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Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Newsmax Columnist Pushes False Claims Against Planned Parenthood
Topic: Newsmax

Is Newsmax getting back into the crazy-right-wing-commentary business?

You may recall Newsmax started toning things down on its website (or, at least, burying the crazy stuff as much as it could) after CEO Christopher Ruddy started making nice with the Clintons and a 2009 commentary by longtime columnist John L. Perry advocated a military coup to resolve America's alleged “Obama problem.”But it seems Newsmax is starting to let right-wingers let their freak flag fly again.

A few weeks back, Obama-hater Pat Boone appeared on Newsmax TV to declare that Obama is a Muslim and celebrates Islamic holy days in the White House. Now, in  June 29 Newsmax column, Michael Shannon lets fly with an unhinged rant against Planned Parenthood that starts with the falsehood that government money to Planned Parenthood is funding abortion:

Taxpayers opposed to having their money used to finance a procedure they considered an abomination and politicians afraid of them were assured “no federal funds sent to Planned Parenthood are used to pay for abortions.”

State and federal tax dollars are supposedly specifically earmarked by conscientious bureaucrats for use in only non-abortion related services, and are in no way allowed to facilitate Planned Parenthood’s industrial–strength disassembly lines.

It’s a complete and total lie that still poisons the abortion debate today.

The government can no more earmark money in a pool any more than you can earmark water in a pool. It’s as impossible as eating an entire chocolate cake and ordering it to avoid landing on your behind.

As Barbara Boland of CNSNews.com points out, almost half of Planned Parenthood’s funding comes from federal, state and local government, a total of $540.6 million.

Pretending that enormous sum of money doesn’t free up other dollars to pay for killing the unborn is like telling the judge two of the four beers you drank had no effect while you drove the car into the ditch and shouldn’t count against your blood alcohol level.

Actually, Shannon's the one who's telling a "complete and total lie." the government can and does earmark money for various purposes, and the federal money that goes to Planned Parenthood is specifically earmarked for various services such as cancer and STD screenings and specifically prohibited from being spent on providing abortions.

Slate's Amanda Marcotte explains how, despite Shannon's insistence that  government funding to Planned Parenthood "frees up other dollars to pay for killing the unborn," that doesn't actually happen since medical services are billed and funded individually.

But here's where Shannon gets really crazy:

Planned Parenthood’s combined revenue from tax dollars, profit and private contributions was over $1 billion in 2013. Planned Parenthood claims 327,166 abortions during that year, but the figure is low.

It doesn’t include dispensing 1,590,000 doses of morning after pills that are the equivalent of a drive–thru abortion.

Um, no. As we've explained, morning-after pills mainly work by preventing ovulation, which is not abortion. It may also work by preventing implantation of a fertilized egg, which is also not abortion according to the medical definition. Since more than half of a woman's fertilized eggs never implant, Shannon would have to declare that all women are "the equivalent of a drive–thru abortion."

Shannon's bio dexderibes him as a "commentator" and "researcher (for the League of American Voters)." The right-wing League of American Voters, headed by Michael Reagan, hasn't updated its website in two years (nor is he listed on the organization's staff list), so maybe he needs to go back there and do some more research on whether he actually has a job.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:36 PM EDT
WND Reporter Still Obsessing Over (And Getting Facts Wrong About) Muslims in Idaho
Topic: WorldNetDaily

When we last checked in on WorldNetDaily reporter Leo Hohmann, he was pretending that WND had never reported anything false about in incident in which a group of children in Idaho -- who Hohmann and WND want to make sure you know are "Muslim migrants" -- allegedly molested a 5-year-old girl, even though his own story had been significantly changed from its original and a WND-pubnlished story stolen from the conspiracy site Infowars has been deleted.

Hohmann has been fanning the anti-Muslim flames since then. First, he complained that the alleged perpetrators, ages 7, 10, and 14, "were released into the custody of their parents following a hearing Thursday afternoon," despite the fact that it's probably standard procedure in cases involving juveniles.He also whined that "The case has been sealed by the prosecutor," though he did concede this is also "standard procedure in juvenile offenses."

Hohmann also asserted that "WND was the first to interview eyewitness Jolene Payne and give a fully accurate report on what happened at the Fawnbrook Apartments." That's simply not true.

Then, he got incensed that a prosecutor is trying to crack down on right-wing media lies about the incident: "The Obama-appointed U.S. attorney for Idaho has taken the highly unusual step of intervening in a local criminal case involving an alleged sexual assault by juvenile Muslim migrants and threatened the community and media with federal prosecution if they 'spread false information or inflammatory statements about the perpetrators.'" Hohmann again asserted that "WND was the first to report a set of facts about the Twin Falls assault," which, again, is simply not true.

And how does Hohmann respond to being told not to tell lies about Muslims? By quoting s anti-Muslim activist whining that she can't lie about Muslims:

Ann Corcoran, the author of the Refugee Resettlement Watch blog and the book “Refugee Resettlement and the Hijra to America,” said Olson’s statement is reminiscent of Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s warning the day after the San Bernardino jihad massacre in which Lynch said she would take “aggressive action” to prosecute “anti-Muslim” rhetoric that “edges toward violence.” Lynch was forced to walk back those comments after outrage from free speech advocates.

“This is threatening free speech,” Corcoran said of Olson’s statement. “It’s the federal government trying to intimidate into silence those citizens who don’t have resources or connections. This must mean we have hit a nerve with this administration."

Hohmann followed up that with another article quoting "First amendment attorneys" -- again, mostly right-wing anti-Muslim activists -- complaining that they, too, are bneing deprived of their First Amendment right to lie about Muslims. It also includes WND's own (apparently terrible) lawyer:

Daniel Horowitz, who represents WND on First Amendment issues, went one step further. He suggested Olson’s words, insinuated that “false or inflammatory” speech could get an American citizen arrested, consisted of a terroristic threat.

“Wendy Olson should be arrested for making terrorist threats against American citizens,” Horowitz said. “She has abused her position and threatened to use the power of the United States government to punish citizens in the exercise of their constitutional rights.

“She is a criminal terrorist who silences Americans through threats of arrest just as violent terrorists seek to silence us by threats of murder. She should lose her job and be jailed and when Trump builds his wall, her prison work gang should help build it.”

