Another Bogus MRC Coverage Study Topic: Media Research Center
A March 2 post by Rich Noyes and Mike Ciandella describes the Media Research Center's latest so-called media research:
A new American President is always a big story, but TV news is obsessed with the Trump administration — and not in a good way.
In the first 30 days (January 20 to February 18), our analysts determined that the President and his team were the subject of 16 hours of coverage on just the Big Three evening newscasts. This equates to more than half (54%) of all of the news coverage during this period.
While most new presidents enjoy a media honeymoon, the tone of Trump’s coverage was nearly as hostile (88% negative) as we found during last year's presidential campaign (91% negative).
Our measure of media tone excludes soundbites from identified partisans, focusing instead on tallying the evaluative statements made by reporters and the non-partisan talking heads (experts and average citizens) included in their stories. In their coverage of Trump’s first month, the networks crowded their stories with quotes from citizens angry about many of his policies, while providing relatively little airtime to Trump supporters.
That last paragraph is the only described methodology used, and no further detail about the results are provided -- which are big warning signs that this study is bogus.
Another sign: the binary nature of the provided choices. "Negative" and "positive" are inherently subjective descriptions, and it defies logic that the coverage the MRC covered could only be described as one or the other. There's a high likelihood that Noyes and Ciandella are portraying negative news reported neutrally as "negative," which skews their study.
Actual media researchers Stephen Farnsworth, S. Robert Lichter and Roland Schatz pointed out that Trump news coverage has skewed negative even from the Trumpophiles at Fox News. Their study also conceded that the majority of Trump coverage was neutral -- again, a category the MRC failed to include.The MRC, of course, would never conduct such "research" on Fox News because 1) it would prove the channel's right-wing bias, and 2) doing so would likely jeopardize MRC employees' regular appearances on it and sister channel Fox Business.
The researchers also note tha Trump's attacks on the media as the "enemy of the American people" also contributes to the negative coverage as well: "This puts journalists in a difficult position. If they challenge Trump at every turn, they may appear to be the opposition he claims they are. But if they conduct business as usual, this could simply let Trump be Trump at their expense."
Media Matters' Eric Boehlert adds that most experts agree that the first month of Trump's presidency has been unusually chaotic, an environment that leads to news that the MRC is predisposed to describe as "negative." In other words, a significant amount of that "negative" coverage was created by Trump himself -- something else for which the MRC fails to account.
Instead, Noyes and Ciandella engage in the MRC's rote media-bashing, whining about the supposed "anti-Trump editorial tone" after CBS anchor Scott Pelley accurately reported that Trump made "statements divorced from reality."
In sum: This is more unscientific partisan-motivated bogus "research" from an organization sadlyknown for it.
WND Still Promoting Dubious Claims by Discredited Historian David Barton Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily is such a fan of discredited right-wing historian David Barton that not only did it continue selling Barton's book on Thomas Jefferson long after its original publisher pulled it from the marketplace over its inaccuracies, it republished the book under its own WND Books imprint and attacked Barton's critics rather than do much fixing of the book.
An anonymous writer uses a Feb. 23 WND article to give Barton a platform to peddle more dubious history about Jefferson:
A recent report by the Washington Post states baldly Hemings “was owned by Jefferson and had a long-term relationship with him.”
This, said Barton, is a lie.
“For over two centuries, Jefferson-haters accused him of a sexual liaison with his slaves, especially Sally Hemings,” Barton said.
“In 1998, those rumors were seemingly verified when national headlines announced that DNA now proved that Jefferson fathered Hemings’ children. But some six weeks later, the storyline changed – but the public was not told about it.
“It turns out that the DNA definitely did not prove that Jefferson fathered her children. In fact, Thomas Jefferson’s DNA was not even used in the test! So how could he have been proven to be the father?”
Barton deconstructs the case against Jefferson in his book, pointing out the sensational media coverage of the 1998 report was simply not supported by the evidence. Indeed, later investigations only further discredited the idea Jefferson fathered children with a slave.
“A blue-ribbon commission of 13 leading scholars was assembled to examine the Jefferson paternity issue,” Barton explained. “Those scholars were all PhDs from prestigious schools such as Harvard, the University of Virginia, the University of North Carolina, the University of Kentucky, Indiana University and others. Several of them believed Jefferson had fathered Hemings’s children, but after a year of study, they changed their opinion.
“Monticello chooses to go against historic and even scientific evidence in order to take a politically correct position against Jefferson.”
Actually, as Monticello points out, the commission that concluded Thomas Jefferson was not the father of Hemings' children -- formed by the Thomas Jefferson Heritage Society -- looked at essentially the same evidence but came to different conclusions. Monticello also admits that "Questions remain about the nature of the relationship that existed between Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings."
So it's really just a matter differing viewpoints, not the cut-and-dried denial that Barton serves up. Proclaiming certainty about something that has not been, and perhaps cannot be, definitively proven is just another reason why Barton isn't taken seriously as a historian.
