Making the rounds of the Sunday talk shows, Jay Sekulow, a member of President Trump’s legal team, tried to set the record straight:
“The president is not and has not been under investigation,” Sekulow told CBS’s “Face the Nation.” He said the same thing on several other Sunday shows.
Sekulow, the chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, was responding to Trump’s tweet on Friday morning, in which he wrote: "I am being investigated for firing the FBI director, by the man who told me to fire the FBI director. Witch hunt."
“The president issued that tweet on social media because of the report in ‘The Washington Post’ from five anonymous sources…alleging that the president was under investigation in this purported, expanded probe,” Sekulow said.
Jones curiously omits Sekulow's appearance on "Fox News Sunday," where host Chris Wallace called out his convoluted explanations and pointing that Sekulow was still insisting that Trump was not under investigation even after admitting that doesn't know for sure.
Another Obama Derangement/Trump Derangement Disconnect At WND Topic: WorldNetDaily
In the grand WorldNetDailytradition of Obama Derangement Syndrome sufferers complaining about Trump derangement, Garth Kant tells us in a June 14 article:
“The assassination plot directed at Republican members of Congress Wednesday morning is proof positive of Trump Derangement Syndrome,” former Rep. Michele Bachmann told WND.
“The political left is more than unhinged; they have fallen into a dangerous delusion of their own making,” she remarked after a gunman opened fire on GOP lawmakers at a baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, Wednesday morning, wounding five people.
MRC Insists Fake-News Breitbart Article Is Real Topic: Media Research Center
Like Breitbart News, the Media Research Center gets a notable portion of its funding from the right-wing Mercer family. That shared source of cash may be the reason the MRC is running to the defense of Breitbart.
In a June 8 post, Charles Dorfeuille -- who doesn't disclose the financial connection between the MRC and Breitbart -- complains that a Breitbart article was listed in a PBS report as "fake news":
The article, titled “Pentagon May Court Martial Soldiers Who Share Christian Faith” was written in 2013, and was about religious liberty concerns at the Department of Defense during the Obama Administration. The article had followed reports from the Family Research Council and Fox News.
The article was penned by Ken Klukowski, who was at the time a senior fellow at the Family Research Council for religious liberty. To call Breitbart a fake news site based on some of its more outrageous articles is one thing, but to insinuate Klukowski, a man who's worked at the American Civil Rights Union as a Senior Legal Analyst, is outrageous.
Tellingly, Dorfeuille does not link to the Breitbart article in question so his readers could judge for themselves. Despite Klukowski's alleged credentials, this is yet another one of those outrageous Breitbart articles.
Klukowski is ridiculously alarmist, falsely portraying a reiteration of longstanding Pentagon policy against proselytizing in the military as a ban on even talking about religion:
So President Barack Obama’s civilian appointees who lead the Pentagon are confirming that the military will make it a crime–possibly resulting in imprisonment–for those in uniform to share their faith. This would include chaplains–military officers who are ordained clergymen of their faith (mostly Christian pastors or priests, or Jewish rabbis)–whose duty since the founding of the U.S. military under George Washington is to teach their faith and minister to the spiritual needs of troops who come to them for counsel, instruction, or comfort.
This regulation would severely limit expressions of faith in the military, even on a one-to-one basis between close friends. It could also effectively abolish the position of chaplain in the military, as it would not allow chaplains (or any service members, for that matter), to say anything about their faith that others say led them to think they were being encouraged to make faith part of their life. It’s difficult to imagine how a member of the clergy could give spiritual counseling without saying anything that might be perceived in that fashion.
That Fox News item Dorfeuille cites as evidence of Klukowski's purported veracity is, in fact, a rant by Fox-employed radio host Todd Starnes, who has a lengthyrecord of falseclaims.
Just because a man has worked as a "Senior Legal Analyst" for a right-wing group doesn't make him immune from pushing fake news. If anything, it makes him more prone to do so.
