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Friday, January 27, 2017
AIM Defends The Truth of 'Alternative Facts'
Topic: Accuracy in Media

Accuracy in Media has totally bought into the reality-warping powers of Donald Trump and his administration. So much so, in fact, that AIM's Roger Aronoff devotes a Jan. 25 column to defending the honor of Kellyanne Conway's "alternative facts":

When White House counsel Kellyanne Conway said on NBC News that the White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, had presented the press with “alternative facts” about the size of Donald Trump’s inauguration crowd, the press immediately concluded that alternative facts were, in fact, lies. They’ve had a field day with it ever since.

Yet Spicer argued at a January 23 press conference that if the press publishes a correction, it is not necessarily seen as lying. So, too, the press shouldn’t assume the White House is lying if they are proven wrong. However, Spicer maintained that the inauguration viewership—including online viewers and television viewers—was the largest ever.


But alternative facts aren’t necessarily lies, or even false. Sometimes they are misleading, but other times they provide context which illuminates the original lie—often the ones perpetuated by the mainstream media.

“We believe there is an objective truth, and we will hold you to that,” states a letter to President Trump from the press corps authored by Kyle Pope of the Columbia Journalism Review. “When you or your surrogates say or tweet something that is demonstrably wrong, we will say so, repeatedly,” states the letter. “Facts are what we do, and we have no obligation to repeat false assertions…”

We have repeatedly reported about how the media have continued to distribute fake and false news in the service of President Obama, most notably the continued claim that the Iran deal is signed. It is not, and the lack of anything that would make this agreement enforceable explains continued Iranian aggression. 

Aronoff then tries to spin the whole inauguration-attendance thing:

As for the inauguration turnout, it is clear that the press is playing a duplicitous game. This New York Times article contains a video that shows vast open white spaces at President Donald Trump’s inauguration. However, our screen captures of CNN’s gigapixel panorama of the event shows those areas filled. I am no expert in this area, but it appears that there were a lot more people at Trump’s inauguration who weren’t in the Times’ photo, so this is guesswork. Brit Hume of Fox News tweeted that the Times’ photo with all of the empty space was “taken early,” and that the “area was considerably fuller by time of speech.”

The problem with Aronoff citing CNN's gigapixel panorama is that it was taken from the front of the crowd and from a low angle that doesn't fully show the crowd -- not from the back and from high up, the angle that enraged Trump. Which means it's Aronoff who's being dupicitous.

Aronoff also tries out a few "alternative facts" of his own:

Accuracy in Media has reported how the media have used unemployment statistics to support the contention that Obama handed off a growing, thriving economy to Trump. The alternative fact here, however, is that millions of Americans are being left behind in our economy. The relevant data is not the rosy unemployment rate so much as our ailing labor participation rate. The only reason the unemployment rate is so low is that millions of people have quit looking for work because so few good jobs were available, and Obamacare’s mandates forced millions of people into part-time jobs. The unemployment number by itself doesn’t mean much, without additional, or alternative, facts that give it context.

But Aronoff conveniently ignores one other contextual "alternate fact"  as we've documented when obsesses over the labor participation rate, many of the people who aren't working are retired people or students who have no interest in finding a job; the rate is further skewed by the retirement of baby boomers. Even the conservative American Enterprise Institute agrees that the labor force participation rate is meaningless as a barometer of unemployment.

Aronoff laughably concludes: "None of this is meant to justify Trump or his appointees saying things that they can’t back up with some credible evidence or sources. Being the president is different than being a candidate or even President-elect. They have to be more careful. But the media’s disposition towards Trump is proving far more adversarial than towards previous administrations." If Aronoff wasn't trying to justify the falsehoods spun by Trump and his crew, he wouldn't have written this column.

Posted by Terry K. at 2:04 PM EST
WND Mocks Looks of Women At The Women's March
Topic: WorldNetDaily

It wouldn't be WorldNetDaily if it wasn't taking nasty shots at the participants of last weekend's Women's March.

First up is columnist Bert Prelutsky, who sneered that the participants were "post-menstrual harpies" who should just "write a memoir reminding people that there was in fact a time when a great many famous men had sex with them":

The media couldn’t get enough of the anti-Trump demonstrations staged by left-wing female fanatics the day after the inauguration. One kept hearing reports that a million or 2 million women took part in these exercises in futility and foolishness.


Now, they decided to use the likes of Madonna, Gloria Steinem and Ashley Judd to convince us that American Womanhood is opposed to Trump. I’m afraid in a nation with roughly 170 million women, this handful of post-menstrual harpies screaming obscenities, comparing Trump to Hitler and fantasizing the White House being blown up, merely reminded most of us that some people find it more difficult than others to cope with the reality of being an over-the-hill has-been.

I’m sure that the ladies will ignore my advice, but I have their best interests at heart when I suggest they do what so many other aging celebrities have done in the past, and that is to write a memoir reminding people that there was in fact a time when a great many famous men had sex with them.

And so long as they name names and provide all the scintillating details, I’m sure Megyn Kelly, Oprah Winfrey and the shrews of “The View” will be only too happy to interview them.