Interestingly, WND's headline on this article is "Thomas Jefferson smeared at his own home," as if reporting what history suggests to be the truth about Jefferson could be considered a "smear."
MRC Mad At Hispanic Journalist's 'Nationalistic' Message Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has no problem with Donald Trump's nationalist rhetoric or that of other conservatives (it's when it's described as "white nationalist" that the MRC has issues). For instance, the MRC's Tim Graham huffed that "liberal journalists have smelled racist or xenophobic airs whenever a conservative politician says 'let's take our country back.'"
But let a non-conservative say such things, and the MRC gets mad. And that outrage grows exponentially when the person is a Hispanic journalist.
So when Univision anchor Jorge Ramos -- whom the MRC tried to get fired for being critical of Trump -- said during an Univision awards show that "This is also our country. Let me repeat this: OUR country, not theirs. It is our country," the MRC's Jorge Bonilla was there to fire up the outrage machine:
Ramos' speech is amazingly strident, with an "us against them" tone that one would not expect from someone who incessantly promotes diversity from the other side of his mouth. When Ramos told the audience that "there are many who do not want us to be here", he erases any distinction between legal and illegal immigration, and irresponsibly casts immigration as an exclusively Latino issue. This is not the first time Ramos has drawn on both deceptive and discredited rhetorical devices such as these.
What is astounding, though, is Ramos' ferociously nationalistic rhetoric. On this score, Ramos would have been in the clear had he stopped at "this is also our country". Such a statement hints at inclusion, patriotism, and a pro-forma desire to assimilate and function as an integral part of the nation as a whole. However, Ramos crossed a bright line when he decreed the United States to be "OUR country, not theirs". One does not expect to hear such nationalistic rhetoric from a hardened critic of Donald Trump and Steve Bannon, and yet this isn't the first time that a Univision anchor lets loose with a nationalist rant.
Finally, Ramos' statement begs the question: Who is this "our" that he speaks of? Is it U.S. Latinos regardless of birthplace? Legal immigrants? Illegal immigrants? Supporters of comprehensive immigration reform? Is it the multiracial and multicultural "rising American mainstream"? That much isn't clear. What IS clear is that "Our", within the context of Ramos' statement, suggests a separate nationality to which U.S. Hispanics owe some sort of allegiance. Ramos, of all people, should know better than to approach the lines of racial and cultural supremacism - even if it is in furtherance of an amnesty cause that is near and dear to him.
He STILL doesn't represent me.
After his post went pretty much ignored, Bonilla followed up a few days later demanding that Ramos answer questions about his statement and accused Univision of "softening up" Ramos' words in translating them to English:
As of yet, no effort has been made on Univision's part to correct the error, which begs the question: was this simply another bad translation? Or was it a willful, deceptive mistranslation intended to diminish the stridency of Jorge Ramos' remarks before English-speaking audiences? Ultimately, no one can answer these questions except for Jorge Ramos himself.
Did Ramos just botch his speech, intending to say the more inclusive "our country also" the second time? Then he should clarify his remarks, and disavow the translation currently making its way through social media. Or did Ramos actually intend to say the clearly divisive "our country, not theirs" all along? If that is the case, he should apologize for making such a brazenly divisive statement - which only serves to hurt, not help, bring about the U.S. immigration law reforms for which he so ceaselessly advocates.
Finally, if Ramos did indeed deliberately intend to say "our country, not theirs", then the record will reflect that Univision must also join Ramos in apologizing for the willful and blatant dissemination of verifiably fake news in a manner that starkly reflects unconscionable arrogance, recklessness and a wanton disregard for the intelligence of viewers.
So Ramos is being "brazenly divisive" in making a "nationalistic" statement -- and is also being arrogant and reckless in doing so -- but Trump is not when he says pretty much the same thing? Interesting.
WND's Hohmann Fearmongers About (Small) 'Mega-Mosque' In Michigan Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've noted that WorldNetDaily loves it when Christians make use of religious freedom laws, but absolutely hates it when Muslims make use of the very same laws. Well, it's at it again.
Last August, WND's resident Muslim-hater, Leo Hohmann, touted how the city of sterling Heights, Mich., rejected a planned "mega-mosque" i nthe city. Just how big was this "mega-mosque" to be? Actually, just 21,000 square feet, slightly bigger than an Aldi grocery store.
By further contrast, actual megachurches are much larger. One in Illinois, for instance, spans a whopping 193,000 square feet.
Hohmann went on to express disdain that "the Muslims" who wanted to build it were calling for a federal investigation under the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act -- which WND has repeatedly praised Christian groups for invoking when their church buildings are denied by local officials.
Hohmann does his usual anti-Muslim fearmongering, claiming that "Most of the Muslims moving into Sterling Heights, Madison Heights, Troy and the surrounding area have been imported by the federal government’s refugee resettlement program, which pays Catholic Charities and Lutheran Social Services to settle them in apartments and affordable housing" -- then, unironically, in the very next paragraph complains that the lawsuit over the denial of the mosque "attributes the backlash to simple racism."
