MRC's Graham Joins Bandwagon to Defend Discredited Anti-Obama Filmmaker Topic: Media Research Center
Now the Media Research Center is joining the right-wing bandwagon to portray far-right filmmaker Joel Gilbert as the victim of Democratic meanies at the Federal Election Commission.
MRC director of media analysis Tim Graham writes in an April 19 NewsBusters post:
Our friend Paul Bedard at the Washington Examiner reports that the Republicans and the Democrats on the Federal Election Commission are divided over a vote to punish anti-Obama filmmaker Joel Gilbert for distributing free DVDs in 2012 of his movie Dreams From My Real Father, which made unsubstantiated claims that Obama's real father was the communist Frank Marshall Davis.
Lee Goodman, a Republican commissioner (and former chairman) at the FEC, issued a statement accusing the Democrats of “regulatory avarice within the agency to regular press entities.”
In 2014, anti-birther activist Loren Collins filed an FEC complaint against Gilbert, arguing that the filmmaker had a responsibility to disclose his donors. He wanted the FEC to force Gilbert to disclose his funding sources. The FEC only recently deadlocked in a 3 to 3 party-line vote. Gilbert was considered “press,” and thus not subject to donor disclosure.
Graham is understating the lack of veracity of Gilbert's film. Gilbert's claims weren't merely "unsubstantiated" -- they were outright lies. Even the far-right American Thinker debunked Gilbert's insistence that Davis is Obama's "real father," and his claim that Obama's mother posted for nude pictures has been similarly discredited.
Graham also doesn't explain how being forced to disclose the source of the funds he used to make those millions of DVDs of his discredited film to key swing states during the 2012 election is "punishment." He also doesn't explain how someone who has promoted demonstrably false claims -- and deliberately so, since he adjusted the promotion of his film as its claims were debunked -- should be covered under the First Amendment.
It's telling that Graham cites Paul Bedard, who has also helped to ridiculously portray Gilbert as a victim despite the fact he effectively won his case, as his source. He's such a "friend" of the MRC that he writes a weekly item trumpeting the MRC'slatest bit of "liberal bias," which the MRC then compiles at NewsBusters.
WND's Anti-Hillary Witch Hunt Continues, Still Isn't Transparent Topic: WorldNetDaily
True to form -- and as we predicted -- WorldNetDaily is not telling anyone who's funding its anti-Hillary witch hunt. But WND editor Joseph Farah has an update on how exactly it's witch-hunting:
Maybe conventional wisdom is right, for once.
Perhaps Hillary Clinton will get the Democratic presidential nomination.
It certainly appears Barack Obama’s Justice Department is not going to derail the Democratic presidential nominee with an indictment – no matter what the FBI turns over.
But will she be able to survive the storm brewing from a series of investigative articles, books, movies and surprise witnesses about to unload on her character, her past, her secrets and her blunders?
Yes, it’s all coming. Soon the world will know more about Hillary Clinton’s shocking foibles, failures and follies that Hillary has conveniently forgotten.
Much of what’s coming is a result of the work of the Hillary Clinton Investigative Justice Project, which is about to break a series of reports that may short-circuit her January 2017 plans to move back into the White House she looted 16 years ago.
But, as the center of gravity for the anti-Hillary effort, the project headed by Jerome Corsi and Joseph Farah says there’s plenty of head-turning potential ahead.
WND is apparently also coordinating with the right-wing Judicial Watch for this hit job: "series of investigative reports to be published in WND coinciding with Judicial Watch’s upcoming questioning of Hillary Clinton and her top aides, including Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills. That’s right. It looks like there is no stopping Judicial Watch from deposing Clinton and her two top aides."
And because this is WND, this would not be complete without Farah begging for money (not that he'll tell you how he's spending it, of course):
So, if you’re serious about stopping Hillary before she becomes the next president of the United States, there’s something you can do about it – no matter who you support to beat her.
Now’s the time to halt the Hillary Express dead in its tracks by making your best financial contribution to the Hillary Clinton Investigative Justice Project, which is doing its best to ensure she doesn’t have a second chance in the White House.
The root problem with all of this, of course, is that WND's history of factually flawed anti-Democrat hit jobs demonstrate that it has no credibility, and even if there were some substance to its anti-Hillary hit job, WND's past as a nakedly partisan smear artist virtually guarantees that it will never be taken seriously.
Dear MRC: Hate-Watching TV Shows Does Not Make Good TV Criticism Topic: Media Research Center
Dylan Gwinn starts his NewsBusters review of the latest episode of "The Real O'Neals" by declaring: "To say that my hate for ABC’s The Real O’Neals burns with the heat of a thousand suns, would be…well…an accurate statement."
Well, if you hate it so much, Dylan, perhaps you shouldn't be watching it. And you shouldn't be blogging about how much you hate watching it.
But hate-watching is what the Media Research Center is paying Gwinn and others to do. Gwinn also hate-watches "Blackish" for the MRC, the latest in a long line of white MRC staffers and bloggers to pass (usually negative) judgment on a show aimed at a black audience.