Make no mistake -- Klukowski's article is fake news. The fact that it dovetails with the MRC's right-wing agenda doesn't make it any less so.
WND Selling Book By Man Who Claims Trump Is Fulfillment of Prophecy Topic: WorldNetDaily
We've detailed how WorldNetDaily believes that God's hand was involved in the electionof Donald Trump as president. Now it's selling a book by a guy who claimed to have prophesied Trump's election. An anonymously written June 15 WND article details:
Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 election may have been the biggest political upset in American history. Up to the very morning of Election Day, Trump was considered by most commentators in the mainstream media to be something of a joke.
So when Trump won a stunning victory over Barack Obama’s supposedly inevitable successor, Hillary Rodham Clinton, reporters, liberal activists and the Washington politicos were shocked to the core. None of the supposed experts saw it coming.
But one man did. A simple fire fighter had foreseen the rise of President Donald Trump as far back as 2011.
Even more remarkably, he says he received his information directly from God, a prophecy he explains in the sensational new book “The Trump Prophecies.”
Fire fighter Mark Taylor claims he has been receiving messages from God, which he wrote down and shared with some others.
WND concedes that Trump didn't run in 2012, then spins away Taylor's bad prophecy: "Taylor claims it wasn’t really Trump who was postponing his historic run for the White House – it was God. Taylor claims God allowed Obama to continue in office in order to rouse a 'righteous anger' that would eventually create a Trump administration."
The anonymous WND writer further spun: "The idea God willed Trump into the Oval Office is far from a fringe view. Indeed, given the improbable circumstances of Trump’s victory, it may be the most convincing explanation possible for the unprecedented occurrences America witnessed in 2016."
Note that the subtitle of Taylor's book steals the "Man Who Saw Tomorrow" phrasing from a old documentary about Nostradamus.
Turns out Taylor is also a perfect friend for WND -- a far-right ranter who has claimed that Hillary Clinton, had she won the election, would have shut down churches and turned them into mosques.
MRC's Wilmouth: Ignore That Scalise Apologized For Giving That Speech, He Totally Didn't Give It! Topic: Media Research Center
For a while now, the Media Research Center's Brad Wilmouth has been vociferously denying that Republican Rep. Steve Scalise once spoke to a David Duke-founded group -- despite the fact that Scalise has apologized for giving said speech.
So desperate is Wilmouth to cling to his falsehood that he issued a rare MRC attack on Fox News in a June 16 post:
The discredited claims that House Majority Whip Steve Scalise 15 years ago spoke to a white supremacist group founded by former KKK leader David Duke have left such a mark, that the claims even manage to make it onto Fox News Channel more than two years after the more dominant drive-by liberal media seized on them.
On Wednesday'sFox and Friends, as Fox News producer Greg Pergram reported in by phone in the aftermath of the attack on congressional Republicans in Alexandria, Virginia, he incorrectly recalled that it was the KKK that Scalise was accused of meeting with, when in reality the debunked accusation was that he spoke to a white nationalist group that was founded by Duke.
Additionally, Pergram failed to inform viewers that, even though Scalise issued an apology, the central claim that Scalise spoke to Duke's group was undermined both by a flyer from the eventthat did not list Scalise as a speaker, and by a man who helped organize the event who claimed thathe invited Scalise to speak at a separate gathering in the same hotel that was not part of the white nationalist convention.
Brad, honey, Scalise apologized for speaking to the group. That trumps any defense you're offering. Accept it and move on with your life.
WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah once insisted that "we seldom use anonymous sources." Like a lot of things he says, it's not true.
Take this June 15 article by Liam Clancy touting an anonymously written anti-Muslim screed:
In a post that quickly went viral, blogger Loretta the Prole outlined how a flood of Muslim refugees changed the face of her hometown of Utica, New York, forever.
The piece, titled “My Hometown is Gone,” was written in response to the recent increase in refugee numbers and was designed to “convey what it is like living in an Islamizing area,” according to Loretta.