In February, when Sterling Heights officials neared an settlement agreement that would allow construction of the mosque, Hohmann went into freakout mode. Under the headline "Mega-mosque being forced on Christian refugee community," Hohmann intoned in a Feb. 20 article using violent imagery (highlighted in bold):
A city of 130,000 people in southeastern Michigan is under the gun of Islamic pressure following its denial of a mega-mosque in a residential neighborhood populated largely by Christian refugees who fled Islamic persecution in Iraq.
Hohmann, as we've detailed, wants you to presume that all Muslims should be presumed terrorists. And, again, that's the same "mega-mosque" the size of a small grocery store.
Hohmann again complains that the Religion Land Use and Institutional Persons Act is" being used to coerce cities into approving mosques, even when the mosque is in a residential neighborhood." He said nothing about the same law being used to "coerce cities' into approving churches.
Hohmann also claimed: "As WND has reported, the Obama administration used this law increasingly against communities denying mosques and less against those denying the construction of churches." But that's not exactly true. Hohmann claimed in h is August article that "The percentage of federal DOJ investigations involving mosques or Islamic schools has risen from 15 percent in the 2000 to August 2010 period to 38 percent during the September 2010 to present period, according to the DOJ," citing a DOJ report on RLUIPA.
Hohmann seems to forget that Christian churches have much less trouble getting built because America is a majority Christian country.
Hohmann goes on to quote Ramsay Dass, president of the American Middle East Christian Congress, as saying, "RELUIPA, the way it is written, you cannot win, and the cities don’t have enough funds to hire the lawyers to fight this. It depends on whichever minority has the favored status of the government at any time, you go against that and they’re now going to lose, period." We're pretty sure WND will never quote Dass saying this in an article about a Christian church invoking RLUIPA.
On Feb. 22, after Sterling Heights approved the deal, Hohmann ramped up the melodrama in an article headlined "Frightened Christians lose battle over U.S. mega-mosque":
In the end, the Iraqi Christians of Sterling Heights, Michigan, say they felt abandoned and left vulnerable by their government.
It didn’t matter that they had escaped genocide in the Middle East.
It didn’t matter they had 180 people at the City Council meeting Tuesday to voice their concerns about a large mosque being proposed in the middle of their neighborhood.
It didn’t matter, they say, that Donald Trump is their new president or that Jeff Sessions is the new attorney general.
They lost. The Muslims won.
The city on Tuesday night agreed to a settlement with a Muslim group that wants to build a mega-mosque on 15 Mile at Mound Road, in the heart of a residential area filled with Christians who escaped Muslim persecution in Iraq.
Yes, Hohmann is still calling this small building a "mega-mosque." And he's still complaining that RLUIPA "was increasingly used under the Obama administration to bully local governments into accepting controversial mosque projects."
Showing his anti-Muslim bias even more, Hohmann quoted almost exclusively critics of the mosque and the settlement deal. Yet at no point did Hohmann present any evidence that the Muslims who would attend this mosque posed a direct violent threat, or ever directly threatened with violence, anyone in that neighborhood -- he simply assumes that all Muslims are violent.
A reporter who engages in such vicious stereotypes cannot be trusted. Nor can the "news" outlet that publishes him.
Trump Buddy Ruddy Plays Up The Palsy-Walsy Topic: Newsmax
If the head of a news organization was longtime friends with the president to the point where he's regularly hanging out with him and visiting the Oval Office, the right-wing media would be screaming bloody murder -- that is, if the president was a Democrat.
It is, however, perfectly fine with conservatives if one of their own media people has a cozy relationship with the president. Which brings us to Christopher Ruddy.
That's taken to the next level in a March 1 Newsmax article, which announced that "President Trump met with former ambassador Nancy Brinker and Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy at the Oval Office Wednesday afternoon," where they claimed to have discussed "initiatives for cancer research to find a cure for the disease." As it just so happens, according to the article's final paragraph, "Brinker also hosts a Newsmax TV interview program."
(The rest of us might know Brinker as the founder of breast cancer research fund-raising group Susan G. Komen for the Cure; she left the organization following a massive backlash against Komen's attempt to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood.)
Over the weekend, following Trump's tweets making unsubstantiated allegations that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the election, Ruddy opined on the issue in a March 5 column by effectively touting the access he has to Trump:
When I woke up Sunday, I thought the morning news shows would all be talking about the unusual, perhaps dangerous, decision of the Obama administration to wiretap the offices of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.
I’ve been watching Chuck Todd’s “Meet the Press” as I write this. There is actually little talk about this unprecedented wire-tapping and even less worry over it.
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, usually thoughtful, just told Chuck Todd he found it is “shocking” that Trump disclosed the wiretapping claim on Twitter.
But Friedman offered no shock that such a wiretap might have taken place!
