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Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Fake News: WND Blames Mosques for France Tearing Down Churches
Alicia Powe writes in an Aug. 8 WorldNetDaily article:
Let's unpack this. The opening paragraph is opinion from Powe -- she presents no evidence to support her claim -- and has no business in an article claiming to be "news."
The report Powe is writing about, from the right-wing, anti-Muslim Gatestone Institute -- whose ideology Powe does not identify, and about which Powe makes no effort to find a contradictory view -- is rather bogus. The The headline claim -- that more mosques and Muslim prayer centers "have been built in France than all the Catholic churches built in the last century" -- is both misleading and outright false.
It's misleading because it omits the fact that there were already 90,000 Catholic churches in France at the beginning of the 20th century, so Catholicism had quite the head start on Islam.
Powe uncritically quotes the Gatestone report as claiming that there are "nearly 2,400 mosques" in France. In fact, according to Haaretz, "There are 2,449 registered Muslim prayer rooms in France, only a small number of which are officially defined as mosques. Prayer rooms can exist in any form but a mosque is a free-standing structure that costs millions of euros to build." Haaretz also reports that "45,000 new churches" have been built in the past century-plus in France. That seems to put the lie to Gatestone's assertion.
Why is that 100-year length of time such a big deal? Because as Powe admits, "France is able to demolish old churches because the government appropriated all church property and the cost of maintaining them in 1907." Which means there's no link whatsoever between closing churches and opening mosques.
While Powe uncritically quotes the Gatestone report as portraying an attempt in France to systematically replace churches with mosques, she cites only one example of a church being turned into a mosque.Which is pretty close to the rea-life rate: Haaretz states that since 1905, only five churches have been turned into mosques.
To sum up: Powe basically wrote a press release about a bogus report from a right-wing anti-Muslim group, and she couldn't be bothered to do even the most basic journlaism to verify anything.
Just another instance of WND fake news.
Monday, August 14, 2017
MRC's Bozell Hypocritically Criticizes Jeffrey Lord's Firing By CNN
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center has been surprisingly quiet on its official front about CNN's firing of pro-Trump sycophant (and NewsBusters columnist) Jeffrey Lord for tweeting "Sieg Heil!" at Media Matters president Angelo Carusone -- perhaps because of the MRC's own recent success in getting someone else fired from CNN, Reza Aslan. It was mentioned only once in passing at NewsBusters and had not been mentioned at at all at MRCTV and CNSNews.com immediately afterwards.
One had to go to MRC chief Brent Bozell's Twitter feed for a quick response. Bozell first complained: " 's firing of falsely smears him as a Nazi. In fact he was criticizing Nazi-like tactics from the left. Slander?" He then huffed: "If objects to their commentators making Nazi comparisons, several liberals at the network should lose their jobs. What hypocrites!"
Bozell then ran to another media outlet -- not Fox News this time, but to Larry O'Connor, a former Breitbart editor who's now a right-wing radio host in Washington, D.C. Aeter admitting he had just been chatting with Lord before his radio hit, Bozell laughably echoed Lord's attack on Media Matters as "fascists" who "are using intimidation and smears and -- i'll say it right now -- flat-out lies to get conservatives thrown off the airwaves because they don't want conservative voices on the airwaves."
Bozell, of course, didn't mention his own campaign of intimidation and smears to get Aslan thrown off the air for the offense of criticizing Trump. No difference, really, though Bozell would never call himself or his organization fascists.
Bozell then went into revisionist history in recalling Rush Limbaugh's calling soldiers who opposed the Iraq War "phony soldiers": "All you have to do is listen to the transcripts and that's not what he was saying. He was talking about people playing phony soldiers and trying to get medical benefits out of it." In fact, the transcript proves quite the opposite: There was nearly two minutes between Limbaugh's reference to "phony soldiers" and his reference to a specific case of fraud.
After O'Connor brought up Aslan's firing, Bozell responded by not discussing similarity in tactics, but instead complaining that CNN took too long to fire him while it took "only four hours" for Lord to get fired.