The MRC's hate-watchers are particularly tuned to any hint of gayness, and they predictably freak out over it when it happens. Alexa Moutevelis Coombs had the anti-gay cow you'd expect when there was a girl-on-girl kiss on the show "Once Upon A Time":
Alas, we know that Disney has not been wholesome for years and once again they are purposefully pushing a gay agenda. Once Upon a Time's executive producers have said their gay advocacy is "important to do" and something that needs to be "normalized," not "marginalized." Last year, when announcing the storyline was coming, they said, “It’s [an LGBT relationship] something we think is due and important to do on the show. This is the world we live in.” But then they became uncomfortable with the hype the news was receiving, saying, "[T]he more we talk about it, the more does it seem marginalized as opposed to normalized."
It's no wonder that gays continue to be over represented in the media and thus in the public's minds when you have show producers wanting people - especially kids - to think it's normal and every day life. But it's just another Hollywood fairy tale.
Gwinn also hate-watches the reality show "I Am Cait," about the former Bruce Jenner, and he recently ranted about a "stunt" in which "Caitlyn and the Trans friends that the E! Channel provided him with" checked out a bridal shop. "I too thought this day would never come. Let me fix that, I hoped and prayed this day would never come," Gwinn sneered. "And yet…here we are."
And Karen Townsend was appalled that Smithers came out of the closet on "The Simpsons," complaining that "The writers of The Simpsons have slowly brought homosexuality into the show over the years" and whining that "the storyline is also a piece of political activism." She adds, "What will be next for the liberal writers -- transgender characters?"
Townsend also freaked out about a recent episode of "Empire": " A familiar subject in prime time television was broached between Jamal (Jussie Smollett) and Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) tonight - fluid sexuality. What is with Hollywood liberals pushing this theme on TV lately?" She then huffs that "Hollywood is determined to promote fluid sexuality as normal behavior."
Really, what good does the MRC apparently forcing (as Gwinn suggests) its lower-level bloggers to watch shows they clearly despise and have no interest in reviewing in any objective manner?
Hate-watching does not make for good criticism. The MRC apparently hasn't figured that out yet.
WND Complains About Trump Impeachment Talk -- But Promoted Hillary Impeachment A Year Ago Topic: WorldNetDaily
Joseph Farah rants in his April 19 WorldNetDaily column:
Barack Obama has defied the Constitution in dozens of ways since swearing an oath to uphold and defend it on Jan. 20, 2009 – maybe hundreds.
He has, by his own admission, exceeded his executive authority to rewrite laws, defy laws and neglect his responsibility to enforce laws.
Pledging the most “transparent administration in history,” his administration has been characterized by secrecy and stonewalling.
Before his first term was even finished, it took an entire book to catalogue the “Impeachable Offenses” he had committed.
Yet, no matter what he did in his campaign pledge to work toward “the fundamental transformation of America,” the Republican Congress gave him all the money he need to accomplish his objectives – even if was borrowed from future generations. The Republicans never even considered impeachment. In fact, they took if off the table early in the first term.
Yet before Donald Trump even gets the presidential nomination of the Republican Party, there are already forces in the Washington establishment – including some Republicans – talking about impeachment!
Who’s talking about impeachment more than six months prior to the election and months ahead of the convention that will nominate a Republican candidate?
Second: Who was talking about impeachment more than 18 months prior to the election and months ahead of the convention that will nominate a Democratic candidate? WorldNetDaily.
In May 2015 (!), WND's Cheryl Chumley touted an effort to impeach Hillary Clinton even before the election:
Special Operations Speaks PAC, an organization to educate Americans about threats to the United States, has started a petition to impeach Hillary Clinton – and so far, nearly 31,000 have signed.
“Fact is, congressional precedent dictates that all elected officials remain subject to impeachment and disqualification from holding office even after resignation,” SOS said, on its website.
As such: the PAC says Clinton must go.
Just in time for the 2016 election, hear Hillary Clinton say she would NOT run for president, in “Hillary Unhinged” by Thomas Kuiper.
“[SOS] is calling on the United States Congress to impeach former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ pursuant to Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution of the United States.”
The organization lists three reasons to impeach Clinton. First, she “absented herself from the besieged in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, costing four American lives.”
Second: “As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton received, through the Clinton Foundation, emoluments from foreign governments, despite Article 1, Section 9, which proscribes the reception of foreign ‘gifts’ by U.S. officials without the express consent of Congress.”
And third: The groups decried Clinton’s “unlawful” storage of official secretary of state emails on a private email server set up in her New York home, calling it a “detriment of national security” and a violation of the Freedom of Information Act.
That's right: WND promoted an effort to impeach Hillary Clinton before the election. And Farah is complaining about a proposed impeachment of Donald Trump that wouldn't take place until after he takes office?