I spoke with the President twice yesterday about the wiretap story. I haven’t seen him this pissed off in a long time. When I mentioned Obama “denials” about the wiretaps, he shot back: “This will be investigated, it will all come out. I will be proven right.”
The Washington Post reported that Ruddy's contacts with Trump occurred "on the golf course and later at dinner Saturday."
Ruddy then invoked a schizophrenic pro-Trump talking point: The Russians "outrageously interfered in the U.S. election," which is something "I take very seriously," but it "did not change the election result," and "the media is continually trying to create" the narrative that it did.
Ruddy huffed: "This week, President Trump gave a bold and inclusive speech to Congress. It won wide praise. The Democrats don’t want Trump to succeed. Hence, all the smokescreens." He apparently forgot that his organization spent the past eight years fueling smokescreens with the goal of keeping Obama from succeeding.
If a "liberal media" executive was touting the same kind of access to a Democratic president that Ruddy is with Trump, right-wingers would not be silent. Instead, he gets a pass.
WND Columnist Likens Muslims to the Bubonic Plague Topic: WorldNetDaily
In 2006, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi observed immigration had already brought 50 million Muslims to Europe. He boasted, “Allah will grant Islam victory in Europe – without swords, without guns, without conquests … (turning it) into a Muslim continent within a few decades.”
In the 14th century, Europe was devastated by the bubonic plague, transmitted across the continent by fleas from infected rats. Back then, Europeans could do nothing to stop it. Today, Europe is being devastated by an immigration plague, transmitted by political correctness infecting free speech, thus banning the questioning of Islam’s motives and, consequently, doing nothing to stop it.
This infection is being spread here in the U.S. by a media irresponsibly failing to report on public dangers and by a tone-deaf anti-Trump movement refusing to listen to reality.
MRC's Graham: Still A Terrible Media Critic Topic: Media Research Center
As we've documented, the Media Research Center's Tim Graham is a terrible media critic because his goal is to destroy the media in the name of right-wing orthodoxy. This tendency pops up again in a Feb. 27 post ranting about his apparent nemesis, CNN "Reliable Sources" host Brian Stelter.
Stelter had as his guest New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet, and Graham complained that Stelter "counted that Trump has called the paper "the failing New York Times" in 53 tweets." Graham, by the way, a few days later counted that "Obama referred to himself 119 times" in one speech in a laughable attempt to portray Obama, and not Donald Trump, as the real narcissist.
Most of Graham's post, however, was largely devoted to whining that Stelter didn't go all right-wing on Baquet and complaining that Stelter "set him up to boast that the Times has never been hotter and that President Trump hates them because he has this 'dangerous' tendency to hate newspapers who hold him accountable."
Graham concluded his column with this note: "Earlier on CNN: I told Stelter the Times has 'all the restraint of a pack of flesh-eating zombies.'" One: Graham is proud of spewing this juvenile insult? Two: Graham said this on the same episode of "Reliable Sources" in which the Daily Beast's John Avlon exposed Graham's obsession with promoting the right-wing anti-media narrative over any genuine concern with journalism, and the MRC will never post the full video of that.
Fake News: WND Manufactures Loretta Lynch Quote, Quietly Walks It Back Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily just loves telling lies about former Attorney General Loretta Lynch. First, then-WND reporter Aaron Klein falsely claimed Lynch had once represented the Clintons and was Bill Clinton's "'bimbo eruption' fixer" (that was a different Loretta Lynch). Then, WND falsely claimed that Lynch is "tied to terrorists, drug cartels," bizarrely extrapolated from Lynch working to achieve a monetary settlement instead of a criminal prosecution in a bank fraud case as a federal attorney.
Now, in a March 4 article headlined "Loretta Lynch: Need more 'marching, blood, death on streets'," an anonymous WND writer claimed:
The Obama administration’s former Attorney General Loretta Lynch has made an impassioned video plea for more "blood" and "death" on the streets – a video that was later posted on the Facebook page of Senate Democrats as "words of inspiration."
But Lynch did not say the words WND put in quote marks, including "blood" and "death."
As the WND article itself states later on, Lynch said this in the video in question -- in which, again, none of the things WND set off in quote marks earlier are things Lynch said: "It has been people, individuals who have banded together, ordinary people who simply saw what needed to be done and came together and supported those ideals who have made the difference. They’ve marched, they’ve bled and yes, some of them died. This is hard. Every good thing is. We have done this before. We can do this again."
That's barely an endorsement of marching, and is most certainly not a call for "blood [and] death on [the] streets." In other words, WND is lying again about Lynch.
Somebody at WND apparently noticed that, because the article was later updated to remove the quote marks around "blood" and "death" in the article and "marching, blood, death on streets" in the headline, and the quote marks around the words in the front-page carousel promo have disappeared as well. But the false claim that Lynch made a "plea for more marching, blood and death on the streets" remains. Further, the article fails to indicate that it has been changed from the original; it seems WND forgets that the Wayback Machine exists so we can display the lie-filled original.
