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Sunday, October 30, 2016
Finally! Newsmax Admits Kessler Used To Work There
Topic: Newsmax

For months, Newsmax has invited Ronald Kessler back to discuss various election matter, but the segments typically omit one crucial fact: Kessler worked for Newsmax from 2006 to 2012 as its chief Washington correspondent.

But, finally, Newsmax has acknowledged Kessler as a former employee. In promoting an Oct. 25 Kessler appearance on Newsmax TV, Todd Beamon concedes that Kessler is "a former chief Washington correspondent for Newsmax.com." Oddly, in the TV segment itself, host Steve Malzberg doesn't acknowledge this fact.

While Kessler's appearance was ostensibly about Kessler promoting his book on the Secret Service (which came out more than a year ago) in which he claims to quote anonymous agents trashing Hillary Clinton, but neither the article nor the segment mention the fact that Kessler's interest is not purely (if at all) journalistic: Kessler's a Trump supporter who has been boosting his presidential prospects since 2011, while still a Newsmax writer.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:53 PM EDT
Friday, October 28, 2016
WND Tries to Play the Watergate Card on Hillary
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily is somewhere between desperate and disengaged when it comes to the election -- its tired attacks on Hillary are like so much poo flung at the wall (i.e., tabloid trash, Corsi rants) and because nobody believes WND, none of what they're doing is sticking.

The latest attempt is to play the Watergate card. WND blitzed the issue earlier this week.

First came an article by Corsi claiming that "experts" say that "Watergate pales in comparison," citing right-wing activist Thomas Lipscomb (whom Corsi whitewashes by describing him as "the founder and publisher of New York Times Books") saying the undercover video investigation by James O’Keefe and the Wikileaks’ publication of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails provide “ample proof of criminal activity that would have made both Donald Segretti and G. Gordon Liddy blush.”

Corsi also cites "Democratic pollster Pat Caddell"; as we've noted, Caddell hasn't done any work for Democrats for decades and is best known these days for pretending to be one while spouting right-wing talking points on Fox News.

This was followed by an anonymously written article whining that "Hillary Clinton’s campaign is trying to frame the hacking of her campaign chairman’s email as a repeat of the most famous political scandal in American history – and to directly implicate Donald Trump," then asking, "Is Hillary Clinton the victim or the perpetrator of Watergate 2?Are her accusations about Watergate 2 part of the cover-up of what some, including Trump, are suggesting are 2016 political crimes bigger than the original Watergate scandal?"

Finally, WND editor is assuring us that, yes, whatever it is Hillary is doing is bigger than Watergate:

I can assure those who were not conscious at that time, those not yet born, that what is taking place in 2016 is indeed bigger and more shocking than this mythical scandal of all American political scandals. The only thing missing is any attempt at justice, prosecution of guilty parties, accountability.

There is no special prosecutor. There isn’t even any national discussion about the possibility of naming one.

There are no House and Senate hearings. Instead, many Republicans are denying there is any widespread or systematic attempt at “rigging” the election.

There are, however, some Woodward and Bernstein upstarts exposing what’s going on. That would be James O’Keefe and his compatriots at Project Veritas.

If James O’Keefe wanted to be rich and famous, author of a bestselling book, seeing himself portrayed on the big screen, all he would have to do is switch his focus and point of view. Unfortunately, for this courageous and intrepid young man, he’s taking on a much bigger and more powerful conspiracy than did Woodward and Bernstein.

[...]

Are the “dirty tricks” of the Hillary campaign, the DNC, the White House and their allied organizations that served as black ops “plumbers” equivalent to the scandals of Watergate?

Even without the benefit of House and Senate hearings, special prosecutors and a press eager to ferret out corruption by one party in a presidential election, what we know about the fraud perpetrated by the Hillary team indeed rivals, in many ways, the seriousness and impact of Watergate.

Farah takes the opportunity to repeat his claim that Hillary, while working on the Watergate committee in the 1970s, "was fired by her boss, lifetime Democrat Jerry Zeifman, general counsel and chief of staff, for being a 'liar' and 'an unethical, dishonest lawyer.'" As we documented the last time Farah told this lie, Zeifman has admitted he didn't have the power to fire Hillary at the time, and there's no evidence she even was fired.

