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Monday, August 22, 2016
MRC Is Mad There's No Country Music On Obama's Summer Playlist
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center hates President Obama so much, even the most benign things about him come under withering attack, such as being what is universally acknowledged elsewhere as a pretty good father for a president.

Well, the MRC's Melissa Mullins -- who declared in that earlier post that the idea of Obama being praised as a good father made her want to vomit -- is at it again. And what heinous crime did Obama commit this time to incur Mullins' wrath?

He issued a summer music playlist.

"Who in the world decided that revealing Obama’s summertime playlist actually constituted as newsworthy?" Mullins rants in an Aug. 13 post.  She continued: "You will notice there’s not a single country song on the list. But Obama is taking care of his own leftist base, throwing in a tune from the Bernie-Bros folk band Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros."

Yep, Mullins is mad that there's no country music on the list, and she thinks there's such a thing as "Bernie-Bros."

She whines again: "But seriously…this is considered news?" To which we have to wonder: This sort of overwrought hostility over somebody's playlist is considered legitimate media criticism at the MRC?

Apparently it is -- otherwise the MRC wouldn't keep giving Mullins for her Obama-hate.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:01 PM EDT
WND Now Promoting Chemtrails Conspiracy Theory
Topic: WorldNetDaily

You're WorldNetDaily. You have a massive credibility problem after years of obsessively promoting bogus conspiracy theories abvout President Obama. Your attempts to inject journalism into your operation by hiring actual journalists have failed, and you have to beg for money to keep going.

So what do you do? You start promoting the chemtrails conspiracy theory. You know, the idea that contrails left by jets are really the government spreading chemicals on an unsuspecting populations.

Oddly, the current chemtrail interest from WND comes from Chuck Norris. His Aug. 7 column insists that a recent speech by CIA director John Brennan in which he discussed geoengineering (which Norris concedes Brennan never admits the government has done) was an admission the feds use chemtrails: "Let’s be clear about at least one thing: Despite that those on the right and the left (including our president) have denied the government’s use of stratospheric aerosol spraying in the past, chemtrailing just collapsed as conspiracy. The climate cat is now out of the bag!"

WND followed up with an Aug. 16 article noting a study in which 76 of 77 scientists interviewed debunked the idea of chemtrails, adding sarcasatically, "In other words, nothing to see up here. Move along."

Two days later, WND published another article -- like the earlier one, minus a byline; presumably, no WND employee wanted their names associated with promoting chemtrail conspiracies -- noting that the study "is not convincing those who believe something more nefarious is at work in the skies overhead" and that "the blowback has been swift across social media, with opponents accusing the scientists of offering up a whitewashed report."

The article even highlighted how "One critic took the time to email a full letter to lead scientist Steven Davis of University of California at Irvine, and he copied WND on the letter," and it included Davis' response, in which he points out that the scientists "were able to provide simple explanations based on chemistry and physics that do not involve a large-scale government conspiracy."

This isn't really helping to fix WND's credibility issues, is it?

Posted by Terry K. at 8:25 AM EDT
Sunday, August 21, 2016
MRC Fact-Checks the Fact-Checkers, Complain Facts Don't Fit Right-Wing Spin
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's war on facts continues with a couple attempts to fact-check the fact-checkers.

The MRC's Kyle Drennen gives it a shot in an Aug. 16 post, taking on PolitiFact editor Angie Holan's look into Donald Trump's assertion that President Obama was the founder of ISIS. Holan pointing out that "the terrorist group that we now call ISIS was forming right after the Iraq war, during the Bush administration."

Gotcha, Drennen proclaims: "Notice how she hedged her commentary by remarking that the terror group 'had a number of name changes.' In other words, the 'Islamic State' didn’t exist until Barack Obama came into office."

Well, no, that's not how that works, Kyle. Just like cigarette maker Philip Morris didn't suddenly become a completely different company when it renamed itself Altria in 2003, ISIS didn't become a completely different entity from its precessor groups simply by changing its name. Drennen is being utterly disingenuous here.

When an MSNBC host noted that the decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011 was based on an agreement President Bush signed with Iraqis before heaving office in 2008, Drennen huffed: "It’s amazing how President Obama was able to abandon just about every policy of the Bush administration but was somehow helpless to alter that one in any way."

In fact, according to (which means Drennen will have to impose his right-wing "fact-checking" on this too), the Obama administration tried to negotiate with the Iraqis to keep U.S. troops in the country longer, but then-Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki wouldn't yield on a U.S. demand that U.S. troops should be shielded from criminal prosecution by Iraqi authorities.