If WND were actually "operating under the highest standards of traditional American journalism," as editor Joseph Farah likes to claim, this story would never have seen the light of day, let alone be live for several hours with a completely manufactured quote as its lead claim, and it would have admitted to readers that the quotes were fake and apologized to Lynch for putting false words in her mouth.
UPDATE: Farah repeats the fake news in his March 5 column, claiming that Lynch "just called for 'blood and death' in the streets to stop Trump, much to the approval of Senate Democrats." Note that "blood and death" is in quotes.
MRC Hate-Watches The Oscars Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center hasn't quite figured out that hate-watching something does not make for compelling "media criticism." So it continues hate-watching.
Thus, we are treated to the spectcale of Karen Townsend devoting an entire Feb. 27 post to hate-watching the Oscars. She sets the hateful tone right at the beginning:
The 89th Academy Awards, aka The Oscars, was broadcast by ABC live from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday night, hosted by late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel. As with other award shows of late, politics reared its ugly liberal head and showed us exactly why Hollywood is often referred to derisively as "La La Land."
Townsend then goes on to complain about every Trump joke, various "sanctimonious fashion choices" and any other incident that could remotely be interpreted as "liberal." She was particularly incensed about a speech submitted by Asghar Farhadi, an Iranian producer whose film won the Oscar for best foreign-language film:
Really? A man from Iran is lecturing US on dividing the world into us versus our enemies, aggression and war, democracy and human rights? And when was the last time he spoke out about “the inhuman law that bans entry of” Israelis or anyone who has an Israeli stamp in their passport into Iran?
Townsend also complained that "documentary O.J.: Made in America," the Oscar winner for best documentary, "falsely equated O.J. Simpson’s murder victims, Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman, with other alleged victims of police violence and racism," adding: "I thought it was the story of a violently deranged black retired athlete who killed his white ex-wife whom he had abused for years and her friend, a waiter who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time delivering glasses that were left at a restaurant."
Townsend sneered at the end: "La La Land might not have won the Oscar for Best Picture, but it remains the liberal fantasy world lefty celebs live in."
Then, the MRC's Matt Philbin -- who has the whole oozing-contempt thing down -- chimes in in a separate post complaining about a Washington Post article aabout whichPhilbin complains: "I can barely get though his write-up without cringing." In other words, Philbin is hate-reading about something he already hate-watched. He's particularly incensed for some reason that Post writer Hank Steuver suggested that a bus full of tourists brought into the Oscars is representative of America:
Uh, Hank, a group of people who paid to be on a Hollywood tour bus aren’t exactly representative of the public at large. After all they, er, paid to be on a Hollywood tour bus. But suppose the most deplorably cranky Trump voter somehow found his way on board (obviously hoping to see where they filmed Matlock). Suddenly put him in the Oscars auditorium with the lights and noise and starlets, what do you expect him to do? Thrust out his chin defiantly and jam his red baseball cap on his head? No. Most people are affable and will play nice as long as you don’t insult them. And the tourists weren’t there long enough even for liberal Hollywood types to insult. The stunt, as fun as it might be, speaks more to tourists being good sports than the irresistible coolness of movie stars.
Philbin went on to huff: "There really are a lot of people out there – sane, healthy people leading meaningful lives – who don’t give a fig about movies they don’t see starring people they’ll never meet. But media types like Stuever keep writing about movies, actors and the Oscars, and insist normal people fall all over themselves to get selfies with the stars."
How ironic that this sentiment appears in an article dedicated to hate-watching a show the author insists real Americans like himself and other MRC employees don't watch.
WND's Peterson Confuses Ranting With 'Truth' Topic: WorldNetDaily
Jesse Lee Peterson grumbles in his Feb. 26 WorldNetDaily column, headlined "Angry liberals can't handle truth, shut down my speech":
I spoke to the Southern California Junior State of America, or JSA, winter congress this weekend – to a group of about 860 high-schoolers, supposedly 60 to 70 percent liberal.
I’ve never seen a better-looking group of young people: The boys wore suits and ties, and the girls wore dresses and heels. (Some wore pantsuits.)
My talk followed a liberal California state assemblyman’s speech. I was scheduled for an hour, consisting of a 25- to 45-minute speech followed by Q&A – but I was thrown out before the 25-minute mark.
I started out saying my book, “The Antidote,” proves “racism” does not exist, that it’s a lie made up to divide and conquer through anger. Angry people feel like victims, and all victims are pathetic. (Some loved this message.)
I explained how Barack Obama divided the races like no other time in history, because he’s all about politics, power and wealth – liberals do not care about people.
Obama pitted blacks against whites and police. They’d been set up to hate by their lying false leaders over the decades. Most who run into trouble with police are criminals – thugs like Michael Brown or Trayvon Martin, whose home lives I described.