MRC Documents Fox News Bias, Won't Use The B-Word To Describe It Topic: Media Research Center
On April 14, the Media Research Center's Kyle Drennen touted how Fox News host Megyn Kelly "ripped into her media colleagues for their excessive and skewed coverage of the billionaire’s campaign." Of course, as we've documented, a lot of that "excessive and skewed coverage" of Trump appears on Fox News itself. But, hey, Kelly typically gets a free pass from the MRC, even as she laughably denies that Fox News is biased.
Now, the MRC has finally gathered evidence of Fox News' pro-Trump and anti-Democrat bias. But, even more laughably, it won't say the B-word.
Perhaps tired of us pointing out that the MRC's political coverage analyses have focused almost exclusively on the broadcast networks seemingly to avoid having to document bias at Fox News, the MRC has at last gotten around to analyzing cable news coverage of the 2016 peridential election.
An April 18 NewsBusters post by Rich Noyes and Mike Ciandella admits the obvious:
Our study found that FNC spent much more time interviewing Trump and his surrogates than either of his GOP competitors. Over the past four weeks, Trump was interviewed for a total of 178 minutes on Fox, vs. 106 minutes on CNN and 43 minutes on MSNBC. (Interviews includes network-sponsored town halls as well as sit-downs with a network host, but not debates or live coverage of rallies or speeches.)
Adding in the airtime for campaign surrogates (family members, campaign staff, or designated surrogates), Trump’s tally grows to 397 minutes on Fox, or nearly 60 percent of the total, compared to 164 minutes (25%) for Cruz and 105 minutes (16%) for Kasich.
We don't know why the MRC excluded rallies and speeches from candidate coverage, even though they star the candidate. Perhaps that would have made the Fox News numbers even more skewed for Trump.
Interestingly, Noyes and Ciandella refuse to use the word "bias" in describing Fox News' hlighly skewed coverage of Trump, though the post given the "Bias by the Minute" taxonomy.
The next day, Noyes and Ciandella highlighted an even more stark example of Fox News' bias, noting that while "the three main Republican candidates (Trump, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, and Ohio Governor John Kasich) and their surrogates were interviewed for a total of 666 minutes on the Fox News Channel during this period ... neither former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton nor Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders gave any interviews to any of FNC’s prime time programs during the four weeks we examined, and their surrogates appeared for a total of only 13 minutes — a greater than 50-to-1 disparity."
Noyes and Ciandella given excuse and justify Fox News' clear anti-Democrat bias:
What’s the reason? Since 2007, Democratic presidential candidates have generally boycotted Fox News, refusing to let the top-rated cable network host any of their presidential debates. Earlier this year, Fox News anchor Bret Baier pressed DNC chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz about “letting the Fox News debate team handle” one of the then-upcoming debates; Schultz demurred.
At the same time, FNC’s core audience is decidedly right-of-center. A 2012 Pew Research Center survey of the Fox News audience found conservatives outnumbered liberals by a 6-to-1 margin (60% to 10%), while on shows such as Hannity the gap was a whopping 78 to 5 percent. So FNC may have concluded — not unreasonably — that its audience is more interested in hearing from the GOP candidates and their surrogates than the Democrats.
Those aren't excuses the MRC are likely to grant to the "liberal media" for their allegedly biased coverage. And, again, at no point do Noyes and Ciandella use the word "bias" to describe Fox News' clearly biased coverage.
As we've noted, the MRC has a vested interest in not being more explicit in pointing out Fox News' media bias -- its officials appear regularly on its air, something that would likely stop if the MRC actually held the channel to account.
You can bet that if Kelly or any other Fox News host denies the channel is biased, the MRC will ignore its own research and continue to give them a pass.
WND Doc: Being Gay, Transgender The Same As Being A Serial Rapist Topic: WorldNetDaily
Elizabeth Vliet -- the WND-fave doc who's tied to the far-right-fringe Association of American Physicians and Surgeons -- demonstrates her ignorance about transgenders in an April 12 WND column:
Indecent exposure (males exposing genitals to women in public is the most common occurrence), sexual battery, assault, molestation, sex with minors and rape are all crimes in almost all jurisdictions. It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to see that telling men they can suddenly decide they “feel” like a woman and thereby use women’s bathrooms is a slippery slope to more of all types of these sexual crimes. How does the “feeling” of a gender dysphoric man take priority over the safety of your wife, daughter, girlfriend, mother, sister or friend?
Vliet adds: "Just recently, a Seattle man began undressing at a public swimming pool women’s locker room when a group of young girls were changing for a swim team practice. He was not arrested, as a result of Washington’s new law allowing 'transgender' men to use women’s restrooms. I use quotes around the term transgender because this man had no outward identifying statements or attire to suggest he thought of himself as a woman."
Actually, that was apparently a protest against the gender-equity law-- and since the man "had no outward identifying statements or attire to suggest he thought of himself as a woman," he was in violation of it.