But, hey, nobody's ever accused Farah and WND of putting the facts before their right-wing, Hillary-hating agenda. Hating Hillary is always Job 1 at WND.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:58 AM EDT
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Fossil Fuel Bias: CNS' Starr Spins for the Oil Industry Again
Topic: CNSNews.com

CNSNews.com's fossil-fueled bias strikes again!

CNS reporter Penny Starr once again served as the docile vessel of oil interests for an Oct. 26 article in which she uncritically reported the results of a study by the oil industry-funded conservative Heritage Foundation:

President Barack Obama has said many times that we cannot “drill our way to lower gas prices.” But according to a Heritage Foundation report on the vast oil and gas resources in the United States, that is simply not true.

“Can we drill our way to lower gas prices? Yes, we can,” Kevin Dayaratna, senior statistician with the Heritage Foundation said on Tuesday of the report he co-authored with David Kreutzer and Nicolas Loris.

“The U.S. did drill its way to lower gas prices over the past several years, for both natural gas and gasoline, and broke the back of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in the process,” the abstract of the report, Time to Unlock America's Vast Oil and Gas Resources, states.

“The doubling of U.S. oil production between 2008 and 2015 is an amazing story of American ingenuity, persistence, and, of course, drilling,” the abstract states. “The story is made more amazing by the fact that federal energy policy actively hindered this energy renaissance as it was taking place.

Of course, Starr can't be bothered to seek out any commentary from any renewable-fuels interests on Heritage's study -- that's not what a "news" organization whose parent, the Media Research Center, has a fellowship position endowed by T. Boone Pickens does, and that's not what Starr is being paid to do. And she's certainly not going to report Heritage's oil money, let alone the MRC's.

As we've documented, Starr is CNS' most prolific spinner for fossil fuel interests.


Posted by Terry K. at 9:53 PM EDT
MRC Pushes Another Bogus Hillary WikiLeaks 'Scandal'
Topic: Media Research Center

The story of a political donation to the wife of an FBI agent who, months later, headed the FBI's Hillary Clinton email investigation isn't the only bogus WikiLeaks-based story the Media Research Center has been pushing in recent days. Here's NewsBusters blogger Tom Blumer in an Oct. 24 post:

Among the WikiLeaks documents recently released is a 2008 email with an attachment running to dozens of pages telling Democrats how to "maximize what we get out of our media polling."

Fox & Friends covered this story Monday morning. Very few other online and broadcast outlets have.

[...]

Whenever the strategies identified above are used — even oversampling, which when properly employed can be a valid polling practice — the routine standard line from pollsters about getting a "random sample" is obviously no longer true. Does that stop pollsters from claiming that their samples are random? Apparently not. If you're filling up quotas, it's not genuinely random.

[...]

What is going on here at the very least is an attempt to sway people who support Trump to rethink their choice before they actually cast their ballots. What could also be happening — anyone ruling this out hasn't been in the market research trenches, as yours truly has — is that some respondents might ask if they can change their previously expressed presidential preference for Trump, or that the survey taker may even ask such respondents if they wish to change their presidential preference.

Finally, there are many polls which don't reveal the detailed makeup of those polled, and they make reverse engineering the results to figure that out all but impossible. In these cases, deliberate oversampling of key groups without weighting to fit a representative demographic mix skews the results, and will go undetected.

Naturally, none of what's in this damning e-mail and its attached detailed instructions is news at the Associated Press or the New York Times. The only attention it's getting from establishment is from a few outlets like The Atlantic which claim that there's nothing to see here. Oh yes, there is — and plenty of it.

Um, nope, Tom, there really is nothing to see here. The Washington Post's Philip Bump explains:

First of all, [Democratic consultant Tom] Matzzie [who wrote the stolen WikiLeaks email in question] doesn't appear to be talking about public polling — nor does it make sense that he would be, since public polls from media outlets are developed by pollsters who work for or with those outlets. Matzzie's talking about polling that's done by campaigns and political action committees to inform media buys. In other words, before campaigns spend $200,000 on a flight of TV spots, they'll poll on the messages in those ads and figure out what to say to whom and then target that ad to those people as best they can.

The problem is that it can be hard to find enough people to get robust enough sample sizes to offer the necessary information. Normal polling in a state will usually have no problem getting enough white people in the mix to evaluate where they stand, but you may need to specifically target more black or Hispanic voters to get a statistically relevant sample size.

[...]