The high-schoolers burst out in shouting and jeers when I told the truth about the two dead icons of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Well, there's your problem. Peterson is pretending that his right-wing rants are the "truth." What Peterson thinks are "facts" are nothing but ranting screeds. The hostility Peterson felt at this event is more than likely because Peterson refused to admit the validity of anyone's opinions but his own.
Peterson thinks he was the victim of an "insane liberal crowd," but in reality, it's much more likely their collective BS detectors went off at Peterson portraying his right-wing dogma as unassailable fact.
Why Is MRC Suddenly Being Nice to Alan Colmes, Now That He's Dead? Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center had little use for liberal commentator Alan Colmes while he was alive:
NewsBusters' Jack Coleman sneered that he was "formerly the annoying half of Hannity & Colmes on Fox News Channel." Coleman also attacked Colmes for allegedly "bashing those unevolved miscreants known as fellow Americans." Tom Blumer declared him to be a "hardened liberal." Matthew Balan bashed Colmes for defending the Obama administration's "deliberate avoidance of using the term 'radical Islam.'" Jeffrey Meyer took issue with Colmes' MRC critique of the New York Times' coverage of the 2014 CPAC, complaining it was a "cheap shot at NewsBusters." (The MRC did like Colmes, however, when he was defending Rush Limbaugh and his former Fox News sparring partner Sean Hannity.)
All of that hate makes the MRC's abrupt niceness toward Colmes after his death rather peculiar.
A NewsBusters post by Randy Hall posted after Colmes' Feb. 23 death detailed how, along with Hannity, "many other people at FNC expressed their feeling of loss, including such well-known individuals as retired news anchor Brit Hume, former Fox host Megyn Kelly, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy, and America's Newsroom co-anchor Bill Hemmer, as well as other conservative leaders."
When a piece at Slate complained that Colmes was Fox News' "original liberal weakling," Blumer suddenly felt compelled to rush to Colmes' defense in a Feb. 27 post, touting Colmes "multi-faceted 45-year professional career" and accused the Slate writer of "dancing on someone else's corpse"-- though, for all the defense, he doesn't refute the writer's basic premise.
Indeed, one could argue that the only reason the MRC is suddenly feeling compelled to defend Colmes now is because he was so useful to conservatives during the "Hannity & Colmes" years as a meek-ish liberal who got regularly steamrolled by a right-wing blowhard.
Not that they will ever admit that in public, of course.
The MRC wasn't always so nice to dead non-conservative media people; the death of ABC anchor Peter Jennings prompted the MRC to push its agenda and tout how its "archive is packed with documentation of liberal bias from Peter Jennings."
UPDATE: CNSNews.com published a blog post detailing right-wing radio host Mark Levin saying nice things about Colmes upon his death. A decade earlier, NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard was cheering about how Levin allegedly wiped the floor with Colmes.
CNS In Full Damage-Control Mode Over Sessions' Russian Contacts Topic: CNSNews.com
CNSNews.com started out the week continuing to run interference for the Trump administration over allegations of links between Donald Trump's presidential campaign to Russian meddling that benefited his campaign -- this time, a Feb. 27 article by Susan Jones parroting Republican Rep. and House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes insisting that, in Jones' words, "there is no evidence that any campaign officials -- from either the Trump or the Clinton campaigns -- had any contact with the Russian government or Russian agents before the election." Of course, Jones doesn't mention that Nunes' committee has thus far resisted conducting a formal investigation into the issue, so he really wouldn't actually know that for sure.
Now, CNS is ending the week by running more interference for the Trump administration over Russian linksregarding Attorney General Jeff Sessions' contacts with Russian officials that he failed to disclose under oath during his Senate confirmation hearing. Let the spin begin:
Note that all of these stories push a pro-Trump spin, and their headlines are so vague they don't contain the word "Russia" and only two mention Sessions. And no article CNS published on the issue includes both Sessions and Russia in the headline.
CNS then pulls its biased game of portraying criticism of Sessions as coming from unreasonable Democrats with a vendetta. An article by Jones on Sen. Al Franken calling for a special prosecutor to look into Trump-Russia connections (whose headline also failed to reference either Sessions or Russia) muddied the issue by throwing in Franken's call for Trump to release his taxes in an apparent attempt to portray Franken as a crazed partisan.
Another article by Jones, on Sen. Chuck Schumer's criticism of Sessions, sought to denigrate his authority on the issue by mockingly stating that "Schumer and other Democrats are furiously demanding that Sessions step aside and let an independent prosecutor look into alleged ties to Russia by Trump associates during the campaign."
That was joined by a blog post by Craig Bannister, who wrote that "After then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch confirmed she met with former President Bill Clinton on a plane last June, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) dismissed calls for an independent prosecutor to take over the Hillary Clinton email investigation." Bannister didn't mention that Sessions demanded Lynch's recusal over the issue -- and it was only after Sessions' communications with the Russian ambassador were disclosed did Sessions bother to recuse himself from investigating a campaign for which he served as a surrogate and for whom he must thank for his current job.