Next up is Katherine Franklin, who uses an Aug. 17 NewsBusters post to go after a PolitiFact examination of a claim made by Ohio Right to Life against Ohio Senate candidate Ted Strickland accusing him of wanting to "force Americans to pay for abortion on demand, up until the moment of birth, with their taxpayer dollars," a claim PolitiFact found "mostly false."

A few red flags are clearly noticeable: Franklin does not link to the offending PolitiFact fact-check (which is actually a state affiliate working with a local TV station, not the national PolitiFact organization, something Franklin does not note), she barely quotes from the fact-check in her attack on it, and she waits until the 13th paragraph of her post to disclose the salient fact that she is the communications director for Ohio Right to Life, meaning she's hardly objective on the issue.

Franklin accuses PolitiFact Ohio of engaging in "obfuscation and spin" in rebutting her group's claim:

Mostly, Politifact took issue with the idea of legalized abortion-on-demand up until the moment of birth. Politifact rated this claim as False “because abortions at the nine-month mark just don’t happen.”

However, just last week, FactCheck confirmed that “there are many places in the world where abortion up to birth is legal.” For supporting evidence, the column sited seven places in the United States where this is the case. Furthermore, from the limited data that is available at the CDC, we know that at least 6,180 abortions occurred in the United States after 21 weeks gestation in 2012. Guttmacher’s statistics put that number at 12,000. 

As for “abortion-on-demand,” the Politifact column offers no True/False rating on this point, but instead spins the meaning of “on-demand” to include the location of abortion facilities in states like Oregon and New Hampshire. It’s a weak argument and sounds more like the spin that would come from NARAL or Guttmacher. Abortion is literally legal for any reason in Oregon and Politifact wants to debunk this on the basis that there isn’t an abortion clinic on every street corner? That is more than a bit of a stretch.

Franklin is the one spinning here. PolitiFact is pointing out that few abortions occur after viability and that Ohio Right to Life's claim that a woman would have an abortion at the "moment of birth" is rather nonsensical and a "hypothetical non-event," quoting a doctor as saying, "If the mother’s life was at risk, the treatment for that is delivery, and the baby survives."

And contrary to Franklin's spin on the "abortion on demand," PolitiFact pointed out that due to  waiting period and mandatory physician consultations supported by anti-abortion activists such as Franklin, there really isn't such a thing as "abortion on demand."

Nevertheless, Franklin declared victory:

By my tally, at a minimum, 2 out of 4 of our points were clearly confirmed as “true.” That doesn’t sound like “mostly false” to me. On the other two points, Politifact had to spin the information in order to muddy the waters on whether abortion is allowed “on-demand up to the moment of birth.” FactCheck confirmed this point a week ago, using laws from the United States to support its review.

Of course, Franklin is the one spinning here, but neither she nor the MRC will admit it.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:51 PM EDT
WND's Farah Revises His Trump Landslide Prediction
Topic: WorldNetDaily

On July 14, WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah wrote a column titled "Prediction: Trump will win -- big." He likened Trump's campaign to Ronald Reagan's 1980 campaign in which most pollsters had him running behind Jimmy Carter, writing: "I don’t expect the polls to shift in a dramatic way right up until Election Day. This is going to be a nail-biter right up until election night. Then everyone will be shocked – especially all of Trump’s Democratic, Republican and media critics. Remember where you read it first."

But after a month of Trump shenanigans, gaffes and outrages, Farah would like to rethink things a bit.

In his Aug. 12 column, Farah began by writing, "As one of those who has suggested Donald Trump has the potential not only to win the 2016 presidential election, but to win in a landslide, it’s time for a note of clarification." He didn't link his earlier column as evidence of his "suggestion" -- which, in fact, was a declared "prediction," not a mere suggestion.

Farah complained that "Trump is out publicly day after day commenting on too much," adding: "He needs to stop winging it in speeches. The comment about the Second Amendment folks was a gift to Hillary. He needs to stop giving his opponent gifts. It was sure to be magnified by his adversaries, both Democrat and Republican – and it was exploited indeed. Everyone knows Trump wasn’t suggesting assassination, for heaven’s sake, but why does Trump offer up such opportunities for his opponents to exploit?"

Actually, Trump suggesting assassination is a reasonable interpretation of his "Second Amendment folks" comment, so it's ridiculous for Farah to claim what "everybody knows" Trump really meant. It's certainly much more reasonable than clainming that, say, President Obama saying "We are here today because we know this work is not yet finished" during a speech at the Buchenwald concentration camp meant that he was in favor of exterminating Jews -- which is exactly what Farah argued in a 2009 column.