A later article updating the case hinted at Hohmann's next target: "The world’s largest yogurt plant is operated in Twin Falls by Chobani, and approximately 30 percent of the staff there are foreign refugees, WND previously reported."

And indeed, Hohmann's next article attacked Chobani for hiring refugees, and even went after the Idaho mayor who helped recruit the Chobani to his town, grumbling that he "now plays a dual role of elected official and president/CEO of the local Chamber of Commerce."

Of course, Hohmann makes sure to include his favorite Muslim-hater:

Ann Corcoran, author of the Refugee Resettlement Watch blog, said the potential conflict of interest is disturbing and should be questioned by Twin Falls residents.

“Twin Falls is really a microcosm of what we find going on in so many of the refugee communities across the U.S., where you have people moving in and out of government and the Chamber of Commerce with a vested interest in making sure a meatpacking plant or some other industry has continuous access to refugee labor,” said Corcoran. “Only in this case we have a blatant example of conflicts of interest by an elected official who is also the head of the Chamber enticing companies to come in and make use of the steady influx of cheap, overseas labor.

“These are jobs that Americans would be happy to fill but they are forced to compete now with someone from Sudan or Iraq who is used to working for a dollar a week.”

Oh, and that claim from Hohmann about refugee employment at the Chobani plant, which comes from a January article he wrote?

The myth-busters at Snopes took apart that article, finding Hohmann's assertion that "Twin Falls is in line to receive about 300 refugees this year, many of them Muslims from Syria" to be highly questionable, noting that Hohmann's numbers come from "a confusing number of metrics and purported statistics," adding that "None of that mish-mash of numbers appeared directly related in any way to Chobani's founder, or to his company's hiring practices." After going over the numbers Hohmann apparently used, Snopes concluded that contrary to what he wrote, "the vast majority of people asking for asylum in Idaho were not from Muslim countries," and only 2 percent of them were from Syria.

Apparently, Hohmann doesn't care about getting facts right after all, despite how much he (falsely) insists he did on the alleged assault in Twin Falls. The only thing that matters to him is making Muslims look bad -- and that's just one more reason why WND has no credibility.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:29 AM EDT
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
CNS Hides Bias, Incompetence of AIM's Benghazi Kangaroo Court
Topic: CNSNews.com

Accuracy in Media's Benghazi kangaroo court -- er, the Citizens' Commission on Benghazi -- released its final report last week, which unsurprisingly bashed President Obama and Hillary Clinton over the Benghazi attack, as if would do anything else. Given the fact that the CCB was filled with birthers and Obama-haters, that was pretty much the only option.

AIM effectively declared its bias in the press release announcing the report: "In reality, the Benghazi attacks serve as a Rosetta stone into Barack Obama’s administration—its motives, its ideology, its transparency, its judgment and its ethics. Their actions must be put in context, and their cover-ups must be exposed."

Needless to say, AIM's report omitted any mention of former member Wayne Simmons, whom AIM scrubbed from the CCB -- and pretty much the entire AIM website -- after he was charged with fraud in connection with falsely claiming to have been a longtime CIA operative.

Apparently, it was too much for other right-wing media report the truth of the CCB, so excited were they to have a Benghazi report that, unlike the one run by Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, engaged in a lot of Clinton-bashing just in time for the presidential campaign.

CNSNews.com's Penny Starr cranked out two articles from the CCB's press conference. The first touted "former CIA operative Clare Lopez" calling Obama and Clinton liars. Starr didn't mention that Lopez is a right-wing anti-Muslim activist who once promoted a fake anti-Muslim story and who has ridiculously likened Obama to Osama bin Laden.

Starr's second article featured retired admiral James "Ace" Lyons bashing the Gowdy committee's report as having "copped out." Lyons has previously spread Benghazi conspiracy theories.

Starr not only failed to report on the backgrounds of the committee members, she also made sure not to mention that the disgraced Wayne Simmons was a CCB member.

then again, Starr's employer, the Media Research Center, freaked out that the Gowdy committee report failed to bash Clinton sufficiently to hang Benghazi around her head for the fall presidential campaign, so portraying the CCB as legitimate may have been an order straight from the top.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:59 PM EDT
WND's Farah Silent About Friend's Denouncing of Evangelicals Who Support Trump
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily editor is more than happy to tell you that he attended the evangelical summit with Donald Trump a couple weeks back -- remember, he's a bigwig in the secretive right-wing Council for National Policy, and was looking for an opportunity to flaunt his bona fides in the right-wing political sphere.

So happy, in fact, that Farah wrote two columns about it.

In the first, he admitted "the contents of the meeting were off the record" -- shades of the CMP at work? -- but he could say he read Trump's mind: "Trump hit all the right chords. He was sincere about his plans to fight for religious liberty and name judges who stick to the Constitution – he even shocked many in the audience by suggesting it was time to lift the political gag order placed on pastors getting involved in politics by President Lyndon Johnson so many years ago." He added: "Politically speaking, it was never clearer to me how stark is the choice we face in the 2016 presidential election."

In the second, Farah denied that the conclave's failure to issue an endorsement of Trump meant anything, insisting that "The intention of the gathering was never to elicit political endorsements. ... It was put together by the evangelical leaders themselves – specifically and exclusively for the purpose of getting to know and understand the candidate better." Farah also wrot, "So let me categorically say, again, as someone present in the meeting, I wholeheartedly agree with Trump – and I know many, many others present at the gathering did as well."

But Farah has been silent about one close friend who attened that gathering who has chosen not to endorse Trump.

Michael Farris is a longtime homeschooling activist frequently quoted by WND, where he has published the occasional op-ed. He's also the founder and chancellor of Patrick Henry College, a school located not too far from Farah's home in surburban Washington, D.C., and which at least one of Farah's children has attended. In a piece for the Christian Post, Farris tells a story about the Trump-evangellical meeting that diverges from Farah's telling:

Today an estimated 1,000 evangelical leaders are making a pilgrimage to Trump Tower to "listen" to Donald Trump.

The organizer of this meeting came to my office to tell me in person why I wasn't being invited. I had been too vocal in my anti-Trump views.