They recommend an oversample from Native Americans and Democrat-leaning independents and moderate Republican women. Those are all groups that are fairly small parts of the electorate, so to get statistically accurate data, you'd need to make sure you include more of those voters in your poll sample. This increases the cost of the polling substantially, but if you're spending hundreds of thousands on TV ads, it's worth spending an extra $20,000 up front to make sure that you're targeting the ads right.

So why do pollsters include more Democrats in their samples than Republicans? Well, because there is a secret national conspiracy in which there actually are more Democrats than Republicans. Gallup tracks party identification over time; in its most recent summary, 32 percent of Americans identify as Democrats to 27 percent who identify as Republicans. (Analysis from Pew Research has it at 30 percent to 24 percent.) The vagaries of polling and identifying poll respondents mean that there can be some fluctuations in the gap between the parties, but overall a national poll would be expected to include more Democrats than Republicans. And note that this is party identity, not party registration.

In short, then: This is an eight-year-old email talking about a common polling technique for ensuring accuracy among demographic subgroups from a guy who was not working for or representative of a media outlet.

It is not, in other words, an explanation of why Trump is losing.

So, the reason nobody else is reporting about this email is because it's a nothingburger -- except in the eyes of folks like Blumer and Fox News who are desperate to read into it things that simply aren't there.

And just as Brent Bozell and the MRC will never apologize for pushing the false donation story -- Bozell ludicrously called it "bribery" -- Blumer is highly unlikely to correct the record.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:11 PM EDT
WND Censors Wacky Tabloid Link to Self-Proclaimed Hillary 'Fixer'
Topic: WorldNetDaily

We've detailed how WorldNetDaily promoted the claim, published in the National Enquirer, of an anonymous "fixer" who did various nefarious things for Hillary Clinton in the 1990s (while hiding the fact that the supermarket tabloid with an less-than-stellar factual reputation is buddy-buddy with Donald Trump). Well, the self-proclaimed "fixer" appeared earlier this week on Fox News (of course), and WND was on top of that too:

A man claiming to be Bill and Hillary Clinton’s “fixer” – hired to cover up their “dirtiest schemes,” including steamy sex romps and a major scandal involving former deputy White House counsel Vince Foster – says the Clintons have an open marriage, patronize hookers, buy off news reporters and coordinated a scheme to destroy White House intern Monica Lewinsky after her affair with the president.

The “fixer,” novelist Jeff Rovin, provided ledgers and faxed documents with time stamps to document some of his claims.

“I was fixing something for an actor who was in their inner circle,” Rovin explained to Fox News’ Sean Hannity Monday evening. “That’s how I was engaged.”

But WND was still censoring pertinent information. As actual news operations have reported, Rovin is a former editor of the now-defunct-but-revived-online Weekly World News, a sister publication to the Enquirer (reminding us that this is, once again, a Trump-driven hit job) best known for not even bothering with the truth, what with its stories about Bat Boy and Hillary having affairs with aliens.

WND doesn't seem to understand that promoting less-than-credible tabloid claims by someone who used to run an even-less-credible tabloid -- and treating those claims as completely factual -- is not the way one tries to rebuild lost credibility.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:41 AM EDT
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
NEW ARTICLE: The Debate Double Standard at the MRC, Part 2
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center did the same thing it did during the primaries, attacking debate moderators for not being sufficiently right-wing-friendly -- except for Chris Wallace of conservative-friendly Fox News. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 7:22 PM EDT
WND Readers Won't Accept Election Results That Aren't Pro-Trump
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily asked its readers in a poll earlier this week: "Will YOU accept the outcome of presidential race?" The answers are, perhaps, unsurprising:

As you can see, nearly three-fourths of WND readers either won't accept the election results at all or will accept them only if Donald Trump is declared the winner.

That doesn't bode will for the future of democracy in America. Then again, if these are WND readers, they are being served by a dying website that doesn't care about the truth, so these results are unsurprising.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:21 PM EDT
Will Bozell and MRC Denounce Trump Supporters' Abuse and Threats Against Journalists?
Topic: Media Research Center

The disturbing stories are rolling in about ugly abuse and threats against the press by Donald Trump's supporters:

  • One reporter tells of a "mob mentality" against journalists at Trump rallies, adding, "The people who are shouting look at us like we’re their immediate enemies, not as like . . . primarily late-20-to-early-30-somethings there to do a job.” Reporters are now concealing or removing their press credentials when leaving the pen to avoid confrontations with Trump’s supporters, and the atmosphere is particularly threatening to female reporters and to female TV reporters.
  • CNN's Sara Murray writes that "members of the media walk into an event like Trump's mid-October rally in Cincinnati, greeted by a crowd of thousands screaming at us about biased coverage and flipping us off." Murray cited another incident: "During the general election, we were at a stop in Florida when someone followed my producer to our car. When we left the event hours later, we discovered someone keyed our car on both sides."
  • The Washington Post notes that some Trump supporters are shouting "Lügenpresse" at journalists. The word, German for "lying press," was used during the Nazi era to smear journalists who opposed the Hitler regime.

