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Friday, July 8, 2016
MRC Rants Against Gas Taxes, Provides No Alternative Method To Fund Transportation
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Alatheia Nielsen ranted in a June 30 NewsBusters post:

If you’re taking advantage of the extended Independence Day weekend to embark on a road trip, you’ll be filling up the tank.

If you are researching prices to see just how much your trip will cost, have you thought about which states siphon the most money from each tank of gas you purchase?

Unlike the federal gasoline tax, which is set at 18.4 cents per gallon across the nation, states set their own gas taxes, which vary widely from 12.25 cents to 50.3 cents per gallon, according to data from the American Petroleum Institute. Five states are the biggest money grubbers. If your weekend plans take you through these five states, just remember how much of your gas money is actually going straight to the state government:

But Nielsen overlooked the fact that these "money grubbing" gas taxes in those five states -- as well as every other state -- goes mostly or entirely toward funding transportation needs in those states.

For instance, in California, which Nielsen identified as having "the 5th highest state gas tax," 57 percent of that total goes to highways, 36 percent for cities and counties for various needs -- mostly streets and roads -- and 7 percent for transit. In other words, nearly all of it; a small part goes into the state's general fund.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Hawaii, with the fourth highest gas tax, spends 96 percent of its gas tax revenue on state and county roads. In New York, the third highest gas tax, the money is completely earmarked for state and local transportation projects. IN Washington state, with the second highest gas tax, more than 61 percent is earmarked for transportation. And in Pennsylvania, the state with the highest gas tax, 100 percent is dedicated to transportation programs.

In other words, the gas tax is the main method states use to build and fix roads, as well as fund other transportation needs. It's a logical tax in that it's not a regressive tax and it's paid by people who benefit almost entirely from the service it provides. It makes eminent sense for drivers to pay for the roads they drive on, and the easiest way to do that is the gas tax.

Nielsen offers no alternative way to fund transporation needs if states' gas taxes are eliminated. But then, given that she got her information from the American Petroleum Institute -- which is part of the fossil-fuel industry whose bidding the MRC routinely does -- offering a solution was never part of the plan.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:52 PM EDT
WND Redefines 'Birther' To Bash Hillary
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Last time we checked, WorldNetDaily was running as fast from the birther issue as it could to avoid having to avoid having to apply the standards it applied to non-foreign-born Barack Obama to definitely-foreign-born Ted Cruz.

Now, WND is apparently comfortable enough with birtherism to actually redefine what a birther is. A July 5 WND article by Joe Kovacs carries the headline "Hillary goes birther, shouts out Obama's 'birthplace'."

Wait -- is Hillary challenging Obama's eligibility to be president? No, quite the opposite, according to Kovacs:

uring a campaign appearance Tuesday with Barack Obama in Charlotte, North Carolina, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton intentionally re-opened the contested issue of where the president was born, firing a Twitter shot against her Republican opponent Donald Trump.

As part of her remarks about Obama, Mrs. Clinton tweeted out: “Someone who has never forgotten where he came from. And Donald, if you’re out there tweeting: It’s Hawaii.” –Hillary on @POTUS

No, Joe, "going birther" is what WND did pretty much every day for the eight years before Cruz ran for president. What Hillary did is what Kovacs and WND have refused to do on birther issues: tell the truth.

But Kovacs goes on to demonstrate the behavior actual birthers engage in:

Her comment refers to Trump’s push during Obama’s first term for the president to release his long-form birth certificate amid questions of his natural-born citizenship and constitutional eligibility to serve.

While the president claims he was born in Honolulu, there have been numerous questions, especially since a law-enforcement investigation by Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, found “probable cause” that the birth certificate released by Obama was forged. Also, Obama mysteriously has a Connecticut-based Social Security Number, when neither he nor his parents ever lived there.

Ironically, it was Hillary Clinton herself who started the birther movement in 2008, according to numerous news agencies.