Farah echoed his "stop winging it" advice to Trump later in the column:

He needs to stay on script. He needs to be calmer, cooler – to demonstrate that he is not controlled by emotions. Stop all the tweeting and the Facebooking. Act like someone who wants to be and is equipped to be the commander in chief. You don’t have to say whatever is on your mind at a given moment. Take a breath and think before you speak.

That's richly ironic, given how much Farah and WND have mocked Obama over the years for using a Teleprompter (here and here, for instance).

Farah claims that if Trump followed his advice -- which also includes talking only about Obama and Hillary -- "he can still win this race and win it big. I’m sure of that. I’m just not sure he is disciplined to follow this advice."

If Trump is too undisciplined to win an election, how can he possibly be a good president? Farah doesn't answer that question.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:17 PM EDT
Saturday, August 20, 2016
Dear Brent Bozell: Where Is CNS' Coverage on Trump Controversies?
Topic: Media Research Center

Last week, Media Research Center chief engaged in yet another rant "to slam compliant journalists for minimizing Hillary Clinton’s scandals while playing up Donald Trump’s controversies."Bozell said the media is "circling the wagons around Hillary Clinton where they simply will not report."

It's imporatant to point out just how utterly hypocritical Bozell is in claiming this.

The "news" operation Bozell runs,, has repeatedly failed to put negative articles about Trump on its front page.

CNS published 17 original stories in three days about Hillary's email server while at the same time it was in a 12-day stretch of publishing no original articles at all about Trump -- even though this was a period in which Trump tweeted out an anti-Semitic image.

CNS buried news of the plagiarized nature of Melania Trump's RNC speech, instead playing up how the speech was "well-received."

CNS' initial reporting on a Trump press conference in which he invited Russians to hack Hillary Clinton's emails didn't even mention he said it.

And just this week, CNS published two articles in one day by its reporters about an edited State Department video -- one of which is a rewritten press release from its new friends at Judicial Watch -- but revelations the same day about Trump campaign official Paul Manafort about his pro-Russian lobbying, and his subsequent resignation from the campaign, warrented no original coverage or even get a mention of any significance on its front page. Instead, CNS did publish an article in which Trump complained that "the establishment media doesn’t cover what really matters in this country."

Clearly, it's Bozell who's circling the wagons around Trump and minimizing his scandals. If his own "news" operation can't fairly report the news, he has no moral standing whatsoever to dictate to others about fair reporting.

Posted by Terry K. at 11:21 AM EDT
Hillary Derangement Syndrome, Supersize WND Edition
Topic: WorldNetDaily

I believe that if Hillary Clinton is elected, America is done, the U.S. Constitution is toast, and she will finish what Obama began – the “fundamental transformation” of America into a godless, neo-Marxist Third World banana republic. We’ve had decades of the Clintons to establish beyond any reasonable doubt that this woman is not only the most corrupt elitist to ever seek the presidency, she’s an evil ideologue hell-bent on the abolition of individual liberties and religious freedom. While Great Britain just voted to reclaim its national sovereignty, a vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote to completely relinquish our own.

-- Matt Barber, June 24 WorldNetDaily column

God raises up kings (or queens), and He can depose them as well.

An American president empowered by God, whose nation will be protected and blessed, is one who humbly understands the servanthood role of leadership, acknowledging the ultimate authority of the King of Kings.

Everything in Hillary Clinton’s track record screams the opposite: arrogance, lawlessness, bald-faced deception, alliance with sexual depravity, injustice, greed, unaccountability, godlessness, treason.

The white suit worn during her DNC acceptance speech cannot hide the bloodstains in Hillary’s life. As with Lady Macbeth, those stains are increasingly difficult to wash off.

Hillary’s election as president will be a stab at the heart of this once-great nation. We may bleed to death on her watch, but she either won’t see or won’t care.

No sincere Christian should vote for Hillary Clinton.


So there you have it. Fascism continued and extended under a modern-day Jezebel. America can do far better than Hillary.

Please, if you claim to love the Lord Jesus, do not help elect this corrupt woman.

-- Linda Harvey, Aug. 2 WND column

In this political environment, Americans are facing a choice in the upcoming general election between one presidential candidate who is possibly the most manifestly evil individual ever to seek the office in Hillary Clinton, and another who promises (if not in so many words) to reverse many of the policies of the last few presidential administrations in Donald Trump.

-- Erik Rush, Aug. 3 WND column

If the polls are to be believed, Hillary Clinton received an astonishing 7 percent bump from the Democratic convention. It just goes to show that if you refrain from referring to ISIS, Benghazi and the truth about the Obama economy, instead schlepping out the mothers of black thugs, Paul Simon, Sarah Silverman, Al Franken, Joe Biden, Eva Longoria, Meryl Streep, the Obamas and Bill Clinton, the tiny-brain people will eat it up with a spoon.