WND editor Joseph Farah, meanwhile, devoted his Jan. 25 column to ranting about the trash left behind by Women's March participants, contrasting with the (evidence-free) claim that "The mall was clean before, during and after" Donald Trump's inauguration. He didn't mention, of course, that the inaugration had a much smaller crowd than the Women's March.

He then growled: "Whom would you prefer as your neighbor? A self-policing Trump supporter or one of these hags?"

That's WND for you -- a place where any woman who dares to disagree with its right-wing agenda is a "hag."

Posted by Terry K. at 12:53 AM EST
Thursday, January 26, 2017
Will CNS Give March For Life The Same (Terrible) Coverage It Gave Women's March?
Topic: managing editor Michael W. Chapman shills for his boss in a Jan. 25 article:

The Alliance for Fair Coverage of Life Issues called on the news networks to cover this Friday's annual March for Life, which brings in hundreds of thousands of marchers, and to "cover it fairly" given the extensive coverage the media gave to the pro-abortion "Women's March on Washington" on Jan. 21.

"This Friday is a true test for the media," said Alliance member Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center. "They provided massive, and fawning coverage of the pro-abortion ‘Women’s March’ just four days ago. The media’s coverage of the ‘March for Life’ in two days, both in time and tone, will tell you everything you need to know about their support for abortion."

"With media’s trust in the basement, they will be exposed for the partisan hacks they are if they don’t give pro-lifers the same amount of coverage," said Bozell.  "I’m not holding my breath.”

Of course, just because Bozell declares something to be a "news" event doesn't mean it is. The March for Life is not a newsworthy event fore merely existing; it has taken place for 40 years, and we're willing to bet that even Bozell can name a single newsworthy event to occur any any of them off the top of his head. As an annual event that unfolds predictably, the March for Life is not an equivalent news event to the Women's March, a large one-time gathering that turned out to be larger than President Trump's inauguration the day before.

So Bozell and his anti-abortion coalition is demanding that the media give the same coverage to the March of Life that it gave to the Women's March? That means CNS will have to conform as well.

And how did CNS cover the Women's March? Sparingly, and with a negative, dismissive tone:

  • An op-ed by a Family Research Council writer sneering that the march lacked a purpose and "dumbs us down to one-dimensional human beings; it is the exact opposite of feminism."
  • A complaint that march organizers "reversed its decision to grant a pro-life group partnerhip in the march."
  • A blog post featuring how a "Christian satirical website" mocked "the march organizers’ outspoken support for abortion on demand."
  • A stenographical "news" article by Susan Jones approvingly quoting Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway saying she "frankly didn't see the point" of the march.
  • A "news" article that cherry-picked old quotes from march co-chair Linda Sarsour.
  • A blog post by Chapman toutingapprovingly quoting anti-gay pastor E.W. Jackson denouncing the marchers as "on the godless side in this war" and allied with the "rulers of darkness."

In other words, CNS felt no need to engage in the "accurate" coverage of the Women's March its parent organization is demanding for the March for Life. Seems pretty hypocritical.

We've written CNS to ask if it intends to ciomply with Bozell's demand to give equal coverage. We'll let you know if they respond.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:08 PM EST
WND Reporter Attacks Idaho Official Who Called Out His Biased Reporting
Topic: WorldNetDaily

On Jan. 18, Jim Jones, a former Idaho attorney general and former state Supreme Court chief justice, issued a press release as part of a speech at a local service club criticizing right-wing reporters who "have engaged in fear-mongering in order to portray refugees, and particularly those from Syria, as a danger to our country." He added: "Breitbart News, World Net Daily and others have played fast and loose with the truth and should not be regarded as credible. They have unfairly attacked the College of Southern Idaho refugee program, Twin Falls government officials, and Chobani, which has been a wonderful addition to the community. We should not tolerate this type of conduct by outsiders."

The WND reporter who perpetrated that fearmongering, Leo Hohmann, didn't take that very well. WND PR guy Paul Bremmer used a Jan. 23 article to give a platform to Hohmann to retaliate and smear local officials as "corrupt":

“I stand by all of my reporting on the Twin Falls, Idaho, sexual assault of a helpless 5-year-old girl by a group of refugee boys, one of whom was filming the heinous crime in real time,” Hohmann declared.

“I got my facts from the only eyewitness to the crime, an elderly grandmother who saw the crime in progress and stopped it from proceeding to an even more disgusting end. I also interviewed the parents of the child. The father had viewed the video showing the molestation of his daughter.”

Hohmann said his reporting stood in contrast to the reporting of local media, which “chose to get their so-called ‘facts’ from corrupt local officials, who were either intimidated or in the pocket of Obama officials like Idaho U.S. attorney Wendy Olson.”

“As if it weren’t derelict enough for a newspaper to rely on the word of public officials, these so-called ‘journalists’ in Idaho and in nearby Spokane, Washington, had the audacity to go a step further and attack those of us who were doing our journalistic jobs and questioning the authorities, calling our reporting ‘conspiracy theories,'” he said.