I appreciated his courtesy in coming to me and he agreed that the obvious implication of the meeting was to rally support for Trump.

While I don't question the motives of those who are trekking to the Tower, I strongly dissent from the wisdom of their chosen path.

This meeting marks the end of the Christian Right.

The premise of the meeting in 1980 was that only candidates that reflected a biblical worldview and good character would gain our support.

Today, a candidate whose worldview is greed and whose god is his appetites (Philippians 3) is being tacitly endorsed by this throng.

They are saying we are Republicans no matter what the candidate believes and no matter how vile and unrepentant his character.

They are not a phalanx of God's prophets confronting a wicked leader, this is a parade of elephants.

Farris repeated his concerns in a Washington Post op-ed:

Over the years, I’ve worked closely with many of the hundreds of faith leaders who trekked to Trump Tower on Tuesday to meet with presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump. I’ve opposed Trump, and wasn’t invited. But even if I had been, I wouldn’t have gone. I believe these pilgrims meant well, but I think their judgment about associating with Trump is troubling and unwise. In embracing this brazen man — whether tacitly or overtly — they appear to have forgotten the very premises on which the Moral Majority and the social conservative movement was founded.

His candidacy is the antithesis of everything we set out to achieve.

[...]

The leaders in attendance at Trump’s event know the Bible. It says we are to love God first and then our neighbor. (Matthew 22:37-39) Yet they seemingly ignore the childish ridicule that Trump heaps on many of our neighbors: the disabled, Hispanics and women just for starters. The Bible says a leader should not consider himself better than his brothers. But Trump’s arrogance — he said at one point that he’s “the most successful person ever to run for the presidency” — is the stuff of legend, and not the hallmark of a godly individual. He’s not seen as a man of his word — hundreds of vendors report that his companies have stiffed them after services were rendered. He has dragged our political discourse into the gutter. Even an implicit  endorsement of Trump stains the character of the endorser more than it elevates Trump’s standing. So if my colleagues who met with him this week don’t want to leave this impression, I hope they speak up promptly and clearly.

Apparently Farah has not spoken up to Farris, because not only has Farah not written a thing about Farris' comments, they have not been reported anywhere else on the WND website.

So, have Farah and WND completely cut off Farris for his refusal to support Trump and his calling out evangelicals like Farah who have? We shall see.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:30 AM EDT
Monday, July 4, 2016
MRC Goes To War Against Fact-Checkers To Protect Trump
Topic: Media Research Center

We could see it coming.

First, the Media Research Center tries to spin Donald Trump's lies and bashes anyone who points out that they are, in fact, lies. The the MRC's "news" division CNSNews.com uncritically quotes a Trump campaign flack declaring that "We’re not going to base national security off PolitiFact" after fact-checkers pointed out that Trump got caught telling yet another lie.

Now, the MRC's war on fact-checkers has escalated with Tim Graham and Brent Bozell's June 29 column whining that fact-checkers continue ot call out Trump, attacking in particular "the liberal-media project calling itself PolitiFact."

Graham and Bozell bring up no less than three times what they call "Hillary Clinton's obscene lie about landing in sniper fire in Bosnia," complaining that it "is a distant memory." That's because it is -- she said it in 2008, and it was judged as false back then. By contrast, their preferred presidential candidate, Trump, lies on a daily basis and is surely lying about something right now. But pointing out the fact that Trump is an inveterate liar is apparently part of that the anti-conservative media conspiracy they've been warning us about. 

But let's read how Graham and Bozell rant about this:

Let us briefly review the ratings this "fact-checking" project gave the candidates that week.

Nine of Trump's statements were rated. There was one "Mostly False," four "False," three "Pants on Fire" and one "True" — restating that Hillary-Bosnia thing. Only four of Clinton's statements were rated: two "Mostly True," one "Half True" and one "True."

A Clinton critic can easily shred these results. They found it "True" in a Clinton speech to Planned Parenthood that maternal mortality has plummeted since Roe v. Wade — as if that's some kind of scientific principle connecting the two instead of a general advance in health care since 1973. That was a "Mostly False."

What about Clinton's claim that Trump "actually said, 'women should be punished for having abortions'?" Fact is, under heavy pressure from MSNBC's Chris Matthews Trump gave the thoughtless answer — "there has to be some form of punishment." But fact also is that he then almost immediately backed away, withdrawing that answer. "Half True" is being generous.

Declaring that Trump "almost immediately backed away" from a "thoughtless answer" on abortion -- actually, several hours passed before for he did so, and only after anti-abortion groups pointed out that this he was not following the political stance of the movement -- means that Graham and Bozell are making an excuse to save their preferred candidate, and it doesn't erase the fact that he did indeed say it in the first place.

And Graham and Bozell mislead about the statement it highlights about Clinton. In fact, PolitiFact rated Clinton's statement that maternal mortality has plummeted since Roe v. Wade as "Mostly True" -- not "True," as they claim -- and it also pointed out that the mortality rate was on the decline in the years before Roe v. Wade, which Graham and Bozell falsely suggest it did not do.

Since Graham and Bozell aren't ones to let the facts get in the way of an attack on fact-checkers, please continue:

PolitiFact avoided rating another Clinton statement altogether. In the same speech she said, "Thank you for being there for Natarsha McQueen, who told me how Planned Parenthood caught her breast cancer when she was just 33 years old, and saved her life." Wrong. One of the most persistent lies is that Planned Parenthood does mammograms and "catches" breast cancer. Planned Parenthood doctors only refer women to other people who do mammograms. Clinton tells that lie incessantly. "Pants on Fire Lie" puts it mildly.

Actually, the story is mostly true. NBC reports:

Natarsha McQueen, 40, of Brooklyn, NY, joined in and defended Planned Parenthood. McQueen was diagnosed with breast cancer after a breast exam revealed a lump and a subsequent referral from Planned Parenthood let to further diagnosis and treatment.

"Thanks to an early cancer screening I'm a breast cancer survivor," McQueen told a room of about 45 people on Capitol Hill.

"I had breast cancer. I was in complete shock. I was very young and there was no history of breast cancer in my family. I continue to go to Planned Parenthood for gynecological exams and breast exams as well," McQueen added.