But she's not done. She thinks she's an expert on the subject:
Let’s look at real-life issues. I am a practicing physician with specialty training from the Johns Hopkins Sexual Medicine Consultation team. I have treated people seeking help for many sex and gender issues: gay/lesbian, pedophilia, transvestism, gender dysphoria, voyeurism and serial rapists. At the time transgender patients have undergone surgery to become their new gender, it is then appropriate to use the bathroom facilities for their gender reassignment. Until then, common sense and public safety should require those with male genitalia (regardless of self-perception) use men’s bathrooms, and those with female genitalia should use women’s bathrooms.
Several striking common denominators emerged from many years of treating patients in this area of medicine:
The unpredictability, and at times uncontrollability, of sexual drives to engage in behaviors potentially harmful physically and/or psychologically to others.
The complete lack of empathy for the victim shown by sexual predators, whether “mild” predation of voyeurism or the obviously serious and criminal acts of rape and assault.
We cannot predict who will engage in sexual assault, or when they will do it.
Statistics show that women and girls are overwhelmingly the victims in such cases of sexual predator actions.
Did the Johns Hopkins Sexual Medicine Consultation team really teach Vliet that homosexuality and transgenderism is equal to being a pedophile or serial rapist, complete with similar psychological pathology, as Vliet suggests? Somehow we doubt it. The Johns Hopkins Sexual Behaviors Consultation Unit examines many sexuality-related issues, which it clearly separates by type.
If Vliet actually retained what she learned from the unit, she would not be thinking there's no difference between being transgender and being a serial rapist. But, alas, Vliet's misinformation continues:
Speaking as a physician, separate bathroom and locker facilities for men and women helps provide physical and psychological safety, particularly for women and girls, from those who would do harm by giving into their sudden urge to rape or molest others. While such safety issues may apply to men as well, it is far less probable that a female enters a men’s restroom and starts molesting males, who are typically bigger and stronger and better able to defend themselves.
In fact, exactly zero transgender people have molested people of the opposite biological gender in bathrooms under gender-equity laws.
Vliete closes with the rant: "The election of 2016 is becoming about far more than “politics” as usual: It is about restoring common sense in the public arena, public safety and enforcing laws that are designed to maintain civil order and civility for ALL, not just a favored few in the minority group du jour."
But should we be concerned about civil rights for all and refuse to discriminate against a minority we may not like or understand? Not according to Vliet, apparently.
Ex-MRCer Avoids Critics In Plugging New Climate Change Denial Film, And MRC's Bozell Plays Along Topic: Media Research Center
An April 15 NewsBusters post touts how "MRC President and Founder L. Brent Bozell moderated an invitation-only panel discussion on the subject featuring former Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska, climatologist Dr. David Legates and Climate Depot’s Marc Morano, host of a new documentary from CFACT: Climate Hustle."
Legates is a climate-change denier like the rest, meaning that everyone involved in the "panel discussion" holds basically the same opinion -- which makes it not much of a discussion at all.
But also note that term appearing before "panel discussion": "invitation-only." It appears that if you held a different opinion on climate change from Morano, Bozell and the others (only one of whom has any actual background in climate science), you apparently weren't even allowed in the room.
That refusal to engage with critics, perhaps not surprisingly, has been a hallmark of Morano's promotion of his little film, as well as Morano and CFACT's apparent lying to continue to refuse engagement. Graham Readfearn writes at DeSmog about trying (and failing) to gain admission to the Paris premiere of the film:
I had previously asked a French group helping to organise the premiere, Institut Coppet, for a ticket. They had accepted my RSVP, but a few days later said I wasn’t welcome. Other reporters at DeSmog and at the Irish Times had a similar experience of having a 'yes' turn to a 'no' days later.
Morano has told sympathetic media since the premiere that there were “hundreds” of people queuing down the street and that they had to turn people away. But one person who watched the Paris premiere, but asked not to be named, told me the cinema was “half empty” during the screening. An estimated 100 people had been inside for the cocktail reception, the source said. Another attendee told DeSmog after the film let out that the theatre was at best 70 percent full.
Those being “turned away” it seems were those most likely to criticise the film’s content.
Morano also told me he would be at the Paris conference later that week, but complained that “we only have two passes for our organisation” — continuing a theme that denialists were being shut out.
According to a list of Paris conference participants, the UN actually granted passes to six representatives from CFACT. Three (Morano and his CFACT colleagues Craig Rucker and David Rothbard) were accredited with a CFACT delegation and three more were listed as CFACT representatives in a ten-strong delegation from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, another conservative think tank that pushes climate science denial.
We're guessing that Bozell and his one-sided "panel discussion" didn't mention that Morano refused a bet with Bill Nye (the science guy) on whether 2016 would be one of the ten hottest years on record and that the current decade would be the hottest on record... because he admits it's “obvious” the official records would show more global warming.
CNS' Barbara Hollingsworth did a "news" article on the "panel discussion, which ironbically quotes Legates saying, “If you can’t argue the facts, you have to demonize your opponent.” Or, you know, ignore them completely.
Oddly, while the NewsBusters post disclosed that Morano used to be a reporter for CNS -- where he used his final days there to audition for his future career as a professional climate change denier, first as a PR flak for Republican Sen. James Inhofe and then for CFACT -- Hollingsworth's CNS article did not, though CNS was the MRC division where he actually worked.