-- Burt Prelutsky, Aug. 8 WND column

It’s August 2016, presidential and congressional elections are on the horizon and the Washington establishment is generally on vacation, but I’m not. The country continues to sink into an abyss of corruption, and the “Wicked Witch of the Left,” Hillary Clinton, continues to fly around the country on her political broom, dismissing her rank criminality over her most current scandals in order to convince the uneducated masses that she should be the nation’s first female president.

-- Larry Klayman, Aug. 12 WND column

But it’s not just Hillary’s physical and mental health that is causing concern. There is also the dark history of speculated (but oh-so-unproven) “mysterious deaths” strewn in the wake of her political career. These, of course, have been creatively dismissed as suicides, accidents, plane crashes and even an “overdose of mouthwash.” But it couldn’t possibly be murder. Of course not.

It’s long been suspected – but never proven, of course – that the Clintons have (cough) “removed” those who knew too much or otherwise proved troublesome to their career trajectory. In just the short time since the DNC emails were leaked, three more people associated with the DNC have died under (cough) questionable circumstances.

-- Patrice Lewis, Aug. 12 WND column

Can we all be honest enough to admit that Hillary’s scandals are really criminal? I’m certain anyone else would be prosecuted had we put the nation at risk and lied to cover it up. The problem is, no one voting for her cares. Why? Three reasons: 1) Democrats don’t care about morality, 2) hyper-partisanship blurs the truth and 3) government dependents don’t care where or from whom they receive their benefits.

The fundamental transformation of America is here!

-- Carl Jackson, Aug. 12 WND column

Hillary’s health is excellent, of course, just as her campaign says. Still, I find myself wondering what happens to the Democratic ticket if 1) she doesn’t make it to the election, or 2) if she is elected but goes to her final reward through natural causes between the election and inauguration. How can one assume office before the appointed day? The line of succession applies only to the president. Or maybe she intends to be frozen and become an ice sculpture before she actually dies? Makes one wonder if that’s why the Supreme Court was reduced by one Scalia.

At least somebody has, at least in theory, been thinking about it.

Maybe Hillary’s real job is just to hang on until after the Electoral College votes.

-- Craige McMillan, Aug. 19 WND column

Posted by Terry K. at 12:39 AM EDT
Friday, August 19, 2016
MRC Mad Media Didn't Fall for Benghazi Lawsuit Publicity Stunt
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Scott Whitlock grumbles in an Aug. 9 post:

The three network morning shows on Tuesday allowed a scant minute and 59 seconds to a lawsuit filed against Hillary Clinton by the grieving parents of Benghazi victims. This is out of a total of eight hours of possible air time. ABC, CBS and NBC continued their pattern of showing very little interest in Pat Smith, the mother who condemned Clinton at the Republican National Convention.

NBC’s four-hour-long Today allowed just 36 seconds to Smith’s wrongful death lawsuit. CBS This Morning managed 40 seconds and ABC’s Good Morning America provided 43 seconds.  On CBS, Nancy Cordes quickly explained, “Charles Woods and Patricia Smith allege the attacks resulted from Clinton’s, quote, ‘extreme carelessness in handling confidential and classified information.’”

Whitlock, meanwhile, devoted zero seconds to explaining that the lawsuit is nothing more than a publicity stunt by a terrible lawyer, right-wing ambulance-chaser Larry Klayman.

Even Fox News host Steve Doocy admitted that the lawsuit is "obviously just to inflict as much political damage onto Hillary Clinton as they possibly could," and Fox News' Andrew Napolitano added, "Quite frankly, I don't think either parts of this lawsuit are going to go -- they're certainly not going to go anywhere during the election campaign." Right-wing radio host Laura Ingraham concurred, saying that "I think it's going to be very difficult to demonstrate the causes of action they allege. ... I think it's very difficult to prove that Hillary's actions were the proximate cause or direct cause of the deaths of your sons."

The fact that even the MRC's contemporaries agree the lawsuit has no legal merit makes Whitlock's insistence that there is news value to it highly suspect, if not completely ridiculous.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:06 PM EDT
AIM Trots Out Ethically Challenged Journalist To Lament 'The Sad State of Modern Journalism'
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Yes, this Aug. 8 Accuracy in Media article by Alex Nitzberg really exists:

Criticizing the current state of modern journalism, Tucker Carlson told Accuracy in Media (AIM) that journalists’ obsequious behavior, blatant bias and monolithic worldview have compromised the integrity of the nation’s fourth estate.

Carlson, a member of the Fox News team and a veteran journalist who co-founded The Daily Caller, asserts that many journalists bask in the presence of “the powerful” and are “…afraid to challenge anybody in power.”