Trump himself is maily responsible for inspiring this ugly behavior by his supporters. But hatred of the media has been the Media Research Center's core belief for decades.

That anti-media philosophy is the bedrock of the rhetoric Trump is spouting, and the MRC has enthusiastically endorsed and promoted Trump's "rigged media" tirades. MRC chief Brent Bozell even wrote a column headlined "Trump's Right: The Media Is Rigged," in which he makes the lazy, generalistic assertion that journalists are trying to "rig the elections in favor of the Democrats."

That means the MRC owns a piece of this escalating ugliness against journalists. Yet you won't see any mention of it on any MRC website.

You'd think the MRC would want to try to turn down the heat a little -- if only for appearance's sake in an attempt to keep things relatively civil -- by telling Trump and his supporters to tone it down a bit. Or maybe Bozell and Co. aren't opposed to seeing acts of violence against journalists; perhaps they enjoy the mob mentality and condone the ugliness as a form of revenge against the bias they claim the media has perpetrated.After all, Trump is the biggest megaphone the MRC's media-bashing message has ever had, and it's clearly loath to willingly give that up.

But this much is obvious: If a Trump supporter goes too far and commits an act of violence against a journalist -- which seems sadly likely given the vehemence of the anti-media hate Trump has whipped up -- some of that blood will be on the MRC's hands.

Bozell and his MRC have a choice here: Draw a line and warn against anti-journalist violence, or continue to ride the Trump anti-media train regardless of the seemingly inevitable consequences. Unfortunately so far, it has chosen the latter.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:52 PM EDT
WND Still Won't Tell The Truth About 'VIP' Interviewee Roger Stone
Topic: WorldNetDaily

In September 2015, Myra Adams did a "VIP Q&A" interview for WorldNetDaily with pro-Trump dirty trickster Roger Stone that curiously omitted any mention of his history of sleazy behavior (including his swinger personal life).

Now, Adams has deemed Stone worthy of another interview for WND, ostensibly to "report his side of the controversy" regarding his involvement in promoting the stolen WikiLeaks emails from Hillary Clinton's campaign. Adams introduces him with this fluffy bio:

Roger Stone is a seasoned political operative, best-selling author, well-known political pundit and an informal adviser to and long-time friend of Donald J. Trump. A veteran of nine national presidential campaigns, Stone has served as a senior campaign aide to three Republican presidents.

With a reputation for being controversial, Stone regularly appears on Infowars.com providing insights on behind-the-scenes political agendas. Over the last year, Stone was banned by CNN and MSNBC for his outspoken and politically incorrect criticism of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Actually, Stsone wasn't banned from CNN and MSNBC for his "politically incorrect criticism of Bill and Hillary Clinton"; he was banned for, among other things, called a female Republican strategist with whom he disagreed an “entitled diva bitch,” a “moron” and “borderline retarded.” Apparently Adams has no problem with such slurs.

Adams baselessly treats Stone has someone whose word can be trusted, uncritically letting him claim that "I have never received any materials from WikiLeaks, nor do I know exactly what they will leak and when they will leak except in general terms" and expressing concern that "given the politicized state of the FBI and Justice Department under the Obama administration ... false evidence could be manufactured 'proving' that you are the main facilitator for Russia’s intervention in the U.S. elections through WikiLeaks’ hacking of [Clinton campaign manager John] Podesta’s emails."

Adams also baselessly expressed sympathy for Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, making of an inflammatory originally thought to have inspired the Benghazi, lamenting he has become "collateral damage in the tragic Benghazi saga. His life is still in ruins." Actually, as we've pointed out, Nakoula's video did inspire riots and deaths in the Arab world -- Adams appears to be OK with that too -- and he is indisputably a con man with a lengthy rap sheet who deliberately misled the actors in his anti-Muslim video about the purpose of the film and redubbed their dialogue without their knowledge or permission.