“It seems clear to me, when looking back, that the establishment media in Idaho and Washington were the ones engaged in conspiracy reporting by their reckless disregard for the truth and their callous treatment of the victim and her family. They chose to bow to the pressure of bullies like the Obama-appointed Wendy Olson,” he said.

“It was Olson who issued a threat to prosecute anyone who made statements about the perpetrators that she considered false or inflammatory. She later walked back from that statement after some powerful condemnations from First Amendment advocates.”

Hohmann noted Jones did not mention any specific facts he believed either WND or Breitbart had misreported. Instead, the former Idaho official resorted to ad hominem attacks on the two news outlets.

“The public found out, through our reporting, just whose side these corrupt officials in Idaho are on,” Hohmann continued. “The police chief, the mayor, the local prosecuting attorney Grant Loebs, Wendy Olson and now Mr. Jones have made it clear that they are more concerned about offending the groups resettling refugees in the state than they about protecting public safety.

“Because they are so invested in the continuation of resettlements in Idaho, we can expect their assaults on the truth to continue.”

As we documented, WND did get reporting on the Twin Falls assault case wrong. It originally falsely reported that "Syrian refugees" attacked the girl at knifefpoint. The first WND article on the case to carry Hohmann's byline is oddly defensive, blaming others (but not himself or WND) for early false reports and hammering home the claim that "an attack did occur and it was perpetrated by Muslim migrants" (even though he had written a few paragraphs earlier that the juvenile suspects' "migrant" identity was "not yet confirmed"). And Hohmann's reporting relies much more on screeds from anti-Muslim activists in Idaho than alleged eyewitnesses to the crime.

Hohmann does not back up his claim that local officials are "corrupt," which seems to open him and WND up to libel action. Hohmann touted WND's house lawyer, Daniel Horowitz, laughably accusing Olson of "making terrorist threats against American citizens" for asking that people like Hohmann stop lying about Muslims. Hohmann never explains where the right to tell lies resides in the First Amendment.

Bremmer and Hohmann curiously omit the part of Jones' statement referencing Chobani, the yogurt maker with a plant in Twin Falls, Idaho -- presumably because Hohmann has been busted for false reporting on it by none other than Snopes, which pointed out that Hohmann used "a confusing number of metrics and purported statistics" to fearmonger about "Muslims from Syria" coming to work at the Chobani plant in an article he wrote last January.

Of course, the real reason Hohmann is flailing back at Idaho officials is because his anti-Muslim book "Stealth Invasion" comes out this week, and he and Bremmer see nothing wrong with milking a little publicity out of the bias.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:58 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, January 29, 2017 2:33 PM EST
MRC Complains NY Times Reported Accurately on Trump's Ethics Issues
Topic: Media Research Center

Clay Waters beings his Jan. 20 Media Research Center post by ranting:

As if trying to poison the Potomac water for the new president on his first day in office, the New York Times Inauguration Day off-lead story tried to wrong-foot Trump the moment he takes his hand off the Bible: “With an Oath, Complications In Hotel Lease – Ethical ‘Minefield’ for the President-Elect” by Eric Lipton and Susanne Craig.

The jump-page headline read, “At Trump Hotel in Washington, Champagne Toasts in an Ethical ‘Minefield.’” The online teaser was blunt: “From the moment he is sworn in, Mr. Trump may be in violation of a lease with the federal government.”

At no point does Waters dispute the accuracy of the article -- only that it makes Trump look bad.

Waters punts on the idea of defending Trump against violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, farming that out to the right-wing Weekly Standard, where writer Edwin Williamson spins that Trump is exempt from the clause and divesting all financial conflicts is just so hard. And how hard is Williamson spinning all this? This hard:

Trump, however, is going further than the emoluments clause would require, in order to avoid a problem the media has drummed up -- foreign officials will try to curry favor by staying at Trump hotels. Trump has committed all profits on rooms rented by foreign officials to be paid to the U.S. Treasury. Thus, he has taken all profits out of staying at Trump hotels.

Williamson does not provide any reason Trump's words should be trusted, especially given that he notes no evidence that Trump is making the mechanism that will supposedly divert those profits with any sort of transparency.

We suspect neither Waters nor Williamson took President Obama's word for anything, yet they think we should ignore Trump's lengthy trail of falsehoods and take whatever he says at face value.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:12 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, January 26, 2017 1:15 AM EST
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
WND and MRC's Defense of Barron Trump Ignores Limbaugh's Slur of Chelsea Clinton
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Both WorldNetDaily and the Media Research Center were quick to come to the defense of Donald Trump's son, Barron Trump, over disparaging remarks said about him, in particular from a "Saturday Night Live" writer, and equally quick to note a defense of the younger Trump from one particular corner:

WND's Chelsea Schilling noted that "Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former President Bill Clinton, came to Barron’s defense in a Sunday Facebook post: 'Barron Trump deserves the chance every child does-to be a kid. Standing up for every kid also means opposing POTUS policies that hurt kids.'" The MRC's Nicholas Fondacaro touted how "former first daughter Chelsea Clinton spoke up and defended the president’s son" -- then, because the MRC can't let anything nice about a liberal simply stand, went on to complain that "ABC and NBC, of course, touted her defense Monday morning, but none of them mentioned the offense originated from an SNL writer, a show they love to quote."