While Planned Parenthood does not do mammograms in its clinics, it does provide referrals to places that do, and that's what appears happened with McQueen. Will Graham and Bozell walk up to McQueen and tell her to her face that she's a liar? Not likely -- it's much easier and safer to beat up on Hillary.

Graham and Bozell then set a false comparison between Ted Cruz and Elizabeth Warren:

Cruz and Warren were both elected to the Senate in 2012. Cruz has been assessed for truth on 114 occasions by PolitiFact, but Warren has only been assessed on four? And for the record, there's no rating for Warren claiming to be part Cherokee Indian.

Graham and Bozell don't mention that Cruz spent much of the past year running for president, while Warren did not. Oh, and there's no evidence Warren deliberately lied about having a Native American heritage or that she used it to advance in her career; she has said she relied on family stories for her claim.

Let's be clear about Graham and Bozell -- and the MRC -- are doing. The only way they can deal with Trump's constant lies is to declare the act of fact-checking to be a partisan exercise, as Graham and Bozell's whine that PolitiFact has "rated Trump 'False'/'Mostly False'/'Pants on Fire' 77 percent of the time. But they've rated Clinton 'False' and 'Mostly False' only 26 percent of the time."

The MRC have invested years -- nay, decades -- in portraying the Clintons as liars, but when someone who lies as much as Trump comes along and is a Republican, facts suddenly no longer matter.

Or, as Graham and Bozell conclude, fact-checking is now "a liberal, out-of-touch, elitist media thing." 


Posted by Terry K. at 10:42 PM EDT
When Vince Foster Conspiracy Theorists Collide
Topic: Accuracy in Media

In June, former Newsmax reporter Ronald Kessler got some right-wing press by running to the Daily Mail content mill to claim that Hillary Clinton is responsible for Vincent Foster's death because "she attacked and humiliated her mentor from their former Rose Law Firm in front of other White House aides a week before he took his own life."

Kessler's source is "former FBI agent Coy Copeland," a favorite Kessler source who appears to have done nothing with his alleged career but ply Kessler with stories about how terrible the Clintons purportedly are. Despite the lack of documentation of the claims, the Washington Times published a version of Kessler's conspiracy, and the Clinton-haters at WorldNetDaily devoted an entire article to it.

But another Clinton-hating conspiracy-monger is having none of it. In ah June 22 Acuracy in Media column, Hugh Turley -- who believes Foster was murdered -- is not pleased by Kessler's theories because it contradicts his own conspiracy theory:

Patrick Knowlton and I examined over 20,000 pages of documents from the Foster death investigation, including scores of FBI handwritten notes and interview reports of friends, family and co-workers of Foster. Many of these FBI documents that we reviewed at the National Archives were unredacted. We never saw any mention of a meeting a week before Foster’s death with Hillary, Foster, and other staff present—not even a tele-conference.

The FBI has been covering up the murder of Foster with the help of the news media since 1993. FBI agents have falsified interview reports to make it appear Foster’s car was at Fort Marcy Park when it was not. 

[...]

The latest attempt to cover-up the murder unfairly blames Mrs. Clinton for causing a suicide, when she clearly did not. Trump, who has been opposed by establishment Republicans that have long ignored Foster’s murder, should not be silent.

WND also published Turley's response to Kessler, though WND curiously linked only to Kessler's Daily Mail article and not its own article summarizing it.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:12 PM EDT
Sunday, July 3, 2016
ConWeb Is Well Represented in Secretive Right-Wing Group
Topic: The ConWeb

In May, the Southern Poverty Law Center published a list members (as of 2014) of the Council for National Policy, a secretive group of right-wing power players in politics, culture and the media. The CNP enforces a "Fight Club"-style omerta in which members are not to acknowledge that they are in fact members, and far-right extremists mingle with more mainstream conservatives. The group has been a behind-the-scenes force in coalescing right-wing support for Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

Thus, it's no surprise that the ConWeb is well represented in the CNP's membership among media members.

Needless to say, WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah and Jerome Corsi are members of the group, with both being on the CNP's board of governors and Farah a member of the "Gold Circle," which sounds like some sort of super-elite faction within the group. Farah has been a longtime member; we've documented how Farah reported on a CNP meeting in 2007 despite the fact that the article had no byline, deduced from the fact that he's a CNP member, WND was one of the few media organizations in attendance, and he is presumed to have sought CNP permission to write about the meeting before doing so.

But a couple other members on the CNP list might be a bit more of a surprise. Newsmax's Christopher Ruddy is a member and on the board of governors, and CNSNews.com editor in chief Terry Jeffrey is also a member. (Interestingly, Jeffrey's boss, Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell, is not listed as a member.)

If we were as conspiratorially minded as Farah and WND, we could presume that the presence of bigwigs from WND, Newsmax and CNS means that the "news" organizations engage in some level of coordination when it comes to determining their editorial agendas.

But we'll never know, because not only have Farah, Corsi, Ruddy and Jeffrey continued to keep their CNP membership a secret from their readers, their websites have reported nothing on the CNP -- let alone the leak of the membership list -- in the month and a half since the SPLC's story came out.

Which means the ConWeb has put maintaining the omerta over reporting facts.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:53 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, July 3, 2016 12:15 PM EDT
Saturday, July 2, 2016
MRC Whitewashes Trump's Lies About Hillary
Topic: Media Research Center

As we've seen, one of the Media Research Center's duties for Donald Trump's presidential campaign is to try and counter the fact that Trump's a rampant liar. That's demonstrated again in a June 23 post by Nicholas Fondacaro:

Donald Trump delivered a condemning speech against is opponent Hillary Clinton Wednesday, explaining why he calls her “Crooked Hillary.” The “big three” networks rushed to her defense, mostly picking on the easy targets among his allegations. But NBC’s Hallie Jackson went the farthest in bending the truth to counter Trump, and make Clinton look good. “Trump never one to mince words, though today not all of them were true,” Jackson reported during Nightly News.

First, Jackson bent the truth regarding Trump’s claim that Clinton’s private E-Mail server was hacked by foreign governments. “But a State Department inspector general's report said it found no such evidence, only routine phishing,” she stated, “No government official has said her e-mails were hacked.”