He explained that regardless of the election’s outcome, the media’s advocacy has destroyed its claim to objectivity.

Pointing out that a conflict of interest will arise if Trump wins and the largely anti-Trump media must report on his presidency, he said, “… how are they gonna cover that, the administration? Can they? Haven’t they discredited themselves?”


Carlson believes journalists should seek the truth, “even if it leads them into uncomfortable places and especially if it leads them to places they didn’t expect to arrive…that’s what I thought journalism was, pursuit of what’s true, of accuracy, but not just accuracy, of truth.”

This would be the same Tucker Carlson whose Daily Caller has published numerous false and dubious claims as well as right-wing conspiracy theories. More recently, Carlson has admitted that he doesn't permit Daily Caller writers to publish anything critical of Fox News because he co-hosts a show there. So much for Carlson's pursuit of the truth.

That's who AIM thinks should opine on what the headline calls "the sad state of modern journalism": someone who's playing a key role in perpetuating it.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:34 PM EDT
WND Just Can't Stop Blaming Capitalism on Obama
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Over the past year, WorldNetDaily has blamed the supposedly terrible "Obama economy" for capitalism working as intended through creative destruction in the form of retailers closing stores they no longer need. WND's Bob Unruh is at it again, this time trying to blame Obama for Macy's closing 100 stores:

Only two months ago, WND reported Macy’s stock had plunged precipitously after it summarily dropped its business connections to now-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump when he announced his bid for the White House.

Now Macy’s is announcing the closure of another 100 stores, a move that, according to a retail industry website, pushes the total number of stores closed by retailers in the United States since the beginning of 2015 – a period for which President Obama boasts of a rising economy – to more than 11,000.

The economy, in fact, has been horrible under Obama. A report just this week in the Weekly Standard said: “In truth, the economy under President Barack Obama has been historically bad. How bad? Adjusted for inflation, average yearly GDP growth under President Obama has been less than half of what it was under President Jimmy Carter, 1.5 percent to 3.3 percent.”

Let's sort through all this BS Unruh is peddling. In fact, Macy's didn't not link the state of the economy; it has said the stores to be closed are underperforming, and analysts point out that Macy's needs to adjust its business model as more customers shop online or turn to off-price and fast-fashion retailers instead of Macy's traditional department store. And far from being considered bad news by investors, Macy's stock went up 17 percent after the news was announced.

Also, WND's insistence that "the economy, in fact, has been horrible under Obama" is a dubious claim; it's hard to claim that continues GDP growth under Obama is somehow "horrible." And just a few days ago, in fact, all three major stock indices hit record highs.

Unruh also rehashed WND's earlier discredited claim that Macy's woes are tied to Donald Trump: "Macy’s stock has plunged precipitously since it severed connections to Donald Trump’s product lines last year." As we noted, there's no evidence that dropping Trump's clothing line had any effect whatsoever on Macy's sales.

Unruh even repeated the nonsensical claim by blogger Michael Snyder that "In impoverished urban centers all over the nation, it is not uncommon to find entire malls that have now been completely abandoned." First, malls as a general rule are not built in "impoverished urban centers"; they're mostly found in prosperous (or formerly propsperous) suburban and exurban areas. Second, even the conservative Daily Caller has pointed out that "the mall itself is an inefficient system" being supplanted by other types of retail as well as the Internet, which means malls are dying because of, yes, capitalism: "People have moved to superior options. And that is what happens in an open, competitive capitalist system."

Apparently, Unruh and WND don't believe in capitalism when it doesn't serve their anti-Obama agenda.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:58 AM EDT
Thursday, August 18, 2016
CNS Promotes Another Mel Gibson Project While Hiding His Ugly Personal History

In June,'s Mark Judge was waxing enthusiastic at the idea that Mel Gibson is planning a sequel to "The Passion of the Christ." Now, Judge is back again to plug another Gibson project in a July 29 CNS blog post:

Lions Gate has just released a trailer for “Hacksaw Ridge,” the forthcoming film directed by Mel Gibson. It tells the true story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), a conscientious objector who served in World War II by rescuing wounded soldiers. In Okinawa Doss saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun.

The film follows Doss from his childhood in Lynchburg, Virginia to the battlefield on Okinawa. According to Time magazine, “His love story with a local nurse (because Hollywood) and his Christian faith (because Mel Gibson) feature prominently.”

"Hacksaw Ridge" opens November 4.

Just as he did in his earlier post, Judge makes no mention of Gibson's ugly personal history, which includes anti-Semitism and verbal abuse of a ex-mistress.