But neither Schilling nor Fondacaro noted a certain previous incident that likely made Chelsea Clinton feel protective of Barron Trump. It took place on Rush Limbaugh's early 1990s TV show, and we'll let Media Matters take it from here:

Bill Clinton had been president-elect for just a few days when, on November 6, 1992, Limbaugh launched one of the nastiest attacks of his career against an innocent target: 12-year old Chelsea Clinton.

Complete video of that day's program does not appear to be available online, but a portion of Limbaugh's attack was aired in a 1995 documentary about Limbaugh by PBS' Frontline. Also, a transcript of the program is posted in the Nexis database.

Limbaugh began the segment by noting that the New York Daily News' David Hinckley published a list of who's entering and leaving the White House. Limbaugh stated: "He says, In: A cute kid in the White House. Out: Cute dog in the White House.' Could -- could we see the cute kid? Let's take a look at -- see who is the cute kid in the White House."

The program then put up a picture of Millie, the Bush family's dog. Limbaugh responded, in mock confusion, "No, no, no, no. That's not the kid." The program then puts up a picture of Chelsea Clinton, with Rush saying, "that's the kid."


After the audience had finished laughing and applauding, Limbaugh said, according to Nexis' transcript: "No, just kidding."

The following week, Limbaugh issued an apology, but it's unclear from the transcript alone how sincere he's being; the full video of both the original smear (a brief segment is here) and the apology are not available online.

That's an integral part of this story, but WND and the MRC ignored it. 

In 2011, MRC NewsBusters blogger Noel Sheppard tried to engage in some serious revisionism to claim Limbaugh never actually insulted Chelsea Clinton. Sheppard cited only an anonymous blog post for support which claimed that "Rush has always maintained the incident was an accident."

Fondacaro touted how the "SNL" writer was suspended over his attack on Barron Trump, but Limbaugh suffered no consequences for his smear of Chelsea.

Of course, Limbaugh himself could clear all of this up by releasing the full video.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:22 PM EST
NewsBusters Writer Ignores Context of O'Reilly Joke on 'The Simpsons'
Topic: NewsBusters

Justin Ashford complains in a Jan. 8 NewsBusters post:

For the second time this season, Bill O'Reilly is a topic of ridicule on The Simpsons. This time, Bill gets some free press for his Killing book series (Killing Jesus, Reagan, Lincoln, Kennedy, etc.), but at the expense of a fellow conservative, natch.

On Sunday’s episode, “Pork and Burns,” Marge Simpson is scanning for reading material at the car wash. While making her selection, we see the fake book Killing Hannity by Bill O'Reilly.

The cover is complete with O’Reilly lurking behind fellow Fox News host Sean Hannity with a dagger. Clearly the lefty writers at The Simpsons have a death wish for Hannity.

Ashford failed to mention the context that makes the image funny rather than a partisan attack. In a 2011 Newsweek interview, then-Fox News chief Roger Ailes said that "O’Reilly hates Sean," something O'Reilly admitted was "absolutely true" a few days later in an interview with Don Imus (though he added, "But I hate everybody").

And that first time? That was in October, and it was a relatively minor shot (Kent Brockman saying that "Sometimes I'd watch Bill O'Reilly and pretend it was an older, stupider version of me") that included better shots at Fox News, such as Brockman considering a Fox News job where he'd have to be "willing to call yourself a liberal and lose every discussion" -- and the entire episode was based on the incident in which favorite MRC punching bag Brian Williams was caught fabricating claims about his reporting.

Ashford ended that post by huffing: "It’s clear the writers on The Simpsons have always, and will surely continue, to favor the left and bash the right. After all, this show has been around since 1989 and doesn’t show any signs of ending. Hopefully its viewers investigate the real truth about the media right here on MRC and the leftist lies and propaganda are exposed for what they are."

Of course, given the fawning pro-Trump stenography MRC "news" division, to name just one example, Ashford is lying when he claims one can find the "real truth" at the MRC.

Posted by Terry K. at 3:06 PM EST
NEW ARTICLE: Another Year of Joseph Farah's Lies
Topic: WorldNetDaily
The WorldNetDaily editor spent 2016 telling new falsehoods and repeating old ones. That's what he does. Read more >>

Posted by Terry K. at 2:14 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, January 25, 2017 2:15 PM EST
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
CNS Does One Final Word-Counting Article on An Obama Speech

The Washington Post recently reported on right-wing media's obsession with counting certain words President Obama said -- particularly use of the personal pronouns llike "I" and "me" -- and singled out the Media Research Center and for doing so.

We've noted CNS' obsession with counting Obama's use of personal pronouns and other trigger words, and it managed to squeeze in one more counting article before he left office.

A Jan. 11 CNS article by Susan Jones informs us in her usual sneering tone that "President Obama, the man who has embraced "change" throughout his presidency, used the word 16 times in his farewell speech Tuesday night, but he did not directly mention the change Americans embraced in November by voting for Donald Trump."