Another Bannister post touted how Fox News floated the idea that Sessions was "targeted" by the Russians.
Jones followed up on March 3 by framing any links between Trump and Russia as merely "circumstantial" and "supposition."
Remember, CNS' parent, the Media Research Center, gets a significant amount of its budget from the Mercer family, which heavily supported Trump's election. It seems the Mercers are buying CNS' "news" pro-Trump coverage as well.
Two days later, Farah's column after Trump's speech to Congress reads like it came straight from the White House press office, so utterly obsequious is it:
Donald Trump’s first 40 days in the White House rival those of any modern American president for excitement, controversy, accomplishment, work ethic, courage, boldness and real leadership.
Think about that. Is there any question? Is there any doubt?
If he continues like this, there could be a new face on Mount Rushmore in the future.
I’ll also add this, based not only on his speech to the joint session of Congress Tuesday night but on his overall performance in his first 40 days: This is the most overtly “conservative” start to a modern presidency – including the iconic conservative presidency of Ronald Reagan.
Did you ever expect to see a president in your lifetime slash the illegitimate power and the funding of the Environmental Protection Agency? I lost hope long ago on that issue. I thought property rights were dead. Yet, on Tuesday, Trump ordered an end to the rule that permitted the EPA to govern the land use of any so-called “wetland” in the country by pretending they were all “navigable waters.”
Trump did this long after “conservatives” had thrown in the towel on property rights.
Trump may not be the “Great Communicator” Reagan was. But what he lacks in performance skills he more than makes up for in the kind of boldness that puts his political adversaries on the defensive.
While I will not offer a blow-by-blow review of a speech everyone had a chance to see for himself, I continue to be amazed at the president’s feistiness and tenacity. Not only is he always on offense, he still never misses a chance to defend himself as well.
Suffice it to say that none of us has ever seen anyone quite like Donald Trump.
Am I over the moon for Donald Trump? Yes, I am. And I’m not ashamed because he has earned my praise with action, drive, steadiness and determination.
I’ve never seen anything like Donald Trump in my lifetime.
I never thought I would see what I am seeing in Washington today.
All I can add is: “Hallelujah and may God protect the president of the United States.”
Farah needs to get a room. Or a job in the White House press office.
AIM's Associated Press Fact-Check Fail Topic: Accuracy in Media
Spencer Irvine wrote in a March 1 Accuracy in Media blog post:
Hindsight is 20/20, but the question looms large: Why did the Associated Press start fact-checking Donald Trump and his cabinet appointees (such as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s recent comment on historical black colleges and universities and school choice) and did not fact check Obama or any of his cabinet secretaries?
We checked the Associated Press’s website and only found Donald Trump and Sarah Palin-related fact checks. When we expanded our search, PolitiFact had a fact check history of Obama’s first Education Secretary Arne Duncan (which is comparable to the AP’s recent fact check of DeVos).
Sounds like the Associated Press is eight years too late, as far as fair and balanced fact checks are concerned.
Another question looms large: How does someone who purports to be a media analyst not know how the Associated Press works?
While the AP is a news organization, it is also a news cooperative that syndicates its content to other news organizations, in part in return for those organizations sharing their content with the AP for redistribution. As such, AP content is as likely, if not more so, to be found at other news operation as the AP itself.
If Irvine had bothered to broaden his horizons, he would have easily found that, yes, the AP has been fact-checking Obama for years -- and he would have found some of that at right-wing websites.
For instance, here's a Daily Caller article touting an AP fact-check of Obama's 2015 State of the Union speech. (The full fact-check can be found at the New York Post.) And here's an AP fact-check of Obama's 2013 State of the Union posted at The Blaze. And here is that 2013 fact-check at Fox News. And the right-wing Washington Times published the AP fact-check of Obama's 2012 and 2014 State of the Union speeches.
WND Pretends Pro-Trump Rallies Are 'Patriotism,' Not Partisan Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily is so pro-Trump these days that it's portraying planned pro-Trump rallies as "patriotism" instead of the partisan exercises they are.
An anonymous WND writer first touted the rallies in a Feb. 12 article:
While anti-Trump protests have dominated media coverage of the president’s early weeks in office, his supporters are pushing back with a series of Spirit of America Rallies.
Scheduled for Feb. 27 and March 4, the rallies “are inclusive, non-partisan, and open to anyone supporting President Trump in his efforts to bring back manufacturing jobs to America, put the security of our nation ahead of political correctness, improve our infrastructure, revitalize the inner cities and secure our nation’s borders,” according to rally organizer Debbie Dooley, a national co-founder of the tea-party movement.
But even WND effectively conceded that the " non-partisan" stuff was bogus:
The pro-Trump rallies, Dooley said, are meant to be a peaceful show of force from the “silent majority” that propelled the real-estate billionaire to the White House.