Why bring this up? Because the Media Research Center has a blatant double standard when it comes to mentioning unflattering past activities. Most recently, the MRC's Kristine Marsh complained on Aug. 10 that CNN's Brian Stelter quoted Dan Rather while not mentioning "his botched attempt to create a scandal surrounding then-sitting President George W. Bush as the election loomed a scant few months away."

"Reversing Rather’s reputation seems to be one of the media’s priorities in recent months," Marsh grumbled. But it seems CNS and the MRC are trying to fix Gibson's reputation by uncritically promoting his new film projects.

CNS isn't anone, though: Accuracy in Media's Specer Irvine also plugged the trailer for Gibson's new movie while also omitting any mention of his ugly past.

Posted by Terry K. at 6:02 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, August 18, 2016 6:06 PM EDT
NEW ARTICLE: WND Loves Its Tax Protesters
Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily has a long history of taking the side of people who refuse to pay their taxes. Here are a couple recent examples. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 4:56 PM EDT
CNS In Promo Mode For New 'Ben-Hur' Film
Topic: has moved from being the PR shop for Judicial Watch to movie promotion. Specifically, the upcoming remake of "Ben-Hur."

Now, Newsmax had already been promoting the film (while forgetting that it had been made into movies before the 1959 epic version), while noting that the film's producers "have been screening the movie for influential Christian leaders" to try and counter the negative buzz that had been surrounding the film. 

One of those was the Media Rsearch Center's Brent Bozell, who declared in an Aug. 4 tweet: "I've previewed the remake of Ben-Hur. It is AMAZING. August 19. A definite must-see." He followed that with another tweet saying basically the same thing: "Encouraging everyone I know to check out the remake August 19. I went to a screening last week. Fantastic!"

Apparently, those tweets were the marching orders for the MRC to plug the film. On Aug. 8, the Twitter accounts of CNS, NewsBusters, MRCTV, MRC Culture, the MRC's Business and Media account and the main MRC account all sent out the exact same message: "A must see film! Check out the new Ben Hur movie," accompanied by a link to the film's trailer.

CNS, which parades as the "news" division of the MRC, is takingthe whole promo thing to the next level. An Aug. 15 article by Mark Judge dutifully transcribes the producers' praise of their own film:

This is not you grandfather’s "Ben-Hur."

That’s the message from Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, the producers of “Ben-Hur,” a new version of the 1959 film classic. Both movies are based on the 1880 novel by Lew Wallace.

“It was a great movie in ’59,” Burnett told in a recent interview, “and it’s about time to update 55 years later. We reimagined changes from the original film where instead of a movie about revenge this movie is about reconciliation and forgiveness - and it still has a huge chariot race scene and a sea battle scene. So it provides all the values that theatergoers are expecting. In it Judah Ben-Hur encounters Jesus, and those encounters give him the understanding to forgive and teach him how to reconcile rather than seek revenge.”

Judge shills further in an Aug. 17 article, hammering home the film's religious content:

In a recent interview with the Christian Post, Jack Huston, star of the new film “Ben-Hur,” talked about the power of a particular scene in the film. In it, Ben-Hur, a Jew living in Jerusalem in 33 A.D., witnesses the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Prior to witnessing Christ, Ben-Hur had been in a years-long bloody feud with his brother Messala (Toby Kebbell), a Roman soldier.

“That was very emotional actually,” Huston told Jeannie Law about the scene. “The actual act is very effective, the crucifixion that is followed by forgiveness, everyone was affected up there on that mountain.”

Needless to say, Judge had no interest in doing factual reporting pointing out the film's continued bad buzz. Variety reports that "The $100 million Biblical epic is battling devastating pre-release tracking that suggests the story of a prince who is betrayed by a Roman nobleman may be one of the year’s most painful flops," with a projected opening weekend take between $10 million and $20 million despite a wide release. Variety also noted how the film is being heavily promoted to faith-based audiences and that the makers "believe that the film and its story of redemption will be able to draw faith-based crowds, who may not be getting polled by tracking services."

The MRC also promoted the flop Benghazi film "13 Hours" and hid how badly the movie tanked.

UPDATE: Looks like the rest of the MRC is in full promotion mode for the film as well. An Aug. 17 item by Katie Yoder is basically an expanded version of Judge's CNS article on how the film's actors were "changed" by the shooting of the crucifixion scene.

Which brings up the question: Is the MRC getting paid for its fawning promotion of the film?

Posted by Terry K. at 12:57 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, August 18, 2016 12:18 PM EDT
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Cheryl Chumley Quietly Leaves WND
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Looks like WorldNetDaily's experiment with employing actual journalists is over.

In 2015, as its credibility lay in tatters, WND hired Cheryl Chumley and Douglas Ernst, who had both previously worked at the Washington Times, which sort of passes for journalistic credentials in the ConWeb. But Ernst left after less than a year to go back to the Times.