The Post added: "If the conservative media really wants to keep monitoring presidential self-references, however, Donald Trump should provide plenty of material." But it seems CNS is too busy uncritically transcribing Trump's words to be bothered to count them.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:10 PM EST
WND Hails Its New Trump Overlord
Topic: WorldNetDaily

As Donald Trump took the office of president, the Trump fluffery was in full swing at WrldNetDaily. Here's a sampling of WND headlines on inauguration day:

Those were the "news" articles. Then we have opinion pieces so ridiculously pro-Trump they verged on the orgasmic.

Bill Cloud's column carries the unironic headline "With President Trump, has America been saved?" Cloud calls former President Obama an "oppressive and ungodly spirit" and added that "thankfully, Hillary Clinton was defeated." He actually backed off the premise of his headline, admitting that Trump has work to do and that he must "humble himself before God and seek heaven’s guidance as he is faced with the crucial decisions that will determine America’s future." Of course, if Cloud had been paying attention at all during the past year and a half, he would know that humility is not in Trump's DNA.

Jesse Lee Peterson declared that "President Donald J. Trump is a living example of God’s love for our country and proof He’s giving the people yet one more chance." Like Cloud, Peterson has also not been paying attention, or else he would not have written this: "Because Donald has no anger, he holds no resentment, fear or doubt in a fight, so he freely says what he needs to say." And like Cloud he takes a gratuitously nasty shot at Obama, calling him "evil" and claiming "It was eight long years of darkness under former President Barack Obama."

Mychal Massie waxed rhaspodic, asserting that "We the People had hoisted a blue-collar billionaire upon our shoulders and carried him to victory, refusing to be sidetracked or swayed by the political illuminati and Erebusic progressives posing as objective media," adding that "President Trump’s inauguration speech was a breath of air so fresh and so pure that it asphyxiated the politicians and progressive mainstream media."

WND editor Joseph Farah, meanwhile, exclaimed "Hallelujah!" about Trump's inauguration speech: "Sitting with my wife in the first row of public seating, I had goose bumps. This guy really means what he says. We need to pray daily that he stays the course he has set." Farah then got misty: "I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. I had awakened early to see this with my own eyes and hear it with my own ears. It was stirring. I don’t care what my critics will say: I had tears in my eyes." He added: "Every word is meaningful. And every word was spoken with total conviction. ... How anyone can hear those words, read those words, listen to those words and not be profoundly affected is a bit mystifying. They are inspirational. They are uniting. They are powerful."

The winner for fawning pro-Trump prose, however, has to be WND reporter Garth Kant, who pronounced the Trump White House a new Camelot and Ivanka Trump and Melania Trump the new combined Jackie Kennedy:

Ivanka Trump’s image suddenly flashed on the big screen and the crowd went wild.

Elegant hardly begins to describe her appearance in a simple but smart white double-breasted jacket and white trousers, with her golden blond hair let down.

She was stately, regal and the camera loved her. The first daughter was walking through the Capitol side-by-side with her three adult siblings, but the camera could not help but zoom in on her magnetic smile.

Ivanka looked like a princess descending down the steps.

Then the camera did something funny.

It jumped to an extreme close-up of a sour-faced Hillary Clinton.

And then the crowd did something revealing. They didn’t boo. Or jeer. No, they delivered the unkindest cut of all.

They laughed.

And the camera quickly beat a hasty retreat back to Ivanka.

Just as suddenly, the big picture zoomed into extreme focus.

Hillary is the past.

Ivanka is the future.

Hillary is, arguably, a tired, worn-out, wobbly, spent, political animal and a two-time loser in the presidential sweepstakes. Just winding up her career.

Ivanka is the successful working mom of the future who has it all, spunky, sharp, bright, fresh, happy, optimistic, excited, poised and regal. Just beginning her career.

The contrast between the two, both symbolically and in reality, couldn’t be greater, could it?

Oh, yes it could. Because … wait, there’s more. We hadn’t seen nothin’ yet.

The princess was smashing.

But then the queen arrived.

The crowd actually gasped at first sight of her.

Melania Trump was a show stopper.

Her appearance on the big screen was larger than life, in every way.

Everyone expected something tasteful and elegant. This was something else.

As the initial gasp subsided, the crowd whooped, then hollered and applauded.

Then it began murmuring like a hummingbird on crack. She had electrified the audience and they were absolutely abuzz.

It wasn’t just her supermodel beauty. And it wasn’t just her top notch fashion sense.

The papers would later say she channeled Jacqueline Kennedy’s fashion sense. And their evocations of a new Camelot were all about style rather than substance.


This was grace personified.

A stately, poised, and stunning elegance were certainly part of it. But there was more. It wasn’t just what she was wearing. It was her bearing. Her perfectly poised demeanor.

And the crowd could clearly sense it, even if they could no more articulate it than to say “wow” over and over, which was what so many were doing.

She was a regal presence.

There was nobility.

Not because of her new station in life, but because of her carriage. The way she carried herself. Full of poise and grace.

