need to ask Garland what he knew about TWA 800 and when he knew it."
After some factuallyinaccurate ranting about Gorelick and her purported "wall," Cashill finally moves on to more relevant stuff: Garland's serving as chief prosecutor of Oklahoma City bombing perpetrators Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. "What someone needs to ask Garland is what happened to John Doe No. 2," Cashill asserts, referring to the idea that a mysterious Middle Eastern man played some unspecified role in the bombing; as we've reported, the FBI said the person thought to have been said swarthy foreigner was "thoroughly investigated" and found to have no connection to the bombing.
But Cashill cites no role, real or imagined, Garland had in this conspiracy; he simply rehashes the never-proven John Doe No. 2 story, then jumps to a completely separate conspiracy: that "Garland was also involved with the Olympic Park bombing" and, apparently, the framing of Richard Jewell for it.
Bu we remember when Cashill was suggesting that the guy who actually committed the bombing, Eric Rudolph, was as innocent as Jewell.That was before Rudolph actually confessed to his crimes. Cashill now concedes that Rudolph is "a crazed anti-abortion activist," but back then he was just a "mystical right-winger" who was merely an anti-abortion protester and illogically tied to the Olympic Park bombing.
(Actually, Rudolph confessed his motive was "to shame the United States for its legalization of abortion" by knocking out Atlanta's power grid and shutting down the Olympics. He also bombed two abortion clinics and a lesbian nightclub.)
This is the guy Cashill was willing to defend in order to attack the Clintons. There's no reason to trust his conspiracy-mongering now.
The Trump-Flip-Flopping Continues At The MRC Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center is takingitsindecisiveness over whether to attack or defend Donald Trump to new contradictory levels.
In a March 14 post, Rich Noyes complains that Trump, not "left-wing protesters who forced the cancellation of a presidential campaign event," is getting the blame for violence at Trump campaign events, according to an "an MRC analysis of ABC, CBS and NBC news coverage" spanning "a whopping 45 segments totalling nearly 85 minutes of airtime."
A mere seven hours later, Curtis Houck -- the MRC's king of the conspiracy theory that the "liberal media" is conspiring to make Trump the GOP nominee so he'll lose to Hillary Clinton in November -- devoted an entire post to complaining that Trump got "a whopping 84 percent of the Republican campaign segments" on the TV networks prior to the most recent Super Tuesday elections.
While Houck noted that the Trump coverage was largely made up of stories on "the ongoing fears of violence at Trump rallies," he didn't note that, as his MRC colleague wrote seven hours earlier, that coverage was almost uniformly negative -- which you'd think would be a good thing since MRC boss Brent Bozell is an anti-Trump activist.
The MRC needs to decide on what Trump message it wants to send, because being contradictory isn't working.
CNS Reporter's 'News' Article Turns Into Anti-Obama Rant Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com reporter Susan Jones loves to inject opinion into her "news" articles. This time, her "news" is mostly a right-wing anti-Obama rant.
Jones starts off a March 16 CNS article by ostensibly reporting on President Obama's criticism of "vulgar and divisive rhetoric" on the campaign trail, but the last portion of her article is a full-on anti-Obama rant:
The core values of the country we love have changed dramatically under President Obama's watch.
While campaigning for president in April 2008, President Obama alienated many small-town Americans, when he explained their frustrations over job losses and broken political promises this way: "And it's not surprising then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
Later that year, in October, Obama told a plumber at a campaign event that he planned to raise taxes on successful Americans "to spread the wealth around."
Throughout his presidency, he has pitted "millionaires and billionaires" against the middle and lower classes, insisting in 2011, "This is not class warfare. It’s math...The money is going to have to come from someplace."
With support only from Democrats, President Obama signed a government health care mandate in 2010, breaking his repeated promises to let people keep the plans they liked. He also offended the deeply held religious beliefs of Americans who opposed Obamacare's birth control/abortifacient mandate.