Finally, on Aug. 14, Bozell brought his whining about Lord to his own website. He repeated the same arguments he made on the radio, including the misleading defense of Limbaugh -- almost as if they had been written out for him as talking points and he was just testing them out on the air first before committing them to an MRC site -- and tries to coin the term "smear-fired." Again he references Aslan only in passing, complaining it too so long to fire him but not about the pressure tactics he put on CNN to do so. He smears Media Matters as "leftist censors" without admitting he's a right-wing censor.
Bozell goes on to declare that "Jeffrey Lord is one of the nicest men you’ll ever meet" and that CNN, in dumping Lord while he was on his way to an appearance on the channel, "had his limo driver turn around in mid-journey from Pennsylvania to New York and take him home." Lord has a limo driiver? Real man of the people.
Bozell is essentially claiming the tactics he used to get Aslan fired by CNN shouldn't be used by anyone else to get a friend of Bozell's fired. What rank hypocrisy.
(Disclosure: I used to work for Media Matters.)
WND Puts Words In Trump's Mouth After Charlottesville
When President Trump issued a vaguely worded statement following the white supremacist and neo-Nazi-linked violence in Charlottesville, Va., WorldNetDaily hdd to leap into action to put words in Trump's mouth that he hadn't actually said.
Cue an anonymous WND writer in an Aug. 13 article:
Of course, Trump's denunciation was anything but "unambiguous" and unequivocal, given that he vaguely denounced only "many sides" and no group by name.
Similarly ironic is WND averring on speculation about James Fields' motive in allegedly driving his car "into a crowd of people objecting to the white nationalists," since WND routinely freaks out every time authorities want to wait until an investigation is conducted before calling an act of violence and not jumping to conclusions about alleged Islamist jihidism.
Speaking of freakouts, Joseph Farah served up one in defending Trump's non-specificity in his Aug. 13 column:
Actually, Lee did in fact own slaves, but you be you, Joe.
Farah also rants: "There will be no reasoning with anyone. There will be no possibility for rational dialogue. There will be no room for condemnation of both sides. Nevertheless, I will do it anyway. Because I’m tired of the guilt-by-association with racists and other reprobates by the fascist left."
Oh, we rather doubt that Farah is interested in "rational dialogue," given his website's history of engaging in the exact opposite. Does anyone believe that a website that repeatedly likened President Obama not only to Hitler but to the Antichrist is interested in rationality and reason?
Also, the fact that Farah sees no moral distinction between neo-Nazis and liberal critics of Trump, whom he's painting as "so-called 'Antifa' brown-shirt creatures," says all we need to know about his brand of "rational dialogue."
When Trump finally issued an updated statement that specifically denounced white supremacists, WND trumpeted it in an Aug. 14 article by Garth Kant helpfully headlined "Trump specifically condemns white nationalists." Kant followed his boss in equivocating white supremacists with "the radical-leftist Antifa."
Sunday, August 13, 2017
MRC's Graham Lamely Deflects From Trump's Lame Statement on Charlottesville Neo-Nazi Violence
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Research Center is little more than the Donald Trump Defense Center these days. Tim Graham exemplifies this in an Aug. 12 post.
Trying to deflect from Trump's non-specific criticism of neo-Nazi-linked death and violence during a protest in Charlottesville, Va., Graham bashed a CNN anchor who claimed that "people are emboldened right now to have a rally like this," huffing: "CNN would not suggest after a Muslim act of domestic terrorism that Obama 'emboldened' the violent act."
Of course, Graham is all too eager to suggest exactly that. Strangely, he offers no evidence Obama has ever done so. By contrast, there are numerous examples of Trump explicitly encouraging violence.
And that's how the MRC's Clinton Exception is slowly becoming the Obama Exception.
WND Has A Very Brief Discussion About Diversity
WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah loves to lie about how his website offers a broad spectrum of opinion when, in fact, its opinion lineup is almost entirely tilted to the right. Recently, though WND very briefly sorta had that broad spectrum of ideas being exchanged on its commentary page.
In a July 26 column, Lindy Daniel went on an anti-diversity tirade:
The next day, WND columnist Laura Hollis opined that multiculturalism is "destructive" and that "what’s behind the current flavor of multiculturalism for some hardcore leftists is hatred of Judeo-Christianity and rejection of its God."