Noble in the sense of model character, not fashion queen. It was clear this was a woman of substance by the way she comported herself, not by what she was wearing.

Almost like American royalty.

Americans, of course, don’t have royalty like other nations – but first families are as close as we get. And Melania, born and raised in Slovenia, is perfectly at home on her adopted nation’s greatest stage, and under the glare of the biggest media spotlight in the world.


America was their candidate. Trump was the vessel.

Almost as though America had become the new JFK in the new Camelot.

And, in his speech, Trump amplified the theme, again and again, that the real winner in November was, indeed, America.

This appears to be the tone of WND coverage for the next four years: drooling sycophancy for Trump, unbridled hate for anyone who dares criticize him.

Posted by Terry K. at 4:36 PM EST
MRC to CNN's Stelter: Darn Right We'll Play Along With Trump's Lies
Topic: Media Research Center

On the Jan. 22 edition of CNN's "Reliable Sources," host Brian Stelter criticized the blatant lies White House press secretary Sean Spicer told about inauguration crowd sizes, questioning if this sort of "gaslighting" and dennial of reality is what we should expect from the White House press office and the Trump administration as a whole. Stelter added: "Will conservative media outlets play along with Trump’s lies? Will they claim he is telling the truth or will conservative outlets respect their readers enough to call BS on BS?"

The Media Research Center's Nicholas Fondacaro answerrf Stelter in a post the same day. He claimed Stelter "issued his arguably most dire/bonkers warning about the president yet," "showed nothing but contempt for the president," and "vigorously tried to sow the seeds of doubt" about Trump's veracity. Fondcaro dismissed concerns about the demonstrable falsehoods coming from Spicer as nothing but "talk of crowd sizes."

Fondacaro then launched a full-on rant attacking Stelter for daring to question the conservative media's response to Trump:

If Stelter wants to “call BS on BS” then let’s get right to it. He claims that Trump cannot be trusted, to tell the truth, and present real facts. But Stelter was nowhere to be seen when Obama’s State Department was caught editing official video of a press conference, on someone’s order. They removed questions posed by Fox News’ James Rosen that exposed that the department lied about being in negotiations for the Iran deal. If that isn’t something out of George Orwell’s 1984, I don’t know what is.

The real “BS” that needs to be called out is the media’s, there is a reason their approval ratings are in the toilet. Were ABC and NBC telling “the truth when it really hurts” Sunday morning when they omitted the loony ramblings of Ashley Judd and Madonna’s fantasy about “blowing up the White House?” Both of those networks also failed to cover any of ObamaCare’s failures for the first eight months of 2016. 

When it comes to telling the truth, Stelter is on very unstable terrain, let’s review.

On air in October, he openly blamed Trump’s ‘overheated’ rhetoric for the firebombing of a GOP county headquarters in North Carolina. When there are cold hard facts reported that he doesn’t care for he discredits them, like he did to Associated Press when they exposed how Clinton Foundation donors received special access. Or how about when Stelter himself pushed dubious claims of Islamophobia by a YouTube prankster? There’s a lot more where that came from.

For a journalist fixated on the media regaining the trust of the public, he doesn't appear to be helping very much. 

So, Fondacaro's answer to Stelter is: No, the MRC -- which includes "news" division -- does not respect its readers and will not call BS on BS. It will play along with Trump's lies, because that's what the Mercers are funding the MRC to do.

Thanks, Nick, for proving Stelter correct. 

Posted by Terry K. at 12:27 AM EST
Monday, January 23, 2017
WND Columnist: Obscure Anti-Trump World Leaders Influenced U.S. Voters, Russia Didn't
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Irwin N. Graulich uses a Jan. 17 WorldNetDaily column to make a very strained attempt to deny Russian influence on the presidential election:

“Donald Trump is an illegitimate president.” Really? How so? Rep. John Lewis tells us it is the Russians. President Bill Clinton explains carefully that it was James Comey. Donna Brazile focuses on Donald Trump’s racism, sexism and bigotry which appeals to a certain large segment of America. Robbie Mook thinks Hillary simply took too much for granted. And Jennifer Palmieri blamed Trump’s association with white supremacists. Excuses, excuses …

Anyone who says an outside source was responsible for Donald Trump’s victory and not the American people is rather ignorant of the many manifestations of an election. Virtually every election of the 20th and 21st centuries had many outside factors affect its outcome. In this election, most world leaders rooted for Hillary Clinton and made it be known publicly. Of course they all influenced the final results.

The socialist European Union, leftist Central and South America, big-government controlled Asia, the dictatorial Middle East, with the exception of Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel, all made damaging, harmful public statements about candidate Trump. Hacking is nothing compared to the world’s leading ultraliberal, socialist politicians using television, the media and the Internet to speak about “Trump’s incompetence, danger, stupidity and craziness.”


So let us all think this through carefully. If Russia secretly releases statements against Hillary Clinton on a website, through WikiLeaks or through a cyber attack – the American people will believe it en masse and change their votes to Donald Trump. And this is considered, by many Democratic leaders, serious disinformation that changed the final election results.