At the National Prayer Breakfast in 2015, Obama reminded the faithful that just as some people "profess to stand up for Islam but in fact are betraying it," so people have "committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ." He suggested that the Christians in the audience should exercise "some basic humility...Not being so full of yourself and confident that you are right, and that God speaks only to us and doesn't speak to others."
With a weak and ineffectual Republican Congress standing by, Obama applied his uncompromising attitude to major issues of the day, including homosexual marriage and illegal immigration, leaving Americans angry, divided and feeling powerless to reverse the tide rolling over the border and steamrolling traditional values.
Under the Obama administration, racial tensions were exacerbated to the point where one Democrat running for president was forced to apologize for saying that "all lives matter."
In 2015, the Gallup polling organization declared Obama one of the most polarizing presidents ever.
As we've previously pointed out when Jones has made the accusation, Obama is not "uncompromising"; quite the opposite, in fact (something Jones apparently cares little about). The PolitiFact website has a full seven pages of examples of Obama compromising to achieve his policy goals. And Jones omits the fact that Republicans have refused to compromise with Obama.
And Jones conveniently fails to hold her side of the political aisle responsible for the country's political polarization, nor does she mention that Republicans have refused to compromise with Obama from the beginning of his administration.
Again: This rant is presented as "news." CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, would be screaming to high heaven if Jones was an employee of the so-called "liberal media."
But remember, there's no such thing is conservative media bias in the MRC's eyes, so Jones' job is quite safe -- even if no actual journalism organization would employ her.
MRC's Graham Mad That NPR Brings Back Satire Mag, Doesn't Mention Hillary Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's Tim Graham really did devote an entire post to complaining that NPR had on the founders of the now-defunct satire magazine Spy to talk about their longtime targeting of Donald Trump -- Spy invented the term "short-fingered vulgarian" to describe him -- but didn't mention that Spy also targeted Hillary Clinton in the '90s.
But Graham glosses over the reason why Spy was worth a story: Trump is still mad about Spy's decades-old mocking of him, and the story came in the wake of the Republican presidential campaign's descent into the gutter of obliquely discussing the gential size of Trump, to which Spy's "short-fingered vulgarian" reference even more obliquely addresses.
By contrast, Hillary has apparently not complained, then or now, about Spy's mocking of her, making any reference to her in this story superfluous.
And despite the fact that Spy devoted three covers (and, presumably, related editorial content) to Hillary-mocking, Graham still insisted on calling Spy a "lefty satire rag." Gotta keep that "liberal media" meme alive, even if you've totally discredited it.
Graham, of course, made sure to include the Spy covers mocking Hillary. He seemingly dismissed them as "juvenile," adding, "These are not sophisticated covers. They're low-class enough to make a high-school joke giggle." And, it would appear, a high-ranking official at a right-wing media-monitoring organization.
NEW ARTICLE: WorldNetDaily Bails on Birthers Topic: WorldNetDaily
WND editor Joseph Farah endorses Ted Cruz while ignoring his eligibility issues -- and to justify the endorsement, Farah abandons the signature issue of WND for the past eight years. Read more >>
MRC Does More PR for Right-Wing Filmmaker Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has a history of serving as a shill for right-wing filmmaker Phelim McAleer, to the point where it appears McAleer was paying the MRC for the privilege of having it say nice things about him and promote crowdfunding campaign for his new film.
It appears the MRC is at it again. Sam Dorman does some dutiful stenography in a March 7 NewsBusters post, declaring that McAleer "said Facebook censored him after he challenged anti-drilling activists on his documentary’s social media site," purportedly for mocking a man who's suing over fracking -- a subject McAleer produced a dishonest film about in order to promote the practice and attack its critics. Dorman's apparent sole source for his post is McAleer himself; all he cites is a press release issued by McAleer and what "McAleer told MRC Business."