Adams is such a limp-noodle interviewer that she lets Stone whine that "I have been subjected to a systematic campaign of harassment including the hacking of my own email and a torrent of Net-based abuse and falsehoods perpetrated against me by Clinton hit man David Brock of whom Nazi propagandist Josef Goebbels would be proud" without demanding that he provide proof of any of this.

But then, nobody reads WND for the hard-hitting interviews. Or even the truth, for that matter.


Posted by Terry K. at 12:37 AM EDT
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
MRC Censors The Rest of the McAuliffe-Clinton Donation Story
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Geoffrey Dickens waxes indignant in an Oct. 24 post:

Democratic Governor Terry McAullife’s PAC donated almost $500,000 to the wife of an FBI agent leading the probe into Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal.

This stunning revelation, despite being reported in a front page story in Monday’s edition of The Wall Street Journal, didn’t receive any time on the Big Three network (ABC, CBS, NBC) morning shows. 

[...]

The questionable donation, so far, has yet to be reported on the Big Three networks but was covered on Fox News Channel (FNC) and Fox Business Network (FBN). 

The MRC's Nicholas Fondacaro huffed that "The “Big Three” networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) put their undying loyalty to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton on full display Monday evening, as they completely blacked out two news stories with explosive consequences for the campaign," including the one about how "a long time Clinton confidant and Virginia Governor, Terry McAuliffe, gifted almost half a million dollars to the wife of an FBI agent leading the Clinton e-mail investigation." Fox News' Bret Baier reported it, Fondacaro proudly added.

MRC chief Brent Bozell followed up, as it so happens, in a Fox Business appearance, ranting of the donation: "This is called bribery. This is bribery of the FBI and it’s not even covered. This is astounding. So, the bottom line is Donald Trump is 100 percent correct that this is a rigged media against him."

But the MRC is censoring a very important part of the story -- one that clears everyone involved. 

As Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler explains, the donations by McAuliffe's PAC to Jill McCabe in thte 2015 Virginia legislative election were made well before her husband was named to an FBI team proving Clinton's emails -- three months after McCabe lost her election, in fact. Kessler adds -- and the MRC fails to mention -- that there was no way "McAuliffe would know that the husband of someone he was supporting in a Virginia legislative race was going to be promoted months later."

In other words, there is no bribery or any other crime. Don't expect Bozell or the MRC to apologize for lying to their readers and listeners -- they don't do that.

Kessler also notes that Donald Trump is promoting an even more bogus version of this story. Which means the only reason the MRC is pushing this bogus story is for Trump's benefit -- or because it's following orders from the Trump campaign.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:49 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 9:02 PM EDT
WND's Pseudonymous Arts Writer, Unmasked
Topic: WorldNetDaily

An Oct. 22 WorldNetDaily article on supporters of the militia-type folks who staged an armed takeover of an Oregon wildlife refuge, with the apparent pretense that "While most media coverage has reflected the government’s viewpoint in the high-profile dispute, WND went to the trial in Multnomah County and interviewed a number of supporters of the defendants and their cause, in an effort to get their side out as well."

The article carries the byline of April Kiessling, identified at the end of the article as "a long-time contributing writer for WND." That's strange, since we didn't recall ever encountering her byline before, and her byline was inline with the article text instead of a more formal byline that incorporates bio and archive links as most WND writers get.

A quick Google search of Kiessling's name brought up her LinkedIn profile, which notes that she is a "self-employed artist" who has also been writing for WND since April 2011, with the note "I write a weekly column under a pseudonym (World Net is highly political)." She's also based in Portland, Oregon, where the trial was being held.

Let's see ... a writer with artistic ambitions who has written for WND since April 2011 under a pseudonym? And we had our answer:

April Kiessling is Marisa Martin.

We've documented how Kiessling -- er, Martin has used her WND column to spew hatred of President Obama and even freaking out over how undignified it is for a cartoon character to die protecting a gay man -- you know, stuff that most people would want to kept hidden behind a pseudonym.

Why are we exposing Kiessling in this way? First, her disguise was paper-thin, and it took so little to figure it out -- literally two minutes of work. Second, we believe people should take responsibility for the work they produce and not hide behind a fake name to spew bile and hate. If Kiessling signs her own name to the artwork she produces, she should also put her own name on what she writes.