That was followed by WND columnist Alan Keyes directly responded to Daniel by dismantling her anti-diversity huffing, albeit to push his own vision of government:
Lest anyone think WND learned a lesson abaout balance and that Keyes' column is anything but an one-time aberration from its hard-right editorial stance, WND published an Aug. 7 column by Oliver Melnick headlined "Where failed multiculturalism leads." His answer: to an Islamic "theocratic dictatorship."
Saturday, August 12, 2017
MRC Pushes Discredited Falsehoods About Planned Parenthood
Topic: Media Research Center
If only the thing Bonilla insisted on putting in boldface was actually true. PunditFact explains why it's not, after another right-winger made the same assertion:
Bonilla also defended the anti-abortion activists at the Center for Medical Progress over the unambiguous fact that their anti-Planned Parenthood videos were heavily edited: "Ramos, of all people, should know that videos are quite often edited for time considerations...right? To suggest that CMP committed some sort of malfeasance isn't only specious, it is cowardly considering that Ramos' newscast mostly ignored those videos, precisely when they were going viral."
But what "time considerations" 'were CMP editing their videos for? They were released to the Internet, which has no such time considerations. Yet they were deceptively edited anyway, with the edited versions being debunked by the full video released well after the edited versions.
WND Is Still Flogging The Trump-Prophecy Horse
Meanwhile, around this time in Barack Obama's presidency, WND was maliciously portraying him as the Antichrist. How times change.
Friday, August 11, 2017
MRC Offers Only Conservative Talking Points To Counter 'Democratic Talking Points'
Topic: Media Research Center
Alex Xenos huffs in an Aug. 3 MRC NewsBusters post:
But Xenos is offering only right-wing talking points in response. His evidence that "Dodd-Frank is a complete disaster" comes from the conservative National Review, hardly an objective source.
Further, Xenos' claim that the 2008 financial crisis was caused by "the government essentially forcing banks to give out subprime loans" is false; in fact, as we've noted, most of the mortgage compainies pushing subprime loans before the financial crisis were made by companies not subject to the terms of the Community Reinvestment Act, which right-wingers have long falsely blamed for the crisis.
Xenos also has more partisan sources lined up to attack Cuomo, responding to Cuomo's complaint that the Trump administraiton is repealing EPA water regulations b yciting the conservative Heritage Foundation and an op-ed written by attorneys with the right-wing Pacific Legal Foundation.
Xenos cited nothing to back him up, however, in another Cuomo-bashing rant:
Says a guy who gets his information spoon-fed to him by conservatives.
Is WND Working With Trump White House to Push Seth Rich Conspiracies?
The lawsuit Rod Wheeler filed against benefactor Ed Butowsky regarding a discredited Fox News story on the death of Seth Rich is a bombshell, but as we've documented, you wouldn't know that from WorldNetDaily's treatment of it in misleading about and burying the story.
A key allegation in Wheeler's lawsuit is that Butowsky worked with the Trump White House to get that story out -- an angle WND has heavily downplayed. That treatment, though, seems to beg the question: Did WND also work with the Trump White House to push the story?
Remember, there's an existing relationhip between WND and Trump. In 2012, WND editor Joseph Farah and then-reporter Jerome Crosi were advising Trump behind the scenes in pushing Obama birther conspiracy theories. Thereis no reason not to believe that WND has continued to maintain a relationship with Trump, and that the Trump White House sees WND as a valuable (and compliant) outlet to promote such fringe conspiracy-mongering. Indeed, as a loyal Trump supporter, WND would have the same alleged motivation as Trump and Fox News in pushing the story: as a distration from stories about alleged collusion between Trump and Russia during the 2016 election.
WND has been conspicuously silent about whether it has contacts within the Trump camp to push the Rich story -- which tells us that it's likely trying to hide something.
It's the elephant in the room, and WND is desperately trying to step around it. Rather, it's still trying to push the conspracy: An Aug. 8 article by Alicia Powe stays on the fringe by pushing a demand by politically motivated lawyer Jack Burkman (whom Powe allows without challenged to claim is leading an "independent, nonpartisan" investigation into Rich's death) for special counsel Robert Mueller to look into Rich's death because of the "confidential, verifiable information" he purports to have (and which Powe doesn't bother pressing Burkman on).
Powe references Wheeler's lawsuit and lamens that "Family spokesman Brad Bauman and the Rich family declined to respond to WND’s requests for comment on the lawsuit." Shouldn't she be asking her boss about the lawsuit and its implications for WND instead?