And now Chumley has left as well. Her last WND-bylined articles appeared on July 18, and her bio at The Blaze, which publishes some of her op-eds, describes her as "a former news writer with" Chumley did not announce her departure from WND on her Twitter account, and she appears not to have immediately gone to another full-time position (though her name still appears on WND's masthead).

Despite her reporting credentials, Chumley didn't do much original reporting for WND, instead mostly doing rewrites of stories from other news outlets or being interviewed for other WND articles on matters that touch the subject of her WND-published book "The Devil in D.C." She had a bad habit of latching onto right-wing conspiracy theories, like the idea that last summer's Jade Helm military exercise was some sort of secret conspiracy that was tied to the closing of a few Walmart stores in the states where the exercise took place, or that Justice Antonin Scalia died from other than natural causes. Most recently, Chumley was citing a Scientology front group to attack psychiatric drugs, arguing that it was perfectly fine for whites to keep black people from moving into their suburban neighborhoods and using her WND perch to pursue a weird vendetta against conservative reporter Michelle Fields.

So, with these departures, who's left at WND? It currently has only two listed reporters, Jerome Corsi and Garth Kant, as well as several "news editors," some of whom also write bylined articles. And then there's Paul Bremmer, who also writes bylined articles but has the job title of "marketing associate," which makes sense when you realize most of the articles he writes exist to promote WND's authors. WND has yet to replace Aaron Klein, who departed months ago, and the Jerusalem bureau he headed is dormant, if not entirely closed.

This reduction by attrition appears to be a function of WND's financial problems, and no new reporter has been hired since WND editor Joseph Farah declared the immediate "existential threat" to his operation to be over.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:20 PM EDT
MRC Can't Hide Hatred of Muslim Olympian Getting Media Coverage
Topic: Media Research Center

WorldNetDaily's not the only ConWeb outlet that have their issues in recent days with the fact Muslims exist. The Media Research Center has issues as well.

This time, the Muslim in question is Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad. In an Aug. 12 post, Alatheia Nielsen and Katie Yoder demonstrate they don't understand how news works:

Winning is a matter of faith for some of Team America at the Rio Olympics. Except journalists only seemed to care about Islamic faith and almost nothing about Judeo-Christian beliefs. So much so that the broadcast networks covered the Islamic faith of one Olympian more than 100 times more than the Judeo-Christian beliefs of five gold-medal winners.

When the U.S. women’s gymnastics landed a gold medal Tuesday evening, the broadcast networks spent 22 minutes, 35 seconds celebrating the win and interviewing the girls. Only 0.6 percent of the coverage mentioned the girls’ faith, even though several of them clearly expressed that God was their inspiration for competing.

In contrast, the networks dedicated 13 minutes, 25 seconds to Muslim fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad simply because she was the first American athlete to wear a hijab while competing in the Olympics. The networks began covering her a full three days before the Olympics even began.

Dear Alatheia and Katie: The word "news" is largely composed of the word "new." A Muslim U.S. Olympic athlete is new; Christian and Jewish Olympic athletes are not.

Later, Nielsen and Yoder sorta concede the nature of news, then demonstrate they really don't understand at all:

There’s nothing wrong with the media sharing Ibtihaj’s story. It’s a “first” worth reporting. But when the media spend 13 and a half minutes focusing almost exclusively on one competitor's Muslim faith, and only 8 seconds hinting at the gymnasts’ Judeo-Christian faith, it becomes an offensive discrepancy.

So it's not only biased but "offensive" that a Muslim gets coverage in the media? Sheesh.

The same day, Nielsen and Yoder's bosses, Tim Graham and Brent Bozell rant about Muhammad, particularly offended at comedian W. Kamau Bell's suggestion that she should have carried the American flag  during the opening ceremonies. They declared that she's not a real American because she dared to highlight anti-Muslim discrimination in the U.S.:

If the mission is to find an American who does not support American greatness, Muhammad is an excellent choice. To say she's not a fan of the United States is to put it mildly. Part of her "role model" behavior is denouncing this country. The Daily Beast headlined her claim: "I'm Not Safe In The U.S." She denounced a "climate of anti-Islamic sentiment in the United States" and said she "had someone follow me home from practice and try to report me to police ... right on 28th and 7th in New York City."

That kind of blame-America thinking resonates with the elites.

Graham and Bozell then quote a hit piece on Muhammad by anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller (whom they benignly describe only as a "columnist") and cited a tweetshe made about Black Lives Matter, then huffing, "But the left thinks she was the perfect candidate to proudly bear the American flag at the Olympic parade."