Dorman made no apparent attempt to verify anything McAleer said, nor did he apparently contact Facebook for a response to McAleer's charge of censorship. Given McAleer's record of hyperbole and questionable grasp of the facts -- he's been called "climate denial's Michael Moore" -- there's no reason his claims should be taken at face value.
Unless McAleer is paying for that service from the MRC, which may very well be the case once again.
WND's Double Standard on Guilt By Association, Starring David Barton Topic: WorldNetDaily
An unbylined March 11 WorldNetDaily article is an entertaining read -- though not for the reasons WND intended.
The point of it is David Barton, who head a pro-Ted Cruz PAC, defending Cruz against accusations of being too closely aligned with Pentacostal Christians and that his father, Rafael Cruz, is a dominionist, an idea promoted by the Drudge Report. This being Barton, his defense is dishonest and misleading:
David Barton, head of the pro-Cruz PAC “Keep the Promise” and author of “The Jefferson Lies,” defended Cruz, saying video “clips being taken out of context” amounted to an attempt to smear the candidate.
“They are trying to make something out of this,” said Barton. “Unfortunately that’s part of what goes into any campaign, the yellow journalism, the innuendo, the kind of making the noise about, ‘Look how terrible this is.'”
Barton noted it was not clearly shown whether Rafael Cruz was speaking in tongues. Even if he was, Barton suggested it doesn’t matter.
“There are at least 500 million people in the world who are Pentecostal Christians,” said Barton. “Even if he was doing this, this is a major part of the Christian community. It’s being shown in a pejorative way to make it look like something weird and strange. It’s not a big deal because of how large this group of people is.”
Barton never explains the supposedly proper context the clips should be viewed it -- even as he's insisting that even if there was proper context, "it doesn't matter." And he doesn't deny that Rafael Cruz is a dominionist, probably because it's true.
And then there's this line:
Barton condemned any use of “guilt by association” tactics on the Right, by anyone, and was equally critical of similar attacks that might be levied against Trump, Marco Rubio and other candidates.
As Warren Throckmorton points out, Barton didn't have any problem with guilt by association when it came to the critics of his is once-withdrawn, now-returned (and yet still discredited) Thomas Jefferson book.
And of course, as it was denouncing "guilt by association" tactics, WND was not only engaging in them, it was blowing past them by promoting the false allegation that a protester who rushed the stage at a Donald Trump rally is a supporter of ISIS.
If WND can't be consistent with its own logic, it's certainly not going to hold Barton responsible for defending Cruz and his own discredited book.
MRC Uses Levin For Cover To Criticize Fox News Topic: Media Research Center
The business relationship between the Media Research Center and right-wing radio host Mark Levin is apparently so close now that Levin has a hand in the MRC's editorial agenda.
On Feb. 28, Ted Cruz faced tough questioning from host Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday," who pressed Cruz on factually inaccurate claims he had made. You know MRC chief Brent Bozell is a big fanboy of Cruz; Levin is too, to the point that Levin's fiancee's son works for his campaign.
The MRC is also a big booster of Fox News, to the point that it deliberately excludes Fox from its TV analyses in order to avoid having to hold Fox accountable to the same standards it applies to other TV networks (on, for instance, Trump boosterism). So it would never criticize Wallace so directly for something it would have no problem attacking him for were he employed anywhere but Fox News.
However, it has no problem attacking Wallace while using Levin as cover. Hence, Randy Hall's March 1 NewsBusters post:
One day after Ted Cruz was a guest on the Fox News Sunday program, conservative radio personality Mark Levin hammered that show's host -- Chris Wallace -- for performing a “hit job” on that Republican presidential candidate after conducting a softball interview with Donald Trump, even though the GOP front-runner has made several of the same mistakes Cruz was accused of making.
Levin began the segment by stating that “Wallace went after Cruz” and is a person he's “never liked” because Wallace is “a chip off the old block,” a son of longtime liberal CBS journalist Mike Wallace, which the radio host stated “is the problem” with his interviews and coverage of the news.