WND Wants Hillary Arrested For Riding The Subway Topic: WorldNetDaily
Hillary Clinton has committed the crime of riding the subway in New York City while a TV camera followed her, and WorldNetDaily's Douglas Ernst is on it:
Lost in media coverage of Hillary Clinton struggling to use a subway turnstile in New York City on Thursday was the fact that she broke Metropolitan Transportation Authority rules.
The ‘Stop Hillary’ campaign is on fire! Join the surging response to this theme: ‘Clinton for prosecution, not president’
MTA’s “Rules of Conduct” subject the city’s street performers to fines and possible imprisonment for taking shows on subway cars. A review of Section 1050.6(c)1 of the subway rules by the Guardian on Friday shows the presidential hopeful flouted them on her way from Yankee Stadium to 170th Street.
“The incident is all the more galling because there are actual, regular New Yorkers trying to make ends meet who are arrested for violating the same rules that Clinton disregards with impunity,” the newspaper wrote. “These regular New Yorkers are, of course, the acrobatic showtime performers and musicians – a cultural point of pride for the city – who perform legally on platforms and other areas of the transit system (not always without harassment) but are barred from playing on board subway cars by the same rules that should have prevented Clinton’s campaigning.”
Matthew Christian of BuskNY, an advocacy group for New York subway performers, said Clinton should not have been allowed to operate by a different set of rules.
“When performers are playing music they are thought to be committing a crime and arrested,” Christian told the newspaper by phone. “Apparently, when Hillary Clinton does public speaking on a train car that is not considered a violation of the statute.”
Performers who do not keep acts to subway platforms may be subject to civil fines up to $100 and imprisonment of up to 10 days.
The former secretary of state was joined by Rubén Díaz Jr, the president of the borough of the Bronx, and a gaggle of reporters.
Ernst doesn't mention that the Guardian piece he's regurgitating is opinion, not reporting, and the author, Ali Gharib, offers no evidence of politicians arrested for politicking on the subway.
Further, neither Ernst nor Gharib seem to understand there's a difference between a politician and a busking musician.
MRC Whines About Boston Globe's Trump Front-Page Satire Topic: Media Research Center
The Boston Globe's opinion section recently published a fake front page projecting what might happen if Donald Trump is elected president. And even though the Media Research Center despises Trump and supports Ted Cruz, it hates the "liberal media" expressing an opinion even more.
Tim Graham dismissed the page as an "enormous prank" and declared himself arbiter of "serious" news: "A serious newspaper doesn't satirize the news. It leaves it to The Onion." Graham doesn't mention that the fake front page didn't replace the actual front page; it ran on the front of its "idea" section well inside the paper.
The MRC's Rich Noyes sneered at the "sophomoric anti-Donald Trump parody" and complained that "liberal newspapers have published a spate of obnoxious, over-the-top covers that the broadcast networks immediately picked up as meaningful contributions to political discourse." (This from the same website that does a post every time Tim Allen makes fun of liberals on his sitcom "Last Man Standing.") Noyes later ran to Fox Business (of course) to rant that the fake front page was "sophomoric" (again) and "absurd."
MRC division CNSNews.com -- which has had itsownproblems with making up the news -- ran an April 14 story by Susan Jones under the headline "Boston Globe Defends Its 'Unconventional New Approach' to Making Up the News." Jones does later explain that it did not run as the actual front page but in the opinion section -- which means it was not "making up the news" at all.
WND Columnist's Baal Temple Arch Freakout May Be Unfounded Topic: WorldNetDaily
Ben Kinchlow writes in his April 10 WorldNetDaily column:
Well, the newest wrinkle in our trek to insanity is that to sympathize with, or to show support for, a particular group of people, America and England are going to have full-size, 48-foot temple entrances of the god “Baal” erected in New York’s Times Square and Trafalgar Square in London.
The organization behind this is the Institute of Digital Archaeology, which is a joint venture between Harvard University, the University of Oxford and Dubai’s Museum of the Future.
While ISIS has recently destroyed, among many other sites, the ancient ruins of the Temple of Baal in Syria, I think those behind this latest project to erect reproductions of the arches of Baal’s temple are taking matters a little too far trying to compensate for what they perceive is an egregious disregard for ancient history.
Let me get this straight: In America we have court decisions banning most public Christian activities, persecution of Christian business owners, LGBT parades, child sacrifice (abortion), no prayer or teaching of the Bible in schools, no prayer at public events, no public displays of the Ten Commandments, no Christian crosses …
But we can erect symbols of Baal worship in Times Square?!
Kinchlow's concern over spreading "symbols of Baal worship" may be unfounded. As Right Wing Watch details, the Institute for Digital Archaeology has apparently changed its plans; it is building the Triumphal Arch from Palmyra, Syria, for display in London and nothing in New York for now.