Third, WND has a bad habit of letting people peddle hate under fake names. We were among the first to reveal that longtime WND columnist Vox Day was actually Theodore Beale, son of an early WND funder.

"Martin's" WND bio claimes she "uses a pen name because she feels it is terribly rude for an artist to criticize other artists – and it slows the hate mail down." But really, what kind of true artist are you if you're afraid to put your own name on your work?


Posted by Terry K. at 5:24 PM EDT
LGBT-Hating MRC Predictably Disapproves of 'Rocky Horror' Remake
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center despises transgenders, the gender-fluid, gays and, generally, anyone who fails to conform to traditional gender norms.

Fox TV airs a remake of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," which celebrates all those things.

Cue MRC writer Alexa Moutevelis Coombs for the utterly predictable outrage:

What was Fox thinking airing The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again, a remake of the 1975 musical/comedy/horror cult classic, at 8pm eastern?

I mean, this is a musical that has its virgin character seducing a Frankenstein sex monster singing, “Toucha-toucha-toucha-touch me, I wanna be dirty.” Is that what you want to hear kids singing at school tomorrow? There is a reason the original was rated R and relegated to midnight showings for college students. But this version was brought to you by the same people kids watch all day: It’s directed by Kenny Ortega, of Disney’s High School Musical fame, and features Nickelodeon and Disney stars Victoria Justice and Ryan McCartan, respectively, as Janet and Brad.

For those who don’t know, The Rocky Horror Picture Show is about an innocent, recently engaged couple (Janet and Brad), who knock at the door to a castle after their car breaks down in the rain, only to find a convention of gender-bending alien weirdos experimenting with their sexuality and they decide to join in. Obviously this is wildly inappropriate material for minors - and most people, really - to begin with, so I don’t know how this remake got off the drawing board at Fox.

Another crazy Fox idea: The main character is a bisexual transvestite scientist named Dr. Frank-N-Furter, played by Tim Curry in the original film, in Fox’s version, he is played by transgender actress Laverne Cox. So, audiences were subjected to watching a transgender singing, “I’m a sweet transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania,” in lingerie with cleavage hanging out shimmying and grinding up against anyone, man or woman, who danced past.

Some things were toned town from the film, the murder was quick with little blood, the cannibalism seemed to have been overlooked, and the sexual situations didn’t go quite as far and were slightly less rapey. But there’s still the fact that you had a transgender “woman” in bed with Janet, and then with Brad, ultimately dressing him in drag, too. There was also a gratuitous tongue kiss between Frank and Brad, and Brad and Rocky make an intimate sandwich out of Janet in the pool.

What does it say about the state of our culture that all this was considered wild and transgressive in the 1970s but is now fine for a mainstream broadcast television event in 2016? It’s just a huge jump to the left, and then no steps to the right...

Let's NOT do the time warp again.

Yep, utterly predictable. And utterly humorless, completely missing the idea of campiness that pervades the original (less so the remake).

It's sad that such an uninformed, hateful rant is considered legitimate media criticism at the MRC.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:35 PM EDT
WND Promotes Only Polls Where Trump Is Leading
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily has gotten interested in presidential poills over the last week. But not the ones -- that would be nearly every one -- that show Donald Trump losing; it cares only about the ones that show Trump winning, which would be about three of them.

WND's Bob Unruh uses an Oct. 19 article to tout the Investor's Business Daily/TIPP poll, "described as the 'most accurate poll in recent presidential elections,'" which showed Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton by one percentage point.

Unruh doesn't mention that those calling the IBD/TIPP poll the "most accurate" are pretty much limited to IBD and TIPP (FiveThirtyEight.com noted that the poll was among the most accurate in the 2012 election, but it doesn't equate to accurate performance this year), or that IBD is a right-wing newspaper with an interest in showing the Republican winning the election.

While the subhead of Unruh's article mentions "Wildly different results in establishment media surveys," the article itself doesn't address the issue, obscuring the fact that thte IBD/TIPP poll is an outlier in presidential polling this year; most other polls show Clinton ahead by various lengths.

The Huffington Post notes that IBD/TIPP"s outlier numbers show that "seems to be the victim of survey error."

Unruh's article touted two other polls that showed Trump ahead of or tied with Clinton: Rasmussen and Los Angeles Times/USC Dornsife. But those have issues as well, according to the Huffington Post: Rasmussen historically leans Republican, and LA Times/Dornsife's results "can be easily explained by its unique methodology ― it asks 'What is the percent chance that if you were to vote, you will vote for Clinton, Trump, or someone else?' instead of a traditional 'Who would you vote for?' question."