But that’s not entirely accurate.

According to a recent report by the State Department’s Inspector General, there were two known attempts to hack into the server. That’s a huge step up from Jackson’s claim of “routine phishing.” But then again this fact has been omitted from NBC’s reporting in the past, most notably by reporter Andrea Mitchell when the report was first released.

But Trump did not say anything about attempted hacking; he specifically said Clinton server was actually hacked. An attempted hack is not an actual hack. Therefore, Trump is wrong, and Fondacaro looks silly for trying to spin it.

But Fondacaro keeps on spinning:

Jackson also noted the source material for some of Trump’s accusations, “Trump leaning heavily on the book Clinton Cash.” She once again mislead viewers claiming, “But that book's author admits there's no evidence to prove those allegations.” Although author Peter Schweizer did admit that he didn’t have the hard evidence that he would like, he has stated that a goal of his book was to get officials involved since that have the legal authority to investigate farther than he can.

But if even Schweizer admits he has no "hard evidence" to back up his paratisan attacks on the Clintons -- as Fondacaro is conceding -- Trump should know better than to cite it as undisputed fact. Fondacaro is just trying to whitewash more Trump falsehoods.

In other words, Fondacaro is the one "bending the truth," not the fact-checkers.

Despite all this nitpicking, Fondacaro failed to mention all the other Trump falsehoods in the speech that he also apparently concedes. CNN counted 10 outright "false" statements by Trump and four more "misleading" claims.

One of the "false" claims CNN identified was the server claim Fondacaro tried to whitewash, pointing out that "there is no conclusive indication that Clinton's email was ever breached, let alone proof that foreign governments were behind even such attempts." Fondacaro somehow forgot to mention that Trump claimed foreign governments hacked Clinton's server.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:26 AM EDT
No, WND, Trump Is Not Why Macy's Is Slumping (And His Clothing Line Didn't Move To Amazon)
Topic: WorldNetDaily

The unidentified writer of this June 28 WorldNetDaily article seems quite giddy:

Corporate America is learning a lesson: Don’t cross Donald Trump.

One year ago, Trump upended American politics when he declared he was a candidate for president.

Macy’s promptly declared it was cutting ties and dumping Trump’s clothing line because of “disparaging” remarks about Mexicans.

Trump fired back, declaring the company supports illegal immigration. His supporters even shredded their Macy’s credit cards and tens of thousands called to complain about the company’s cave to political correctness.

Trump himself also called for a boycott of the company.

From the vantage of June 2016, it appears Trump has had the last laugh.

The onetime reality television star is now the presumptive Republican candidate for president of the United States. Meanwhile, Macy’s stock price has plummeted.

When Trump first called for the boycott on July 1, 2015, Macy’s stock price stood at $67.82 per share. In less than a year, the stock has lost more than half its value, now standing at just over $31 a share.

Of course, despite this tone and the article's headline -- "MACY'S STOCK IN FREE FALL SINCE DISSING TRUMP" -- the problems Macy's currently faces have nothing whatsoever to do with Macy's dropping the Trump clothing line, as even our anonymous writer concedes:

And the company’s problems go beyond its stock price.

It reportedly is suffering a year-over-year operating income decline of 40 percent, a 4.4 percent drop in revenue, and a comparable-sales decline of 3.2 percent. Experts claim the company’s decline is as dire as anything suffered during the economic crisis of 2009.

Macy’s recently avoided a strike, though many of its issues with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union remain to be settled.

And last week, Terry Lundgren, who has been CEO for 13 years, announced he will step down from the top job as Macy’s struggles to adjust.

His replacement as CEO, Jeff Gennette, is the current president of the company, leading to accusations from some critics that Macy’s is too cautious to make the kinds of adjustments it needs recover from its current decline.

The company also is struggling to compete with online retailer Amazon.com, which now controls 41.2 percent of the e-commerce market compared to Macy’s 1.5 percent.

WND's anonymous writer then goes on to sneer: "Not coincidentally, Trump’s 'Signature Collection' clothing line is now available for sale through Amazon."

Well, not exactly. Macy's was the exclusive retailer of the Trump clothing line, and nobody else has picked it up. The clothing conglomerate that made the clothes for Macy's, PVH, also wound down its involvement in the licensing deal.This means nobody is currently selling first-run Trump clothing.

Tellingly, WND doesn't link to Amazon.com to prove that Trump's clothing line "is now available for sale through Amazon." Rather, it linked to Trump's website, which in turn links to Amazon for the categories of neckwear, dress shirts, suits and accessories. But Amazon itself is not selling those items.

For instance a Trump dress shirt states that it's "Sold by Retail Trunk and Fulfilled by Amazon." A set of Trump cufflinks says, "Ships from and sold by J&P Universal." And a Trump suit says it's "Sold by Suits Empire and Fulfilled by Amazon."

In other words, most -- if not all -- of the Trump clothing at Amazon is being sold by third-party sellers who probably bought it on clearance from Macy's and are simply using Amazon as a selling platform to resell it.

The Trump clothing on Amazon is effectively secondhand, even if it may be "new" and in the original packaging. Don't expect that anonymous WND writer to explain that to readers, though.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:56 AM EDT
Friday, July 1, 2016
CNS Peddles Deceptive Anti-Abortion Talking Points After Supreme Court Ruling
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com responded to the Supreme Court ruling overturning a Texas law as expected: with a June 27 article by Penny Starr uncritially repeating anti-abortion activists predictably denouncing the ruling. And since Starr is in stenography mode, she makes sure not to correct the false claims they make.

Starr quotes these activists decrying how there purportedly are now no saftey standards for abortion clinics in Texas and that they will now descend to the level of Kermit Gosnell:

"The Supreme Court's decision to strike down H.B. 2 undermines the health and safety of vulnerable women,” Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said in a statement about the ruling in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt. “This decision is a loss for women and gives the abortion industry a free pass.

“The need to regulate abortion facilities is necessary to protect women against cut-and-run abortionists at shoddy abortion facilities,” Perkins said. “Mandating basic and necessary health and safety standards such as trained staff, corridors that could accommodate a stretcher in case of emergency, admitting privileges to a hospital, and up-to-date fire, sanitation, and safety codes should be beyond the politics of abortion.