“I’m from the Utica, N.Y., area. Utica is the city nicknamed by the UN ‘the city that loves refugees!’ Soon every American city will be a city that loves refugees! Get ready!” the piece begins sarcastically.
“So I would like to tell you what it is like living in an area where the major city is about 25 percent (or more) refugee, mainly Muslim.”
The first thing Loretta noticed under increasing Islamization during the Obama era was the conversion of an old Methodist church into a mosque. The next was that Muslim immigrants were increasingly put in local positions of bureaucratic power.
“So let me just summarize: the social worker at the school is Muslim, the administrator who ok’s homeschooling is Muslim, the CPS worker is Muslim, the nurse practitioner at the ER is Muslim, the doctor at the ER is Muslim. These are positions of authority that wield a lot of power,” Loretta notes.
Not only do refugees get preferential treatment over American citizens, but they bring disease as well. Loretta cited a WND article relaying the re-emergence of TB in Utica.
“This is why so many Democrats voted for Trump. Americans are getting squeezed out by non-Americans at multiple levels,” she believes. The county where Utica is located is historically a Democrat county, but it went for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
“Americans can see that they are being forced to accommodate non-Americans to their own detriment and expense,” Loretta states.
Clancy doesn't explain where, exactly, this anonymously written post "went viral," but we're guessing it didn't go much beyond the pack of online Muslim-haters WND hangs out with.
And curiously, Clancy doesn't even bother to link to the post in question so we can all read it -- perhaps because it demonstrates how much Loretta, who has since moved to North Carolina, hates Muslims. She writes at one point: "The local Walmart is full of headscarves and burkas. I cried when I went into my first Walmart in North Carolina and all I saw were Americans."
That's the level of discourse WND is championing by giving Loretta more prominence.
CNS -- Promoter of Sheriff's Nasty Rhetoric -- Posts Sheriff Group's Call To Tone Down Rhetoric Topic: CNSNews.com
Craig Bannister ramps up the irony in a June 15 CNSNews.com blog post:
“Vitriolic political rhetoric” must stop because it “puts us all in danger,” the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) warned after Wednesday’s shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) at an Alexandria, Virginia baseball field where Republicans were practicing for a congressional game.
NSA President Sheriff Greg Champagne offered his prayers for Scalise, who remains in critical condition the day after being shot:
"The National Sheriffs' Association would like to offer our collective prayers to House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and his family, as well as to all of those injured in the unprovoked shooting in Alexandria, VA this morning. We wish all of those victims a speedy and complete recovery.”
Champagne called on Americans to end today’s hateful rhetoric that can lead to violence – violence that law enforcement officers themselves have been victimized by the effects of "this destructive rhetoric":
“We also call upon everyone to end the vitriolic political rhetoric that has no other purpose than to dehumanize and demonize those with different political views or who belong to a certain group. Law enforcement officers have also been the subject of this destructive rhetoric that puts us all in danger. It is literally tearing our country apart.
"Enough is enough!”
The sheriff's group's call itself is highly ironic because one of the chief purveyors of vitriolic political rhetoric in America today is Wisconsin sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. And it's doubly ironic that Bannister posted it at CNS because CNS -- mostly in the person of managing editor Michael W. Chapman -- loves to post Clarke's hate-filled rants, especially when his anti-Obama screeds served its political agenda. For instance:
Needless to say, Bannister never noted the disconnect between the sheriffs group's rhetoric and the hate coming from one of its own -- or that CNS is a chief purveyor of the "vitriolic political rhetoric" that statement was denouncing.
NEW ARTICLE: WND's Fake News About Measles Topic: WorldNetDaily
The anti-vaxxers at WorldNetDaily have long railed against the measles vaccine -- until a measles outbreak occurred in a Somali-American community, which WND suddenly decided to blame on Islam. Read more >>
Koch-Funded MRC Complains About Criticism of Kochs Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has been defending the right-wing Koch brothers lately. Aly Nielsen writes in a June 6 post:
“With the planet in peril, arts groups can no longer afford the Koch brothers’ money,” Post art and architecture critic Philip Kennicott claimed on June 5. His “perspective” was part of the Post’s Going Out Guide.