“And no, this isn't journalism or anything of the sort,” Levin stated before airing Wallace's first question to the senator from Texas.
Levin noted that Wallace had conducted two “totally different interviews. That's why I can't watch these Sunday shows.”
“And it's not a coincidence that Rupert Murdoch the other day tweeted out that Trump, Rubio, Kasich and the establishment need to unite to beat the Democrats,” he stated.
“Now who was left out of that?” the host asked. “Cruz … because Cruz is the true outsider, and he's the true conservative.”
Judging from this incident, it appears that Levin has found a downside to the Fox News Channel being “fair and balanced.”
And it appears the MRC has finally found a way to Heather Fox News for insufficient adherence to right-wing orthodoxy without sullying its hands doing so.
WND Helps Breitbart Throw Its Reporter Under The Bus Topic: WorldNetDaily
The story of Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields, who claims Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski forcefully grabbed her arm and left a bruise, has been very bizarrely covered by her notoriously pro-Trump employer -- editor Joel Pollak has ordered employees to stop speaking publicly about Fields, Breitbart chairman Stephen Bannon reportedly made several disparaging remarks about the reporter in conference calls with company leadership, and Breitbart spokesman Kurt Bardella quit his job rather than peddle management's version of events.
Yet WND has apparaently chosen to side with Breitbart management and against Fields. Cheryl Chumley writes in a March 11 WND article:
Breitbart, in a top-page post on its Friday online news page, acknowledged after viewing video that reporter Michelle Fields was probably wrong – Donald Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski most likely wasn't the one who manhandled her at a recent rally.
The news site notes that "the altercation itself is not shown" and that "Fields quickly disappears from view, as if pulled back." The site also suggests a security official who resembles Lewandowski may have been the one who pulled Fields away.
In a surprise twist on the fast-moving Friday story, Breitbart reported this, too: Fields filed a police report alleging criminal misconduct on the part of Lewandowski.
But first the acknowledgment: "In conducting our own due diligence," Breitbart's Joel Pollak wrote, "we have reviewed as much video footage and other evidence as possible, and present it in the interest of transparency. ... The incident certainly happened. However, the person who made contact with Fields was likely not Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski."
Chumley even uncritically repeated a smear of Fields, highlighting a Lewandowski tweet that "Michelle Fields is an attention seeker who once claimed Allen West groped her but later went silent." She did also note that a Breitbart reporter was suspended for criticizing Fields and that a statement claims tyhat "Breitbart continues to stand 100 percent with Michelle Fields" -- which seems to be a tad untruthful given all the stuff that's leaking out now.
Meanwhile, in addition to all the behind-the-scenes Breitbart drama now being reported, a new video has surfaced that appears to more clearly show Lewandowski grabbing Fields.
Despite the fact that the story is very much in flux, Chumley has not updated it, nor has WND published a separate update on Fields -- meaning this slanted, outdated version is what's standing as WND's current final word on the subject.
Then again, terrible, biased reporting is WND's modus operandi, so this is unfortunately not surprising.
UPDATE: Chumley has now written a follow-up article with the weekend's events, including that Fields and editor-at-large Ben Shapiro quitting Breitbart. Strangely, she ends it with mostly anonymous "social media" comments suggesting that Fields invented the incident to promote an upcoming book.
MRC Bashes Media For Not Immediately Hopping on Trump-Reporter Incident -- But CNS Has Buried It Topic: Media Research Center
According to the Media Research Center, the TV networks didn't move fast enough to cover an alleged incident in which Donald Trump's campaign manager manhandled a conservative reporter. Curtis Houck writes in a March 10 post:
Two days after Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski allegedly forcefully grabbed the arm of Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields, the “big three” networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC finally noticed this disturbing incident just as a Trump protester was sucker punched at a rally on Wednesday night.