Unruh followed that with an Oct. 23 article touting a "shock poll" with Trump tied with Clinton -- but he's again citing IBD/TIPP, Rasmussen and LA Times/Dornsife.Unruh admits these are "outlier" polls, but also cites the Drudge Report, from which WND apparently stole its "shock poll" headline.

WND's Garth Kant, in an attempt to boost Trump's claim that polls not showing him winning are "phony," tried to throw shade on those polls in an article claiming that they "all sampled significantly more Democrats than Republicans. But, according to the most recent national survey on voter allegiances, conducted by Gallup just after the 2014 midterm elections, more Americans actually side with the Republicans than the Democratic."

In fact, as the Federalist explains, Democrats have traditionally outnumbered Republicans, and "it’s unwise to assume a pollster is biased because its sample included more Democrats than Republicans."

Kant also claimed that "another answer to the mysterious difference in the results of the ABC / Washington Post and IBD polls" is the contents of a stolen WikiLeaks email from the Clinotn campaign that discussed how to oversample polls, to which he added, "The  ABC / Washington Post poll showing a 12 point Clinton lead did, in fact, sample 9 percent more Democrats than Republicans."

But that email was not discussing media election polls; as the Washington Post explains, it was an attempt to poll the Clinton campaign's messaging, and the call to oversample certain groups was an attempt to get a large enough sample to more accurately gauge a response to the messaging.

The Federalist notes that "by and large, it’s usually better to assume that results averaged across multiple polls from a variety of polling organizations are probably pointed in the right direction."  But those polls don't show Trump winning, so Unruh, Kant and WND would rather attack them and promote the outliers.

UPDATE: Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall debunks the idea that IBD/TIPP was the most accurate pollster in 2012.


Posted by Terry K. at 1:05 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, October 25, 2016 8:50 AM EDT
Monday, October 24, 2016
MRC: Media 'Collusion' Doesn't Require Actual Collusion
Topic: Media Research Center

To see just how far down the rabbit hole the Media Research Center is on the idea that "the media" is colluding against Donald Trump, just read this Oct. 16 post by Nicholas Fondacaro.

In it, he rages at CNN's Brian Stelter for dismissing the idea of media collusion as "not just false, it's ludicrous and it's damaging." He was joined by the Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan, who pointed out that Nobody is sitting in a room with each other and planning to, you know, do anything evil to a candidate. It's just not the case." Sullivan added: "I mean, there are media outlets, there are newspapers, there are cable TV stations, there are network news, but there is no, sort of, little group called 'the media' that gets together and decides to do terrible things to Donald Trump. How do you prove that? It's a reality check."

Fondacaro responded that equating groupthink to collusion:

The strawman argument presented by Sullivan is just about as absurd as she believes Trump’s is about the media. The media doesn’t need to meet like a cabal to push an agenda. There are members of the media who admit that the industry is dominated by liberals. And the fact that most of them see the world through a similar prism means their coverage is colored how they perceive it.

So collusion doesn't require actual collusion, just people who think the same way?  How ridiculous.

Fondacaro's insistence that there is a monolithic "media" shows how little he knows about how the media works -- shocking since he's supposed to be a media researcher.

The New York Times is not the Washington Post is not the New York Post is not the Los Angeles Times is not CBS is not CNN is not the Omaha World-Herald. Lumping all newspapers and TV into "the media," as  Fondacaro insists on doing (and which the MRC is paying to do) simply ignores reality. There are many different owners and separate newsrooms, and even ridiculously assuming that every journalist has the exact same training that somehow automatically turns them into liberal elites who think exactly alike, the odds of the kind of lockstep groupthink Fondacaro and the MRC insist takes place is small indeed.

As further evidence of this alleged collusion, Fondacaro cites "Media Research Center data which shows how lopsided recent coverage of the candidates had been, linking to an MRC post complaining that "a tape showing Trump making inappropriate remarks" received much more coverage than "the Wikileaks release of multiple years’ worth of e-mails from Hillary Clinton’s staff." But that  so-called research reflects the MRC's own lazy bias: it covers only the three TV network and completely ignores the cable news networks.