Yet, when world leaders, who are mostly left of center, publicly and emphatically call the Republican candidate for president every name in the book, that is somehow not considered to be disinformation that attempted to change the American voters’ minds. Something really is not making sense here. Come on, Congressman Lewis. You are smarter than that.

But of the 28 "world leaders" Graulich names, the vast majority of American have never heard of most of them -- do you know who "Søren Espersen, a foreign affairs spokesperson for the Danish People’s Party" is? -- and nearly all of them were never widely reported in the U.S.

By contrast, the actions the Russians are alleged to have taken to interfere in the presidential election were specifically targeted at Americans in order to boost Trump and/or attack Hillary Clinton. The  U.S. intelligence report on it shows that Russian meddling "blends covert intelligence operations — such as cyber activity — with overt efforts by Russian Government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or 'trolls.'" That included gaining illicit access to Democratic campaign emails.

Did any of those 28 "world leaders" Graulich cited do anything more than make a simple statement critical of Trump? Does Graulich really thing that a critical statement that in most cases was never even reported in U.S. media is the same thing as the elaborate Russian campaign that aimed to, in the intelligence report's words, "undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency"? Please.

This is just another pathetic attempt by WND to downplay Russian meddling in the election to protect Donald Trump.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:07 PM EST
Fake News: MRC Falsely Portrays End-of-Life Counseling As 'Death Panels'
Topic: Media Research Center

The Media Research Center's Matthew Balan complained in a Jan. 12 post that NPR's "All Things Considered" "played up the long-term effect of the anti-ObamaCare "death panel" talking point and labeled this phrase 'fake news.'" Balan then perpetuated that fake news:

[Host Don] Gonyea first noted that the "death panel" phrase was "coined" by Sarah Palin in a 2009 post on Facebook, where the former Alaska governor "imagined her elderly parents or her child with Down syndrome standing — quote, 'in front of Obama's death panel and being denied care.'" He continued with soundbites from talk show host Rush Limbaugh and Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, who "echoed Palin's dire warnings." However, he never explained the specific proposal in ObamaCare that these anti-ObamaCare talking heads were decrying.

Los Angeles Times correspondent Noam Levey reported in a July 8, 2015 article that the Obama administration has "revived a proposal to reimburse physicians for talking with their Medicare patients about how patients want to be cared for as they near death." Levey disclosed that this "new regulation threatens to revive the 'death panel' campaign that Republicans successfully used to demonize the federal health law as it was being debated." So, the concept that NPR deemed as "fake news" is, in fact, a real thing.

But even the conservative National Review points out that "Paid end-of-life counseling and advance planning are not 'death panels.'" Wesley J. Smith continues, debunking longtime right-wing health care misinformer Betsy McCaughey:

To accept McCaughey’s prescription, one would have to believe that doctors don’t give a fig about their patients and greedily drool over the prospect of the unwanted and unproductive being pushed into the grave. That’s simply not true.

More, one would have to accept the premise that hospice is not humane, but avaricious and abusive. There are horror stories, to be sure, but so many more examples of beneficence and hope in hospice. Irresponsibly trashing hospice can cause real harm to individuals and push society toward accepting assisted suicide!

Besides, advance-care planning is important, and people should not wait until seriously ill or at admission into a hospital.

There is a way to ensure that an advance directive doesn’t become a death panel. Don’t sign a “living will” that gives doctors or bean counters decision-making power.

Rather, prepare a durable power of attorney for health care in which you decide who gets to make choices for you when you can’t. 

We've shown how the MRC refuses to have a serious conversation about fake news. Now it's creating some.

Posted by Terry K. at 12:10 PM EST
WND's Farah: CNN Reporter Who Challenged Trump Must've Been On Drugs
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Joseph Farah starts his Jan. 17 WorldNetDaily column recounting how he had to deal with drug-testing potential employees while "running daily newsrooms and newspapers in major markets," claiming that many potential hires flunked the drug test and that even after being told how long it takes for pot to clear out of one's system sufficiently to past a drug test, it seemed that "many" of them "would rather smoke pot than get the job they wanted."

This was all prelude for his malicious attack on CNN's Jim Acosta for daring to challenge Donald Trump at a press conference:

After watching CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s outrageously rude, obnoxious, arrogant, insufferable performance at President-elect Donald Trump’s first news conference, he should, at the very least, be required to pee in a cup before ever being allowed to set foot in the White House, the Capitol, the Supreme Court or, for that matter, in the driver’s seat of any motor vehicle with more than four cylinders.

Don’t you think?

His act was like a commercial for such a proposal – not to mention one for a psychiatric screening.

It seems Farah has forgotten the time one of his own reporters was even more rude and arrogant to a president.

In 1999, Paul Sperry -- a onetime WND reporter but at the time a reporter for the right-wing Investor's Business Daily, attended a social event at the White House at which President Clinton was to make a brief appearance. Despite the fact that it was a casual, off-the-record event, Sperry insisted on pigeonholing Clinton about various scandals right-wingers like himself were obsessed with.  And he kept pressing the issue after Clinton declined to answer, not unlike Acosta tried to do with Trump.