[...]

"How shabby are these abortion clinics that they cannot meet the minimum standards other outpatient surgical centers are required to meet, and just how bad are these abortionists that they can't get admitting privileges at a local hospital?" Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, said in a statement.

"As we saw with Kermit Gosnell in Philadelphia, it's clear that the lucrative abortion industry is not able or willing to police itself and allows filthy, deplorable conditions to go unchecked,” Tobias said.

[...]

"The Court was wrong to strike down a reasonable law that protected women from unsafe abortion facilities like Kermit Gosnell's notorious and deadly 'house of horrors' clinic,” Heritage Foundation experts Roger Severino and Elizabeth Slattery said in a joint statement. “This decision will allow abortion extremists to keep open disreputable abortion clinics that fail to meet basic safety and cleanliness standards followed by every other facility that performs invasive surgeries."

In fact, Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in his majority ruling that earlier court rulings have found that insisting on surgical-center standards at an abortion clinic will not result in improved care, adding that Gosnell would have run afoul of previous Texas standards had they been properly enforced:

In the same breath, the dissent suggests that one benefit of H. B. 2’s requirements would be that they might “force unsafe facilities to shut down.” To support that assertion, the dissent points to the Kermit Gosnell scandal. Gosnell, a physician in Pennsylvania, was convicted of first-degree murder and manslaughter. He “staffed his facility with unlicensed and indifferent workers, and then let them practice medicine unsupervised” and had “[d]irty facilities; unsanitary instruments; an absence of functioning monitoring and resuscitation equipment; the use of cheap, but dangerous, drugs; illegal procedures; and inadequate emergency access for when things inevitably went wrong.” Gosnell’s behavior was terribly wrong. But there is no reason to believe that an extra layer of regulation would have affected that behavior. Determined wrongdoers, already ignoring existing statutes and safety measures, are unlikely to be convinced to adopt safe practices by a new overlay of regulations. Regardless, Gosnell’s deplorable crimes could escape detection only because his facility went uninspected for more than 15 years. Pre-existing Texas law already contained numerous detailed regulations covering abortion facilities, including a requirement that facilities be inspected at least annually. The record contains nothing to suggest that H. B. 2 would be more effective than pre-existing Texas law at deterring wrongdoers like Gosnell from criminal behavior. 

Again: Starr is a stenorgrapher, not a reporter, so her readers won't know that the anti-abortion activists she quotes are being deceptive.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:41 PM EDT
WND's Chumley Cites Scientology Front Group To Bash Psychiatric Drugs
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily -- mostly in the person of managing editor David Kupelian -- has a thing for falsely smearing psychiatric drugs by directly blaming them for mass murder events, despite the fact that no direct link has ever been established.

WND reporter Cheryl Chumley joins in the smearing in her July 29 column:

But deceptions run deeper when it comes to gun control. For instance: The anti-Second Amendment crowd may slide this under the radar, but according to Linda Lagemann, a former licensed clinical psychologist with 23 years of experience who presently serves as a commissioner with the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, dozens of recent cases of high-profile shooters have shared more than an affinity for guns – they’ve shared a pill-popping background that included the taking of psychotropic drugs, some at least which were medically and legally prescribed.

As we noted when CNSNews.com's Barbara Hollingsworth did it, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights was created by the Church of Scientology with the goal of attacking the field of psychiatry. Despite the name, as Stephen Wiseman points out, it's not a human rights organization at all.

Chumley goes on to rant about other purported links between psychiatric drugs and mass killings, citing such impeccable sources as a rant-filled blog called DC Clothesline and the Western Journalism Center, which was founded by Chumley's WND boss, Joseph Farah, and which collaborated with WND on a error-ridden book demanding President Obama's impeachment just a year into his first term.

And Chumley, like Kupelian, cite no direct link between the drug that were taken and the acts they committed -- remember, correlation does not equal causation. Nevertheless, Chumley concludes by declaring, "But guns are the problem? Seems like pill control might be the better argument."

Chumley might have a better argument if wasn't engaging in logical fallacies or using fringe sources to back them up.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:52 AM EDT
Thursday, June 30, 2016
What LGBT Stuff Is The MRC Freaking Out About This Month?
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center is not a fan of the gays, and it hate-watches TV shows with gay themes. There's so much gay-bashing at the MRC it threatens to overload our system. So here, in handy summary form, is some of the gay stuff the MRC has freaked out over over the past month.

-- Mairead McArdle takes issue with an interview "gay actor George Takei" conducted two two transgenders. Focusing on one interviewee, a transgender man named Lane, McArdle writes:

A telling part of Lane’s testimony is that, “I knew I was trans because I knew it was a thing already.” In other words, Lane’s transition came in part from her knowledge that being transgender “was a thing.”

So Lane wouldn't have become a transgender if right-wingers like McArdle were successful in suppressing the fact that transgenders exist? We're confused.

McArdle also huffed that "The transgender bathroom problem is the sort of thing most people never even dreamed of having to care about until some site like Salon declared it a pressing civil rights issue." Salon surely must be pleased that the MRC is giving it so much credit for promoting the issue.

-- Elliot Polsky goes into freakout mode about some LGBT-oriented fairy tales by sarcastically ranting, "It’s about time kids got some LGBT propaganda." Polsky goes on to be upset about a HuffingtonPost article about the fairy tales: "The article never elaborates what it is in particular that the children are supposed to understand, but it is clear enough what the adults reading the HuffPo article are supposed to take for granted: LGBT sexual relationships are normal."

-- Resident MRC transgender-phobe Tim Graham does his schtick again by attacking NBC for failing to hate the LGBT community. To Graham, gayness is the new communism, hiding under every bed:

By creating an "NBC OUT" initiative, NBC News is getting even bolder in just presenting one-sided LGBT propaganda from groups like the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). On Thursday, they posted an article from Variety headlined “Transgender Representation on TV Hitting New Highs.” But as usual, they found a terrible shortage of transgender characters on our television screens. 

[...]