We're willing to bet that even Fox News, the MRC's favorite media outlet, gave a healthy amount of time to Trump's vile misogyny -- er, "inappropriate remarks." But as we've pointed out, the MRC gibe Fox News a pass because 1) it has the media bias the MRC prefers, and 2) MRC chief Brent Bozell and other MRC officials regularly appear on it, and they won't jeopardize their main source of media exposure.

Fondacaro then attacked Stelter:

Before the first presidential debate he demanded that Trump receive harsher treatment than Clinton from the moderator. He even attacked Associated Press reporters for exposing connections between the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton State Department. Obviously, Stelter’s claim that the liberal media does not aid the Clinton campaign is also “ludicrous,” or maybe he’s trying to land a spot in Clinton’s next media party.  

Inn fact, according to the link Fondacaro supplied (to an earlier post he wrote), Stelter did not "demand that Trump receive harsher treatment than Clinton" during a debate; he argued that debate moderators should check facts during a debate, a process that would hurt Trump because he lies exponentially more than Clinton does.

As far as Fondacaro's snide pot shot that Stelter is just "trying to land a spot in Clinton’s next media party" goes: Does he think Stelter will get better treatment there than the MRC gave debate moderator (and handpicked choice) Chris Wallace?


Posted by Terry K. at 10:06 PM EDT
WND Serves Up Another Meaningless Petition
Topic: WorldNetDaily

WorldNetDaily-led petitions have a history of being based in falsehoods and/or hidden behind murky accounting so it's impossible to verify the signatures WND claims they have. Nevertheless, WND is trying again.

This time, WND is petitioning Donald Trump -- if elected president, of course -- to name a special prosecutor to "INVESTIGATE HILLARY CLINTON'S CRIMES." Never mind, of course, that he already pledged to do that, making WND's petition redundant at best and, given Trump's current status in the polls, a complete waste of time at worst.

The petition itself is a mess, deviating into a morass of Trump-esque tangents.  Take this section, for instance:

Whereas, when during the second debate Hillary Clinton's said it was "awfully good that someone with the temperament of Donald Trump is not in charge of the law in our country," Trump quipped, "… because you’d be in jail";

Whereas, in response, the left has hysterically complained that "threatening to jail a political opponent is anti-democratic and anti-American," with leftwing Harvard law professor Lawrence Tribe (who in 2008 was a judicial adviser to the Obama presidential campaign) claiming, "some of the political leaders who’ve jailed their political opponents have been Hugo Chávez, Recep Erdoğan, Robert Mugabe, Manuel Noriega, Augusto Pinochet and, of course, Vladimir Putin";

Whereas, Trump obviously did not threaten to investigate Clinton because she is a political opponent, but because she has blatantly violated U.S. espionage laws, mishandled top-secret information, destroyed government files and obstructed justice – criminal misconduct that has nothing to do with being a political adversary of Trump’s;

Whereas, it is, in reality, Democrats, not Republicans, who routinely target political adversaries for prison – such as the Obama administration's criminal prosecution of high-profile Obama critic Dinesh D’Souza (for which the Justice Department demanded a severe jail sentence, which the judge declined to impose) for a campaign-finance violation of the petty sort that the DOJ routinely allows to be settled by a civil fine; also Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, producer of the anti-Muslim video the Obama administration falsely and scandalously blamed for the Benghazi massacre, was subjected to a scapegoat prosecution and imprisonment (under the guise of a supervised-release violation) intended to bolster Obama and Clinton's shameful "blame the video" narrative;

WND leaves out the part in which D'Souza pleaded guilty to his campaign-finance violation and that Nakoula, a criminal con man and porn-film maker, lied to the actors in his anti-Muslim film (which did, in fact, spark riots and deaths in the Arab world, and was to believed to be responsible for Benghazi in the immediate aftermath of the attacks).

WND also digresses in the petition by referencing waterboarding, "which Obama and the left insist on referring to as 'torture.'" We had no idea that John McCain and the United Nations Convention Against Torture were "the left."

The petition concludes, in all-caps bold, "THIS MAY BE AMERICA’S LAST CHANCE TO DEMONSTRATE WE ARE TRULY A NATION WITH EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER THE LAW!" This from the same people who think D'Souza and Nakoula should have been given a pass for their crimes.

As of this writing, the petition claims 13,913 signatures, but as usual, WND offers no independent verification of that number. Given WND's utter lack of credibility, there's no reason to believe it's providing an accurate count.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:04 PM EDT

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