In his view, Charles and David Koch’s donations to the arts were “tainted” because they were “the driving force behind the political movement that has pulled the United States out of the global fight against climate change,” Kennicott wrote.
He also accused the billionaires of inflicting a “moral and intellectual cost” on society by undermining “critical thinking,” “deference to reason and evidence,” “empathy and fellow feeling,” and “a sense that we are connected to other people.”
Kennicott insisted the Kochs “furthered a worldview — based on unreason and selfishness — that undermines the basic good things we assume the arts promote.”
The Koch brothers promote small government and libertarian policies, often upsetting the liberal media. The Kochs refused to back President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. But the brothers are routinely attacked, especially for touting the benefits of the oil and gas industry.
The same day, John Hirschauer complained in response to a commentator highlighting "Koch money" in politics:
The default position of the Left, as a general matter, is that any arrangement that is politically disadvantageous to Democrats is the fault of some unknowable combination of conservative talk radio and the Koch brothers. The Left has blamed the Koch brothers for virtually every situation for which they would have to otherwise provide a coherent refutation, like the decision to pull out of the Paris accord or even the mere desire for a constitutional convention.
But neither Nielsen and Hirschauer mention that their employer receives Koch money through Donors Trust, a group that coordinates political donations from conservative philanthropists that is funded in part by Koch brothers interests -- so much so it's considered part of the "Koch network." Donors Trust has given the MRC around $500,000 since 2004, including more than $100,000 in 2014 alone.
Hirschauer's Koch-defending statement is pretty absurd given that the default position of the MRC, as a general matter, is that any arrangement that is politically disadvantageous to Republican is the fault of GeorgeSoros.
WND Flails to Keep Seth Rich Conspiracies Alive Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily's efforts to keep cynically exploiting Seth Rich's death in order to keep its malicious conspiracy theories alive have been waning -- as have the quality of the stories it has been publishing to push them. The latest batch of articles is no exception.
A June 11 article by Alicia Powe featured what was originally in the headline as a "haunting video" of Rich shot a year before his death, in which he discusses ballot integrity issues. Powe also rehashed never-proven claims about Rich from Kim Dotcom; for the first time, Powe concedes that Dotcom is a fugitive from justice who "faces extradition to the U.S. on a litany of unrelated charges, including copyright infringement and money laundering."
A June 15 article by Powe begged readers to sign a White House petition asking for a special prosecutor to investigate Rich's death (created by "J.F.," who may or may not be WND editor Joseph Farah) before the window to collect signatures and force a White House response ended on June 18. The deadline passed with only two-thirds of the needed 100,000 signatures gathered; WND has not yet reported on that failure.
Powe hit the streets for a June 18 article, in which she talked to "Americans living in and around the area where DNC staffer Seth Rich was brutally murdered" (did she asked the immigration status of potential interviewees to make sure she was talking only to "Americans"?) about Rich's death. She led off with a guy who was absolutely sure that Rich leaked the DNC emails to WikiLeaks, while also insisting that "I am not a conspiracy theorist," and also interviewed another man who said God intervened in the election to keep Hillary Clinton from winning.
So, not exactly a representative sample of Americans.
Powe also stated that she tried to talk to the manager of the bar where Rich was seen several hours before his death, but "the WND reporting team was escorted out of the building" by the manager after accusing WND of "obstruction" and "disrespecting" the Rich family. Powe didn't dispute the accuracy of the manager's claims.
And a June 20 article by Powe touts a "months-long investigation" into Rich's death that offers only speculation. She waits until much further in the article to mention that the investigation was led by Jack Burkman, who's a lobbyist by trade.