In an Aug. 16 post, the MRC's Matthew Balan whined that CNN's Chris Cuomo "gave Muhammad the kid glove treatment by failing to ask her about her anti-Israel posts on Twitter and her controversial criticism of the 'climate of anti-Islamic sentiment in the United States.'" Balan didnt explain why it's "controversial" to point out an indisputable fact.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:29 PM EDT
WND Columnist Straight-Up Lies About Margaret Sanger
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Far-right writer Devvy Kidd, once a regular WorldNetDaily columnist, pops back up at WND in an Aug. 14 column advising Donald Trump to win black votes from Hillary Clinton by spreading lies about Margaret Sanger. She doesn't think they're lies, of course. Here's what Kidd writes:

But what does Hillary Clinton really think of black Americans?

In 2009, Hillary accepted the Margaret Sanger Award at the Planned Parenthood Honors Gala in Houston, Texas.
In her acceptance speech, Clinton said: “I admire Margaret Sanger enormously, her courage, her tenacity, her vision. I am really in awe of her, there are a lot of lessons we can learn from her life.”

Sanger’s vision was the work of Satan so much admired by Hillary Clinton:

“We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”

(Margaret Sanger, Dec. 19, 1939, letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble. Original source: Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, North Hampton, Massachusetts. Also described in Linda Gordon’s “Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America.”)

Sanger’s vision so greatly admired by Hillary:

“Birth control is not contraception indiscriminately and thoughtlessly practiced. It means the release and cultivation of the better racial elements in our society, and the gradual suppression, elimination and eventual extirpation of defective stocks – those human weeds which threaten the blooming of the finest flowers of American civilization.”

(“Margaret Sanger, Apostle of Birth Control Sees Cause Gaining Here,” New York Times, 1923-04-08, Page XII Ibid.)

Human weeds? Make no mistake about Sanger’s words – she is talking about black Americans.

Margaret Sanger, October 1926 issue of Birth Control Review:

“[Slavs, Latin, and Hebrew immigrants are] human weeds … a deadweight of human waste … [Blacks, soldiers, and Jews are a] menace to the race. Eugenic sterilization is an urgent need … We must prevent Multiplication of this bad stock.”

“[Our objective is] unlimited sexual gratification without the burden of unwanted children .. [Women must have the right] to live … to love … to be lazy … to be an unmarried mother … to create … to destroy … The marriage bed is the most degenerative influence in the social order … The most merciful thing that a family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”

(Margaret Sanger, editor, “The Woman Rebel,” Vol. I, No. 1. Reprinted in “Woman and the New Race,” 1922)

That’s the woman Hillary Clinton admires so much.

So much lie, so much fail. Where to begin?

First, the "exterminate the Negro population" quote is taken out of context to falsely portray Sanger as a racist; in fact, the point of getting black ministers to support her contraception campaign was to dispel the notion that she was, since racists actually did want to exterminate the Negro population in part through sterilization, which is not what Sanger was promoting.

Second, Kidd is maliciously lying when she claims that Sanger called blacks "human weeds." As we've pointed out, the term appears nowhere in Sanger's writings. And it should have raised a red flag to Kidd that the these "quotes" of Sanger filled with parentetical insertions and ellipses are made up.Either she was too lazy to fact-check or she decided they served her agenda to the point that fact-checking was not necessary in her eyes.

Here's the full text of "Woman and the New Race," which is easily available online. None of what Kidd attributes to Sanger from that book is located within. The closest thing is the final sentence, which actually reads (with the missing word from Kidd's version italicized): "The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it." In context, Sanger was noting the research of the time that in large, poor families later children have a higher risk of death.

And here's the article Sanger wrote for the October 1926 issue of Birth Control Review. None -- absolutely none -- of what Kidd claims Sanger said in this article appears there.

In other words, it seems Kidd simply and lazily copied something off the internet from some right-wing anti-Sanger website and never bothered to fact-check it.

Yet Kidd thinks these lies should be the foundation of Trump's outreach to blacks:

Hundreds of black pastors and ministers support Donald Trump. His campaign needs to put together a one-page flyer and send it off to those pastors and ministers with the truth about Margaret Sanger and Hillary Clinton’s very public support for her.

Trump should ask those members of the clergy to network all across this country to predominately black constituencies with that simple one-page flyer with two questions: Is that the person you want as president of our country? A woman who praises and is inspired by such an evil person as Margaret Sanger?

Then again, Trump has even more disregard for the facts than Kidd, so the appeal is not out of the question.

If Kidd had any integrity, she would retract her column and apologize for spewing such easily debunked lies. But as far as we know, she doesn't.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:46 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, August 17, 2016 12:57 AM EDT

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