Glenn Beck was freaking out about it, Right Wing Watch notes, which is probably where Kinchlow picked it up. But as we know, Kinchlow isn't always into researching before he writes his column.
Newsmax Columnist Forgets That Waterboarding Doesn't Work Topic: Newsmax
Fred Fleitz writes in an April 12 Newsmax column headlined "Here's What CIA's Brennan Forgets About Waterboarding":
CIA Director John Brennan is in the news lately because of comments he made over the weekend that he will not permit CIA officers under the next president to use "waterboarding," a controversial enhanced interrogation technique that has been successfully used to extract information about potential terrorist attacks from al-Qaida members.
Brennan's comments came in response to statements by Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Donald Trump that they may use waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation methods against terrorist suspects to protect the American people and the U.S. homeland.
Actually, waterboarding was not "successful" against al-Qaida members. A Senate report found that the waterboarding used against three al-Qaida captives in the wake of 9/11 yielded no useful intelligence and lots of fabricated information. One captive, Abu Zubaydah, was waterboarded 83 times in one month, and the Senate report disputes CIA claims that he was a senior al-Qaida official and that he provided actionable information as a result of the waterboarding.
But never mind the facts: Fleitz goes on to sneer that Brennan is "partisan tool of the Obama administration" and his comments that he would not permit waterboarding again "are an obvious attempt to keep his job if Hillary Clinton wins in November."
Fleitz used to be managing editor for LIGNET, a "global intelligence and forecasting" service operated by Newsmax that appears to have gone defunct; the group's website is currently inaccesible.
WND Columnist Touts Discredited Anti-Vaccine Film Topic: WorldNetDaily
Barry Farber begins his April 12 WorldNetDaily column by likening what he's about to write to Woodward and Bernstein taking down Nixon and Lech Walesa defeating communism. But then he writes about ... an anti-vaccine film:
Can you believe our beloved America has degenerated into a place where media are perfectly free to write what follows – but nobody does? Or, better said, nobody did until a controversial film implicated Big Pharma and the Centers for Disease Control in lying and falsifying the figures that show shocking connections between the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, rubella) administered to infants as young as 18 months – and autism! The documentary, “Vaxxed: From Coverup to Catastrophe,” was viewed by Robert De Niro, who has an autistic child, praised repeatedly by Robert De Niro, and finally withdrawn from the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival by Robert De Niro under pressure from some very stupid tyrant-types, who are apparently too stupid to realize their censoring days are over thanks to a sleepless Freedom Fighter known as the Internet!
I was taken by my investigative-reporter-daughter Celia Farber to the New York premiere. You will have a chance to see “Vaxxed” despite the frantic efforts by Big Pharma and the Centers for Disease Control to make sure you don’t. Children yet unborn will thank you.
Uh, yeah. Farber continues:
Here’s what’s known, incontrovertible, stomp-down truth beyond contradiction. In the 1950s autism was almost unknown. There was a clinic in California with maybe half-a-dozen cases. Then along came one case of autism for every ten thousand children who’d undergone the MMR vaccine. Then came one such case out of every 250. The latest figure is one out of 50!
And the proud defenders of Big Pharma and the CDC still refuse to yield a centimeter. And that’s what interests so many of us non-doctors and non-scientists. There’s the pungent fragrance of “body-panic” as more and more anguished parents and alarmed Americans ask what’s going on here. The CDC’s cooking of the books has befouled the air thousands of kitchens away. Dr. Andrew Wakefield, distinguished research gastroenterologist, had his license revoked for the high crime of suggesting the MMR vaccine needed more study! CDC internal whistleblower Dr. William Thompson has more and more frightened onlookers hopeful that truth will prevail. The MMR loyalists, however, defend it like the fanatical war-time Japanese defended their Emperor Hirohito. The cause of this skyrocketing surge in autism, Big Pharma and the CDC assure us, “cannot be vaccinations, must not be vaccinations, will not be vaccinations!”
Hoo boy. Where to begin:
First, the reason there were so few autism diagnoses in 1950 is because it wasn't recognized as its own disorder then. The word "autism" itself wasn't coined until 1943, and until the 1970s it was considered a form of schizophrenia.
Second, the autism rate among children is not "one out of 50": it has leveled off at 1 in 68, and increasing diagnosis rates in previous years likely had much to do with a "learning curve" among doctors when it came to properly diagnosing autism spectrum disorders, not necessarily an increase in the disorder itself.
Third, Andrew Wakefield (who made the film Farber watched, though Farber doesn't tell his readers that), is not a "distinguished research gastroenterologist," nor did not have "his license revoked for the high crime of suggesting the MMR vaccine needed more study." He conducted the study published in the medical journal The Lancet claiming that MMR vaccines cause autism -- a study that has never been replicated by other researchers and which the Lancet itself retracted and renounced as a fraud. He lost his medical license in Britain because he behaved unethically in conducting the experiments , testing a vaccine on a child without consulting the child's doctor and bribing children to provide blood samples.