Right by the NBC peacock came this definitive conclusion: "The hope is that those larger roles will transcend magazine covers and television screens, and weave acceptance into the fabric of our hearts and minds." That's the usual way propaganda describes itself. We're just "weaving acceptance into your hearts and minds."

-- Maggie McKneely spends an entire post sneering at musicians Tegan and Sara for committing the offense of wanting to be popular while also gay:

Here’s something new: gay people gaining media attention for saying that they don’t get enough media attention.

Twin singer-songwriters Tegan and Sara, best known for their song “Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie, have been in the music industry for almost 20 years, predominantly as cult indie artists with a few dedicated fans. But after the release of their last album in 2012, Heartthrob, they were propelled into the mainstream pop world. The album became one of the top 3 in the U.S. and Canada, and the duo performed on tour with both Katy Perry and Taylor Swift.

But now that they’ve moved from playing small indie music festivals to arenas with stadium seating, Tegan and Sara have a new goal: queering the mainstream.

In a recent interview, Tegan said that “success [for us] is queering the mainstream.” Because there aren’t enough people trying to do that already.

[...]

Tegan and Sara once believed that there was a limit to what they could achieve. At least, until their producer told them in 2009 that “I can’t think of a gay woman that’s on the pop charts. Well why can’t that be you?”

That won’t be hard. If they keep writing songs about their lesbian relationships, Tegan and Sara are bound to end up on the pop charts. Because the media always loves the chance to make the gay agenda as normal and “relatable” as possible.

-- Katie Yoder continues to be shocked that gay people are allowed to have kids, and advertisers will market to gay parents, in this case that Dove soap used a whole three seconds of a minute-long ad to show a gay couple with their child:

It’s a new push by numerous companies: showing families with two dads. Hallmark has done it. Campbell’s soup has done it. Now, Dove is doing it.

The soap brand Dove released a video of different dads on Monday in anticipation of Father’s Day. The minute-long short, “My Dad, My Hero,” compiled home-video footage of 22 families and featured, among other things, two gay dads with their son.

[...]

Dove tried to insert two dads in another Father’s Day ad last year. Because the ad showed the “very first moment [dads] find out they are going to be a dad,” the placement proved more difficult.

Yoder doesn't explain exactly why this is so offensive to her that she devoted an entire post to it. Apparently, her ick factor at seeing two men be parents is supposed to be self-explanatory.

-- McNeely returns to demonstrate a bizarre way to throw some shade on the Orlando massacre by expressing a weird amount of shock that some straight women like to go to gay nightclubs:

The worst part about the Orlando shooting wasn’t that 49 innocent people were killed. It’s that gay night clubs are no longer safe spaces…for straight women.

According to Elle editor Melissa Harris-Perry, hanging out at gay clubs is just something that “we straight girls” do. Straight women all around the world “maintain intimate friendships with beautiful gay men, basking in their appreciation of our femininity, jointly appraising male sexiness, seeking expert opinions on relationships, and invading party spaces.”

[...]

For a women’s magazine editor, Perry knows shockingly little about her fellow females. She assumes that because she enjoys ditching her husband for the company of other men who indulge her with “late night texts” and “smooching emojis” for the evening, every other straight woman must too.

Which is why the Orlando shooting was such a tragedy for women everywhere! Poor Melissa Harris-Perry and her feminist peers no longer feel that they can safely party away at gay nightclubs when they need a break from the imaginary patriarchy. Perry compared the attack on the Pulse nightclub to an act of “domestic violence.”

[...]

Perry feels as if she is in a “bubble of unreality” when dancing at these clubs. Someone should tell her she’s living in that bubble all the time.

Oh, she's not the only one living in a bubble, Maggie.

-- McKneely shows up more to have a hissy fit over Buzzfeed having a float in New York City's gay pride parade:

BuzzFeed has the most pride of all the liberal news outlets. After all, no one else got to star in a gay parade.

New York City’s annual pride march took place over the weekend, and “news” site BuzzFeed made sure it had the best seats in the house: from a float in the parade itself.

This blatant endorsement of the gay rights movement from BuzzFeed could be perceived as biased Lefty journalism. But Editor-in-chief Ben Smith doesn’t see it that way. After all, the organization’s manual states that when it comes to “civil rights, anti-racism, and LGBT equality, there are not two sides.” And if it’s in the manual, it can’t be wrong, right? Anyone who disagrees with the gay, transgender, bisexual, etc. agenda is just crazy. There’s no need to provide fair reporting on crazy people.

Isn't "no need to provide fair reporting" on the "crazy people" it disagrees with the same policy the MRC's heavily biased "news" divison, CNSNews.com, follows?


Posted by Terry K. at 1:39 PM EDT
Newsmax Hides Scandals of Ariz. Sheriff Running For Congress
Topic: Newsmax

John Gizzi devotes a June 21 Newsmax column to a fluffy profile of Republican Arizona sheriff Paul Babeu, who's currently running for Congress. Gizzi touts Babeu's credentials as "a lawman and border hard-liner who has become a national hero to many conservatives." Even the fact that Babeu is gay is no big deal, according to Gizzi:

Babeu, a pro-lifer, former U.S. Army Reserve major, and a stalwart conservative also is gay.

"All of my friends and family knew it, and, although I never went around and advertised it, it was one of the worst-kept secrets in the county when I ran for sheriff," Babeu told Newsmax.

But Gizzi failed to report that Babeu's sexual orientation was, in fact, an issue in 2012.

When Babeu ran for a congressional seat the first time in 2012 (a run Gizzi makes no mention of) when Babeu's former lover went public with allegations that Babeu threatened him with deportation if he disclosed their relationship. (Neither Babeu nor his ex-lover were charged with anything related to the allegations.) It wasn't until that happened that Babeu publicly admitted he was gay, and he quit the race a couple months later (after donations plunged after the scandal went public) to focus on getting re-elected sheriff.

Needless to say, Newsmax quickly rushed Babeu into image rehab following the incident, which surely contributed to Babeu's current congressional run.

Gizzi also doesn't mention the fact that Babeu used to be headmaster of a school in Massachusetts that used extreme and abusive discipline  methods on special-needs students, and that he bragged about using such methods on video.