Houck praised ABC for offering "the most extensive and substantive time on this matter" and touted how it "secured an interview with Fields."
You know who who gave even less attention to this incident? The MRC's own "news" division, CNSNews.com.
A search of the CNS archive for "michelle fields trump" turned up only twolinks to a single story, an Associated Press article dated March 13. CNS did not put the story on its front page -- which means it may as well not have been published at all since few CNS readers are likely to venture beyond the front-page headlines -- and no CNS reporter covered the controversy.
Houck, of course, is suggesting that this plays into the MRC's conspiracy theory that the "liberal media" want Trump chosen as the Republican presidential nominee so he'll lose to Hillary Clinton in November. But his own organization downplayed the controversy even more than the networks purportedly did.
Does that mean CNS is part of the "liberal media" conspiracy too?
After protester Thomas DiMassimo was arrested for rushing the stage at a Donald Trump rally, his supporters at WorldNetDaily quickly ran with the story that DiMassimo has links to ISIS.
A WND article touted how "was featured in a pro-ISIS video reportedly uploaded to YouTube in May 2015":
At Newsmax, Todd Beamon uncritically reported Trump's claim that DiMassimo's was "probably ISIS or ISIS-related," even embedding a Trump tweet that he has "ties to ISIS"and repeating the claim that DiMassimo "was featured in an Islamic State propaganda video uploaded to YouTube last year."
Just one problem: it doesn't appear to be true.
The Heavy website reports that the "pro-ISIS video" in question "appears to be a hoax video posted by a troll to discredit and mock DiMassimo" following a protest last year in which he stood on an American flag. While the video uses Arabic-style language and music, Heavy reports, "The Arabic caption roughly translates to a joke about the size of Dimassimo’s penis."
WND has since updated its article (without noting it has done so) by adding the hoax information from Heavy, but the "pro-ISIS" claim remains in the headline and lead paragraph. Beamon's Newsmax article reamins unaltered.
Publishing false information and knowingly allowing false information to stand uncorrected potentially opens up WND and Newsmax to libel risks.
WND Helps Trump (And David Duke) Do Damage Control Topic: WorldNetDaily
We got so busy documenting Joseph Farah and WorldNetDaily abandoning the birther movement to support Ted Cruz, we almost forgot that WND is a friend of Donald Trump as well. So much so, in fact, it ran to his defense over that whole David Duke imbroglio.
This was important enough to WND that Bob Unruh was trotted out to write an article headlined "Trump disavows KKK -- again!" The article documented how Trump ran to righit-wing radio host (and WND friend) Michael Savage to "again disavow the KKK." But Unruh rather deliberately underwrites the situation that got Trump into trouble in the first place, writing only that "Trump was interviewed by CNN’s Jake Tapper, and the news agency reported the candidate 'declined to disavow support from David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, claiming he didn’t know anything about the group.'" Unruh then uncritically writes that "Trump later explained he didn’t hear the question because of a 'bad earpiece.'"
That Trump ran to a hater like Savage to do damage control says a lot about the situation, but Unruh -- being a good propagandist who knows Savage is a WND buddy -- doesn't talk about that. Instead, he regurgitates Savage proudly touting how the "bullet points" of his anti-immigration agenda "have been and are being used by the Trump campaign, to the credit of Donald Trump, and, of course, to the benefit of the United States of America."
Then, even more bizarrely, WND published a video clip of Duke denying in an "unscripted response" that he endorsed Trump. But it's only a 30-second clip that includes only the denial.
But Duke did effectively endorse Trump, even if he won't admit to doing so in name. Three days before the Trump-Tapper interview, Duke said that "I do support his candidacy, and I support voting for him as a strategic action. I hope he does everything we hope he will do" (while also saying that "I haven’t formally endorsed him").
So it's certainly an informal endorsement of Trump. He and WND shouldn't pretend otherwise. Or is WND now doing damage control for David Duke as well?