Thursday, August 10, 2017
CNS Misleads, Cherry-Picks on Detroit Unemployment
CNSNews.com editor in chief Terry Jeffrey cheerfully writes in an Aug. 2 article:
The implication here, of course, is that President Trump is somehow responsible for all of this. Jeffrey, however, is cherry-picking his data.
The BLS data from which he he cherry-picked shows that the Detroit metro area's employment numbers are highly variable. While Jeffrey compares numbers fromJune 2016 and June 2017, which shows the most dramatic change, he conveniently omits the numbers from May 2017 -- when unemployment was slightly lower (3.6 percent) and the labor force was slightly bigger than in June.
Jeffrey also evades any mention of long-term employment trends in Detroit. An actual news organization reported that only about half of adults in the city are part of the active work force, the lowest of any big city in the U.S. Further, according to another actual news organization: "The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a free-market-oriented research group in Midland, has said federal data also show that about two-thirds of the jobless drop in Detroit can be attributed to a smaller labor force -- that is, fewer Detroiters looking for jobs."
Further, Jeffrey's implicit praise for Trump for an unemployment drop over one year ignores that President Obama arguably deserves the same implicit credit for reducing Detroit's unemployment from well over 25 percent in 2009.
WND's Hohmann Suggests Mosque Deserved To Be Bombed
In an Aug. 6 article, WorldNetDaily is upset that authorities aren't jumping to conclusions after a crime by making declarations without conducting an investigation first: "A Mauritanian-born French citizen brandished a knife at an Eiffel Tower security checkpoint and shouted 'Allahu akbar,' but police are investigating the incident as a non-terrorist attack, just a common crime."
Just a day later, WND was complaining the exact opposite. WND's resident Muslim-hater Leo Hohmann not only complains that the bombing of a Minnesota mosque is being investigated as a hate crime, he seems to justify the bombing by calling the mosque "notorious":
Hohmann even called on disgraced, discredited philanderer John Guandolo for his opinion on the issue, which was largely limited to spewing that whatever the governor "utters about this is sure to be cow dung."
Hohmann also huffed that "The mosque is already seeking to capitalize financially on the explosion by launching a GoFundMe campaign." Does that mean WND's failing crowdfunding campaign to perpetuate Seth Rich conspiracy theories is a similar attempt to "capitalize financially"? Not that Hohmann would say so, of course.
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Kill the Messenger: MRC's Graham Bashes NY Times For Reporting Facts He Doesn't Like About Pence
Topic: Media Research Center
The Media ResearchCenter demonstrates just how reflexively pro-Trump it is with an Aug. 7 post by Tim Graham, who uncritically treats Vice President Mike Pence's denial of political activity to position himself in case Donald Trump does not run for re-election in 2020 for whatever reason as trustworthy and uses it to launch another lame attack on on the New York Times for running a story to that effect:
Graham presents no evidence that 1) the early Clinton White House was as chaotic as Trump's is, or 2) Gore ever did the same things Pence has been documented as doing. Further, though huffing that the Times calls (italics his) the Trump White House is "sheer disarray," he doesn't disprove the claim.
While Graham accuses the Times of engaging in "unintential knee-slappers" in its article, Graham has one of his own. His response to the Times article's statement that it's based on "interviews with more than 75 Republicans at every level of the party" was to claim, "The Times reporters insist that the sheer volume of their phone calls makes their guesswork 'news.'" Of course, that number is at least 75 more people than Graham talked to to fill out his ill-informed screed.
But as the Washington Post's Erik Wemple points out, Pence (and, thus, Graham) never denies the salient facts of the article: "the Pence people cannot deny that the Republican Party is riven with concern about the president’s viability; they cannot deny the on-the-record quote from Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the New York Times story: 'They see weakness in this president. Look, it’s not a nice business we’re in'; they cannot deny the concerted fundraising activities of the vice president."
The Post's Jennifer Rubin hammers home the point further:
Graham is basically asking the question: Who are you going to believe, the political official who denies something is happening or the literally dozens of other informed people who are pretty sure it is but can't go on the record for fear of displeasing their on-the-record boss?