Kovacs doesn't mention that Arpaio's so-called investigation -- which included WND writer Jerome Corsi as a member -- is a discredited joke. And Kovacs' sole proof  that "it was Hillary Clinton herself who started the birther movement" is a Breitbart article claiming that the Washington Post confirmed this,citing a strategy memo by Mark Penn, a strategist for Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign.

But as the Post has also pointed out, the memo never questioned Obama's citizenship or elligibility to be president -- two pillars of the birther movement led by WND -- and not only did her campaign never act on the part of the Penn memo suggesting she play up Obama's "otherness," staffers who did bring it up were admonished.

So Kovacs is the birther here by doing what birthers do -- promoted false and discredited claims about Obama's eligibility and citizenship. All the Orwellian redefining in the world doesn't change that.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:54 AM EDT
Thursday, July 7, 2016
CNS Columnist Rant About 'Corrupt' Supreme Court After Abortion Ruling
Topic: CNSNews.com

Right-wingers had a serious temper tantrum after the Supreme Court ruling on Texas' attempt to legislate abortion clinics out of existence (also known as the Hellerstedt ruling) failed to go their way, and that extends to CNSNews.com. In fact, CNS' stable of columnists are so upset by the ruling that two of them have declare declared the court "corrupt" because their pet cause was rejected.

Lynn Wardle -- who last we saw calling gay marriage a fad just like communism -- complained that the Hellerstedt ruling "overturned decades of small, carefully-crafted pro-life inspired regulations of abortion" -- Wardle doesn't seem to consider that maybe they weren't that carefully crafted after all if their aim of incrementally outlawing abortion with these laws was so blatantly obvious -- and hurled around the C-word:

We must speak up and speak out and write often to express our dissatisfaction, disgust, outrage, and non-acceptance of the corrupt abortion rulings and the corrupt judiciary that issues them.

The abortion rulings and judicial patterns of the past forty-three years are clear indicators that something is wrong, something is broken in our federal judicial system.

The Founders of the American experiment created an independent judiciary.  After forty-three years of almost unbroken pro-abortion judicial rulings, it is clear that the federal judiciary is not really independent when it comes to abortion cases and abortion issues.  It is a captive agency.  The question is – who owns the Supreme Court?

He was joined by birther lawyer Herbert Titus, who along with law partner William J. Olson declared that the Hellerstedt ruling was "corrupt" because, well, Clarence Thomas said so in his dissent, and asserted that the majority ruling employed "corrupt precedents,"though in both instances their definition of "corrupt" appears to mean "didn't support the views of anti-abortion activists." They also ranted that "Truly, the U.S. Supreme Court has once again uttered lawlessness masquerading as a judicial decision."

Titus and Olson then gushed of Thomas' dissent: "This brilliant dissent should be required reading for every law school student who is increasingly unexposed to reasoning from fixed principles, and instead trained in the techniques of judicial balancing — as if the latter was all that law is about."

This from two guys whose own "fixed principles" appear to involve denigrating a court for simply ruling against their personal opinions.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:06 PM EDT
MRC Bizarrely Attacks Newspaper Article on Obama Being A Good Dad
Topic: Media Research Center

The hatred for President Obama at the Media Research Center is so visceral, they simply can't accept any reporting about him that's even remotely positive.

Even noting something as benign as Obama being a pretty decent father to his two children is beyond the pale at the MRC. When the Washington Post did just that, Melissa Mullins was ready with knives out:

The Washington Post is already working on crafting Obama’s presidential legacy story once he leaves office next January – and it isn’t just any legacy they are attributing to him – it’s an “unusual” legacy. Why?  Well, The Post certainly couldn’t use ObamaCare which was shoved down the throats of Americans and far exceeded projected costs.  They couldn’t use the issue of Immigration that Obama so passionately ran on during his campaign – especially after it was just smacked down by the Supreme Court earlier this week.  No – Obama’s “unusual” legacy was being “a good dad,” something that had nothing to do with his presidency.

“An analysis of past presidents shows how unusual Obama's hands-on parenting really is,” claimed the subheadline. Historian Joshua Kendall has written a book on First Dads. Check out some of the never-ending overflow of sappiness from the Post -- you may want to grab a tissue, or a trash can.