By contrast to Powe's pushing of conspiracy theories, the Washingtonian accurately points out that Burkman's report "backs up its conclusions on a series of hunches, rather than actual evidence," contains "no new evidence," and is "more likely to stoke the conspiracies rather than put them to bed" -- which, of course, is what Burkman and WND want.
Unlike WND, the Washingtonian sought comment from Rich familiy spokesman Brad Bauman, who highlights that Burkman's report, conducted by college students, provided "valuable experience in research collection and report writing for students at George Washington University" but nothing in the way of new or useful information.
But WND's too desperate to keep the conspiracy alive to conduct actual journalism.
CNS Lets Bill Donohue Lie About Catholic Sexual Abuse Topic: CNSNews.com
Gage Cohen writes in a June 6 CNSNews.com article:
On Tuesday, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights said in a press release that audits of the Catholic Church have consistently found that nearly 8 in 10 victims of sexual abuse by clergy were male and 85 percent of these male victims were post-pubescent, which is usually age 14-16 but can go as high as age 18.
In a telephone interview, CNSNews.com asked Dr. Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League, why this result was not being emphasized by U.S. bishops or the media.
“They’ve been intimidated by the dominant culture,” said Donahue. “They know there’s a serious problem there [with homosexual clergy]… it’s not good politics.”
“There’s nothing in social science literature that says you’re likely to be a predator, if you’re homosexual,” said Donohue. “But most have been homosexuals. There’s a problem.”
In fact, as we've reported, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice report on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church -- commissioned by Catholic lay people, underwritten by bishops and released in 2012 -- found no correlation between homosexuality in the priesthood and increased abuse of boys, and its authors warned against making the connection because homosexual behavior does not necessarily equal homosexual orientation.
Because Cohen sought out no other views or was apparently not even aware of the John Jay report that contradicts Donohue, he effective gave Donohue a platform to lie. Not exactly the way to build credibility at CNS, is it?
UPDATE: Cohen also failed to disclose that his boss, Media Research Center chief Brent Bozell, is on the Catholic League's board of advisers. That failure to disclose a blatant conflict of interest is also not a credibility-enhancer.
LeBron James Derangement Syndrome Watch Topic: WorldNetDaily
LeBron James is rich and talented, but he still doesn’t “feel equal” to whites. People like LeBron feel inferior and victimized not because of “racism” (which doesn’t exist, and has never existed), but because they’re missing the love of a father.
Unless blacks drop their anger – which usually starts in the home with impatient mothers and grandmothers – they’ll always feel like victims. There’s nothing more that whites can do to prove they’re not “racist.” Whites must speak out against these fake accusations of “racism.” Good people should stop supporting entities spreading a culture of hate and blame against whites.
“Racism” is fake news! LeBron, like Oprah, wouldn’t be nearly as successful were it not for white Americans who are the majority of his fans and who pay his bills. Yet, he tells black and white children that it’s hard being a black man in white America. How sad!
LeBron and his hate-filled little black friends are setting a poor example to those who look up to them.
This guy is failure as a father and a role model. Instead of teaching his sons to obey the law and to be respectful – he’s setting them up to be suspicious and angry of the cops which could cause them to resist lawful commands and result in violent altercations. In San Francisco, it was reported blacks were eight times as likely to resist arrest as others.
Like most blacks, who don’t think for themselves, LeBron was influenced by Barack Obama in his anti-police, anti-white prejudice. LeBron also supported Hillary Clinton. He boycotted Trump’s hotel in SoHo when the Cavs stayed there in December 2016.
There’s nothing more whites can do to help LeBron or any other black person. Decent whites should reject the false idea of “racism” and stop buying NBA tickets.
It doesn’t matter how much money blacks make; unless they drop their anger, they’ll always feel like victims.
-- Jesse Lee Peterson, June 4 WorldNetDaily column
Tim Graham's Hypocritical Failure on Media Transparency Topic: Media Research Center
Tim Graham devoted a May 31 Media Research Center post to lamenting that the New York Times was eliminating its public editor position: 'Once again, it is highly ironic that the nation’s top newspapers rage about the president being unaccountable to the public, while they abolish their own offices for dealing with reader complaints."