Because Graham can't prove any of this wrong, he's simply trying to destroy the messenger.
Graham's partisan hackery is made even more ridiculous by the fact that the "Editor's Picks" of the MRC's NewsBusters blog -- of which Graham is executive editor -- has an article from the pro-Trump Washington Examiner claiming "CNN insiders" are saying CNN correspondent Jim Acosta's "antics" as White House correspondent are a bid to get his own CNN show.
How many of those Acosta-bashers are on the record? None.
If Graham is really so upset about the use of anonymous sources, why does he give it a pass when the results please him? Hypocrisy at its worst. (Plus, he's a terrible media critic.)
WND Stays Silent on 'Nicole Minsey' Fiasco While Farah Insists WND Is Trustworthy
Joseph Farah spends his Aug. 8 column complaining about a poll purportedly dominated by "ultra-liberals" that "put most of their trust in “news agencies” supported by big government – public television, the BBC, NPR and PBS, four of the six highest rated for credibility." He went on to sneer that "I guess that’s what one should expect when a graduate school of journalism does the research, with a professor in charge."
Farah then implied his own website was more trustworthy than any of them because it's allegedly popular: "Wouldn’t it make sense that the real standard of “most trusted” news sources would have something to do with traffic? Do people general go to news sources they don’t trust? And how do they know what they don’t trust if they don’t go there?"
The irony here, of course, is not only that WND has published reams of fake news, it's remained silent about its latest fake-news scandal.
As we documented, WND's Bob Unruh conducted a purported interview in May with "Nicole Minsey," who claimed to be an Obama Democrat-turned-Trump Republican who opened a website selling pro-Trump merchandise. It's become increasingly clear that "Minsey" doesn't exist at all and appears to be either a stolen or made-up identity to promote the store (which apparently didn't even fulfill its orders).
Unruh either got fooled badly by taking "Minsey" at her word and not even bothering to verify her identity because her story was too good to fact-check, or he and WND did the article as a promotion for the (bogus) store in some sort of monetary exchange -- a payment up front or a cut of the revenue generated by the article.
Wouldn't a trustworthy news operation move quickly to clear the air over this issue and admit any mistakes it made? Instead, WND has gone totally silent, and Unruh's bogus article remains live and unaltered.
Farah concluded his column by making his usual self-aggrandizing claim that WND is "seeking truth no matter what the cost." That's never been true, of course, and it gets even less true each day Farah, Unruh and WND let their "Minsey" fiasco fester.
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Bozell Using His MRC To Rant About Personal Grievances
Topic: Media Research Center
If ever there was any doubt that the Media Research Center is first and foremost a vehicle for Brent Bozell's right-wing activism, he erased it by using the MRC to go on a tirade against Republican Sen. Jeff Flake.
Bozell gave himself space at NewsBusters to personally attack Flake over his new book:
(Increasingly lackey-ish blogger Craig Bannister dutifully repeats Bozell's rant at his "news" division, CNSNews.com.)
First: Who is Bozell to judge who is conservative and who is not? Remember that Bozell loudly insisted that Donald Trump was no conservative, until he suddenly decided otherwise (perhaps influenced the MRC's biggest donor, who is also a big Trump supporter). If Bozell can be turned that easily, he's obviously no stalwart of bedrock conservative principles.
Second: Bozell sets up Flake as a RINO strawman to attack. Flake's conservative credentials are much more solid than Bozell portrays them; he simply cherry-picked a score from the website operated by his buddy, Mark Levin, that curiously fails to explain how those scores come about beyond a video vaguely stating that they are computed from "50 votes over a six-year period." And as the Wsahington Post points out (and Bozell omits), "Flake has a 93 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union, 95 percent from FreedomWorks, 100 percent from National Right to Life and an 'A' from the National Rifle Association."
Third: That Bozell is rushing to the defense of his father in this way tells us he's still trying to ride the coattails of his father's achievements, and that he would never have gone as far in the conservative movement as he has if his father hadn't ghost-wrote Goldwater's book.
The fact that Bozell is so willing to smear and lie about Flake -- and treat his nonprofit organization as an angsty personal blog in order to do so -- is a pretty clear sign that he's afraid of the anti-Trump message in Flake's book that indicts people like him for abandoning self-professed conservative principles to align with Trump.
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