[...]

Obama also had a rule that he would have dinner five nights out of the week with his family -- which left only two nights for fundraisers.  Ironic that Obama gets lauded for this but when Speaker of the House Paul Ryan wanted to be at home with his family on the weekends, he took a lot of heat.

Kendall ended his gushy piece by saying, "In sharp contrast to his own neglectful father, this president with the perfect attendance record at his daughters' parent-teacher conferences has emerged as a model father. Out of his own feelings of loss and alienation, which he described in [his early memoir] Dreams from My Father, has come a road map for personal and social transformation.... ..for Obama, good parenting is a powerful tool for social transformation. It may also be a key component of his legacy."

Someone please, get me a trash can.

If Mullins is so offended by a mere newspaper article that she feels the need to vomit, she needs more than a trash can -- she needs psychiatric help.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:04 PM EDT
WND's Chumley Has A Vendetta Against Michelle Fields, For Some Reason
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Cheryl Chumley really, really doesn't like Michelle Fields for some reason.

Back in March, we noted how the WorldNetDaily reporter helped Breitbart throw then-employee Fields under the bus after she claimed then-Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski forcefully grabbed her and left a bruise. Chumley suggested Fields as a liar by, among other things, uncritically repeating a tweet from Lewandowski calling Fields an "attention seeker."

Chumley was less ambiguous about her disdain for Fields in a May 23 WND article noting  Fields' new employment at the Huffington Post. Chumley sneered that Fields "became an American household name in part because of her widely reported assault accusations against Corey Lewandowski, manager for the Republican Party’s Donald Trump," going on to assert that "Video and investigation later revealed Fields’ claims were wildly exaggerated."

In fact, according to the Florida police department that investigated Fields' claim, video did show Lewandowski grab Fields, and the investigator wrote there was "probable cause" to charge Lewandowski with simple battery. The fact thatthe state attorney declined to prosecute the case does not mean there was no evidence to do so -- which we're sure Chumley and her fellow WND employees are more than happy to point out in the case of Hillary Clinton's email server.

But Chumley wasn't done slagging Fields. She devoted an entire June 28 article to gloating that "Amazon reviews haven’t been kind" to Fields' new book, filling much of the article with excerpts of said negative reviews (with one positive one, for balance, apparently).Chumley again falsely asserted that Fields' claims against Lewandowski were "debunked by video, as WND previously reported."

There's really no reason for this article to exist other than for Chumley to take out a personal vendetta against Fields. Was her book outselling Chumley's book or something? Is Chumley envious that Fields because "an American household name" for a brief moment? Is she mad that Fields exposed the thuggish tactics of the Trump campaign for what they were? We don't know.

The fact that Chumley would act in such a petty, unprofessional manner is just another reason why WND has no credibility.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:36 AM EDT
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
CNS Bias: 8 Articles on Clinton Email, Zero on Trump's Anti-Semitic Tweet
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com claims in its mission statement that it's "a news source for individuals, news organizations and broadcasters who put a higher premium on balance than spin."

That's a total lie. CNS is interested only in spin.

The latest example: CNS marshaled its team of so-called reporters to crank out a whopping eight articles in the past day or so related to the FBI not recommending charges against Hillary Clinton over her private email server:

All eight of these articles got front-page play at CNS.

By contrast, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump tweeting out an image of Hillary Clinton considered anti-Semitic got no special coverage from CNS reporters. The only attention CNS bothered to give to this issue involving its preferred presidential candidate was an lone Associated Press article that appeared on the front page.

That story, by the way, was the only mention of Trump on CNS' front page this week despite the fact that he would seem to warrant coverage equivalent to Clinton. No CNS reporter has written about Trump for nearly a week; the most recent story was a June 29 article by Susan Jones serving as dutiful stenographer on a Trump speech.

If CNS really did put "a higher premium on balance than spin," Trump's peccadilloes would get the same attention as Hillary's. But they don't making CNS' mission statement a lie.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:59 PM EDT
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

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