Surely Graham could have cited, as an example for the Times to follow, all those conservative news organizations that have public editors and ombudsmen or public editors, like the Washington Times and Fox News and Breitbart and the MRC's very own "news" division CNSNews.com.
Oh, wait -- they don't, they never have, and they have shown no interest in having one in the future.
Perhaps Graham, being the terrible media critic he is, doesn't want to admit that the "liberal media" has traditionally had higher standards when it comes to media transparency than the right-wing media ever has. Even if the Times had a public editor for only 20 years, it's still 20 years longer than any right-wing media outlet has had one.
If Graham is so concerned about the media being "unaccountable to the public" and lacking "offices for dealing with reader complaints," why isn't he telling Fox News or Breitbart to pick up where the Times left off and have their own public editors? Why doesn't he demand that MRC hire an ombudsman?
Because he's a terrible, hypocritical media critic, that's why.
WND Lies About SPLC To Defend Anti-Gay Groups Topic: WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily just hates it when right-wing anti-gay hate groups are identified as such. Bob Unruh complains in a June 11 WND article:
A “public charity” that purports to be “neutral” and provide online “nonprofit information to a broad audience at no cost to those users” has begun slamming Christian and other conservative organizations based on the recommendation of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which itself has been linked to domestic terror and once put Ben Carson on its list of “haters.”
For certain organizations, Guidestar has begun posting at the top of its reports a box with a logo and link to SPLC stating: “This organization was flagged as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.”
Among the organizations targeted by Guidestar are the American Family Association and the Family Research Council, both highly respected and prominent Christian organizations that SPLC considers “hate” groups because they support traditional marriage.
Unruh is lying. As we've pointed out, the SPLC has explained that it lists the FRC as a hate group "because it has knowingly spread false and denigrating propaganda about LGBT people — not, as some claim, because it opposes same-sex marriage." The AFA has similiarly spread anti-gay hate.
As usual with any WND story involving the SPLC, Unruh copies-and-pastes a summary of Floyd Corkins' attempt to shoot up the FRC headquarters -- the "domestic terror" Unruh claims in his opening paragraph the SPLC is "linked" to because Corkins found a list of anti-gay organizations on the SPLC websites. Of course, by that same standard, WND is linked to international terror because Norway massacre perpetrator cited WND six times in his anti-Muslim, anti-multiculturalism manifesto.
Late in his article, Unruh finally gets to the real reason why WND hates the SPLC: "SPLC recently was listed among the top 10 enemies that have attacked WND over the years. WND and WND Books were put on SPLC’s latest list of 'extremists.'" Unruh doesn't challenge the accuracy of the SPLC's characterization of WND.
MRC's Graham Sneers At Rachel Maddow's Looks Topic: Media Research Center
In the wake of the shootings in Virginia, there's been a lot of talk about civility in the political sphere. Media Research Center director of media analysis Tim Graham's response: hold my beer.
Graham takes an unnecessary, gratuitious and mean-spirited shot at Rachel Maddow's looks in a June 14 post attacking her interview with Rolling Stone:
For her part, Maddow proclaims she is a “cheerleader for the American media,"an interesting choice of words since she tries very hard not to appear feminine.
What is the purpose of saying such a thing, Tim? What does that add to the conversation? Why do you think you should be taken seriously as a media critic when you're so eager to denigrate someone simply for refusing to conform to your idea of femininity? And as a chubby white guy, Graham hardly has any room to complain about the looks of other people.
Indeed, there's no reason to read the rest of Graham's critique, especially after his first attack on her was the above line, which appeared in the second paragraph. (Not that was anything different than Graham's usual anti-media blather, of course.)
Graham exemplifies the arrogance of the right-wing media -- he doesn't believe he should hold himself to the same standards he insists on imposing on the "liberal media." He has no principles, only a partisan agenda that he tries to enforce through intimidation and not reason.