Fourth, as we've noted, Thompson's claims have been discredited. He claimed that the CDC hid and/or destroyed evidence that the MMR vaccine caused increased rates of autism in African-American children; in fact, the data were never destroyed, and they don't show what Thompson claims they do.
Fifth, Farber invokes a weird form of Godwinism by likening vaccine defenders to "the fanatical war-time Japanese defended their Emperor Hirohito." Actually, vaccine defenders are defending science.
Nevertheless, despite the facts being against him, Farber insists they are actually on his side, with a dash of more classic Godwinism:
Big Pharma and the CDC will dismiss all of us who demand truth as “those lunatics who want to stamp out vaccinations altogether!”
Nice try. They’ll claim we’re medical primitives who seek the end of all vaccinations. How about a moratorium on the MMR “triple-header” vaccine and a return to the single “M” injections (measles), followed after a suitable interval by the second “M” (mumps) and later the “R” vaccine (against rubella)? Then let’s have an honest count of autism results.
You’d think after the autism rate soars from virtual zero to one per 250 the Big Pharma and CDC folks themselves would have said, “Come, let us reason together. Something is clearly wrong here!”
That’s a bit like hoping Heinrich Himmler would call upon his aides to improve the menu for the upcoming Jewish High Holy Days at Auschwitz!
The key tenet of Godwin's Law is that you've lost the argument when you invoke Nazis (or, we'd add, the World War II version of Hirohito). Farber apparently doesn't know that.
Oh, and reviews have dismissed Wakefield's film as "a grab-bag of charts, theories and anecdotal evidence that would never pass muster by the editors of any major scientific journal" that "too often resembles the kind of one-sided, paranoia-stoking agitprop that political activists construct to sanctify true believers and assault infidels." Farber has fallen in line with Wakefield's intent.
MRC's Bozell Still Pushing Trump-Media Conspiracy, Still Won't Call Out Conservative Trump Promoters Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center's pet conspiracy theory -- that the so-called "liberal media" is deliberately slanting news coverage to make Donald Trump the Republican presidential nominee -- is still alive. Brent Bozell and Tim Graham push it in their April 13 column:
But if democracy was organized to give everyone a fair and equal shot to impress the voters based on their knowledge and experience, then this system has been rigged for Donald Trump for the last nine months. The media – not just the liberal media, but some “conservative” media, too – have been the gale-force wind beneath Trump’s wings.
On the nightly network news on ABC, CBS, and NBC, Trump has far outpaced anyone else for attention.
Note that almost parenthetical admission that conservative media outlets -- which somehow earns scare quotes from Bozell and Graham in a subtle form of Heathering -- are promoting Trump as well, which is undoubtedly a factor in Trump's popularity. But the writers won't call them out by name.
Why? Because the right-wing media leader in creating Trump's presidential campaign is Fox News. Bozell and Co. regularly appear on shows on Fox News and Fox Business -- Bozell has had a weekly spot for years on Sean Hannity's Fox News show -- and holding Fox specifically to account for their Trumpophilia could jeopardize that airtime.
To that end, the MRC focuses only on the broadcast TV networks and exempts Fox News from similar scrutiny.
Bozell and Graham even concede that most of the media coverage of Trump is negative -- which you think would please them, but it doesn't: "Anyone who watches is aware that the network coverage is often negative, but it still denies air time to opponents."
One of those opponents is Ted Cruz, and Bozell and Graham have a vested interest in him, something they wait until the very last paragraph to mention: "Let's have full disclosure here. We have personally endorsed Ted Cruz, which for some might cast doubt on this column. We challenge you to dispute any of what is above."
If Bozell and Graham were truly interested in "full disclosure," wouldn't they have disclosed their endorsement of Cruz at the beginning of their column?
WND (Grudgingly) Reports On Cruz Birther Challenge Topic: WorldNetDaily
It's been a long time, but WorldNetDaily has finally gotten around to assigning its reporters to cover Ted Cruz's eligibility issues again.
An April 11 WND article by Bob Unruh previewed a New Jersey hearing on Cruz's eligibility. In a contrast from WND's usual Obama birtherism coverage, Unruh covers the issue of eligibility with something approaching fairness, admitting that the Vattel standard is the "strictest definition" while the 1790 Naturalization Act is "more flexible." Of course, Unruh loses his fair-and-balanced stance when he starts talking about Obama, touting "The only official law-enforcement review of Obama’s documentation" without mentioning it was a shoddy, unfair joke, and adding: "Obama has yet to release many of the ordinary documents valued by presidential historians, such as his passport records, school records, undergraduate records and thesis, Harvard Law School records, Harvard Law Review articles, University of Chicago articles, Illinois State Bar Association records, Illinois State Senate records and schedules, medical records, parents’ marriage license and adoption records."
The story actually got a follow-up: On April 12, Obama birther extraordinaire (yet loath to touch Cruz birtherism) Jerome Corsi highlights the conclusion of the hearing: Cruz is eligible. Corsi noted that the judge "relied on the 1898 Supreme Court case Wong Kim Ark" to make his decision -- a case WND has largely ignored as governing precedent and which Corsi himself has denied is directly applicable -- as well as the 1790 Naturalization Act, which Corsi asserted in 2012 granted citizenship only to "a child born of two American parents" because that's what lawmakers of the time "regarded" it to be.