But WND didn't call  Sperry "outrageously rude, obnoxious, arrogant, insufferable." Quite the opposite -- a 2000 WND article in which Sperry spun his version of events touted how Sperry "challeng[ed]" Clinton "with tough questions about issues of concern to the American people." Sperry sneered that Clinton was "the most corrupt president in U.S. history" and chortled at how, during his questioning, "Clinton’s face turned a darker hue of red, almost the purplish color of raw hamburger meat that’s been left out on the counter." Sperry went on to complain: "Funny how the press corps suddenly stands on ceremony when a Democrat is in the White House" and grumbled that his press colleagues "seem more interested in currying favor with this White House and maintaining their good standing in the Washington cocktail class than ferreting out the truth for the American people and holding the president accountable for sending our national security to China in a handbasket."

Farah will never say that about any reporter who challenges Trump, as his malicious attack on Acosta demonstrates -- despite the fact there is arguably no real difference in the two incidents other than the political party in office.

(You might remember that Sperry launched a factually challenged attack on Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin during the presidential campaign last fall.)

Farah added that he doesn't have a problem with reporters using drugs at WND: "'Druggies' just don’t seem to have the desire to work here. I’ll let you decide for yourself why that is true." Well, some might consider the brand of right-wing Christianity Farah and his WND reporters espouse to be a sort of drug, since it seems to make them do things like launch malicious personal attacks on people with whom they disagree.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:06 AM EST
Updated: Monday, January 23, 2017 1:08 AM EST
Sunday, January 22, 2017
CNS' Inauguration Coverage As Biased And Pro-Trump As You'd Expect
Topic:'s coverage of the inauguration contained numerous solicitation links to "Support MRC's Inauguration Coverage" (which seems to confirm that CNS has no editorial independence from its Media Research Center parent and is little more than the MRC in inverted pyramid form). That link goes to a page with the headline "How Will We Remember Inauguration 2017? Defend American History from the LYING LIBERAL MEDIA!" followed by "Support ACCURATE, OBJECTIVE coverage from the Media Research Center to counter FAKE news and manipulative reporting!"

"Accurate"? Only in a technical sense. "Objective"? That is, to coin a phrase, an alternative fact. One needs only look at CNS' inauguration coverage to see just how far from objectivity it was.

The coverage began with Susan Jones shamelessly touting how "When it comes to Friday's weather, President-elect Donald Trump is looking on the bright side, even if it rains." She then oozed over "Melanie’s [sic] elegant blue dress with matching shoes and gloves" and rhapsodizing how "Friday's sunrise glowed pink and gold in Washington, as seen in this screen grab from C-SPAN."

Jones also gave a platform for Trump to talk about his "great" and "beautiful" Cabinet picks. Surprisingly, she actually tried  to engage in objective reporting by noting Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer's criticism of some of Trump's cabinet picks,though the overall balance of the article was pro-Trump.

Barbara Hollingsworh, meanwhile, touted how "Both President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence will swear their oaths of office Friday on historic Bibles used by former Republican Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan."

CNS then managed to squeeze four articles out of Trump's inauguration speech -- easy to do when you're simply engaging in stenography:

That was followed by an article from Hollingsworth heaping praise on the speech from right-wingers and "presidential historian Craig Shirley" (who is not identified as a conservative). It's not until the 27th paragraph of her article that Hollingworth concedes that "others voiced disappointment with the tone and content of Trump’s first speech as president," and conservatives were quoting as saying Trump's speech had a "darker tone" and "did not take the high road."

CNS even managed to dredge up Samuel Wurzelbacher, aka "Joe the Plumber," to gush about how he voted for Trump because he believes in "a strong economy, a strong military and strong borders."

CNS' coverage of the outgoing Obama administration, by contrast, was uniformly negative.

CNS managing editor Michael W. Chapman repeated a homophobic smear by anti-gay minister and WorldNetDaily columnist Jesse Lee Peterson, who claimed that President Obama pardoned Chelsea Manning because "he has some type of issue going on that causes him to identify with these types of people."

Jones huffed that Obama's final tweet as president was "urging his supporters to check out his newly created Obama Foundation." Neither Jones nor anyone else at CNS has seen fit to mention the new Trump White House website promotes Melania Trump's QVC jewelry collection.

CNS editor in chief attacked Obama in two articles best summed up by their headlines: "Obama Leaves U.S.A $9,335,000,000,000 Deeper in Debt" and "Obama Was First President to Spend More on Welfare Than Defense."

CNS' Patrick Goodenough took offense to outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry praising those of his generation who "went out and fought" for women's liberation and equal rights and against the Vietnam war. His article was illustrated by a 1972 picture of Kerry testifying Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing about the Vietnam War.

CNS did devote an article to criticism of Trump's inauguration speech, but Eric Scheiner talked to only one person, one who was apparently chosen to be self-discrediting: a Democratic congressman from Massachusetts named McGovern.

It seems the MRC's claim that it puts out "objective coverage" is nothing more than fake news.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:15 PM EST

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