Gizzi is so in the tank for Babeu that he touts a poll conducted by his campaign that, unsurprisingly, found Babeu well in the lead. Bue he doesn't mention when the poll was conducted, or that it has remarkably similar numbers to a poll from January. Meanwhile, a more recent poll shows Babeu with lower numbers (though still with a solid lead) but nearly half of the electorate undecided.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:30 AM EDT
WND Gives Away Stolen Property To Build Its Mailing List
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily worked up quite the come-on for this:

It’s probably the most important document of the 2016 election – and now you can get it for free.

The internal research file compiled by the Democratic Party on Republican nominee Donald Trump was recently hacked, reportedly by Russian intelligence. More than 200 pages were stolen, detailing the exact lines of attack Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party plan to unleash on the Republican nominee.

However, even this tale of international intrigue may be less explosive than the real truth. Donald Trump recently accused the Democratic National Committee of deliberately leaking the document. The real-estate tycoon and television star noted the Democratic Party has not apologized for allowing this secret data to be accessed and suggested they should.

Get the secret report rocking the 2016 election. “The Secret Democrat Playbook Against Trump” is available free. Sign up here!

The Russian government has denied any involvement in the leak. They even mocked the Democrats, suggesting “someone forgot the password or set the sample password 123456.”

“Well, it’s always simpler to explain this away as the intrigues of enemies, rather than one’s own incompetence,” said German Klimenko, President Vladimir Putin’s top Internet adviser.

[...]

The document contains a detailed examination of Donald Trump’s business record, political positions, and personal relationships. Going back decades, it’s an exhaustive analysis of those items Hillary Clinton believes will allow her to destroy the populist standard bearer of the Republican Party.

However, it also previews the attack lines the Democrats are likely to use in the campaign. For example, it denounces Trump’s “divisive and offensive campaign” and provides the exact quotes the Democrats believe supports this narrative.

For investigative reporters, armchair strategists or even just anyone interested in American politics, this is an invaluable document. Think of what an advantage a football team has if it had its opponent’s playbook. Now, Donald Trump and the Republicans have the exact battle plan the Democrats are going to be using in the 2016 campaign. Every time Hillary Clinton recites her lines, it will sound like an actor reading off a script.

Now, you too can see the Democrats secret plan, the playbook to destroy Donald Trump.

Simply fill out the form and you can receive this explosive report. It’s an opportunity political junkies in any other election cycle would have payed thousands for – but you can get it within seconds, absolutely free.

That's right -- WND is giving away stolen property, even if WND did not commit the original theft (as far as we know). "Hacked" files are stolen property; WND would not be feeling so benevolent if someone hacked its internal computer systems and gave away that information.

Is that really the way a responsible news organization behaves? Nope.

And lest you think that WND is acting with any shred of benevolence in giving away stolen property, it's all for its usual purpose: building its mailing list. The form to get the stolen property states, "You will also be signed up for news and special offers from WND via email." Which means recipients are also condemned to several emails a day from WND filling their inboxes.

One more thing WND won't tell you: the stolen property it claims is an "exclusive offer" is freely available elsewhere -- here, here and here, for starters.

So it's not "exclusive," and you don't have to hand over your email address to the least credible news organization in America to get it.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:10 AM EDT
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Benghazi Committee Fails To Destroy Hillary, And The MRC Can't Even
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center has long counted on the Republican-dominated House Select Committee on Benghazi to do what it was created to do -- tar Hillary Clinton in the midst of her presidential run -- and has been known to freak out when it failed to do so to the MRC's satisfaction.

So when the committee issued its final report June 28 that committed the offense of failing to hold Hillary personally responsible for the deaths of four Americans at the diplomatic facility in Benghazi, the MRC went into Clinton derangement mode once again.

A post by Kyle Drennen complained about accurate reporting on the report, asserting that noting the fact that the report found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing by Hillary meant that the media was "dutifully parroted Democratic talking points." So, once again, the MRC proves correct Stephen Colbert's axiom that treality has a liberal bias.

CNSNews' Susan Jones went into dutiful-stenography mode by pounding out a couple quick articles uncritically repeating its conclusions -- which, needless to say, is two more articles than CNS did on the report issued by the committee's Democrats.

Then, mysteriously, the articles disappeared from CNS' front page a few hours after their posting, even though the report was the day's big political news and left CNS without any mention of Benghazi whatsoever on its front page for much of the day of June 28.

The reason for this became clear later in the day with a Twitter post by MRC chief Brent Bozell and an accompanying CNS article by Michael W. Chapman: Bozell was throwing a massive hissy fit over the report failing to destroy Hillary like it was supposed to:

In reaction to the report released today by the House Select Committee on Benghazi, which was investigating the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, where four Americans were murdered, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell said it was the committee chairman’s job “to get to the truth, and he punted.”

The committee chairman is Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), and the select committee was established by Congress in May 2014. Over the last two years, the committee has spent an estimated $7.1 million investigating the Benghazi attack and the administration’s actions concerning that event.

“I am stunned by the GOP’s unwillingness to accomplish anything in Congress, which now extends to resolving investigations,” said MRC President Bozell in a June 28 statement.  “Trey Gowdy’s continued admonition that it’s up to the American people to reach their own conclusions about Benghazi is an obfuscation.”

“It was up to him to get to the truth, and he punted,” said Bozell.

“Just as with the IRS investigation, the Republicans lacked the fortitude to confront those responsible,” he continued.  “Who denied the multiple requests for additional security for the compound? No answer. Who is being held responsible for the deaths of these men? No answer.”

Should the Commander-in-Chief be held responsible for the multiple failures of the military?” said Bozell. “Should the Secretary of State be held responsible for the disastrous consequences of State Department decisions? Not according to this report.”

“They wouldn’t even state that Hillary Clinton lied about the video though her own emails, read by committee members, prove she had!” he said.

Bozell's demand for accountability is particularly rich coming from a man who was never held accountable for spending more than a decade lying in public that he wrote his own columns.

Cnapman followed this up with another CNS "news" article (yes, Bozell's rant was classified as "news") quoting clopse Bozell friend Mark Levin similarly disparaging the committee's findings. Chapman didn't disclose that Levin has a business relationship with the MRC or whether his article was a part of it.


Posted by Terry K. at 4:39 PM EDT

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