Ralph King, an elector for President Trump from Ohio and the co-founder of Main Street Patriots, said the Spirit of America Rallies “are a continuation of the collective voice of Americans that embrace President Trump’s policies to put the American workers and citizens first once again.”
If the rallies are dedicated solely to supporting Trump, they are not non-partisan, no matter what Dooley claims they are.
WND's Bob Unruh promoted the rallies again in a Feb. 19 article, uncritically repeating Dooley's fiction that they are "non-partisan." But the way Unruh began his article makes the partisan motivation all too clear:
Those citizens “rallies,” actually they’re better described as protests or riots, that have been appearing recently on American streets have demanded constitutional rights for those in America illegally. They demanded that President Donald Trump allow in immigrants from terror-producing countries. They’ve demanded that abortion be paid for by taxpayers.
If they feature an American flag, it’s not exactly treated respectfully.
But are those really the “Spirit of America?”
Many people say no, and that’s why the real “Spirit of America Rallies” are being planned nationwide on Feb. 27 and March 4. With flags a welcome sight and featuring the National Anthem.
They are being organized by, about and for “the same cross section of Americans that propelled President Trump to victory and will reinforce and support the current policies being put in place that will help Make America Great Again!”
In short: Pro-Trump people hold "rallies," while Trump critics start "riots." Nothing partisan there!
A Feb. 22 article again repeats Dooley's "non-partisan" fiction, while making it clear the intent is otherwise:
Since President Donald Trump’s campaign and election, America has repeatedly witnessed vitriolic protests and riots.
In June 2016, leftist agitators in San Jose, California, threw eggs and water balloons at Trump supporters, stealing and burning their “Make America Great Again” hats.
And after Trump’s election victory in November, rioters in Portland, Oregon, smashed windows and pelted police officers with objects.
By Inauguration Day, anti-Trump protesters in Washington, D.C., had lit a limousine ablaze and struck cops with rocks and bottles.
But now there’s a new, peace-loving, Trump-backing crowd in town – make that in nearly 60 towns across America.
It’s a patriotic crowd that describes itself as “the heart and soul of America.”
And this crowd is pushing back with a series of Spirit of America rallies scheduled for Feb. 27 and March 4.
A Feb. 27 article, however, finally dropped the "non-partisan" fiction and admitted it's nothing but a partisan show for Trump:
Americans across the country are rallying in nearly 60 U.S. cities this week in support of President Trump and his efforts to “Make America Great Again.”
Some cities held rallies Monday, the eighth anniversary of the first protest of the tea-party movement in 2009. A larger round of at least 53 rallies is scheduled for Saturday, March 4. (A list of rallies, locations and times is included at the end of this report.)
According to Main Street Patriots, the rallies are intended to “reinforce and support the current policies being put in place that will help Make America Great Again!”
On Saturday, President Trump called for Americans to show their support by holding rallies. He tweeted: “Maybe the millions of people who voted to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN should have their own rally. It would be the biggest of them all!”
But that served a purpose: to bury the pathetic turnout of last weekend's rallies. The article had to admit thta a mere 250 people showed up in Atlanta, only 100 in suburban New Orleans and pictures of other sparsely attended rallies. It also included a list of rallies planned for this weekend, complete with links to contacts and Facebook pages.
Looks like someone wants these rallies to mean something. And now we know why, as a March 1 WND article reveals:
WND CEO Joseph Farah will be the keynote speaker for the Washington, D.C., version of the Spirit of America rallies this Saturday, March 4.
The event will begin at 12 p.m. at Lafayette Square, 1608 H St NW in Washington, D.C., and it offers a fantastic opportunity to meet some of the most committed activists behind the movement helping elect President Trump, as well as a chance to hear speeches from key leaders who helped plant the intellectual seeds to “Make America Great Again.”
“I’m so honored to be able to share my excitement with like-minded people about the new leadership we have in Washington,” Farah said.
“We’re living in an era of great political opportunity. It’s like anything I’ve seen in my lifetime. We need to be out in the streets and showing others that we believe in these goals – like draining the swamp and making America great again – and that we are going to fight for them every bit as hard as the opposition.”
Despite Farah being one of the most partisan people on the planet , the article regresses to once again repeating Dooley's "non-partisan" fiction.
Also speaking at the event is WND author and Muslim-hater Philip Haney, who gives away the game about the rally's partisan intent -- and WND's far-right bias -- in describing his enthusiasm at hearing Farah speak: "Knowing how hard he has worked at WND.com to help create a climate where a Donald Trump could have a ready-made base to tap into and culminate with his victory this past November must fill Joseph with pride, and I can’t wait to hear him speak this Saturday."
And it wouldn't be a true WND event without someone begging for money, so the article provides a link to a crowdfunding site to raise money to put on the rally.
So, yes, it's totally partisan and political. If WND were an honest "news" organization, it would have stated that clearly from the beginning and not dishonestly framed partisan support for Trump as "patriotism."