Corsi didn't mention his 2012 interpretation in his new article. He too reports the issue as straight as he's apparently capable of, refusing to admit that by his own previous standards, Cruz is even more ineligible than he claimed Obama was.
CNS Unleashes Army of Op-Eds to Defend Right-Wing Think Tank Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com' response to Virgin Islands attorney general Claude Walker subpoenaing the right-wing think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute about its relationship with ExxonMobil, and that company's alleged suppression of evidence that climate change is driven by fossil fuels, was not to do any reporting on it -- surprising, since it claims to be a "news" organization and all.
No, what CNS did is publish a bunch of op-eds defending climate change denialism in general and CEI in particular. This week alone, CNS has published at least four op-eds.
Hans Bader -- identified only as someone who "practices law in Washington, D.C." -- declared the the subpoena is "raising red flags under the First Amendment" and the investigation of ExxonMobil itself is "a threat to climate science and the First Amendment."
Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation ranted that "a truly outrageous abuse of his authority and a misuse of the law," asserted that "CEI is well-known for its high-quality, objective research on energy and climate issues," went Godwin by calling Walker a part of the "Axis," and declared that " What is happening to ExxonMobil and to the Competitive Enterprise Institute is persecution." Von Spakovsky slobbered over Exxon:
Walker is using a criminal statute designed to go after major drug dealers and mob organizations to go after a company that produces the gasoline and diesel fuel that Americans (and the rest of the world) use in their cars, trucks, boats, lawnmowers, and other equipment of every kind. And ExxonMobil and CEI are being targeted for having taken what these legal barons consider the wrong side of a scientific theory that is being actively debated and questioned.
The fact that ExxonMobil produces a relatively cheap, reliable energy source that helps power our world but is disfavored by Progressives and their political representatives like Walker seems to be what the company is really guilty of.
The Heritage Foundation's Kim Holmes asserted that the subpoena and other actions against Exxon are "blatant attempts to bend the law ... to shut down free and open research. It is but another example of the new illiberal attempt by progressive liberals to use the power of the law to intimidate and coerce those with whom they disagree." Holmes ignores that there's precedent for such action: As Media Matters' Denise Robbins notes, then-Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a Republican, demanded that the University of Virginia provide emails and other documents from climate scientist Michael Mann, which were also sought by the American Tradition Institute, whose senior director of litigation, Chris Horner, was also a senior fellow at CEI.
Holmes also claimed that "It is possible that CEI was being targeted by Walker precisely because one of its attorneys, Hans Bader, had criticized New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman who was leading the campaign." Funny, Bader did not disclose his relationship with CEI in his CNS op-ed.
CNS, finally, published an op-ed from a disclosed CEI employee. Kent Lassman, CEI's president, ranted:
It is not and cannot become a crime to disagree with a government official. Somewhere along the line, dissent from orthodoxy has transformed from a uniquely American virtue to a crime. This subpoena is a blatant attack on CEI’s First Amendment rights of free speech and association. It threatens the rights of anyone who holds opinions different from those with the power of the federal or state governments behind them.
What other issues are next on the taboo list? If the attorneys general succeed, we can be assured this list will vary from election to election—something for all people of good conscience to dread.
The audacity of this legal action is profound. George Orwell’s dystopian novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four” described “crimethink” as entertaining thoughts unacceptable to the government.
And, of course, Lassman tries to spin away climate change:
While global warming could pose challenges, we do not believe it is a planetary emergency. We are deeply concerned that national and global campaigns to tax, regulate, and ban fossil fuels are an expensive exercise in futility. Our policy work rests on the scientifically supported view that affordable, plentiful, and reliable fossil fuels make the world safer and the environment more livable. Further, we hold the humanitarian view that affordable energy should be accessible to those who most need it, especially in developing economies.
The biggest problem with proposals to address alleged, rapid warming is that there is no realistic implementation plan. Taken out of the context of international meetings and put to the practical tests of real-world economics, they do not work. Coal, oil, and natural gas supply 80 percent of the world's energy. Finding substantial emissions reductions from these three fuels using available technologies, such as wind and solar power, is a very expensive dead end.
As we have seen for hundreds of years, modern societies develop the technologies and resources to address environmental challenges, whatever the cause. Unlike some of our climate-alarmist friends, at CEI we think the record of human ingenuity is pretty strong. Innovation and adaptation can surmount the largest challenges when individuals are provided circumstances to promote human flourishing.
None of these op-eds address the actual reasoning behind the subpoena. As InsideClimate News explained, Exxon had an "emerging understanding of climate change science in the 1970s," but then subsequently worked to "undermine the scientific consensus, in part by financing research organizations including CEI."
Why would CNS do any actual reporting when it can published opinion pieces, two of whom are by interested parties?